Guide to Contributing

Brett Lockspeiser edited this page Dec 4, 2017 · 19 revisions

If you can spare 10 minutes, you can bring one piece of Jewish learning into the Public Domain. Some contributions require scholarly knowledge; some are more like (holy) data-entry that anyone with an interest in Jewish texts can do.

About the Public Domain

Everything that you contribute to Sefaria (texts and data like connections) is published with a Public License (Public Domain, CC0, CC-BY, or CC BY-SA) so that anyone in the future will be free to copy and build upon it. By contributing to Sefaria you are actually contributing to the Public Domain. Even if Sefaria can't finish its ambitious project, the next person or group to try will be able to pick up right where we left off.

Ways You Can Contribute

  1. Add Connections
  2. Correct Errors
  3. Add Translations

Get in Touch

We want to hear your questions, ideas, feedback and concerns.

1. Add Connections

Our tradition is full of connections between texts. We want to make a complete list of these connections in a form that a computer can understand. Any time Sefaria knows about connected texts, it shows a portion of the connected text on the right hand side of the screen.

You may be able to look up connections in resources like the Torah Temimah, or you may find a citation in a place like Wikisource and simply need to enter it.

There are many types of connections we're looking for:

  • Commentary: One text explicitly comments on another.
  • Quotation: The words of one text appear quoted in another.
  • Reference: One text refers to another.
  • Summary: One text summarizes the other.
  • Explication: One text explicates the meaning of another.
  • Related Passage: Two texts are related or parallel in a way worth comparing.

How to add connections:

Database and Source Sheet Tutorials#adding-connections

2. Correct Errors

If you see an error in Sefaria, please don't stand idly by! The more people who feel a responsibility to improve Sefaria's quality, the better it will get. Click Edit Text in the About Text menu to fix any problems you see and know how to correct. If you see strangely missing or badly segmented or aligned text, please check the text against its source link. Sometimes texts that are imported automatically to Sefaria get confused by unusual formatting and need to be hand corrected. You can adjust the way a text is broken up into segments by pressing enter or delete in the text editing box.

If you see a connection that is not connected to the correct text, click it to expand it then click the edit connection link at the bottom. You can update the citation so that it points to the correct place.

If you see a citation in a text that is not being recognized by Sefaria, it helps to change the citation so that Sefaria can pick up the link. For example, Sefaria doesn't use Roman Numerals, so citations like Genesis xxiv. i. should be corrected to Genesis 24:1.

If you recognize a problem but don't know how to fix it, please report it to the Sefaria Forum.

3. Translate Texts

If you're comfortable translating Hebrew, creating new translations of classic texts and offering them to the world is an incredibly impactful way to share talents. There's a huge opportunity here, because so much of the basics have yet to be started. Search online and you'll find dozens of translations of Rashi on Tanach; but what about Rambam, Ibn Ezra or Sforno?

Following the success of sites like Wikipedia and Wikisource, Sefaria is adopting a collaborative approach. Anyone may start a new translation, and anyone else may step in to suggest improvements. As we grow we'll design systems for contributors to more thoroughly vet and approve new translations.

For texts that we have in their original, Sefaria offers a simple side by side tool for making new translations. See Database and Source Sheet Tutorials#adding-translations for a tutorial.