Bible Information Modelling

By van Bommel, Patrick | Journal of Digital Information Management, June 2003 | Go to article overview

Bible Information Modelling


van Bommel, Patrick, Journal of Digital Information Management


Abstract: In this paper we address the question how information models of the Bible can be constructed. It is evident that building a generally acceptable and satisfactory model of the Bible is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Consequently, this paper contains no plug-and-play solutions. The intention of this paper is to examine the challenges in Bible information modelling. Specific attention will be given to navigation models and models of Bible contents. Also, models of Bible readers will be considered. In our project, reader models will be applied for the construction of personalized versions of the Bible. We propose several basic instruments for structuring information in the context of the Bible.

Keywords: Information Modelling; Content Analysis-Bible; Navigation Model

1. Introduction

The focus of this paper is Bible information modelling, where contents as well as structure of the Bible is to be described. We do not wish to provide complete information models. Rather, we introduce instruments to improve the accessibility of the Bible for readers as well as for researchers.

When contents and structure of complex information sources have to be modelled, we usually apply concrete modelling techniques. In earlier work (see e.g. [1]), we specified the formal syntax and semantics of such modelling techniques. Note that Bible information modelling involves traditional data modelling as well as document modelling.

It is evident that structuring mechanisms for Bible information have already been used for a long time. Well-known examples are concordances (e.g. [2]) and the literature approach (see e.g. [3]). More advanced modelling has also been examined. Previous work in this area has been focussed on the derivation of primitive modelling constructs for Bible texts, such as text hierarchies (see e.g. [4], [5]). Although this is an important step forward in Bible modelling, we do need more powerful instruments for structuring Bible information.

The instruments introduced in this paper, are based on high-level information structuring mechanisms aiming at abstraction, such that Bible access may become more flexible and more intelligent, and can be based on modern technologies. It is stressed here that the results of information modelling do not only affect computerized Bible applications. Manual access mechanisms may become more advanced as well. For computerized Bible applications, one may think of CD-ROM applications as well as Internet applications. We performed an in-depth analysis of typical techniques for modelling web sites in [6].

In our project we consider modelling from several perspectives. An overview of the models, their relations, and the possibilities for supporting readers, is given in Figure 1.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

In order to illustrate the potential of the models discussed in this paper, we mention the following aspects:

a. Information contents modelling: what information is contained in the Bible? This is a sort of content analysis.

b. Structure modelling: what structures can be used to interrelate different parts of the Bible? This also includes navigation mechanisms.

c. Bible database specifications: how can Bible databases be specified? This includes automatic derivation of database structures.

d. Dialogue representations: how can dialogues between the information service at hand (i.e. the Bible) and their users (readers) be established?

The Bible kernel model, discussed in this paper, enables us to partially model the contents of the Bible. Besides this kernel model, other instruments are introduced, including Bible navigation mechanisms and belief modelling. It may be argued that the kernel presented in this paper is inaccurate, as we only discuss the simplified version here. However, entirely different approaches to information modelling can be embedded within our framework as well. …

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