SEARCH (again,) why is it so difficult ...

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Posts 22
Jason Wells | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, May 2 2022 6:51 AM

TL/DR: 1) How do I get search results for the questions of Christ. 2) Please relook at the Logos search function.

I realize this is a much-discussed topic (maybe that indicates a problem for the general user), but after searching the forums (for literally hours), I still can't figure out how to find the questions of Christ.

I am a fairly new user of Logos (about 1.5 years) and I know am just scratching the surface of the power of Logos - regardless, this has me stymied. It seems to me some basic items seem out of reach for an avid (e.g. daily) user. As a former software developer, I understand SQL/variable/boolean searches, but for the life of me, I can't get an answer for many of my questions without multiple forums/blogs searches - only to go online for an answer.

It seems to me that, despite the difficulty for the back-end developers, this has been an issue since the very early days of Logos. As you know, a user's confidence in the software dictates how indispensable the sw is to them. In other words, If I get search results, but I don't trust them, this should be an indicator to the developers of areas to refine in the sw. Note: I am not advocating for scope-creep, simply refining what should be a basic functionality of the Logos Search.

jjw

Posts 1979
Forum MVP
Levi Durfey | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 2 2022 7:17 AM

Hi Jason,

I was able to do this easily by using the search templates as a model.

First, I opened the Search Templates Sidebar and chose One Person Asks Another Person A Question. I filled in Jesus and Peter.

That gave me the search term: {Speaker <Person Jesus>} INTERSECTS {Label Question} INTERSECTS {Addressee <Person Peter>}

I deleted the last part (about Peter) and got my search for all the questions of Jesus:

I think the first place a person should go when you don't know how to search for something is to the search templates. Don't be disappointed if the search template you need isn't immediately apparent, because you might be able to modify one of them to work for what you need.

Posts 1275
DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 2 2022 7:31 AM

Jason Wells:
As a former software developer, I understand SQL/variable/boolean searches, but for the life of me, I can't get an answer for many of my questions without multiple forums/blogs searches - only to go online for an answer.

I think you identified the problem.  You're coming from SQL, boolean and yes ... the old high school days with Venn diagrams.  MJ probably knows more about 'what happened', but as they moved forward, primarily with multi-language streams, the syntax became more and more unique to Logos. So much so, that experienced users are scratching their heads, forum questions are half-answers, etc.

At this point, I suspect the horse is out of the barn.  If it makes you feel any better, the assistance to users has barely improved over the years.

Posts 676
Bill Shewmaker | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 2 2022 9:48 AM

Jason Wells:

TL/DR: 1) How do I get search results for the questions of Christ. 2) Please relook at the Logos search function.

I realize this is a much-discussed topic (maybe that indicates a problem for the general user), but after searching the forums (for literally hours), I still can't figure out how to find the questions of Christ.

I am a fairly new user of Logos (about 1.5 years) and I know am just scratching the surface of the power of Logos - regardless, this has me stymied. It seems to me some basic items seem out of reach for an avid (e.g. daily) user. As a former software developer, I understand SQL/variable/boolean searches, but for the life of me, I can't get an answer for many of my questions without multiple forums/blogs searches - only to go online for an answer.

It seems to me that, despite the difficulty for the back-end developers, this has been an issue since the very early days of Logos. As you know, a user's confidence in the software dictates how indispensable the sw is to them. In other words, If I get search results, but I don't trust them, this should be an indicator to the developers of areas to refine in the sw. Note: I am not advocating for scope-creep, simply refining what should be a basic functionality of the Logos Search.

jjw

Do you have the Bible Browser? If so, you should be able to open to Speaker: Jesus and Sentence Type: Interrogative. I see a result of 333 "hits". 

Posts 626
Gregory Lawhorn | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 3:29 AM

Bill Shewmaker:
Do you have the Bible Browser? If so, you should be able to open to Speaker: Jesus and Sentence Type: Interrogative. I see a result of 333 "hits". 

I think this proves the OP's point. It's a great suggestion, but it's not in the least intuitive. On Google we would just type "what questions did Jesus ask?" or "how many questions did Jesus ask?" and Google would interpret our language. Not so with Logos. We must not only know what search results we want, but exactly HOW to get those results. Likewise, the INTERSECTS operator is a wonderful tool, but if you don't KNOW it exists, then it's essentially non-existent (in a Shrödingerian kind of way).

Having used Logos a long time, I'm used to its quirks, but I still resort to the search templates to remember how to form a search properly. How refreshing it would be to simply type "what questions did Jesus ask?" and get an answer.

Posts 3512
David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 10:24 AM

I'm using the Bible Browser more and more rather than search. Much easier to find many of the pieces of information we are actually looking for.

Posts 1273
Armin | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 10:46 AM

I concur with the challenges people experience. My main complaint about Logos is the lack of user friendliness. This is mainly caused by inconsistencies in the user interface as well as the highly complex search syntax. Yes, searches might produce results that are highly precise, but this does not help if I cannot remember the syntax.

I also noticed the Bible Browser. However, again, who can remember which tool to use out of the many tools Logos has, many of which have overlapping functionality? To me (a non-native English speaker), "Bible Browser" sounds like a tool that helps me browse through the Bible. However, it is much more another search tool.

Posts 3512
David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 10:54 AM

Armin:
My main complaint about Logos is the lack of user friendliness.
I hear what you are saying. But I have said that about all other Bible Platforms I have used. Logos is the MOST user-friendly and intuitive out of all of them in my opinion.

Posts 1273
Armin | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 11:10 AM

I listed here some GUI inconsistencies:

https://community.logos.com/forums/t/197602.aspx

Some of them could easily be fixed but they don't seem to be a priority for FL. 

GUI design is a complex topic with lots of research happening. Still, there is no easy way to ensure a GUI is easy to use. However, GUI inconsistencies significantly reduce usability.

As I mentioned previously in the forums: I gave Logos to about 5 people all of whom I believed were prime candidates to turn into long-term Logos users. However, none of them uses it regularly for the same reason: Too difficult to use.

Posts 2947
Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 2:56 PM

If Logos wants a wider customer base, it must develop a more intuitive SEARCH feature, while keeping its present search features for those who need them.  The search feature is certainly a nightmare for those new to Logos Bible software.  

I have used Logos for over 30 years, and I can usually find a way to search for whatever I am looking for, in English, Greek, or Hebrew.  But the search feature is a real turn-off to new customers.  There must be a way to fix it and make most searching very intuitive, while keeping the Geeks happy also.

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

Posts 35777
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 3:05 PM

Jason Wells:
2) Please relook at the Logos search function

Mike Childs:
There must be a way to fix it and make most searching very intuitive

Personal experience: I find the most common searches intuitive except for the span searched (verse, article, clause). I find documentation on uncommon searches only in the wiki, and on labels -scattered. The isolation of the clause search and the difficulty in setting the analysis view from semantic to grammatic limits its use. I've not tried to master the syntax search, I find Preaching Theme and Lexham Systematic Theology categories useless because they divide material in ways that are far different than my mental map.

Faithlife has relooked at the search in the last few major releases changing the cookbook format to a template format, using Bible Browser and Factbook to replace the need for many searches ... The problem in intractable for two major reasons:

  1. Users want the power of a very complex tool - and they want it to run quickly on a PC/notebook/phone.
  2. Users often have trouble articulating what they want or translating that into Logos data before even attempting to convert it into Logos syntax.

I am certain they will try again in L10 but fear I hope only for marginal improvement because users can't request what they don't know - and most users don't spend the time necessary to learn what data is available. Why am I so pessimistic? Because I have yet to see or think of a solution that would retain the power and still simplify it.

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

Posts 1128
xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 3:26 PM

Mike Childs:

If Logos wants a wider customer base, it must develop a more intuitive SEARCH feature, while keeping its present search features for those who need them.  The search feature is certainly a nightmare for those new to Logos Bible software.  

I have used Logos for over 30 years, and I can usually find a way to search for whatever I am looking for, in English, Greek, or Hebrew.  But the search feature is a real turn-off to new customers.  There must be a way to fix it and make most searching very intuitive, while keeping the Geeks happy also.

Amen!

The search feature in Logos along with some of the guides... are a big turn off for me!

I pray Logos critically look at the Search feature and do something about it. 

xn = Christan  man=man -- Acts 11:26 "....and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch".

Posts 2642
Forum MVP
John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 3:32 PM

While I understand the comments regarding the difficulty of certain types of searches in Logos, it is good to remember that other bible software does not have persons, speakers, addressees and other items tagged items available in their texts. Logos has provided many, perhaps too many, ways to interact with the text through searches, labels and tagged texts. We may sometimes be frustrated, but we are blessed.

Posts 2642
Forum MVP
John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 3:32 PM

While I understand the comments regarding the difficulty of certain types of searches in Logos, it is good to remember that other bible software does not have persons, speakers, addressees and other items tagged items available in their texts. Logos has provided many, perhaps too many, ways to interact with the text through searches, labels and tagged texts. We may sometimes be frustrated, but we are blessed.

Posts 1275
DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 4:08 PM

One of my favorite posts was 6 years ago. Bible Browser was just released. And Fr Devin asked an obvious question:

https://community.logos.com/forums/t/130729.aspx?ssi=0 

The thread wiggles around, and then Bradley sends it to another thread, where it's explained why it just can't be done. 

Good search tools aren't impossible in religious software. Just need a better software designer. Fixing a poor design later, is just more poor design.

Posts 1273
Armin | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 6:49 PM

Mike Childs:

If Logos wants a wider customer base, it must develop a more intuitive SEARCH feature, while keeping its present search features for those who need them.  The search feature is certainly a nightmare for those new to Logos Bible software.  

I completely agree. They need both: The current precision of detailed and complex searches, as well as a simple search that finds most things.

Mike Childs:

I have used Logos for over 30 years, and I can usually find a way to search for whatever I am looking for, in English, Greek, or Hebrew.  

I am not yet there but then I have used Logos for only 19 years.  Wink

However, I must admit that my learning curve flattened out. I did a lot of training courses but unless I use a feature regularly, I forget it again.

Posts 35777
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 8:58 PM

Armin:
The current precision of detailed and complex searches, as well as a simple search that finds most things.

There is a simple search structured pretty much like Google that finds most things that are text only. The moment you start moving from direct text, things get more complex. It is unavoidable. For example, if you want to find Abram and Abraham in the text

  • Abram OR Abraham or alternatively Abram, Abraham works fine ... almost as well as Google Wink

but if you wish to take advantage of the Logos coding and get all the places Abraham is mentioned under any name or pronoun or other reference, you use:

  • <Person Abraham> ... sorry Google doesn't do this Sad

I'm not minimizing the difficulties nor suggesting there are no improvements, I'm just trying to get users to think clearly about the issue so they can make concrete suggestions -- something Faithlife can act on.

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

Posts 1273
Armin | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 10:34 PM

MJ. Smith:

I'm not minimizing the difficulties nor suggesting there are no improvements, I'm just trying to get users to think clearly about the issue so they can make concrete suggestions -- something Faithlife can act on.

I did point out several concrete inconsistencies here: https://community.logos.com/forums/t/197602.aspx But so far, no visible action on FL's part has been taken. My hope is that L10 will fix some of them.

When it comes to usability, taking ideas from widely used products can help. For instance, Logos' tab management is very awkward. Why not take the superb tab management from Chrome? And the same is valid for the "History" of resources/tabs that were used. I wished I could search / sort / .... my Logos history. Again, I mentioned this years ago here on the Forum. But nothing happened.

Innovations rarely come from end users. They mainly come from a few smart people working in industry or starting up their own companies. Just like Bob did several decades ago. But FL needs to remain innovative. They broaden their product range but should not forget Logos.

Posts 35777
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 3 2022 10:47 PM

Armin:
I did point out several concrete inconsistencies here: https://community.logos.com/forums/t/197602.aspx But so far, no visible action on FL's part has been taken.

Yes, GUI inconsistencies where I agree with you. I am specifically referring to the Search - primarily the search panel.

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

Posts 1128
xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 4 2022 6:34 AM

MJ. Smith:

Armin:
I did point out several concrete inconsistencies here: https://community.logos.com/forums/t/197602.aspx But so far, no visible action on FL's part has been taken.

Yes, GUI inconsistencies where I agree with you. I am specifically referring to the Search - primarily the search panel.

Amen and Amen to both of you!

xn = Christan  man=man -- Acts 11:26 "....and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch".

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