What is Prabook structure
One of the distinguishing features of Prabook is its lucid structure which organizes biographical information of each article. There is a certain sequence in almost every human life - a chain of events starting with birth and reaching an apex in working activity, where each act has own progression and conclusion. So the best way to tell a life story, just like any story, is to put it into chapters. Based on this logic, World Biographical Encyclopedia designed a special structure of a person’s biography. Each article is divided by the following thematic sections: General Info for brief summary, Background, Education and Career to reflect the course of life, Life Stance and Personality to reveal character and beliefs, Connections because no human is completely disconnected from the others, Creative Works to showcase a person's talents, and References for additional information. Each section contains a number of fields which allow to elaborate and develop the topic.
Using this structure, we decided to build Prabook as a relational database which would open more opportunities in data analysis for researchers. The idea is to divide information into two types of fields – descriptions and categories or tagged fields. Description fields contain detailed information put into regular order, i.e. all the textual information related to that person. Tagged fields, on the other hand, are specified key features of a person used for arranging biographies. The list of tagged fields includes Geographical Locations, Birth and Death dates, Activity, Nationality, Ethnicity, Alma Mater, Awards, Political Party, Religious Affiliation, Place of Work and Gender.
Values from the tagged fields form catalogs. “Activity” catalog, for example, includes records like writer, educator, lawyer; “Nationality” catalog includes records like American, German, Nigerian, and so on. Cataloged data allows users to receive upon a search request a list of biographies that contains the same values of the tagged fields. This structure gives Prabook a number of benefits:
- – it allows linking biographies and discovering relations between remote people based on information reflected in tagged fields
- – it allows searching people on the site based on context and on tagged features
- – it is easier for contributors to write an article when they know what information is expected from them.
Most importantly, Prabook structure makes it easier for regular users to comprehend its biographical content, while turning the site into a serious analytical platform for researchers.