What is Logos Bible Software?

I recently returned from the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. Once again I had a great time meeting and talking with so many of our users as well as many students, pastors, scholars (and pastor-scholars!) who are looking for new resources.

It was interesting to see how different people have different impressions of Logos Bible Software. Some only know it as the software they use to access a single electronic book, like the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. Some see it as a specialized Bible search engine, particularly if they only discovered it in the context of our new Hebrew and Greek syntax databases. Others see Logos as nothing more than a huge bucket-o-books, an overstuffed electronic library with a search feature.

The Libronix Digital Library System, the technology underneath Logos Bible Software, is not a single piece of software. It is more like a box of software parts that can be assembled in various ways – like digital Lego bricks, if you will. It can function as a search-and-display tool for a single book or as host for multiple document editors and specialized search engines. This modularity lets us deliver exactly the right tool for many different users. It is the right tool for the devotional user who wants just a Bible and commentary. And it is the right tool for the scholar who only wants to run complex queries on ancient language texts.

The modular architecture is a great asset. But it can make it hard to see the big picture of what Logos Bible Software really is.

Logos Bible Software is an obstacle eliminator for Bible study. It is a combination of technology and resources designed to eliminate every bit of time-consuming paper handling that could get in the way of Bible study.

The Bible is the Word of God. We believe that it should be at the center of every Christian’s walk, and that it speaks powerfully to the hearts and minds of unbelievers. But we can’t make people study it. We can take away excuses for not studying it, though. We can make Bible study easier to begin. We can remove every impediment of page turning and paper handling. We can make digging deeper irresistibly easy.

Back in 1991, the very first Logos t-shirt design consisted of our logo and the phrase “Get into the Word!” in large, red type. Fifteen years later we are still building tools to help you do just that.

What’s with all the crock-pot photos?

Crock Pot

There is a hidden message in all the photos of crock-pots you see on the Logos Blog.

Everyone understands why we post about product features and special sales and Greek syntax, and even the design of a Ugaritic font. But maybe the pictures of cook-offs and frisbees and coffee and decorations are too subtle.

There is a reason we post all that Fun Stuff:
It’s fun.

Okay, there’s another reason, too: We want everyone to see what a great place Logos is to work. We know that before an interview every (smart) job candidate pokes around our web site and blog. We want them to discover that we’re a place they really want to work.

We also want you, our regular blog reader, to (when you’re not thinking about Greek syntax searching) take a moment to think, “Those folks at Logos must be having a blast! And they eat well! I need to take a look at www.logos.com/jobs and forward the link to the smartest people I know.”

Finding and attracting great people continues to be the key to our success. If “we” are going to keep building great Bible software for you, “we” needs to get bigger and better. Maybe you should think about joining us? Maybe you have a gifted friend or relative who is looking for something new? Maybe they just need to know about a fun, growing company where a bunch of great people are working together to build tools to help you study the Word?

Let them know about www.logos.com/jobs. (Especially if they can cook.)

What Happens When You Steal a Bible

There are some business advantages to serving pastors and Bible students. In conversation with other business people I have observed that we have less theft, piracy, fraud, and credit-card charge-backs than most businesses. Our customers pay their bills. Our product isn’t the theft target that music and sneakers are. Unfortunately, there are still people who, for reasons both selfish and self-righteous, don’t seem to mind stealing Bible software.

The anti-piracy features in Logos Bible Software aren’t super-secure. Serial numbers, registration, etc. are more for letting us restore lost licenses than for locking down users. We want enough security that stealing the software requires conscious, deliberate (and usually pretty technical) effort, while creating the minimal inconvenience for honest users. But for the determined thief, there’s no lock that can’t be picked and no software that can’t be copied.

In this week’s mail I received an envelope from a professor, obtained from one of his students. It contained a home-made DVD-ROM and instructions on installing a pirated version of our software. Step 2 in the detailed instructions installs the stolen licenses. Step 5 encourages the thief to “Study to shew thyself approved ;-) (2tim 3:15)”.

It is always disappointing to see such deliberate piracy. But years ago we decided that we weren’t going to get too upset about it.

Because if you want to steal the Bible, we want you to have it.

Because if you read it, and apply it, and let it change your life, you might write a letter like the one I found in the same stack of mail:

The writer confessed to having purchased and returned a copy of Logos Bible Software v1.6 in order to use the sales receipt for a discount on upgrading to Logos Bible Software v2.0. Back in 1995.

And now, 11 years later, he feels convicted about his dishonesty, confessing it as part of an old life style of stealing, shop-lifting, etc. He enclosed a check for the value of the returned software, plus interest, and asked for our forgiveness and blessing.

What a blessing it is to be building tools to help people study God’s Word. And to be in a position to see, side-by-side and on the same day, such evidences of our sinful tendencies and of the power of the Word to convict us of them.

Final IE 7 Breaks Logos Bible Software

Amazingly, the final release of IE 7 (released yesterday) introduced yet more changes that break Logos Bible Software.

The v3.0a update which we encouraged you to download yesterday does not work with the final release of IE 7. To fix this, we’ll be making an “emergency release” of v3.0b available later today. This will fix the worst problems with IE 7, and a more thoroughly tested release will be available in the coming weeks (which will also have the latest Vista compatibility fixes).

We’re very sorry for the inconvenience. Please check back here for the latest information.
Update 10/20: Latest Beta Fixes Compatibility with IE7

Progress on Copyrighted Orphans

Earlier this year I posted about the Report on Orphan Works published by the Copyright Office. Orphan works represent a wealth of material that is still of great value, particularly in Biblical studies, but which is not widely available and can’t be reprinted or digitized because the copyright status, or copyright holder, is impossible to track down.

In May, Representative Lamar Smith introduced HR 5439, the Orphan Works Act of 2006, in Congress. If passed into law, this Act would provide safe harbor for Logos and others to republish orphaned works without fear of huge legal liabilities if a previously unidentifiable copyright holder came forward. It also provides for reasonable compensation for copyright holders who are found.

This is a win-win-win. It’s good for publishers who want to digitize or reprint older works. It’s good for the works, which get new life and more use. It’s even good for the copyright holders (many of whom are heirs who don’t know they own rights, or that they have any value) who may discover new revenue sources.

And most importantly, it’s good for you. It will put valuable, but hard-to-find, hard-to-use, resources at your fingertips.

Please let your representative know you support HR 5439.

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/)

H.R. 5439, the Orphan Works Act of 2006, 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 legislation which advances the causes of commerce, education, and human knowledge.

The Find Bar

There are more than 100 new features in Logos Bible Software 3. One of the smallest is becoming a favorite of many users.

The Edit > Find Dialog has been replaced with a Find Bar. You can open it on a report or resource by selecting Edit > Find from the menus, or pressing Ctrl+F. This opens a small toolbar at the bottom of the window where you can immediately start typing. It then searches the text in that window as you type, putting a little starburst on the first occurrence.


The Find Next button (or Enter key) moves to the next occurrence. Find Previous (or Shift+Enter) moves back to the previous occurrence.

The Find feature is not a replacement for searching, but it’s very helpful when you know you’re in the right place, but want to quickly jump to a specific word or phrase. For example, you might open a very long article on Moses in the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary and want to find where in the article Moses’ sister Miriam is mentioned. The Find feature takes you right there, without launching a whole-book or whole-library search.

Day Eleven: Technical Difficulties

Day Eleven saw the Pritchett family off to the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace for another attempt at some education. Despite protests beforehand, the kids paid attention and learned a bit about the presidency and American politics. And we got to see the bulletproof presidential limo.

In the evening we headed over to Faith Community Church, where we found a pretty impressive technical setup with multiple projection screens. The only problem was that my laptop couldn’t “see” the projector over the extra long video cable. It would not switch into projection mode because it did not see the projector. After a bunch of messing around with the help of Faith Community’s great tech team, we discovered that we could go into projection mode using a short cable and my backup projector and then swap the longer cable in without leaving the mode. It all worked just in time.

Tonight is my last presentation before flying home from San Diego tomorrow. Landon Norton, one of our Ministry Relations reps, will be flying in with his family to take the RV on the next leg of its journey around America.

I have really enjoyed being on the road with my family, and it has been fantastic meeting so many people at the evening events. If you are anywhere near San Juan Capistrano, California, I hope you’ll come out and join us tonight at Ocean Hills Church.

Day Nine: Cars

After ancient artifacts, I decided to do something on the kids’ list. So we went to a go-kart racetrack and arcade. It was pretty empty on a Tuesday afternoon, so they got to do all the racing and game playing they could handle.

In the evening we were at the beautiful New Life Community Church in Artesia, California. I was impressed by the large wall of windows in the sanctuary looking out onto a huge lawn. I was surprised to hear that it was designed to allow drive-in attendance, and that some people still show up for services in their car.

After the presentation a Logos user brought me his copy of Fire Someone Today to sign. Even better, he was wearing a Facilitates Serendipitous Discovery t-shirt!
Next stop: Faith Community Church in Irvine, California.

Day Eight: Ancient Artifacts

The Road Trip RV is using Anaheim, California as home base for this week’s events. I wanted to get something a little more educational than roller coasters out of our free time during the day, so after lunch at In-N-Out Burgers we headed north to the Getty Villa for some Greek and Roman art and artifacts. The Villa staff kindly found us parking among the tour buses, and I got a new sense of appreciation for bus drivers. It isn’t easy taking a huge vehicle up those narrow driveways.

The steep, winding Malibu Canyon Road slowed us down (and frustrated sports-car drivers behind me, despite my frequent use of turnouts) but it didn’t keep us from the Evangelical Free Church of the Conejo Valley. There I met two Logos 1.0 users and got some very encouraging feedback: one user stayed late afterwards just so he could tell me in person how ‘your software changed my life and teaching.’

What a privilege it is to have a job building tools for Bible study! And to have such wonderful people as customers.

Next stop: New Life Community Church in Artesia, California.

Day Four on the Road: A Great Evening!

What a great evening! After a nerve-rattling ride over some bumpy, narrow state highways (“Windy Levy Road Next 3 Miles”), and a trip over the feels-too-high-and-narrow-for-this-RV Antioch Bridge, we arrived at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Pittsburg, California.

Pastor Maurice Bates and everyone at the church really put out the red carpet for us. They had prepared a big spread of food for us, and they recorded my presentation on both audio and video. Attendance was great — our largest group yet! And after I demonstrated Logos Bible Software 3 they sent me off with a big basket of snacks and drinks for the road. I felt like a celebrity!

There were some more familiar names to meet in person, and Dean Forbes (co-editor of the analyzed Hebrew text) came, too. Best of all, there were lots of people there with a real interest in Bible study. It was a fun and encouraging evening.

Next stop: Evangelical Free Church of the Conejo Valley in Newbury Park, California.