Allen: Sermon Painting – Using Digital Projection to Illustrate a Sermon

Our heritage as Christians includes visual elements: stained glass, liturgical colors, the sacraments as visible signs, church architecture, sermon illustrations. Many of these were about contextualization.

Sermon Painting 101: replace every place where you’d have a bullet point with an image. Communion is a great example of a five-sense experience. Sermon painting is not for everyone: it takes more time to prepare, and it’s harder to preach this way.

Some good resources for images: stock.xchng, Wikimedia Commons, Google Images. iStockPhoto is a good source if you have to pay. There are also personal resources: your friends might have images, or be able to track things down for you. Join the “Sermon Painting” group on Facebook. You can use open source tools for the image editing.

Brannan: Stylometry and the Septuagint

Applying Anthony Kenny’s method from Stylometric Study of the New Testament to the Greek Septuagint. Basic approach: identify some number of (boolean) features, and count them. Kenny used 99 features from the Friberg morphology. The subset of interest here: part of speech, aggregated case, number, gender counts, and verb tense/voice/mood.

First problem: comparing by chapters doesn’t provide consistently-sized segments of text. Kenny breaks text into 50-word chunks. [numerous graphs and charts follow] Conclusion: there are some definite concentrations of future tense verbs that don’t obey the expected statistical properties of a binomial distribution.

Wu/Tan: Tree-based Approaches to Biblical Texts

Spoke last year about creating trees: focus this year on how to use the trees. Doing tree alignment to provide a tool to support translation: just released the print version of a new Chinese NT. Once you’ve done tree alignment, you can use that as a metric of how dynamic a translation is: the higher the links, the less word-for-word. This linked data supports other applications.

Translation memory is typically word-based: with aligned trees, it can be chunk-based (word, phrase, or clause) or relation-based (pairs of words in head-modifier relations).  This translation memory gives translators access to how particular phrases have previously been translated, and concordances for how they’re used in their context.

Probabilistic Hebrew synonym finder: existing synonym dictionaries are incomplete, and the whole notion of synonym is continuous, not discrete. Two words are synonymous when their semantic space overlaps. The aligned trees define an equivalency space: all the words that are used to translate a word are semanticly similar. Degree of synonymy is basically the intersection of the sets divided by the union of the sets, scored using joint probability.

You can also look for similar verses: those containing clauses which aren’t identical but have more or less the same meaning. Clause-level similarity is the most useful view.

Taviano: Becoming a Digital Disciple

Currently there’s a huge confusion in the church between “on-line” and “in-person”. But 2Cor 12.9 makes more sense in community. Technology often tends to dimish community and true interaction. Books:

1Pet 4.10: using our gifts to serve. In the holistic worldview, the use of technology is a spiritual practice: what we believe is defined by what i do. “a-musement” = no thinking?! We should find ways to glorify God through our use of technology and enjoy Him in the process.

Ruter: Open Scriptures: Picking up the Mantle of the RE:Greek-Open Source Initiative

The background of this talk: Zack Hubert’s talk from the last BibleTech. Zack developed a very useful web site which ultimately failed because he couldn’t maintain it, and couldn’t get other developers to pitch in and help.

The vision: an open web repository for integrated scriptural data and a platform for building applications of scripture ( What kinds of data? Manuscripts, translations, versification systems, morphosyntactic parsings, user tags/annotations/cross-references. But it takes a lot of effort to get started with all this data, each of which is typically in its own format, and unlinked to other data.

Linked data principles (from timbl):

  • use URIs as names for things
  • use HTTP URIs so that people can look up those names
  • provide useful information behind the URIs
  • and links to other URIs so they can discover more things

“… the more things you have to connect together, the more powerful it is.” Can we connect things together through a unified manuscript that links together semantic units (words, phrases, clauses)?

Manuscript unification: normalize a manuscript (lowercase and remove diacritics: no spelling normalization yet), insert and save links to the unified manuscript. Then for additional manuscripts, normalize, merge links, and save them. Now you’ve got all the attested readings linked together. This unified manuscript now has an automated critical apparatus. [demo here of the manuscript comparator]

Potential applications include:

  • translation comparator (can also help with the versification problem)
  • comprehensive concordance
  • translation-independent cross-references (e.g. NT quotations of the OT)
  • interlinear/bilingual editions

You can automatically link manuscripts in the same language, but not different languages. Use collective intelligence to capture semantic linking between languages. Use the “games with a purpose” (GWAP) approach to gather links.

Copyright is a major challenge: you can’t link texts together if you can’t access them, and you can’t share them if they’re not open. Recently MorphGNT texts have been taken down from several sites because they’re not freely sharable. If the key benefit is connections between data, then data (including texts) should be more valuable if they’re sharable and connected. One solution: an Open Scriptures Platform that connects content owners, developers, and end-users. Passionate developers could build applications based on content licensed to Open Scriptures (as a proxy), and Open Scriptures makes sure than end-users provide revenue to content owners.

Anderson: the Science of Usability Design

Good design requires knowing your audience and thinking hard. Designing a remarkable product means you’ve solved most of your marketing problem: people want to know about remarkable things.

How much do people actually read? A scatterplot at shows duration of visit compared to words on the page: the more words, the lower the percentage of words that actually get read. So keep your copy short, simple, and scannable. Check out typography for lawyers for some very useful data: also i love typography.

Question: how do you decide when to innovate in UI design rather than following a standard?

[he had an interesting iphone app for controlling the presentation!]

Smith: The Need for a Universal Bible Annotation Format

Bible Gateway gets about 6M unique visitors each month. Though 25% are from outside the US, the significant majority are English-speaking. 80-90% of this traffic is for Bible passages (not topics, etc.). Basic problem: personal Bible notes aren’t portable. The solution should be based on open-standards, simple, and device/platform/language-independent.

Some specific requirements:

  1. allow attaching content to Bible passages
  2. enable both “user” (open-ended) and “professional” (editorially-controlled) content
  3. accept text, audio, video, and future formats
  4. people need control over their own content

Proposed solution:

  1. Content format (the data you supply)
  2. Exchange format (metadata: who are you, when was your content provided)
  3. Exchange system (protocols)

Content: (X)HTML is the closest to a universal standard, allows basic formatting, supports Unicode. HTML5 introduces some useful features here. The central problem here: how to encode Bible references? We want them to be independent of source (not just Bible Gateway), and unambiguous. OSIS identifiers might provide a partial solution.

Coakley/Ferch: Using Technology to Teach Exegesis in Higher Education

Challenges in teaching Biblical languages: how to take a toolbox approach and work more top-down? From “Cracking the Old Testament Codes”: need more attention at the paragraph, rather than the word, level. Showed some video from their computer lab showing how their teachers and students are using Logos in the classroom in real-time. One workstation is wired for student interaction, so a student can show what they’re doing to the whole group. Additional discussion about how to manage group licenses and resources. An outstanding need: a screen reader for Greek and Hebrew texts to support greater accessibility for visually-challenged students.

Aubrey: The Use of Field Works Language Explorer in Biblical Studies

Field Works Language Explorer (FLEX): supports structured information for building a lexicon. It’s also a text database, and manages morphological information. FLEX can automatically generate morphological analyses. Future plans include phonology, syntax, spell-checking, and other features. Good tool for personal learning, and for managing linguistic data. Since the data is stored in a server, collaboration is possible.

Albright: Dramatizer

Dramatizer helps in creating audio versions of Biblical texts by indicating who said what, preparing scripts, and helping with the audio recording. Character names are assigned to each clip of Scripture (4-6k in a New Testament). Walk-through of the operation of the program. It generates a master script, as well as secondary scripts for each speaker to practice their parts.  Then it assists in the recording process, and in assembling the audio. Looking at hand-crank/solar MP3 players.

Code can be downloaded from Google. Some related activity by a group called “Faith By Hearing”.