RSS icon

Freely-Given.org Bible Drop Box

Picture of the FG Logo

SORRY (Feb 2017): Due to our ISP migrating their email servers and not keeping us very well informed, we are currently unable to send an automatic email response when your submission is ready. Instead, you'll need to check the private web address that you will be given after submitting your data (e.g., reload the page every 30 minutes or so.)

This is a place where you can upload a zip file containing USFM or other Bible files and enter some other brief information, and the server behind the site will automatically run a number of checks on the Bible and then convert it to a number of other formats including Bible modules, websites, and "typeset" output. You will then be emailed the address of a private page from which you can download the converted files. In addition to USFM, it is able to also accept and autodetect zipped ESFM, OSIS, USX, USX, Zefania, Haggai, OpenSong, VerseView, Unbound, Drupal, Palm Bible+, theWord, MySword, MyBible, and unencrypted e-Sword Bibles, plus DBL text bundles.

Three big advantages of this system are:

  1. You don't have to install all the various conversion scripts and programmes on your own system (and keep them updated),
  2. if you only do this occasionally, you don't have to remember very much about how you did it last time (just bookmark this page), and
  3. if your translation is still in progress, it's a very convenient way to get partial Bibles onto tablets and smartphones for testing and community feedback (and then you just drop your updated files again later for a refresh—read about the forthcoming CustomBible app).

Bible conversions

Currently this Bible Drop Box converts to USFM and ESFM, OSIS XML, USX XML (v2.0), Zefania and Haggai XML, OpenSong XML, theWord and e-Sword (MS-Windows) formats, MySword (Android) format, GoBible (Java) format, and both uncompressed and compressed Sword Modules produced by a variety of different methods and which can be loaded into a number of different front-end programs.

It produces two different ebook formats: the ePub format and the Mobi (Kindle) format.

It also produces both xHTML and HTML5 files suitable for building into a website, a jpeg PhotoBible for inexpensive camera phones, LibreOffice (or OpenOffice) writer (ODF) files and MS-Word XML files, plus it attempts to produce a nice "typeset" output, available for direct use as a PDF file, or for tweaking by technical users via the produced TeX or Lout files.

Another output is a set of data files and a pass-code that can be utilised by the forthcoming CustomBible app in order for non-technical people to be able to easily get Bibles onto Android devices.

See here for more technical notes about the system.

Important note

The Bible Drop Box was originally designed to accept the primary source files of Bible translations, especially USFM files. However, as a result of user requests, it has now been extended to be capable of reading a number of different module formats from various Bible display programs.

Note, however, that many of the various Bible program module formats cannot encode all of the various Bible features. For example, not all of them can display section headings and/or certain notes and formatting. Also, many freely available modules for Bible programs have propagated errors from poorly-checked source texts.

All to say that it's nearly always better to seek for the original source texts rather than using a copy of a copy so to speak. Or another way to think about it is that the quality of the Bible Drop Box output can be no better than the quality of the input that you give it!

Demonstration output

If you want an idea of what the output from the Bible Drop Box is like, you can view a sample here that uses a snapshot of the same Matigsalug data which is online at MLCA.info. Two of the Open English Translation versions are also available: the Literal Version (ESFM) and the Readers' Version (USFM). There's also a WEB sample using a snapshot of the public domain World English Bible USFM files which are online at eBible.org and the OEB sample using a snapshot of the Open English Bible.

Submitting USFM Bible files

If you run SIL/UBS Paratext, the easiest way to produce a suitable zip file to submit, is to open Paratext and click on the window for your project. Then use the File / Backup Project / To File… command (File / Backup in Paratext 6) to make the zip file. For best results, make sure that the Include project properties and settings checkbox is ticked. The filename must have a .zip extension. Take careful note of which folder you are saving your backup zip file into, because you will need that information down below in order to submit the file.

If you are not a Paratext user, you should go into your My Paratext Projects or My Paratext 8 Projects folder and select the folder for your project. In Paratext 6 or 7 (but not 8), while holding down the Control key, also click on the .ssf file for your project if you have one (so that both the folder and the .ssf file are selected). Then create a .zip file by using right-click / Send To / Compressed (zipped) Folder in Windows, or right-click / Compress… or similar in Linux. Again the filename must have a .zip extension and you must note what folder it is saved into because you will need that information down below in order to submit the file.

Submitting other Bible files

You should compress your file or files into a zip archive. The filename must have a .zip extension. Take careful note of which folder you are saving your zip file into, because you will need that information below in order to submit the file.

Supplying metadata

Metadata is a technical term that refers to information about the Bible translation, such as the language of the translation, the year of publication, the names of the translators, the copyright information, etc. Many of the conversions will produce a better result if you ensure that sufficient metadata is given to enable the Bible Drop Box to supply all of the necessary information to the appropriate convertors. For this reason, we recommend that you create and submit a companion metadata file. (We recommend a .txt file extension for the file. And also save it somewhere on your system so it's easy to use again for your next submission.)

Submission form

Your name:

Your email address:

Language/Project name:

I have the authority to submit this data:

What is your main goal here (optional):

The following exports use heavy processing so have to be explicitly requested:
     PhotoBible export (for cheap, non-Java cellphones):
     ODF exports (for LibreOffice, OpenOffice, etc.):
     PDF exports (via TeX or lout):

Zip file containing your Bible file(s) (preferably in UTF-8 encoding):

Text file containing your Bible metadata (recommended):

NOT CURRENTLY WORKING, SORRY (See note at top of page): Normally you should get a response email within an hour or so (depending on server load and requested exports) containing a web URL/link. (If not, please check your junk mail filter or spam box in case it has been moved there.) The converted data will normally be available for you to download or view for fourteen days. The web address is not published to others and is not easily discoverable (i.e., your data is kept private).

Privacy policy: Once the submitted files are processed, Freely-Given.org will create a private page with your results and email you the address of the page. The page and the downloadable files will remain valid for a limited time—currently guaranteed to be at least fourteen days. You are free to disclose the page address to others so they can view or download the files, but Freely-Given.org does not make the page public. (The address of the page is complex and not easily discoverable by any other party including search engines, unless YOU put a link to your private page on some other searchable site.) A copy of the submitted files will be retained on our server for archive and testing purposes, but will not be made available to others.

Acknowledgements.