Found another neat site called Visual Thesaurus. I don’t know too many grammar nazis so I’m not sure this would appeal to any of my friends but I do find this to be an interesting project. They’ve created a visual reference guide for using a Thesaurus. You can type in a word and it will create a mapping of it. The words are all always “pinpointed” to an idea or definition. These “anchors” then connect to words that are related. So while some words might have 2 or 3 anchors, as in 2 or 3 definitions, each definition gets it’s own chain of words connected to it. The best part is it’s all interactive.
I think this must have been around for a while, because A) they are already charging use which ranges from $2.95 a month to $20 a year and B) because the GUI is surprisingly clean and well thought out. Usually with starter programs or innovative ideas like this the GUI is one of the last worries. It’s usually the mechanics underneath that get all the attention. But this one was smooth with multiple options, easy to use pull down menus, and a fairly intuitive design. I think I was more impressed by that than the concept of a visual interactive thesaurus.
You can test-drive the application if you want, and I don’t know how long it works, but if you feel like expanding your vocabulary, I would highly recommend at least taking a look at it.