Volunteer Keyboarding of Scripture

This web page contains information for people interested in helping to fulfill the Great Commission by typing Scripture in various languages. We are currently helping Wycliffe Associates UK to help the Paraguayan Bible Society and others by keyboarding older Bibles to prepare for revision work. This is voluntary work to help Christian missionaries in various countries. There is no payment involved.

If you:

then please write to keyboarding@ebible.org or use the Wycliffe Associates UK volunteer form to give your name, postal address, email address, and say that you would like to help in keyboarding Scripture.

How to Keyboard Scripture

Once you have volunteered to keyboard, we will send you one or more chapters to keyboard. These are generally photocopies of old Bibles that need to be revised. They may also be handwritten text.

Start with Prayer

Thank God for His Word and the people we are typing it for. Ask Him to help you do an excellent job.

Use Plain ASCII Text

Because many people and many different kinds of computers running many different kinds of software will be using and working on these texts, we use a format that all of these can understand, called "Plain ASCII" (pronounced ask-ee). This is the encoding used and produced by Microsoft Windows Notepad, MS-DOS Edit, Unix vi, and many others. Any good word processor can import and export plain ASCII text. Most email programs are capable of composing Plain ASCII text. Use your email program or whatever text editing or word processing software you are comfortable with.

By "Plain," we mean that the text is not tagged (as with HTML or RTF) for fonts, colors, sizes, etc. You may type the text with these attributes in a word processor, but when you export the text as plain ASCII, these attributes are removed, and all that is left is the text itself.

Special Characters and Accents

We keyboard Scripture for a variety of languages with lots of special accents and characters that aren't normally used in English, and we do it without requiring you to use any special software. To do this, we use combinations of characters to build characters. For example, ":e" is used to represent an "e" with two dots (an umlaut) above it (). Some word processors and operating systems have other ways of representing those characters. Please don't use those, as they won't necessarily display properly on all systems that will be used to process this text. Instead, use our list of character substitutions. This list is in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). You can get a free reader for PDF files from Adobe.

Standard Format Markers

To allow for automatic processing of these Scripture chapters, "Standard Format" markers are embedded into the text to indicate book, chapter, verse, subtitles, cross references, footnotes, poetry formatting, indented text, beginnings of paragraphs, etc. These markers all start with a backslant (\) at the very beginning of a line of text. Please see the booklet How to Keyboard Scripture for a description of these markers. This booklet is in PDF format, which uses the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Positioning Verse Markers

If the verses are numbered right at the beginning of a verse you are typing, then start a new line and put the verse marker right there. Some of the texts we are typing (like the Paraguyan Guarani text) were typeset with the verse numbers at the left margin of the line the verse starts in. In this case, place the verse marker at the first beginning of a sentence on that line, or if there is no beginning of a sentence, after a punctuation break. If there is no punctuation break (colon, semicolon, comma), then just place the marker at the beginning of that line.

For example:

heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. 14 As Moses lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal
life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only
Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal
life. 17 For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the
world, but that the world should be saved through him. 18 He who

This should be keyboarded:

heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.
\v 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must
the Son of Man be lifted up,
\v 15 that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal
life.
\v 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only
Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal
life.
\v 17 For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the
world, but that the world should be saved through him. 
\v 18 He who

If the verse numbers are to the left of the line, like this:

14   heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. As Moses lifted up the
     serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted
15   up, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have
16   eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his one
     and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but
17   have eternal life. For God didn't send his Son into the world to

This should be keyboarded:

heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.
\v 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must
the Son of Man be lifted up,
\v 15 that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal
life.
\v 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only
Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal
life.
\v 17 For God didn't send his Son into the world to

Hyphenation and Dashes

In some previously typeset text, you will see hyphens at the end of some lines to split a word.  When typing it, leave it as one word. Don't use hyphens unless they are used in the middle of a line to join words. If you see an em dash (a long dash) used as punctuation, type two dashes in a row--like this.

For example, this:

13 Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that
the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you will ask any-
thing in my name, I will do it. 15 If you love me, keep my command-
ments. 16 I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another
Counselor, that he may be with you forever,  17 the Spirit of
truth, whom the world can't receive; for it doesn't see him, neither

should be keyboarded as:

\v 13 Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that the
Father may be glorified in the Son.
\v 14 If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it.
\v 15 If you love me, keep my commandments.
\v 16 I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counselor,
that he may be with you forever, --
\v 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world can't receive; for it doesn't
see him, neither

Running Headers

Don't type in the running headers and page numbers at the top of the page. These will be generated as necessary from the "Standard Format" markers when the Scriptures are printed out.

File Naming

For the benefit of the computer programs that process and print these Scripture files, we separate them into one file for each chapter. The booklet How to Keyboard Scripture gives instructions on how to name files. We have modified those instructions slightly to add a team designation. Therefore the file name should be the three-letter book name, the two (or three, for Psalms) digit chapter number, the team designation, a period, then the language designator. If you email an attached file, this should be its name. If you email your work in the body of an email message, please put this name on the email subject line. For example, for Paraguayan Guarani, the language code is "GUG" so the file name for Matthew chapter 5 in Paraguayan Guarani typed by U. S. team "b" (designator UB) would be "MAT05UB.GUG". Your team leader should tell you what your team designation is. (If you don't know, or forgot, just leave the designation blank, like MAT05.GUG, and we will figure it out from your email address.)

Questions

If you have any questions about how to do things, please ask your team leader..

Illegible Characters

If you find that the copy you are typing from us just too poor to read one or more characters, even after looking through a magnifying glass, then type a "*" for the illegible character(s).

Proofread Your Work

Once you have typed your work, please take a break. When you are rested, go back and check your work. Check for missing or repeated words, lines, or verses. Check that the spelling and accents are right. Once you are satisfied that the file is correct, please email it in.

Emailing Your Results

Email your work back to your team leader. You may either attach the file to the message or include the file in the body of the message. When you do, please let your team leader know if you want more Scripture to type.

More Information

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. Updated 17 May 2000.