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Platform for the development of open scriptural linked data and its applications. More…

Open Scriptures Roundup – January 1, 2010

Recently, there has been a surge of posts on Open Scriptures. If you haven’t been able to follow them all, here are some of the most exciting threads.

There are many more important threads that I will leave for your perusal at our Google Groups site. Over the course of the next few weeks expect to see some more explanations of what we have been discussing. Please feel free to join in the conversations!

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2009 13 31 193 136 66 50 49 15 3 24 47 267
51 Weston Ruter
46 DavidTroidl
23 Daniel Owens
19 sceptreofjudah
17 jtauber
14 Efraim Feinstein
12 Chris Little
11 bydesign
11 JAG3773
9 Rob

Open Scriptures Roundup – July 3, 2009

The exciting news this week is the dialogue that Weston has been carrying on with Dr. Bertram Salzmann from the German Bible Society. In a nutshell, we are working together to create a developer platform that will give access to the copyrighted texts that GBS maintains (such as the renown UBS GNT) along with other openly-licensed works already available online. The conceptual outline that Dr. Salzmann has proposed keeps GBS’s texts under their umbrella by means of hosting the texts and the applications that make use of them. This is somewhat different than the original idea that Weston proposed in which Open Scriptures would be more of a true mediator between open source developers and content providers like GBS. In any case, the applications would be made available free of charge. The exact details have yet to be figured out. Many thanks to Dr. Salzmann and GBS for their innovative forward-thinking proposal! Please help by joining in on the conversation!

Open Scriptures Roundup – June 26, 2009

The past few weeks on Open Scriptures have seen some steady progress.  Of note is that the Tregelles GNT import script is near completion.  The addition of this manuscript will be much appreciated as it will bring the total number of works in the Manuscript Comparator to six. In addition to New Testament improvements, David Troidl submitted the initial upload of Strong’s Hebrew data (XML).  This first step is the outcome of very hard work and also good collaboration on our Google group. Lastly, we are working on porting all of our code into a Django/Pinax friendly format so that we can switch our site as well as our applications over to this platform.  The progress here is moving along and within a couple weeks we should be on our new server using our new platform graciously donated by James Tauber of MorphGNT and Eldarion.  If anyone has experience with Django/Pinax and would be willing to help out please contact Weston via the Google Group.

There has also been some significant steps forward in the dialog between Weston and the German Bible Society; GBS has a tentative proposal which looks to be quite promising and beneficial for both communities. Look forward to an announcement hopefully next week.

What Good Is Linked Data?

Note: This is a conceptual overview, for a technical look, see here or here.

To follow up my previous post concerning raw data I thought it would be good to give a discussion to linked data.  First of all, it must be emphasized that linked data cannot exist if there is not access to raw data.  So “raw data now,” then linked data.

This whole notion of linked data is really the idea of making data useful, really useful.  At a high level, a good example of linked data is Wikipedia.  In particular, take a look at this article about BSD.  As I type that sentence, I realize that many do not know that BSD stands for Berkeley Software Distribution.  Nor would many others guess that BSD happens to be the precursor to many flavors of operating systems, among them FreeBSD, NetBSD, MAC OS X, DragonFlyBSD, etc.  The point that I want to extract from the Wikipedia article is that there is a plethora of information in the article but there is also a plethora of links that one can access through the article.  Thus, if one wanted to learn about FreeBSD, the Wikipedia BSD article already has a link to it.  Further, one could read the FreeBSD page and find a nice graphical derivative, PC-BSD.  Without the basic implementation of links, these correlations would be much more difficult to come by.

On the internet, linking is the way to go.  If we zoom in a little bit, we may notice some interesting features of linking.  Let’s stick with Wikipedia, their main page boasts 27 different languages,  impressive.  Now, go ahead and return to our BSD article and on the bottom left select another language.  Now you have the same information, yet in a completely different language.  The data on the German page and the data on the English page should conceptually be the same information, yet because it is presented in those two different languages the article is now much more useful to many more people.  Now multiply that by 27 and it is very easy to see why Wikipedia has gained incredible worldwide appreciation.  How many languages can you get Encyclopedia Britannica in?

Alright, so those examples deal mainly with information in the form that we are used to seeing online, web pages.  What happens when we take a look at data itself?   Tim Berners-Lee uses census data as an example in his TED talk, but I thought it would be more interesting to look into Scriptural data.  In the field of Biblical Studies we have a lot of manuscripts.  What we don’t have is a lot of easy access to those manuscripts nor easy methods to compare.  However, that is changing!  As more of these manuscripts become available online (see these projects) we have the ability to link them together.  The Manuscript Comparator is a prototype of this linkage.  What the prototype accomplishes is systematically linking the data found in the manuscripts for simplified and complete comparison.  Sure, someone could get hard copies of each manuscript and manually compare them.  But anyone who has done ancient language study will surely appreciate the beauty and simplicity of this application.  To simply type in the passage that one is studying and then be able to easily view discrepancies is a huge resource!  Not only that but it demonstrates the power of linked data.

This is only the beginning for Biblical Studies, if you want to see what the collective mind of Open Scriptures dreams about when we consider linked data, check out the Potential Applications page.

Open Scriptures Roundup – June 5, 2009

Welcome to Open Scriptures Roundup!  This is the first instalment of what will be a weekly synopsis of what’s been going on at Open Scriptures.  The goal is to keep everyone who is interested updated on the status of the projects we are working on as well as provide information that can point out where help is needed.

This week we have made a lot of exciting progress.  For starters, the manuscript import and build scripts have been completely ported over to Python and tested!  This is a huge first step as it now allows us to work on creating applications that manipulate these manuscripts.  Weston is currently working on creating a Django app of the Manuscript Comparator.  If you would like to checkout the code follow the steps listed here.

Tregelles’s Greek New Testament Released!  Joyfully, we can report that the project has released the texts under the Creative Commons 3.0 Protocol (that is, CC BY-NC-SA).  This is very good news for Biblical Studies and especially for Open Scriptures.  The initial announcement is here.  The downloads may be accessed here.  Weston is working on updating the import and merge scripts to include these texts.

Lastly, there has been some very productive collaboration going on regarding Strong’s data.  For more information see the thread here, and another thread here.

To keep yourself abreast of all the news going on join the Open Scriptures Google Group.

See ya next week!