Logos 4: first impressions

I have had a long term on again off again relationship with Logos.

Back in the early 90s it was my first chance to access the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Bible texts with all the pointing accents etc. and, wonder of wonders, morphologically analysed (or at least Tense Voice Mood indicated). Before I’d been using Online Bible under DOS and Desqview.1 My only complaint about Logos was that it was slow (but everything was in the WIMP environment of Windows).

However, it could not last… Logos introduced a new version I think it was 2, and the acceptable slowness became the sort of foot-dragging that gives snails a bad name. I spent some money that might have bought one, or even a couple of, reference works on Logos2 and bought Bibleworks. Bibleworks just worked, it did everything i wanted faster and better than Logos.

However, one thing Logos has always been brilliant at is providing resources. I saved up an arm and a leg3 and bought the Anchor Bible Dictionary on Logos. I was preparing the Hypertext Bible Commentary: Amos and quick and easy access to the ABD was a real help.

However, Logos was so slow that most of my actual Bible work was done in Bibleworks, so  was using Logos as a sort of glorified e-book reader.

Then Logos, always brilliant at producing resources that I would dearly love to have, started producing syntactically analysed texts. I started to save arms and legs and began buying them.

However, before I could really start even installing them I was “upgraded” to a Windows Vista laptop. It was a nightmare. I installed Linux, and could not face trying to install logos under Wine4 so my Logos languished.

Then the laptop died and I was given a Windows 7 machine to replace it. The Logos videos looked great, and I really really wanted those syntactically analysed texts and all that biblical people stuff to explore… So5 I bought Logos 4.

So, after the longest intro ever, what are my first impressions?

Logos 4 looks nice, clean and sharp. It feels surprisingly responsive, after a wait while the program loads during which I can I think literally go and make a cup of coffee.6 It offers a bewildering array of tools and resources. Far too many. Most of them rubbish. Now, I admit some users rubbish is another users gold. But surely something called the Scholars’ Edition could hide 90% of the out of copyright devotional commentaries Matthew Henry’s great fans can always unhide him, ditto Charles Haddon Spurgeon and the rest…

And then there the windows, try as I might, and having just finished marking for the year I have managed to waste hours trying, I cannot seem to get the windows arranged in a way that suits me. There seems no way to put the menu box that chugs away trying to suggest which 13th century divine might have written something about Qoheleth 4:2 on the right and put the Bible text and translation left and or top. Since I’m of Western culture and I’m studying the Bible it seems to me reasonable to want the Bible at the top, and at the start. The help feature is not easy to point in the right direction… [Does anyone know how to move, and generate new windows?]

Overall first impression there is loads here to explore, it will be really useful, but since it insists (so far) on prioritising all the pretty stuff and dead white guys writing over the Bible text I suspect I’ll use Bibleworks most of the time and only go over to Logos when I want one of the many resources it has that BW doesn’t.

PS: The program has crashed twice today. Ths may be a problem with the blasted OS (this laptop runs the accursed Vista) but OTOH no other program has crashed even once…

PPS: With a bit of playing I’ve discovered how to manipulate windows :) it’s neat, just a bit frustrating that I had to discover by accident and could not easily look it up, OTOH the interface does become more “intuitive” wit use :) Second impressions could be more positive than first ones ;)

  1. A great combination that let me do everything Windows 3.1 did, but blindingly fast, except it did not run “new” programs like Logos. []
  2. This was the period when e-resources cost more than print. []
  3. This was by now the period when e-texts “merely” cost the same as print. []
  4. In any case Bibleworks, as always, just worked, more or less. []
  5. Another missing arm and leg. []
  6. Timed at approximately FOUR minutes! []

4 comments on “Logos 4: first impressions

  1. Danny Zacharias

    Open your library window. Now open the preferences (on Mac it is called preferences, on PC perhaps options?). At the bottom of that window is a big empty field. Drag any resources you don’t really want (public domain, matt henry, etc) into that big empty field to populate the list with resources you want to hide. Once you are done, restart Logos. All of those resources will now be hidden from your library and won’t be included in the search.

    Again, on Mac but I believe they function the same. To open something new, type in the name of the resource at the top and open it. You can drop resource tabs around wherever you want, and put them into different sections of the window too. To tie scrolling of resources, click on the top-left box of each resource window and create a linked set.

    Also, the main search field is a “catch all” field that searches absolutely everything, and also follows commands (like, “update now” or “Roman 3:1 in ESV”). If you want to do more specific searches, use the search pane (the magnifying glass) to search just bibles, just a specific resource, or a collection of resources you have made).

    There is also a way to prioritize resources so that they go at the top of search results, but I can’t recall how that is done. The logos support site and logos wiki have lots of info, and the forums are very active.

    You might be interested in my recent post comparing Logos and Accordance. http://nt-studies.tumblr.com/post/12605958420/2-years-of-the-changed-status-quo

  2. Tim Bulkeley

    Yes, I found that, but why do they have to put me through that hassle, why not offer (at least) two starting line-ups (a) absolutely everything (for the control freak with plenty of time to spare) and (b) scholar’s mode (with a cut down collection biased towards the scholarly – it’s called scholar’s collection after all) people could then tweak the collection by removing or adding but with a lot of the heavy lifting already done. So a scholar who likes their Spurgeon could add him, another who likes Wiserbe could add him… I just object to having everythings and the kitchen sink as the default mode in a product that aims at scholars. Just as with Windows I object to wasting my time REMOVING the clutter before I can work!

  3. Kublai7777

    I think you underestimate the diversity of Logos’ users. I personally know of Catholics, Copts, Jews, Messianic Jews, Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Southern Baptists who use this thing. How could you prioritize resources for each group?

    Logos provides a huge set of resources with each collection. Fortunately Logos provides some good tools to organize collections and make searches focus on preferred resources. Having said that, I wish Logos users didn’t have to know boolean search syntax to make complex searches.

  4. tim

    Kublai, you seem to be saying that since Logos as a whole product range has a very diverse range of users that it is appropriate for something called the “Scholar’s Edition” to by default show every resource available, even though this slows almost every action to a crawl.

    I disagree, the very existence of things with names like Scholar’s edition points out that with an electronic resource you can offer different default lineups for different groups…