Well said, Arnaud. It doesn't have to be an either/or choice between 
presentation as the translators intend and the ability to correlate matching 
content. Troy and I could both enjoy our different use cases, which are 
actually not unique just to Troy and me. It is worth the work to make both 
cases available.

On 2/20/24 05:09, Arnaud Vié wrote:
Thank you for your interest and your time !
And thanks Troy for your valuable historical explanation.

However, I can't help but feel that you all are underestimating the power of 
Your are splitting the use cases of "rendering a bible mostly as it was published" versus 
"making a bible searchable accurately for bible study and research", as if we had to 
choose one and neglect the other.
These use cases are both equally valid, but the good news is that OSIS is 
already a (mostly) perfect format to handle both at the same time.
That's part of the reason why I fell in love with the format and believe it's 
worth maintaining.

In particular, some cases Michael mentions :

    Chapter and verse "numbers" aren't always pure numbers. Letters get 
involved in the Deuterocanon/Apocrypha.

Here, OSIS already provides a distinction between :

  * The OSIS ID, which is a "technical" ID supposed to be a unique identifier 
for the book/verse/chapter. On this, OSIS imposes a constrained format and structure 
because applications will need to process it.
  * The published number (the verse or chapter's "n" attribute) which is a free 
text, allowing to preserve the numbering from the published document.

In fact USFM provides a similar distinction between the "v" and "vp", "c" and 
"cp" keywords.
You can check the example in my first email about the proposed Catholic3 versification 
<http://crosswire.org/pipermail/sword-devel/2024-January/049928.html> for an example : it's 
perfectly fine to have an OSIS ID "Esth.3.20" for a verse that is labelled as "13G" 
in the published document, because the OSIS ID is technical.
The OSIS ID should be used almost exclusively for this need of referencing and 
mapping verses between different translations ; in an ideal world, the OSIS ID 
shouldn't even be visible to end users (even though I know that's not currently 
the case).
The "n" attributes are what should be presented to the users when reading a 

    Verse bridges (like verse 1-3 with everything from verses 1 through 3 but 
possibly rearranged and with no other verse markings within them) are very 

OSIS already natively supports its, without any changes to versifications : it allows 
several OSIS IDs on a single tag explicitly for this purpose. (section "15.4. 
Grouping" of the OSIS manual)
So it's perfectly valid to define verses 1,2,3 in the versification, and then have one single 
"verse" element with all of these IDs at once for this use case. This "verse" tag can 
then provide an n="1-3" attribute to preserve the published document notation.

My proposal for a new way of defining versifications aims purely at improving 
the mapping feature - the same one that Troy relies on for bible study and 
It has no impact on the "presentation" side of things - because of these 
existing OSIS features I mentioned above which already allow preserving the original 
text's numbering.
The "principle 1" of my proposal in the other thread is the core of what a versification 
system should be : a versification system should assign a unique ID to identify a verse's contents 
(what I called the "meaning" of the verse in my proposal), so that this ID can be used to 
reference or map the equivalent or related text in other bibles.
That's where the current versification system is problematic, because many bibles do not 
fit exactly into one of the default versifications, and they have no way of building a 
"custom" versification. That's the problem I'm trying to solve.

Le mar. 20 févr. 2024 à 14:54, Peter von Kaehne <ref...@gmx.net> a écrit :

    There are two aspects here:

    Historical developments which have been by and large well explored by Chris 
and are mirrored well in our various av11n system - with specific and now 
largely known gaps - we have less clue on the Roman catholic development of 
versification systems and probably even less on a variety of autochthone 
churches with their own historical development of translations an 
versification. But these are well defined tasks and e.g. the work of Dominique 
to bring in the French systems documents well how we should
    handle that side.

    The complications coming in due to modern translation are actually very 

    FWIW, most modern translations which play about with versifications still 
actually follow an underlying well known and documented plan.

    NRSV(A) eg seems to be all what UBS and Wycliffe use - even when allowing 
for verse bridges, reordering and more.

    Which makes me think we should think more about a presentation overlay 
which we have at the moment very rudimentary only. OSIS certainly allows for 
more than we incorporate right now.

    This could take eg in the engine the form of a resorting filter where text 
is reordered and marked up for user facing presentation based on additional 
presentation info in modules.

    This would to my mind be a much better solution than ever increasing 
further system of av11n or indeed a complete rewrite.


    Sent from Outlook for iOS <https://aka.ms/o0ukef>
    *From:* sword-devel <sword-devel-boun...@crosswire.org> on behalf of Troy A. 
Griffitts <scr...@crosswire.org>
    *Sent:* Tuesday, February 20, 2024 12:24 am
    *To:* sword-devel@crosswire.org <sword-devel@crosswire.org>
    *Subject:* Re: [sword-devel] Catholic versification / inter-versification 

    Dear all,

    These comments are a mix of background, history, and thoughts:

    1) VERSIFICATION (v11n):

    Variation between reference systems sucks.  Until you get into the weeds of 
the details, it is normal to assume the problems are not complex.  SWORD tries 
to implement a simple 90% solution.

    SWORD and JSword support defined abstract versification schemes with 3 
simple dimensions: [bookid : chapterMax][chapterNumber : verseMax][verseNumber 
: verseEntry]

    Conceptually we also operate on these assumptions (I've skimmed the 
proposal by Arnaud which differs here, but I haven't given it the thought it 
deserves to comment yet): that book order is defined in the v11n system; that 
chapter and verse numbers are numeric and begin at 1 and increase to verseMax.  
We also allocate a special slot '0' for: Module Introduction; Testament 
Introduction; Book Introduction; and Chapter Introduction (e.g., Matt.0.0 can 
hold an introduction to Matthew).

    Those who have been exposed to many Bibles will immediately think of places 
these assumption fall short.  But for >90% of our Bibles, these assumption hold 
true, and these assumption make many aspects of our work much simpler (abstract 
parsing of verse lists and ranges, bookmark ordering, etc.).

    Historically, SWORD previously supported dynamic, per module, 
versification, with a 3 phase lookup:

    index file .bks[book number] = book offset in next index;
    index file .cps[book offset + chapter number] = chapter offset in next 
    index file .vss[chapter offset + verse number] = verse offset and entry 
size in data file.

    20 years or so, we made the decision to begin the hard work to understand 
versification systems within Bibles so we could begin to map them 
appropriately. This let us remove the .bks, and .cps index files and store that 
data in versification system definitions, leaving only the final .vss index 
file which gave the offsets and entry sizes into the data file.

    Caring about versifications was a decision we made. Our previous design let 
any Bible decide how many books, how many chapters, and how many verses each 
chapter contained.  This had its merits because any new versification could be 
defined in each module without anyone caring what it was.  But the drawback was 
the same: any Bible could decide how many books, how many chapters, and how 
many verses without anyone knowing why or what they were.

    Some have pushed for dynamic definitions of v11n systems again, and I 
understand why.  I am in favor of moving forward with a hybrid approach: a set 
of defined versification systems, which a module will still need to choose 
from, to which it most closely adheres, + the ability for that module to 
specify its variation.

    Toward 98%: We have tried to work around the cons of this simple design and 
approach 100% support by accounting for the most common types of problems, e.g.

      * The engine allows common verse suffixes (e.g. Matt.2.7b);
      * The engine skips verses in a Bible which are not present-- this allows 
us to create v11n schemes which are a superset of n number of closely related 
v11n schemes, knowing that the engine will skip over the verses that are not 
present in the module; We also have tools which print out missing verses which 
has proven a good QA check for our modules team.
      * When we run across a Bible which adds an odd verse here or there or an 
out of order verse, our workaround has been to append these to end of the verse 
just before where they should appear, so the text flows the same as the printed 
Bible, and we include for the reader an inline visual separator and marker 
showing the publisher's verse number.

    These work arounds get us pretty close to being able to support 98% of our Bibles 
exactly as the publisher wishes, and the remaining 2% is supported "well 
enough" for no complaints by publishers.  Could we build a system which allowed out 
of order verses, or which allowed any scheme a Bible wished to follow? Sure, but the 
added complexity for various tasks increases quite a bit for some of these allowances-- 
e.g., think index math for book chapter verse when we cannot assume numeric sequence; 
    abstract ordering of bookmarks not tied to any specific Bible, search 
results across Bibles, etc.

    Our vision with v11n definitions is that they will be a few as possible 
allowing us to map between them most easily; and as many as necessary to allow 
us to represent well enough a published work.

    Chris Little previously was our versification pumpkin holder and did some 
amazing work researching all this material.  As a demonstration of his thorough 
work and an example of the difficulties with v11n, see his work on just the LXX 


    Chris has left our community after many years of volunteering massive time 
and effort.

    We haven't had anyone step up who is willing to commit the time and effort 
necessary and who holds our vision (as few as possible, as many as necessary).

    2) MAPPINGS:

    SWORD and JSword support v11n to v11n mappings. Graciously, Костя Маслюк 
worked with us for over a year to discuss the problems and implement a 
versification mapping system which has been included in the engine.  He also 
added v11n mappings for systems he was interested in supporting. If anyone is 
interesting in the discussions, they can see the archives, e.g.,


    Historically, we called this topic alternate versification, so if you see 
"av11n" in the archives, you'll be aware.

    Registering v11n systems and mappings in the engine is straightforward in 
our versification manager, and as you can see, loading these dynamically from a 
file would be simple to implement:


    During the development of the mapping infrastructure, our proof of concept 
was to see if we could concisely build a parallel Bible HTML display across 
versification systems, letting a user specify any number of Bibles, the first 
Bible v11n being the primary ordering driver:



    So, now to the issue with adding another Catholic versification system.  I would love 
to continue to delegate ownership of v11n decisions!  I trusted Chris.  He said 
"no" all the time, and only allowed new versification definitions if we really 
couldn't support a set of Bibles using an existing system with our work arounds.  He 
spent the time necessary to understand the traditions, which published works would use 
the proposed versification, he had excellent skills clearly delineating systems--
    generally he made well informed decisions from many hours of research.

    I don't understand the complex details nor have the time to do the research for each individual 
request. My first thought is, where is Chris?!  Next, my uninformed mind thinks: we have v11n 
definitions "Catholic" and "Catholic2"! Why do we need an additional Catholic 
versification system?  Did we do a bad job with the first two?  Can we not follow our principles 
and create a superset between 2 or more of these?  And of course, these are not proper responses.

    So, if anyone is prayfully willing to take up this pumpkin-- to put in the 
time necessary to research Bible traditions and published works, to truly 
understands both the pros and cons of the decisions we've made to go down the 
path we are on, along with our workarounds for the cons, and is willing to live 
wholeheartedly with where we are now, but certainly always open to improve, I 
would love for that person to take ownership of versification.

    I appreciate the pointers to the Paratext v11ns and mappings, maybe we 
compare where we are now with what they have.

    Thank you all for being zealous to improve things. Looking forward the 
conversation to follow,


    On 1/26/24 06:10, Arnaud Vié wrote:

    Hello everyone,

    I'm the person Cyrille mentioned, and I just joined the mailing list as I 
thought I could maybe explain a bit more what I'm trying to do with this new 

    *1. Problem statement*

    Simply put, my objective is to be able to align verse-by-verse the contents 
of two bibles that use different versifications.
    For example :
    - I open Daniel 3 in a Catholic bible, it has 100 verses because the Prayer 
of Azariah is included.
    - I want to compare the translation verse by verse with, for example, the 
KJVA. This means I want to see the Daniel 3 from KJVA, with all verses from 
PrAzar included in the corresponding place.

    There was already logic to perform such mapping in jsword, and I recently 
included it to support deuterocanonical contents (on the AndBible fork, since 
that's the only one where I got answers from the maintainer) : 

    Now, the problem is to be able to do the same with the deuterocanonical additions to 
the book of Esther, because there are many different "strategies" adopted by 
different bibles.
    - Protestant bibles, when they have it, usually have it a separate books 
(AddEsth in KJVA).
    - Some catholic bibles have it as additional chapters at the end of Esther, making 
Esther 16 chapters long : that's the existing "Catholic2" versification, which 
maps to KJVA easily : 
    - Most catholic bibles actually have the additions integrated directly 
within the original text, using lettered verse numbers (13A, 13B, etc., see 
here for example : https://www.aelf.org/bible/Est/3 )

    Currently, these catholic bible with the text integrated use the "Catholic" 
versification, and ignore all the lettered verses (or include the letters as raw text) : 
basically, Esther 3.13 with these additions becomes one single very long verse. This 
makes it impossible to map properly with the AddEsth of KJVA.

    *2. Proposed solution (Catholic3 versification)*

    With the proposed Catholic3 versification (except it needs a few 
adjustments compared to the file proposed by Cyrille), what I'd like to achieve 
is to give a unique verse number to each of those.
    For example, Esther 3 goes from 15 to 22 verses, with the OSIS IDs becoming 
    - Esth.3.13 for verse 13
    - Esth.3.14 for verse 13A...
    - Esth.3.20 for verse 13G
    - Esth.3.21 for verse 14
    (Basically, the OSIS ID identifies the position of the verse; the actual numbering from the 
bible can be preserved separately with the OSIS "n" attribute or the "\vp" USFM 

        would your use-case be served if canon_catholic.h was
        modified to increase the verse counts in Esther to 39, 23, 22, 47, 29,
        14, 10, 41, 32, 14?

    Since my objective is to allow mapping verse by verse, you'll understand that I need 
the verse counts to be aligned with the actual usage. Having the 
"versification" allow more verses than what's actually used defeats the purpose.
    In addition, I believe it's a very bad idea to make big changes to already 
published versifications : the point of versifications is to give a unique ID 
to a verse. Updating a versification will change all IDs for the verses of 
already existing bibles that use this versification.
    I really believe the best solution for the time being is to create a new 
Catholic3 versification, as originally suggested.
    I can provide the full definition very soon (though since I'm working with 
JSword it will be in Java format first), and it should in theory be aligned 
with Catholic and Catholic2 except for these differences in Esther. (I'll check 
if there are more differences I missed).

    *3. Modular versifications*

        I think at some point it would be nice to have per-book versifications
        or some other way to deal with bibles that don't follow a "standard"

    If everyone is open to the idea, I'd like to work in the next few months on an 
extension of the OSIS standard to define "modular" versifications, ie. 
versifications that can be built by composing other versifications and applying a diff.
    Then each bible could, in its document header, not only reference a 
standard versification with refSystem, but include its own specific changes and 
how they map to the standard.

    Before I spend time on the topic though, is there anyone in particular I 
should ask to approve the general idea, and who would be interested in 
reviewing proposals on the topic ?

    Thanks all and best regards,


    Le jeu. 25 janv. 2024 à 16:35, pinoaffe <pinoa...@gmail.com> a écrit :


        I don't know much about catholic bibles or sword, but just out of
        curiosity: would your use-case be served if canon_catholic.h was
        modified to increase the verse counts in Esther to 39, 23, 22, 47, 29,
        14, 10, 41, 32, 14?  Or would the decreases in verse counts in other
        chapters of other books also be necessary?

        And would such a change be acceptable to others?

        The catholic bibles I've encountered "in the wild" are the dutch
        Willibrordvertaling of 1975 and the neovulgate. Both of these appear to
        follow canon_catholic3.h everywhere except in Esther, where they have 16

        I think at some point it would be nice to have per-book versifications
        or some other way to deal with bibles that don't follow a "standard"
        versification, but for now we'll have to make do with what we got

        Kind regards,

        Fr Cyrille <fr.cyri...@tiberiade.be> writes:
        > Hello,
        > Recently a person interested in the Catholic bible in French told me
        > about the mapping problems between Catholic versification and the kjva
        > concerning Esther. So I'm bringing up the question of a new Catholic
        > versification that could better deal with this kind of problem and at
        > the same time incorporate some of the errors in current Catholic
        > versifications. I should mention that two versifications for French
        > Bibles have been added since my proposal for a new Catholic
        > versification, which was made long before these versifications were
        > added, and which was not favorably received at the time. In our case,
        > the number of Bibles that follow this versification is simply
        > enormous, since the majority of Catholic Bibles do. I would also add
        > that the LXX versification is not entirely correct. There are no LXX
        > today that put 16 chapters to Esther. Ralph's already uses letters to
        > integrate Greek passages into the text.
        > In fact, Catholic versification simply follows Ralph's. So I suggest
        > that we seriously reopen this question with concrete suggestions.
        > For my part, the suggestion is simple: convert the numbers in the
        > Greek passages into verses and offset the numbered verses in the same
        > chapters. I'll copy you on what that might look like.
        > Br Cyrille
        > [2. text/x-chdr; canon_catholic3.h]...
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