Overall Design

The design of the DBL Metadata schema has evolved as several curators have made changes to meet new needs. Scripture Burrito metadata largely follows the design philosophy of DBL Metadata v2.2.

Document “Shape” Determined by Type Elements

Scripture Burrito flavors are subdivided into four flavorTypes, on the basis of (roughly) how similar to Scripture they are.

  • scripture
  • gloss
  • parascriptural
  • peripheral.

The diagram below illustrates the logic behind the four flavorTypes - see also the detailed schema documentation. On a technical level, the more Scripture-like flavorTypes require more metadata, and specific ecosystems, applications and tool chains may only accept certain flavorTypes.


These flavorTypes are then subclassed into various flavors, as illustrated:


Metadata Filename

A Scripture Burrito can exist in multiple data formats. By convention, when the metdata is written to disk it should be in a file with the name of metadata.json at the root level of the Burrito.

File Encoding

Files contained in a burrito should be enocded as UTF-8. Note that the Unicode standard version 5 notes the following about using the Byte order mark (BOM):

Use of a BOM is neither required nor recommended for UTF-8, but may be encountered in contexts where UTF-8 data is converted from other encoding forms that use a BOM or where the BOM is used as a UTF-8 signature.

Flavor-Specific Details in One Known Location

Most of the schema applies to all flavors of burrito. Flags and enums in the type section toggle various sets of functionality in a generic way. Flavor-specific content is located in

  • metadata/type/flavorDetails

No Namespaces

All Scripture Burrito metadata is in the null namespace, to simplify the processing model (given that not every Burrito user will be an XML power user.)


So not hyphenated-names or underscored_names.

Most Content in Text, not Attributes

This is partly a stylistic choice, but it also reflects the need to handle a wide range of UTF-8 characters in many fields. (It is considered bad practice to put localized strings into attributes.) Attributes are mainly used as qualifiers for the “main” content.

Few Empty Elements, Many Optional Elements

The children of most root elements (identification, format, etc) are required. Many elements below that level are optional but, if they are present, they must contain content. This is to avoid confusion between a value that is unspecified and a value that is specified as an empty string. So

<name lang="eng">The Holy Bible</name>
<name lang="fra">La Sainte Bible</name>

is permitted, as is

<name lang="eng">The Holy Bible</name>
<!-- No localized name -->


<name lang="eng">The Holy Bible</name>
<name lang="fra"/>

is not permitted.

Order is Generally Unimportant

Most elements at all levels can appear in any order (or interleaved, in the terms of XML schema). Exceptions include a few elements that must appear as the first children of the root element and publication structures which communicate a specific content order.

Publications Inherit Burrito Properties

The identification section contains many Dublin Core-inspired fields that relate to the Burrito as a whole. Similarly-named fields also exist, optionally, within each publication. The fields in the identification section are assumed to apply to the publication unless alternative values are specifically specified within the publication. Duplicate values between the identification and publication sections are legal but discouraged, as human editing tends to result in unintended skew between the previously-identical values.


The Scripture Burrito specification follows semantic versioning. The following clarify how we implement that in the specification:

  • SB schema 1.0.x will be able to validate 1.0.y for any value of x >= y.
  • SB schema 1.1.x is a whole new schema and will not validate 1.0.x.


The follow phases are defined for our schema development process:

  • The develop branch represents the first public working draft
  • A Beta release (-beta) represents a working draft
  • A Release Candidate (rc) represents a candidate recommendation
  • A release represents a recommendation to implement