$2,277
pledged of $6,000pledged of $6,000 goal
38
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, February 5 2014 11:00 PM UTC +00:00

Electronic Anglican Breviary: Phase 1

A web application for praying the Anglican Breviary with a choice of options including Eastern and Western kalendars.

Electronic Anglican Breviary: Phase 1

A web application for praying the Anglican Breviary with a choice of options including Eastern and Western kalendars.

$2,277
pledged of $6,000pledged of $6,000 goal
38
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, February 5 2014 11:00 PM UTC +00:00

About

The Electronic Anglican Breviary: Phase 1

Introduction to the Anglican Breviary

The Anglican Breviary is one of the great liturgical works that has come out of the Catholic movement in Anglicanism. 30 years in the making, it was produced in the year 1955 by the Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation. Like all breviaries, it contains the traditional hours of prayers of the Western Church: the long early morning Matins office with its readings from the Church Fathers interspersed with psalms; the main offices for the hinges of the day, Lauds and Vespers; the daytime offices of Prime, Terce, Sext, None; the bedtime office of Compline; and the brief Capitular office that includes the martyrology recounting the saints to be remembered. Built on the structure of the Roman Catholic Divine Office according to the usage established by Pius X, it utilizes the Scriptures of the King James Bible and the Coverdale Psalms of the Book of Common Prayer to place these prayer hours within an Anglican idiom. 

This breviary restores to the Anglican liturgical experience the antiphons, responsaries, hymns, and readings from the Church Fathers that Cranmer removed from the first prayer books. Furthermore, this breviary stands as a sign of the Anglican relationship with the Roman Catholic Church: on one hand, it signals a confluence of practice; on the other, the difference in readings (and therefore theology) for some of the recent feasts illustrates where the Anglican churches have retained a more ancient tradition. Of course, in the aftermath of the liturgical upheavals of the mid-20th century and the reforms that took place at Vatican II, the breviary itself stands as a witness to the Anglican retention of Western church traditions even where the Roman Catholic Church has moved in new directions. 

The breviary has seen new life in recent years. It is back in circulation again, and is being used by Episcopalians, Anglicans, Roman Catholics of the Anglican Ordinariates, Western Orthodox, and more. There is a vibrant online community dedicated to its use, including an active Facebook page and several blogs. This renewed interest indicates that, rather than simply being a relic of a by-gone age, the breviary has a place in the spiritual lives of modern people worth preserving and nurturing. 

Description of the Project

This project represents an effort to ensure that the growth and use of the Anglican Breviary will continue. As the breviary enters its sixth decade, its content must make the move into the digital world. The three goals of this project are to 1) create an accurate digital transcription of the Anglican Breviary, 2) structure the transcription with xml markup in order to 3) build a free web application using xml technologies to facilitate praying the breviary based on user options. 

In order to accomplish this ambitious goal, I am breaking the work into three distinct phases guided by the structure of the breviary itself. The breviary as a whole is divided into nine portions, each with its own lettered section, which can be logically grouped into four parts. The first contains the Common of the Season which contains the common parts of the service, the basic structure of the prayer hours, and the psalter as it is prayed through the week. The second contains the Proper of the Season, and contains all of the material needed for the Temporal cycle. The third part contains the Proper of the Saints and contains all of the material needed for the fixed feasts of the year. The fourth part contains the Common of the Saints and some ancillary devotions. 

Phase 1 will involve four major tasks: 

  • Transcribing three major sections of the breviary consisting of 529 pages: a. the Introduction and General Rubrics (pages i-lii) b. the Common of the Season, Common Forms, the Ordinary of the Divine Office, the Psalter (pages 1-223) c. the Common of Saints, the Sabbath Office of Our Lady, and the Office for the Dead (pages 1583-1835) 
  • Applying xml markup tags to transcribed material
  • Programming the relationships among the material 
  • Creating a wiki to house materials and to crowd-source transcriptions of material for Phases 2 and 3

The first task is getting the breviary material into a digital form. This will use a combination of reading the text through voice recognition software and typing it into the computer directly. This will be the most time-consuming part of the project. All transcriptions will go into the Anglican Breviary wiki described below. 

Once the text has been entered, the second task is to mark up the text with xml tags. These tags will tell the computer how to process the material in order to properly display it. I have already created a provisional markup schema for liturgical material that I will apply and refine as needed. 

Once the markup is complete, the third task will be the programming work that will describe the relationships between the marked-up text, enabling the computer to display any given office correctly. This work will build on the programming I have already done in the creation of the St. Bede’s Breviary and the Forward Movement Daily Office site. 

The fourth task provides a repository for the Phase 1 texts, accountability for the work's progress, and looks ahead to Phases 2 and 3. Everything transcribed will be placed in plain-text form in a publicly available wiki. This way, the work can be accessed by anyone—and you can see for yourself how the progress is coming! Since the bulk of the time—and therefore expense—of this project lies in the transcription work, I shall allow moderated input to the wiki that will enable anyone with a computer to assist in the transcription of the material for Phase 2, the Proper of Seasons, and Phase 3, the Proper of Saints. By crowd-sourcing this work, we ought to be able to reduce both development time and development cost for the two successive phases by a great deal.

Partnerships

Once enough people had come to me requesting an electronic edition of the breviary--both online and in person--and I determined that it might be feasible, my very first step was to contact Mr. Daniel Lula who currently keeps the Anglican Breviary in print and provides it through his Anglican Breviary site. I explained my vision for this project, and stated that I would only go forward with it with his blessing. Having already been aware of my work with the St. Bede's Breviary, he graciously gave his approval.

In discussing further particulars of the project with my friends and colleagues, I also received a wonderful offer for free lifetime web hosting from The Society of Archbishop Justus. The society is an independent Anglican nonprofit committed to providing electronic resources for the Church and the spread of the Gospel. They currently host a number of projects and sites includes Anglicans Online, Project Canterbury, and Chad Wohlers' magnificent resource on the Books of Common Prayer. I'm honored to be included among this collection, and this partnership solves the problem of seeking ongoing web hosting costs. 

Phase 1 Time Table

As a full-time IT professional as well as a full-time dad and husband, my work hours are limited! Budgeting two hours a day for the roughly 20 work-days a month, I estimate the following time-spans for the three main phases of work:

  • transcription of material: 2.5 months
  • markup of material: 1 month
  • breviary programming: 1 month

The time to set up the website itself and the wiki for Propers of the Seasons and the Saints will require less than a week.

As a result, I expect that if Phase 1 begins February, 2014, this phase will be completed by the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul at the end of June, 2014.

Phase 1 Cost Estimates

Risks and challenges

Since I am the sole programmer working on this project, one risk is that completion is dependent on my ability to get things done. Too, if I get hit by the proverbial bus, the future of the project would be in question!

I shall address these issues with the establishment of the Anglican Breviary wiki. The purpose of the wiki is not primarily to answer questions (as with most wikis), but to provide a repository for transcribed material. Leveraging this crowd-sourcing technology will help me address a number of related challenges in three major ways.

First, through crowd-sourcing, I won't have to bear sole responsibility for transcribing the entire breviary. According to my current plan, I do plan to transcribe everything in Phase 1, and hope to rely on crowd-sourced transcriptions to reduce the amount of transcription time and cost for Phases 2 and 3 (the Proper of Seasons and Proper of Saints, respectively). However, should there be some particularly diligent transcribers willing and able to assist with Phase 1, I would be open to that option provided we work out a way to avoid duplicating efforts.

Second, a transcription-focused wiki provides a means of accountability. By checking the wiki, you can see exactly how far I've gotten in the work of transcribing the text! Mark-up of the transcribed text wouldn't work in exactly the same way, but I would have a read-only archive where the xml mark-up texts could be downloaded. In the same way, I'll post a link to the test site when programming work begins.

Third, should anything happen to me, the transcriptions and my progress to date will be publicly available so that others could continue the work in my absence.

The other issue to tackle after successful funding is paying for ongoing web-related costs. This had initially been a much larger concern when I had to consider paying for full hosting; thankfully, my partnership with the Society of Archbishop Justus has eased this greatly. As a result, the only on-going costs will be periodic domain name renewals which will require only a small donation.

Once the work proposed here is complete, it will be time to move on to Phases 2 and 3. Phase 1 will lay the groundwork, provide the structure of the Offices, and complete the programming that will enable the breviary to function properly. Phase 2 will add the content needed for the Proper of Seasons; Phase 3 will add the content needed for the Proper of Saints. Because these phases will only consist of transcription and markup, they will not require nearly the investment of Phase 1. In particular, if the wiki succeeds as a crowd-sourcing tool, much of the work for these two later phases may be accomplished through it, leaving only the markup work to be completed.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Part of the planning for the programming will be flow-charting the rubrics of the breviary. Every single way of praying each office--either required or permitted--must be laid out in detail. All of these flowcharts will be bundled together into one great rubrical guide and provided as a PDF.

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Receive the rubric flowcharts and be added to a donor page on the website and a special page within the transcribed text.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Receive the rubric flowcharts, be added to the donor pages, and submit a name to be remembered among the Benefactors in the Office for the Dead

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Funding period

- (19 days)