4.98 The Atlantic Monthly calls the Visual Thesaurus an enchanting result of a marriage of the Princeton Word Net database and Thinkmap technology.
"The Visual Thesaurus represents the marriage of Princeton University's WordNet (an online database that organizes some 50,000 words and 40,000 phrases into synonym sets) and Plumb Design's ThinkMap software (which its creators describe as "not primarily a data-visualization tool, but rather a data-animation tool"). The result is enchanting, if hard to describe: any word typed into the Visual Thesaurus appears onscreen like a spider bobbing at the center of a web of gently swaying gray filaments, each of which has at its end a synonym.
Click on any one word at the periphery and it moves to the center of the screen, where a new web of associations emerges. (The old web, connected by the common synonym, is moved off to the side, where it is still easily accessible.) Because the display is run by a Java applet, viewers can customize the display of data: they can favor certain parts of speech, determine the extent to which synonyms of synonyms are displayed in the background, toggle between two- and three-dimensional representations of word associations, and more. The result -- as Marc Tinkler, one of the developers of the Visual Thesaurus, recently told The New York Times's CyberTimes -- is akin to "information choreography."
Thinkmap. Visualize Complex Information.