Container-less Content? Not in This Digital Age.
Slips, fascicles, and finally august tomes are all alternative frames for the dictionary. A project as protracted and sprawling as the OED required framing in different ways for different times with different purposes. Those volumes published in 1928 were certainly designed to reflect the achievement of Murray, his team, and their successors. However, even then different editions were on offer -- you could get half volumes with different bindings, as well as the "main" edition. But, of course, a living language is impossible to frame. English is fluid, rendering the dictionary immediately outdated. The First Supplement to the OED appeared only five years after publication. What had once looked like a complete container suddenly had appendages.