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“Power Law” and Bible Reference Citations

I honestly didn’t mean to immediately write another post that refers to another blog, but this one is just too cool.

Stephen C. Carlson of the blog Hypotyposeis posts about Power Law in Biblical Citations. Here is the gist; please see his entry for specific counts that he gathered via Google.

It has been long noticed that links are not uniformly distributed in many networks, and in many cases the distribution of links follows a power law in which only a few of web pages (or bloggers) get a lion share of the links (see, e.g, Clay Shirky, “Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality” [Feb. 8, 2003]).

Can the same phenomenon be observed in Biblical citations? Clearly, some verses are much more popular (e.g. John 3:16) than others, but can the power law still be seen?

This is an interesting question to ask, though the specific findings may well depend on the corpus of texts being searched. Oddly enough, some time ago we explored a feature that answers this kind of question using the resources inside Logos Bible Software. We even wrote a prototype report that does it using a “brute force” approach just to see what happened. We haven’t made it a priority to refine and speed up the report, though we may return to the concept in the future.

Stephen’s post reminded me of the prototype, so I asked Bob and he pointed me to it. Our implementation is a little different; we take three variables and then run the report. First we take a collection of resources; then we take a range of references; then we specify a pericope set.

The report searches the collection of resources for Bible references within a specified range, then “maps” the results onto pericopes. This provides results that correspond to meaningful textual units.

For the below example, I used a collection that consisted of the New Testament volumes of the International Critical Commentary (ICC). I specified a range of “Galatians” and also specified the ESV Pericope Set.

Here’s what the report comes up with. This is sorted by hit count. So, at least in the ICC NT, these are the popular citations of Galatians, grouped by pericope:

  • Galatians 1:11-24: Paul Called by God (264 hits in 199 articles)
  • Galatians 2:1-10: Paul Accepted by the Apostles (241 hits in 174 articles)
  • Galatians 3:15-29: The Law and the Promise (186 hits in 142 articles)
  • Galatians 5:1-15: Christ Has Set Us Free (168 hits in 131 articles)
  • Galatians 2:15-21: Justified by Faith (150 hits in 125 articles)
  • Galatians 5:16-26: Walk by the Spirit (146 hits in 108 articles)
  • Galatians 4:8-20: Paul’s Concern for the Galatians (144 hits in 111 articles)
  • Galatians 6:1-10: Bear One Another’s Burdens (126 hits in 98 articles)
  • Galatians 1:1-5: Greeting (113 hits in 82 articles)
  • Galatians 4:1-7: Sons and Heirs (112 hits in 84 articles)
  • Galatians 6:11-18: Final Warning and Benediction (112 hits in 88 articles)
  • Galatians 1:6-10: No Other Gospel (104 hits in 78 articles)
  • Galatians 3:1-9: By Faith, or by Works of the Law? (94 hits in 64 articles)
  • Galatians 2:11-14: Paul Opposes Peter (73 hits in 63 articles)
  • Galatians 3:10-14: The Righteous Shall Live by Faith (68 hits in 51 articles)
  • Galatians 4:21-31: Example of Hagar and Sarah (67 hits in 56 articles)

So, when looking across the 30 volumes of ICC that cover the New Testament, and restricting our focus to Galatians, we see that the most frequently-cited portion of Galatians is 1:11-24…with 2:1-10 a pretty close second. After that, the hit count drops off pretty fast.

It’s worth noting a couple of differences between what we’re doing and what Stephen did.
Stephen’s search (using Google) pulled from a corpus that consists primarily of web pages, with some Word docs and PDFs included. The web corpus will tend to reflect a broader usage pattern than that found in Logos Bible Software, which is primarily copyrighted, published material produced by professional scholars and authors. For these purposes, one is not superior to the other…but different samples could be expected to produce different results.

Another difference comes to light in the comments section of Stephen’s post. As Stephen readily acknowledges, searching Google for “Gal 2:1″ is a pretty blunt instrument. It fails to consider verse ranges, alternate notation schemes, or even occurrences where the author bothers to spell out all of G-a-l-a-t-i-a-n-s.

Bible references inside Logos books, on the other hand, have been encoded in such a way that Gal 2:1, Gal 2:1-10, Galatians 2.1 and even “verse 1″ (given proper context) all count as hits for Galatians 2:1.

Corpus studies have their own literature and science. Perhaps someday we’ll introduce features that allow you to run comparisons between various corpora to see how they differ. With 5,000+ books digitized, tagged and available for Logos Bible Software, this kind of thing starts to be a real possibility. But for the moment, it’s a nice diversion.

You asked for it, you got it…

In Eli’s post on how Logos Bible Software facilitates serendipitous discovery he suggested that the phrase belonged on a t-shirt. A few readers agreed, so we went ahead and whipped one up.

We will be printing them on Hanes 100% cotton t-shirts.

To make sure we order enough in the right sizes, place your order now. (We will order the shirts at the end of this week, and ship them when we get them back.)

Update 3/13/2006: Pre-ordering for the FSD tshirt is now closed. Thanks to all who ordered!
We’ll submit the screenprinting order right away. When we get the shirts back from the print shop,
we’ll process customer orders and ship them out.

Of the Making of Books (Part 8)

El Departamento de productos en español de Logos se complace en presentar este artículo y los productos de Caribe-Betania para nuestros lectores de habla hispana, para leer el artículo haga clic acá.


Today’s guest blogger is Ken Smith, General Manager of Electronic Publishing Services at Logos.
(This is the next installment in a series of articles about our nearly 60 publishing partners who market their own electronic products using our technology.)

Caribe-Betania Editores
Since early 2000, we have worked with Caribe-Betania Editores, the Spanish language division of Thomas Nelson, to create CD-ROM products to serve their market.

BECA2

In April of 2000, they released their first product, titled Biblioteca electrónica Caribe or BECA, which was updated in July of 2003 to the Libronix Digital Library System. Some of the key titles in this collection are Spanish translations of: Nelson’s New Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, Life Application Bible notes, and the Spirit-Filled Life™ Bible notes.

In 2003, Caribe released two author-focused BECA collections: an “Inspirational Edition“, featuring books by Max Lucado, and a “Leadership Edition“, featuring the works of John C. Maxwell.

BECAMax BECAJM

In November of 2004, Caribe released their largest collection to date, known as the BECA “Professional Edition“. Additional titles in this collection include Spanish versions of Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Bible Facts, and the New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

BECAPro

Next: AMG



El hacer de libros (parte 8)
Nuestro escritor invitado hoy es nuevamente Ken Smith, Gerente del Departamento de Servicios de publicación electrónica de Logos.

(Esta es la siguiente en una serie de artículos acerca de las casi 60 editoriales que promueven sus productos electrónicos por medio de nuestra tecnología.)

Caribe-Betania Editores
Desde el año 2000, que estamos trabajando con Caribe-Betania Editores, la división hispana de Thomas Nelson, creando productos en CD-ROM para satisfacer las necesidades de su mercado.

BECA2

Su primer producto, titulado Biblioteca electrónica Caribe o BECA, salió al mercado en abril del año 2000, luego fue actualizado en julio del 2003 al sistema de Biblioteca Digital Libronix. Algunos de los títulos mas importantes en esta colección son: Nuevo Diccionario Ilustrado de la Biblia, Diccionario Expositivo de palabras del Antiguo y Nuevo Testamento de Vine, Biblia del Diario Vivir con notas, y la Biblia Plenitud con notas.

En el año 2003, Caribe produjo dos nuevas colecciones de autores reconocidos: la Biblioteca electrónica Caribe edición inspiradora, destacando los libros de de Max Lucado, y la Biblioteca electrónica Caribe edición de liderazgo, destacando los libros de John C. Maxwell.

BECAMax BECAJM

En noviembre del 2004, Caribe trajo al mercado su mayor colección a la fecha, conocida como Biblioteca electrónica Caribe edición profesional. Algunos de los títulos adicionales incluyen Nuevo Comentario Ilustrado de la Biblia, Enciclopedia Ilustrada de Realidades de la Biblia, y la Nueva Concordancia Strong Exhaustiva.

BECAPro

Próximo: AMG

Greek Syntax: What’s in a Name?

One of my favorite features in the upcoming Logos Bible Software 3.0 has to be the Bible Word Study report. And my favorite aspect of the Bible Word Study report has to be the Grammatical Relationships section of the report.

The Bible Word Study report is intended to help explore how a particular word is used in the Bible. English, Hebrew or Greek, just type it in and the Bible Word Study report goes to work. Even better: right-click on a word in an English text or a morphologically tagged Greek or Hebrew text, and it goes to work.

Because the report is intended to gather all sorts of information about word usage, and because we have these oh-so-groovy syntax databases we’ve been working on, it seemed natural to do something to explore word usage by syntax inside of the Bible Word Study report. So that’s what we’ve done. And wow, is it cool!

Continue Reading…

Facilitate Serendipitous Discovery

The other day I was in a feature design meeting for one of the new reports in the upcoming 3.0 release of Logos Bible Software, the Bible Word Study report. In attendance were a couple of Logos software developers, a few book designers and information architects, and Bob Pritchett, the president and co-founder of the company. We were going through the Grammatical Relationships section of that report line by line and commenting on the display, the information, the what-have-you.

At one point, I asked a dumb question (as I often do). “Bob,” I asked, “what is this report supposed to do? In a general sense, I mean.” I was getting at the Big Picture issues: Are we trying to find the Single Right Answer to every exegetical question? Are we just listing a bunch of unconnected information? Is this report teaching grammar? Should it?

Bob leaned back and said, “This report is supposed to do what all of our reports do: Facilitate serendipitous discovery.”

Continue Reading…

Salsa Cook-Off 2006

We were treated to some excellent salsa from 11 competitors this past Friday. It was tough to vote for just three salsas from all the tasty picos de gallo, tomato salsas, and an avocado concoction…but that’s what some would call a “high class problem.”

The results were announced shortly after the event and one of the Logos bloggers placed…congrats, Eli!

First Place: Guillermo Powell’s Powe – R – Salsa
Second Place: Kim Vail’s Salsa con Aquacate
Third Place: Eli Evans’ Hello Pain-o

Some photos from the event (click for a larger version):
Kim Vail, salsa 2006 coordinator, prepares the salsa buffet.

I entered, missed 3rd by 2 points, but am proud of my sign

Eli (speed eating?)

Jahan, Logos book designer, narrows the field

The happy remains

What…Leftovers?

And the winner is…

Followed by this shocking revelation from the winner, Guillermo Powell
Windows Media (416KB)

The winning recipe:
Powe – R – Salsa
from GuillermoPowell (“actually should be Elsa Powell, my wife”)
1 – Pace Picante sauce (4 lbs) can be purchased at Walmart
1 – cucumber, minced
1 – bundle of fresh cilantro
1 – lemon (squizzed fresh by Guillermo)
1 – onion, medium size, minced
Add salt and tabasco to taste.

Rescuing the Copyrighted Orphans

The majority of works offered for use with Logos Bible Software are modern, copyrighted books that we have licensed from authors and publishers. Typically these date from the 1980′s or later. Logos is also able to digitize and offer many public domain works, generally from before 1923.

There is a wealth of material from the middle years, though, that is out of print and hard to find in libraries, but which is still under copyright. When the publisher has gone out of business, or the author’s heirs are impossible to identify or locate, copyrighted works can become effectively orphaned. The chance that a copyright holder emerges after an orphaned work is republished may be slim, but when the statutory damages are $200,000 per infringement few publishers are willing to take a risk.

The US Copyright Office has been studying this problem and has proposed reasonable legislation that addresses the rights of copyright holders as well as the public good of continued use of orphaned content.

Below is a version of the letter I sent my elected representatives in support of the proposed legislation. I hope you will consider supporting it as well.

Dear Elected Representative,

Digital publishing, on CD-ROM’s and the Internet, is enabling us to make entire libraries of material available to students who previously had little or no access to valuable content. Students in distance learning programs, in rural areas, and in far-off parts of the world are using computers and the Internet to get access to content that previously could be found only in large libraries in major cities.

Projects like Google Print, and many others at universities and libraries, are putting the contents of irreplaceable, hard-to-access archives at the fingertips of students around the world.

There is a tremendous amount of information in the public domain, but many important works were published after 1923 and are now out of print. In many cases it is difficult to locate or even identify the owner. Publishers have gone out of business. Rights have reverted to heirs who have never heard of the copyrighted work. Titles were published without enough identifying information.

The Copyright Office issued a Report on Orphan Works in January of this year that recommends legislation providing for the use of orphaned works during their copyright period.

(http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/) The proposed statutory language addresses compensation for rights holders if they emerge, and provides safe harbor from huge infringement penalties to users who have made a diligent search to locate a copyright owner.

I encourage you to support this important proposal which advances the causes of commerce, education, and human knowledge.

Beautiful Joe

Brought to you by Bryan Albert, Logos programmer and coffee artist.Get mugged.

More on the Google Toolbar

Another feature of the Logos button for Google Toolbar that I overlooked in this morning’s post is that you can launch a search of the Logos.com site by right-clicking text at any other website instead of typing it into the toolbar. This saves precious keystrokes, making all of us lazy typists quite happy.

To pick on Amazon again, you can right-click on the words International Theological Commentary and choose Logos Bible Software from the menu.


This will launch a search of Logos.com for International Theological Commentary, which was just added today as a new prepub. Props to the ESV blog for pointing out this feature.

(Note: If you already installed the Logos button you will need to refresh it to get the right-click search thing going. Just click the black triangle next to the “G” inside the Google Toolbar’s search box; select Manage; double-click Logos Bible Software in the list of Custom Buttons; click “Update button to latest version from www.logos.com…”)

Oh, and in case you were curious…the Logos button is already listed in the Google Toolbar Button Gallery.

Logos Button for Your Google Toolbar

If you use Google Toolbar, you can now add a Logos button to the toolbar that grabs the newest headlines from the Logos Bible Software Blog and other Logos feeds. The button also lets you search the Logos.com website directly from the Google Toolbar, which is useful when you’re contemplating whether to buy that printed book from Amazon or get it in electronic format.
To add the Logos button to your Google Toolbar (and install version 4 of the toolbar), just click here.

(Requires Windows XP or Vista and Internet Explorer 6.0+. See the Google Toolbar page for previous IE versions and Firefox version.)

Once you have the custom button installed, you can enter a search term (e.g., deissmann) in the toolbar search box, click the Logos button, and view search results from the Logos.com site search engine.


You can also click the black triangle next to the Logos button to see the latest headlines from this blog, Logos product announcements, press releases, product reviews, and more!


Want to read more about this whole RSS thing? We have an article for you on Logos.com.
Also see the follow-up post: More on the Google Toolbar.