Overview of our programs and their impacts

Language-Related Apps


IDEA has worked to develop language-related mobile apps that do double duty: in addition to providing a reference source or an entertaining game, the apps are designed to encourage exploration, expand vocabulary, and deepen understanding of word meanings. IDEA’s apps inspire users to scrutinize relationships between words, grasp previously unseen shades of meaning, and learn about usage through context cues.

Language Database


IDEA’s Linguabase, a massive database containing over 500,000 definitions and word relations, is the foundation for our three word apps. It was built over a period of four years by drawing material from several publicly available sources, and then expanded through novel lexicographic research involving natural language processing.

SpicyNodes

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The SpicyNodes project was an outgrowth of IDEA’s quest to display online knowledge in a way that mimicked how people interact with information in the real world. The project expanded the theoretical underpinnings of concept mapping and developed into an Adobe Flash-based radial mapping tree. This web-based data visualization tool was used by individual and organizational subscribers to create content portals, mind maps, sitemaps, and even poetry. While the authoring implementation of the tool is now shuttered, approximately 3 million people utilized SpicyNodes while it was active. The WikiNodes app for iOS tablets used SpicyNodes’ technology to create an innovative browser for Wikipedia topics.

WebExhibits

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Launched in 1999, IDEA’s WebExhibits was one of the first online museums. At the time of WebExhibits’ inception, interactive virtual exhibits were outside the realm of possibility for institutions whose core competencies lay in managing brick and mortar operations and planning educational activities. With 10 exhibits and more than 110 million unique visitors, IDEA’s virtual museum helped illustrate the potential for physical museums to extend their reach and increase their impact by embracing online displays.

Older Programs

IDEA has always pushed the envelope to advance scientific, artistic, and cultural literacy. We developed tools for visualizing color theory (ColorRotate) and building and sharing color palettes via an iPad app, a web site, and a Photoshop plugin. We worked with the American Association for State and Local History to share thousands of resources with history museum professionals and staff, build community with multiple blogs, and share best practices. We published a blog from 2009 to 2014 for executive-level staff at educational institutions that covered practices of museums, publishers, developers, and research labs that related directly and tangentially to scientific and cultural literacy. We’ve also worked on other projects in arenas as diverse as timekeeping and healthcare education and outreach.