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Monday, May 28, 2007
  Bible References in Blog Posts
There's an interesting, and potentially extremely useful (if for most Biblical Scholars a tad technical) discussion in the last few days which could make citing the Bible in blogs very much easier and better. Basically the problem is that currently if you (or I) cite a Bible reference in our blogs either:
  1. nothing happens, and the user has to manually look up the reference for themselves
  2. you (since I do not yet) subscribe to a clever plugin that converts you reference into a link to an online Bible that the plugin writer fancies (often the ESV) which the reader is stuck with even if they hate the XYV and would prefer the original Aramaic (it was that part of Daniel you cited wasn't it?)
Sean (Blogos) Annotating Scripture References in Blog Posts: a Modest Proposal is a neat simple "microformat" approach. Now at this point some of you are pricking your ears up at the trendiness of microformats (though most of you read Sean and OpenBible.info already) but the rest are looking glazey eyed and yawning ;-) Actually microformats are really seriously good for you! They are: ""simple conventions for embedding semantics in HTML to enable decentralized development." Do not yawn, there in the back, what that means is:
  • they are "simple" so even dumboes like you and I can use them, they are not just for technogods
  • they are "conventions" so we can choose whether to use them or not, but if we do good things happen, like when we follow the conventions of the form of literature we are writing
  • they "embed semantics" - that means that they "know" what you mean, and other services can understand that your reference to Amos 5:13 is just that, a reference to a Bible verse or passage
  • this enables "decentralised development" - which means that today, tomorrow or in two years time, Jo or Joe can write a cool tool which sings the Bible in properly cantored Hebrew, or presents a PDF of the beautifully illuminated page from the Book of Kells, or whatever... and you can use it, or your user can use it - even if you have never heard of the tool.
Now, is that cool or what!?

Here are the three posts so far that discuss the proposal. Do take a look. Forget yawning at the techno-speak, but think about how this will work from a user's point of view. And encourage this development, so it does go on to become a convention. Because that is what is needed for it to work.

Sean's "modest proposal":
and OpenBible.info suggests some neater simplifications:
Sean responds and agrees:
WARNING: the post above was written by a technical ignoramus, but it will be corrected and updated as soon as anyone with greater knowledge explains the need!

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