A thousand words

One way that Internet resources differ (or, at least should differ) from print resources is that Internet resources are (or, in some cases could be) interactive. As much as I like sifting through booklists, I really enjoy the reader's advisory databases that offer books suggestions based on your input of what you enjoy. Similarly, as much as I enjoy sifting through the Popular Baby Names by decade, and occasionally, sifting through alphabetical lists, Nymbler offers suggestions based on names you know you already like. (This is NOT an immediate issue -- I just like names).

Yet, more often than not I find it is easier to flip through a book containing photographs or images when I (or my patrons) have a picture of an object (like trees, leaves, animals, artwork or the like) and need to name it or identify it somehow. As helpful as indexes can be, it can be very frustrating if all you have is a picture and you need a thousand words. Or, even just a handful of words.

I have a number of birds in my yard at any given time, and Geobirds gives me exactly what I need when I want to identify those birds. It's interactive in that I can fill in the colors I know, and it gives me a few choices to start with, as opposed to a book containing all the birds in North America. I still find my Birds of Minnesota Field Guide to be quite useful, but I'm not much of a birder, so this isn't often an issue anyways.

What I really need is something exactly like geobirds for flowers and furniture / design style. I have a couple of flowers and plants that were left in the yard by the previous owner, and I had no idea what they were until my mother came to see the house. Naturally. And I'm just as bad when it comes to design. I have a pretty good idea of what 'mission furniture' is, but beyond that I'm hopeless when it comes to identifying the style of furniture I have. The Visual Dictionary and the M-W Visual Dictionary could help in some instances, but so far they are both pretty basic.

There are tons of images on the Internet, I know. For the flowers, I find seed catalogs to be useful sites for identification, for example, but that isn't much different than flipping through a book. I'll keep looking for the interactive sites, but in the mean time, I find that someone in the vicinity usually knows the answer to my basic vocabulary questions. And, for the design stuff, I've got you, AKC! :)

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