Visualizations are Cool

I’m not a programmer but my geek streak gets fired up by new visualizations of data, especially visualizations that are interactive. Logos 3 includes a ton of neat-o (and useful) visualizations—from wee, data-dense sparklines tothe “word wheel” graphs in Bible Word Study,and Timelines of biblical people and events.

So last week I was excited to come across three different sites with creative and useful visualizations—one exploring data of a political nature and two biblical.

Following President Bush’s State of the Union address, The New York Times website offered an interactive visualization that makes it easy to explore vocabulary usage trends across the president’s 7 State of the Union addresses.

Then, at the Blogos blog (whose author Sean Boisen now works here at Logos), there was this interactive treemap that makes it easy to see which pericopes are common or unique among the Gospels.

The ever-interesting ESV Blog lit up the blogosphere with their visualization of New Testament social networks based on proximity within the text.

As the ESV Blog aptly notes,a more reliable map of actual relationships between biblical people could be produced via semantic tagging. This involves identifying or “disambiguating”each person in the Bible and describing the relationships between them.

The Biblical People addinin Logos Bible Software 3 is a first pass at portraying these relationships, though at this point the data is limited to explicit family ties expressed in the text. You’ll see a richer data set at some point in the future.

For many of us, exploring biblical information in such a visual way is a new experience. Here at Logos, we strive to incorporate stunning new technologies and visualizations into our products in a way that demands little or nospecialized knowledgeon the part of the user. In other words, we want to hire people who are super smart about linguistics, library science, programming, and visualization…so you don’t have to be!

That said, you might be inspired, as I have been, to grow your familiarity with the concepts and basic vocabulary of visualization. So here’s one final link to some “knowledge maps”—visualizations that help explain visualizations—at Visual-Literacy.org.

In particular, besure tocheck out the very cool Periodic Table of Visualization Methods, which provides examples of visualizations such as the “iceberg,” the “hyperbolic tree” and “mintzberg’s organigraph”.

Getting More from Library Builder, Part 1

If you woke up on Christmas morning to findLibrary Builder volumes 1-3 in your stocking (even if you had to put it there)…this article is for you.

Like a lot of users, you may have started out December owning only the Logos 3 version of Scholar’s Library. Adding the Library Builder Christmas special literally doubled the number of books on your digital bookshelf. Wow. Start off by congratulating yourselfon not having to clear out furniture to make space for more shelving!

Now we want to help you maximize the value of those additional books.This is the first ina short series of blog posts that will help acquaint you with what, specifically, you’ve added to your library (knowledge is power) and then provide some tips for deriving ultimate benefit from those new books.

The Things You Don’t Have to Do

Not only did you not have to build shelving to accommodate doubling the number of books in your library…there are lots ofother things you didn’t have to do!

Indeed, the developers of Logos Bible Software have taken great pains to ensure that new books merge seamlessly, painlessly,and optimally into your digital library. That means you’re probably already enjoying many of the benefits of a larger library without having to do a thing. Let’s hear it for not having to do a thing!

  • My Library automatically discovered and categorized your new books by title, author and subject.
  • The bibliography report (Tools | Library Management | Bibliography) was updated to include your new titles.
  • Passage Guide has identified your new commentaries, illustrations, devotionals and books on music and will include them in searches whenever there’s relevant data inside.
  • Your new books are indexed, topically tagged, and ready to be instantly and thoroughly searched.

Whew, I’m going to step out for a glass of iced tea and be back in a moment.

Hello Books

The next step is to get to know some of your books on first name basis. The more you know about an individual title or series the better you can evaluate how much you plan to use it, in what contexts you’re likely to use it, and whether you’ll want to add it to any special collections or otherwise promote its status in your library.

So how do you identify all your new books? The Library Builder product didn’t ship in a fancy box with a contents liston the back, and since it was a limited special the webpagehas been removed from Logos.com.

But I’ve posted to the Logos wiki a list, by category,of all the books that are in the Library Builder product. You may want to bookmark the link and keep it handy as you spend time with your new books. And you may fairly ask, “What’s the Logos wiki?“.

For now, start by taking a look at the list and identifying the books you’re most interested in based on title. Then spend a few minutes with My Library, opening and browsing those books to become familiar with their structure and contents.

A couple of articles may be helpful in this area:

Next up: Part 2

Bible Study on the High Seas

Today’s guest blogger is Landon Norton, who works in ministry relations at Logos and is a veteran of the 2006 Bible Road Trip.

Logos in the “bar”

As a member of the Ministry Relations team whose privilege it is to present Logos Bible Software to large crowds at conferences around the county, I am sometimes tasked with traveling to remote andcold places (sorry if you’re reading this in one of them!).

This past week made up for a lot of those trips as I was granted an opportunity to present these amazing Bible study tools on the January Bible Study Cruise to the Bahamas hosted by Templeton Tours, a Christian Cruise vacation company… In fact, you may remember receiving the email offer to join us! If you are not one of the nearly 80 Logos users who turned out for the cruise, let me tell you what an awesome time in the Word you missed!

Landon and Jerry Vines

On the M/S Celebration, I shared the stage with speakers like Dr. David Jeremiah, Dr. Jerry Vines, Phil Waldrep, Johnny Hunt and others, presenting people with tools to study and teach God’s Word. Moreover, each night, Logos users gathered in a large “bar” (there’s no alcohol on board for this Christian cruise!) for orientation on the essentials of how to use Logos Bible Software. Each night our little “family” grew as people heard and saw what amazing things they could do using Logos. This is where my passion for equipping people with the tools and tutoring needed for better Bible study really kicked in! People were just blown away at what this software does for personal study. I like to think Logos brought the “Bible study” to the Bible Study Cruise!

“Driving” south

The boat left Jacksonville on Monday and headed to Freeport, then to Nassau on Wednesday and Half Moon Cay on Thursday before returning to Jacksonville by late Friday night. The sights were amazing when we headed into town. Everywhere I went people were pointing me out as the “Logos Guy”. (Guess all those Logos shirts really paid off!) Seriously, though, it’s great to be known when you’re known because of the awesome tool you show people how to use! As I’ve said many times, it’s not about me, it’s about what I show people for better Bible study.

So now that I have my land legs back, let me be the first to invite you to come along next time! We just finalized booking a March 5-10 trip back to the Bahamas – this time with In Touch Ministries and Charles and Andy Stanley!

What’s more – learn about the awesome deal Logos is offering for $300 in “Logos bucks” when you join us for the cruise! Check out all the details here...

I hope to see you next time Logos takes Bible study to the high seas! Actually, you can’t miss me…I’ll be the one in the Logos shirt…

Interview with Bob Pritchett: Company in Transition

This isthethird installmentin a series of video blog posts (introduced here) sharing the story and culture of Logos Bible Software. Other posts in the seriesare archived in the Video category.

Hear about the move from New Jersey to Washington,developer meetings at Denny’s restaurant, and see photos of the first Logos offices.

Note: All videos are in Windows Media format. Mac users may need to download the free Flip4Mac plugin for playback within QuickTime.

Logos 3 a finalist for “Consumer Product of the Year”

Logos Bible Software 3 has been selected as one of threestatewide finalists for Consumer Product of the Year, alongside Farecast.com—one of the hottest new travel websites of 2006—and WhitePages.com Mobile.

In the state that is home to Microsoft, RealNetworks and a host of other innovative tech companies, it’s a real honor to be recognized in this way.

We’ll find out whether we won top honors March 21 at the WSA Industry Achievement Award event in Seattle. The theme this year is Heroes of Innovation, hence the cool superhero graphics.

This annual industry award is sponsored by WSA, the largest technology trade association in Washington State. I’m super excited that Logos is a finalist for this award. Not only for the recognition of Logos Bible Software 3 as an innovative and technically excellent product, but also because at the awards ceremony 1,000 leaders from the technology industry in Washington State will hear about Logos Bible Software.

Microsoft is a major sponsor of the event, along with the region’s widely-read business publication,Puget Sound Business Journal. The keynote speaker for the event will be Robbie Bach, President, Entertainment and Devices Division, Microsoft Corporation.

Here’s what the Consumer Product of the Year application listed as criteria for this award:

The successful applicant will demonstrate technical innovation, consumer adoption, intuitiveness, value to consumers, staying power and general distinction of the applicant’s product in the consumer marketplace.

Past winners in this category include household names such as WhitePages.com, Expedia, and RealPlayer.

This is great recognition for Logos—both the company and the product!

The Hero List

The WSA press release and site don’t provide links to the companies and products that are nominated for the various industry achievement awards, but I was curious about who else made it and googled them to find out.

The wide range of technologies and applicationsnominated providesa glimpse into the innovation going on in Washington State. It also drives home to me the value of having a product name that describes the product!

Breakthrough Technology of the Year

Business Product of the Year

Consumer Product of the Year

Service Provider of the Year

Technology Innovator of the Year

Best Use of Technology in the Government or Nonprofit

Meet Morris Proctor – Authorized Logos Trainer

Today’s guest blogger is Dan Pritchett, director of marketing for Logos.

We just realized that it has been nearly ten years that we have been partnering with an amazing man who has personally helped thousands of you get the most out ofyour Logos Bible Software. Who is this amazing man you ask?

Morris Proctor

We have been so blessed to work with Morris Proctor, his wife Cindy and their company Morris Proctor Seminars, that we wanted to share with you the story of how Morris came to be an Authorized Logos Trainer and close partner of ours for the past ten years. We asked Morris to share his story in his own words, and he was more than happy to do so…

“I became a disciple of Jesus Christ and teacher of His Word through the personal ministry of my good friend and best selling author Robert Morgan. In the early 80’s Rob began instilling in me a love for the Bible and Christian books as well as a desire to study and teach Scripture effectively. I, therefore, dutifully set out to build my personal library of print books. I spent years and thousands of dollars securing many needed resources.

As I developed into a pastor – teacher I spent countless hours in study and sermon preparation. When the personal computer age hit I was reluctant to enter the electronic world choosing rather to stay in my comfort zone of pen and paper.

In the late 90’s a friend bought me a copy of Logos Bible Software. Not owning or knowing how to use a computer the software remained in the box. Finally, another friend loaned me a computer, loaded the software, and instructed me to become proficient with both the software and a computer “for my own good”.

After a week of reading the Logos Bible Software Users Guide and “hunting and pecking” around the keyboard I actually started studying the Bible electronically. I was shocked to discover the profound impact this new method of study had on my biblical research and sermon preparation.

The world of Logos Bible Software allowed me to study and prepare sermons both more quickly and effectively. I introduced my friends to the software and began teaching them how to use it. I then began putting my software teaching outlines into manual form to develop the first Quick Reference Training Manual.

Through the encouragement of friends I contacted the leadership at Logos Research Systems informing them of my instructional classes for their software and desire to partner with them to train their users. They invited me to their Oak Harbor, WA headquarters in 1998 to conduct the national Camp Logos. After the seminar I shared my vision to take this training around the country from church to church equipping people to effectively use Logos Bible Software. The Logos leadership enthusiastically agreed.

In the fall of 1998 the regional Camp Logos hit the road. We named this new training endeavor Morris Proctor Seminars. For nearly ten years my wife, Cindy, and I, along with some faithful assistants, have conducted hundreds of hands on training seminars around the country and now even around the world as the Logos family spreads internationally. In addition to the live training seminars we produce videos on CD and DVD, print manuals, and miscellaneous training materials all designed to help Logos users get the most out of their software In 2001.

As the seminar demands increased, I stepped back from pastoring a church to devote full time to training Logos users. I still, however, maintain a very active preaching / teaching schedule which keeps me in the Bible and Logos Bible Software on a daily basis for my personal use. Before I am a trainer, first and foremost I am a student of the Word and user of the software myself. Hopefully this personal use of the software translates into very practical training for you.”

You can get to know Morris better and experience his personal and patient training style best by attending one of his “Camp Logos” events, or by purchasing one of his excellent training CDs or manuals.

We couldn’t be more pleased with Morris. He has been a fantastic partner and friend of ours for manyyears. As you read in his story, he started out as a pastor who did not even own a computer. He ended up becoming a trainer and one of the most proficient users of Logos Bible Softwareever because a friend bought a copy of Logos for him. Once Morris finally gave it a try he fell in love with the software for its ability to take him deeper into God’s Word.

Logos Bible Software doesn’t change lives – the Holy Word of God changes lives. Logos Bible Software just helps people get into the Word. Do you want to see those around you get deeper into God’s Word? Are you blessed to be in the position of being able to bless your pastors, missionaries, or friendswith the same gift that Morris received? If so,we want to help make it more affordable and thank you for passing on the blessing to others with a small token of ourappreciation.

If you call 800-875-6467 and order theBible Study Library, Leader’s Library, or Scholar’s Libraryto bless someone else, we will give you 25% off the retail price anda$50.00 book unlock credit for yourself.

If you order Scholar’s Library Silver, or Scholar’s Library Gold to bless someone else, we will give you 25% off the retail price and a $100.00 book unlock credit for yourself.

If you don’t need the book unlock credit but just want to bless someone right away, use the coupon code BLESSING at checkouton Logos.comto get 25% off Bible Study Library, Leader’s Library,Scholar’s Library, Scholar’s Library Silver, or Scholar’s Library Gold.

Surveys Are a Pain

Take the Survey!Today I filled out a survey for a company we buy software from. One question wanted me to rate their phone technical support on a scale of 1 to 9. But I have never phoned them. There was no “Don’t Know” option, and the survey software wouldn’t let me leave it blank.

I gave phone support a six.

The episode reminded me why I hate to take surveys. None-the-less, if you are a Logos Bible Software user, I am asking you to take a few minutes and fill one out for me. Because surveys really do help us design our software and prioritize projects. We read every response, and refer back to the aggregated results for months afterwards. Many of our existing features, policies, and product offerings were created in response to user feedback through earlier surveys.

So please take a few minutes to answer this nine question survey (especially the annoying, but very helpful to us, question number five) and help us do an even better job of meeting your needs in future releases of Logos Bible Software.

(Our survey does support “Don’t Know” and skipping questions.)

Interview with Bob Pritchett: Growing the Logos Vision

This isthe second installmentin a series of video blog posts (introduced here), sharing the story and culture of Logos Bible Software.

In these four videoclips, you’ll hear Bob Pritchett talk about the initial goals of Logos, how early customer response helped enlarge the vision for what Bible software could do for people’s Bible study, and how the whole Pritchett family got involved in the enterprise.

Note: All videos are in Windows Media format. Mac users may need to download the free Flip4Mac plugin for playback within QuickTime.

Fresh Blog Posts, Delivered to Your Email Inbox

I realize I’m inviting criticism by offering another way to increase the amount of email you receive from Logos so close on the heels of my Sipping from a Firehose post…but here goes.

We recently added a way for you, the Logos Blog reader, to sign up to receive new blog posts directly to your email inbox.

Some will argue that this defeats the whole purpose of RSS feeds and they’re right. I also know that plenty of people enjoy reading the Logos Blog yet have no interest in learning how RSS feeds work even if it’s super simple. They mastered email a long time ago and it works just fine, thank you very much.

If you’re one of those people and you want the latest Logos Blog post to be delivered to your email inbox without you having to think about it…just use the simple sign-up mechanism in the right-hand column of the main Logos Blog page. It looks like this:




And once you’re all signed up, every time we post to the Logos Blog (more or less 5x per week), the content of the post will appear “automagically” in your inbox, looking something like this:


Interview with Bob Pritchett: The Early Years

Every culture tells stories about itself. Stories that give answers to the Big Questions: where did we come from, who are we, where are we going? Stories that inspire and motivate; stories that enslave and perpetuate harmful attitudes. Some would say that without shared stories there’s really no “we” to talk about.

Companies like Logos also tell culture-creating stories that define who we are and help delineate our collective purpose. But any period of rapid growth brings the attendant risk that the company’s culture will be lost, or at least lost on the new hires. This risk is especially acute when the new hires will be working thousands of miles away from the home office.

Sharing the Logos Story

Since we won’t be flying the new Field Sales team to Bellingham for every chili cookoff or field trip to the Dead Sea Scrolls—and it will be a little harder for Bob to take the new reps out for coffee—we’re recording stories from various Logos team members to share with the new hires. My guess is that some of these stories will be new for many of us who work right here in Bellingham, too.

We’d also like to share some of these stories with you, so I’ll be posting a series of video interviews over the coming weeks that help tell the Logos story.

Interview with Bob Pritchett

First up in the series is an interview with Bob Pritchett, Logos co-founder, president and CEO. We’ll “begin at the beginning” with Bob answering a question about how he first got into computers and Bible software. You’ll hear Bob describe what it was like to work with early electronic Bibles, how he swapped his first search engine for Bible texts, and more…

The interviewer is Scott Lindsey, director of ministry relations, and Dale Pritchett is behind the camera.

Note: All videos are in Windows Media format. Mac users may need to download the free Flip4Mac plugin for playback within QuickTime.