In Search of Photopedia …

Like most other parents of a one and a half year old, my house is filled with books.  Picture books, soft books, waterproof books, popup books, touch and feel books, or Dr. Seuss books.  You name the type of kids book, and we probably have one lying around somewhere.  But even in this home library of kids books – we still only have two or three that have pictures of ducks.  And that’s my son’s favourite word right now.  So this past weekend my wife and I journeyed online in search of more ducks, and did a Flickr search for photos tagged with "duck" as a keyword.  Instantly we had an online library of hundreds of pictures of ducks (and the occasional image of a guy crouching behind something playing paintball).  For a few minutes, my son sat happily watching a new image of a duck appear every few seconds. 

The experience got me thinking about what would happen if the visual aspect of Flickr could be combined with the encyclopedic value and structure of Wikipedia?  Imagine an online dictionary/encyclopedia that defines words or phrases by hundreds of images that people upload against with these tags.  The images would be policed by the community, just as Wikipedia is to ensure relevance.  Then imagine if you could associate podcasted phrases with these words and images, perhaps in multiple languages.  Aside from a really cool site, this would be an interactive learning tool built from content submitted by people across the world using images and voices, instead of just text-based descriptions. It could be a global learning tool or resource for people of all ages unlike anything else online right now.  A library of words, images, and spoken language online in one location.  I wonder if some smart Wikipedians are already working on this …

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