[sword-devel] Tagging and Categorisation of modules

Jonathan Morgan jonmmorgan at gmail.com
Mon Jan 5 04:49:50 MST 2009

I think we need to have a better way of categorising modules into
different types than we have currently, which is: if it has one of a
few special defined features in the conf file (e.g. images, maps,
daily devotional) then it is that type, otherwise it is its native
type (dictionary, commentary, Bible, genbook).  [this is only based on
my memory, and I don't have a conf file specification on the Wiki to
check, and it seems to have even disappeared from Google cache].  This
seems to me to have a couple of problems:
1. A module can only be of one type.
2. Theoretically, module authors are unable to make up their own new
types without careful discussion.  (in practice I as a module author
can put anything I like in the conf file, but there is no guarantee
frontends will treat it nicely).

This also means that any other significant attributes in the conf file
either have to go through careful discussion and lengthy argument
here, or just get ignored and forgotten when they could provide useful
information to someone evaluating the module (e.g. even simple fields
like author and publisher were only suggested recently).

What I suggest instead of this, is a system based on tagging, where I
can apply as many tags as I like to a module and it is entirely up to
getting consensus how the tags end up being used.  Here are some of
the things that have been discussed here that I would use this for:
1. Paraphrases: Give the module a tag "paraphrase".

2. The collection of Early Fathers writings Karl put together: Rather
than one awkward Genbook, provide each book separately, but tag each
one "Early Fathers".

3. Greek and Hebrew texts could be identified by tagging them with
"Original Language" or something similar.

I would also like to use key-value tags like Google Issues does (like
Author-X or Publisher-Y, though those are probably important enough to
deserve their own separate conf entries).

The mechanics I would give it would be something like:
One "Tag = X" or "Category = X" entry for each tag (another
possibility would be to have the tags comma separated, saving you from
the need of having a conf file with multiple entries with the same

The real advantage of a categorisation scheme like this, as I see it,
is that it becomes possible for a user exploring what is available to
see works similar in some way to what they are looking at now.  It
should be possible to view all known paraphrase modules from a
paraphrase, or all early fathers works from one early fathers work.
It should be possible to see all maps from one map module, or all
reading planners from one reading planner (noting that reading planner
is a category, while the daily devotional that it is part of is more
like a type of module, a specially constrained dictionary).  In the
same way, it should be possible to find all the works by the same
author or all the works with the same publisher.

Ideally, a scheme like this would not be limited to the module
creator, but would allow user created tags along the lines of
citeulike, delicious and friends.  However, I don't think we have a
big enough module library or community to make this work well, and my
proposal is a lot simpler start, taking away the need for careful
standardisation which doesn't react to current needs quickly and leads
to consensi that are often compromises.

Just for interest, I found this list of possible module types for
e-Sword (disclaimed as "This list is not complete").  Not all of them
apply to us, but do we really want to try and manage all of these in a
standard, or do we just want the module authors to be sensible and see
how other people are doing things and then add their own tags as
                                  o  Apologetics;
                                  o Bible;
                                  o Bible Reading Plan;
                                  o Bookmarks;
                                  o Breviary;
                                  o Chronological Bible;
                                  o Commentary;
                                  o Concordance;
                                  o Cross-references;
                                  o Daily Office;
                                  o Devotional;
                                  o Dictionary;
                                  o Doctrine;
                                  o Exegesis;
                                  o Fiction;
                                  o General Book;
                                  o Halacha Renditioning;
                                  o Handbook;
                                  o Harmony;
                                  o Hermeneutics;
                                  o Homoletics;
                                  o Horn Books;
                                  o Hymnal;
                                  o Lectionary;
                                  o Lexicon;
                                  o Map;
                                  o Markup;
                                  o Missals;
                                  o Pericopes;
                                  o Prayer Requests;
                                  o Psalter;
                                  o Sermon Illustrations;
                                  o Sermon Outline;
                                  o Study Notes;
                                  o Time Lines;
                                  o Topical Bible;
                                  o Verse lists;
                                  o Verse Memorization Sets;
                                  o Virtual tours;



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