Many Pies

Many Pies

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Publishing the Bible online

Another snippet from the Check IT Out day we held last Saturday:

You might think that Wycliffe would already be putting the Bibles it translates online. However there are reasons why that is trickier than you might think. One of these is the issue of ownership. I don't know all the ins and outs of this, let alone explain them, but its roughly to do with the fact that the translated Bible isn't owned by us, but by the organisations we work in partnership with.

There are also technical challenges with the original text. It may be in some old desktop publishing format. Even if we have the text, we may have incomplete information about the fonts used. Only recent work is in Unicode. Some translations aren't electronic at all (yet).

Then there's the presentation side, you can't just put a load of ascii text on a web page, it needs to be presented in a useful way. Actually none of this was said on Saturday, I'm just setting this scene! The presentation was about a project which is overcoming these hurdles.

One of the big things in getting the Bible into peoples' hands is the mobile phone. There are more mobiles than PCs and an increasing number can handle text, audio and video. So a lot of the presentation was what's happening around the world with mobiles. One thing I hadn't heard of is the company O3B Networks. O3B is Other 3 Billion. They are putting up a new network of satellites to offer cheaper and faster satellite internet connection. The same connection can also be used for mobile traffic.

The project's in private beta at the moment, so you can't see it yet.
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