[sword-devel] Tagging verses and verse lists

Jonathan Morgan jonmmorgan at gmail.com
Wed Dec 19 05:29:48 MST 2007

On Dec 19, 2007 1:18 AM, Karl Kleinpaste <karl at kleinpaste.org> wrote:
> "Jonathan Morgan" <jonmmorgan at gmail.com> writes:
> > The main difference in ideas is that trees
> > attempt to make users organise their information in a hierarchical
> > manner, while tagging does not.  I  have a few problems with the idea
> > of hierarchical passage lists.  You may say that they are more
> > general, but that added generality does not necessarily equate to more
> > usefulness.  I wish efficiency of tag creation and usage (something
> > that no verse list system I have ever used has given me, because they
> > are verse list centric rather than tag centric).  It is possibly more
> > intuitive to tag a thing with more than one tag than to try and fit it
> > into a neat hierarchy.  Tagging is certainly extremely popular,
> > especially in the web world, and I think it gains considerable
> > advantage from the fact that I don't have to organise my thoughts in a
> > hierarchical fashion.
> Nothing says that hierarchy needs to be deployed for a particular
> metaphor offered to the user: Use a flat space ("1-level hierarchy") for
> your particular application needs, but provide real N-level hierarchy in
> the substrate, for the sake of what other applications need to do with
> the same structural concept.
> I use GS' hierarchical bookmarks in a manner that has many topics
> re-marking a single verse over and over, because the bookmarks' topic
> are different.

I can see some uses for hierarchical topic structures, though I am
still not convinced of them, and I could add support for them by
popular demand.  However, there are still several issues on which we
have not reached consensus, and I am not sure whether a ready
consensus will be forthcoming.  Because of this, I think that I will
implement my feature as I want it in BPBible, and then there will be a
concrete example of what I am arguing for rather than a series of
proposals along the lines of "my application wants this feature", "we
really should support this just in case", etc., meaning that we end up
with a complex implementation that may or may not meet any particular
application's needs, and may or may not end up being cross-application
compatible.  I will probably revisit this issue in detail in the new
year, unless someone else has agreed to solve the problem for me by

Just so that there is no confusion over what I see the semantics of a
hierarchical structure to be, here are my proposed semantics:
1. Any topic may contain verses (references if you want to be more
generic) and sub-topics.
2. The verses are ordered as the user (or application) enters them,
not in any canonical order (though allowing canonical ordering at a
later stage may be useful).
3. Sub-topics are probably ordered alphabetically or as the user
orders them.  I'm not so sure with this one which is better.
4. A verse is contained in a topic if it is directly contained in that
topic or if it is contained in one of the topic's sub-topics.
5. Preferably, the user should be able to view a topic both
hierarchically (verses directly contained and sub-topics), or
completely (displaying all verses that are contained in a topic, but
no sub-topics).

Unless anyone convinces me otherwise, these are the semantics I would
intend to adopt if I add hierarchical verse list / tagging / etc.
support to BPBible.  Comments are welcome.


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