MacArthur Sermon Archive - Thousands of Typos - Who is Responsible?

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Andy | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 2:05 AM

Rosie Perera:
If the "Print" at the end of that citation info indicates that this resource is published in print form by GTY, then shame on them for putting it out in such shoddy quality. But also shame on Logos for turning it around and making it into a premium Logos edition without adequate proofreading. That would be understandable if it were a Vyrso resource, as they pretty much have zero human oversight. But we've grown to expect that Logos editions will be of higher quality. There are many Vyrso edition resources that are much higher quality than this, because they come directly from publishers who care about the quality of their text. There might be formatting glitches and such in those, but not hundreds of egregious typos.

Having just responded to MJ, I have just run a search and cannot see that this has ever been offered in print.

My take (and I accept I may be wrong) is that the metadata is misleading. From what I can see, I would argue that the Sermon Archive is a new resource 'created' by either Logos or GTY (depending who pulled the manuscripts together). It may well be that the editor/compiler/publisher leaned heavily on the transcripts already available via GTY, but the actual 'Archive', as a distinct resource, does not appear to have existed until Logos (or GTY) compiled and created it. It is, I guess, akin to a publisher pulling together a collection of short-stories from disparate sources.

In my opinion, the compiling/editorial process should have fixed the issues with the existing transcriptions even if this meant going back to the source.   The alternative would have been to make it clear, in the advertisement, that the product is simply an import of the existing GTY sermon library. In which case, I agree with your initial suggestion that this would have been better offered via Vyrso and with a price to reflect the light editorial input. 

Rosie Perera:
I'm certain this is just a case of QA slippage, and that Faithlife will address it once they are aware of the issue. They are pretty good about that.

I agree. There have been numerous occasions in which issues like this have been fixed post-shipping. It is just a shame that a product for which many have awaited with excitement has failed to meet expectations. But such is life, I guess. 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 2:10 AM

What I was looking for was not its history but whether or not it was a Lexham Press book as they are the only ones I expect Faithlife to have provided editorial services on. Not that I have any knowledge of what Faithlife's position would be - I only know my expectations.

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

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Andy | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 2:27 AM

MJ. Smith:
What I was looking for was not its history but whether or not it was a Lexham Press book as they are the only ones I expect Faithlife to have provided editorial services on.

I understood why you were asking for this information. 

MJ. Smith:
Not that I have any knowledge of what Faithlife's position would be - I only know my expectations.

I suspect that your expectations probably accord closely with Faithlife's actual position. Hopefully someone will clarify one way or the other.

I previously corresponded with Faithlife with regards to my disappointment pertaining to a previous 'Sermon Archive' offering (in that particular case, references to Hebrew and Greek words had been marked as [inaudible] because the transcriber did not have an understanding of the original languages). In that particular case, the slip in quality (at least as I perceived it) was attributed to a third-party responsible for the transcription. There was no commitment to addressing the issues and the product has since been withdrawn (for unrelated reasons). 

I chose to keep the previous offering (as I have some interest in the author). I am, however, somewhat ambivalent with regards to MacArthur and this resources is more expensive (I wavered between keeping and cancelling the order). I would want assurance that the issues will be addressed if I am to keep the resource. 

Decisions, decisions. Big Smile

Posts 617
Ryan | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 4:37 AM

Robert M. Warren:

This is certainly mystifying. Did Logos not think anyone would care?

I am certain that GTY disclosed the existence of typos, since they posted this on their website:

http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA521 

I think the link that Robert posted may be helpful to this discussion. Since I know many people (myself oftentimes included) won't take the time to visit a link to an outside page, I decided to cut and paste GTY's response below (the typos in their response below are also a bit telling Wink:

Why are there errors in the sermon transcript archive? Don’t you guys check these?

August 06, 2009 QA521

We do our best to ensure that everything you read on our website is free from error. Our transcript archive prsents unusual challenges, however.

There are a number of factors unique to John MacArthur’s preaching ministry—e.g., the depth study; theological vocabulary; and historical (and contemporary) names, places, and events—pose unique challenge to any transcriptionist. The best transcripts you’ll find on our website were probably produced by Arline Hampton; she transcribed John’s sermons for more than three decades. Her familiarity with John and her love for this ministry provided all of us with transcripts that are largely error free. We are grateful for her labor of love. Though she is now with the Lord, the fruit of her ministry continues.

Several years ago, when we were considering posting all of John MacArthur’s sermon transcripts online, we had to decide whether we would allow the public to see transcription errors or wait until all of them were corrected.

A large number of sermons had originally been transcribed on paper, using a typewriter. We then used character recognition software to convert them into a digital format, but they were far from perfect (e.g., question marks came out as 7s, the capital letter “I” came out as the number 1). So we stopped that approach and assigned a large batch of John’s sermons to a professional transcription company. The quality of those transcripts was quite good but still less than perfect since the transcribers lacked the in-house familiarity with John’s ministry, theological terms, etc.

In the end, we decided the best approach was to open the transcript archive, warts and all, because we thought the ministry benefit would exceed the error liability. We accepted the imperfections, knowing we would chip away at the errors over the years to correct as many mistakes as possible.

And that’s where you come in, website user! We have always depended on you to inform us of errors so we can correct them as soon as possible. You can email us at typos@gty.org.

If you’ve become part of the team of informants, helping us to achieve the greatest accuracy possible in our transcripts, please accept our sincerest thanks. We very much appreciate you and your partnership in unleashing God’s truth, one verse at a time!

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 5:12 AM

Ryan B:
I think the link that Robert posted may be helpful to this discussion. Since I know many people (myself oftentimes included) won't take the time to visit a link to an outside page, I decided to cut and paste GTY's response below (the typos in their response below are also a bit telling Wink:

Very interesting! Thanks for that back story.

Posts 188
Si | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 6:52 AM

Logos, can you please respond to this thread? We need to be able to make an informed decision on this resource.

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 6:58 AM

Si:
Logos, can you please respond to this thread?

Let's bear in mind that a lot of people are probably still away on holiday and it may take a little longer than normal for the Faithlife team to pick up on this.

Posts 188
Si | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 8:33 AM

Graham Criddle:

Si:
Logos, can you please respond to this thread?

Let's bear in mind that a lot of people are probably still away on holiday and it may take a little longer than normal for the Faithlife team to pick up on this.

No temporality implied in my request. I just wanted to highlight the importance of this issue for other customers and myself.

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Phil Gons (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 11:04 AM

Rick Carmickle:

With 3-5 typos in each sermon, based on my initial survey, there may be 10-20,000 typos in the archive. I am not talking about bad spoken English, etc. These are typos likewordsnotspacedproperly.  

Still, it is a very useful resource. 

I know the MacArthur sermons at GTY we're not closely reviewed or edited, but I expected that this resource would be cleaned up.

So whose typos are these? And if we report typos to Logos, will they say that they can't change the originals? Will the typos be corrected if reported? 

Thanks for reporting this issue. We'll look into it and see what we can do to correct these issues. Since we were working with digital files, my guess is that the vast majority of these are issues with the files we received. I'm sorry this content isn't at a higher quality. We'll see what we can do to make it better. In the meantime, please report the things you come across. Thanks.

Posts 620
Jonathan | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 11:08 AM

Phil Gons:

Since we were working with digital files, my guess is that the vast majority of these are issues with the files we received. 

Isn't this the same reason why Faithlife stopped offering the Galaxie TJL's?

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 11:24 AM

Jonathan:
Isn't this the same reason why Faithlife stopped offering the Galaxie TJL's?

No. My understanding was that the Galaxie people (actually one single individual, IIRC) refused to put in links and wanted their offering treated as something like the Vyrso books. This probably was acceptable in the 1990s or whenever they started to offer in Logos format, but isn't acceptable today in the Logos environment - see all the threads where people complain about missing links.

I think, going forward to Logos 7, Faithlife should offer a Visual Filter overlay that includes user-provided ("crowd-sourced") typo corrections and links. Optional but functional. 

Running Logos 8 latest beta version on Win 10

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Jonathan | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 11:43 AM

NB.Mick:

No. My understanding was that the Galaxie people (actually one single individual, IIRC) refused to put in links and wanted their offering treated as something like the Vyrso books. This probably was acceptable in the 1990s or whenever they started to offer in Logos format, but isn't acceptable today in the Logos environment - see all the threads where people complain about missing links.

I think you are right. However, I do seem to remember, back when Logos was offering Galaxie products, that they were annually delaying the release to the TJL's because of issues with the files the received from Galaxie.

Regardless, this resource should probably have been spelled checked in a more thorough manner. Furthermore, Faithlife should have either withheld the product, or notified customers proactively of the need to future improvements. 

In my opinion, the quality of this product seems like a homemade PB rather than a Faithlife product.

NB.Mick:

I think, going forward to Logos 7, Faithlife should offer a Visual Filter overlay that includes user-provided ("crowd-sourced") typo corrections and links. Optional but functional. 

Yes

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 12:10 PM

Ryan B:
In the end, we decided the best approach was to open the transcript archive, warts and all, because we thought the ministry benefit would exceed the error liability. We accepted the imperfections, knowing we would chip away at the errors over the years to correct as many mistakes as possible.

Thank you, Ryan, for posting that response from GTY regarding the typos. I would prefer that the sermon collection had no errors at all. When I saw their reasoning for releasing it with errors I had to agree with them.  Better to have it now than to wait 5 years.

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Rick Carmickle | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 12:26 PM

Thanks for your reply, Phil.

I now have an opportunity to put to use my textual criticism skills and I can tell you that the mistakes came from the files provided by GTY.

This resource will be so valuable to so many that it must be done well. Perhaps GTY didn't want to invest the resources to clean it up better, although some modestly trained volunteers could really accomplish a lot in a hurry. Most of these typos could be easily corrected by high school students, although you might need some training to pick up the "Chrissistum" errors, and the Greek transliteration mistakes. 

Logos users can report these mistakes, but I know that Logos will not correct mistakes if the original publication had it that way. Even well-edited books from the major publishers have mistakes in them that are missed by a dozen proof readers. But unless Logos tells us that Logos will correct the reported mistakes that replicate the files from GTY, it seems futile to report them. When GTY and Logos explain the plan to get these up to par, then I think many Logos users will pitch in. But at this point, the files are bad enough that it should go through a redraft before Logos users find the rest. 

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 1:13 PM

Rick Carmickle:
Perhaps GTY didn't want to invest the resources to clean it up better, although some modestly trained volunteers could really accomplish a lot in a hurry. Most of these typos could be easily corrected by high school students, although you might need some training to pick up the "Chrissistum" errors, and the Greek transliteration mistakes. 

At the price they are selling it for Logos ought to do the error correcting.

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toughski | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 1:15 PM

Super.Tramp:
At the price they are selling it for Logos ought to do the error correcting.

I agree. Especially since Logos knew the quality of the resource before they got involved.  And if they didn't they should have!

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 1:33 PM

Super.Tramp:

At the price they are selling it for Logos ought to do the error correcting.

If their contract allows it. The standard contract would not. However, it sounds as if a contract modification might be an easy deal.

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

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 3:16 PM

MJ. Smith:

Super.Tramp:

At the price they are selling it for Logos ought to do the error correcting.

If their contract allows it. The standard contract would not. However, it sounds as if a contract modification might be an easy deal.

It sounds like GTY wants the quality of this archive improved too, so if they can get that through Logos fixing up typos I'm sure they'd be thrilled. But it's not likely they can. Logos has already run these files through at least one level of conversion with tagging for them to be Logos editions. So any typo fixes they apply would be to those post-conversion files, not to the original sources (or else they'd have to do all the tagging over again). I don't think they have an automated process for merging typo fixes from source files into their post-conversion files, or vice versa. And any manual doing of that would be error prone. So it's likely that if Logos gets permission to do the fixes themselves, they would be the only beneficiaries. And if GTY fixes the typos, Logos would not benefit. It has to be a dual-track path at this point.

This goes to show how important it is for Logos to ensure high quality original source files from publishers at the outset, or else it's going to waste a lot of time down the road. Sure, GTY wanted to get the files out sooner rather than later, but it wouldn't have taken "5 years" (Super.Tramp) to get them into better shape. Seriously, a couple of intelligent folks proofreading and fixing up typos as they went (rather than reporting them to someone else to fix, which more than doubles the time it takes; it usually takes more time to document a typo than it does to fix it) could have accomplished it all in a week, I'm guessing (though I don't have the resource myself so I don't know how many pages of content are in it). That should have been done.

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 3:32 PM

Rosie Perera:
Sure, GTY wanted to get the files out sooner rather than later, but it wouldn't have taken "5 years" (Super.Tramp) to get them into better shape. Seriously, a couple of intelligent folks proofreading and fixing up typos as they went (rather than reporting them to someone else to fix, which more than doubles the time it takes; it usually takes more time to document a typo than it does to fix it) could have accomplished it all in a week

If you look at the date of the GTY response (2009) you will see it has already been 5 years since GTY asked the public for help in correcting the typos. They were never going to have it error-free. If the OP's estimate of 10,000~20,000 typos contained therein there is no way you could have them corrected in a week.

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Jacob Hantla | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 3:55 PM

Rosie Perera:

MJ. Smith:

Super.Tramp:

At the price they are selling it for Logos ought to do the error correcting.

If their contract allows it. The standard contract would not. However, it sounds as if a contract modification might be an easy deal.

It sounds like GTY wants the quality of this archive improved too, so if they can get that through Logos fixing up typos I'm sure they'd be thrilled. But it's not likely they can. Logos has already run these files through at least one level of conversion with tagging for them to be Logos editions. So any typo fixes they apply would be to those post-conversion files, not to the original sources (or else they'd have to do all the tagging over again). I don't think they have an automated process for merging typo fixes from source files into their post-conversion files, or vice versa. And any manual doing of that would be error prone. So it's likely that if Logos gets permission to do the fixes themselves, they would be the only beneficiaries. And if GTY fixes the typos, Logos would not benefit. It has to be a dual-track path at this point.

This goes to show how important it is for Logos to ensure high quality original source files from publishers at the outset, or else it's going to waste a lot of time down the road. Sure, GTY wanted to get the files out sooner rather than later, but it wouldn't have taken "5 years" (Super.Tramp) to get them into better shape. Seriously, a couple of intelligent folks proofreading and fixing up typos as they went (rather than reporting them to someone else to fix, which more than doubles the time it takes; it usually takes more time to document a typo than it does to fix it) could have accomplished it all in a week, I'm guessing (though I don't have the resource myself so I don't know how many pages of content are in it). That should have been done.

For years I have suggested that Logos take advantage of all of us to crowd-source (with some incentive) the correction and tagging of resources like this and many others. As Logos' library grows more and more interlibrary links will be possible so it would be great to have people like us automatically create the links. And then for files like this and also the public domain scanned-in stuff that Logos has been selling, it would be great. We could even improve Vyrso editions. 


This isn't the solution for the MacArthur sermon library now, but it would be an incredibly worthwhile investment to create a crowd-sourcing correction source.

Jacob Hantla
Pastor/Elder, Grace Bible Church
gbcaz.org

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