dictionary

Kids Open Dictionary Builder

Jane Park, August 6th, 2008

When I was a kid, the only dictionary around the house was a monumental hardcover my little brother used as a stool to reach the cookie jar. We hardly ever looked inside of it, and when we did, we couldn’t find any words used in the real world. It was the super duper collegiate university fifth edition, or something like that. Later, my brother might’ve used it as a substitute for weight class…

Point being, a new project speaking to this situation was recently launched by Karen Fasimpaur and Brad Emerson, along with a host of collaborators. The Kids Open Dictionary Builder is a new wiki-style dictionary intended especially for kids who want to be able to read simple definitions of real world terms. Of course, the dictionary can be used by anyone: students of all ages, teachers, publishers and more. All content will be contributions to the public domain, free for anyone to use, modify and repurpose. From their FAQ page:

“We want this resource to be as sharable as possible, and while we think sharing is good, we don’t feel compelled to force others to share. The more learners around the world who benefit from this, the better. We want people to to mix and mash up this content without the burden of thinking about license compatibility or even crediting a source. Glossaries are one of the most basic building blocks of many educational materials, and there are currently no sources (that we were able to find, after extensive research) that allow for low-burden reuse. Teachers have asked for this again and again, and in its absence, most are just inappropriately borrowing copyrighted content. That’s why we decided to build this open dictionary.”

The ultimate goal is to have a comprehensive and complete edited version, free of inaccuracies and spam. Of course, since it is a wiki (and a dictionary at that), the project can only keep growing. So feel free to contribute! Remember those words that stumped us as kids? You can take a stab at defining them now.

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