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Of the Making of Books (Part 5)

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.)

Biblical Archaeology Society

From as far back as I can remember, customers were asking about making back issues of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) part of our electronic library offerings. We tried unsuccessfully for quite some time to license BAR from the Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS), but to no avail. (I guess they knew they had a good thing and wanted to do it themselves!)

Since we couldn’t get BAR, we pursued other content from BAS, including a Biblical Archaeology Slide Set. That project never came to fruition and I think we’ve still got a box of several hundred slides gathering dust in our basement somewhere (which may be an interesting find for some 23rd century archaeologist).

After several years of discussion, BAS decided the time was right for them to enter the electronic publishing arena. In October of 2002, that same dust-gathering slide set was released as The Biblical World in Pictures CD-ROM, fully integrated into the Libronix Digital Library System.

BWP

Those customers who had been asking for BAR in Libronix format didn’t have to wait long. In March of 2003, BAS published the first edition of The Biblical Archaeology Review Archive, containing every issue of BAR from 1975 to 2001. It has since been updated to include all of 2002 and 2003 as well.

We’re happy to say that BAS has continued to expand their electronic offerings for the Libronix Digital Library System. In 2004, they released two additional collections of magazine back issues. The Archaeology Odyssey Archive and The Bible Review Archive make the BAS family of electronic products a compelling set.

If you have a particular author, book, magazine, or any other content you’d like to have as part of your electronic library, we want to know! Send an e-mail to suggest@logos.com. No guarantees, but we’ll certainly consider any and all of your suggestions.

Next: Standard Publishing

Community Pricing titles closing in!

At the end of December, we put 10 new titles into our Community Pricing System. It’s fun to see which ones people latch on to and how fast (and how cheap they end up being)!

There are a few titles that are set to close today (Friday, January 6, 2006) at noon Pacific Time. Check ‘em out to see if you want to get in on them at their cheapest:

History of Interpretation by F.W. Farrar just crossed the line yesterday and will move to prepublication next Friday.
There are some other titles that are getting close to the line:

Check out these (and all of the other titles we’re considering) and place a bid if you’d like us to do them.

Review of the Library of Christian Worship

Even though I work at Logos, I like to check out the reviews that our products recieve. I just noticed a new review from the magazine Worship Leader. This review is a little different because it isn’t a review of Scholar’s Library or Scholar’s Silver, it is a review of The Library of Christian Worship on CD-ROM.

I remember when we did the work on this set of books. I was impressed with the attention to detail in the printed editions and with the encompassing scope of coverage, both from a historical and theological perspective. The books aren’t just about music, they’re about worship. They’re not about contemporary vs. traditional vs. “mixed” vs. whatever; they’re about worship. As such, the series is a valuable resource to consult when considering issues of worship and praise in the church today.

The Logos web site product description has much more information, with descriptions and tables of contents for each of the eight books (seven volumes; vol. 4 was published in two parts).

ICC: A big job but somebody had to do it

Nearly two years after the initial prepublication announcement, the complete International Critical Commentary Series (ICC) is finished… The commentary series that took more than 100 years to write (and counting) has been digitized in just over 2.

As you can see, this is one big set of books. Fifty-three bound volumes to be exact. When we posted the prepub page on December 12, 2003, we had no idea how many people would pony up $1,000 for the set. But we knew the value of the series for biblical study and knew that of any electronic publisher we were in the best position to get it done.

The books were shipped off to the data keying center and came back needing lots of correction. In particular, the ancient language text (like Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic and Greek) required a team of developers to go through it word by word, correcting the files as they went. This turned out to be such a headache that we devised a new tool (dubbed Shibboleth and mentioned briefly by Bob on his own blog) to speed up the process.

The specifics about the ways Shibboleth speeds up and improves the process is fodder for another post, probably by someone who knows more about it than I do. But I can say that “there was much rejoicing” in the text development department the day the final volume was completed, ship-checked and ready to head off to replication.

And now, just over two years after announcing the start of this massive project, it is being delivered to users so that these important volumes can be utilized by seminary professors and students, preachers, teachers and other folks studying the Bible.

Heirloom Books

While going through digital images of books we’ve had scanned at Dallas Theological Seminary library, I recently came across this flyleaf in a commentary by John Owen.

Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952; bio) was the founding president of Dallas Theological Seminary, and he wrote a systematic theology that we just shipped on Monday.

His father, Thomas Franklin Chafer, died when Lewis was just 11 years old. As you can see, the Owen commentary belonged first to the personal library of the father, was passed to the son, and from there to the seminary.

I’ve heard it said (by detractors of the digital library paradigm) that you never hear of anyone bequeathing digital books to their children. But I just checked with our manager of customer support, John Brandt, who told me it has happened a few times during his 6 years with the company. All we need is a letter from the executor of the estate and we can transfer the licenses to the inheritor.

(Note to self: update will to include name of daughter born almost 2 years ago AND specify beneficiary of digital library.)

I find it interesting that used print booksellers, who often acquire entire personal libraries from an estate or a retiring scholar, will sometimes keep that personal library intact. Dove Booksellers does this and lists the books as collections on their website. It’s fascinating to look through the books that belonged to a notable scholar and see what they found worthy of owning. [Caution: this practice can produce severe book envy.]

But it’s only a matter of time until the same thing happens with Logos Bible Software users who have amassed a personal library numbering in the thousands. Maybe someday you’ll find yourself looking through a list of 1,500 electronic books owned by a notable scholar in a field you’re interested in and we’ll offer you a way to buy them all in one fell swoop as a custom collection.
It could happen…

Syriac-English New Testament Interlinear

Syriac SlideAt the recent Society of Biblical Literature meeting in Philadelphia, George A. Kiraz, president of Gorgias Press, presented a joint project with Logos Bible Software to create an interlinear to the Syriac New Testament in electronic and printed forms. The electronic interlinear will become part of Logos Bible Software and the printed version will be published by Gorgias Press. A team of international scholars have already committed to producing the interlinear in the next three years.

Gorgias Press publishes a number of Syriac Bible resources. For more information on the project, including an overview of the specialized tools Logos built for editing the interlinear, download Dr. Kiraz’s PowerPoint presentation (226 KB).

Greek Syntax: Searching OpenText.org Material

I’ve briefly discussed searching OpenText.org material at the word level; this post discusses searching at the clause level, with word group level stuff in the mix.

There’s even a groovy video of the search I describe so you can see exactly what’s going on (see bottom of this article). One take, no cuts. This is done with the current beta version of Logos Bible Software (3.0 Beta 1) and an extra syntax searching component currently in development.

Continue Reading…

Syntax: Andersen-Forbes Introduction

I was recently dispatched to Melbourne to visit Frank Andersen and Dean Forbes. One of the things I was assigned to discover — other than what kangaroo chili tastes like* — was the underlying linguistic/textual/grammatical philosophy of the Andersen-Forbes database (hereafter, A-F). Sure, they’ve marked the entire Hebrew Bible for syntax, but what exactly does that mean?

Continue Reading…

Product Guides on Logos.com

Thanks to one of our resident book experts (and book developer), Vincent Setterholm, we have launched a series of product guides on the Logos.com website. So far, these guides provide a basic introduction to the categories and sub-categories of books available for Logos Bible Software in the areas of Greek, Hebrew, and Other Ancient Languages. We hope to add additional categories soon.

I think Vincent does a great job of guiding the site visitor through the plethora of Logos tools and texts available for biblical language study.
For example, did you know that we now offer 9 Greek grammars and 8 Hebrew grammars that range from beginning to advanced, learning to reference? Or that we have a growing number of tools for studying Aramaic and Syriac?

These guides help fill a need I mentioned in an earlier post here on the Logos Blog: a need for “…objectively-written guides to books on Logos.com to help our users navigate the 5,000 titles now available for the system, much like a bookstore owner who offers suggestions based not on his own likes and dislikes but based on his extensive knowledge of what’s available.”
Thanks for leading us around a few aisles of the bookstore, Vincent!

Biblical Counseling Library

The “Logos Pre-Pub Machine” has been in high gear for some time now…this week alone we shipped two significant, heavyweight products for biblical language study—Comfort & Barrett’s The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts and The Targums—while in the past 10 days we’ve posted three new prepubs to take their place.

One of these new prepubs breaks new ground for us, and that is the Biblical Counseling Library, posted to the prepub page just yesterday.
What’s novel about it is this: it’s a thematic collection bringing together 29 books from 20 authors and 10 publishers…all on subjects related to biblical counseling. We’ve done lots of author collections, publisher collections, and so on…but not really a large, thematic collection like this.

Some of the titles included are breakout bestsellers (e.g., I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Finishing Strong) while others are evergreen category standards (e.g., Competent to Counsel and Inside Out). Authors include Jay E. Adams, Larry Crabb, Elizabeth George, Steve Farrar, Steve Gallagher, Jerry Bridges and Francis Schaeffer. Publishers represented include Tyndale, Navpress, Zondervan, Multnomah, and Harvest House.

This collection is discounted 61% off the list prices of the 29 books included. Any pastor or layperson who counsels others—whether professionally or in an informal way—would do well to add them to their digital library.
You heard about it here first…the NewsWire email hasn’t yet been sent. More tools for ministry…let the Pre-Pub Machine roll on!