It was first published in 1949. A second edition followed in 1970, edited by the late Nicholas G. L. Hammond and H. H. Scullard, and a third edition in 1996, edited by Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, which in revised form (2003) is the current edition (as of 2008).
The Third edition was also available on CD-ROM, but it was partially incompatible with more recent versions of Windows and has not been revised or re-released. The Third edition is also available from InteLex Corporation via Web access and on CD-ROM in a version compatible with all Windows operating systems.
The OCD's 6,000 articles cover everything from the daily life of the ancient Greeks and Romans to their geography, religion, and their historical figures. The OCD includes comprehensive references to sources and recent scholarly publications.
A copy of the OCD has traditionally been offered by the National Latin Examination as a prize for students who obtain four consecutive ascending gold medals on the exam.