Welcome to the Open Siddur Project

EveLevavi edited this page Dec 16, 2013 · 7 revisions


As part of our mission, the Open Siddur Project aims to produce a free software, web-based toolkit for users to prepare siddurim and other high quality Jewish liturgical works (such as haggadot and bentchers) to be printed out, shared online, or accessed via e-readers. In a general sense, the application we're developing might be called a collaborative publishing platform: collaborative like a wiki but designed with the ultimate goal of generating print media. (Unlike a wiki, individual users are given the choice of which material that they'd like to share that they've modified or authored.) Online, the platform will provide a space for individual users to select from, author, and share all the components of a siddur including prayers, translations, commentaries, art, and layout templates for incorporation in new, custom designed siddurim. Alternately, the platform could be used as a novel educational tool for the study of Jewish liturgy.

Our mission encompasses the values of pluralism (acceptance for the diversity of Jewish cultural expression), historical awareness (the text of the siddur is an aggregate of thousands of years of creatively inspired works), and individual freedom (empowering individuals to design their own tools for developing their spiritual practice).

Broadly, the work involved with creating our web application is divided in two parts:

Content gathering and preparation

Involves scanning books and facsimile editions of manuscripts in the Public Domain (or locating existing scans on Google Books, the Internet Archive, Hebrewbooks.org, the Jewish National and University Library and other locations), transcribing the text of those works by manually typing them out or locating existing transcriptions, proofreading our transcriptions for accuracy, and encoding them for our database of text.

For works that are not yet in the Public Domain, the Open Siddur Project receives and encodes new, original material [shared] (http://opensiddur.org/contribute/upload) using standard free culture licenses. All encoded content is entered into our open source database, making it accessible through our web application and our API.

Software development

The design and coding of the following:

  • Specifications and documentation of the XML-based format in which we archive the project's texts,
  • The [eXist] (http://www.exist-db.org)-based native XML database that contains the data,
    • A RESTful API to validate, create, read, update, and delete documents
    • Transforms to convert the XML-encoded documents into print- or display-ready formats,
  • The web-based application infrastructure/user interfaces used by developers and end users for editing, retrieving, and remixing the texts we provide.


We advocate for the adoption of free culture licenses for the sharing of Jewish cultural works. For more information on this, please check out our [web page] (http://opensiddur.org).

Development status

  • Development is progressing on the backend technologies and on the end user interface.
  • We are looking for volunteer developers.
  • We are looking for accurate typists and careful proofreaders for both Hebrew and English texts.
  • We have also made progress toward specific development [milestones] (https://github.com/opensiddur/opensiddur/issues/milestones?status=open).
  • The latest code is available from [our github repository] (https://github.com/opensiddur/opensiddur).
  • Our earliest proof-of-concept (a command line application) is available from [our old subversion server] (http://jewishliturgy.googlecode.com). Development on this proof of concept is now frozen. All active development effort is directed toward the database/web application architecture.

Getting Started As A Contributor

This is a free software/open source project. It makes progress because volunteers put their time into making it work.

The first step to joining the project is joining the [general mailing list] (http://groups.google.com/group/opensiddur-talk/) and/or the [technical mailing list] (http://groups.google.com/group/opensiddur-tech). Let us know who you are and what you are interested in doing.

Tell us about yourself by [filling out our survey] (http://opensiddur.net/join-us/).

For an introduction to coding for the project, see [Intro to Hacking].

Social networking

Getting Help

Reporting Errors and Bugs

Problems may be reported and discussed on the [technical discussion list] (http://groups.google.com/group/opensiddur-tech/). Please discuss issues there first. Bug reports may be submitted to the [issue tracker on Github] (https://github.com/opensiddur/opensiddur/issues).