Why Can't We Search Like We Do On Google?

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DrGregWaddell | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Sep 22 2012 6:55 PM

I'm trying to find something on Logos and still finding it difficult. I've had the program about  year and still find searching as not very intuitive. I'm so used to typing a line of text either using Google or Ask.com and finding an array of articles. Why can't this be done with Logos? Why isn't there a way to just type: "What was Jesus' mission to the Jews?" or something like that? I have to type something like "Jesus WITHIN 6 WORDS Jews" and even then it might or might not find anything relevant. Can someone explain to me how the Google search engine is different from Logos and why we can't do this kind of search?

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 22 2012 7:17 PM

Gregory S. Waddell:
Can someone explain to me how the Google search engine is different from Logos and why we can't do this kind of search?

Google spends millions of dollars on creating search algorithms. 

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 22 2012 7:25 PM

Gregory S. Waddell:
Why isn't there a way to just type: "What was Jesus' mission to the Jews?" or something like that?

Searching for key words in a few fields in a Logos library can find resources:

Keep Smiling Smile

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Todd Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 22 2012 7:26 PM

Gregory S. Waddell:

I'm trying to find something on Logos and still finding it difficult. I've had the program about  year and still find searching as not very intuitive. I'm so used to typing a line of text either using Google or Ask.com and finding an array of articles. Why can't this be done with Logos? Why isn't there a way to just type: "What was Jesus' mission to the Jews?" or something like that? I have to type something like "Jesus WITHIN 6 WORDS Jews" and even then it might or might not find anything relevant. Can someone explain to me how the Google search engine is different from Logos and why we can't do this kind of search?

Well, for one, Google's "library" is much bigger than yours.  It's the whole internet, which means there's a good change it might find an exact match for what you typed.  Most Logos users have several hundred to a couple thousand resources.  Google has 50 billion web pages indexed.

Secondly, Google tracks which pages point to other pages via links, and they track what people click on after doing a search.  They take that data and use it to rank the pages with more links and more clicks higher.  Logos resources don't have as many links as webpages do, and Logos doesn't track your clicks, so Logos can't use that kind of data to rank the search results.

Thirdly, Google's indexing and query processing computers are much more powerful and expensive than a desktop computer, so they can build more complicated indexes that do things like index whole phrases and not just words like Logos does.  Plus Google has a staff that is constantly fine tuning the indexes and the ranking algorithms.

Finally, keep in mind Logos can do searches that Google can't.  You typed in one: "Jesus WITHIN 6 WORDS Jews", but other more complicated logic can be done on Logos.  Plus Logos has morphology and syntax searches available too.

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Ward Walker | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 22 2012 7:38 PM

Agree that Google has a complex set of algorithms that solve for search (200ish conditions, as I recall).  However, you raise an interesting point; I know that Google sells its search engine to corporate customers (i.e., in their search appliance/etc).  Perhaps Logos and Google could affilliate somehow to bring a similar result to Logos users--and ideally against the full Logos content, not just what one person owns.  I'd then be able to see search returns with resource links where I owned content, and just text snippets where I didn't.

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tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 22 2012 7:57 PM

Ward Walker:

Agree that Google has a complex set of algorithms that solve for search (200ish conditions, as I recall).  However, you raise an interesting point; I know that Google sells its search engine to corporate customers (i.e., in their search appliance/etc).  Perhaps Logos and Google could affilliate somehow to bring a similar result to Logos users--and ideally against the full Logos content, not just what one person owns.  I'd then be able to see search returns with resource links where I owned content, and just text snippets where I didn't.

I was thinking the same thing.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 22 2012 8:40 PM

Ward Walker:
Perhaps Logos and Google could affilliate somehow to bring a similar result to Logos users--and ideally against the full Logos content, not just what one person owns.  I'd then be able to see search returns with resource links where I owned content, and just text snippets where I didn't.

Unfortunately, the word probability tables both for individual words and word strings that are developed by Google (and shared at least within the Natural Language Processing community) would not fit the Logos resources very well - Scripture and theology isn't a big percentage of the web vocabulary. To create a tagged training set to develop the probability tables for Logo's vocabulary would be very expensive. Then there would be the little problem of not being able to easily fit the tables on a personal computer/electronic device. Searches would have to done online. It would be more appropriate to compare the Logos search to the Windows search.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 52
DrGregWaddell | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 22 2012 9:25 PM

Thanks Everyone,

I think I'm beginning to understand. It's complicated.

OK. I can understand that. Thanks for all your tips on searching. 

I guess I've been spoiled by Google. 

I agree about the morphology searches. That's powerful.

Thanks for your responses.

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Josh Hunt | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 23 2012 7:01 PM

I have found it odd that with all the thousands of dollars of software I have, often the best way to find a verse is to google it. 

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 23 2012 7:24 PM

Josh Hunt:
I have found it odd that with all the thousands of dollars of software I have, often the best way to find a verse is to google it.

I admit, I have done that too. Smile

Logos is a powerful software program… but it is not always a simple one. It takes some learning to make the most of it.

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 24 2012 6:14 PM

alabama24:

Josh Hunt:
I have found it odd that with all the thousands of dollars of software I have, often the best way to find a verse is to google it.

I admit, I have done that too. Smile

Logos is a powerful software program… but it is not always a simple one. It takes some learning to make the most of it.

Agreed

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Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 26 2012 6:32 AM

Because we love Logos, there is a tendency on these forums to jump to Logos' defense at every criticism.  It is like you have said my grandbaby is ugly.  I love Logos, too.  And I'll punch you in the nose if you call my grandbaby ugly - any of the eight of the beautiful darlings.

However, you are right, Grergory.  Searching is not very intuitive with Logos, and it is the biggest weakness of the program.  Logos' strength is the marvelous library of resources that it offers and the unique way the passage guide works.  But searching on Logos is inferior.  And that is surprising since that should be a basic function.  It is worse on the ios apps.

Still, it can be done, and the other benefits of Logos make me love the program.  I would not swap it for any of the competition that I have seen.  But I hope that one day the searching will be fixed.  With our Logos libraries numbering in the thousands of books, searching should be a top priority for Logos developers.  Surely, someone is working on it.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

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Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 26 2012 6:43 AM

MJ. Smith:

Ward Walker:
Perhaps Logos and Google could affilliate somehow to bring a similar result to Logos users--and ideally against the full Logos content, not just what one person owns.  I'd then be able to see search returns with resource links where I owned content, and just text snippets where I didn't.

Unfortunately, the word probability tables both for individual words and word strings that are developed by Google (and shared at least within the Natural Language Processing community) would not fit the Logos resources very well - Scripture and theology isn't a big percentage of the web vocabulary. To create a tagged training set to develop the probability tables for Logo's vocabulary would be very expensive. Then there would be the little problem of not being able to easily fit the tables on a personal computer/electronic device. Searches would have to done online. It would be more appropriate to compare the Logos search to the Windows search.

But MJ, we are talking about a much smaller amout of material to search in a Logos library. Surely, it can be done, and done more intuitively.  This is especially true with the basic searches.

 

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

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Randy W. Sims | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 26 2012 8:17 AM

I absolutely love Logos. I think the search tool is very powerful and tremendously useful, though maybe not as flexible as it could be. There is always room to improve and usually some quick and dirty ways around it (esp since natural language search is so complicated and still rather in its infancy).

Here are a few suggestions I would make that would be relatively easy (as compared to NL search):

1. Have Logos gather information from (opt-in) users. Information that would be useful, for example, is: what resources are used and at what frequency (ranked usage), search queries that are made that return < n results. For search results that return < n results, analyze the queries and see if there are any special cases that can be detected and transformed into queries that produce the desired results.

2. More options to rank and categorize results. Eg. Rank "Library Results" by my most used resources, categorize by resource type (bibles first, then dicts, encyc, commentaries, monographs, etc)

3. Add another section after "Library Results" - if the user is online - that returns Google results.

4. Integrated Google search. Google does offer the ability to use it's engine to index your own data. I'm not sure about fees; they may be too expensive to absorb or reasonably pass on, but it would be worth checking. This also requires that the complete library is in a format or that Google Index has the ability to use custom filters so that it can access the data in the library in order to create a meaningful index. That may also involve licensing issues? So this option is definitely filled with a lot of ???

 

 

 

Posts 52
DrGregWaddell | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 26 2012 9:05 AM

Amen to that.

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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 26 2012 9:28 AM

This is a really interesting topic.

I would love to see example queries that you want to run in Logos but can't or don't get good results for.

At the fundamental level, we run the same kind of searching system that Google (and every other full-text search engine) uses. We find documents that best match a "bag of words" and try to intelligently rank the results.

Google has several other things going for it, though.

A) A lot of engineers. 

B) They don't search on your machine, they search in the cloud, and can afford massive data centers which essentially keep the entire index of the Internet in memory. Our users want to run offline sometimes, and don't run personal clouds that can store everything in memory. (Google vs. Logos when you have no Internet: We win! Always better results. <smile>)

C) They have some "natural language query" overlays that pre-process queries before trying the "bag of words" tricks. We don't, and don't believe they're yet appropriate to our types of content.

D) Google is indexing "everything in the world." Even with a "bag of words" query and no natural language parsing, having the whole Internet in the index increases the chance of good hits. Almost every query anyone has ever typed has a page where almost exactly the same phrase exists. Google's results are often horrible -- it's just that there's some result that looks perfect, and it shows up at the top. The horrible matches are on page 15 of your search results, which no one ever looks at.

E) Most of our users queries aren't "What was Jesus' mission to the Jews?" type queries. People who buy Logos are often searching for more specific things, like Bible references or more tightly formatted queries. 

F) Again, because of the massive amount of indexed content, Google often looks like it is working well when it's not. Search Google for "John 1:2" and it appears to work, but it's finding textual matches. It returns 3 John 1:2 near the top. Logos finds references to John 1:2, ranks them high, and also finds and ranks highly significant references to John 1:1-11, or John 1:1-3. And never confuses it with anything in 3 John.

G) Google doesn't search morphological syntax. Though it might appear to -- it returns results on "imperatives in Ephesians 4" -- these aren't actually hits on that, but rather articles/pages that are headlined/contain "imperatives in Ephesians 4". Again, a big win when you have "all the data in the world," but not a useful way to find something specific in the text.

H) In Logos, you are searching known, trusted content. We could (with some money and time) search the Internet, too, but you have Google for that. If you want results from your library, we're ahead of Google -- and, I believe, close to as good as Google's engine could do with our library. To get "Google type results" you need the whole Internet, including the heretics, crazy papers, and random blogs, and spam.

I just searched

Jesus mission to the Jews

in Logos 4, with a < 3,000 book library. The first few hits were pretty good, and the fourth was specifically on that subject. Adding "what was" to the front reduces the hit quality, because we aren't trying to parse sentences, so it's looking for "what" and "was" in the results. We could (and have considered) just throwing out these types of "introductory words", but we don't think that's expected behavior in a tool like ours, which is used to return more precise hits for scholarship, research, etc. It fits on Google, where you never care about the overall precision / quality, just that something good shows up on the first page.

But we're open to improving, and want to, so please do list as many examples of "searches I want to do", and we'll see what we can do.

Thanks!

-- Bob

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tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 26 2012 10:29 AM

Bob Pritchett:
In Logos, you are searching known, trusted content.
And we are searching some resources that are simply junk in my eyes.  Now, what is junk in my eyes is gold in someone else's eyes.  And what they classify as junk is gold in my eyes.

What typically comes out in my searches tends to display what I think junk is first.  How the results should be displayed IMHO needs to be based on our priority list resources (along with what resources that we use the most).  The algorithm used now is simply worthless for me.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 26 2012 2:14 PM

tom collinge:
Bob Pritchett:
In Logos, you are searching known, trusted content.
And we are searching some resources that are simply junk in my eyes.  

Bob, my complaint with the search is, like Tom's, the problem of the ranking of the results. Yes, by creating collections and reference ranges it is possible to get the Logos rankings to be reasonable. I suspect that providing some default collections and (more?) reference ranges would make it easier for the "average"" user to write searches that return the desired results on the top pages.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 52
DrGregWaddell | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 26 2012 2:38 PM

As is always the case, however, this is more of a peception problem than it is a technical problem. It is common for the development people to hear a complaint like this and say, "What! I don't know what you're talking about. It is soooo simple." Yes, for you. But for the non-technical user, the perception is that it's a lot less inuitive than Google. I suppose because Google has spoiled us. 

I just did the search in Google and--out of the first 8 hits, 5 are totally relevant. 

 

I did the same in Logos and got this:

On a busy day, of which most of us have many, I look at that and ask myself, how much time will it take to sift through all that information and answer my question. The answer is obvious, so I turn to Google.

Greg

Posts 52
DrGregWaddell | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 26 2012 2:38 PM

Don't know what happened to my screenshots.

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