Scripture Burrito is a data interchange format for Bible-centric content. Our goal is lossless portability of Scripture-related metadata and data between translation and publication users, applications and ecosystems.


The scope of the Scripture Burrito specification includes any Bible-centric content and the entire ecosystem, including publication. The intent is not to create new data formats, but rather define a portable way of interchanging existing formats between applications and ecosystems. This necessarily includes existing and future client/server architectures and the attendant need to uniquely identify users, organizations and content.


  • a single container format to span the entire Scripture life cycle, from translation, through community testing and checking, to publication
  • support for canonical and quasi-canonical translations in multiple media (initially text, audio, video, print on demand and braille)
  • support for a wide range of resources relating to scripture, such as lexicons, cross-references, translation manuals, and commentaries
  • mechanisms for linking related content, both at a burrito-to-burrito and ingredient-to-ingredient level
  • identification of people, organizations and content via namespaced ids relating to multiple authenticating servers


A burrito is a collection of content plus metadata. That collection may be made available in various formats, such as a zip file, an Amazon S3 bucket or a series of API calls. The term “burrito” describes the content, not the distribution mechanism.

Burritos contain ingredients. An ingredient is a file-like resource with a mimetype and, optionally, a scope or role. Burritos typically contain several types of ingredient.

Burritos exist in a number of flavors. A flavor describes a way to represent one class of entity as a burrito. Each flavor corresponds to a high-level entity, such as a Scripture text project or a sign language dictionary. A flavor specification typically includes ingredients with multiple mimetypes.

Flavors are grouped into four flavor types, depending (loosely) on how scripture-like they are. This mechanism enables functionality to be defined for groups of flavors. For example, any flavor within the scripture flavorType will contain similar catalog information.

Flavors are typically quite broadly defined. Additional constraints may be added using conventions. For example, an audio convention may specify that audio files represent whole chapters of Scripture, or that they are arranged according to a specific hierarchy. Burrito creators should respect any convention they include in the metadata. Burrito consumers may use conventions to decide how or whether to process a burrito. The semantics of no specified conventions is caveat emptor, ie nothing should be assumed about the content of the burrito beyond what is specified for the burrito flavor.

Use Cases

  1. Scripture Burrito is designed first and foremost for data interchange between ecosystems, although creators and consumers may also choose to use some or all of the format internally.
  2. Scripture Burrito is a Bible-lifespan format. In other words, it is intended to be used from the start of the translation, through checking and community testing, into publication via multiple toolchains, and then through revision processes.
  3. Scripture Burrito supports non-text formats as first-class content. In other words, the model is not “text plus multimedia”. In some cases text may play a secondary role or even be absent (eg in the case of oral translation or sign-language projects).
  4. Scripture Burrito assumes the existence of ecosystem servers that provide ids for users, organizations and projects, and stores information to enable that server-hosted context to be discovered.
  5. Scripture Burrito is intended to allow lossless roundtripping of projects between ecosystems. This depends to some extent on references to ecosystem servers that enable reconnection with different ecosystem-specific contexts.
  6. Scripture Burrito supports Scripture content (original languages and translations), but also Scriptural content (eg glosses) and Scripture-related content (eg commentaries, translation manuals).