We Love Your Suggestions

Developer David Mitchell examines screenshotsof Logos workspaces submitted by users.

Logos customers make lots of great suggestions. Suggestions for books to digitize, features to add or tweak, website enhancements, you name it.

Most suggestions come via email (suggest@logos.com) and a newsgroup devoted to user suggestions. But we also collect feedback when we’re on the road, from published reviews, beta testers, and blog readers.

Not all suggestions receive a response and sometimes a suggestion is implemented months or years after it was first submitted. But we appreciate every one.

And sometimes we’re able to implement them right away, as you can see from the comments on this post at the Morris Proctor Tips & Tricks blog. A user named David Brokaw suggested a small feature he’d like to see addedto the Bibliography report. He explained,

I keep all my reference books open in the right side and save my work space as I am working on a long paper. What I need is the Bibliography option to have a “All Open Resources” option that will automaticly collect the info open at the time. Great idea???

I agreed that it was a great idea. Mr. Brokaw’s suggestion was routed to our development team, and a few days later the feature was added to the Libronix DLS 3.0c release candidate.

Now you can create a bibliography report from the resources you have open. Sure it’s a small feature, and we can’t always implement good suggestions this quickly. But please know that we valueyour input…andkeep those suggestions coming!

The Case for an E-Library

The forthcoming issue of Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal includes an extensive (3,400+ word!) review of Scholar’s Library: Gold – Logos Bible Software 3. We received permission to post the review at Logos.com in advance of publication, so you can read the whole thing and even download the PDF.

Every reviewer puts a unique spin on his analysis. This reviewer, Andrew Naselli—who is at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School working on his second Ph.D.—does a great job of answering tough questions that a prospective buyer might ask before deciding to build an electronic library. These are questions Naselli struggled with before deciding to invest in Logos, so his responses are thoughtful and genuine.

  • Should I Buy E-Books From Only One or Multiple Software Companies?
  • Will New Technology Make Current E-Books Obsolete?
  • What if the Software Company Goes Out of Business?
  • Are E-Books Riskier Than Print Books?
  • How Is an E-Library Superior to a Print Library?
  • How does Scholar’s Library: Gold Compare to Other Products?

I’ll conclude with one of my favorite quotations from the review just to pique your interest. To the question of whether owning electronic books is “risky,” Naselli responds:

Some think that print books are safer investments than e-books. However, building any kind of library— whether print or electronic—involves some degree of risk. Print books are arguably a more risky investment than some e-books since print books are in danger of theft, natural disasters, and wear and tear from usage. A few years ago one pastor loaded up all of his earthly possessions, including his print library, into a moving truck, which was stolen the very next day. If that pastor had an e-library of Logos Bible Software, he would have received his entire e-library back for free.

Related posts:

Logos Bible Software as a “Dialogical Study Bible”

One of theSBL sessions in November was entitled “Biblical Studies and Study Bibles” and looked at the issues surrounding study Bibles. You know, the printed Bibles that include study notes next to the biblical text and are often marketed to a particular audience, e.g., men, women, students, skaters, etc.

One of the professors involved in the session—Carol Newsom from the Candler School of Theology—wrote an article about study Bibles for the SBL Forum in advance of the society’s annual conference.

Newsom, who haswritten for and edited study Bibles,believes there’s a place for them:

The biblical text is not self interpreting, and there are all kinds of things that readers need help with. Who or what is “Hepzibah?” or “Mene, mene, tekel, u-parsin”?

But she worries about the trend toward niche marketing and the lack of varying perspectives in a highly targeted study Bible. Her solution?

If I were to envision the “best practices” that might evolve from the phenomenon of diverse study bibles, it would be something that our new internet technologies might make possible-a kind of high tech, inter-religious “miqra’ot gedalot.” I would love to assemble for my students a biblical text surrounded by (at least) four kinds of commentary — mainline protestant, evangelical protestant, Catholic, and Jewish. Or one could construct a similar dialogical volume constructed around North American, Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, African, and Asian Christian perspectives. A Jewish seminary might construct a quite different assemblage of traditional and contemporary Jewish annotations. As one can imagine, the possibilities are truly endless.

I read this and thought to myself, “She’s describing the Libronix DLS!”A few minutes later, I’d slapped together a workspace all set up to study the “Mene, mene, tekel, u-parsin” passage in Daniel 5.

If you click the thumbnail image above, you’ll see a “dialogical studydesk” that I’ve created using only books that are available today. Starting at the top left…the Bible version is Tanakh (it’s the one Newsom has her students use), with the NRSV on a tab as an alternate. Surrounding that are commentaries in the categories Newsom suggests: mainline protestant (Hermeneia), evangelical protestant (New American), and Catholic (Collegeville). Our “JPS Bible and Torah Commentary Collection” is still under development but I’d expect it to be released sometime in 2007.

At the far right side of the screen, I’ve got open a few select referencevolumes:the IVP Bible Background Commentary and Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, with A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature and Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament on tabs.

Various other titles could be substituted for the ones I chose here. (See, for example,our commentary guideand list of Bible dictionaries.)

And, of course, a workspace like this includes all the little conveniences you’ve come to expect from Logos Bible Software: resources that scroll together, dynamic linking to instantly and effortlessly look up an unfamiliarword in any language, Bible reference expansion upon hover, automatic footnoting, and so on.

But I think you get the point…

“Professor Newsom, the futureis now!”

Know Thy Books

Owning a large digital library is great when you can consult precisely the book you need at the moment you need it. Buta vast digital holdingcan present challenges when deciding whether to buy a new collection, such as the 2006 Christmas Special, Library Builder: Volumes 1-3 (available through December 31).

At present, there is no magical tool that can analyze your licenses, compare them against the product you’re thinking of buying, then spit out a report showing you duplicated books, new books, books you’d like, books you’ll never use,and books you think you’ll never use until late on a certain desperate Saturday night in February 2008.

But a couple of featuresin the Libronix DLS can come in handy when evaluating a purchase, or simply getting to know your books.

(I apologize if this seems obvious to our seasoned users but I recently came across two users in one day who were not aware of this information and realized that I take it for granted.)

Calling Marian…the Librarian

Everyone probably knows about My Library since there’s a big button for it right in the main toolbar. So I’ll just do a quick refresher…

My Library is the card catalog of Libronix—the library-ish way to see what digital books you own. It’s built on library standards and the “metadata” about each book—stuff like subject classifications—come from the Library of Congress. Yeah, the whole “library” thing is more than a metaphor with us.

In My Library, you can type in the title of a book to find specific volume, or see what you have from a particular author like A.W. Pink or Oswald Chambers.Viewing your books by subject can help you get a handle on the depth of your libraryin a subject like creeds, for example.

Just the List, Ma’am

If list-making,rather than browsing, is whatyou’re after…the Bibliography report is the tool to use. ClickTools | Library Management | Bibliography, then customize the report to show the contents of various collections you may have built or all the resources you own. You can also customize the displayto suit thetask at hand.

“Catalog style with covers” generates the colorful display shown below, which is great for getting to know your books. If you’re making a standard bibliography, you may choose something more utilitarian like “APA Style (4th ed.)”.

For this screenshot, I chose to run the bibliography report on the “Biblical Counseling Library” collection: a user-defined collection I created earlier. User-defined means the list of books in this collection can be completely arbitrary. Themetadata shown in the report comes from the Library of Congress, except for the brief descriptions which our book designers edit together from thebook jacket or preface.

Follow the Money Trail

When you want to view the Libronix-basedproducts you’ve purchased and activated, My Libraryis no help and Bibliography is only helpful if you’ve manually created collections. What you need is the Account Summary, a new tool in Logos Bible Software 3.

(OK, you really must at least download the free update if you haven’t already!)

Account Summary gives you a handle on the product collections in your digital library, as opposed to the individual books.

To open Account Summary, click Tools | Library Management | Account Summary and you’ll see something like this, but with fewer 0s.

Here is a record of the licenses for all the products or collections unlocked on this system. A product like Scholar’s Library will be in this list. At the bottom of the report is a list of the books and resources you have unlocked individually, such as Scripture Alphabet of Animals.

Tip: If you suspect that something you own is missing from this list…click Tools | Library Management | Synchronize Licenses (available only in Logos 3) to make sure you’re utterly up to date.

So What Have We Learned Today?

Account Summary can be the most useful tool when trying todecide whether to purchase a product such as The Complete Theological Journal Library Bundle, for example. You may recall having purchased a couple of journals discs in the past, but can’t remember which ones exactly.

After reading this post you now know that resources like journals don’t show up as productcollectionsin My Library; they show up as individual journals. But you also know that Account Summary is the place to turn for a list of the products you’ve activated, which makes comparison easier.

On the other hand, My Library is the ideal tool for locating an individual resource or browing books by subject. And the Bibliography tool can generate either a standard bibliography or a more detail-rich list with bookcovers and descriptions.

Perhaps a corollary of the dictum “Know Thy Books” is “Know Thy Book-Knowing Tools.”

(Note: Before anyone writes in to ask…if you see an item in your account summary that simply reads “Theological Journal Library” that corresponds to what we now call “Theological Journal Library Volumes 1-5” to distinguish it from the journal collectionsthat came after.)

For further reading see “Getting to Know Your Books,” a web article written by Rick Brannan that offers some additional suggestions for familiarizing yourself with the contents of your digital library.

Christmas Cheer and Festivities

IMG_3018December 2006 063IMG_3080December 2006 027 December 2006 003IMG_3005IMG_3104IMG_3097

All work and no play makes for a gloomy office…especially around Christmas. So here are some highlights of our play during the past few weeks.

This year’s office decorating contest was a battle of the grinches with two departments independently hitting upon a “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” theme.

The text developers ultimately triumphed (they not only decorated but also put on a performance for the judges, complete with a 6 or 8 member choir).Andthere was a strong showing from a number of other departments and individuals as well. (See more photos...)

Of course there were some scrooges who didn’t decorate at all.

The annual bake-off was a sweet success, with nearly a dozen entries to spoil our collective appetite for lunch. For some of us, the baked treatswere lunch.

First place went to Ryan Husser,Logos book designer, with his Magic Cookie Bars. Second and third place went to Kelsey Sebens’ peanut butter bars and James VanNoord’s “O Little Mint of Bellingham” bars, respectively. Two of the recipes are below.

The Logos Christmas Party was a great chance to fellowship with one another, meet spouses and “significant others”, and even meet some co-workers for the first time.

Bob told us the story of the first ever company Christmas party, held in a stairwell at the Oak Harbor office,with a menu that included Oscar Meyer cold cut and Wonder Bread sandwiches. It was pretty amazing to look around atthe largest Logos Christmas party to dateand be thankful for the ways God has blessed this company.

We hope you have a merry Christmas and look forward to serving you in the New Year!


Magic Cookies Bars

Ingredients: 1 stick (½ cup) butter 1 ½ cup crushed graham crackers (sandwiching between two pieces of waxed paper works best for me) 1 can sweetened condensed milk 1 cup (6 oz) chocolate chips 1 cup (6 oz) butterscotch chips 1 1/3 cup coconut flakes 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350° Melt butter in 13 x 9 inch pan Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs onto butter, shake pan gently to disperse evenly Drizzle sweetened condensed milk evenly over butter/graham cracker crumbs Sprinkle chocolate chips, then butterscotch chips, then coconut, then walnuts (if desired) over sweetened condensed milk Bake for 25 minutes Let cool and cut into pieces

O Little Mint of Bellingham(Creamy Mint Bars )

Recipe from Genny Gerrits; Holland, MI; April 1996Grease 9×13 pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Base/Crust:1 Chocolate Mint Pillsbury Cake mixor 1 double chocolate pudding cake mix plus 1 teaspoon mint extract 1/3 cup softened margarine1 egg1/4 cup waterCombine all ingredients and mix at low speed. Press into greased pan and bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow to cool.

Filling:1 envelope unflavored Knox gelatin. Sprinkle on 1/4 cup cold water and heat according to package directions to dissolve gelatin. 4 cups powdered sugar, divided1/2 cup margarine1/2 cup Crisco or butter flavored shortening1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract2 to 5 drops green food coloringAfter gelatin is dissolved, allow to cool. Mix soft gelatin with 2 cups of powdered sugar, margarine, shortening, flavoring and coloring. Beat one minute at medium speed or until creamy. Blend in balance of sugar. Spread over crust.

Frosting:6 oz milk chocolate chips3 T shorteningMelt chips and shortening and drizzle over filling. Refrigerate.

Notes:– The base/crust is very thick and sticky. It will probably take longer than 10 minutes to be done.– I doubled this recipe for the bake-off and used a 18×13 half sheet pan– I substituted butter one-for-one in place of margarine.

Christmas Specials!

If you’ve been to Logos.com recently you’ve seen that we’re offering Free Shipping on web orders through the end of December. But we’ve also created a special edition, Christmas 2006-only collection of books called Library Builder: Volumes 1-3.

Together, the three discs will get you more than 330 books, worth some $4,500.00 in print editions, at 90% off list prices for the equivalent print editions. So essentially it’s the “base collection discount” on books that are (largely) not in the base collections. As you might guess from the ribbons and bows…this is our Christmas present to you!

In fact, the 19-volume College Press NIV Commentary Series: New Testament (current sale price: $349.95), the 18-volume IVP New Testament Commentary Series (current sale price: $269.95), plus 16 volumes of Warren Wiersbe’s Old Testament “Be” Series of commentary—all of which are included in the 3-disc Library Builder set—alone make the Library Builder an incredible bargain!

Big Discount on Theological Journals Bundle!
I also want to draw attention to the new Complete Theological Journal Library Bundle.

This bundle represents the best discount ever offered on the Theological Journal Library products from Galaxie. With more than 450 years’ worth of journals that would cost something like $15,000 in print, you could think of it as a scholarly booster pack for your digital library.

Merry Christmas from your friends at Logos!

The Dangers of Dabbling in Greek

Some say you must learn Greek and Hebrew before you can truly read the Bible as it was intended to be read. Others warn that a little knowledge can be dangerous…better to trust the opinions of others than dabble in the languages oneself.

Here at Logos, we’ve always been pretty open about our intentions to help regular, everyday Christians study the Bible at a deeper level. And that meansletting even “untrained” folksget their hands on Greek and Hebrew resources.

We’ve built tools like the Bible Word Study report, Exegetical Guide, and Reverse Interlinear Bibles that make Greek and Hebrew more accessible to the layperson. We include high-end, seminary level texts and tools in our most popular packages, which helps move such resources and knowledge beyond the seminary walls and directly into the pulpit and pew.

Are we guilty of helping spread to the masses those resources once reserved for the elite few?

Let’s just say Logos once had t-shirts printed up with the famous quote from Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type: “Religious truth is captive in a small number of little manuscripts which guard the common treasures, instead of expanding them.Let us break the seal which binds these holy things…”

In Defense of Dabbling

In the preface to the print edition of the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear, editor John Schwandt includes an insightful discussion that covers the purpose and benefits of a reverse interlinear but also has a section entitled “Overcoming the Objection of the Dangers of Dabbling in Greek.”

John seriously and thoughtfully addresses the dangers of dabbling in the languages, particularly when it comes to wrong or ill considered motives such as an attempt to unlock the “true meaning of the text” that has been lost in English translations.

He also enumerates some of the very practical and real benefits to be gained by the student who is willing to work at learning the languages. Even dabblers canlearn to observe”structural patterns and word play,” and repetitions in tense, voice, or mood, he says.

John’s essay is well worth the read, and I hope it encourages you to ignore the cynics and go right on dabbling. Who knows, you might evenget a taste for Greek or Hebrew and go on to proficiency!

Related Links:

Reaching a Critical Mass

Today’s guest blogger is Dale Pritchett, vice president of sales and marketing for Logos Bible Software.
User Mark Alison wrote in the Logos Newsgroup, “I don’t think Logos or anyone else will ever have rights to every publisher’s works.”

While this is certainly a true statement, at Logos we continue to pursue rights to as many books as we can in the field of biblical studies. It is our fond hope that one day we might include works from Zondervan, and the denominational publishers now unavailable to us.

We are running as fast as we can. We have two full-time publisher Reps, plus support staff, licensing new books every day. We have thousands of contracts to be maintained and reviewed, royalties to calculate, technology licenses to execute and data processing projects to specify, key, tag and proof.

We process millions of pages of data annually and yet feel the pain when a simple typo is reported. We work in both modern and ancient languages. We employ approximately forty people in-house who are on digital book design and production. All of these efforts are directed toward the single goal of creating digital books to reach a “critical mass” for biblical studies.

It is not about building a monopoly. It is not about favoring a particular theological school or doctrinal position. It is not about favoring one publisher over another or refusing to work with other publishers. It is not about greed or competition or pride of accomplishment. It is about “critical mass.”

There is no such thing as a digital library alternative for biblical education until and unless there is a digital library for biblical studies sufficiently extensive to enable meaningful work in the field. This is the key. It is like saying there can be no alternative to the railroad until there are sufficient airline seats to carry the passengers. It is like saying television will never be as popular as radio until everybody who owns a radio can afford a television.

Logos is about realizing the dream of a portable digital library that makes biblical publications accessible and practical at any point on the planet. This is our passion, our dream and our daily work.

It will not be accomplished until there is a “critical mass” of books in the digital library. Look at
how many digital library initiatives have failed because they had wide breadth but insufficient depth to do real work.

We publish more digital books than all the others in our field combined. This is a simple statement of fact. Among the reasons we have been able to accomplish this are a clear focus on the task and a clear understanding of the special technical challenges involved in dealing with biblical reference works.

The task required us to define a new digital publishing standard in which we could display, search and link all kinds of books, with all styles of organization in all languages from all publishers. To accomplish this, we set a hard course for ourselves that involved doing things the “hard way” demanding attention to detail that could only pay off in the long run with a very large, cross-linked library — critical mass. It has taken a long time to reach the point where the critical mass shows off the benefits of those years of detailed effort. This whole end result usually translates into a simple user comment like, “I would really prefer to own the book in Libronix format.” Thank you. We share your thoughts.

If we are ever to have additional titles from Zondervan, Eerdmans and others it will be because of simple statements like this, “I would really prefer to own the book in Libronix format.” Believe it or not, publishers hear you. They really do care.

Postscript: What is Critical Mass?

While there may be many answers to this question, we basically think in terms of book replacement. Critical mass is a sufficient volume of titles to represent the equivalent number of volumes in a corresponding paper-based library. On this basis, critical mass may be different for a pastor’s library and a Bible college or seminary library. In time we hope to have sufficient digital resources to equal a large seminary library. When that time comes we will be able to think in terms of “brick and mortar” replacement or real estate savings.

How-To: Make a Vocabulary Guide with Word Frequencies

A recent post on Morris Proctor’s Tips & Tricks Blog prompted the following comment from user Aaron Cantrell:

…What I would like to do is choose a book of the bible, or a section of a book (for example Gen 12-22), and have the program give me a complete list of all the words in that book, or section, and show me where they are found in that section. It would be extremely helpful if it could be limited to words that occur a specific number of times. For example, “Show me all the words that occur in Genesis 12-22, occuring 50 times or less.” Then a list comes up which shows all these words and where they are found.

That would be a very helpful concordance feature.

In the print world, this kind of thing is often called a “vocabulary guide” or “lexical aid”and a number of excellent tools are available in this category.

What our users may not know is that all Logos Bible Software 3 “language” collections* include a feature that can create a frequency-sorted vocabulary list from lemmatized Bibles inGreek, Hebrew, Syriac, or Aramaic. What’s great about doing this digitally rather than in printis that you can break down your lists by pericope, chapter, book, or however you like; you can add, subtract, or edit individual words; and you don’t have to spenda dime onanother book because the capability is built into Logos Bible Software!

Vocabulary Lists

Vocabulary lists are helpful when learning a biblical language, because you can start learning the most common words and work your way down to the least common. Or filter out the most common words you probably already know and focus on the less common words. Flash cards are great for drilling the language (through my thick skull, I could add).

TheVocabulary List feature in Logos 3 makes it easy to produce a list of words within a passage or biblical book—with word frequencies—and sort the list either by frequency or alphabetically. At that point, printing flash cards is just a few clicks away.

Due to the highly flexible nature of this tool, you could do all sorts of cool things… You could build vocabulary lists by author, combining, say, all Johannine material into one list. Or you could build a vocabulary list for a parallel passage in both the Septuagint and Greek NT. Go wild.

Vincent recently created a training article that walks you through the steps of creating a vocabulary list manually or by importing words from a passage. His article also includes links to free, pre-built vocabulary lists that go along with the most popular Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic grammars. Be sure to check it out.

DIY Vocab List

Here are the steps for making a vocabulary list for Genesis 12-22, asMr. Cantrellrequests.

  1. Click the black triangle next to the New File icon on the toolbar and choose Vocabulary List.
  2. In the Properties dialog that opens, select Hebrew for the language.
  3. Click the Add button on the Vocabulary List toolbar and select Add Bible Passage…
  4. Select the BHS Bible and enter Gen 12-22 for the reference. Click OK.

Voila! Like magic,you have a vocabulary list. (Think for a moment about what we just did and how little effort it took…and I think you’ll see why I call it magic.)

We’re close to the desired goal…now we just need to re-sort the list by frequency. Right-click on the section header and select Sort by Frequency (Descending).

Now the list is sorted by frequency and we can delete the words with a frequency over 50, if desired. Click once on the top row, then hold down Shift and click on the last row with a 50+ frequency, and hit the Delete key.

Everything highlighted in gray abovegets cutand you’re left with a list of words used 50 times or fewer in Genesis 12-22…with glosses included!

By the way, you can edit anything you see here, including the Hebrew words, frequencies (maybe you want to use that column for something idosyncratic like difficulty level, then sort by difficulty!), and glosses. And, as mentioned previously, you can print these words as flash cards and use them to master the vocabulary in this passage.

All this with just a few clicks, and available from the software you already own…no need to go out and buy a separate vocabulary guide!

* How come I don’t have the Vocabulary Lists feature? Vocabulary Lists are part of the Original Languages Addin, included in the following Logos 3 collections: Original Languages Library, Scholar’s Library, Scholar’s Library: Silver, and Scholar’s Library: Gold. If you own the Original Languages Addin as part of an older collection but have not updated to Libronix DLS v3.0 or greater, you can get Vocabulary Lists for free: open Libronix DLS and click Tools | Libronix Update. If you own a collection like Bible Study Library or don’t own a base collection, you can get the Original Languages Addin by upgrading to a Logos 3 collection that includes the addin or purchasing it individually.

National Bible Week Essay Contest (cont’d)

This year’s National Bible Week Essay contest has been a resounding success!

Nearly 200 essays have been submitted and dozens of Logos users have opened their email inboxes to find they have won. Take a look at some of the winning essays to get some fresh inspiration for your own Bible study.

Although all of the essays are centered around the general theme of “Bible study” the diversity of content has been remarkable. Who knows? Maybe there will be an essay that jump starts your own Bible study or reveals an approach to Bible study that has never occurred to you:

Do you often feel you need to make more time for Bible study? Here is an excellent solution!

Do you want to take your Bible study to the next level, but don’t know any Original Languages? Find some encouragement here!

Are you looking for an interesting book of the Bible on which to focus your Bible study? Try Deuteronomy!

Or read an honest (and inspirational) reflection on how Bible study has helped this reverend mature in his faith.

Each selected essay has earned its author $30 of unlock credit to be used towards purchases from Logos.

In total, we have doled out almost $1,000 in unlock credits and more essays are being selected every day.

If you have not submitted one yet, your window of opportunity is shrinking as essays will only be accepted through Friday, December 1. To submit an essay go to www.logos.com/nationalbibleweek (and don’t forget to read the official rules before you send your entry).