Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Eye candy for writer’s block

Having coached consultants on writing articles, it’s clear to me authorship has foundations both in art and in science. A thesaurus is a familiar aid to writers. Visual Thesaurus has been the leader in displaying words interactively through a graphical user interface since 1998. Now, there’s a new alternative on the web: VisuWords. The snapshots below don’t do full justice to the animation featured in both.

Visual Thesaurus provides a simpler interface, of nodes joined by lines.

20071113_VisualThesaurus_system.jpg

VisuWords presents a busier interface, and the lines joining nodes have different meanings. In the upper right section of a search on “system” appears the “is a word for” relations.

20071113_VisuWords_system_is_a_word_for.jpg

In the lower left of the same search appears the “is a kind of” relations.

20071113_VisuWords_system_is_a_kind_of.jpg

The semantics associated with VisuWords is richer. The legend uses colors and varying markers to differentiate relations.

20071113_VisuWords_legend_relations.jpg

Each of these offerings reflect the time period in which they were developed.

Visual Thesaurus (circa 1998) has versions that run on a computer desktop (i.e. PC or Mac), or on a web browser. The program is written in Java, so it’s relatively simpler to port across platforms. When version 1 was on the web, searching words was free. Now that they’re up to version 3, only a few free searches are allowed on the web site.

VisuWords (circa 2007) runs only on a browser. It’s constructed on Adobe’s Flash platform, which means that it probably will never be packaged as a standalone desktop application. The long-term licensing of the software isn’t clear, but for now, Paul R. Dunn writes that “Visuwords™ is available as a free resource to all patrons of the web”.

Visual Thesaurus uses Wordnet from the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University, as does VisuWords. The licensing of Wordnet is unencumbered both for non-commercial and commercial use, so the varying styles between the two offerings is an interesting contrast in styles.

In either case, there’s appeal for a fun interface to help a writer express himself or herself to find the right word or phrase. For those who think such a tool is too distracting, some believe that a hardcopy thesaurus is still better.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

    • daviding: “While institutions are incorporated to live beyond the lifet…” November 29, 2022
      While institutions are incorporated to live beyond the lifetime of a single human being, perhaps fulfilling its mission can lead to a conclusion that the best course is to wind itself down. Courage at the #IveyFoundation , led by #BruceLourie > One of Canada’s largest and oldest philanthropic organizations has decided to wind down and […]
    • daviding: “Reassured that qoto.org is on the Wayback Machine @interneta…” November 27, 2022
      Reassured that qoto.org is on the Wayback Machine @internetarchive .https://web.archive.org/web/20220000000000*/Qoto.org
    • daviding: “Researching #Contextualism, online archive of "#RootMetaphor…” November 26, 2022
      Researching #Contextualism, online archive of "#RootMetaphor: The Live Thought of #StephenCPepper" from Paunch 1980 magazine is helpful. Philosopher of aesthetics a follower of #JohnDewey, contemporary of #KurtLewin, senior to #ThomasKuhn, #EricTrist https://ingbrief.wordpress.com/2022/11/26/root-metaphor-the-live-thought-of-stephen-c-pepper-1980/ #SystemsThinking
    • daviding: “#Autopoiesis, as coined by #HumbertoMaturana, is in the #Con…” November 23, 2022
      #Autopoiesis, as coined by #HumbertoMaturana, is in the #Contextualist #RootMetaphor of #StephenCPepper, rather than the organismic root metaphor, say #HowardMancing and #JenniferMarstonWilliam #PurdueLibArts https://ingbrief.wordpress.com/2022/11/23/autopoiesis-as-in-the-contextualist-root-metaphor-mancing-marston-william-2022/ #SystemsThinking
    • daviding: “As much as #JudithRosen channels the work of her father, #Ro…” November 17, 2022
      As much as #JudithRosen channels the work of her father, #RobertRosen, the long conversations on #AnticipatorySystems she used to have with him have led to #SystemsThinking ideas that are probably officially unpublished by him, and should be credited to Judith herself. > I have come to view the consciously aware mind, as experienced by human […]
  • RSS on IngBrief

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on daviding.com

    • 2022/11 Moments November 2022
      Days getting shorter, less encouragement for bicycling
    • 2022/10 Moments October 2022
      Madrid long walks and museums, Barcelona beach and lectures, recovery from jet lag back in Toronto
    • 2022/09 Moments September 2022
      A month with much activity, starting in NYC for a weekend, returning to Toronto to care for my father in the hospital, and ending the month in Madrid, Spain.
    • 2022/08 Moments August 2022
      Busy social calendar of summer family gatherings and local festivals, interspersed with otherwise invisible journal article writing.
    • 2022/07 Moments July 2022
      Enjoying summer with Toronto Jazz, then road trip to Iowa and Chicago.
    • 2022/06 Moments June 2022
      Social calendar for month was full with Toronto Biennal of Art, Luminato, Taste of Little Italy and Toronto Jazz Festival, plus family dim sum and dinners.
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • Meta

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal