Re: AbiSaurus v0.05

Subject: Re: AbiSaurus v0.05
From: Nils Barth (
Date: Mon Jul 09 2001 - 11:39:31 CDT

On 2001-07-09-12:50, wrote:
> Also, for all its various meanings, MS Word presented
> only 20 synonyms for "evil", so some other kind of
> filtering is taking place automatically. I think that
> MS Word's list is too limited, but AbiSaurus' is
> daunting without additional guidance. When I
> entered "copious", a less common word, Abisaurus
> returned 65 synonyms. These terms are less common and
> more likely to have subtle variations of meaning that I
> don't know.

This suggests another improvement -- why not include (optional?)
definitions/links to definitions of the offered synonyms?

Possible UIs for this (in a word processor):
2 column layout: synonym; definition
all synonyms are clickable to get definition
column of synonyms (grouped/filtered by part of speech, say), with a
        big box to the right (to the left in right-to-left languages ;-)
        containing definition for the selected term
(I like this last best, since it allows sufficient space for a
definition and doesn't require paging back and forth between the
synonym list and the definititions)

Other UI idea: if one highlights a word and chooses `thesaurus' (by
context menu or menubar), it would be nice (ob. vocab.: meaning
`Polite, Kind', not meaning `Particular') if the dialog box for the
thesaurus included the sentence in which the word appeared, that way
the user wouldn't need to move the dialog around so they can see the
context in which they wish to use the word (indeed, it might be cute
if this `preview sentence' would include the selected synonym in
context, so the user could see what it would look like).

Other features (I've been checking out on-line thesaurii for ideas):

Antonyms -- these would be great, if you can find a source of them

Grouping synonyms by which meaning they are synonyms for (that is, a
dictionary might give several meanings for a word; e.g.,
lists two definitions for food: (1) things that are edible, (2)
material that nourishes).
This can help deal with the slew of synonyms.

Also, I'm of the mind that if people choose a word like `good' or
`evil', they really should get a large number of synonyms, because of
these words being so complex; the question is how to
present/group/filter them so as to be usable (and not to do the MS
solution of `we know what you mean, don't bother about other

  -nils (pookie)

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