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OSIS is an XML Schema definition for Bibles and other Biblical research texts, which enables ministries and other organizations to collaborate more easily.


[edit] Overview

The Open Scripture Information Standard (OSIS) is an XML schema for marking up scripture and related text. It is part of an "open scripture" initiative composed of translators, publishers, scholars, software manufacturers, and technical experts who are coordinated by the Bible Technologies Group.

Traditionally, these organizations have stored their documents in disparate, proprietary markups, making it difficult when they wish to share in service with each other. OSIS provides a common markup for multiple visions.

CrossWire is committed to supporting the OSIS initiative. They have developed OSIS import and export tools which work with their SWORD engine, making OSIS documents available to all of their SWORD software. CrossWire calls an eBook a module due to the fact that it is several files stored in a single folder. Typically a module is delivered as a zip file, or Windows executable but is then expanded for use with the software.

OSIS eBooks can be in clear text, compressed, or subject to DRM as needed. Since there are multiple files the individual files can be treated differently.

[edit] Features

There are many XML formats but OSIS contains features unique to the needs of Bible study. For example a standard method in HTML to reference another document is to provide a specific link to the desired document. In a Bible study it is often the case where you want to link to a Bible from another work but you don't want to specify the specific version and translation. A generic request is defined to request a specific location in the Bible but the application reading the request will bring up the Bible requested ahead of time by the user. In some cases there could be multiple open Bibles or even other commentaries and all would be synced to the same location. This kind of generic referencing is not available in standard hyperlink construction.

There is specialized support for common things such as notes and cross-references. There is support for defining the person in quotes so that, for example, Bibles that show Jesus' words in red can be rendered properly. Most standard text attributes are not the same as in HTML. Instead more specific references are given around an element to specify why it was highlighted in a specific way. This allows the rendering software to have more flexibility in dealing with these items. In some cases the <hi> element is used to specify highlighting.

There is a <rdg>, reading element that can use a type attribute to specify other possible ways the text might be read. The type attribute has the defined values of alternative and variant. Other designations can be used by preceding them with x-. This convention allows expansion of any of the type attribute key words in text. The standard should be studied as there are many more specialized elements defined in this standard.

There is a <transChange>, translation change, element to indicate a departure from a literal rendering of the source text. This happens most often when words are added to a translation to make the meaning of the text clearer or when the grammatical structures of the translation language do not offer same tenses for example, as the source language. These are entered using the type attribute. If the user encounters a change in translation that is not covered by these values, use the OSIS attribute extension mechanism, "x-" in front of the name of your value for this attribute.

  • added Words added.
  • amplified More than addition of words to smooth out a translation.
  • changed Words are changed in the translation, such as modern spellings.
  • deleted Words that appear in the original but not in the translation.
  • moved Words that are moved to better represent the meaning of the text being translated from their original order.
  • tenseChange Indicates a change of the tense from the original to one that occurs in the translation language.

[edit] Example

This is a simple example with no specific text formatting. The Header section specifies metadata using the Dublin Core standard.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<osis xmlns="http://www.bibletechnologies.net/2003/OSIS/namespace"
<osisText osisIDWork="CEV" osisRefWork="bible" xml:lang="en" canonical="true">
 <work osisWork="CEV">
  <title>Contemporary English Version</title>
  <type type="OSIS">Bible</type>
  <identifier type="OSIS">Bible.en.ABS.CEV.1995</identifier>
  <rights type="x-copyright">Copyright 1995
   American Bible Society</rights>
 <work osisWork="bible">
  <type type="OSIS">Bible</type>
<div type="section" scope="Esth.1.1-Esth.1.4">
 <title>Queen Vashti Disobeys King Xerxes</title>
  <verse sID="Esth.1.1-Esth.1.2" osisID="Esth.1.1 Esth.1.2" n="1-2"/>
   King Xerxes of Persia lived in his capital city of Susa and ruled one
   hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia.
  <verse eID="Esth.1.1-Esth.1.2"/>
  <verse sID="Esth.1.3" osisID="Esth.1.3"/>
   During the third year of his rule, Xerxes gave a big dinner for all
   his officials and officers. The governors and leaders of the provinces
   were also invited, and even the commanders of the Persian and Median
   armies came.
  <verse eID="Esth.1.3"/>
  <verse sID="Esth.1.4" osisID="Esth.1.4"/>
   For one hundred eighty days he showed off his wealth and spent a lot
   of money to impress his guests with the greatness of his kingdom.
  <verse eID="Esth.1.4"/>

[edit] For more information

  • For examples of Bibles in this format see http://ebible.org/. They have WEB, ASV, and KJV versions. (Also available in other formats.)
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