Topic search for L4 on uservoice: help the dream come true!

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Francis | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Oct 23 2010 11:20 AM

I know that there have been numerous discussions of the new approach to searching in L4 and of what previous users of L3 thought was lost and still think is not quite as good even with the explanations of the new deal.

We have learned to make do with the new system (and appreciate some of its innovations) and have learned to wait for more resource topical tagging from Logos. This post does not challenge any of that. BUT considering that there were not a few who still thought (still think?) that the old approach to topical search (however flawed in its results) was still something that we valued and would like to see expanded beyond dictionaries, I am surprised that there are not more votes for the "idea" on the uservoice website from Logos.

Perhaps this is due to many not knowing yet about the site and the importance of using it. Well, here is the link directly to the "bring back the topic search" page. Go and add your vote if that's what you want. This will tell Logos whether we are still interested in this and to which extent. Many of the ideas of uservoice with top numbers of votes are under review, development or implemented. Would you like to use "topic:<topicname> in the search box and have the pertinent results from ALL your resources come up? 

Go to http://logos.uservoice.com/forums/42823-logos-bible-software-4/suggestions/510241-bring-back-topic-search-and-fuzzy-search?ref=title and VOTE! I did.

Posts 19139
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 23 2010 11:44 AM

Thanks, Francis. I've had a vote resting on that from the beginning! I would love the topic: syntax to be added to search. Even if all it does is return just the current topics section of the search results. But I'd love to have it expanded to include places in all resources where that topic was found as the full text of a section header (that's the only way I can see this making sense from an implementation standpoint and being useful to us). It might take forever for them to tag all their resources with this info. But it's certainly worth asking for and hoping for. I'd also like to see a Topics dropdown menu to choose from (like the Topics browser in L3). We have no idea what is included in the LCV (Logos Controlled Vocabulary) now, and it would be great to know ahead of time whether our search is going to hit a target. If we get close but don't know how to spell it correctly, for example, this would help us find a topic.

Posts 139
Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 26 2010 12:38 PM

Francis, Rosie:

Can you help me understand what behavior you want to see (whether L3 Topic Search was a faithful implementation of that or not)? 

Heading search is underway: not enough resources are tagged this way yet to make it highly useful, but we're revising more resources to enable this, and our goal is for all new resources to have headings be searchable. So this is coming: but i'm not confident this will satisfy those who miss L3 topic search. 

 

Posts 139
Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 26 2010 12:41 PM

Rosie Perera:
I'd also like to see a Topics dropdown menu to choose from (like the Topics browser in L3). We have no idea what is included in the LCV (Logos Controlled Vocabulary) now, and it would be great to know ahead of time whether our search is going to hit a target. If we get close but don't know how to spell it correctly, for example, this would help us find a topic.

That's a great point. One issue at present is that (unlike Biblical People, etc.) there isn't a "report" page specific to LCV concepts: they're just folded into search results (and then presented differently in the passage guide). We're starting to work out a design to give them their own report page, and i expect it would make sense there (like with Biblical People) to have a search box which showed completions, to help guide your search. 

Posts 19139
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 26 2010 12:57 PM

Sean Boisen:

We're starting to work out a design to give them [LCV concepts] their own report page, and i expect it would make sense there (like with Biblical People) to have a search box which showed completions, to help guide your search. 

That would be great, Sean!

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 26 2010 1:35 PM

Sean Boisen:
i'm not confident this will satisfy those who miss L3 topic search

That is pretty much how I feel. The issue is not just headwords but topical content within a resource, especially (for me) journals, sermons, and illustrations. Headwords might be fine for theological works and some others whose content tends to be organized by topic, but not everything is so it can't be the solution. The promise that Logos will be a librarian that knows my library and can open every book on my shelves to the topic I am studying may never have been fully realized in Libronix but we are much further from it in L4. Until Logos is willing to spend the effort to properly tag resources, a chief functionality of Logos has been lost in L4. The sooner someone at Logos decides to spend the time to tag resources by topic the sooner this issue will be resolved. There is no way around confronting that issue and doing something about it. It is gone and those of use who supported Logos for years before L4 feel you've taken a core functionality from us.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 3770
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 26 2010 2:19 PM

Hi Sean, thanks for replying and seeking our input.

I am not sure on which basis L3 resources were topically tagged. It did not seem to be restricted to headings unless I am mistaken. So when you refer to working with headings, I am not sure how it would all work out. To use the classic example, if I searched "Lord's Supper" would headings that don't have this wording but have "Eucharist" or "Communion" come up?

Unless I misunderstand Mark, I think that what he refers to is the fact that very interesting sub-sections or paragraphs may exist devoted to a topic which is not identified by the closest heading. Many authors (e.g., Eugene Peterson) use "creative" headings that are not using typical terminology to refer to content. Still, searching all headings will certainly be a great improvement from where we're at. 

I have suggested before the idea of section user tagging. What I mean is that I could select any portion of text I want and tag it. I read not too long ago that it was in the plans for Logos to use recurrent user resource tags and implement them for all users. If user section tagging were possible, would it not be a way to enlist the help of an army of users in tagging topics?

Reading lists don't cut it as far as I am concerned. I am too busy tagging, doing collections, setting favorites and so on to go out of my way to make a reading list. But suppose that I tagged a paragraph or sub-section in a book which happens to say very interesting things about child adoption in a section headed "Christian Piety" in a book called New Testament Theology for Today. Then let's say, Rosie and Mark at some point also read the same section and also observe that it would be good to tag it under child adoption. With time, other users would add their tags. One day, Sean would be looking for a passage on child adoption and lo and behold, here it appears in the search result or topic report page.

So, to recap, the suggestion is to provide the ability to tag sections and use a cloud approach to enlist user help to make what would otherwise be a daunting task, feasible and not in so far a future. This suggestion is not in lieu of the work that is currently done with headings and controlled vocabulary but in supplement and complement of it.

Posts 1473
PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 26 2010 2:44 PM

Sean,

As others have stated above, with topical search I would like to see the following requirements implemented:

1) Search headwords, as in dictionaries (that's already underway)

2) Search concepts in a book, much as we look up the index in the back of a book

3) Ability to handle synonyms (Eucharist etc) and ambiguities of index/topical entries among different books - the "fuzzy" part of the search

4) Search results presented in a browsable manner (e.g. Google-style search results snippets to allow me to quickly glance for the most relevant resources)

The implementation of Topcial Explorer in WordSearch is not ideal, but is highly useable.  I haven't used L3 for a long time, but I think L3's topical browser functioned similarly.

Hope this helps, and thanks for listening.

Peter

Posts 1984
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 27 2010 2:23 PM

Mark A. Smith:

Until Logos is willing to spend the effort to properly tag resources, a chief functionality of Logos has been lost in L4. The sooner someone at Logos decides to spend the time to tag resources by topic the sooner this issue will be resolved.

If I were the software designer for this kind of feature at Logos (and, frankly, it would be a lot of fun), I'd hate to rely on tagging to achieve these kinds of searches. In my opinion, it would be a step backwards for being able to flexibly and quickly provide new search capabilities. For those who remember trying to do any kind of textual searches before full-text search became commoditized, it would be like going back to that time. You had to enter keywords to provide any kind of searchable information for the text, and if you didn't enter a particular keyword, you couldn't find the content by searching for that keyword. In this scenario, the tags are like the keywords. Why should we have to touch the content every time we come up with a new topic that we may want to correlate with it?

Instead, I'd create a level of indirection between a topic and the content. So in the case of a topic like "redemption", you could specify that words like "forgiveness", "redemption", "redeem" (assuming the full-text engine doesn't already handle the semantic equivalence between redeem and redemption for purposes of search), etc. indicate that a section of content relates to that topic.

When a user asks the software to find all references to the topic "redemption" in a set of resources, it just turns that into full-text searches for all the various words / phrases which correspond to that topic. Logos could provide a jump start for a large set of topics. But this concept would allow users to edit and create their own topics, all without having to re-tag content for any / every new topic that someone thinks of.

My $.02 ...

Donnie

 

Posts 3618
Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 27 2010 2:29 PM

Just voted. Didn't realize there was such a page.

mm.

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 9:03 AM

Donnie Hale:
Instead, I'd create a level of indirection between a topic and the content. So in the case of a topic like "redemption", you could specify that words like "forgiveness", "redemption", "redeem" (assuming the full-text engine doesn't already handle the semantic equivalence between redeem and redemption for purposes of search), etc. indicate that a section of content relates to that topic.

Actually Logos has implemented something called Logos Controlled Vocabulary (LCV) which would be what topical tagging would be based on. Of course tagging might not be the approach Logos takes. I might have another method in mind. The issue is that it will take substantial amounts of time.

As another poster suggested, in cases where a resource has an index, connecting that index to the right LCV would be as much as I'd expect. The extra effort comes in where there isn't an index.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 3770
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 9:39 AM

When I think about our proposals, my limited knowledge and inexistent expertise in programming conjures up all kinds of complications. Perhaps my earlier proposal sounded as funny to programmers as when my little son's solution to being bullied is "we could build a fort"!

I will be content at this point to rekindle the expression of our keen interest in seeing topical searching implemented as soon as possible in Logos 4 with the underlying message that the current searching models have not been found to empower us to do the same thing or to do it as well.

Sean, I and others would be happy to continue to answer your questions as to what functionality we are looking for. We know that there is a solid team of programmers and thinkers at Logos Bible Software. Nevertheless, who knows maybe in the midst of our uninformed brainstorming a brilliant idea will emerge?

Posts 1984
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 10:19 AM

Mark A. Smith:

Actually Logos has implemented something called Logos Controlled Vocabulary (LCV) which would be what topical tagging would be based on. Of course tagging might not be the approach Logos takes. I might have another method in mind. The issue is that it will take substantial amounts of time.

As another poster suggested, in cases where a resource has an index, connecting that index to the right LCV would be as much as I'd expect. The extra effort comes in where there isn't an index.

I saw something about LCV after I posted my comment (maybe on the wiki?). A couple of follow-up questions if you don't mind:

1) Is there someplace that explains in detail how to use LCV? Concept, syntax, and examples?

2) You imply that some resources aren't indexed or don't have an index. Is that correct? In this context, does "index" mean a full-text index? If so, why would any of the Logos resources not have a full-text index? If not, what kind of index do you mean, and why would a resource not have that kind of index? Perhaps more to the point, where is all of this documented so we can understand what it means in terms of using our library?

Thanks much,

Donnie

 

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 10:38 AM

Donnie Hale:
1) Is there someplace that explains in detail how to use LCV? Concept, syntax, and examples?

http://topics.logos.com/

http://topics.logos.com/Example_Topic_Page

Donnie Hale:
2) You imply that some resources aren't indexed or don't have an index.

Indexed and having an index for our purposes are two different things. All Logos resources are indexed in one way or another, that is they are coded with data that can be incorporated into the Logos 4 Resource Index or Bible Index. The index I and the other poster am referring to is a traditional back of the book index. Not all books have these so not all Logos resources have them.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 13413
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 10:49 AM

Donnie Hale:
1) Is there someplace that explains in detail how to use LCV? Concept, syntax, and examples?

The whole point of the LCV is that it 'just happens'. There's no syntax to learn. The fruit of the LCV is the topics section of searches, and everything in Biblical People/Places/Things.

Donnie Hale:
2) You imply that some resources aren't indexed or don't have an index. Is that correct? In this context, does "index" mean a full-text index? If so, why would any of the Logos resources not have a full-text index? If not, what kind of index do you mean, and why would a resource not have that kind of index? Perhaps more to the point, where is all of this documented so we can understand what it means in terms of using our library?

He means that not all resources are tagged with LCV concepts. All Logos resources have a full text index.

Posts 1984
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 11:02 AM

Mark A. Smith:

Huh... I'm not sure what to make of those 2 pages. I also looked at the page for the "Parable" topic. It looks like those pages are the result of some kind of topic searches. Not sure what that means or how it helps me use LCV. If I go to the "Semantic Search" link on the right, I get an empty text box. What am I supposed to do there?

Donnie

(I suppose we can start another thread for this...)

 

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 11:25 AM

Donnie Hale:
Huh... I'm not sure what to make of those 2 pages.

The first page lists the words (terms) in the LCV. It is dynamic because users can suggest new entries or edit those already posted. As you can see many of them were put there by Logos and have a single entry (meaning they haven't been edited since Logos put them there). In addition to being the list of the controlled vocabulary, they serve as the repository for topical content that you can find in Logos 4 under Reading Lists.

Donnie Hale:
If I go to the "Semantic Search" link on the right, I get an empty text box. What am I supposed to do there?

No idea.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 944
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Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 12:40 PM

Mark Barnes:
The fruit of the LCV is the topics section of searches, and everything in Biblical People/Places/Things.

With just a little refinement ... The fruit of the LCV is:

  • the Topics section of Basic Search
  • the Dictionary links for Biblical People/Places/Things
  • the Topics section of the Passage Guide (minus Biblical People/Places/Things, which have their own sections, plus some "topical indexes" like Naves, Torrey's, etc.)

I've put some related material at http://wiki.logos.com/About_Topic_Search because of persistent questions about "what happened to the LDLS Topic Browser?" (and we're working on plans to meet what is clearly a strong need for many users) This page is still a work in progress.

 

Posts 13413
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 29 2010 12:28 AM

Sean,

If you want to understand some of the difficulties presented by the current system, I think the following thread is instructive: http://community.logos.com/forums/t/25204.aspx

Here the user applied common sense to a problem that could be solved by the LCV, but was thwarted in his attempts by the way Logos works. (Here, at least, the main problems was that in narrowing his search to dictionaries - common sense, one might think - LCV searching was actually switched off.)

Mark

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 29 2010 7:22 AM

Mark Barnes:
If you want to understand some of the difficulties presented by the current system, I think the following thread is instructive: http://community.logos.com/forums/t/25204.aspx

Excellent point, Mark. Should be dirt simple (intuitive?) as they say and it wasn't.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

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