DON'S FREEWARE CORNER - AUG 2018

WORDCRUNCHER AND LDSVIEW

2018 Donald R. Snow - Last updated 2018-08-18

Don's Freeware Corner notes are printed in the UTAH VALLEY TECHNOLOGY AND GENEALOGY GROUP (UVTAGG) Newsletter TAGGology each month and are posted on his Class Notes Page at http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html  where there may be corrections, updates, and additions. 

INTRODUCTION TO WORDCRUNCHER AND LDSVIEW

Last month I wrote about some helpful scripture and gospel study aids on  https://lds.org , the website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This month I'm writing about another program and data, WORDCRUNCHER and LDSVIEW, that are also free with many helps and text collections, many related to the LDS Church and others about history and different topics.  A friend (Dan Bartholomew) emailed me recently with the information about these and I was not aware that these were still available online.  I remember them from years ago when I was teaching at Brigham Young University and my office was in the Talmage Math Building, the same as the authors of the programs.  As you will see, these are remarkable collections of free LDS and other items.  The current version is WORDCRUNCHER 7.1 and the URLs are  http://www.wordcruncher.com/  and  http://ldsview.wordcruncher.com/ .

OVERVIEW AND HELPS

The first of the links above is a description of the program and data and that it is "a free personal research assistant with tools to help you search, study, analyze, download, create, and share eBooks or corpora." The word "corpora" means collections of text files that have been compiled.  On the right side of this page are links to pdf files, a 10-page one titled WordCruncher Tools Overview and a 24-page one titled Getting Started Tutorial.  Both are helpful and a good place to start learning about the programs.  They can be read online and/or downloaded.  The second link above says that LDSVIEW is a version of WORDCRUNCHER for studying LDS scriptures and books.  Under the Support tab at the top left of the second link are FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that give lots of information about these programs and their history.  

THE LDS SCRIPTURES

LDSVIEW is a version of WORDCRUNCHER for LDS scripture study and it uses the text files from https://lds.org ;nbsp;that I discussed last month in my Freeware Corner article (Jul 2018).  The LDS Church's four books of scripture called The Standard Works (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) plus many other LDS manuals and items are available to download from this website in WORDCRUNCHER format, so they can be searched and analyzed.  The scriptures are available here in 30 different languages.  When you download LDSVIEW, it goes to the Church website and downloads the files and puts them in the right format for you automatically.  There are FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about many of the books included so you get a good overview of what it is and how it has been compiled.  The windows can be resized by dragging the edges or corners.  WORDCRUNCHER has many search capabilities, as will be discussed below.

STUDY HELPS FOR THE SCRIPTURES

There is an option to turn on or hide the footnotes in the text and it stays whichever was you set it until you change it.  The scriptures are more readable without the footnotes, but of course, then you don't see the comments the scholars have included to explain and link the words and verses.  Included in the LDSVIEW text files are the Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, Maps, and Photographs, and more and these can be included or not included in searches.  The program allows you to mark selected text with various colors, put bookmarks to go directly to where you want, and you can make your own notes at any place in the text.  If you and other people use the same computer, each of you can have your own log in so you only see your own highlights, bookmarks, and notes.  There are ways to copy, download, or print selected text, and do other things to help you study, analyze, and learn.

DOWNLOAD A BOOK

On the main page of the WORDCRUNCHER link above is a link to Download a Book - Some Books and Descriptions.   Clicking on this link shows many books and text collections that you can download.  It is organized in the following categories:  Language and Literature, American History, and Religious Studies.  Religious Studies includes Scripture Studies, LDS corpora, and Other Writings or Collections.  Most of these are free to download, but a few are commercial and require payment, and some are restricted since they are collections that researchers have compiled for their own purposes.  You can select the books and collections you want to download and it only takes a few seconds to download that collection and some of these collections are enormous in size.  When I first downloaded the program and looked at the list of books and collections, there was so much I was interested in that it took me about an hour to download everything I wanted and it was all free.  Now, when I open the program, I can select the particular books or collections to search or I can search everything I downloaded.  This is such a major collection of writings that just being able to search it is fun and educational.  On the Bookstore page which lists all the texts I clicked to open most of the links so describe the text collections and then used the utility program FASTSTONE CAPTURE (See discussions in other Freeware Corner notes.) to make a scrolling-window screenshot of it all, so I have the pdf list on my own computer now.  The collections available to download include all the General Conference Reports, the Journal of Discourses, histories of the Church, and Early LDS Periodicals.

For my early LDS ancestors I am always interested in finding references to them, so I searched for some of their names and found text and references about them that I had never seen before.  For example, in the Early LDS Periodicals corpus, I found a letter from Erastus Snow that I can add to my ES letter transcriptions collection and an extract from his journal that was published in the Elders Journal that I wasn't aware of.  I have been looking for a good search program for the major text collections that I have, including the letter transcriptions my family has made of Erastus Snow's letters and that I have posted on my website.  This program may be just what I need. 

SEARCH SYNTAX

The Getting Started Tutorial describes and gives examples of the search syntax.  For example, to find an exact phrase of text use double quote marks, e.g. "Erastus Snow".  To find the words Erastus and Snow in sequence, but possibly with other words between, use single quote marks, e.g. 'Erastus Snow'.  This gives what I consider to be an ordered search, e.g. 'faith charity' will find instances of "faith, hope, and charity" and "faith is the beginning of charity", etc.  You can set it to search all the text or only the scriptures or the scriptures and chapter headings and/or table of contents, etc.  In the LDS scriptures, when you search for a term and click the Search button (magnifying glass at the end of the search box), you see every instance of that term in context in a list and can go through each one in sequence.  At the bottom of the screen is a window listing how many times that term occurs in each of the Standard Works and by clicking on one of the Standard Works there, the screen above changes to show you that term in context in the verses in that book.  The All Forms search tells it to look for various spellings of the search term; for example, the King James Bible spelling is "enquire", while the Book of Mormon spelling is "inquire".   It has proximity searches so you can find instances of two or more words occurring with a given number of words of each other and it has the usual Logic (Boolean) search methods.  If you want, you can include searching in the notes you have written.  The wildcard ? means a single character there and * means any number of characters there, so *ites brings up Lamanites, Nephites, Zoramites, etc.   When you type in a search term, you see a word list of several words surrounding it alphabetically.  These word lists are called Word Wheels and list every word in that text collection with the number of times it occurs.  It is interesting to see how many times a particular word occurs and these vary greatly.  You can store your Bookmarks and Notes in separate folders and save them wherever you want.  For example, you could form folders for different topics and store the bookmarks, notes, and references about that topic in that folder.  I don't know if there is a limit to the number of folders you can set up, but I doubt it. 

MISCELLANEOUS AND QUESTIONS ABOUT LDSVIEW AND WORDCRUNCHER

The program allows you to open two or more windows and have different things in each, so you can compare them.  For example, if you speak a foreign language, you can have the scriptures open in two windows, one in English and one in the other language.  These can be set so that as you scroll through one text, the same text is shown in the other window so you can c ompare the translation.  This helps in understanding some scriptures where it could be interpreted in various ways in English, for example, so you can see how the translators made it in the other language.

Here are some questions I need to learn the answers to about these programs.

1.   How do I set up a text database to use WORDCRUNCHER to search it?  I have several large collections of text items, including letter collection and things I call "Family History How-To's".  These are mostly in pdf and I need to learn how to form WORDCRUNCHER databases from them.

2.  Is there a way I could use WORDCRUNCHER on my website as a search engine for our Erastus Snow Family Letter Collection that my family and I transcribed and posted?

3.  Is there a way to convert old Infobase files (public domain ones) so they are in WORDCRUNCHER format?

4.  How do you put an EPub book into WORDCRUNCHER format to read and search it?  I've got many old mathematics books in EPub and other formats and I would like to be able to read and search them this way. 

CONCLUSIONS

As usual, this note just scratches the surface of these programs and I will write more about them in other Freeware Corner notes.  Especially, I want to learn and write about creating your own text file collections with this since many of us have family letters and documents that could be formed into searchable collections with this.  
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