A fundamental value of our project is correctly attributing Jewish liturgy and liturgy related work. Even when the original author of a work is lost to history, we strive to record every adaptation and variation sourced within particular manuscripts and extant published works in the Public Domain.
To do this, our volunteers help produce transcriptions that are easily determined to be authentic witnesses of a given work, whether it is the earliest known version known, or some other variation. We use Wikisource, as the collaborative transcription and proofreading environment for transcribing Public Domain and free-culture licensed texts.
- Stunden Der Andacht (Fanny Neuda, tkhines, German, 1858). Many thanks to Open Siddur Project volunteer, Chajm Guski!
Volunteers have begun to transcribe and proofread the following texts.
- Sidur Farḥi (Nusaḥ Sefaradi, Minhag Egypt, Hebrew-Arabic, 1917)
- Siddur Torah Ohr (ḤaBaD, Nusaḥ Ha-Ari z”l, Schulinger Bros. 1940)
- Seder Avodat Yisroel (Seligman Baer, Nusaḥ Ashkenaz, 1868)
- Seliḥot for the Entire Year (Seligman Baer, Ashkenaz)
- Annotated Edition of the Authorised Daily Prayer Book with Historical and Explanatory Notes, and Additional Matter, Compiled in Accordance with the Plans of the Rev. S. Singer (Israel Abrahams, Nusaḥ Ashkenaz, English, 1914)
- If you’d like to begin transcribing a work, let us know in the comments below! We can help you.
To begin transcribing and proofreading Jewish liturgy and liturgy related work, please complete the following steps:
- Install a Hebrew Keyboard layout for your Operating System. (We recommend the Biblical Tiro layout.) Refer to the key mapping images and familiarize yourself with the four levels of the Biblical Tiro keyboard layout.
- Download and install Unicode Hebrew Fonts supporting the full range of Hebrew diacritics. We recommend installing the Taamey Frank CLM font from the Culmus Project (available in the Open Siddur Font Pack).
- Configure your web browser to display Unicode Hebrew Fonts supporting the full range of Hebrew Diacritics. See below for specific details for changing the default Hebrew fonts displayed in Mozilla Firefox.
- Register a new user account with Wikisource.
- Login and set your preferred settings for the language and editing interface in Wikisource (see below).
Preparing Mozilla Firefox for Transcription in Wikisource
- Download and install the fonts in the Open Siddur Unicode Hebrew Font Pack
- Type “about:config” (without quotes) into the address bar. Click OK at any warnings.
- Type “font*.he” (without quotes) into the search field.
- Right click on the preference names appearing below, and replace their string value with that of your preferred Hebrew font supporting the full range of Hebrew diacritics. You can also change the integers of the font sizes that will appear in
Familiarizing Yourself with Wikisource
Login and Settings
- To login to your account at Wikisource, click on the login link at the top right of the web page.
- Click “My Preferences” in the top right corner. In Hebrew Wikisource, click “כניסה לחשבון” in the top left corner
- Click “User Profile” to choose your preferred language for working within Wikisource’s interface. To navigate Hebrew Wikisource in English or another language, click “פרטי המשתמש” and the context menu next to “שפת הממשק” to select your preferred language.
- Click “Editing” to set your preferred settings for using the editing interface. See below for my preferred settings to edit.
Using the Transcription Interface
The great things about collaborative transcription and proofreading is that you can correct other’s work and others can correct your errors. The key thing is to know how to navigate the Wikisource interface.
- To edit a page of text, click on the ‘Edit’ link (next to the ‘Read’ link) above the page image.
- When you are done editing or proofreading a page, don’t forget to indicate in what state you’ve left it. Reading the help page “Help:Editing” will help you better understand how Wikisource users track their transcription and proofreading.
What about OCR for Hebrew
With technology in its current state, manual transcription (typing) is the only reliable way to transcribe Hebrew text with vowels. Open source tools for the automated transcription of Hebrew are not capable of reliable conversion of images with Hebrew letters and diacritical marks into machine readable Hebrew text without requiring more work proofreading the text than would have been done transcribing it from scratch. We have not found closed source tools to be any better. Until such tools improve, projects such as the Open Siddur must depend on the manual transcription of text by humans.