Saturday, February 13, 2010

Visuwords, online graphical dictionary

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Cristina Ponce, from 4th B, suggests Visuwords™, an online graphical dictionary. It works as a normal dictionary, although Visuwords does not only give meanings of words, but associations with other words and concepts, producing diagrams similar to a mind map or conceptual map.
It is very easy to use. You only have to enter words into the search box at the top of the page to look them up. A network of nodes or 'synsets' will spring out from the word that you entered using a colour code and different graphic connnections explained on left-hand column.
A 'synset' is essentially a single concept that is represented by a number of terms or synonyms. For example when you lookup "seem", you see that the word is connected to four synsets each represented by a green circle. Green denotes verbs so all of these synsets represent verbs. Two of these synsets have the lone word "seem"; one has two terms: "appear" and "seem"; and the third has three terms: "look", "appear" and "seem". Each of the four synsets has its own definition.
Hovering over a node with the mouse will reveal all of the synonyms for a given synset as well as its definition. Some synsets will also show a few examples of usage. These synsets link to each other and to other synsets according to entries in the  database. 
You can also double-click a node to expand the tree. You can zoom the model in and out by rolling the wheel on your mouse. You can click the grey background within the applet and drag the mouse in order to shift the whole model around so you can explore. You can grab any node and pull it away from the others to clarify connections.
Thanks a lot for your great contribution, Cristina!

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