Power Tip: Making the most of Commentary Collections

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Dec 5 2015 6:53 AM

I know that quite a few of you are using my Collection Rules to split your commentaries into technical, historical, expository, etc.

Sometimes you might find it helpful to create commentary collections for specific books of the Bible. Thankfully, Logos' metadata makes that easy. Just use a collection rule exactly like this one:

type:bible-commentary subject:"bible n.t. acts"

Personally, I don't create collection rules for every book in the Bible. Having too many collection rules can slow Logos' start time. I create them when I know I'm going to use them quite a bit. If it's just a one-off, I use the rule with a Quick Collection.

You may also want to combine these two types of collection — that is to create a collection of just your technical commentaries on Acts. Although you can add collections together, there's no simple way to create a collection of all the books that are in both Collection 1 and Collection 2. But it is possible — it just takes an extra step.

The extra step is to create a collection of all your commentaries that are not technical. That's easy — just create a collection for all your commentaries, then drag your technical collection into the "Minus these resources" section.

Once you have that, it's easy to create a collection of your technical commentaries on Acts. Just create a new collection with your Acts commentaries in "Plus these resources", and your "not technical" in your "Minus these resources". If you're ever done boolean algebra, you'll know that a AND NOT(NOT(b)) = a AND b.

If you rate your commentaries, you can use the same method to create a collection of your favourite or preferred commentaries. Create a collection of all resources with 0-3 stars, and another with 0-4 stars (use the rules myrating:<4 and myrating:<5). Dragging one these into the "Minus these resources" column, will mean you only see 5-star or 5- and 4-star commentaries.

I use these collections in a custom passage guide that only shows my favourite commentaries. It's the guide I go to when I'm in a hurry. I have a separate guide that shows all my commentaries for when I want to do more in-depth study.

Of course, if your prioritisation is 100% accurate, then you won't need to do this because your favourite commentaries will bubble to the top anyway. But I tend to prioritise series but rate individual volumes, which means that poor commentaries in a good series will appear before good commentaries in an average series. Restricting the guide to just commentaries I've rated highly helps me see commentaries I might otherwise miss.

You can also create collections of your favourite Bible Dictionaries, etc., in exactly the same way.

Do you have tips for making the most out of collections?

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 5 2015 8:15 AM

Thanks Mark

Great article

Mark Barnes:
But I tend to prioritise series but rate individual volumes

Interesting - I tend to tag the commentaries I see as "best" for each book with a "CommBest" tag and have a separate section in my Guide for resources so tagged.

I hadn't thought of extending it to rate them with more granulatiry - but certainly an idea worth thinking about

Graham 

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 5 2015 8:30 AM

Thanks Mark. I use a slightly different approach, but with similar results. Rather than using your collection formulas to create new collections, I use them in the Library search box and then tag all the results. So I have mytag:exegetical for my technical commentaries. I can then create a collection that starts with those tagged resource and limit them by rating (for favorites) or subject: "bible n.t. acts" (for book). I find tags work better for working with my library than using and updating collection formulas.

So in summary, mytags are used to organize my library and collections are used to start with mytags and then tweak the collection for a specific use.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 5 2015 9:22 AM

John Fidel:
I find tags work better for working with my library than using and updating collection formulas.

If you're using tags to do your main collections, then it's certainly much easier to create the more fine-grained collections. I choose Collections over tags because they'll automatically add new commentaries into them. For example, with the last 50 commentaries I bought, I only need to tag four of them — the rest were all covered by the existing rules. In other words, I update the rules far less often than I'd need to update the tagging. The other advantage, of course, is that the rules are shareable. But it's good that Logos allows both methods to suit our preferences.

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John Brumett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 5 2015 11:37 AM

Maybe I'm missing your point but I find it easier to access my various collection through Parallel Resources instead of the Passage Guide (unless you are using an ipad).

Maybe you already know this but I add 1 commentary that covers the whole Bible in all collections and then I chose to show all in parallel resources.  I can move easily between commentary collections and whatever book of the Bible I'm in they show in order of my prioritization.      

 

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 5 2015 11:55 AM

John Brumett:
Maybe you already know this but I add 1 commentary that covers the whole Bible in all collections and then I chose to show all in parallel resources.  I can move easily between commentary collections and whatever book of the Bible I'm in they show in order of my prioritization.      

I know some people do that, but personally I like working with the passage guide. I'm not sure why, but I think it's because (a) I can have it permanently on screen which I find easier to access; and (b) I prefer the links open in new tabs rather than the existing tab, so I can more easily get back to where I was.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 5 2015 1:54 PM

Mark Barnes:

John Fidel:
I find tags work better for working with my library than using and updating collection formulas.

If you're using tags to do your main collections, then it's certainly much easier to create the more fine-grained collections. I choose Collections over tags because they'll automatically add new commentaries into them. For example, with the last 50 commentaries I bought, I only need to tag four of them — the rest were all covered by the existing rules. In other words, I update the rules far less often than I'd need to update the tagging. The other advantage, of course, is that the rules are shareable. But it's good that Logos allows both methods to suit our preferences.

Like John I take the time to tag all of my books which has the added bonus of "forcing me" to familiarize myself with them. As you said, it is good that Logos does allow for both methods.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 5 2015 1:57 PM

Mark Barnes:
Having too many collection rules can slow Logos' start time.

I have heard this before too. I assume that this is the case whether the collections are accessed or not. Is that correct?

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 5 2015 2:14 PM

Mark Barnes:

John Fidel:
I find tags work better for working with my library than using and updating collection formulas.

If you're using tags to do your main collections, then it's certainly much easier to create the more fine-grained collections. I choose Collections over tags because they'll automatically add new commentaries into them. For example, with the last 50 commentaries I bought, I only need to tag four of them — the rest were all covered by the existing rules. In other words, I update the rules far less often than I'd need to update the tagging. The other advantage, of course, is that the rules are shareable. But it's good that Logos allows both methods to suit our preferences.

I agree Mark. One of the points I wanted to make is that you can use formulas provided by others in the Library search box to tag resources or to create collections or both. The work you put into the collections has been helpful to me in tagging my commentaries, which I am grateful.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 5 2015 2:35 PM

Bruce Dunning:
I have heard this before too. I assume that this is the case whether the collections are accessed or not. Is that correct?

Yes, that's right. All collections are cached on start-up to speed up access later.

On my fairly fast PC (with 121 collections), caching the collections at startup takes around 25s. That doesn't mean it takes 25s longer to start Logos, as Logos is running other tasks in parallel with that one, but it might well add 10-15s simply through slowing down those other tasks.

Collections are re-cached whenever the LibraryCatalog is updated, so you'll get the same slow down when metadata is updated or new books are installed. It takes around 20s to re-cache my collection rules. As you'd expect, the more complicated rules run more slowly than the simpler ones. Most of my collection rules take around 0.2s on my system, although the three largest ones take over a second each. That speed is proportional to library size, of course.

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