Is the role of a dictionary to prescribe or to record?

Some people proffer dictionary definitions and spellings as the final authority on the matter, an 'authority' elected by no-one, while dictionaries themselves purport to seek said authority by reflecting and recording actual usage. Who is correct, and does the era of virtual semi-publication muddy the waters?
Update: Always look on the bright side, Brian! :D
Update 2: 'Right,' Paul. I think...
1 answer 1