Saturday, November 21, 2009

West Bank and East Jerusalem Searchable Map

The map described in the article linked above is quite an achievement. It's worth reading the whole article, but here's how it starts:
A team of archaeologists from UCLA, USC, Israel and Palestinian territories has developed the first map detailing Israeli archaeological activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem – much of it never publicly disclosed.

The fully searchable online map, which serves as a window into thousands of years worth of archaeological sites in the Holy Lands, has won the 2009 Open Archaeology Prize from American Schools of Oriental Research, the main organization for archaeologists working in the Middle East.
Use THIS LINK to get to the page with further description and the links to the two versions of the map you can access, both of which use Google Maps. The first is a searchable map as shown above. You can search by period, type of site, or keyword. The other map, shown below, uses KML and opens directly in Google Maps.
There are over 7000 sites indexed, but note that it is limited to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. As you can see in the view below, that does mean you don't have sites along the cost or in the north.
One thing that is particularly commendable about this project is that is was a joint Israeli and Palestinian effort. In fact, "the USC Web site is part of a larger effort to devise a framework for the disposition of the region’s archaeological treasures in the event of a two-state peace agreement."
Check it out.
[HT: PaleoJudaica]

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Encyclopedia Judaica Online

IMPORTANT UPDATE: It was not clear initially on the site, but it turns out that this online edition of Encyclopedia Judaica is only available for members of the Jewish Community Association of Austin. They have now clarified the language on the site and according to their contract are unable to honor requests for the password for others. If anyone does know of a legally available online edition, let me know! (My apologies to the JCAA for the inconvenience who were gracious about the mistake. I have removed the links.)
I don't seem to have found a link to this on any of the usual sites I frequent, so it perhaps may also be helpful to you to bookmark this link for free access to the complete, 22 volumes worth, $2263 at Amazon set, 2nd edition of 2007, Encyclopedia Judaica. (That's the link to the entrance page for the Jewish Community Association of Austin where you will find the acknowledgement to Sharon and Richard Kammerman for this online edition and the password needed to access the site.)

While this encyclopedia covers the whole spectrum of Jewish experience up to the present, there is still a ton of biblical stuff readers of this blog may be interested in checking out. Peruse the hundreds of maps, a 44 page "Land of Israel: Geographical Survey," a 6 page article on "Mikveh," 18 pages on "Aramaic," 6 pages on "Jesus" by David Flusser, and information on
virtually any location in Israel or the Jewish diaspora (e.g., Capernaum with a diagram of the synagogue or Corinth or Dura-Europos). To see the maps and illustrations in full size, you will want to download the PDF files instead of viewing the HTML page. You can have the page read out loud to you (!), but more helpful are the download and Citation Tools to help you get the bibliographic data you need. This is definitely an outstanding online resource you should have bookmarked.

And while I'm mentioning matters Jewish, it gives me an opportunity to highlight again the LiveScribe Pulse Smartpen. They have now opened an app store as described in this article. A lot of the apps are free or inexpensive, but the most expensive one is the $99 Magic Yad.

The Magic Yad (which gets its name from the Hebrew term for the pointer used to keep one's place in the Torah) consists of Torah and haftarah portions printed on the special dot paper. When an aspiring Hebrew learner clicks on a particular word, they can hear how it is supposed to be chanted. They can also record themselves reading the same part and compare the two.
Hey, take notes on articles from Encyclopedia Judaica using the SmartPen!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bible Mapper 4 Released!

Bible Mapper 4 is now available! This is not only an outstanding program but one of only a few programs that allows for full user customization of biblical maps. Furthermore, David has a heart for ministry, and this program has been a great way for Bible translation teams to produce maps that do not have any copyright restrictions. (BTW, this is a big deal.) Cost for the license key is $37.

Back in April of 2008, I reported that the Bible Mapper 3 program had been withdrawn but was subsequently shared for free but without any support or promise of further development. Bible Mapper 3 is still available for free, but it lacks the improved software and will not have any technical support. Bible Mapper 4 also includes
35 pre-made maps (as map templates) from the Bible Mapper Atlas Collection. It can read BM3 files, but BM4 files cannot be read in BM3. David also has indicated to me that:

I've also made a number of improvements and bug fixes to the program (including a much faster/smoother Select Object engine). One of the new features is the inclusion of Palestine Grid 1923 coordinates, which are often used in older academic works. You can't input data based on these coordinates, but you can opt to use this coordinate format in the status bar regarding the cursor location.
I am very happy with the improved Select Object tool, and the Palestine Grid coordinates is a feature that only Accordance's Bible Atlas also offers.

With David's blessing, I set up a Bible Mapper wiki for mutual user support. Some video tutorials were posted and a number of maps are shared on the site. Users of BM3 and BM4 are encouraged to join this wiki.

For a survey of digital resources for biblical mapping, see the resources I've assembled here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Logos 4 Content Comparison to Logos 3

I've been working through some of the new features of Logos4, and I have pulled together a listing of resources that are new to Logos4 that are pertinent for biblical studies research. I am primarily approaching this as a New Testament scholar interested in original language resources and also English translations. I also have a interest in maps and images related to the biblical texts. I teach at a seminary, and my choices reflect my work and the kind of work I anticipate my students needing to be able to do.

I have recommended to my students to start with the Original Languages library, and, if they can afford it, to get the Gold library. Those are the best packages from a biblical studies perspective. My review is somewhat lengthy, so it is best viewed as this PDF file with links. I have listed new resources for each library and provide my subjective comments on their value.
I also provide some evaluations about upgrading your library from Original Languages > Gold > Platinum > Portfolio.

I do especially want to indicate one easily overlooked improvement that Logos has made. (I've been critical of them in the past on this matter, so I need to give credit now.) Rahlf’s Septuagint with Logos Morphology (2 Vols.) is not listed as a new resource, but this is a very important update. The morphological coding in the Logos3 Rahlf's Septuagint had serious problems that rendered it completely unreliable for exegetical work. Some quick checking indicates that the problems have been corrected with this edition using Logos Morphology. [UPDATE in light of Comments: Note that the following texts are in a separate resource, "Septuagint with Logos Morphology (Alternate Texts)": Joshua (text family A), Judges (text family B), Tobit (text family BA), Susanna (Old Greek text family), Daniel (Old Greek text family ), and Bel (Old Greek text family). I suppose the trick is to make a collection so you can search both the standard and alternate texts at the same time.]

If you just want my bottom line, here it is:

CONCLUSIONS – Getting the Logos3 > Logos4 Crossgrade:
Logos 4 is still getting everything together (cf. Missing Features), and this short analysis has a very limited scope of considering only content from a biblical resources perspective. The $70 minimal crossgrade is going to get you a lot of additional functionality, and that alone may be worth the cost (and it does include iPhone access).

  • If you have the Original Languages library, the minimal crossgrade gets you most of what you want.The only substantial additions are the Reverse Interlinears, and those may or may not be useful to you.
  • If you have the Gold library, you do get quite a few additional, excellent resources that will make the true crossgrade very attractive.
BOTTOM LINE: Go to your account in to check what your crossgrade or upgrade prices are and use this listing as a guide for evaluating biblical resources.

Again, here is the PDF file with links.

Revised Common Lectionary for Desktop and Mobile Devices

Many ELCA pastors are accustomed to using the little red book not only for appointments but to check out upcoming texts in the revised common lectionary. As they did last year, AugsburgFortress is making the Revised Common Lectionary texts available for free download for the following platforms. Note that once you get it into Outlook, for example, it will sync up with your WinMobile device or with your Google Calendar. (Click on the graphic to go to the Augsburg Fortress page.)

CPH also offers a similar offering they call the 2010 Pocket Diary. It is basically a public Google Calendar, but they show how to get it into other devices.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Logos 4 Installation Notes

In response to a comment on the previous post, I can provide some information about the installation needs and process of moving from Logos3 to Logos4.

I was running Logos3 Gold Library on a 4 year old, WinXP laptop with 2Gb RAM and 2.16GHz processor. I have the Gold library and ran the upgrade from 3 to 4. Downloads and indexing took a LONG time, by which I mean leaving it run overnight a couple times. The progress reports indicated quite a few gigabytes of data being downloaded and indexed. I don't have exact figures, but the Logos3 installation took up a little less than 4Gb and now Logos4 takes up about 4.3Gb.

The program runs fine with but occasional response delays of a few seconds. On my machine, it doesn't feel 'fast,' but it is quite acceptable and certainly better than L3. Searching is so much faster than L3 thanks to the new indexing procedure. Since I have installed the latest updates, Logos4 has not frozen once on me.

From my experience, at least, Logos 4 works great on an older WinXP machine.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Logos 4 Released

Logos today announced a major release of its Bible software program, Logos 4. (Check out the video on that link and more info here.) I was able to beta test the product, and I will provide more info when I get more time. Just a few things to note for now:

  • It does have a different look and feel. The default start page will make you think of a magazine more than of Bible software. Long time Logos users will need to make some adjustments. In general, and especially for newer users, the user interface is clean, intuitive, and logical. The panel and tab layout does work nicely.
  • The program indexes your library, and so searches are faster. In the beta, indexing took a long time to accomplish...
  • There are quite a few new resources. I'm especially interested in the improved resources in the Biblical Places category, and I will provide a fuller report on those later.
  • Your library is also available via WiFi using an iPhone app. (The app is a free download and also works on the iPod Touch.)
  • Logos3 Gold was superseded by a Platinum version, and now you can also get a Portfolio library ("1550 resources worth more than $31,000.00 in print!"). Price before discounts for Portfolio is $4290. For my seminary students (who can get a 30% discount), I'm still recommending the Original Language Library ($416 list) or Gold Library ($1380 list). Be sure to check the comparison chart. To upgrade from Logos3 Gold to Logos4 Gold is $190 before discounts. (I'm guessing that Logos3 OL to Logos4 OL will be about $100.)
  • A number of resources that one previously had to buy separately are now included in some of the libraries. A special effort has been made to include English-Hebrew and English-Greek reverse interlinears. There are also quite a few interesting new "Maps, Photos, and Media" resources included with nearly every library.
Click on the graphic above to get a sense of the layout and look of Logos 4. This a start, but be sure to check the Logos4 page for more info.