Scripture Burrito Documentation


This is the official documentation for the evolving Scripture Burrito standard. This is the latest documentation headed toward 0.2.0, expected in January 2020 (see the milestones here).

Warning: the 0.1.0 schema was XML based, however, we will be pivoting to JSON Schema as the only representation of the metadata in 0.2.0.


Feedback may be provided via the Technology.Bible forum or via the Scripture Burrito Github issues.

The Committee invites comments on all aspects of this documentation, but has identified some specific issues about which decisions need to be taken:

JSON only for metadata

The 0.1.0 specification was based on an XML schema for metadata with a JSON representation. However, the goal for 0.2.0 is to switch to JSON Schema as the only representation of the metadata. You may discuss this on the Technology.Bible forum or on Issue #70.

USFM and USX for Scripture Text

The current proposal is based on the Digital Bible Library, which chose USX because it can be validated rigorously. As a result of this choice, several large publishing workflows including YouVersion and API.Bible use USX.

Much of the Bible translation world uses USFM, which is familiar to Bible translators, but which requires bespoke parsing tools, and which can be ambiguous in some circumstances. Also, USX contains machine-readable reference information that cannot be represented in USFM at this time. Valid USFM can be round-tripped to USX. USX cannot be round-tripped to USFM without losing the machine-readable references. Invalid USFM may not have an equivalent representation in USX.

Paratext currently uses both USFM and USX internally at various points.

The committee’s current proposal is

  • USFM for translations in progress
  • USX for valid content, orientated towards publication (incremental or otherwise)

The committee would appreciate proposals for constructive and technically feasible alternatives.