Here's another tool I'm having fun with. The visual thesaurus is a little difficult to describe so you might want to just go check it out yourself. Similar to an on-line dictionary, you type in a word and click "look it up." But unlike a dictionary, the results are schematic, not textual. Instead of giving you a definition or a list of words, it gives you a map of related words which you can explore. Here's the features according to the thinkmap website:
* Find the right word and explore. The Visual Thesaurus has over 145,000 English words and 115,000 meanings. Search for the word you're looking for and then follow a trail of related concepts.
* Improve your grasp of the English language. The Visual Thesaurus's intuitive interface helps you find words through their semantic relationship with other words and meanings. This focus results in a more precise understanding of the English language.
* Hear words pronounced correctly. (Internet connection necessary) The Visual Thesaurus offers a choice between a British and an American English accent.
* Understand the relationships between English words and meanings. In addition to synonyms, the Visual Thesaurus shows 16 kinds of semantic relationships. You can see that a nose is part of a face, that a horned poppy is a type of flower, and that epinephrine is a type of vasoconstrictor.
* Expand your search to the Internet. From any word, you can initiate an Internet search for either web pages or images.
* Check your spelling. The Visual Thesaurus suggests alternatives so you can find the right word even when you're not sure of the spelling.
* Personalize your experience. The Visual Thesaurus allows you fine control over your settings. You control font size, the types of relationships that are available, content filtering, and more.
* Filter Content. Both the Desktop and the Online Edition allow you to filter content at four different levels.
You can try it a few times for free. The desktop/CD-Rom version is $39.99. The on-line version is $19.99/year or you can subscribe for $2.95/month. Happy mapping!