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Words, Words Everywhere and Every One a Link!

Libronix DLS, our digital library system, is based in no small part on linkage between texts. Today I want to introduce you to the quiet, unobtrusive links you may have overlooked.

You should care about this topic because links are one of the key features that make a digital library more than a pile of texts on your hard drive…and that sets Logos Bible Software apart from the competition.

Every user is familiar with the obvious links that appear in Logos resources: references to Bible verses, Josephus or Word Biblical Commentary; links to footnotes; or cross-links between articles in an encyclopedia.

These links are obvious because of their color. “Click me,” they shout. They are elevevated to a special status in the digital library because the author of the book gave them special status: “Here’s a pointer to the verse I’m discussing…it’s Genesis 3:1.” Blue text.

What many users miss out on—and it’s a shame, really, because there’s a great deal of utility here—is that every word of every Logos resource is a potential link to something.

Let me say it again…every word’s a link!

These are the shy and retiring links that don’t draw attention to themselves…but they may turn out to be at least as useful as their boisterous brethren.

These links are not visually distinguished in any way; they are just all the other words in a resource, set in normal black text. But double-click on one of these guys and cool stuff happens…even better, you get to control what cool stuff happens!

When you double-click on a word in a resource, the Libronix DLS knows what language the word is and seeks to open a resource that will tell you something useful about that word.

You can try this right now…open up a Bible to Genesis 3:1 and double-click the word serpent. What happens on your machine?

On my machine, the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible opens to a fascinating article on serpents in the mythology and iconology of the Ancient Near East, its appearances in the Hebrew Bible, and in later writings.

Depending on how you have configured your machine and which books you own, you might see an equally fascinating article in A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature discussing the serpent in Beowulf, Genesis B, Canterbury Tales and so on. Or maybe you’ll see the entry for serpent in Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, or The New Bible Dictionary.

If what you see isn’t as cool as you would like it to be, check out the tutorial article on English KeyLinking at Logos.com, which provides a strategy for configuring your preferences in this area. I think you’ll find it well worth the ten minutes it takes to read the article and customize for your own particular interests.

Proceed to Episode II >>

Training Articles in Logos Support Area

If you’ve been a Logos Bible Software user for a long time, or if you’re relatively new to the software, chances are the Support area of the Logos web site has some training articles for you.

The articles are broken into four areas:

  • Basic Usability
  • Original Languages
  • Reference
  • Advanced

Articles from Getting to Know Your Library to How To Use Verb Rivers to Creating Your Own Timeline can be read, referenced and reviewed.
Check ‘em out!

Syntax: Glossaries of Terminology

I know, I know, I said I’d blog about searching the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament. And I will. Really, I will. But not today.

I’ve been working on a different aspect of the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament project recently: adding glossary information to just about everywhere a clause type or syntactic force note occurs. And wow, is it cool. Really.

Because syntactic terminology is at times confusing, and because different grammars and guides sometimes use the same terminology to describe different things and different terminology to describe similar things (got that?) we knew we’d need to include glossaries with our syntactic databases. And we also knew we’d need to provide links to further discussions of terms in standard grammar and syntactic references, so we’ve included (where appropriate) links to BDF, Daniel Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, and Smyth’s Greek Grammar (a classical grammar not yet in LDLS format … but give us time!).

Continue Reading…

Syntax: VSO, VOS, SVO, SOV, OVS, OSV

No, I didn’t just randomly press the V, S, and O keys. What these letters represent are the six possible arrangements of subject (S), object (O), and verb (V) within a clause. Several people have asked me, “How would I search for SVO versus VSO clauses in the Andersen-Forbes (A-F) database?” It’s pretty easy, actually.

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Block or Sentence Flow Diagrams

Another feature in the upcoming LDLS 3.0 release has to do with sentence diagramming.
Yes, we’re aware that there are more ways to diagram a sentence than you can shake a stick at (pun intended). One of these methods is the “Block” or “Sentence Flow” diagram.

The linked video presentation walks through using the new feature. It is all contained within the present sentence diagrammer. The steps are simple:

  1. Create a New Sentence Diagram document (or open an existing one)
  2. Insert a passage
  3. When inserting a passage, select the “As Wrapping Columns” option
  4. Enter the passage and version information
  5. Click Insert Passage

That’s it. Now you can click and drag text around as you see fit. I should note that I didn’t think too much about this particular block diagram. Looking at it in retrospect, there are things that need to be done differently. But since it is an LDLS document, I can just open the diagram and edit it later to clean that stuff up.

Video: 950×750, Flash, approx. 2 megs.

One cool feature here is that you can insert more than one column of text. So, as I did in the video, you could insert one column of Greek text and another column of English text, and match them up.
Or — hold on to your hats — you could enter different accounts of an event in the synoptic gospels and block-diagram them in parallel. You can use the stick diagramming symbols (like, say, brackets, lines or arrows) to draw attention to parallel groups or features. On top of that, all of the Visual Markup features are available in the sentence diagrammer.

All done? Go to File | Export. Look, you can save it as a PDF to show your friends, or to put on your web page or blog!

Sometimes It’s The Little Things

I love the work of Edward Tufte, a data design guru who writes beautiful books that also serve to illustrate his ideas about design.

I was first introduced to Tufte’s books shortly after I graduated from college, and immediately asked for one for Christmas (they’re not cheap). I find that his ideas challenge me to pay attention to design in everything I do, and help me think about how and why design matters.

That’s why I was excited to see that a new feature in Libronix DLS version 3.0 (the first beta release was recently posted, and all I can say is WOW!) is rooted in one of Tufte’s ideas for conveying a lot of information in a compact, unobtrusive form.

In the second-generation Exegetical Guide, there is a small graph next to each word from the passage. It’s called a “Lemma Density Graph” and it’s an example of what’s known as a sparkline.

Sparkline is a term coined by Edward Tufte to describe “small, high-resolution graphics embedded in a context of words, numbers, images. Sparklines are data-intense, design-simple, word-sized graphics.” You can read all about sparklines in this draft chapter from Tufte’s new book, along with a lengthy series of posts on how sparklines are being used in various contexts.

In the example below, taken from the new Exegetical Guide, the Lemma Density Graph sparkline indicates the density of the lemma ὅτι across the New Testament. The more a particular biblical book uses ὅτι, the taller the bar is for that book. Of course, the height is proportional to the total number of words in each book so that the graph is not skewed toward long books like the Gospels.

As you can see, the word occurs 1296 times in the New Testament. Each category of Bible book (Gospels, Acts, Pauline epistles, other epistles, Revelation) gets its own color and you can see that a yellow bar near the end is the big winner.

So which book is it dominating the graph here? By hovering the mouse over the bar in the chart, I can see that it’s 1 John and the word is used 76 times.

This is not a surprise to anyone who has studied 1 John and noted the tight, logical progression employed by the author. The sparkline provides a great visual illustration of this rhetorical characteristic, and it’s viewable at a glance, inline with the rest of the information.

I can even interact with the graph in ways that take me a step deeper in my study of ὅτι…If I click the 1 John bar, Graph Bible Search Results opens and I can choose any number of graphs to tease meaning from the data (e.g., Number of Hits in Chapter / Number of Words in Chapter) or export it to Excel and work with it there.

These sparklines can draw out all manner of word usage patterns such as hapax legomena, words peculiar to a single book or author, or words that appear more often in certain genres.

I think it’s a very nifty little feature, one that I trust our users will find to be a helpful addition to version 3.0. I also think it’s very cool that this feature is rooted in solid design principles from one of the leading minds on the subject. One of the things I appreciate about our application is that the developers pay attention to “small details” of design so that it not only functions well but looks great, too.

(Note: If you get excited by this post and decide to install the beta, please note that our beta releases are unsupported and be sure to read the warnings first.)

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?

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Syntax: Why Graphs? Part II

http://blog.logos.com/archives/2005/11/syntax_andersen.html Consider the simple graph to the right. A graph, you will recall, is a diagram made up of labels and lines. This particular graph has some further special characteristics: (1) This is a directed graph, because the lines are arrows that indicate which labels are “on top,” so to speak; if this were a corporate organization chart, the arrows would always point from manager to employee. (2) This graph is acyclic, which is a fancy word meaning “no cycles,” which is a fancy way of saying that if you follow the arrows in the direction they are pointing, you will never visit the same label twice. Put another way, if no matter where you start, you will eventually reach the end. (3) This particular graph is a tree, because it has exactly one topmost label (the CEO in our org chart), and each label has one and only one arrow that points to it. That is, each employee has only one boss — wouldn’t that be nice?

I think that I shall never seea graph as lovely as a tree.

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Syntax: Why Graphs?

Why did we choose graphs to represent syntax instead of something else? Short answer: Because.
The long answer, however, is much more interesting: Because every method of graphically showing the syntactic form of a sentence or clause has its pros and cons. Graphs have a lot of pros, and not many cons.

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