Making dictionaries as "discoverable" as commentaries

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Ron | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, May 31 2012 9:48 AM

After lots of work organizing, categorizing, tagging, prioritizing, and creation of collections and custom passage guides, I've got my commentaries very organized and set up in a way where they are exposed easily.  I see everything I want to see so that nothing gets missed or overlooked, but it is broken up in small enough chunks that I'm never overwhelmed (multiple "faucets" vs one big "firehose").  I even managed to get my "commentary-esque" monographs to act like commentaries in terms of being properly exposed in the PG.  I've still got a little bit of fine-tuning to do, but I'm really happy with the results...even if it did take quite a bit of time and effort to get there, it was worth it.

All that is said in order to say that I'm looking for/wishing for a way to make my dictionaries as easy to work with as I have made my commentaries.  I've got TONS of EXCELLENT dictionaries that I want to consult and make good use of, but it seems that our only choices for exposing them are through a "drip" (5 dynamic dictionary slots in the right-click menu) or a "firehose" (power lookup or Biblical People/Places/Things [where applicable]).  Unless I'm missing something, there's no in between.  I've prioritized my dictionaries as best as I can (and I continue to fine-tune), and I'm somewhat OK with the results, but it seems that far too often I'm missing nuggets and overlooking/forgetting about great resources.

Just the other day, I was studying in Proverbs and was directed through a couple of footnotes in NAC to some excellent articles in TWOT...I had forgotten about/not thought to check that resource in my digging.  I DO have TWOT prioritized, but if I move it higher, then I inevitably knock something else off my right-click menu which I want to be there.  I have spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect balance for dictionary prioritizing, but it seems to be an impossible task...something always gets left out, and often a lot of somethings.  I could either wade through Power Lookup or just remember to always check my 10 favorite dictionaries, but neither of those workarounds is ideal or elegant.  I'd much rather have the dictionaries dynamically exposed to me when applicable.

I think that allowing the option for more than 5 dictionary slots in the right-click menu would help (see http://community.logos.com/forums/p/37321/332955.aspx AND http://community.logos.com/forums/p/40828/304337.aspx ), but what I'm REALLY wanting to do is to be able to fine-tune the exposing of dictionaries in the same way as I've been able to fine-tune my commentaries.  In my passage guide, I've got commentary sections for "Best Exegetical", "Best Expositional", "Best Devotional", "Specialty" (Commentary on NT use of OT; Background Commentaries; UBS; etc), "Favorite", "Classic", "Monograph Commentaries", "Early Church Fathers", "Jewish Perspective", etc.  This gives me those "faucets" so that ALL of my commentaries are exposed to me and nothing gets missed, but it is done in manageable quantities of 5-7 commentaries per section/category.  It would be great to have something similar for dictionaries.  It would be nice to right-click and in the 5 current dictionary slots, have 5 categories of dictionaries (Bible, Theological, Background, People, Specialty...or whatever), each with 5-7 dictionary slots that are dynamically populated based on prioritization.  I know that UI design has moved away from fly-out menus, but that's all I can think of at the moment...there's probably a better way to accomplish the idea.

Anyone have any ideas on how to accomplish this?  If it can be done in Logos currently, that's great and I'd love to know how, but if not, then I'm hoping this area can see improvement in the future.

EDIT: FWIW, I added a uservoice entry and pointed it back to this thread for details: http://logos.uservoice.com/forums/42823-logos-bible-software-4/suggestions/2893238-improve-dictionary-encyclopedia-organization-prio

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 31 2012 9:52 AM

IF you are running passage guides you can create a collection of your dictionaries and add them to the mypassageguide template so that they also get searched for references. 

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

Posts 1228
Ron | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 31 2012 10:09 AM

TCBlack:

IF you are running passage guides you can create a collection of your dictionaries and add them to the mypassageguide template so that they also get searched for references. 

Thanks TC, I do have a few Dictionary/Encyclopedia collections and I do have them as PG sections, but that often gives me an even bigger "firehose" than Power Lookup does since every possible entry for every applicable word and theme in the whole passage shows up in the list...unless you do a PG on only a single verse, the list is so large that it is completely unmanageable.  For example, a PG on Proverbs 1:1-7 gives me 150-200 entries in my "Dictionaries, Bible" section.  I could create more fine-grained dictionary collections--and if that's the only way, then that's what I will do--but longer term, I think improving the functionality within the right-click menu is a better solution so that the user can control the information flow more precisely.

Posts 8662
TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 31 2012 10:12 AM

Ah, I forgot that was word based rather than reference based. 

You could always search your collection using just the verse range.

 

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

Posts 1680
Jerry M | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 31 2012 11:12 AM

I know this is not what you are looking for, but the Faithlife Study Bible has some good links to articles in Bible dictionaries.  Perhaps you could just tuck that in the back of your mind if you use the FSB and use it to check the articles they reference.

"For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power"      Wiki Table of Contents

Posts 11433
DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 31 2012 11:27 AM

I have the same problem you have, except maybe for a different reason. I like specific dicitonaries / lexicons for specific situations and '5' is not enough. Almost inevitably the one I need is #6 because 1-5 got so excited over it (me! me! me!).

My solution is to simply have a floating window of my dictionaries. I group them by OT/NT/other and then link them. The OT's are in a series of tabs going across; the NT's are in another series of tabs, and so forth. I also keep a Text Comparison panel open, along with Favorites on the same floating window. Sort of a research assistant.

The only minor downside, is I sometimes click on a lexicon/dictionary which I already KNOW doesn't have it. And so everybody jumps to the guy with the wrong word. No, no!

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 1228
Ron | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 31 2012 3:04 PM

DMB:

I have the same problem you have, except maybe for a different reason. I like specific dicitonaries / lexicons for specific situations and '5' is not enough. Almost inevitably the one I need is #6 because 1-5 got so excited over it (me! me! me!).

That is indeed part of my issue as well.

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Forum MVP
Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 31 2012 7:22 PM

Ron:

DMB:

I have the same problem you have, except maybe for a different reason. I like specific dicitonaries / lexicons for specific situations and '5' is not enough. Almost inevitably the one I need is #6 because 1-5 got so excited over it (me! me! me!).

That is indeed part of my issue as well.

Thread => searching strong's numbers includes a lexicon prioritization discussion since Lexicons can have headword and/or Strong number indexing.

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 1728
Allen Browne | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 31 2012 7:54 PM

Ron:
... I'm looking for/wishing for a way to make my dictionaries as easy to work with as I have made my commentaries...

Good question.

Part of the struggle is that various dictionaries have different focii, e.g. theological, historical, second-temple Judaism, language, aechaeological, biographical, church history, and so on.

One approach is to create a collection of your dictionaries in English. You can then search Heading Text or Large Text within this collection. This is probably the most common Basic search I do. The collection has about 50 resources, defined like this:

(type:(dictionary,encyclop) OR title:dictionary) ANDNOT (title:(Lexicon,Greek,Hebrew,Aramaic,Coptic,Cascadia,Latin,Arabic,"Tense","Alten","Quotations","and women of the Bible","Morpho-Syntactic","theologians","A Manual of councils", "Who's who","Vine's complete") OR type:media)

Hope that helps beyond the basic prioritization you've already done.

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