Huge Libraries

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Posts 15
David Royer | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Aug 24 2010 4:58 AM

Hello fellow pilgrims,

Even though Logos on my current system is a bit sluggish, I recognize Logos is the program of the future in bible study. For my current investment in the Leader’s Library edition of Logos, I have 342 titles. To me that is reasonably ample, but I certainly wouldn’t mind having a library in the two or three thousands, or even in the upper nine thousands that some have shared about in other threads, which brings me to my question. When I look at the list of resources that one can buy, my mind spins at the numbers available. As a newbie, I am not familiar with the vast majority of the authors available, and unfortunately, the descriptions are not in enough detail to educate me about these writers. How does one make educated choices in selecting further resources? I certainly don’t want to purchase anything from someone who holds a completely different theology. Rather than cut-and-dried answers about Logos resources, I am looking for people to share about how they approach new sources in general.

Posts 63
Scot Jefferies | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 5:14 AM

David Royer:
How does one make educated choices in selecting further resources?

Welcome to the Forums David.

I started with the Scholar's Edition quite a few years ago.  Price and original language studies were important in that determination.  I'm on a small budget most of the time so Community Pricing has been a great benefit in obtaining classic titles and collections at extremely low cost.

I look at the Logos description and sometimes do a bit more Google searching on the author to know more about their background and perspective.

David Royer:
I certainly don’t want to purchase anything from someone who holds a completely different theology.

I've found that the offerings from Logos are generally mainstream in theology although varying in perspective.  It isn't a mistake to obtain and read authors who have a different take on a subject or Bible text.  This has brought some very good balance for me and helped me to better grasp the "whole counsel of God".

Posts 18917
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 6:03 AM

I have gone about building up my paper library slowly, over many years, becoming familiar with names of authors along the way as pastors, other authors I've read, and professors I've studied under have referred to them. I'm able to jump ahead more quickly in my Logos library because I'm already familiar with so many authors' names from the years of reading and collecting knowledge and books. So I suggest you not be in a rush to get up to many thousands of titles in your library.

I actually find it beneficial, once I've become quite well-versed in my own theology, to read books by those with other positions. It expands my horizons, helps me to see whether what I hold near and dear about some other viewpoint is really a fair representation of what they believe, and helps me know how to address the real errors I encounter in other perspectives if and when necessary (which is rarely; I rarely can claim to know more about some subject than a fellow believer does, and in a context where pointing out their errors is really going to be helpful to us both and to the world out there looking in on us to see how Christians behave amongst themselves).

One thing you could do is look for places where some of the pastors and authors you already know and trust have written up lists of recommendations of books and authors. Perhaps an article in a church newsletter or magazine, or a blog post, or a bibliography for some paper they've written. Or in the rare case you might be lucky if someone you respect has written a whole book of recommended literature, such as Eugene Peterson's Take and Read: Spiritual Reading: An Annotated List. I happen to know Eugene personally (he was a professor of mine) and trust his judgement immensely, though he might not be your cup of tea.

The other thing to do is look at book reviews. Some of the user reviews (both positive and negative) on Amazon.com are outstanding and can help you decide whether you'd want to own a book or not, whether you'd learn anything from its contents, whether you'd agree with its slant or not, etc. For reviews of commentaries, check out http://www.bestcommentaries.com. For scholarly reviews of other books, you might consider purchasing in Logos format The Review of Biblical Literature, a periodical which contains thousands of book reviews. The Logos resource contains 9 volumes of this journal, covering the years from 1998 - 2006.

Another helpful group of resources are book-length bibliographies and books specifically aimed at helping people build up a good theological library. New Testament Commentary Survey by D.A. Carson, Old Testament Commentary Survey by Tremper Longman (unfortunately not in Logos format yet), An Introductory Bibliography for the Study of Scripture by Joseph A. Fitzmeyer (from a Catholic perspective), Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study by F.W. Danker (apparently still only available on CD-ROM), An Annotated Guide to Biblical Resources for Ministry by David Bauer (also not available in Logos format), and Biblical Counsel: Resources for Renewal by Steven Kettler (the Amazon book description is much more informative than the Logos one).

Also, scour online bibliographies and resource guides put out by seminary libraries, churches, denominations, para-church organizations, or other institutions that you trust. For example, the Bibliographies and Reference Tools page of the SBTS Research Guide wiki (put out by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), Religion and Theology Resources and Biblical Studies Links (Regent College Library; evangelical / transdenominational), Internet Guide to Religion (Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion; ecumenical / interfaith). Some of these are merely links to other online resources but some of the latter contain bibliographies of recommended books.

Finally (actually you might want to make this your first stop): Logos has put together a number of really good Product Guides which are excellent places to look for book suggestions in any of several categories.

Oh, one more thing, Google the phrase "build* theological library" (that'll pick up all variations of "build[ing] {a/your} theological library") and see what other suggestions people out there in the blogosphere have made, assuming you trust them as much as you trust me... Wink

Whenever you do decide to buy more resources in Logos, it is far more cost-effective to upgrade to one of the higher libraries, such as Scholar's or Gold or even Platinum, than to buy the individual books, even if there would be a lot of books in those higher base packages that you'd never use. Saving are truly substantial. For the same price as the few books you might want to order, you can generally get five times that many by upgrading to the next package which includes them all. Some you might not care to ever look at, but you'll find a few surprising gems in there, and lots of useful reference material.

Using all the methods I've mentioned above, you will no doubt encounter books that are not available in Logos format yet wish you wish you could get. Then is the time to suggest them to Logos by emailing suggest (at) logos (dot) come.

UPDATED: Several edits above at 6:11 AM (GMT-8).

Posts 3810
spitzerpl | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 6:18 AM

I have often simply Googled their names. This usually gives some tidbit of information, true or not :-) I usually check out the Amazon reviews as well. There are some resources in my Logos library that gives biographical information, such as 131 Christians everyone Should know and Who's Who in Christian History. I've also done global searches of my entire library for their name and since I have the Theological Journals that can bear good results.

I would love to see Logos include user reviews on their website as well. If you are ever looking for a commentary, check out bestcommentaries.com, that's a great website.

Posts 1669
Allen Browne | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 6:22 AM

Hi David.

Good question. First thing is to become familiar with what you already have. You are probably already using a couple of bibles, a couple of commentaries, and one or two Bible dictionaries. When you want to study a book of the Bible, take a look at your Bible Introductions/Surveys, and see which ones give you a good overview of the book, so you know what to make of it. Discover the maps/photos (right-click places and things), and the parallel passages/harmonies.

As you do, you will, in time, discover things you need that you haven't got yet. For me (starting with Scholars pack), I didn't have commentaries to the depth I wanted, so I added a few (Bible Speaks Today, Tyndale, and then Word Bible Commentary.) I've also bought particular books because I wanted them (e.g. N.T. Wright's Christian Origins & Question of God series.) Then I wanted a better Bible Dictionary, so bought the ISBE.

Over the last 3 years, I've added some books on church history, theology, OT and NT studies, preaching, apparatus, hermeneutics, apologetics, journals. It's a bit scary really!  :-)  But I do enjoy my purpose-built library.

Watch the pre-publication specials and Community Pricing, and other specials (from the blog or Facebook.) Buy only what you need, but these are are good way to pick up additional resources gradually.

To find out what you want, read reviews, and get to know authors. While you don't want authors whose presuppositions are radically opposed, it can be useful to consider views other than what you already hold. I'm unlikely to buy an author who rejects the divinity of Jesus, but I did enjoy being informed by Ben Witherington's summary of current trends and thinking in The Jesus Quest.

The biggest mistake I've made has been buying something that's currently cheap but isn't what I need. Sometimes I've bought a resource only to discover that it's not as good as something else I already have. In general, I'd encourage you to stretch for quality resources you need rather than buy lots of things just because they are bargains.

To summarize, my approach is pretty simple: a) What do I need that I don't already have?  b) Is it a good price at present?  c) How often will I use it?

Hope that's of some use for you.

Posts 677
Steve Maling | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 7:37 AM

Greetings, David,

To all the other excellent advice I add a suggestion to check out www.ntgateway.com, a site hosted by Logos.

Best wishes,

Steve

Posts 6666
Forum MVP
Lynden Williams | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 7:54 AM

Thanks for your comments Steve. I noticed that the site you referred to has full length dissertations available.

Lynden Williams Communications https://www.lyndenwilliams.net 

Posts 18917
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 8:40 AM

Lynden Williams:

Thanks for your comments Steve. I noticed that the site you referred to [www.ntgateway.com] has full length dissertations available.

Oh, very nice! I wish that all the open access dissertations around the web could be available and searchable in Logos too (though Logos probably couldn't get permission to charge money for making them searchable that way Sad). In the meantime, there are several searchable archives of digital theses online. Following the links from www.ntgateway.com will lead you to some of them. Here are a few I found: Theses Canada, Australasian Digital Theses Program, University of Notre Dame Electronic Theses & Dissertations, University of Edinburgh Divinity PhD Thesis Collection, University of Pretoria Electronic Theses and Dissertations, etc. Some of those have some open access theses and others available only to members of the institution. I wish there were one universal search engine to search through all these thesis only for fully available ones. There's sort of no point in doing a full search in theses you'd have no access to anyway. There's the Theological Research Exchange Network (TREN), but it doesn't include any of the above mentioned universities nor many others that surely would have online theses available and have some people writing them on theological topics. And besides, you have to pay for many of the TREN thesis, though there are some free e-docs.

Posts 50
Randy O'Brien | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 12:29 PM

I have been helped by the Denver Journal from Denver Seminary. They keep up-to-date annotated OT and NT bibliographies posted at http://www.denverseminary.edu/resources/the-denver-journal// I have tried to get the recommended resources in the most important areas. This has been a great tool to evaluate potential purchases.

Randy

Posts 4625
RIP
Milford Charles Murray | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 2:08 PM

Randy O'Brien:

I have been helped by the Denver Journal from Denver Seminary. They keep up-to-date annotated OT and NT bibliographies posted at http://www.denverseminary.edu/resources/the-denver-journal// I have tried to get the recommended resources in the most important areas. This has been a great tool to evaluate potential purchases.

Randy

What and excellent site, Randy!  Thanks so much for sharing it.  It will most certainly help me spend my dollars more wisely in the future.  Peace to you!      *smile*         And Joy in the Lord! 

Philippians 4:  4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand..........

Posts 1401
HJ. van der Wal | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 3:21 PM

Rosie Perera:

there are several searchable archives of digital theses online.

And here's another one: http://www.narcis.info/?Language=en

Rosie Perera:
Google the phrase "build* theological library"

The Reformed Union (an orthodox/puritan organization within the Protestant Church in the Netherlands) has on its website a list of recommended resources for building a theological library: http://www.meetingpoint.org/gb/index.php?page=boekenbrochures#lit

(the list is in Dutch, but contains also many titles in English). Although I'm a member of the Reformed Union, I want to mention this list as an example that you always have to be critical: this list mentions just about every Bible software available, except the best Bible software in the world. SadCrying

 

EDIT: I can't get the link http://www.meetingpoint.org/gb/index.php?page=boekenbrochures

to work. If you copy it and paste it in your browser, it should work properly.

Posts 1206
Ward Walker | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 8:05 PM

I purchased the Portfolio package when Logos offered it, mostly in order to get full access to all the tools.  I'd thought I might be nearing retirement and having the opportunity to study things in depth that I've always sped by.  However, a promotion ruined that Wink

I've augmented my collection with some of the pricier commentaries, but have noticed that as my library grew I tended to use less and less of it more and more...for example, I've taken a liking to the NICNT commentary's style and tend to use it as a primary source when I use commentaries.  Having watched some of the videos I'm cognizant that I could better use collections to filter the library searches/etc, but that's more effort than I have time for, sadly.

I leapt at the Zondervan bundle since I have a lot of their print material...the idea was to get rid of the print duplicates, but the hoarder in me just won't let go.

The earlier responses were great, and gave me things to consider...I'd point out that sometimes the Forum posts have vectored me to resources and once or twice from resources (usually when they were in a non-English language and I'd not figured that out at first). 

I will usually bid on all community pricing material, and will bid on pre-pubs when (1) my wife is asleep Devil and (2) the topic is a reference that would be helpful when chasing rabbits in an area that catches my fancy or helps with greater context for the period.

All this said, I'm finding it harder and harder to find resources that I "need."  There are some publishers who are not represented (well) like Lifeway, David C Cook, etc that I really wish would publish in a Logos format.  I've undertaken a kind of Logos publishing evangelism ministry to track down editors of things I wish I could get electronically and ask them to check out Logos.  It is amazing how resistant many are to selling their wares in a different way.

Posts 453
Mike S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 8:28 PM

I had the problem of starting to read articles in dictionaries (e.g. ABD) that I really liked, but all of a sudden something comes out of left field and it becomes very clear they were not believers but had a lot to offer in historical or cultural background. The same became even more evident as I did a deep study in Revelation... I wanted to understand where the author stood before reading some rant on why their view is the only valid view for an hour. That's when I started my own (personal) "Annotated Bibliography".

I created a note and added links to resources with their titles, identified the author(s) and added links to external sites that sometimes helped (e.g. Bios from their university's web site, wikipedia for dead fellows is helpful, theopedia for some, etc.) and then I add my own notes on what they've written. I suddenly discovered that I really enjoyed and have been edified by authors who, given their theological and denominational backgrounds, I never would have purposefully chosen. I also avoided paying for packages that just weren't right for me because of the author's voice or style who technically fit quite well with my personal theology (some are quite arrogant, obstinate, and utterly snotty while clearly taking a very debatable position on a minor subject). 

To be fair, I started this using a different bible software and have transferred the work over to Logos... it's taken me years to develop it over time. I've also tried to work on something together with others, but little to no fruit has come of repeated efforts to this effect.

Posts 18917
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 8:44 PM

Mike S.:
That's when I started my own (personal) "Annotated Bibliography".

That's really a great idea -- the only way to go on stuff like this, since each one of us is unique in our experiences, knowledge, beliefs, and viewpoints. In a similar vein, I usually find that other people's anthologies of poetry or whatever never quite "do it" for me. I have to pick my own favorite poems and make my own anthology as I go, which I've been doing slowly. I'm doing that for favorite hymns and praise songs, too. A personal annotated bibliography would be most useful! It sounds like a lifetime endeavor. Kind of like the old tradition of keeping commonplace books, which I'd love to implement in my own life as I meander through all kinds of great books. I sort of do it in bits and snatches, with a file of favorite quotes, a growing Zotero bibliography of a few narrow interdisciplinary topics I've studied, my Notes files in Logos, etc.

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