I am currently working on a tinkering project involving the Project Gutenberg Douay Rheims Bible. While tinkering, I keep getting new ideas for various ways to improve that project.
The primary purpose of this thread is to share some optimizations I’ve made based on that project, but also, I want to suggest some possible use-cases for this project and open it up to your suggestions so that you guys can let me know any additional things you’d appreciate.
Let me share some of the background of this project, its present status, and things I am considering doing, then you can make your suggestions.
Background. The Douay Rheims Bible is a Catholic bible that was originally published in 1582 A.D. for english speakers. For almost 400 years, this bible was the primary bible for english speaking Catholics, and was frequently re-released in new editions. Its status is comparable to the King James Version, and when computers were invented, the Douay Rheims Bible was one of the first books to be digitized and uploaded to the internet.
Recently, I decided I wanted to listen to use a text-to-speech app to listen to the Douay Rheims Bible. I looked up the Project Gutenberg edition that I’ve linked to above, and downloaded it into my app. I discovered that the text had several problems which needed to be solved in order for it to be useful with my text-to-speech app.
Among these problems were the following: the footnotes and chapter headings are not differentiated from the biblical text or even introduced by a word such as “Footnote.” Trying to mentally differentiate while listening is distracting. I decided I want an edition without footnotes and chapter headings. Also, my app reads each chapter and verse number in every single verse, which is annoying to me. I decided I want an edition without verse numbers, though I do want to keep it telling me when I’ve reached a new chapter. I also wanted there to be fewer line-breaks, and I wanted the Books of Maccabees to come after Esra and Nehemiah (the historical books section) rather than after Zechariah and Malachi (the prophets section).
Current Status. My project is not an official project of Project Gutenberg, but when I am done I may submit my work to them. To fix my problems, I used some find-and-replace software to make a few editions of the Douay Rheims Bible optimized for text-to-speech software.
Optimization 1 - Features: No footnotes. No chapter headings. No verse numbers. Each biblical book is named, the chapter numbers are given, and then there’s just plain text. Line-breaks are minimized, with a new line for each chapter and a double line-break between each biblical book. Within each chapter, the verses are all on the same line, separated only by a space, like a new sentence. 1 and 2 Maccabees are placed after Esra and Nehemiah rather than after Zechariah and Malachi.
Optimization 2 - Features: all the above, but the books are given their modern names. Hosea instead of Osee, for example, and Revelation instead of Apocalypse. The names within the text are still the old names, though. So Hosea (the book) is called Hosea in the title, instead of Osee, but within the book of Hosea, Hosea (the prophet) is still called Osee.
Optimization 3 - Not optimal for text-to-speech apps (in my opinion), this optimization keeps the verse numbers and gives each verse and each chapter a new line. It still has no footnotes or chapter headings, and retains the old book names. This one departs very little from the Project Gutenberg edition, but it does fix some of that version’s formatting, specifically by giving each verse a single line rather than breaking some verses up in the middle like Gutenberg currently does.
Optimization 4 - Again, not so good for text-to-speech apps, this optimization keeps the verse numbers but does not give every verse a new line, just each chapter. Still no footnotes or chapter headings, and retains the old book names. Okay, now you know the background and the current status of this project. I’d also like to make some suggestions about possible use-cases for files like these.
First, text-to-speech apps. The first two optimizations are good for these. Second, smartphone apps. These optimizations arrange the biblical text in a way that can be useful to programmers. Do you know anyone programming a bible app who needs to easily copy-paste the text of a Catholic bible? Look no further!
Some stuff I’d like to work on: I’d like to arrange the Psalms according to the modern order. The Douay Rheims Bible uses an older order of the Psalms which offsets some of them by one or two chapters. Thus Psalm 110 in most bibles is Psalm 109 in the Douay Rheims. I’d like to make an edition where that isn’t the case. I’d also like to update the name spellings to their modern forms throughout the entire text, rather than just in the book titles. And, since I’ve made a version where the footnotes are removed, I also might like to make a document with just the footnotes and chapter headings, and not the biblical text. Anyone who wants to just read the footnotes (or keep them as a supplement) could download it like an appendix.
So what about you, readers? Can you think of any optimizations You’d like to see? Also, if anyone finds these files useful, please don’t hesitate to notify me of any errors.