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Thumbs up for Collins Dictionary from the folk at WIRED

Posted on Tue, 3 Jan 2012 by Tim Wapshott

added by Tim Wapshtt

WIRED dubs the Collins Dictiory, designed by the OTHER media, 'an interesting move'.

Collins has launched a dictionary site, www.collinsdictionary.com, that will give open, free access to 220,000 dictionary entries alongside synonyms, translations, word frequency graphs and illustrative Flickr photos.

The new dictionary site has been developed over 18 months by the editorial team in Collins' headquarters in Glasgow and represents an interesting move for the dictionary's publisher, HarperCollins. A number of other reference publishers -- such as the Oxford English Dictionary -- already have an online presence but tend to use a paid subscription model. Collins' open approach means that it will compete against other established free web-only dictionaries such as Dictionary.com.

The site launched on 31st December with 120,000 dictionary entries, which will rise to 220,000 from March 2012. It aims to stay true to the spirit of the founder of the dictionary, William Collins, whose vision in 1819 was to offer "knowledge to all" through his publishing. Users will be able to find correct spellings and definitions, check synonyms with an integrated thesaurus, and access words in French, Spanish and German and 35 other languages.

Each result includes definitions, alternative meanings and word histories. Two million full sentence usage examples -- taken from fiction, non-fiction, newspapers and magazines -- help contextualise the words. Each definition has a word frequency graph, demonstrating the historical and contemporary popularity of the word over the last 500 years. The data is drawn directly from Collins' analytical language database called the Collins Corpus and Google Ngrams, which monitors word usage in print and online sources.

The site -- designed by digital agency the OTHER media -- also features more than one million audio pronunciations with both British and American audio differences, a predictive search function and images from Flickr to help users grasp word meanings.

The project has been overseen by Alex Brown, Head of Digital at HarperCollins, who says: "This is part of an ongoing strategy to make Collins' content available to as wide an audience as possible through new digital media."

Published 3.1.12