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Pulpit Helps, December 2003, p. 14

Scholar’s Library Gets New Look, Features

"What we’re doing now is thinking of new, uncharted ways to do Bible research in a way that will help people grow the Kingdom."

If Scholar’s Library from Logos Research Systems, Inc. was a brick and mortar building, you would discover new things as soon as you walked through the door—or in this instance, as quickly as you launched Libronix Digital Library System 2.0, Logos’ updated operating system.

The upgrade to 2.0 is more than mere "paint on the walls," although the improvements do include new soft, eye-catching graphics. "What we’re doing now is thinking of new, uncharted ways to do Bible research in a way that will help people grow the Kingdom," says Logos’ Daniel Foster.

"Version 2.0 is all about further extending ease of use," Foster says. New features begin with the first screen one sees after launching the software, which now includes the latest news from Libronix at the top. This can be updated by connecting to the Internet and simply choosing "Update Libronix."

The new Logos operating system, like the previous version, plays off an Internet metaphor, in that clicking on "home" in the toolbar at the top of the screen displays a home page window on the left hand side of your computer screen. If you didn’t know anything about the software, all you would have to do is type a Bible verse or topic in the "passage" window and click "go." Now even that simple feature becomes a bit more snazzy by displaying a small drop down menu under the "passage" entry field with immediate options for more in-depth research. Logos has made it easy to set one’s "universal" preferences so that music and maps, for instance, aren’t searched, but one’s choices of reference tools are queried. Of course search criteria can be changed at any time. Plus, the new Greek and Hebrew morphology search interfaces make it quicker and easier to construct more in-depth searches.

If you already have Scholar’s Library, the easiest way to get Libronix 2.0 is to purchase the new Biblical Languages Supplement (BLS). If one has a high-speed Internet connection, it is possible to download the 2.0 update free from the Logos’ Website. The new updated operating system ships with new product purchases.

The release of Logos’ BLS is one of the most significant milestones in the company’s history since Bob Pritchett and Kiernon Reiniger, then Microsoft employees, began writing basic Bible study software in 1991, a venture that would lead them to develop Logos Bible Software.

"Before this addition, users were forced to use limited, third-party language resources separate from Scholar’s Library and Logos. Now languages are an integrated part of what we offer and one can take this feature as deeply as desired," Foster says.

For those who are faint of heart when it comes to Greek and Hebrew, there are other new additions with the BLS that are just plain, shall we say, cool! Scholar’s Library has always allowed you to stack your choices of translations side by side, but now, in addition, the software will draw a diagram illustrating the similarity of translation wording between Bibles in a given language for a specific passage. The "Bible Verse Difference Rivers" report displays the difference of each version from a "base" version as it varies over the passage. (The thicker the line, the more the version differs from the base.) It is easy to graph the number of times a word occurs in a verse, chapter, book or translation, and just about any other imaginable occurrence. I found it nifty to be able to export my findings to an Excel spreadsheet.

"Verb River" lets you quickly see tense changes, as an example on the Logos Website explains using Ephesians Chapter 4. "This representation of the text quickly reveals how Paul abruptly switches into the imperative mood towards the end of chapter four, in contrast to the first three chapters," an on-line example shows. You can see for yourself the plethora of new tools that come with the language package at www.logos.com. I found the sentence diagramming function and word puzzle builder useful. The puzzle component allows a user to construct word puzzles in multiple languages, including Greek and Hebrew, based upon a particular passage.

"Biblical Languages Supplement is all about providing additional data: a half-dozen Greek New Testament texts, five lexicons, and two new morphological databases, and new ways of visualizing and accessing both new and existing data," Foster says.

Logos markets several products under what it now calls its Series X line, which includes Home Library at $159.95, the lowest priced product, to Scholar’s Library being the most costly at $599.95. The Biblical Languages addition is $159.95. Although pricey, you do get a lot for your money.

Terry Wilhite is a communications and multimedia specialist. His email address is writeme@terrywilhite.com. He welcomes your questions and article ideas.

© 2003 by Pulpit Helps.