Adapting Digital Biblical Resources for Translation and Teaching: Harvesting low-hanging fruit and growing next generation resources
When biblicalhumanities.org launched in 2013, we naively assumed that software developers would know how to take advantage of high quality, innovative data if it were published in open formats under free licenses. We understood the importance of building communities that know how to take advantage of this data, software and frameworks that make it easily accessible, and tailoring data to specific use cases, but we assumed that this would happen if we just made
the data freely available. Freely licensed base texts, morphologies, contextual glosses, syntax treebanks, discourse analyses, lexicons, textual variants, images, conjectural emendations, and grammars are available now, and some are at least as good as commercial resources, but they are not yet widely used.
In the last year or so, Jupyter Notebooks and academic conferences have started to bring this data into academic study, but we have barely begun to tap its potential for translation, language learning, and scripture engagement for those who know the languages. To realize this potential, we need to understand the use cases and mindset of potential users and create software and other resources tailored to their needs. Over time, we need to gather feedback from these same users, walk with them as they learn and grow, and welcome them into communities that will create the next generation of resources.