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meronym-based nomenclature website

A clearinghouse for the names of things
  (+6, -1)
(+6, -1)
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Have you ever needed to look up the price of something, or talking to someone about an item, and you realize you don't know what the proper name of the thing is? You've seen it hundreds of times, you've used it, you know it well, but you just don't know what the official name is.

In the information age, you can look up anything you need, **provided you know what it's called**, to use as key words. But, if you don't know what a thing is called, you're SOL.

Since of course, you can't look up something you don't know the name of, it would be very helpful to have a resource where you could look up the names of things.

For instance, I was trying to communicate the idea of a "corner scroll" to my boss. Except, I didn't know it was called that. I just called it "the fancy artwork that you see in the corner of checks and currency". I tried googling for "currency border art", "certificate border", "check art" etc. ad nauseum, but no luck. Finally a few days later I googled for "fancy certificate border" where upon I found a site that referenced a "corner scroll". That's exactly the name of what I was talking about!

So, this website also is a directory that explains how things are put together, providing the names of each part. In my case, I could look up a check, or a certificate, or a banknote, and learned that the things in the corner are called "border scrolls".

Also, it would be good to allow it to be wiki-like, so that people could input their own particular knowledge.

Finally, a discussion board where people could pose questions and hopefully get good answers.

lawpoop, Sep 04 2008

Dictionary.com's Reverse Dictionary http://dictionary.reference.com/reverse/
"The reverse dictionary lets you go from a concept/idea/definition to words and phrases used to describe that concept. You can enter a single word, phrase, or a few words and hit the "Reverse Search" button.
Example: a search for 'candy stick' returns 'cane'."
[phoenix, Sep 04 2008]

Halfbakery: Reverse-lookup Online Dictionary Reverse-lookup_20Online_20Dictionary
Same idea, although shorter. But please see the discussion and links there. [jutta, Sep 04 2008]

Visual Merriam-Webster's Dictionary http://visual.merriam-webster.com/
I like visual dictionaries for stuff like that. [jutta, Sep 04 2008]

WordNet http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
Would sort of work for single words if its meronym relations were more populated. (A part is a meronym of its whole - e.g. "attic" is a meronym of "house". [jutta, Sep 04 2008]

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       If I want to know how something is put together, I'll tend to look it up in Wikipedia. Is doing this separately really going to help?
jutta, Sep 04 2008


       What will your website be called ?   

8th of 7, Sep 04 2008

       Jutta --   

       In this case, the goal is not to find out how something is made, or even what parts something is is composed of.   

       The goal is to learn the name of something where you know what it is, but you don't know the name of it.   

       So, how would you organize things when you can't have them looked up by name?   

       One solution is to look them up by a group they belong to. One group is, "The thing that X is a part of". So, if my X is a part of a stock certificate, a check, or a banknote, and I know the names of those things, I could look up *those*, and get a list of their parts. If the part list is complete, I could learn the name of my mystery object -- it has to be one of the parts.   

       I think what's different about this is the organizational model. If I want "Candy Cane", one way to look it up is to try to devise a synonym phrase. "Candy stick" is one of them. But, what's your synonym phrase for "corner scroll" or "corner flourish" ? "Squiggly design in the corner of a stock certificate"?   

       But here, the organizational model is based on meronyms ( thanks, Jutta :) I can easily look up stock certificate or bank note, and then find out what the meronyms are. The meronym system is an object-component-oriented ( as in real world objects, not programming objects ) organizational system, not a property oriented system ( "It's made of candy" "its shape is a cane") like the reverse dictionary.
lawpoop, Sep 04 2008

       The idea is okay, because it reminds me of a problem I often encounter: naming the right song. You've heard the song, you can sing fragments of it, but you can't find the title.   

       YouTubing or Googling with keywords or broken phrases is cumbersome [this is especially true for songs in English, when one is not a native speaker].   

       So it would be great if someone developed a little program that can recognize song patterns, independent of tone or pitch - purely rhytmically and structurally. You sing and record the piece you remember on your PC (or online), and the software scans songs for the patterns of this fragment.   

       This is another idea and based on other, non-descriptive principles, more on mimicking.   

       But developing a strategy to facilitate the search for names of things you can visualize or 'audio-visualize' is certainly an interesting challenge.   

       This entry is a good start to think about it. [+]
django, Sep 05 2008

       "curlicue", shirley?
pertinax, Sep 05 2008

       I can't wait for the pseudo meronym based nomenclature website. People with defiant urges and nomenclature fetishes will surely get their fill. Might generate a new language or four.   


       the lyrics idea should be incorporated. So seperate search engines for what's it look like, feel like, sound like, etc. Hmm. 'made of' needs to be there two. Anyways, will users be using a language in the search bar to distinguish all these different types? so something like, if you forgot what dogs were called you could type in:   

       smells like a trashcan looks like a small furry deer   

       and the programming would take care of everything else... Anyways, making sounds should be an option, but that's going to be separate. Oh, and using similarities requires someone to decide what does and does not smell like a small furry deer. You might what to stick strictly with what a thing is made of, but sometimes you don't know.   

daseva, Sep 08 2008


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