Perseus under PhiloLogic Part 1: Overview

In my last post I talked a little about mirror sites and the different Perseus Project mirrors. In this post, I’d like to take a closer look at one of these mirror sites: the Chicago Mirror, AKA Perseus under PhiloLogic.

Just as Perseus at Tufts is built on the Hopper, Perseus at Chicago is built on PhiloLogic. PhiloLogic, like the Hopper, is open-source and you can download and run the source code locally if that’s your cup of tea. NB: Philologic 5 (the updated version) is under development, but there is no stable release. PhiloLogic 4 is requires a UNIX-based system to run (Linux is recommended; MacOS is not fully supported).

So what’s the difference between the Hopper and Perseus under Philologic? Both sites use the same texts, but the software that lets you browse and search the texts is different. The Hopper focuses on tools for reading texts and provides the full texts with each Greek or Latin word as a hyperlink to its parsed form and definition. It’s great when you want quick access to reference materials as you’re reading the texts. PhiloLogic lacks the emphasis on reading tools, but provides a more comprehensive and versatile searching experience. In addition to searching the Greek and Latin texts from their respective search pages for detailed and comprehensive search results, you can use the Logeion search interface, which is pretty cool. For this post, we’ll focus on a site overview and information about the various search options that PhiloLogic has to offer. We’ll dive into the particulars of using the Logeion search in a future post.

Site Overview

As always, our overview begins by looking at the Perseus under PhiloLogic homepage.

Site navigation is predictably at the top of the page and will send you to detailed search interfaces. The upper right-hand corner contains links to the Perseus Project at Tufts, the ARTFL project (which authors PhiloLogic), and the Classics department at the University of Chicago. More useful is the quick access to the parsing tool located at the upper right corner (note my giant red arrow pointing at it). Simply enter your search term, select Greek or Latin from the dropdown box, and click parse.

The results tell you the term you searched for (in my case amicitia, because it’s a nice word), all the available forms it could be, and a new box at the bottom to search for another word (this new search box assumes you’re searching for a word in the same language as your current results).

Scrolling down the homepage brings you to simplified searching across all collections on the site:

Note that you can browse authors alphabetically for both Greek and Latin texts. For searching Greek texts, you have the option to type your Greek in using Greek letters with accents (Full diacritics), using Greek letters with no accents (No Diacritics) or in the Latin alphabet (Transliteration). Just make sure you select the right option for the way you want to enter your text: if you select Full diacritics, you’ll need to make sure that your Greek accents are exactly correct to get results! For more detailed search options, visit the main search page for that section (accessible either from the navigation menu at the top of the page or via the links located in the abbreviated search sections on the main page).

Let’s take a closer look at the Latin search page (the Greek search page is very similar but has the additional orthographic options outlined above). The Latin and Greek search pages are for searching the Greek and Latin primary texts. Searching for words in commentaries or reference books is done on the Commentaries and Monographs section of the site.

The left-hand side of the page provides the search form and the right-hand side of the page has some information for searching PhiloLogic. When you start typing your search query into the box, the help section changes to a preview of your search results. The Latin search page has many more options than the simplified search on the homepage. There are also some handy panes at the bottom that you can open up: the most useful is the Info & Help page. Once it’s been opened, it gives you detailed search instructions and examples for how to fine-tune your search parameters to get the results you need.

But first, let’s talk about Search Context (flagged with the double exclamation points).  You can search for a Word or Phrase (selected by default): when searching phrases this way, you will only get results for words that are immediately next to one another. While that’s a useful approach for searching for things like res publica (or any term that’s more than one word long), Latin’s freewheeling word order can be your enemy if you’re looking for combinations of words. For that, you can opt to select Phrase separated by, which provides a default of 3 words of separation. Three words is a pretty good start, but if you’re searching poetry, you might want to widen that, but only a little. Taking it too wide can return too many or inaccurate search results. Further refining the Proximity by Sentence or Paragraph on the next line can help limit your results. Proximity by sentence will return results separated by fewer than the number of words selected on the top line (in our example, 3 or fewer), so long as they are in the same sentence (delimited by periods). Setting the Proximity to Paragraph with return the results for the words that are in the same paragraph. You can always experiment to see what kinds of results are the best for your specific word search.

Next, let’s talk about the three different display options (marked with the red arrow above): Content, KWIC, or Similarity search. The Content search returns the total number of hits your search generated, and the search results are presented within their textual context. Each result is its own little section with the citation and the passage containing the result. The search terms are bold and in red font so that you can locate them easily.

There is also a link from the Content search page to the KWIC results. KWIC (or Key Word in Context) is another way of viewing the same results. KWIC is the main format for concordances because it is easy to see the context of the specific search term.

Note that the search hits are lined up in the center of the page and the citation information is off to the side. There is also link back to the content results (marked by the red arrow). I know it says Concordance Report, but I promise that if you click the link it takes you back to the Content search results page.

You should notice that the search results above are for the exact term (amicitia).  If you want to search for amicitia in more than one form (that is, declined), you need the Similarity search:

You can select all the forms of the word you want to search for by ticking the checkboxes next to them. There are some more options if you scroll down past the list of possible forms.

These options allow you to refine your results further. Use caution when limiting your search by genre, etc.: those fields are only useful if the text’s metadata contains them.  Clicking on the Terms button gives you a list of valid search terms. If you click on the Terms button for Pubdate you get the following:

Not super useful in most cases, but since you can always click on the Terms button to see what search terms are available, it’s easy to determine whether or not they are going to have something helpful for you. The bottom section, Refined Search Results, is more useful for the average user. Here you can choose to have your results displayed by Content (selected by default) or KWIC (listed here as Occurrences Line by Line).

Returning back to the main Latin search page, you can also choose to limit your search results to a single author:

Again, you can view all the available terms by clicking Show Options to make sure you’re searching for valid authors. You should note that it is only possible to search one author at a time. Trying to search for Cicero and Caesar or Cicero && Caesar will produce no results, even though you can search for both Cicero and Caesar independently.

As I noted above, the Greek and Latin searches will search for the specified terms in the Greek and Latin texts. If you want to search the reference materials, you have to go to the Monographs and Commentaries sections of the site.

As you can see, these sections have the same format as the Greek and Latin sections. If you want to see what works are available to search in each of the specific collections, click on the Show Options buttons at the bottom in the Refine by Author or Text section.

Perseus under PhiloLogic provides a very useful way to search the texts and to refine those results so that you get exactly the results you want presented in a useful way. If you’re reading the texts and want the convenience of clicking on words for definitions, Perseus at Tufts is a better choice, but if you compare the search tools here with those in Perseus at Tufts, you’ll see that Perseus under PhiloLogic makes it easier to get the results you want. These individual searches give you comprehensive results for your search in the different collections. If you want to see everything at once, you need to search using Logeion, which I will cover in another post!



2 thoughts on “Perseus under PhiloLogic Part 1: Overview

  1. search for a word in multiple authors by using upright bars: Cicero|Caesar
    or use, OR 🙂
    search for different forms of amicitia by typing:
    in the search box.
    Happy to answer more questions..


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