Bryan Mawr Classical Review, April 2005 #63

Libronix Digital Library System
H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon

(rev. H.S. Jones and R. McKenzie, rev. supp. by P.G.W. Glare) Oxford 1996.  Bellingham:  Logos Bible Software, 2003.

Reviewed by Willeon Slenders, Radboud University Nijmegen
Word count:  677 words

Computerisation has gained a firm foothold in the world of the Classics. Digital data carriers like the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae CD-ROMS and the Perseus website have had a distinct influence on research in the fields of the classics. Research has been given a broader range, a larger degree of precision and increased speed: in very little time certain expressions can be looked up in a huge corpus.

Until recently a digital version of the complete LSJ, the standard Greek-English lexicon, was a real desideratum, but fortunately Logos Bible Software have met this need now.

As soon as we open this Windows programme after an uncomplicated and fast installation, we are confronted with a complicated-looking interface. A newsletter from Logos Bible Software appears, presenting not only a Welcome Letter and Logos News but also tips to go ahead with the programme. Soon it emerges that the Libronix Digital Library is a programme to be used to consult all kinds of different data bases and reference works available on subscription. In other words, the programme is not intended exclusively for the use of LSJ. Therefore, it is highly advisable to set up the programme to make the LSJ as easily accessible as possible, e.g. by installing all necessary files on the hard disk and by selecting all desired reference works subscribed to.

As soon as the programme has been adapted to the personal wishes of the LSJ user several kinds of searches are possible. One can choose a lemmatised search in the lexicon in which -- such a time-saving! -- Glare's supplement has been incorporated or one can choose to scan the lexicon for a string. By the latter method it is possible to locate forms placed under a different lemma.

In addition the programme has several useful facilities, such as bookmarks and the possibility of making notes. The latter option, however, is not really essential since communication with a word processor like MS Word runs smoothly by means of the copy/paste function.

Within the text of LSJ various words are clickable: whenever a certain lemma is mentioned under another lemma, the former can be addressed by a simple double-click. The same goes for abbreviated author names: simply by pointing the mouse to the abbreviation the full author name appears. By clicking once on the abbreviation a window pops up offering the possibility of navigating to the list of authors and works of the lexicon.

The high quality of this digital lexicon notwithstanding, there are some improvements to be made. Some errors appear to have turned up in the Greek, probably during the scanning or OCR process of the paper version of the lexicon. Sometimes such an error is the very reason why a word can not be found by means of a lemmatised search.

A clear example is the lemma <greek>mo/rsimos</greek>. Only by means of a complete search (string search), quite a roundabout way, can the word be located. Having done so, I found that the word is listed under the lemma <greek>mo/raimos</greek>, a non-existent Greek word, between the lemmata <greek>morri/ne</greek> and <greek>morte/</greek>, in other words exactly on the spot of <greek>mo/rsimos</greek>.

Another structural defect, once again to be attributed to the scanning or OCR process is the accentuation of some words. In the paper edition compounds are often split up, e.g. du/s-kolos. Another word composed with <greek>dus-</greek> is <greek>dus-kopa/nistos</greek>, not having its accent on <greek>dus-</greek>. Because of the automated combination of the already split up and accentuated <greek>du/s-</greek> and <greek>kopa/nistos</greek> the digital LSJ presents <greek>du/skopa/nistos</greek>, erroneously accentuated twice. By the same token other words do not have any accent at all, like <greek>poikilma</greek>.

In spite of these shortcomings the digital LSJ is a real gain and a must for classicists. Besides, the shortcomings can be corrected relatively easily since Logos Bible Software provides excellent services for upgrading their programmes via Internet. So hopefully the errors in the Greek text will be corrected in this way as well.

There is also good news for Apple users: an Apple version of the programme has been announced as available soon.

© 2005 by Bryn Mawr Classical Review. Used by permission of the editor.