From The Open Siddur Project Transcription and Documentation Wiki
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Welcome to the Open Siddur Project Transcription and Documentation wiki. At this site, our project transcribes and proofreads texts, and drafts documentation.

As part of our mission, the Open Siddur Project aims to produce a free software, web-based toolkit for users to prepare siddurim and other high quality Jewish liturgical works (such as haggadot and bentchers) to be printed out, shared online, or accessed via e-readers. In a general sense, the application we're developing might be called a collaborative publishing platform: collaborative like a wiki but designed with the ultimate goal of generating print media. (Unlike a wiki, individual users are given the choice of which material that they'd like to share that they've modified or authored.) Online, the platform will provide a space for individual users to select from, author, and share all the components of a siddur including prayers, translations, commentaries, art, and layout templates for incorporation in new, custom designed siddurim. Alternately, the platform could be used as a novel educational tool for the study of Jewish liturgy.

Our mission encompasses the values of pluralism (acceptance for the diversity of Jewish cultural expression), historical awareness (the text of the siddur is an aggregate of thousands of years of creatively inspired works), and individual freedom (empowering individuals to design their own tools for developing their spiritual practice). Broadly, the work involved with creating our web application is divided in two parts:

Content gathering and preparation

  • scanning books and facsimile editions of manuscripts in the Public Domain,
  • transcribing the text of those works by manually typing them out
  • proofreading our transcriptions for accuracy,
  • and encoding them for our database of text.
  • For works that are not yet in the Public Domain, the Open Siddur Project receives and encodes new, original material shared using standard free culture licenses. All encoded content is entered into our open source database, making it accessible through our web application and our API.

and Software development, i.e., the design and coding of the following:

  • specifications of the XML-based format in which we archive the project's texts,
  • transforms to convert the XML-encoded documents into print- or display-ready formats,
  • the eXist-based native XML database that contains the data,
  • and the web-based application infrastructure used by developers and end users for editing, retrieving and remixing the texts we provide.

Besides these two great efforts, we also advocate for the adoption of free culture licenses for the sharing of Jewish cultural works. For more information on this, please check out our web page.

Development status

Summary of current development status:

  • Development is progressing on the backend technologies and on the end user interface.
  • We are looking for volunteer developers.
  • We are looking for accurate typists and careful proofreaders for both Hebrew and English texts.
  • We have also made progress toward specific development milestones.
  • The latest code is available from our github repository.
  • Our earliest proof-of-concept (a command line application) is available from our subversion server. Development on this proof of concept is now frozen. All active development effort is directed toward the database/web application architecture.

Getting Started As A Contributor

This is a free software/open source project. It makes progress because volunteers put their time into making it work.

The first step to joining the project is joining the general mailing list and/or the technical mailing list. Let us know who you are and what you are interested in doing.

Tell us about yourself by filling out our survey.

Check out what we've done so far. A demonstration of our technology is now available.

Got any ideas for new ways to use the Open Siddur? Put them in the Brainstorm session.

  • The easiest way to get started immediately is as a text transcriber. To get started click here.

See the milestones page and the links from there to find out where active development is taking place now. All software under development is available on our git repository. The trunk contains the most recent source code; it may be broken at any time. For an introduction to coding for the project, see Intro to hacking.

How you can help us

If you ... then ...
can type ... help us transcribe and proofread English-language documents.
can type in Hebrew with vowels (or want to learn how)... help us transcribe a historic Siddur
write liturgy-related material ... share it with a standard free culture license.
have access to public domain books and a high speed book scanner ... try scanning from our list of wanted books
code or document XML ... proofread, debug, and/or provide examples for the JLPTEI XML specification, improve validators using TEI ODD or Schematron
code in any language ... help us write one-time transformations to convert contributed material into JLPTEI.
code in CSS ... help us write rendering instructions for web browsers
code in Javascript ... help us build our web application
code in Java ... help us build useful extensions to our database software and/or choose and improve existing rendering engines
code in XSLT 2.0 ... help us write transforms.
code in XQuery ... help us write the REST API

Progress on each of these is being tracked at the milestones page. While the intro to hacking is under construction, the best way to get involved in coding is to contact us on the technical discussion list or fill out our survey.


Social networking

Getting Help

Reporting Errors and Bugs

Problems may be reported and discussed on the technical discussion list. Bug reports should be submitted to the issue tracker on Github.

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