Mandaic Book of John Project Software

Today I am beginning work on the software to aid translating the Mandaic Book of John, and am using this blog post as a means to get my thoughts and design goals in order.

The original thought was using a collaborative wiki-like environment to manipulate and edit the content which can store Mandaic text in a standard transliteration for editing, but otherwise output it as images (or whatever other format we need) for viewing.

From that basic idea, for this to be a successful and useful tool, I feel it will need:
  1. A means to store each manuscript we're working from, separately.
  2. A means to divvy up each manuscript into workable "chunks."
  3. A way to display each parallel chunk of the manuscript side-by-side for comparison purposes.
  4. A means to annotate the Mandaic texts with footnotes, cross-references, and lexical tags.
  5. A means to display the Mandaic text as images, unicode (Hebrew, Syriac, and Mandaic if it goes through) or other encodings.
  6. A place where all members of the project can access and contribute to the English translation and tag the Mandaic texts.
  7. A means to annotate the *English* text with footnotes, cross-references, and lexical tags.
  8. A way that all changes are tracked and can be rolled back or reviewed.
Some other features to implement once there is enough data in the system to experiment with would be:
  1. Automatic export features to a variety of formats (.doc, .pdf, LATEX, etc.)
  2. Automatic concordance and lexicon/dictionary generation.
  3. Adding in hooks for standard Natural Language Processing (NLP) libraries.
Right now I'm going to see about sketching out some potential workflows and database models and get a "toy" version working to play with.


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