Like a presidential candidate, i’m down to the wire for deciding what BibleTech talks to propose (happily, unlike them, i haven’t been campaigning for my ideas for months now!). The two i posted about last week — Bible Knowledgebase and Libronix Controlled Vocabulary — are the strongest contenders. But here’s a grab bag of some additional topics i’ve thought about, for you to cheer for, sneer at, or go off and implement yourself (so i don’t have to!). Let me know what you think.

Web Search for Bible References

At BibleTech:2008 i gave a talk on Bibleref: a Microformat for Bible References, as one approach to the problem of how content providers (web site authors, bloggers, etc.) can identify Bible references in what they create. Reftagger provides a different, more automated approach to the same problem.

But as i pointed out last January, that’s really only part of the problem — in fact, the smallest part. Because for every one blogger who adopts bibleref markup or installs Reftagger,  there will be 1000 more who’ve never heard of either one. In the earliest days of the web, you had to add keywords to your HTML to make it easy for search engines to find you: now, Google finds most plain text without any special work on your part. How do we accomplish the same thing for Bible references out on the web, so they can be reliably found regardless of whether the author took special care to identify them, despite differences in abbreviations or punctuation style, and being smart about verse ranges?

Making Bible2.0 Work

For years now, multiple sites on the web have offered Bible texts (in case you didn’t notice, Logos launched a beta version of their own, bible.logos.com, recently). More recently, in the last few years several sites have gone beyond that to a Web 2.0 style that i call “Bible 2.0“, by allowing users to contribute their own content through tags, external links, personal comments, etc. When Web 2.0 first became cool, several arose quickly and then withered (like xpound.org), while others are still out there. YouVersion is perhaps the best developed (Blogos post); Bibleserver is another.

While the concept is still fairly new, there’s enough out there to begin to evaluate:

  • what works well about these sites? what doesn’t work so well?
  • what’s missing to get these kinds of sites to have the same value as more popular Web 2.0 sites like del.icio.us, flickr, etc.?
  • what are some new ways in which Bible2.0 could support Bible study in small groups, informal web communities, etc.?

Audience Choice

If you follow Blogos, what would you suggest i talk about? Any ideas for a visualization you’d love to see, or some other algorithmic/data topic?