Bob Pritchett: please prioritize QUALITY over QUANTITY

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Francis | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Nov 11 2014 5:38 AM

A discussion related to this was already under way in this thread: https://community.logos.com/forums/p/94588/657763.aspx#657763

Since then, I ran into another problem that highlights the extent of the issue. I was reading a book that mentions Sifra and Sifre. Since (1) I was not familiar with these (2) There were specific references and (3) They are referred as Tannaitic and I am trying to have relevant primary sources for biblical studies, I sought to find whether I had them in Logos. Apparently not, since the few references I find do not work. So I wrote a post to ask the question to other users. In their answers, I find allusions to resources I HAVE that did not show up when I did this search (compare the left with the right):

The KEY benefit of Logos as an electronic resource and THE selling point of upgrading is the FEATURES and DATASETS. We can save so much time we are told by using this or that tool. Sure. But when resources are not properly tagged, and I mean not the occasional typo, but whole resources; when indeed getting resources out is prioritized over getting them right and the flow of new resources never stops, can I have confidence that what I find through Logos features is reliable? When I search Dead Sea Scrolls for specific data, will I be missing important data because tagging is incomplete? When I think I have done the research, can I affirm anything (publish anything) with any confidence? Do I need to read again all the resources myself in order to double-check and if so, what is the point of the features?

I am concerned here, really concerned.

(As usual, I would ask those people who think that their mission in the forums is to come along and say it ain't so or it ain't so bad or come to the rescue to perceived attacks on Logos, to please avoid hijacking this thread). 

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Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 6:14 AM

I agree with You Francis! Not all books can be properly tagged, but at least many should have a priority. Most.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 6:16 AM

I hope I'm not perceived as coming to the rescue of Logos, nor hijacking the thread. But I wanted to explain what's going on, because I think that will help.

The reason the lower result didn't show up is because it's a personal book. It displays under the "Your Books" heading, rather than the "Library Results heading".

But, to be honest, the best way of finding articles is not to use a search at all. Either use the topic guide, or the power lookup tool. If you'd have right-clicked on the word "Sifra" in a resource, and chosen Power Lookup, it would have the articles in DCB and the Jewish Encyclopaedia.

Searching is for finding stuff IN articles. Lookup is for finding articles.

(I don't have the DCB installed on this computer, otherwise that would show up too.)

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 6:23 AM

Thank you, Mark for your reply. You are right (and you would know) about DCB but JE is not a personal book. See https://www.logos.com/product/8537/the-jewish-encyclopedia

AND its result does NOT show up in Topic Guide or Factbook. I had found that I could indeed use Power Lookup the way you mentioned it, but it seems to me that it only circumvents rather than solve the problem: how many different tools must one use in order to find an entry in a dictionary?!?

Posts 567
Nick Steffen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 6:58 AM

Mark Barnes:
But, to be honest, the best way of finding articles is not to use a search at all. Either use the topic guide, or the power lookup tool. If you'd have right-clicked on the word "Sifra" in a resource, and chosen Power Lookup,

Mark, good point. But I believe your point expresses one of the bigger challenges I have using Logos. My mind doesn't think naturally of a particular resource and then move to the topic. My mind thinks of the topic first. Then I have to find that topic in my available resources. So why isn't there a search box in the Power Lookup tool? Any suggested alternatives?

Posts 636
Ryan | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 7:00 AM

I think the issue may be the way the JE is tagged (or not tagged). When I do the same search for the headword that you did, my JE doesn't come back as a hit, but when I do it as an everything search, JE appears in the results.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 7:07 AM

Francis:
I had found that I could indeed use Power Lookup the way you mentioned it, but it seems to me that it only circumvents rather than solve the problem: how many different tools must one use in order to find an entry in a dictionary?!?

Logos provides multiple tools partly because they know their tagging isn't complete (and never will be, because we'll always want more).

For finding an entry in dictionary, I would recommend:

  1. Start with the Topic Guide or Factbook. (Factbook is more comprehensive, but has some teething problems. In the long-run it will be the better tool). 95% of the time that will get you your article.
  2. If you can't find it, try Power Lookup. 99% of the time you'll have your article by now.
  3. If you still can't find it, try the heading/large-text search.
  4. Don't forget you have Wikipedia in L6.

To make this better:

  1. Logos have a responsibility to improve the Factbook, and add LCV tagging to more encyclopaedias (like the JE).
  2. Logos also has a responsibility to make the tools they provide simple and effective.
  3. Finally, we have a responsibility to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the various tools, and use them appropriately.
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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 7:12 AM

Nick Steffen:
So why isn't there a search box in the Power Lookup tool?

That's a good question that's never been properly answered!

Nick Steffen:
Any suggested alternatives?

Type lookup topicname in the command box to open a dictionary to that topic. I use that all the time. You can then get to other dictionaries via the parallel resource menu, or click the + tab to see all the dictionaries with that article (which is similar to power lookup).

Posts 567
Nick Steffen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 7:31 AM

Mark Barnes:
Type lookup topicname in the command box to open a dictionary to that topic.

Thanks, that looks helpful! I'll give it a try.

Posts 3771
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 8:05 AM

Mark Barnes:
Type lookup topicname in the command box to open a dictionary to that topic.

Here is an illustration of Mark's suggestion. Note that there will NOT be anything in the spot where the highlighted results are if one does not have other resources with the searched entry:

Mark, as always, you are very resourceful and helpful, thank you very much. These are handy solutions. I do appreciate however the fact that you also recognize that there are responsibilities that are on Logos' side. And, I would still maintain, that generally, there are quite a few holes and that it does take away confidence that the results one gets from Logos are entirely reliable (within reason).

Going back to the needs of academics, there is good reason why some of us have invested so much in Logos. I can say that there are few services providing goods (aside from food, rent, utilities) in which I have invested as much and as regularly. Moreover, I have been an advocate of Logos among friends, ministers and academic peers. But it is critical to go a level up as far "tidying" things up is concerned. There are just way too many loose ends. Logos IS exciting and does a lot of good things (and I appreciate Bob, the company and so on) but needs a more controlled approach to be a reliable professional tool. Among other things, I think it critical to prioritize tagging, error-checking and the performance of features that cater to Academics. Others will benefit too, but arguably, the average person who does a home Bible study, will not be running morph searches and be that concerned or even notice that results are not comprehensive. For academics however, these things need to be more reliable.

And, I might add, it is nice that Logos has so many entry points in data. But all too often it feels that the way to get things done is to perform tricks and to know secondary or little documented work-around as for instance, the command you mentioned above. Why in the world would one even think in that direction when there is a topic guide and a factbook (both prominently featured in the ads)? Only as we run into problems are we forced to find creative ways around them. 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 4:55 PM

I would like to reframe the problem slightly:

First. it seems to me that the effect of the current Faithlife prioritization scheme is to generate many hits on a few topics. I would rather that the concentrate first on broadening their topics. This would move things like the Jewish Encyclopedia up in priority. How many people own a resource is not a measure of the usefulness of tagging it. If most people owning it own similar items that are already tagged, the value of its tagging goes down.

Second, it seems to me that more advanced planning could make tagging more "automatic". For example, if datatypes had been designed for all the patristic and psuedepigraphia writings, the links could be made when a resource is created with the links leading "no where". When the target of the link is offered, all those links now become live without having to define a datatype and go back through all old resources. Yes, there will be some surprises but a big chunk of materials would be automatically covered.

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 5:06 PM

I still remember when I was taught the Nestle-Aland Apparatus at school - and how we can know what IS and IS NOT always referenced.  While admittedly not an academic user of Logos, the lack of consistency about what is linked and searchable is somewhat frustrating.

I fully know that in the real world, not everything will be linked, but I wish I had a clue what WOULD always be...

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David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 5:23 PM

Mark Barnes:

For finding an entry in dictionary, I would recommend:

  1. Start with the Topic Guide or Factbook. (Factbook is more comprehensive, but has some teething problems. In the long-run it will be the better tool). 95% of the time that will get you your article.
  2. If you can't find it, try Power Lookup. 99% of the time you'll have your article by now.
  3. If you still can't find it, try the heading/large-text search.
  4. Don't forget you have Wikipedia in L6.

The OP knew that a hit was missing.  

But if we do not know what might be missing are you saying that we need to do all three to ensure we have found all possible hits?

Posts 3771
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 11:15 PM

Also, while the command Lookup is handy, it does not seem -- from what I have seen -- as flexible as searches or guides. You cannot use search operators for multiple possible topic headings.

It does not seem to offer suggestions either. For instance, if you type Lookup Gospel of, you won't get a drop down with Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark, etc.

What this means is that it is much more important when using Lookup from the command bar to use the correct heading for your topic (generally, this is true of most commands that you need to use correct syntax and terms to get the right results). 

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 11 2014 11:19 PM

David Ames:
we need to do all three to ensure we have found all possible hits

From all that has been said on this topic, I would think that using all three would increase the number of hits and provide workaround some limitations of this or that but by no means guarantee that all possible hits have been found. After all, part of the problem remains that resources are not properly tagged.

BTW, Mark, since you seem to know much more what's going on under the hood than most of us, I don't understand why an entry can be found by Lookup when it cannot by the other methods. Why can't the same method used by Lookup also be used in TG or FB to find entries?

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 12 2014 1:22 AM

Francis:

Mark Barnes:
Type lookup topicname in the command box to open a dictionary to that topic.

Here is an illustration of Mark's suggestion. Note that there will NOT be anything in the spot where the highlighted results are if one does not have other resources with the searched entry:

This is actually only almost what Mark suggested. Notice that you put a space in "look up". It should be without a space. When you remove the space, Logos will actually just directly open your highest prioritized encyclopedia / dictionary / lexicon with the term. This is a great little feature, very fast, and allows you to control the resource opened with prioritization. Then, you can just use parallel resources to see what other terms. BTW, when I type in "lookup sifra" it opens the JE to Sifra.

And, I second the suggestion that JE receive better headword treatment....

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 12 2014 2:16 AM

David Ames:
But if we do not know what might be missing are you saying that we need to do all three to ensure we have found all possible hits?

For dictionaries (which is how this discussion began), once you've found one entry, the others are only a click away in the parallel resource menu. The issue here was that Francis never even got one entry.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 12 2014 2:18 AM

Fr Devin Roza:
This is actually only almost what Mark suggested. Notice that you put a space in "look up". It should be without a space. When you remove the space, Logos will actually just directly open your highest prioritized encyclopedia / dictionary / lexicon with the term.

No, Francis was right. Technically, it's supposed to be "look up" with the space, but I'm lazy and leave it out, which still works.

In the screenshot, Francis had done that, then pressed the + tab to get the additional results, as I'd suggested to Nick.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 12 2014 3:02 AM

Francis:
BTW, Mark, since you seem to know much more what's going on under the hood than most of us, I don't understand why an entry can be found by Lookup when it cannot by the other methods. Why can't the same method used by Lookup also be used in TG or FB to find entries?

OK, here goes Smile.

Logos Controlled Vocabulary

To facilitate exactly this kind of thing, Logos created what it calls the Logos Controlled Vocabulary or LCV.

As it's name suggests, the LCV controls the vocabulary used in dictionary entries, so that (for example), "Spiritual Gifts", "Gifts, Spiritual", "Gifts of the Spirit", "Charismata", "Holy Spirit, Gifts of", "Miraculous Gifts of the Holy Spirit" and "Gifts (Spiritual)" are all marked as equivalent.

We all love that, and have got rather used to it, but I don't think any other Bible software company has done this. It's the quality you referred to in your post title. It means that when I call up the Factbook or Topic Guide on Spiritual Gifts, I get articles on all those topics.

However, producing the LCV is an awful lot of work. To do so, a human editor goes through a dictionary in Logos and add any new topics into the LCV, either as a new entry, or as another synonym to an existing entry. The entries in each dictionary are also marked with the correct topic. I don't know how many dictionaries have received LCV tagging, but I have at least 36 in my library.

The upside of the LCV approach is significant. We get very relevant results, without needing to look up seven different topics just for Spiritual Gifts. The downside is that if a dictionary hasn't received LCV tagging (such as the Jewish Encylopedia), then it won't show up in the Topic Guide or Factbook.

Headwords

In addition to LCV, Logos also recognises headwords. These are the actual dictionary entries, and you see headwords in the reference box for each article. They're not controlled, but all dictionaries have them. Headwords have been around since at least Logos 2 days, and they're supported in lots of tools, but not the Topic Guide or Factbook.

Many dictionary entries have multiple headwords where the headword is ambiguous (so the AYBD article is tagged with the headword "Gifts, Spiritual" (which is what's visible), but also has a headword "Spiritual Gifts". This helps headword-powered tools, but isn't as comprehensive as the LCV.

What Logos does and what you should do

In an ideal world, every dictionary would have LCV tagging. But that takes time, and will likely never happen (what about discontinued resources?, personal books?, dictionaries on completely obscure topics?). So because there's a mix, different tools work best with the different technologies.

My step-by-step advice essentially boiled down to:

  1. First, use an LCV tool (Factbook or Topic Guide).
  2. Second, use a headword tool (Power Lookup, or the Look Up command)
  3. Third, use a search tool (heading/large text)

Between those three methods, you've covered everything. And once you've found one result, you can use the parallel resource menu, or + tab (which uses headwords).

I'm not saying that you always need to use all three methods. I certainly don't. I use the first, and if I feel my results are inadequate, I use the second, and so on. I don't need to read everything. I don't have time to read everything. So 95% of the time, the Factbook/Topic Guide is sufficient.

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 12 2014 3:58 AM

Thanks, Mark, again, very useful.

There is one question that (I don't think) is elucidated by your explanation: why are entries that are tagged with headwords (such as Sifra in JE that shows up in PL) not "hit" when searching heading title, heading text, title or large text? I would tend to think that the bolded Sifra at the end of the corresponding entry in JE is a heading title, a title and large text, no?

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