I have been working on this all day. Somebody
help me, please.
Sorry for the extended radio silence, but I’ve been busy. Just took a job as a developer with LibraryThing. I’m totally psyched about it — it’s a great site, the community of members is fantastic (and contains a lot of wordies. Coincidence? I think not),
and there are a lot of interesting technical problems to solve.
I’m particularly happy to be working with Tim, who founded the site and did most of the development. He’s a nice guy, very bright, and a polymath, all good things. His development style is very different from mine, which I think is going to benefit both of us. I’m learning a huge amount about databases (LT is about to clock its 10 meeellionth book in the next week or two), I think I’ll be able to contribute some useful new ideas on the code side.
I’m a little sad to be setting aside my new favorite language, Ruby, and my new favorite framework, Rails, since LibraryThing is written in PHP. Which is so 1999. But that’s alright — I’ve been wathing a lot of Buffy and listening over and over to “And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out” to get in the right mindset.
This does mean Wordie development is going to slow down, though it also might present the opportunity for some sort of Wordie — LibraryThing mashup. An idea that I can’t take credit for.
I’ll carve out bits of time here and there for Wordie, though. To wit, I’ve tweaked the front page a bit. The left-hand column now starts by listing the people who’ve contributed the most comments/citations in the past 7 days, and the ‘wordiest wordies’ is now also listed by the past 7 days. Both sections contain links to top 100 of all time versions of the same lists. The idea is that, now that Wordie contains most common (as well as many uncommon, and completely invented) words, what makes it interesting and dynamic is to see more citations.
Wordie is pro-word, not anti-image, but the fact remains that aside from the odd photo posted in a comment, it is a resolutely text-based site. Here’s a compendium of sites that visualize words and text, or connect words and pictures. A chrestomathy of the visual word.
VT and VU:
contrast and compare? describe what they’re doing?
The godfather of them all, the Visual Thesaurus was launched by Plumb Design in 1997. Plumb later became ThinkMap, and the Visual Thesaurus
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became subscription-based. You can try it for free, though, and the original concept is as cool as ever: watch the pretty words dance around.
Graphically this is a pretty straightforward Visual Thesaurus ripoff, with the nice distinction of being open-source, and free. Like many dictionaryish projects (including Visual Thesaurus and Wordie), it uses Princeton’s WordNet (or WeirdNet, in some implementations) as a data source.
Visual Dictionary Online
The new kid on the block. By Merriam-Webster, hence the dorky 90s-style name (which also distinguishes it from their CD-ROM version. Also available on 8-track or cassette). Divided into 15 categories representing the top level of a sometimes elaborate taxonomy. For instance “Camembert” lives at: Food & Kitchen -> Food -> Dairy Products -> Soft Cheeses -> Camembert. The categorization is opaque, the search useless, and the site overall is clunky. Still, the pictures are nice, and it’s a better effort than I would have expected from a company that seems so resolutely averse to the interblag.
The Visual Dictionary
“The Visual Dictionary is a collaborative project to collect as many photographs of words as possible,” and the site is as clean and simple as their mission (“they” being the delightfully named “webponce,” aka Matthew Knight). It’s easily searched and browsed, and has a few nice touches, like a twitter mashup and a nascent API. Note: no actual definitions.
lump this into above:
Google and Yahoo! both have image search engines, which make it easy to find images that correspond to a given word. Unlike Google, Yahoo! also makes image search available via API, enabling people to use Yahoo! image search for their own ends. Mention Flickr group.
Many eyes, which I’ve mentioned before, offers 16 types of visualizations into which you can pipe your own data. Two visualizations–tag clouds and word trees–are explicitly word oriented, though other can be used that way too. A lovely example: a word cloud derived from Shakespeare’s sonnets.
A little gizmo that takes any text you enter, and generates an ascii graphic version of it.
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Barnes & Noble is rolling out a major update to the Nook Color, called Nook Apps, which allows publishers and third-party developers to offer applications for the Nook eReader. Wordnik is happy to announce that the NOOK Word of the Day app, powered by Wordnik, is among the first available applications, along with offerings from Chronicle Books, Condé Nast, The National Geographic Society, and other top-tier publishers and developers.
The NOOK Word of
the Day app will highlight words from Barnes & Noble bestsellers and include example sentences from the books, audio pronunciations, definitions, and a link to further explore on Wordnik.
The update enabling Nook Apps will eventually be pushed to all Nook Color owners via Wi-Fi, but if you don’t want to wait you can download it now at http://www.nookcolor.com/update.