There’s a nice post at OpenBible.info about how the bibleref proposal lines up with microformat principles and the inversion of conventional approaches to problem-solving (and since it’s so complimentary, of course i’m in agreement!). Alas, it also highlights a chicken-and-egg problem i’m already painfully aware of: there isn’t (yet) a way to actually search for bibleref markup. While i hope people will be motivated to use bibleref to help others find Biblical citations, the counter-argument (which i hope no Blogos readers accept!) might be, why should i invest the (hopefully small) effort in adopting it now when there isn’t yet any payoff?

So, co-conspirators, here’s the secret plan for world domination: it’s simple, though not guaranteed to succeed.

  1. Get a core group of early adopters to start using bibleref (i intend to start by button-holing the Amazon Unspun list of top Biblical Studies blogs soon)
  2. Lobby Technorati to include it in their known microformats search. Since Technorati’s Tantek Çelik is behind the whole microformats push, i’m hoping the benefits will be obvious. But it may take some work to convince them that Bible references are at least as important as XOXO, xFolk, and other currently searchable microformats. I also hope that existing usage (see #1) will help make the argument.
  3. Hopefully then chickens will start making eggs, and eggs will start hatching into chickens, and the flock will start growing.

I don’t have any answers about how to make microformats discoverable: probably that’s asking for too much. Ultimately, getting authors to adopt them isn’t different in nature than, say, getting them to use CSS formatting rather than lots of embedded local style attributes. If there’s an understandable benefit, that benefit (and some time for it to catch on) should help motivate the (minor) additional effort required.