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How Important is Searching the Bible?


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#1 David Lang

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 11:18 AM

Yesterday on his blog, Rick Mansfield released a video comparing another program's new "Bible Speed Search" feature with Accordance's standard search. He did a simple search for "David" in both programs. The video reveals an obvious difference in the speed with which search results are returned.

While I certainly enjoyed the fact that Accordance came out on top in this test, I'm far more intrigued by some of the responses to Rick's post. While some people basically argued that search speed isn't everything and that the other program offers other advantages, a few questioned the legitimacy of the test altogether. "Who cares," some said, "about the speed with which the results are delivered? They appear faster than you can read all those verses." Others even questioned why you would want to do a simple word search of the entire Bible.

It's these kinds of responses that have me a little baffled. I do simple word searches of the Bible all the time. If I want to see where David is mentioned in the New Testament or even just the gospel of Matthew, I might take the time to set a range for my search, or I might just search the whole Bible and jump down to Matthew in my search results. Accordance's speed gives me the flexibility to perform the search either way.

But perhaps I'm missing something. Perhaps simple searches of the whole Bible or a whole tool are not as important to others as they are to me. So I'm asking you: how important is searching the Bible in your study of the Bible? Do you do it a lot? Only occasionally? Not at all?

When you do perform a search, do you take the time to set a lot of parameters to help filter the results, or do you just do broad searches and skim the results? Which approach do you use more often?

How often do you do a broad search not so you can look through each hit verse, but so you can use the Details to get graphs and statistics for the search as a whole?

I guess what I'm getting at is this: Are these people just making excuses? Have they been trained to work a certain way by their software's speed limitations? Or do they have a point that searching a single resource is not the primary way you interact with your study materials?
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#2 Kraig Gilkey

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 03:32 PM

I for one use Accordance's many search functions ALL THE TIME. And speed matters a lot. Speed means I will tray a search that may or may not yield something. Much of my search is admittedly throw-away as I look for things that reveal something I didn't know before. Speed makes this a LOT more productive because I not only can but will do a lot of searching. I use searches to find that verse I know the gist of but can only remember a word or phrase (switching Bible texts helps a lot too). I use searches to help understand how a certain word or phrase is used throughout Scripture, by which Testament and by author. I use searches to better appreciate an authors choice and and use of words. These last two word and phrase searches I use as much in the ancient languages as in English. The results of searches might be a single text, a graphical display or another pointer into another tool. I use searches to find relevant material in extra-biblical tools (lectionaries, dictionaries, visual tools etc.) As a matter of fact I don't see how I would otherwise use the many useful modules in Accordance or any Bible program without searches. Unless of course one were to only use the computer as yet-another-book-reader. If I am reading a lot I would rather have a book. But when I am doing exegetical studies, give me Accordance and its flexible and fast search engine with versatile displays. I use search many times every day of the week as I prepare my exegeitcals for sermons, flesh out Bible studies and just wander the Bible for my own personal growth. Accordance's searching tools makes the Bible very much more accessible, especially given my limitations in time and languages. Accordance WINS big!

#3 Kevin Soars

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 03:35 PM

David,

" I do simple word searches of the Bible all the time. If I want to see where David is mentioned in the New Testament or even just the gospel of Matthew, I might take the time to set a range for my search, or I might just search the whole Bible and jump down to Matthew in my search results. Accordance's speed gives me the flexibility to perform the search either way."

RESPONSE: This is certainly what I do!

When you do perform a search, do you take the time to set a lot of parameters to help filter the results, or do you just do broad searches and skim the results? Which approach do you use more often?

RESPONSE: Definitely the latter.

I hope this answer helps you in your 'survey'.

Kevin.
Kevin.

#4 mikes

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 03:35 PM

I do them all the time.. I have no PhD, etc.. I think, at the end of the day, people like what they like and that's just the way it is. Those of us who love accordance are willing to forgo some of the value of the content that logos offers (I must admit, I do yearn for the day when business models are no longer an issue), and I'm sure that logos lovers are attached to the way logos does something.

For those that do both, there are things that are just "latent" experience on accordance that is just painful when that goes away. Accordance's speed in these areas is akin to using Ajax async abilities to manage complex forms... the actual physical measurement of pain of re-rendering pages wasn't THAT bad, but compared to the more dynamic experience with Ajax, it makes the old way REALLY painful.

#5 jackcav

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 05:24 AM

Yesterday on his blog, Rick Mansfield released a video comparing another program's new "Bible Speed Search" feature with Accordance's standard search. He did a simple search for "David" in both programs. The video reveals an obvious difference in the speed with which search results are returned.

While I certainly enjoyed the fact that Accordance came out on top in this test, I'm far more intrigued by some of the responses to Rick's post. While some people basically argued that search speed isn't everything and that the other program offers other advantages, a few questioned the legitimacy of the test altogether. "Who cares," some said, "about the speed with which the results are delivered? They appear faster than you can read all those verses." Others even questioned why you would want to do a simple word search of the entire Bible.

It's these kinds of responses that have me a little baffled. I do simple word searches of the Bible all the time. If I want to see where David is mentioned in the New Testament or even just the gospel of Matthew, I might take the time to set a range for my search, or I might just search the whole Bible and jump down to Matthew in my search results. Accordance's speed gives me the flexibility to perform the search either way.


David

I use both the other program and Accordance. I prefer Accordance and use it far more than the other program, but this video makes an unfair comparison. The whole thing gave the appearance of an Accordance advertisement. I use the other program in Windows because the Mac version is still version 1.x. First of all, the video compares a first generation applications with Accordance is 8.3.

Several things about this video seem contrived. The number of bounces the tester showed is far more than any user of the other application has ever experienced. I never see more than 2! The search was not slow; the display of search results was slow because of the underlying display technology employed by the other program. The company is now in the process of reprogramming the entire application, especially the display technology.

I believe Accordance is superior to the other program, but unfair and contrived comparisons will not demonstrate Accordance's real superiority. Any fair-minded person who has used the other program will see this video as contrived to promote Accordance and make the other program look bad.

Jack

Edited by jackcav, 02 August 2009 - 05:26 AM.


#6 David Lang

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 07:45 AM

Jack,

One of the reasons there are not more good comparative reviews of Bible software is that reviewers so often get lambasted by developers and users when their software comes out looking bad. It seems to me Rick did his best to make an apples-to-apples comparison of the two programs. Screen capture software always slows things down, but since both programs were run under the same conditions, how is the comparison "unfair"?

To accuse Rick of contriving this whole thing to advertise Accordance strikes me as the real unfairness. If his next video shows that the other program delivers partial results of library searches and Accordance doesn't, should we then accuse Rick of contriving that comparison to make Accordance look bad? As Rick pointed out, he paid good money for both programs. He hasn't been supplied with free review copies. And to my knowledge, he's not being paid to make these comparisons. We're certainly not paying him, and at this point, I seriously doubt the other guys are!

If I were about to plunk down several hundred dollars on Bible software, I would want to know how the two programs accomplish the same tasks. It seems to me that's all Rick is trying to do.

As for comparing a 1.x Mac version of a mature Windows program with a mature Accordance, what else would you suggest Rick do? Should he:

1. Compare the Windows Bible Speed Search with Accordance's regular search? I'd bet Accordance still comes out faster, but would such a comparison really help Mac users wondering what to buy?

2. Compare the promised speed of the next Mac version with the real speed of Accordance now? How do you compare a program with a promise?

3. Compare the current Mac version with Accordance 1.0 released in 1994? Frankly, you'd see the same difference in speed. But even then, you'd be comparing a Mac program in its infancy with a Mac port (which has been in development for four years) of a Windows program which has been in development for fifteen years. How is that an apples-to-apples comparison?

Obviously, users of the other program are not so bothered by its slowness to regard it as unusable, but I'm curious to know how much that is because they have been trained to work around the lack of instant results. Do they content themselves with reading the references in Ruth and 1 Samuel because they know they can't scroll down to Matthew yet? Do they create more specific searches to improve the search speed? Or do they just run an automated report and interact with what it gives them?

My real concern is to learn what I can so we can improve the next version of Accordance. If we've really missed the boat by emphasizing the rapid searching of individual Bibles and books, I want to know that.

As for Rick, I think you should cut him a little slack. After all, haven't you gotten blasted on the other program's forums for being too negative about the Mac version? Were you merely trying to advertise for Accordance?
Sincerely,
David Lang
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#7 jackcav

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 01:42 PM

Jack,

One of the reasons there are not more good comparative reviews of Bible software is that reviewers so often get lambasted by developers and users when their software comes out looking bad. It seems to me Rick did his best to make an apples-to-apples comparison of the two programs. Screen capture software always slows things down, but since both programs were run under the same conditions, how is the comparison "unfair"?


As for Rick, I think you should cut him a little slack. After all, haven't you gotten blasted on the other program's forums for being too negative about the Mac version? Were you merely trying to advertise for Accordance?


David

I don't plan to get into a debate with you. However, I will comment on your last jab at me. Yes, I have been blasted on the Logos forum for criticizing the Mac version. As I stated even before Logos Mac was released, I do not want a anemic Mac version of a mature Windows program. This is the treatment we receive from far too many vendors whom I won't name here. I guess any time you state a strong opinion, someone will object and criticize you for daring to deviate from the politically correct position.

As to your first paragraph. How do we know that the screen capture software affected both programs in the same way? They each use different technology for display. The times he gave for starting Logos Mac and for the search results to display exceed the results obtained by those who have run the same search on Logos Mac, including me.

Jack

#8 David Lang

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 03:59 PM

Jack,

That last comment certainly wasn't meant as a jab. I was trying to say I sympathize with both you and Rick for your various experiences of backlash. I'm sorry if that came across any other way.

As for whether the screen capture software affected Logos more than Accordance, I suppose that's possible, but at best that only minimizes the speed difference rather than eliminating it. When I run this search on my machine, it takes almost 60 seconds to "speed search" the NAS, and of course even then it only displays about half the verses. Rick reported in the comments on his post that on his machine, it took 80 seconds when the screen capture software was running and 50 when it was not. How long does it take on your machine?

I'd be most willing to accept that the screen capture software might have unfairly skewed the launch times, though I'm not sure what technological difference might account for that. If anything, the fact that Accordance had to load Rick's last session while Logos just started with a new setup should have hurt Accordance's launch time. I have no idea what could have caused Logos to launch so slowly in Rick's video, but I don't see how Rick could have contrived to stack the deck against Logos in the video. He just launched both programs and showed what happened.

So by all means, throw out the launch time difference as some kind of aberration; but the search speed (or display speed) difference is indeed substantial.

Again, perhaps that doesn't matter. Perhaps when using Logos people just learn to work around the speed issue. Or perhaps it doesn't matter because they approach Bible study from a completely different angle. That's why I asked the question about the importance of searching. Having to wait for search results to complete would certainly affect the way I study the Bible, but perhaps that's because using Accordance has trained me to study that way. I'm trying to make sure I'm not just looking at Bible study through Accordance lenses.

Hope that makes sense.
Sincerely,
David Lang
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#9 R. Mansfield

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 04:22 PM

How do we know that the screen capture software affected both programs in the same way? They each use different technology for display. The times he gave for starting Logos Mac and for the search results to display exceed the results obtained by those who have run the same search on Logos Mac, including me.


Well, Jack, I really don't appreciate your earlier assertion in this thread that I may have contrived the video to make Libronix look bad and Accordance look good. I did not do anything knowingly to make Libronix run slow. It simply IS slow (Bob Pritchett has admitted this in regard to both the Windows and Mac versions). But I want you to hear me plainly say that I did not do anything to "contrive" the comparison; nor did I do anything to make the comparison "unfair" (another word you used). The real question is whether or not my system gave a representative test. Yes, the recording software would slow it down somewhat, but I think that only affects the results in a minor way.

So many have questioned this that I took a look at my own system and I did, in fact, discover something very interesting. I had noticed that over the last couple of weeks my system was running hot and my fans were on quite a bit. I went to a meeting the other day without my power cord because I'm usually good for three hours of battery life even with the system at full screen brightness, but it died in about an hour's time. I'd left Activity Monitor open a number of times to try to find something affecting my system, but nothing reared its head as a consistent resource hog. I installed iStat on Friday and began watching fan RPMs and processor temperature. My fans were averaging 4000 rpm and my average temperature was around 190 -- both way too high.

I began mentally going through any changes I'd made to my system over the past few weeks, and finally found what I thought was the culprit. I looked at the online forums of this particular application (if you're curious enough, email me directly and I'll tell you what it was) and found that others had recently had similar problems with high temperatures and constantly running fans. Uninstalling the software was the answer because suddenly my temps and fan RPMs have been at normal numbers all weekend (currently my fans are running at 1994 rpm [below average] and my temperature is 118).

Furthermore, I've re-run the same searches in the video and Libronix now offers much better results than before, although it is still slow, and Accordance is still instantaneous. And I again point out that Accordance was running under the same handicaps as Libronix in the earlier comparison.

Nevertheless, before I go on to make a "part two" video, I'm going to make a "part 1.1" with new demonstrations and less commentary. Libronix does indeed perform better than before, but it's still nowhere near as fast as Accordance. And in spite of those who say differently, I say that speed does indeed matter. And obviously Bob Pritchett agrees based on comments he made on my website.

Am I biased towards Accordance over Libronix? You bet. I am because of my experience with the two. I believe that Accordance is a better product on numerous levels (and I've been using both products many years). But does that mean that I would monkey with my system to purposefully make Logos look bad (and Accordance look good), to CONTRIVE the results?

Absolutely not.

Edited by R. Mansfield, 02 August 2009 - 09:50 PM.

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#10 jackcav

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 06:41 AM

David & Rich

Why did I get myself in this mess? I don't even use Logos Mac :( . As David mentioned, I have expressed my disappointment with the Mac version on the Logos newsgroups and forum. I still use the Windows version under Fusion, but I use Accordance more often.

David
I apologize for misinterpreting your last post. That is one of the problems with long-distance communication; it is too easy to misunderstand the other person's intent.

Rich
Please accept my apology for my poor choice of words. Originally, I intended to say that Accordance users should not give too much prominence to the video because much that it contained does not match other people's experience. I should not have called it contrived because that would be stating your motivation, which I have no way of evaluating.

I still don't see the value of conducting a search that will yield more than 1000 hits. If, for some unknown reason, I desired to conduct such a search, I would have done it in Accordance :D .

Jack

#11 R. Mansfield

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 10:38 AM

Thanks, Jack. Apology accepted.
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#12 R. Mansfield

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 09:19 AM

I've posted part 1.1 (Speed Search Revisited) on my blog.

Edited by R. Mansfield, 04 August 2009 - 11:24 PM.

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#13 jackcav

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 07:39 PM

I've posted part 1.1 (Speed Search Revisited) on my blog.


Well done, Rich. I believe you have given a fair and impartial view of this feature of both applications. Hopefully, Libronix will improve the search speed dramatically (for both Mac & Windows) in the next release which is already in the works.

Jack

Edited by jackcav, 04 August 2009 - 07:40 PM.


#14 DanG

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 04:07 PM

I still keep an old version of the Online Bible around so I can search several versions of the Bible at the same time. I know Accordance can do it, but the Online Bible can search 24 versions of the Bible AND display every verse from every Bible in about 1 second. Wouldn't it be great if Accordance could do that?

By comparison, it took Accordance around 13 seconds to search the 46 versions of the Bible that I have. Also, there's still no way to display all of the verses found from different translations in one window.

It is possible to search all Bible in Logos for Mac and display all the results (It even has a nice chart). The actual search took around 15 seconds to search the 15 Bible versions I have, but it takes absolutely FOREVER to display the results. However, at least Logos can do it.

Edited by DanG, 05 August 2009 - 04:18 PM.





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