Just found this in my blog roll. The OED has opened up a dedicated space on their website where they're asking the public to help research the history of words.
As a friend told me once, and as the website confirms, this has always been the method of the OED.
The OED has been a collaboration between lexicographers and the public since its earliest days, from the appeal issued by the Philological Society in 1859, to the television programme “Balderdash & Piffle,” broadcast in 2005 and 2007. OED Appeals continues this tradition by using the reach of the web and social media to connect lexicographers with those who may hold hidden clues to word history without even realizing it.
For the word enthusiast, this sounds like great news. Readers here might think this would be right up my alley, but actually I'm not really a researcher of this ilk. I'm mostly concerned to dig into my own murkiness and misconceptions. But I know there are people out there who will have a field day with this kind of crowd sourcing idea. If that's you, what are you waiting for? Have at it!
*10/7/12 Amending this to say that I just took a look over there and realized I had something to contribute on the word "cootie". Take a look--you might remember something too.