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Why Were Textual Errors Reported to BibleWorks Not Immediately Fixed?
Author: KB Admin Reference Number: AA-02712 Views: 10613 Created: 2012-08-05 19:00 Last Updated: 2018-08-15 11:17 0 Rating/ Voters
BibleWorks apologizes for slowness in fixing some database errors.  While excuses do not help fix database errors, here is a little insight into what we did and why.

BibleWorks had hundreds of databases to maintain. Our process was not (usually) the same as editing a Word document. We usually used programs that we wrote to convert the databases to BibleWorks format. Some databases are complex, and the programs used to process the files are complex. Making a change in one area may affect other areas in that database, so making changes to the programs was not something to be done quickly or without much thought.

Electronic versions of texts are more complex than printed texts. There are two levels of editing needed in electronic documents. Both levels have to be correct in order for the document to appear and to function correctly. The first level is the display text. This level is shared in common with printed texts. The second level is the underlying tagging. This tagging interacts with the main BibleWorks program to make the text function and display correctly. Both levels, the text and the tagging, can have errors.  Therefore, there is a lot more proofing and correcting to be done in electronic texts than in printed texts. This adds more work to the correction process.

 There are different levels of urgency for correcting errors, as well. For example, if the error is a systemic problem throughout the database, we try to address that as soon as possible. If a database error only affects a word in a verse, esp. if it is easy to see for the BW user to see that it is an error and what the correct text should be, then we often collect the error reports until we can address that database. To make corrections to each database as soon as we receive a report of an error would, in some cases, have us providing updates to the exact same databases on a regular basis. It would be very difficult for us to produce new databases and program features if this is the way we operated.

We were able to make corrections to some databases for the BibleWorks 9 release, for example, but we were not able to address other databases. For example, we made hundreds of corrections to the NET Bible, a version that is very popular with BibleWorks users.  Also for BibleWorks 9 we reproofed (at great expense) the text of a number of the Greek databases. These are probably the most accurate of these databases available anywhere. We have some error reports, for example, for the Wallace Greek grammar, but we will not be correct those errors at this time because we will be redoing that module in the future in order for it to use Unicode fonts instead of the BibleWorks fonts. We will correct all the errors of which we are aware when we redo the module.

There are also some cases where we licensed databases and the license terms prohibited us from making corrections to the database. In those cases we had to report the errors to the license holder and wait for them to correct the database and provide us with new files.

Sometimes we had the problem of what to do when the original files provided to us contain errors. Our policy is to follow the printed text where possible. Some databases we receive are not in very good shape. We have rejected a number of databases because they did not meet our quality standards. For databases that we have commissioned to be converted to electronic texts, we have reproofed the same databases numerous times. Our quality standards are extremely high. A member of our staff who has spent quite a number of years doing editorial work assures us it is nearly impossible to locate and remove every single error in a database. He also assures us we would be surprised by some of the errors found in printed texts published by reputable publishers.

There will always be errors in databases and in printed texts. But we tried to buck the trend that is, unfortunately, common in electronic publishing. We did not rush out a text. We spent a lot of time and a lot of money trying to provide the most accurate and best texts that we possibly can. Our BibleWorks Manuscripts project was proof of this. We were seeking to provide the most accurate transcriptions of Greek manuscripts available anywhere. We tried to do as well for all of our other databases, while at the same time providing new databases and new program features. It wasn't an easy task.

We believe BibleWorks databases were as accurate as any that are available, and in some cases more accurate than other sources. As an indication of the number of error reports the we receive, consider that the number of error reports we receive from one very diligent BibleWorks user/proofer outnumbers reports from all other BibleWorks users combined. This should be an indication just how few errors there really are in BibleWorks databases.

BibleWorks users played an important role in correcting database errors. It was through users reporting errors that we found a large number of our errors. The best place now to send database errors (and only database errors) is to the publishers of the databases listed in Help | Show Copyright Information (accessible from the BibleWorks Main Menu).

We appreciated all help in identifying errors in BibleWorks databases.  Through customer help we strove to provide the best databases and tools available anywhere for serious study of the Bible.

Last updated: GW/June 1, 2018