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 a 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 several fields that allow authors to elaborate and develop the topic.
Using this structure, we decided to build Prabook as a relational database which would open more opportunities for data analysis. 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 specific characteristics 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 the United States, Germany, Nigeria, and so on. Cataloged data allows users to receive upon a search request a list of biographies that contains similar values of the tagged fields. This structure gives Prabook several benefits:
– it allows linking biographies and discovering relations between remote people based on information from tagged fields;
– it allows searching people based on context and tagged characteristics;
– it is easier for contributors to write an article when they know what information is expected from them.
Prabook structure makes it easier for regular users to comprehend its biographical content, as well as turns it into a serious analytical platform for researchers.