Scripture Database planning
Likely you've come across this page because I asked you to help out with my website idea. Please take a look at the planning information below and e-mail me if you'd like to help make this a reality. I haven't sought any venture capital yet, but that may happen depending on people's interest.
Update: Instead of moving along with this project, I am concentrating on improving other wikis for now, particularly Wikipedia, BibleWiki, and Wikible—all linked below.
Tagline: A flexibly-searchable, user-edited Internet database of scriptural information. Since late 2004, I've been mulling over ways to launch a wiki-type (user-edited) website which organizes information about scriptures. People want to know how reliable a text is or what its history is; I think a Scripture Database (SDb) would fill this much-needed void in the WWW.
There are lots of sites that attempt to collect scriptural information, but none of them have a good database set up to allow complex searches (fields such as date, author, pages, language, region, and many more). Other sites include full texts of scriptures, but the SDb would serve as a starting point with links to sites such as these. Similarly, so as not to duplicate the efforts of the Wikipedia, most SDb pages would link to the corresponding Wikipedia page. I wish it were possible to organize something like the SDb on Wikipedia itself, but the database limitations fall short for those needing in-depth research on religious texts. My personal interest lies in Biblical translations, but this project is designed to include scriptures from religions across the globe.
- Gather a team with web design and database skills.
- Determine how to poll the public on their SDb needs.
- Decide how project should be launched (venture capital, personal project, team of volunteers, etc.).
Below are some drafts of the major page types (click on them for larger, more complete versions). I've marked ideas in red since I'm not sure how easy it would be to implement all of the tools laid out in the sketches. Web standards are an important part of the design strategy. I haven't included a sketch of the home page yet, but something like the following synopsis would be on it:
The Scripture Database is a flexibly-searchable, user-edited Internet database of scriptural information. The SDb is a powerful tool, but to benefit the most from it, please take a few moments and visit the Help section (link at the top of every page).
[In extended Help page, further explanation:] Full texts are not collected here, but a host of other data is continually being added to provide a better picture of scriptural development across the globe. An understanding of how categories and publications are organized is essential to getting the most out of the SDb. Categories are general concepts or source documents (e.g. KJV, study Bible, Muslim, Textus Receptus, Analects, Tripitaka). Publications are the physical copies of the sources, such as the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible. Ideally, each publication has several categories and each category has several publications.
These are some helpful sites that compliment the Scripture Database.
- Wikipedia: WikiProject Biblical criticism (8 members) probably comes closest to the SDb goals. The SDb has a broader scope, but the academic focus of WikiProject Biblical criticism and WikiProject Judaism (74 members) matches the neutral point of view that SDb is aiming for. WikiProject Bible (18 members) is an example of many similar WikiProjects that are religious rather than academic in nature.
- Adherents.com: National & World Religion Statistics - A hobbyist's site with lots of info focusing on people's beliefs (no scriptural information, though).
- Bible Research is one man's thoughts and a large collection of documents, both on ancient and English translations.
- BibleWiki maintains a neutral point of view with 167 registered users and a couple dozen edits a day. Started '05May. Historical rather than religious focus.
- The Development of the Canon of the New Testament is simply-formatted but well-researched with particularly helpful charts. Similar to Bible Research site.
- Early Christian Writings (ECW) and Early Jewish Writings are incredibly detailed sites with summaries and links to full texts. There is a CD with all the Christian content available for order and a Jewish CD in the works. The site founder is a regular Ebla Forum contributor.
- The Ebla Forum is more of a cultural studies discussion board, but there are several religion experts there.
- Gnostic Society Library contains a variety of texts and information related to the Ecclesia Gnostica.
- New Advent is a Catholic supersite with an encyclopedia, D-R Bible, and many other church documents.
- Resource Pages for Biblical Studies is updated monthly by Torrey Seland, an NT professor.
- Sacred-texts aka The Internet Sacred Text Archive. Variety of TXT, HTML, and PDF full texts from dozens of religions. With such a massive site, source documentation and summaries not as complete as ECW. Also has a CD available.
- Theopedia (wiki) has over 1000 users contributing since '04June. Reformed perspective focusing on Biblical Christianity.
- Wesley Center Online is a Nazarene university's collection of Biblical texts (limited details about the texts). Despite being designed for Internet Explorer, their Greek NT Online is an excellent tool.
- Wikible, while not very active, is a Christian-slanted wiki that's been well-organized, particularly the navigation of the complete Bible (e.g. Gen 1:1). Since '05Nov.
Here are a few helpful web design sites to help structure the Scripture Database.
- Web Developer's Handbook - One-page cheat sheet with dozens of useful links
- A pocket guide to inspirational sites (from '05June) - CSS site galleries
Page created '06June01. Updated June 23rd.