A Rationale for Dynamic Collections

(Steve Clark)

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I could point to the obvious rationale for dynamic collections; the idea that future management of the collection is vastly minimized since resources will be added to automatically. I could also focus on the decreased likelihood of missing a resource assuming its underlying metadata is correct. However I would prefer to focus on how differently collections benefited a user in Libronix as opposed to how they benefit us now in Logos.

In Libronix one of the primary reasons to create a collection was to decrease the amount of time it took to search one’s library. To perform a search of one’s entire library could be very time consuming and limiting it to only the most necessary resources had huge time saving benefits. It was well worth one’s time to invest in setting up and maintaining one’s collections because it paid off well time wise in the end.

In Logos the time savings becomes irrelevant as far as the amount of time it takes to search a library is concerned. Searching is no longer measured in minutes, but in seconds. Thus the focus on the collections’ importance shifts from being primarily time saving to being primarily organizational. Time is saved not because of the amount of time it takes Logos to search, but by the amount of time it takes us, the user, to filter through what Logos returns.

In Libronix the focus was on making sure the wrong books were not in the collection because the goal was to limit. In Logos the focus is on making sure the right books are in the collection because the goal is to find everything that is relevant while still limiting what is irrelevant. Thus, in my view the goal of a Logos collection is to get close, not to get exact. If a wayward resource finds its way into a collection, so what? It does not effect the amount of time it takes Logos to search significantly. There’s a good chance it won’t end up in search results when I’m searching on the collection because it probably doesn’t have a whole lot to do with what I’m looking for. If I do notice it in search results and want to get rid of it I can simply add it to the exclusion list.

The trickier part of forming collections in Logos is making sure what you do want in the collection is indeed in the collection. This, to me, is no different than in Libronix. In Libronix we created search strings as well. We typed our search string into a box, looked through a list, and picked the appropriate resources. We were just as likely to miss a resource we didn’t know about in Libronix as we are in Logos, one that did not match the strings we were using to limit our options. Some resources we will probably have to know about and add to a collection manually, that’s why Logos has the ability to do so. But the goal of collections in Logos seems to be to make it quick, minimize maintenance, and get to searching. If collections were a micro-managed feature of Logos the time it would take to manage the collection would outweigh the time it would save.

There is another thought that deserves mentioning. Logos is continuing to grow it’s Library offering. With individual users amassing libraries beyond the base collections, dynamic collections begin to make even more sense. The burden of managing a library is now automated according to the rules the user sets up, freeing him to study the Word of God with all of the helps that Logos provides.

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