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Hebrew KeyLinking: A Strategy

KeyLinking strategies for Hebrew are somewhat different than those for Greek. The main reason for this is that there is far greater variety in the lexical forms used for Hebrew than those used for Greek. That is, the morphological databases and the lexicons don't agree on how the dictionary forms of the words should be spelled. There are also a far greater number of homographs in Hebrew and Aramaic than in Greek. Homographs are words that are spelled the same, but mean different things. But even the number of homographs is contested. For instance, bara is divided into 4 homographs in HALOT but only 2 homographs in BDB. So even when a morphological database has homograph numbers in it, linking to the right homograph in any given dictionary can be difficult to automate.

In version 3.0, Logos Bible Software began to update Hebrew texts and lexicons with tables to link individual word instances in the Bible to specific article entries in each lexicon. Hand-crafted tables are the only way to solve all the difficulties across multiple texts and lexicons, and the result is easily maintainable and upgradeable. The older system of using how a word is spelled to look up words in the lexicons is still present in Libronix DLS as a fall-back for KeyLinking from words in commentaries or lexicons that aren't tagged like morphological bibles, or for linking from texts that aren't integrated into the new solution yet. But for linking from the Bible to the lexicons, there is a better solution.

The following describe things to keep in mind in order to get the most out of the new KeyLinking system.

Updating Your Libronix DLS

The information in this article pertains to LDLS version 3.0a and later versions. Hebrew KeyLinking has received a significant overhaul in this latest version. To update to the latest version of LDLS, click Tools | Libronix Update.

Upgrading Your Library

In addition to upgrading your Libronix DLS software, it is important to have the latest versions of all your Hebrew texts and lexicons. Most of the Hebrew resources mentioned in this article are available as part of the 3.0a download via Libronix Update. In addition, the latest released copies of resources produced by Logos Bible Software can be found on the  FTP site. In particular, make sure to update all the resources listed in the two following sections that list which resources are hooked into the new KeyLinking system as of 3.0a.

Selecting the best starting points

Not every Hebrew Bible is keyed into the new look-up system yet. While some old versions will never be linked in (for example, we won't be re-releasing the Westminster 2.0 or 3.5 or 4.0 morphologies when users can upgrade to the 4.2 version), the ultimate goal is for every current version of the Hebrew Bible to be able to take advantage of the new tables. However, this is a work in progress, so it helps to be aware of which resources to execute your KeyLinks (or Exegetical Guides or Bible Word Studies) from. The following Hebrew texts can make use of the KeyLink tables in version 3.0a:

Selecting the best destinations

In Tools | Options | KeyLink Options | KeyLinking, you can select the Hebrew and Aramaic data types from the drop down list of data types and a list of possible KeyLink destinations will appear. You can select lexicons in the list of resource on the lower right-hand side of the dialog and click the promote button to promote the lexicon into the list above the default list. In the list of preferred resources, you can use the up and down buttons to sort the lexicons in an order you prefer. When you execute a KeyLink, Libronix will try to find a match in the first promoted lexicon first, and so on down the list.

To get the best results, then, it is important to promote as your preferred lexicons those which have KeyLink tables. The following Hebrew and Aramaic lexicons have KeyLink tables finished for version 3.0a:

Which lexicon you promote to the number one spot at the top of the list depends a lot on what kind of information you want to get to quickly. If you want to be able to quickly dig into detailed information on any given word, you want to promote your most exhaustive lexicons to the top. The five-volume  Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament is a clear choice, since it is quite a bit larger than any of the other lexicons, providing more information about each word, and it was published fairly recently, so it represents scholarship that is more up-to-date than some of the older lexicons. If you don't have HALOT, Enhanced Brown Driver Briggs (BDB) was the state-of-the-art for the previous generation of Hebrew readers.

Some folk prefer to get a quick gloss first. And while you can often get a quick gloss from one of the more exhaustive, scholarly lexicons just by skimming for things in bold or italics, one of the more concise lexicons might be preferred by some. Concise HAL, Dictionary of Biblical Languages - Hebrew, and Dictionary of Biblical Languages - Aramaic are all useful choices for getting shorter entries quickly.

One further note: Libronix DLS allows you to use the right and left arrow buttons on your keyboard to flip between lexicons. Many users appreciate this feature, because it means they can have only one lexicon open at a time, but scroll through all their lexicons quickly. However, this method isn't currently able to take advantage of the KeyLink tables that the Bible texts themselves use. So this method works fairly well in languages where lexical forms are mostly spelled the same from dictionary to dictionary, but isn't ideal for Hebrew or Aramaic. If you find that you consistently want to consult several lexicons, you could increase the number of lexicons that open by default when you execute a KeyLink (also managed from the KeyLink Options dialog), or you could use the KeyLink Summary. Right-click a word and choose Selected Text and then click on the form with (Lemma) after it and choose KeyLink Summary. The report created will allow you to see all your KeyLinks quickly, and take advantage of the KeyLink look-up tables, if they are present. This is particularly useful when you want to quickly survey your lexicons, but don't need all the detail available in the Bible Word Study report.

Of course, the reports such as the Exegetical Guide and Bible Word Study will provide links that use the KeyLink tables to each lexicon, and if you generally prefer to only open one lexicon at a time, you can use the right-click menu to select the lexical form (Lemma) and choose which lexicon you wish to KeyLink to manually. This lets you quickly KeyLink to a lexicon other than your first promoted lexicon, without having to re-order your KeyLink preferences.

Setting Up One-Click KeyLinking

By default, when you double-click on a Hebrew word, you execute a KeyLink on the word you are clicking. In LDLS version 3.0, if there is a lexical form tag underneath the surface form, the KeyLink will be performed on that. For compound words, however, the software has to perform an educated guess about which part of the word you wanted to execute the KeyLink on. For example, when a preposition is prefixed to a verb, the software will assume you wanted to look up the verb form. It is possible to turn on single-click KeyLinking, so that a single-click is used instead of a double-click to execute a link. When this feature is turned on, the Libronix DLS is sensitive to the position of the cursor within the word. So if you point the cursor at a prefix, or suffix or any part of a compound word, that will be the part of the word that you perform a KeyLink on.

Of course, you can still open lexicons from the Hebrew Bible by using the right-click menu or Display Information window, but some users prefer the convenience of a single click KeyLink.

Here's how to enable one-click KeyLinking from the Hebrew Bibles listed above:

  1. Click Tools | Options | KeyLink Options
  2. Select Hebrew from the Data Type drop-down list
  3. Click the Display tab 
  4. Check the Make Hyperlink box
  5. Click Close.

Note: You may wish to repeat these steps with the Aramaic and Greek Data Types (though if you have the Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, you will already get hits when double-clicking on Greek inflected forms).

See also: