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Development Status (2009-09-22)

Open Siddur Project Development Status as of 9/22/2009

Our second development status covers progress on the Open Siddur made since our last update 8/23/09. Email aharon@opensiddur.org if you want to include something we haven’t covered. For now we’ll be sending these out once a month but if you’d like to get news of Open Siddur as it happens, make sure to follow @opensiddur at Twitter.

A beautiful scan of the Routledge Mahzor was contributed to the Internet Archive by the Princeton Theological Seminary Library (see http://groups.google.com/group/jewishliturgy-discuss/t/433a218e6f5a130b). Other important scans of siddurim in the public domain have been uploaded by the University of Toronto and the YIVO Institute. Scans contributed through the Internet Archive provide the Open Siddur project with a well of texts for digital transcription.

We are looking for a copy of Siddur Torah Ohr to correct and proof a digital transcription of the siddur already available CC-BY-SA at wikisource. Do you have one we could use? Please let us know.

The Tulane Center for Intellectual Property Law and Culture is consulting with Open Siddur on the copyright status of extant works that may be in the public domain. Thanks Ben and Justin!


How can folk contribute material to the Open Siddur Project right now? See our new https://opensiddur.org/contribute/upload/ for more information.

We are looking for volunteers to just look over our documentation and help us know how it reads and where we can make improvements. Anyone can freely register to edit on our conditional inclusion feature.

Volunteer Management

Open Siddur is looking for someone to gradually step into the role of volunteer manager. If folks want to step up, then Efraim and Aharon are ready to apprentice them :)


How can we best describe the principles which inspire a project that seeks to be both a repository of traditional historical texts and a resource for folks sharing new translations, t’fillot, commentary, and other content? We now have a draft Mission Statement. We’ve had some feedback on the discussion list and would like some more.

We also have a list of milestones to help track our progress and note where we are falling behind.

Communication and Promotion

JT Waldman at the Jewish Publication Society posted a lovely article with some choice quotes from Aharon Varady on “Judaism, Free Culture, and the Open Siddur Project.” (Thanks to JT and JPS! Check out http://jpsinteractive.org/blog/jt/sneak-peek-tagged-tanakh for a sneak peek at JPS’ innovative interactive TaNaKh project.)

Rabbi Saul Berman had some thoughts on why new siddurim cannot mitigate against the influence of modernity. Aharon responds here,  and also on our discussion list here.

The Lookstein Institute has been helping to inform educators about the work of the Open Siddur in their newsletter. (Thank you!)

The Lookstein Institute and JESNA also helped us disseminate our invitation to educators who might know of students that might be interested in developing theirs skills with a compelling software project such as ours: https://opensiddur.org/2009/08/invitation-to-young-technologists/ (Thank you!)

We had our second ever Open Siddur Open Chat at irc://irc.freenode.net/jewisliturgy on September 13th. The summary and logs of the chat are available on our wiki.

Software Development

Efraim is working on a partial implementation of XPointer to be used in our XSLT transforms and XQuery.  In the process, he developed a generic parser generator for XSLT (http://wiki.jewishliturgy.org/XSLT_Grammar_Parser).  This is a prerequisite to the continued development of (1) toolkit APIs that grab ordered text segments from JLPTEI documents and (2) transforms to convert JLPTEI to other forms. The code is currently under testing.

Azriel has been developing OSNAT, the Open Siddur Network Application for Transcription. It’s still in rough alpha, but includes a fly in-browser Hebrew Unicode 5.0 standard keyboard.

We are always looking for more software developers! Interested? Please contact us with your skills.

System Administration

Azriel writes, “We have begun nightly backups of the MySQL database.” If anyone would like to give us a hand with administration of the wiki or the *nix system it lives on, please email him, azriel@opensiddur.org

Efraim writes, “I’ve upgraded the eXist installation to a version closer to the 1.4 release candidate (eXist subversion revision 10000), and set up the versioning filter in the /db/base collection. This should give us revision tracking for newly stored XML data.   Revision tracking on the code and schemas will still be done using Google Code subversion.”

Team Member Updates

Dan Sieradski’s Jew It Yourself and Eileen Levinson’s Haggadot.com recently got seed funding from Lynn Schusterman’s ROI. Congrats!

Aharon Varady began a fellowship for Judaic Studies at North America’s first egalitarian yeshiva, Yeshivat Hadar. Huzzah!

On behalf of the entire Open Siddur Project team, Happy New Year 5770! Here’s wishing you all a productive year of inspired learning, compassionate living, and loving-kindness nourished by creativity and wonder.

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