Computer database products for gospel study have been familiar to many Church members who, for years, have found in them a convenient means of harnessing computer power to search and extract knowledge from the scriptures and from thousands of written works by Church leaders, scholars and writers. Now, a newly formed company has teamed with Church-owned Deseret Book Co. to offer what it calls "the next generation of gospel-study software."
"LDS Collectors Library 2005" is the latest in a string of such products that originally surfaced in the 1990s. Prominent among them in the latter part of the decade were the "Infobase Collectors Library" and Deseret Book's own "GospeLink." Shortly after the 1997 release of the Infobase product in 1997, the company merged with publisher Bookcraft, which ultimately was absorbed into Deseret Book. Thereafter, the two software products were merged into "GospeLink 2001."
In 2004, Infobase developers Paul Allen and Don Taggart formed a new company, LDS Media Corp. Within six months it developed "LDS Collectors Library 2005." Deseret Book president and CEO Sheri Dew acknowledged that the new product is regarded as the successor to "GospeLink 2001," although her company will continue to offer a similar on-line subscription service called "GospeLink," noting the two are not directly competitive, since the new product is for "users who want to personalize their libraries or who want to be able to research without being connected to the Web."
"LDS Collectors Library 2005" offers the largest library of Church-related titles ever assembled in such a product, including all the ones contained in "GospeLink 2001," plus many new ones that have been published or acquired since then.
Moreover, it boasts "new Smart Technology" comprised of five components:
"Intelligent Precision Search" allows the user to search for passages faster than before and at the verse or paragraph level instead of an entire document or chapter. And it is organized such that the information appears according to an authoritative hierarchy scriptures first, followed by the words of latter-day prophets and apostles.
"Intelligent Cross-Referencing" ranks nearly every verse of scripture from the four Standard Works by how frequently two given verses of scripture are cited together throughout the library. This is based on the presumption that verses cited most often by Church leaders and scholars in public speeches and writings are the most authoritative and representative of the mainstream doctrine of the Church.
"Intelligent Scripture Chains" is a feature that extracts lists of related scriptural references from Church leaders and scholars on hundreds of individual gospel topics. The scripture chain for "Agency and Accountability," for example, is from an April 1985 general conference address by Elder Victor L. Brown.
"Intelligent Synchronization" allows the software program to be individually expandable, as material from the Church's Web site, www.lds.org, can be downloaded for free and integrated into the Collectors Library. In December, for example, all the general conference talks from 1971 to the present were offered for download into Collectors Library.
"Intelligent Copy and Paste" is an improvement over previous gospel-study software in that passages can be copied into word-processing documents with a single reference line instead of a line for each paragraph.
"LDS Collectors Library 2005" is available for a retail price of $99.95 at outlets for LDS products and from the company Web site, www.LDSLibrary.com.