Old ways for linking texts in the digital reading environment: The case of the Thompson Chain Reference Bible

Date

2012

Authors

Nelson, Brent
Bath, Jon

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Publisher

Digital Humanities Quarterly

Abstract

This paper will briefly survey the historical development of linking systems in the Christian Bible, from their theological foundations to their formation in the architecture of the printed book. It will then examine the apogee of intra-Biblical linking systems in the Thompson Chain Reference Bible, particularly its chain-referencing system for thematic linking between texts. Finally, it will use this mature print technology to consider the state of the hyperlink in current Web-interfaces. It will show that while in many ways modern attempts at a dynamic hyperlink surpass this elaborate linking system in functionality, in a few key functions this old print technology out-performs what is commonly and readily available in current Web-browsers. In pursing this comparative analysis we aim to demonstrate the importance of understanding the organization and navigational structure of the codex in designing digital reading environments that will meet and surpass the affordances of print.

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Citation

Nelson, B., & Bath, J. (2012). Old ways for linking texts in the digital reading environment: The case of the Thompson Chain Reference Bible. Digital Humanities Quarterly, 6(2).