Ambition #1 for 2008: Developing Roget’s 3D ontology
The other day I was walking our dog in the second Weteringplantsoen, the small park close to where I live in Amsterdam. Probably due to my reflective mindset at Christmas time, I thought back twenty five years ago, just a month before my mom died. Somehow, I remembered that I had borrowed her Roget’s International Thesaurus, third edition, printed and published by Collins (London and Glasgow) in 1974. I’ve used the book ever since to improve the quality of my writing in English. Of course, nowadays I use thesauruses online but as it is, I like to use old fashion books as well. Anyway, I started to think about thesauruses and the probable complex work people put in them. Then I got an idea, combining different and apparently not associated information (thesauruses, ontologies, art, 3D, Borges’ Labyrinth and probably a lot more). And that is the origins of my first ambition for the next year: I am going to develop a 3D ontology based on Roget’s Thesaurus. And this is how I want to do it and how I imagine it (of course my process will be based on my book, using the Enneagraphical system).
I will pick at random one word from Roget’s, put it in a Visio sheet (mind mapping tool) and put the synonyms around them. Then I will take each of the synonyms and do the same. My guess is that with around 250.000 words in the book – thus being an ending list – I will need a lot of 2D space. Meantime I will ask people if they have a clue of how to get this landscape of words (wordscape) into a 3D setting as I assume that there will be overlap in certain words (with more than one homological meanings).Later on, my ambition will grow because I want to build a real 3D ontology and put it in a place for people to see.Even further in time, I would like the 3D ontology to grow in an emergent way by monitoring English written sites globally, measuring the frequency of use of words, ranking those words and developing a tool to automatically rearrange the 3D ontology.
So, what’s the purpose? You tell me! There is something lingering in my brain that tells me to do this. It could give us visual insight in complexities (not just languages but also (social) networks and emergence, I guess). Perhaps you have some clues to help me out or even adopt parts of this project?
 See the page ‘Credits’ for the credits of this word
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