A Thesaurus in Three Dimensions
Plumb Design Demonstrates Thinkmap® Software with Visual Thesaurus
New York, February 2, 1998 — Plumb Design announced today the publication on the Internet of the Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus The thesaurus, a striking demonstration of Thinkmap software, illustrates the sense relationships among English words.
An engaging experience in language and interface, the Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus is an artistic exploration that is also a learning tool. Through its dynamic interface, the Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus alters our relationship with language, creating poetry through user action, dynamic typography, and design. The experience is rewarding from both a linguistic and an aesthetic perspective.
Visitors to the site encounter a swirling nebula of words connected by a series of fine lines that represent sense relationships. Each click brings in more words from a connected database, creating a web of relationships that demonstrate linguistic associations and dependencies. Word forms that are more related become brighter and closer, those that are less related disappear from the display.
The Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus uses data from the WordNet database developed by the Cognitive Science Laboratory at a major university. This freely available database, first created in 1985 as a dictionary based on psycholinguistic theories, contains over 50,000 words and 40,000 phrases collected into more than 70,000 sense meanings. The word forms in the database are organized to approximate the manner in which we use and understand language.
"The Visual Thesaurus is a remarkably beautiful example of what can be created through choreography of typographic forms," says Plumb Design CEO Mary Azzarto. "We feel it represents a unique vision of how data can be made beautiful through innovative information design. We are proud to make this resource available to the Internet community."
Thinkmap software animates information, displaying the underlying connections between discrete items. Thinkmap software creates Maplets?, which are interactive displays that interface directly with data. By allowing users to understand the relationships in complex data, Maplets bridge the gap between qualitative and quantitative analysis. They are a compelling way of displaying complex connected information. Written in Java, Thinkmap is able to interface with static and dynamic information sources via interchangeable data-interface modules.
"Thinkmap software is part of our continuing efforts to develop tools that empower designers to create innovative and powerful information architectures," says Thinkmap Team Leader Marc Tinkler. "We believe that the very experience of seeking information can be enriching and challenging. What is unique about Thinkmap is that, through its modular construction, it gives designers who might not want to work in Java the ability to create a unique information design."
Plumb Design creates online experiences that facilitate the exchange of knowledge and the interplay of ideas. Plumb Design is an Internet design and development company based in New York City. Founded in 1997, Plumb Design builds Internet applications for organizations that use the Internet as a vehicle for exchanging information and ideas. Clients include Audible Words, Duggal Color Projects, The National Geographic Society, The New York Academy of Medicine, and The Smithsonian Institution. More information about Plumb Design can be found on the Internet at
Thinkmap. Visualize Complex Information.