LDS Collectors Library 2006 Upgrade (below is the review of the library 2005--I will not take the time to go into such detail for 2006 but I do not feel that any beginner will feel at home using this product. It is not much of an improvement over 2005)
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December 11, 2004
I tried posting this whole thing on Deseret Book's website but their system wouldn't accept the full text so I've decided to post it here.
I was really excited to purchase the LDS Collectors Library 2005 as I have for some time wanted something better than the Gospelink 2001 program. I thought this would finally be the ticket since it was endorsed by some big names. However, I was really disappointed in my purchase. After a few days use I am totally frustrated and ready to switch back to Gospelink.
One of the problems is the entire library of all books is held in the on-screen window. That means if you attempt to drag the scroll bar up or down the smallest amount (1 pixel) you wind up not just in the next screen up, but in an entirely different BOOK.
In doing searches there is a nice little detail box that shows you the collections your search is in (There is a regular search that displays all results but that has other issues). The problem with this detail screen is once you've drilled down to the chapter that references a search result and double-click it, you don't get taken to the search. You have to page down until you find it in the chapter. Remember, don't grab the scroll bar or you'll never find it.
I'm also disappointed at the lack of useability in navigating. When I go into one area of the program and click to see a so-called "intelligent cross-reference," I lose my place in the search I'd performed and the "backtrack" button doesn't allow me to get back to the scripture I was looking at. Clicking the search option at the left takes you back to a blank search screen, not your results, and clicking the "read & personalize" link takes you to the chapter or verse of whatever was selected on the prior screen, so your efforts at performing searches are greatly hindered by not being able to go in and out of the search results with ease.
When I created a note to attach to a verse, I then tried to edit and delete it but got a message both times that I was in "read-only" mode and it couldn't make the change. I'm hoping that's a simple bug fix, but at this point I know I'm not going to be using the program so it doesn't really matter.
On the positive side, I really think their list of scripture chains is impressive (hardly worth paying $100 for), as they contain a lot of topics you may search on anyway, and they are quick references to go through the verses. Once you have found one of the hundreds of items to study and click to go into a scripture and see it in it's context, there's no way to go directly back to your scripture chain you are studying. If you click backtrack, you are taken back to the last full screen of text you were viewing, not the scripture chain page. If you click the scripture chain link on the left, you are taken to the full list and placed at the top of the items so you have to scroll down and find where you were at all over again.
There is an impressive topical guide that contains a lot of items, however my very first attempt which was clicking on the Dead Sea Scrolls item, I was given a reference to John 16:13 which speaks of the spirit of truth showing you all things. Hardly a reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls so I am left with doubts about the full integrity of this feature.
Navigating to a chapter in the scriptures or another book isn't very streamlined. Going into the library contents tab shows a list of categories with plus signs next to them (ex. scriptures, periodicals, lds authors, etc...) You really have to know what you're looking for and what category to look in to find something. Don't make the mistake of clicking on the expand all link as that will show you every plus sign expanded into a list so large that again by using the scroll bar just to browse section titles you will move into different books with the slightest up/down movement. They even have the entire set of scriptures expand to the verse level so you are treated to a list of:
If you were looking for a particular book you might possibly be able to use the search function to find it quicker but you would have difficulty paging up to the top of the book since the window will contain every book in the library.
My personal belief is that once again a program has been developed by a group of people that didn't use "normal" people to test the functionality of their software and it has resulted in another disappointing round of "spend your money on the ultimate gospel tool." Stick with the last semi-disappointing version of Gospelink before trying this exercise in frustration.