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Hyperwords – linking all the words
Wednesday, 9th December 2009
Hyperwords is a Firefox Add-on I came across last week at Online and looks a useful addition to the toolkit of the business researcher. It allows users to select any text on a web page and find other information about that text – not just the hyperlinked references. It can be used for research purposes, with linked searching and reference tools, and also provides commands to translate text, interact with the text, and share information via email, Twitter and blogs.
Founded at University College London by Froge Hegland, the Hyperwords Company claims 100,000 daily users. Mozilla's website shows almost a million downloads. This is still a small number globally, but reviews from industry commentators and end-users alike are enthusiastic – including Stephen Fry, wondering how he lived without it! Although I don't share his level of excitement, it's a tool I shall use, and fully expect to see Hyperwords-like features integrated into web browser releases of the future.
Hyperwords (http://www.hyperwords.net) is a free Add-on available for Mozilla Firefox. The concept behind it has similarities with the Accelerator Add-ons available in Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.
Once Hyperwords is installed, the user can highlight any word, phrase, or section of a web page and a pop-up menu shows options. Selecting a company name, for example, offers the option to research more through search engines, or see the share price. For many of the functions, results are displayed in a pop up window or via the hierarchical menu, without the user needing to leave the original page.
Numbers can be converted, so as you read an article about an overseas company, convert any financial figures into your local currency. Likewise convert volume, weight, speed etc. Any conversions then appear in parenthesis on the original web page, and remain when the copy function is used to email snippets to colleagues or share on a blog.
Content can be translated into/from 16 different languages via Google Translate. Specific words can be highlighted on the page for easy scanning. Within settings, users can localise content and personalise the menus.
Searching is not just restricted to the major search engines. Users can opt to search social sites, people sites, images and video, news or maps. Most of the sources and tools on Hyperwords are likely to be familiar to the professional researcher, but having them in one place eliminates steps and saves time.
By Anne Jordan
Anne Jordan is a freelance business information researcher and consultant with over twenty years of professional experience. She became an independent practitioner after positions in business research and research management at various City of London-based financial services institutions and management consultancy firms, including Marakon Associates, Mitchell Madison Group, Lloyds of London and Goldman Sachs. She has worked in the UK and overseas, most recently managing the client relationship with an Indian-based research organisation.
Anne can be reached at email@example.com
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