Web Site Of The Week

VoyCabulary http://www.voycabulary.com/

You know that scene in Say Anything where John Cusack looks at a dictionary that his academic superstar girlfriend, Ione Skye, has marked up showing every word she's looked up — ever? Yeah, I thought she was a freak too. I've never been the type of reader who keeps a dictionary nearby in case I have to look a word up. Context is my friend. Ever since I've gotten online, however, it's much easier to point and click my way to a better vocabulary.And this little website makes it even easier. VoyCabulary, through the wonders of Javascript, turns every text-based page into a hyperlinked site where every word links directly to its definition in your choice of seven dictionaries. Voycabulary is a boon for students doing online research, or anyone who needs definitions at their fingertips when reading Internet news sites. It even provides scientific and law dictionaries for reading Lexis-Nexis or technical documents.

All you have to do to start the VoyCabulary experience is to enter the desired Web page address into the box provided on the front page, and choose the dictionary you want. If you're looking for translation skills, they even have foreign-language dictionaries that work with the script. It's fun, easy and similar to the process of a dialectizer — except, y'know, educational.

VoyCabulary also allows plain text to be entered into its system for "hyperlinkage" to definitions. For instance, it might interest you to know that Merriam-Webster, VoyCabulary's default dictionary, does not recognize that "hyperlinkage" is a word at all. All dictionaries used by the program have no affiliation to VoyCabulary or its parent company, Voyager Info-Systems. You can even write to them and suggest they start linking to your favorite lexicon (I'm fond of the overly liberal American Heritage Dictionary, myself. Maybe they'll include "hyperlinkage" in their next edition.

Though the program was designed to allow its users to "look up words without interfering with their normal Internet browsing, I've found that the Javascript works better on pages that are more text-based and relatively free of tables. For instance, if you hope to use VoyCabulary on The Weekly Planet's website (www.weeklyplanet.com), you're SOL.

We're just way too cool for school.

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