The Visual dictionary

A tweet led me to The Visual Dictionary.

I thought I would have a look. I went to a very clean homepage that described itself thus:

Visual Dictionary, to learn by way of image with thematic, clear and precise pages, with concise and rigorous texts, multilingual, the InfoVisual will become a academic resource. Different from an encyclopedia or from a traditional online dictionaries, thesauri and glossaries because the images replace the words.

I thought I would take a closer look and played around with some of the various searches offered.

You can look up the 6 major topics/categories and to see more specific topics you use the drop down list of sub-topics

You can search by word using either a simple AND, OR or phrase option.

If you choose to do a search by category, or a category is selected, you can browse a collection of images to for a variety of information about an image or topic. 

For example, by clicking on the Biology – animal title/thumbnail, you are taken to a page where you can click on an image of a spider to get the image below.

Or you can use the “seek image” tab that will show thumbnail images.

The diagrams are really clear and well labelled. With simple explanations below the images.

You can use the “image share” feature which gives you an embed code and you then put it into your site (see below) 

Internal anatomy of a spider

Internal anatomy of a spiderVisual Dictionary – Copyright © 2005-2009 – All rights reserved.

Once you have found your image there are other options that become available.

You have an Animation tab that will take you to a relevant YouTube Video. The Virtual object tab allows you to view the object as it revolves (usually the format is YouTube as well), a Photo tab that takes you to a photo (a number of these are from creative Commons sites).

At the bottom of the page you also have the option to do searches (using google) of the web, the site and wikipedia.

This resource is quite simple and would be a good place to start. It is not as comprehensive as the Merriam-Webster The Visual Dictionary Online. That resource requiresmore clicks to drill down to the anaomy of a spider and there is a lot of information that may not be required by someone just wants a simple diagram or a simple beginning to a topic. Both have their place but I like this simple but effective dictionary


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