Field Searching: Searching Footnotes and Surface Text

Since we’ve been looking at some of the various fields that you can search in Libronix resources, like OTQuote, DisputedPassage, and LaterAddition in the Greek New Testament and WordsOfChrist (or WOC) in most English Bibles that include the New Testament, I figured I’d continue this little series and mention some of the other fields that you can search.

A field that most books have that you may find helpful in your searching is the footnotes field. You can search footnote text in isolation from the rest of the text of the book by using Footnote: prior to the word or phrase you are searching for (e.g., Footnote:Packer).

Footnotes usually contain more detailed information with bibliographic citations and additional sources for further study. You might find it helpful to search the footnotes of a book to find more books and articles about a topic you’re studying. Not all books include a bibliography at the end, so searching the footnotes with certain key words might give you some great leads to dig deeper.

Another place this might be helpful is in the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament. The search Footnote:NA27 turns up 151 mentions of the NA27 in the footnotes showing the places where the underlying Greek of the ESV differs from the NA27 text. If you wanted to find all the places where that variation involves θεος, for example, you could search for Footnote:θεος, which turns up 4 places where the ESV Greek text follows a different reading from the NA27 either adding or omitting θεος.

Alternatively, if you ever wanted to exclude footnotes from your searches, many of our books support a Surface field. So a search for Surface:Barth, for example, would ignore any hits in the footnotes.

To see what fields are supported for a given resources, look in "About This Resource," which you can access from the right-click menu in My Library.

You can also access "About This Resource" by clicking click Help > About This Resource with a resource opened and selected.

Here’s an example of the supported fields for The Theology of the Christian Life in J. I. Packer’s Thought.

More field search examples coming soon.


  1. Thanks Phil!
    I’m interested in learning how to search for authors and titles of Theological Journals. Sometimes professors reference TJ articles in class and that would be the fastest way to find them. Would it be the same way? eg. “author:Macarthur” or something like that?

  2. That’s actually one of my next posts. :) But, yes, you’re correct that author:MacArthur would do the trick in the TJL. To limit your search to just *John* MacArthur (as opposed to some other MacArthur), you would do author:MacArthur author:John. That search returns for me 15 articles in TJL 1-10. You could also do author:”John MacArthur” or author:”John F. MacArthur”, but you have to run both to get all the hits since his name sometimes lacks the middle initial. The first method is the better one IMO.
    The best way to find an article by title would be to do a normal phrase search with quotes if you know most of the title (e.g., “Does God Still Give Revelation”). If you know only a word or two, you could do a topic search topic(revelation) topic(God). The titles and headings are tagged as topics, so it will limit the search to just that text. You can’t have more than one word in a topic search (e.g., topic(“Give Revelation”) would yield zero hits), but you can search on more than one topic at the same time (e.g., topic(revelation) topic(God) topic(give) all in the same search will find only the places where the three occur together). We’re exploring other ways to make finding text in a title or heading even easier.
    Hope this helps.

  3. Perfect… thanks!

  4. Phil Layton says

    You wrote in the last reply “We’re exploring other ways to make finding text in a title or heading even easier.”
    I am excited to hear Logos is finally looking into this as I’ve hoped they would for years, and I can’t tell you how valuable that would be in helping users find the most valuable articles in their library if we could search on title / heading! Without that capability much of the potentially best resources get overlooked and the Libronix library is not as powerful as it could be, nor up to par with other search engines, whether secular (ex: Google search begins with any pages that actually have the phrase in the title) or spiritual (Bible Explorer already allows searches limited to heading / sub-heading text only for most relevant articles)
    Case in point #1:
    I was teaching through Genesis 1:26-27 and spent many hours just finding articles and resources in my huge library that discuss this verse and/or “the image of God” (and of course that was all before I could even get to reading something that would help my study!)
    If I type “image of God” in Google, my results begin with mostly relevant articles that have that in the title. In Bible Explorer / Wordsearch, I can search for that phrase by headings only (excluding text in body), which gives me only relevant articles that have that phrase in the heading, which is a great place to start, knowing those articles will actually discuss what it means (rather than simply mention the phrase in passing)
    If I search Libronix for the phrase “image of God” I am overwhelmed with the thousands of occurrences and articles that merely mention the phrase, most of which do not have much of a discussion on what it means. Of course, I could do a topic search on “Image” and find some relevant hits eventually, but would still miss many good resources that are not topic tagged.
    However, if Libronix can indeed be upgraded to include “heading” was a search type, I could do a search for:
    (heading)“Image of God”
    THEN relevant articles that would not show up in Topic Search would include:
    “The Meaning of the Creation of Man in the Image of God” [Wayne A. Grudem, Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood, p. 73]
    “Image of God” [Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer, Vol. 2, Chap. 2]
    “Image of God—Biblical Foundations for God’s Self-Revelation” [Beyond the Bounds, p. 158]
    “Male and Female He Created Them in the Image of God” [Sermons of John Piper (1980-89)]
    Isaiah 40:25—If nothing is like God, then how can humans be in the image of God? [Norman Geisler, When Critics Ask, Page 270]
    Genesis 1:26–27—Does the fact that a human being is made in the image of God support the Christian Science claim that humanity is co-eternal with God? [Norman Geisler, When Cultists Ask, Page 22]
    “Human Beings Created in the Image of God” [R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, Part VI.45]
    “The Image of God (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15)” [Clarence Benson, The One True God, p. 10]
    “Man Created in the Image of God” [Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, Page 96]
    Journal Articles would include:
    “Image of God” by Charles Feinberg [Bibliotheca Sacra 129:515 (Jul 72) p. 236]
    “Male and Female Complementarity and the Image of God” by Bruce Ware [Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 7:1 (Spring 2002) p. 14]
    “The Image of God in Man” by Gordon Clark [Journal for the Evangelical Theological Society 12:4 (Fall 1969) p. 215]
    “The Image of God: According to their Kinds” [Reformation and Revival 12:2 (Spring 2003) p. 97]
    I hope this shows how valuable a search by “heading” could be in finding the most relevant hits, articles that probably most Logos users would never find or use although they are in their library. These are great articles that could have been found in a very short amount instead of the many hours it would take to simply search all text by a phrase and then weed through hundreds if not thousands of hits before you could find above entries. This would be a great “breakthrough” for Logos that I have thought for many years is one of the keys to help take software research to the next level.

  5. Jarred Edgecombe says

    Concerning footnote text, when I am in a resource and move my cursor over a footnote, if it is a previously cited work, then the text shows up as “ibid.” Is there any way to list the footnotes, so that I don’t have to go through the text to find the author of the citation?

  6. Jarred, I’ll address this in an upcoming blog post. Keep an eye out for it.

  7. Jarred, you can now see the answer to your question in this post: Ibid., Footnotes, and the Auto-Lookup Feature.