More on Strongs Numbers

I’ve finally started some real work on the idea in “An Algorithm for Mapping to Strongs Numbers”. The initial need is a structured version of Strong’s, indexed by number, with the English definitions accessible. I was able to get the text out of Crosswire‘s excellent Sword Project, which i highly recommend, using their mod2imp utility. Now i just have to write a little Perl to parse the structure and produce the XML, then i’ll be ready for some more integration.

An additional idea this morning was to weight alternative mappings by 1/frequency of terms in the NT corpus: this Zipfian manuver has the effect of giving more strength to infrequent terms, under the intuition that they’re likely to be more distinctive and hence less confusable.

Scripture Indexes in OPML

OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) is an XML format designed by Dave Winer of Radio Userland. It’s a lightweight XML structure meant for simple outlines that promotes sharing and hyperlinking. The Radio Userland weblogging tool also incorporates some nice OPML features, like an outline-based editor and automatic rendering and publishing mechanisms.

I wrote an XSL transformation to convert my Scripture indexes into an OPML format, sans the text of the verse itself (but hyperlinked to the ESV site). For the imperatives of Jesus from Luke’s Gospel, here’s the OPML version that corresponds to this XML version.

This is really only relevant if you already have some OPML tools at hand: otherwise it’s just another format for the same information. I’m still learning about the benefits of OPML, but (given appropriate tools) it allows others to “subscribe” to these files. Since things always change, that might be a benefit. It doesn’t directly expose all the attributes in the Radio Userland tool (like the scope, whether it’s implicit, or who the imperative was directed to), though you can find them through a right-click and selecting Debug (though that seems like a curious interface). But like i said, i’m still learning…

Goals for

An acquaintance from church introduced me to someone from one of the Bible Societies who’s active in the OSIS Initiative and Bible Technologies Group. It was exciting for me to talk to someone who’s actually working in areas i’ve only been dreaming about for We’ll likely talk further, so stay tuned for more developments. But he also asked me what seemed in retrospect like an obvious question: “what are you interested in doing?” The fact that i didn’t have a ready answer showed i needed to think more about my goals for so here’s the results of that thinking.

My overall objective: to explore new applications of markup and computational linguistic technology to the study of Scripture, with an emphasis on practical tools that encourage understanding and personal transformation.

Some specific shorter-term goals:

  • develop an algorithm for high-quality automatic alignment of Greek lexical resources (like Strong’s, Thayers, or Louw-Nida) with an English translation. This would enable me to create hyperlinked search tools so that someone who doesn’t know Greek could still access more detailed lexical information (the tools at are the best on-line ones i know of right now)
  • develop semantic annotations representations for selected portions of Scripture using RDFS and DAML-OWL, and explore how these might be useful for sharing Bible content. The first example may be a categorized collection of Jesus’ commands (if i ever get it done!).
  • explore the conversion and development of on-line lexical resources for Scripture study, especially those that are conceptual
  • publish selected studies of Scripture that are focused on practical, everyday Christian discipleship.

I intend to put this list up on the site to keep these goals in clear focus.