Social Worlds, Libraries, the Future and Beyond!

A discussion of the future of libraries,including virtual worlds, mobile technologies e-books and anything else we can discuss about the library world.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Evaluating the Costs of Electronic Textbooks and Readers to Reduce the Costs of Nursing Textbooks

Using funds from a Small Projects Grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine of the Mid-Atlantic Region the staff of Warner Memorial Library experienced first hand several e-book readers or e-readers, portable devices used to read digitized books. The grant permitted the Library to purchase two Amazon Kindles, two Barnes and Noble’s Nooks, a Sony E-reader and two Kobo e-readers from Borders.com.

The participants evaluated e-books and e-readers as tools to reduce the cost of nursing textbooks. It also demonstrated the possible utilization of e-readers in the classroom setting. While the assessment of the cost benefits of e-books continues, shared here are notes on the practicality of one e-reader for the classroom.

Recently, Shurtz and von Isenburg reported in the Journal of the Medical Library Association that the Amazon Kindle had “major advantages in clinical settings.” The devices provided “portability and searchability.” The members of that study easily carried numerous e-texts relevant to their clinical practice in their Amazon Kindle. Additionally, the devices proved highly searchable with the ability to explore contents from multiple texts simultaneously.  While the Shurtz and von Isenburg noted limitations in the Kindle, they believed that “further development of the device” would address the shortcomings. 1

Eastern University librarians assumed that this assessment would hold true for the less stressful environment of the classroom.  Additionally, their study revealed that the Amazon Kindle offered significant social networking features enhancing the reading experience. This made it an attractive recommendation to faculty.  

The study countered concerns about the Kindle’s lack of support for documents using digital rights management (DRM) and book sharing issues by noting the support for an interactive reading experience.  Faculty and students via the Kindle website, Twitter and Facebook, could share notes, feedback comments and highlighted text.  The librarians felt that this would facilitate greater faculty involvement with the student readings.

Participants initiated sharing notes and highlights from the device by switching on the “public notes” for a selected text. It is important to clarify that the shared notes were truly public; when activated, anyone could track a reader’s notes and highlights.  Shared books selected from the checkbox form, "PUBLIC NOTES: MAKE YOURS PUBLIC” immediately displayed highlights and notes to the Amazon Kindle website.

A search for a particular reader’s name using the search tool at https://kindle.amazon.com/, presented a link to their Kindle webpage. Here participants viewed one another’s highlights and notes. Using the Kindle device, observers viewed shared notes and highlights via the “View Notes & Marks” drop-down menu selected from the Menu button on the display.

For those who did not use the Kindle device, a free app was available as a download from Amazon’s Kindle Store. This provided access to Kindle books for the most popular desktop and mobile platforms.  Staff observed limitations to the app version, full listings of a reader’s highlights and notes displayed only on the Amazon Kindle website. They were not available to the app.

Social sharing was enhanced a step further when posting to Facebook and/or Twitter was activated. This feature, accessed through the “Menu” button from the “Home” page on the Kindle device, offered an exciting augmentation. A drop-down box for “Settings” and the option “Manage Your Social Networks” activated the service.  The reader entered the Twitter or Facebook account username and password into the appropriate form.   Afterwards participant could highlight notes and comments from their readings and post using the “Save & Share”. 

The social networking tools built into the Kindle offered a benefit not currently found in other e-readers. This social sharing provided additional interaction and communication during the reading of texts. As an ever-increasing number of publishers, such as Elsevier and Springer, make publications available in a variety of formats, added features, like social sharing, make purchasing decisions easier.

1. Shurtz S, von Isenburg M. Exploring e-readers to support clinical medical education: two case studies. . J Med Libr Assoc. 2011 Apr;99(2):110–117. DOI: 10.3163/1536-5050.99.2.002.

Final version of this article appeared as The Kindle E-reader in the Nursing Classroom published in the MLANews, Volume 52, Issue 6, June/July 2011.

Notes from a Book

Using funds from a Small Projects Grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine of the Mid-Atlantic Region the staff of Warner Memorial Library experienced first hand several e-book readers or e-readers, portable devices used to read digitized books. The grant permitted the Library to purchase two Amazon Kindles, two Barnes and Noble’s Nooks, a Sony E-reader and two Kobo e-readers from Borders.com.

The participants evaluated e-books and e-readers as tools to reduce the cost of nursing textbooks. It also demonstrated the possible utilization of e-readers in the classroom setting. While the assessment of the cost benefits of e-books continues, shared here are notes on the practicality of one e-reader for the classroom.

Recently, Shurtz and von Isenburg reported in the Journal of the Medical Library Association that the Amazon Kindle had “major advantages in clinical settings.” The devices provided “portability and searchability.” The members of that study easily carried numerous e-texts relevant to their clinical practice in their Amazon Kindle. Additionally, the devices proved highly searchable with the ability to explore contents from multiple texts simultaneously. While the Shurtz and von Isenburg noted limitations in the Kindle, they believed that “further development of the device” would address the shortcomings. 1

Eastern University librarians assumed that this assessment would hold true for the less stressful environment of the classroom. Additionally, their study revealed that the Amazon Kindle offered significant social networking features enhancing the reading experience. This made it an attractive recommendation to faculty.

The study countered concerns about the Kindle’s lack of support for documents using digital rights management (DRM) and book sharing issues by noting the support for an interactive reading experience. Faculty and students via the Kindle website, Twitter and Facebook, could share notes, feedback comments and highlighted text. The librarians felt that this would facilitate greater faculty involvement with the student readings.

Participants initiated sharing notes and highlights from the device by switching on the “public notes” for a selected text. It is important to clarify that the shared notes were truly public; when activated, anyone could track a reader’s notes and highlights. Shared books selected from the checkbox form, "PUBLIC NOTES: MAKE YOURS PUBLIC” immediately displayed highlights and notes to the Amazon Kindle website.

A search for a particular reader’s name using the search tool at https://kindle.amazon.com/, presented a link to their Kindle webpage. Here participants viewed one another’s highlights and notes. Using the Kindle device, observers viewed shared notes and highlights via the “View Notes & Marks” drop-down menu selected from the Menu button on the display.

For those who did not use the Kindle device, a free app was available as a download from Amazon’s Kindle Store. This provided access to Kindle books for the most popular desktop and mobile platforms. Staff observed limitations to the app version, full listings of a reader’s highlights and notes displayed only on the Amazon Kindle website. They were not available to the app.

Social sharing was enhanced a step further when posting to Facebook and/or Twitter was activated. This feature, accessed through the “Menu” button from the “Home” page on the Kindle device, offered an exciting augmentation. A drop-down box for “Settings” and the option “Manage Your Social Networks” activated the service. The reader entered the Twitter or Facebook account username and password into the appropriate form. Afterwards participant could highlight notes and comments from their readings and post using the “Save & Share”.

The social networking tools built into the Kindle offered a benefit not currently found in other e-readers. This social sharing provided additional interaction and communication during the reading of texts. As an ever-increasing number of publishers, such as Elsevier and Springer, make publications available in a variety of formats, added features, like social sharing, make purchasing decisions easier.

1. Shurtz S, von Isenburg M. Exploring e-readers to support clinical medical education: two case studies. . J Med Libr Assoc. 2011 Apr;99(2):110–117. DOI: 10.3163/1536-5050.99.2.002.

Final version of this article appeared as The Kindle E-reader in the Nursing Classroom published in the MLANews, Volume 52, Issue 6, June/July 2011.

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Nooks for Nurses

In an article in the June / July 2011 issue of the MLA News, staff from Eastern University’s Warner Memorial Library reported that Amazon.com’s Kindle e-reader offered features that made it an excellent choice for nursing students.  Reporting on a project funded by the National Network of Medical Libraries / Mid-Atlantic Region, it was noted that the Kindle offered superior social networking tools and an excellent user interface giving it an advantage of the Barnes and Noble original Nook e-reader. However, with the advent of the new Nook Simple Touch e-reader, early in June 2011, along with an updated version of the user interface, a reassessment was necessary.

The Nook Simple Touch offers a totally redesigned interface that makes downloading books, reading and navigation much easier than that found in the original Nook.  Gone was the awkward two-screen interface of the original, replaced with a simple single touch screen. The navigation tools surpassed the physical keyboard found on the Kindle. The Nooks enhanced e-ink screen with a speedy page refresh makes reading on the new Nook enjoyable, in this Nook also has surpassed the Amazon product.

The advantage of the social networking benefits mentioned in the earlier MLA News article has disappeared. The new Nook offers the ability to send information ”post-its” to Twitter and Facebook, an excellent means for sharing readings with members of a class. Additionally, the improved web-browser opened up a large array of possibilities for classroom use with the potential to easily link to important web-based nursing education resources.

When looking at the way Barnes and Noble has positioned its Nook products, the bookseller has the potential to make a major impact in the textbook market 1. Barnes and Noble provides a wide array of Nook applications across a variety of mobile and desktop applications. If your preference is to read e-books on a PC, Blackberry, or IOS (iPad or iPhone) device then there is a Nook app available for a free download. 2. Barnes and Noble is a major player in the campus bookstore business.  The company’s physical presence on campus provides a very accessible means for service and support. Additionally, as a major supplier of textbooks, Barnes is in a position to expand its e-textbook offerings. 3. All Nook e-readers are Android devices, with a potentially rich array of apps for nursing and medical education.  4. The Nook-study application, a free download for PC or MacIntosh, provides an additional avenue for nursing educators who use the online class management site Blackboard to impact student readings through the Nook-study Building Block product.  (The Building Block is also a free download from the Barnes and Noble website.)

The developments over the last few months give the Nook a technological edge over the Amazon’s Kindle.  So, whether purchasing the Color or new Nook Simple Touch, nursing educators and students will have a range of options for the classroom. If nursing faculty, students and medical librarians are preparing to dip into the e-reader pool, then the new Nook is a product deserving consideration.

Have a look at the new Nook and all the Barnes and Noble e-readers at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nook/index.asp .

Final edited version of this article can be found in the NAHRS Newsletter, Vol. 31, no. 3, July 2011

In Search of Florence Nightingale: Texts in the History of Nursing found in Google Books and the Internet Archive

There has been much press about the future of libraries and the large-scale scanning of texts by Google Books (http://books.google.com), Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org) and similar projects. An amazing array of digitized pre-1923 texts are available, pulled off the dusty shelves or drawn out from the remote storage locations of major library collections for digitization. It is difficult to tell what this explosion of information will mean for the future of historic research, and specifically research in nursing history.
For those interested in the nursing’s past a wealth of information emerges from these digitized collections. Recently while searching for early journals in the Internet Archive, late 19th century and early 20th issues of Public Health Nursing, The Canadian Nurse, British Nursing Journal, and The Trained Nurse and Hospital Review appeared. Additionally, Google Books presented very early additions of the American Journal of Nursing.
Browsing through the e-books in the Internet Archive revealed early editions of Lippincott’s Nursing Manuals, Nutting’s A History of Nursing, DeWitt’s Private Duty Nursing, Adventures of an Army Nurse in Two Wars by Baroness von Olnhausen and Louisa May Alcott’s Hospital Sketches.  However, most impressive among the texts was a nearly complete collection of texts by and about Florence Nightingale.
Most importantly, found in the Internet Archive was the digitized Elmer Belt Florence Nightingale Collection from UCLA (http://www.archive.org/details/f_nightingale).   It is a collection of books and other items by and about Nightingale, donated to the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library in 1958 by urologist Dr. Elmer Belt. The collection honored the work of Dean Lulu Wolf Hassenplug founder of UCLA’s School of Nursing.  The digitized collection included editions of Nightingale's influential "Notes on Nursing" (1859 and later) and her other publications as well as autographs, biographies, and letters.
            Additionally, the Internet Archive contained books from a range of other libraries. The New York City Library digitized Florence Nightingale, The Angel of The Crimea: A Story for Young People written in 1909 by Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards. It was a youthful retelling of the Nightingale’s contributions to nursing. The scan was of excellent quality, as most of the Internet Archives’ scans were. It captured the look and feel of this writing (http://www.archive.org/details/florencenighting00rich).  There was also Florence Nightingale: A Drama, published in 1923, a play on her life and another excellent digitization.   
Google Books returned additional materials. The Journal of the American Statistical Association, Volume 15 from 1918, provided an interesting article by Edwin W. Kopp entitled Florence Nightingale as Statistician. When browsing through Books the New York State Journal of Medicine: Volume 10 revealed a September 1910 editorial written in memorial upon her death.  In addition, from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine came an editorial, written in 1855, concerning woman’s suffrage, entitled A Sphere for Women: Miss Nightingale.  The author, who did not appear inclined to support suffrage wrote, “If any woman is pining for a sphere, let her take passage and follow Florence Nightingale, and do good as extensively and as silently as she.”1
            There were many excellent texts on the history of nursing and medicine found in Google Books and the Internet Archive. Unfortunately, neither resource made for easy search and retrieval of documents. The Internet Archive appeared to use something akin to Library of Congress subject headings. However, there was no consistency in its use. 
Overall the quality of texts scanned by the Internet Archive and associated supporters were superior in quality to those found in Google Books. The Archive also provided for downloads in multiple formats. Moreover, there was also an online reader, which mimicked the look and experience of reading a physical book. Nonetheless, both collections provided an excellent service to the public and academia.
The services are highly recommended. It is well worth any librarian’s time to browse and see what valuable materials are there.

The final edited text of this article was published in  In Search of Florence Nightingale: Texts in the History of Nursing from Google Books and the Internet Archive published in NAHRS Newsletter, Volume 31, No. 1, Jan 2011. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Too Many Ways to Share Good Books

Goodreads ( http://www.goodreads.com ) is one of my favorite social networks. I don't spend enough time looking through the reviews and sharing my books. However, when I do I find it a very enjoyable part of a day. I fyou are not familiar with the site, take this opportunity to set up and account.

There are so many ways to share the reading experience these days. I addition to Goodreads, the Kindle allows the reader to post notes and comments to the Kindle site, Twitter and Facebook. See my Kindle notes page at https://kindle.amazon.com/profile/Mark-Puterbaugh/108229/public_notes .

Let the world know you love books!  Read and share on one of the many social networking sites. It promotes learning and literacy on many levels.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Becoming More Human

I have been reviewing an article for publication in, of all things, a journal of nursing education. It struck me how far we have come from the days... let us say from the days when I was in college. The use of simulation and virtual reality are becoming normative in medical education. The use of robotics, especially coming out of Japan, promises to revolutionize health care in the 21st century. That is if we can ever overcome the political and economic struggles we face.

How will this all come down to the consumer end of life? Undoubtedly, there will be a huge price tag. Most definitely, it will change our culture in radical ways, as it has already. Within my remaining lifetime, maybe 35 years, I expect to see virtual reality and robotics as commonplace as the smart phone. There will be no C3POs! However, there are devices that will interact with us in very natural ways. They are being deployed now. The artificial intelligence will be able to handle better our "fuzzy" human ways of thinking and communicating. However, I doubt very much if I will ever see any technology capable of self-realization.

A friend of mine was making travel reservations on the phone. She was talking, but not to a some one. The service used a controlled vocabulary to interface over the phone. Despite an Asian accent, the system understood the responses very well. This was a very simple system. I imagined what more complex systems are and will be doing. Computing speeds increase, storage space grows and soon we will not be able to discern whether the voice on the other end is human or not.

Will we be able to discern who is making our medical diagnosis or performing our operation? I hope it will not matter. It should improve things for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to have the technology at hand for quick and accurate diagnosis and treatment. However, I do believe that humans will know humans best. Possibly the rise of technology will change medical practice into something rather old-fashioned, a human practice. Maybe relieved of much of the burden that technology can handle, doctors, specialists, and nurses will allow their humanity to break through. Let the technology handle the "cancer in 302", let the doctor and nurse treat the "person in 302". I hope that in the end all our technology will lead us to becoming more human and humane with one another.

These are just Sunday morning musings.

Friday, December 31, 2010

My Favorite Toys of 2010

My favorites are not listed in any particular order. Although, the iPod Touch is my constant companion.

1. Apple's iPod Touch - I use this in so many ways. It is the Swiss Knife of handheld mobile devices. I use it to Tweet, access Facebook and LinkedIn, read, listen to music, keep up with the latest news, follow the weather, e-mail, and much more. The Touch provides the means to chat with friends in China, Korea and Taiwan on a regular basis, despite the time differences. The free texting apps save me money replacing the chat tool on my cell phone. My only regret is that my iPod Touch only has 8GB of memory. (It is hard to believe that I am saying only 8GBs. Once I was a person happy to have 16K of memory on my Atari 600XL.The 600XL is still my favorite all-time PC.)
2. Samsung NP N135 Netbook is another constant companion. This tool has made my morning 1.5-hour commute productive. It sports a very sharp LED display, comfortable 93% keyboard size and a long five (really) hour battery life that lasts as long as advertised. Let us not forget excellent Wi-Fi, webcam, 3 in 1 media reader, and three USB ports. Best of all the shell is a matte finish; I do not have to wipe it clean constantly. Samsung makes some great products.
3. Samsung 46inch LCD Series 550 TV. What can I say? Samsung is currently the champion of video displays. This is a fantastic TV! There were some complaints about faulty power on this unit. I have never had a problem with any component on the set. I just enjoy the view. Looked at Sony, LG and Panasonic the image quality on the Samsung TV is superior. (This is my second Samsung LCD. The other being a 20 inch screen.) There are great electronics coming out of South Korea.
4. Speaking of Korea, my new Korean love is the LG BD590 250GB HD Network Blue-ray Disc Player. It provides excellent DVD playback and a friendly, fun interface. Additionally it provides an internal 250GB hard drive to store and instantly access a variety media types. Additionally the BD950 provides access to various web based services including Pandora, AccuWeather and YouTube (I really like the YouTube interface).
5. The new AppleTV is so much fun. Sure, it is great for NetFlix (It has a better NetFlix interface than that on the LG BD590). Nevertheless, I also enjoy having all the media that I have downloaded from the Internet Archive accessible through the iTunes application on my Windows PC. All my pictures and home videos are there via iTunes also. Who can ask for more out of this $99 gizmo. I cannot wait until I can add the Safari browser and the other apps I use on the iPod Touch to my AppleTV. Just think how nice it will be, having a 46-inch iPod.
6. Logitech Wireless Keyboard and Mouse MK300 has been a great addition to my PC. Most conveniently the mouse becomes a remote when I am on the futon watching a Hulu or NetFlix movie.
7. Motorola MOTOROKR EQ5 Bluetooth Portable Speaker works very well with my iPod Touch. I use this a great deal while listening to the Audiobooks app.
8. I love my Kindle e-reader and the several hundred free books that I have downloaded to the device. The Kindle is light enough to carry along with my netbook on my commute.  I have collected some excellent books free from Amazon. My only complaint has to do with the way the free books are converted; Greek letters do not transfer well when I export items from the Internet Archive. I feel ePub would be nice for the Kindle too.
9. Diamond VC500 One Touch Video Capture Device captures sound and images from almost any video or audio source. I have used it to capture media from my VCR, DVD player, cassette deck, radio, phonograph player and a digital TV conversion box.
10. Insignia NS-DXA1 Digital to Analog TV Tuner Converter Box in combination with the Diamond VC500 provides HD TV to my Windows PC. The program guide is a great, albeit limited, feature providing a very clear way to see what the current and next programs are. It has been an excellent addition to my desktop array.

I hope that I have 10 new items to share with you, next year. Well, as soon as I pay these off, I will look around for new toys.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Top 10 iPod Touch Apps for 2010

If anyone is interested in the apps an Information Services Librarian uses (constantly), here are my Top 10 favorites for 2010.

If you’re not interested that’s okay.

All are available via the iTunes App Store, http://itunes.apple.com.

The list is in no particular order. I use all of these everyday.

1. Stanza – Stanza provides access to a wide variety of electronic texts using a very friendly interface for downloads and access. Great tool for a commuter who doesn’t have time to unload the netbook or Kindle while waiting for the next bus.
2. Meebo – As the advertisement says, “The Meebo native iPhone app. It's fast, it's pretty, and it just flat-out works.” Wherever there is WiFi I can keep in contact with all my favorite peeps.
3. Dropbox – Undoubtedly this is the most useful and most used app for all my computers. Dropbox allows you to sync your files online and across your computers automatically.
4. WorldCat – Never suffer from library separation anxiety again. This Boopsie based app provides the best features of the Worldcat.org website.
5. Audiobooks – Great way to relax and learn by listening to over 3,500 classic audiobooks for FREE. Premium content is excellent and reasonably priced.
6. Twitter – Easily allows me to Tweet and Retweet on the go. Simple interface mimics the best features of the Twitter website.
7. Facebook – Being a Facebook addict, having an app with all the features of the website in a convenient, friendly interface makes mobile socializing fun and easy.
8. SkyGrid – As the add says, “SkyGrid is the #1 Rated iPad App for News and the best way to follow the things you care about!” Indispensible app for keeping up with the latest tech trends.
9. Google Mobile – Never be without your G-Mail again. Nice app with a friendly interface to all Google’s services.
10. Textfree – provides free and unlimited texting from an iPhone/iPod Touch. Always be in touch with this Pinger app.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Late or Left Behind

I'm a commuter. Whether you get to work on time or at all in the city of Brotherly Love is a hit or miss proposition on any day. It's easy to be left behind or never to arrive at all. Wednesday was one of those miss days. Arrived at the train station to see that my train was suspended due to an Amtrak power failure. I could have taken an alternate route. But, that would have left me with a 20+ minute walk to my work place. That is all right in the summer, but with it being 30 something degrees outside, I decided to hang in town and see if anything would change quickly and then I could take the train.

While waiting, I parked myself in the food court at the Comcast Center. It is a very pleasant place with public wifi. (It was either that or McDonalds.) I booted-up my netbook and text chatted with the reference desk at the library, even shared a quick video tour of my temporary work place. Beside the conversation that I had with my fellow librarians, I had a conversation with one of our students. I was working. I became the Comcast Food Court reference librarian. It was cool.

Time went on. I kept checking the situation with SEPTA.org, the local transit service website. There were no changes to report. When I had first arrived at the food court, I was the only person on a computer. Now as it approached 11AM there were more. I packed up my computer and bought a slice of pizza (Portobello mushroom, yummy). By the time I sat down to eat, more people had arrived. The food court was beginning to look like a campus computer lab. Having consumed my lunch, I counted the number of computers. Amazingly, there were 22 laptops opened for business. In fact at one set of tables, six people and their computers were circled together apparently working on a project. I couldn't count how many people were texting or surfing the Internet on cell phones. These were not kids on break from school. They were mature adults doing their jobs. I was amazed as the sleepy food court transformed into a bustling place for business.

Ten years ago this would not have been possible. The growing accessibility of wifi access to the Internet is changing our culture rapidly and radically. As I look out my window on this sleepy rainy morning, I wonder how many reflect on the changes these technologies bring to our lives. Living in our silos it is easy to ignore how the world is changing, despite the 3000 channels available through our cable boxes. It is easy to think that the use of these new technologies is limited only to the kids.

We must ask some real hard questions. In this age, can education can be complete without exposing the next generation to the technology they will face in the real world? Will our kids be able to work in a high-tech global economy?

The other day, I had a faculty member brag to me that he had never read or sent an e-mail. He was quite proud of himself. Having this experience in the food court makes me wonder if such an attitude among educators (including librarians) should be tolerated. Yes, you can teach without the use of wifi and the Internet, it has been for millennium. But in doing so are you placing your students at a disadvantage? I'm not judging. Nevertheless, the question is something to ponder. It seems self evident to me that in the real world our students face major challenges, no matter the discipline.

We also must ask the question of our government; do we really want to cheat America's children? Can America afford to cut back on school budgets? Can “We the People” afford to see our libraries stunted or closed? For many of our fellow citizens the public school and the public library are the only places where they can experience the latest technologies. For all sorts of reason, the less privileged are kept that way.

I'm getting preachy. Enough to say, there is no reason in this country why anyone should be be late or left behind.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Bible Ontology

I hold 2 degrees in theology. People often ask, "why?" The answer is a topic for another blog. But, I have acquired a taste for all things ancient.  Yes, I spend hours gaping at old papyri, medieval icons, and when I really want to go old I look in the mirror.

I do enjoy theology and religious studies. Google Books and the Internet Archive have been a "heaven sent" for me. I find something new that's old every time I search the public domain collection of books.


Recently, I discovered something new in my search for better tools in biblical studies. It is the Bible Ontology site found at http://home.bibleontology.com. The Ontology is modeled & maintained by Dr. Myungdae Cho and his daughter, Mira Cho of South Korea. Dr. Cho teaches in the Dept of Library and Information Science at SungKyunKwan University and is a lecturer at other universities, including Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology, Seoul National University, Korea.



For those of us who are unfamiliar with this type of resource it is difficult at first to see what the results on any given search does.  However, working with the Ontology provides a truly new means of seeing the relationship between persons, places and concepts in the Bible. The Bible Ontology "aggregates all related meaningful data from all the sources in multiple resources, and displays them in the format of "Subject-Predicate-Object" format." (http://home.bibleontology.com/about.jsp)

Moses aggregate.


Doing a search for Moses provides a listing of related people, places and events. But it also returns results for ideas and things related to the in events, to roles assumed by Moses and related Bible verses. The values returned provide links that reveal further relationships, these linking to further relationships.


The Ontology Browser is a very powerful graphical tool that displays the relationships within the ontology in a visual manner. The relationship "spiders" are an excellent means to visualize how things are inter-connected. I will be spending more time examining the browse function, it is a great tool.




The potential of Bible Ontology as a tool for Biblical studies is large. Imagine this interacting with a critical edition of the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, Greek and Hebrew Lexicons, Bible Commentaries, Dictionaries and materials related to the ancient world, classical religions and philosophy.  Imagine a visualization of the Greek term "kenosis" from Philippians 2:7 spidering to classical and modern interpretations, sources from other religions and philosophies. The ability to visualize this would be of great help to the Biblical student.

Bible Ontology is well worth the time and effort to investigate to see the power of a semantic search tool and as a tool for Bible study. I will write more on this in the future.