OSIS On the Go ĘC Fast Facts
1. Why does the issue of digital Bible standards have so much urgency?
Once a technology is well understood, rapid development and adoption of standards is important because it vastly reduces the costs of advancement in the field. With computers, standardization is critical because there is often no easy conversion from one program to another. The longer each Bible translator, software vendor, and publisher uses a different format, the harder it is to build a usable, standardized format that will serve as a foundation for an endless variety of presentations and products.
2. What is OSIS?
The purpose of the OSIS initiative (Open Scripture Information Standard) is to research, identify and develop the organizational, process and technical basis that will produce markup standards for biblical and related texts. This is critical so that we can have interoperability across computer hardware and software for publication, linking, reference and accessibility. The goal is to provide open standards for the use and benefit of publishers, software manufacturers, Bible Societies, scholars and anyone else interested in biblical and related texts. OSIS will facilitate easy storage and retrieval, indexing and cross-referencing of raw text and the rendering of scripture and related text into many formats, including print, HTML, PDAs, cell phones, etc.
3. What do I tell a colleague about OSIS that will help him/her grasp the importance?
OSIS is the standard way to interchange Bibles and theological texts: "XML for Bibles". It is 100% XML conforming, so we can leverage the huge array of XML tools and products available. Converting our translation and publishing processes to OSIS will require some up-front retraining and tools costs, but will progressively and massively simplify workflow and improve product quality over time. It will allow us to re-purpose our information products easily for Web, paper, and other media, and will free us from being locked in to any one software solution, giving us the agility to use best practices and best-of-breed tools as they change over time.
4. If I had to pick one thing to do first in the process of adopting OSIS, what would it be?
Find the place where OSIS can make the clearest difference in your own particular translation or publishing structure, and get buy-in from the people who will be affected by it there. Provide them with the right tools and incentives, and watch OSIS and XML spread from there. Cultivate an interest in making your documents accessible in as many forms; that's what XML is best at, and what saves your organization the most money and time in the long run.
5. What are other ways that I can participate in this global effort?
- Communicate the strategic importance of OSIS throughout your organization.
- Make OSIS part of your strategic planning in your organization.
- Help develop OSIS-specific tools such as editors and converters.
- Support the several major text archives and other projects that are using OSIS.
- Encourage all relevant software and publishing vendors to support OSIS.
- Encourage your partners to use OSIS as a way to increase effectiveness in your joint projects.