Wordnik: Notes from an Online Dictionary Project

author: Erin McKean, Wordnik
published: Dec. 2, 2011,   recorded: November 2011,   views: 5128


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Wordnik.com, which launched in 2009, is a very large, semi-crowdsourced, mostly-datamined dictionary of English. As we have worked to biuld the site, create and find new lexical information, engage users and contributors, and represent data in useful and interesting ways, we've discovered trends in dictionary use, information consumption, language change, and social signaling that have both surprised and encouraged us. In addition to purely language-related discoveries, our findings related to laypeople's conception and understanding of a what a dictionary could or ought to be have been particularly interesting. The metaphors of dictionary use are extremely strong for native English speakers, and patterns of use have been much more normative than we expected. Issues discussed will include: copyright, parsing, graphing, related terms, UGC and user management, search engine optimization, site search, audio, pronunciation transcription, licensing, and UI/UX.

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