File Formats

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The SWORD Project respects copyright. As such, conversion of material that is under copyright is not supported by The SWORD Project.

This page merely lists some of the more common file formats relevant to The SWORD Project and associated utilities.

File Formats

Bible study programs use a plethora of markup formats. Even more have been suggested for use in creating Bibles and other religious material. This subsection describes some of the most common of those formats.

GBF

General Bible Format

This markup format is intended as an aid to preparing Bible texts (specifically the WEB and WEB:ME) for use with various Bible search programs. The complete specification is at http://www.ebible.org/bible/gbf.htm.

This markup format was previously used for some Sword modules but is now deprecated in favor of OSIS. The rudimentary gbf2osis.pl utility may be used to convert GBF to OSIS for import to Sword's native format.

HTML

Hyper Text Markup Language

This is the basic markup language of the World Wide Web. Some Sword front-ends, such as BibleTime, GnomeSword, and Bible Desktop, use HTML for presentation.

IMP

Import Format

This proprietary file format is used by Sword for import of all types of modules. The three utilities imp2vs (for Bibles and verse-indexed commentaries), imp2ld (for lexicons, dictionaries, and daily-devotionals), and imp2gbs (for all other types of books) can be used to import IMP files to Sword's native formats.

An IMP file consists of any number of entries. Each entry consists of a key line and any number of content lines. The key line consists of a line beginning with "$$$". For example, "$$$Gen 1:1" would be the key line for the Genesis 1:1 entry of a Bible or commentary module.

The content lines of an entry may consist of any text (provided that the first three characters of the line are not "$$$"). The internal markup of the content may be in any format supported by Sword, namely OSIS for any module type or ThML for freeform books from CCEL.

LitML

Liturgical Markup Language

This markup format is a descendant of, and complement to ThML, described at http://hildormen.org/docs/LitML/Guidelines-LitML10-1.0.html.

The markup reflects its orientation towards liturgy and hymns.

OSIS

Open Scripture Information Standard

The Open Scripture Information Standard (OSIS) is "a common format for many visions." It is an XML format for marking up scripture and related text, part of an initiative composed of translators, publishers, scholars, software manufacturers, and technical experts, coordinated by the Bible Technologies Group. It is co-sponsored by the American Bible Society and the Society of Biblical Literature.

The most recent XML schema is OSIS 2.1.1, and a manual is also available.

This markup format is recommended by the CrossWire Bible Society and can be used for creating all types of resources for The SWORD Project. Support for OSIS is actively maintained and support for any unsupported elements or features needed for a module you may be working on may be requested.

PDF

Portable Document Format

This is an ISO track file format for platform independent rendering of documents. It is derived from Postscript and is maintained by Adobe. Documents may be text, images, or scanned images of text. Even textual documents cannot reasonably be expected to allow plain-text export. As such, it is designed to be a "read only" format.

RTF

Rich Text Format

This is a markup format designed by Microsoft. It is used as the markup language for presentation The SWORD Project for Windows. It is also the internal markup format used within STEP books (see below). The format is of limited use as an archival format and there are no plans for Sword to support it beyond its current use for presentation.

STEP

Standard Template for Electronic Publishing

This file format was formerly used by QuickVerse and WordSearch, and is currently used for some e-Sword books.

While not an open standard, the publicly released documentation and specifications for this format can be found mirrored at http://www.crosswire.org/bsisg/. Some utilities for working with this format are listed below. It is unlikely that the SWORD Project will support this format in the future as it is laregly dead.

ThML

Theological Markup Language

This format is a variant of XML based on TEI and ThML, developed by and for the Christian Classics Etherial Library. The specifications for this markup format are available at http://www.ccel.org/ThML/.

This markup format in some Sword resources, but only the creation of free-form "General book" modules based on existing CCEL resources is currently supported. Other works and new works should be created using the OSIS format.

Unbound Bible Format

Unbound Bible Format

The BIOLA's Unbound Bible offers many of their resources for download in a proprietary, but relatively simple plain-text format.

There is no widespread use of this format, but the rudimentary unb2osis.pl utility may be used to convert Unbound Bible format to OSIS for import to Sword's native format.

USFM

Unified Standard Format Markers

This plain-text format is a common internal-use format within Bible translation agencies and Bible societies. It is the native format of Paratext. The rudimentary usfm2osis.pl utility may be used to convert USFM to OSIS for import to Sword's native format.

USFX

Unified Scripture Format XML

This XML file format is designed to provide clean conversions from Scripture to USFM compliant file formats. A more comprehensive description can be found at http://ebt.cx/usfx/. There is no widespread use of this format and there are no plans for Sword to support it in any way.

VPL

Verse-Per-Line

This plain-text format is used for by Sword for import of Bibles. It consists of one verse per line, with an optional verse reference at the beginning. The vpl2mod utility may be used for import. VPL is deprecated in favor of the IMP format, which is more widely useful.

XSEM

XML Scripture Encoding Model

This XML format was proposed by SIL. A comprehensive description of the markup language can be found at http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&item_id=XSEM&_sc=1.

The formal specifications can be found at http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/render_download.php?site_id=nrsi&format=file&media_id=XSEM_Source&filename=XSEM_Source.zip

The designers of this markup language were instrumental in the writing of the OSIS Specification and it has largely been deprecated in favor of using OSIS. There is no widespread use of this format and there are no plans for Sword to support it in any way.

XML

eXtensible Markup Language

This is generic family of markup formats. Links to a number of XML specifications can be found at http://xml.coverpages.org/xmlApplications.html. Each flavor has its own specifications. Sword supports markup in the XML formats OSIS and ThML internally

Zefania XML

This is the native file format of Zefania XML-based Bible study tools such as MyBible and BibleWorkPlace. The zef2osis.pl utility may be used to convert Zefania XML to OSIS for import to Sword's native format.

Utility Programs

Unless otherwise specified, the utility programs listed in this section do not work with file formats used by The SWORD Project.

GBF Tools

  • gbf2osis.pl - a PERL utility for converting GBF to OSIS

The SWORD Project

  • cipherraw - used to encipher Sword modules
  • diatheke - a basic CLI Sword frontend
  • imp2gbs - imports free-form General books in IMP format to Sword format
  • imp2ld - imports lexicons, dictionaries, and daily devotionals in IMP format to Sword format
  • imp2vs - imports Bibles and commentaries in IMP format to Sword format
  • mkfstmod - creates a search index for a module
  • mod2imp - creates an IMP file from an installed module
  • mod2osis - creates an OSIS file from an installed module
  • mod2zmod - creates a compressed module from an installed module
  • osis2mod - imports Bibles and commentaries in OSIS format to Sword format
  • vpl2mod - imports Bibles and commentaries in Verse-Per-Line format to Sword format
  • vs2osisref - returns the osisRef of a given (text form) verse reference
  • xml2gbs - imports free-form General books in OSIS or ThML format to Sword format

STEP Utilities

  • step2vpl - export a STEP book in Verse-Per-Line (VPL) format
  • stepdump - dumps the contents of a STEP book
  • step2rtf - extracts the internal RTF text from STEP books
  • stepr - a rudimentary STEP reader

ThML Utilities

  • CCEL Desktop - a program for viewing and developing CCEL books

Zefania Utilities

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