The (hyper)active online thesaurus
July 4, 2000 8:10 AM   Subscribe

The (hyper)active online thesaurus This thesaurus is the best visual example of the vitality of language I've ever seen. As you click through the web of linked words, they just quiver and fly around as though they both want to be used now and at the same time want to avoid being pinned down. I love this, especially the way the 3D effect leaves some words in the background, since they are only distantly related. But when you click on them they zoom to the top, along with a new constellation of associated words and concepts.
posted by elgoose (12 comments total)
It's a demo for a licensable technology. See also: Bacardi. (Click the "on" link under "toggle thinkmap.")
posted by endquote at 2:22 PM on July 4, 2000

I don't know which is more intriguing -- the demo or elgoose's description of it.
posted by argus at 2:42 PM on July 4, 2000

Reminds me of this...
The effect is neat, but I'd still rather use a paper thesaurus...
posted by Bane at 3:56 PM on July 4, 2000

Kinda nifty, but the words keep jiggling for no ostensible reason, which bugs the crap out of me. Moving things tease your eye away from where it's looking at the moment, and when there's no good reason for something to be moving, it's annoying.

Other than that, it's pretty spiffy.
posted by beth at 4:21 PM on July 4, 2000

they have had that demo for years and it is actually quite dated....

they need to update it...

it was nice years ago...
posted by efader at 5:28 PM on July 4, 2000

update it with what? all the new words that have been added to the thesaurus since 1997?
posted by muta at 6:14 PM on July 4, 2000

Thinkmap's had this same technology solution in search of a problem for quite some time (before this demo, there was the "content navigator" demo - same basic concept, but you were ostensibly moving from web page to web page instead of from word to word). It looks kind of cool, but in real life it's virtually useless (see Smithsonian Without Walls and click "Enter the Exhibit" halfway down the left side) because the web-display implies some type of meaning to the positioning and size of the webbed entries (otherwise, why do it?) and unless you already know the material, you'd have no way of knowing what those positions and sizes are intended to mean. Of course, if you already know the material, you probably don't need the web-display either, do you? (Purely from a cognitive standpoint, that moving text - as beth already noted - is a disaster; even if there is information inherent in the size and positioning, they don't remain stable for more than a second or two, so how can you expect a viewer to take them in?)
posted by m.polo at 6:40 PM on July 4, 2000

kinda reminded me of Squiggle Vision.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:59 PM on July 4, 2000

Find a metafilter comment by efader that is not geared around making unwarranted negative remarks about the design/implementation/etc. of some internet app/technology.

Please don't spit on me. All in good fun, right folks ha ha ha.
posted by EngineBeak at 10:16 PM on July 4, 2000

It looks like the tecnology has improved, or been updated, or something. The Thinkmap page lists the EMP Digital Collection and the Music for a Century site as using the technology, but it looks nothing like the thesaurus or Bacardi.
posted by endquote at 10:52 PM on July 4, 2000


The thinkmap thesaurus has been around for quite a while and is not that complicated technology wise...

I suggested that they update or change the interface not the database of words...

Technology wise java is not the best joice due to its processor hogging and browser crashing nature..

In closing you are practicing what you preach... if you don't agree with me great... but I am entitled to my own opinions...

posted by efader at 10:58 PM on July 4, 2000

the site design is very slick-looking, but I think it would be best suited to be shockwave instead of java, since some browsers and/or systems don't support java... but that's just a personal preference. I do think it looks great as it is, though - very neat idea.
posted by elf_baby at 4:48 AM on July 5, 2000

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