Saturday, November 14, 2009


Update: 12.03.09 - It seems is already providing most of what I'd like to see from a service: anyone can add (don't even have to auth), domain attributes, links to references, direct URL to entry: There are some obvious difference in approach. I want to go further with URLs. I'd like to be able to point to a unique defintion via a path, ex., /wiktionary/FOO/1. I also want to do lookups in other dimensions, ex., return all terms from domain:X.

The government is awash with acronyms. New acronyms are created daily. Acronyms create a barrier to understanding if they cannot be easily resolved, where easy = universal and universal = URL. There are many online dictionaries with entries that are found in Web searches. However, these return results only in highly formatted, not-well-formed HTML that is not always accessible through simple URLs. Furthermore, these dictionaries provide no way for the community to create and share new entries as they are needed. A simple solution to this is:
  1. Use the cloud to store terms and definitions
  2. Use Web services to return definitions through URLs as XML, JSON, and XHTML
  3. Provide a simple form that lets registered users add and edit terms
We have created a proof of concept here using XAMPP and AWS:

It's not perfect or even complete. For example, the XHTML returns errors from the W3C validator. But I think this is a solid start and I'd like to open it up and see it go further. To that end, I submitted it as an idea for Sunlight Labs. We'll see if it garners any votes of interest...

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