Back in December I purchased LDS Collectors Library 2005 from LDSLibrary.com – heavily hyped as the latest and coolest Gospel study software, packed with more information than ever, better tools, etc. – and a higher price than its earlier competitors. After installing the 2-CD system, I’ve tried to use it several times but have been unimpressed – and even dismayed by its sloppy interface. Surely I’m missing something. Yes, there are some cool features and valuable additions, and it may well be worth the cost. But GospelLink 2001 seems much easier to use and more functional in several ways. In fact, if you think that this program ought to offer everything that GospelLink 2001 had plus more, you’re in for a real surprise.
With GospelLink and related older programs, navigating and searching were relatively straightforward. With LDS Collectors Library, it’s easy to get lost and difficult to move around. Again, am I missing something? As I began writing this post, I searched for other reviews and found that I am not alone. See the reviews at DeseretBook.com and also at Oaknorton.com.
GospelLink and other CD study tools let you copy and paste formatted text to other applications. Graphics could also be copied and pasted. The new software only allows you to take unformatted text outside the application, and does not provide formatting tools of any kind within the application. You can copy graphics and paste them inside the “SmartCopy Preview” window and print them, but that’s it. It lacks a composer or useful export feature to allow you to take formatted work outside of the program. It’s as if they went to market with the program before they had finished adding basic features.
Further, GospelLink 2001 includes numerous non-LDS sources valuable in studying the ancient world or other issues related to LDS apologetics. The LDS Collectors Library 2005 seems limited to LDS writers only. I would have thought that they would at least include everything GospelLink 2001 had and build on that – but I think more has been deleted than added. Disappointing. For example, Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews is a vitally important book that students of the Book of Mormon really ought to have (many anti-Mormons allege that it was a source for the Book of Mormon – actually reading Ethan Smith’s work is a fine cure for that notion), and it was available in GospelLink 2001, but not in the new system. A shame.
However, there are some nice additions, but once you find a book of interest, good luck reading it. The scroll bar for navigating is tied to the entire library, not just the target source you are reading, and moving the scroll bar just a pixel or two will propel you to a different book – and unless the place you were reading was a hit from your latest search, there may not be an easy way to get back to where you were.
The program is also slow. Want to copy a simple paragraph with SmartCopy? On my 2 GHz laptop, I have to wait for slightly over 10 seconds for that Herculean task. Not bad for a tool that will leave you with nothing but plain text in the end. “New improved ‘Virtual Legacy’ features: get Commodore 64 performance from your modern machine!” But that’s really a mean and unfair statement: I’m sure that copying was never that slow on the Commodore or other antique systems.
Again, this product may be worthwhile for many purposes and I’m not suggesting that you avoid it. I’m glad I have it for some of the books it contains, but it could have been so much better. Perhaps an update will come along that will provide features and sources available in GospelLink 2001. I sure hope so!