Spring News from Wordnik

in just-spring

Photo by, and licensed (CC BY-NC 2.0) from, cuellar.

Spring is always a time for new growth, and we’re certainly growing here at Wordnik!

Some new stuff we think you’d like:

  • We now have a beta mobile site at http://m.wordnik.com, optimized for small-screen devices.
  • We have more new (and better!) example sentences, from new sources, with more on the way soon.
  • Check out our improved word frequency charts!
  • The Wordnik Word of the Day is now available as a daily email. You can sign up for it now by logging in to Wordnik and editing your preferences.
  • Our new autoexpanding comment areas make it easier to write and edit comments of more than a few lines (for when you have a lot to say about a particular word).
  • You’ll find improved definition data from the GNU Webster’s 1913 dictionary, available both on the site and through the API.
  • Developers, check out the New API calls for retrieving examples, related words (synonyms, antonyms, and the like), phrases, and definitions by part of speech. Support for JSONP is now available as well.
  • Our corpus is now using mongodb under the hood, providing improved performance now, and interesting feature possibilities down the road.
  • And just for fun, follow us on Twitter and Facebook to play SECRET WORD WEDNESDAY! Guess the SECRET WORD OF THE DAY, and win Wordnik stickers!

Hungry for more? Email us at feedback@wordnik.com and let us know what you’d like to see!

Also — for all you developers out there, keep an eye out for details of Wordnik’s first developer contest! We’ll be making an announcement this Friday …

Are your words smart enough?

it's love

Today, at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference, we’ll be announcing an initiative to create a new standard for getting and publishing information about words.

We’re calling it “smartwords”, and it will be an open standard — meaning anyone can publish data sets or develop applications using it. Smartwords will be context-aware and real-time … but also lightweight, easy-to-use, and versatile. We’re developing this standard with help from our first smartwords partners, including The New York Times, Forbes, The Huffington Post, O’Reilly, Vook, Scribd, ibis reader, and the Internet Archive.

With smartwords, you’ll be able to access not just traditional “dictionary-style” information, but also metadata, such as how frequently a word is used, where words are used, and who uses particular words. You’ll also be able to publish information about words — if you create a word, you can put a flag in the ground and claim it for your own — and smartwords will enable cool social features, like sharing and tagging.

What would a world with smarter words look like?

— You’re reading a new popular-science bestseller and your reader shows you quick definitions of the most difficult words, set right in the text … based on knowing what books you’ve already read and what words you’ve already seen!

— You’re a consumer and you have a few sources you trust for information (like, say, the New York Times). When you’re reading something from a different source, you can set your ereader to highlight what you’re reading to link you to good definitions (or similar content) in your trusted sources. (Instant fact-check!)

— You’re reading a great new novel and you see a great quote you’d like to pass along — you highlight it and share it on Facebook or Twitter.

The question is: if every word became a smart word, what would you ask it and what would it tell you?

We’ll be releasing version 1 of the smartwords standard in Summer 2010. With this new standard, we should able to do fantastic things with smartwords — and we want to hear from you about the kinds of information you would like to access and the kinds of applications you would like to build. Visit us at smartwords.wordnik.com to learn more!

(There’s more information in this nice writeup about smartwords from the Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog.)