Today we are going to discuss the search function and the define function within Gospel Library. Both functions have useful applications but they both also have serious limitations that can be frustrating if not understood.
First for the search function. The main search icon can be found on the top bar within the app. There is also a search icon within the hovering tool box that appears when you highlight a word or phrase. (for more detail in how to bring up that tool box see How to Highlight) These search functions DO NOT work the same way.
When using the top bar icon within Gospel Library, you must type in or copy/paste whatever you want to search, but search results you get back are typically useful. You’ll notice a series of tabs underneath the search bar allowing you to narrow your search to just scriptures, general conference talks, notes, magazines, etc. Swipe this bar to the left to see all of those tab options. Below those tabs, you’ll see the results are divided into “exact phrase” and “keyword” results. As those names suggest, the first section shows results that exactly match your search, and the second section shows results that are approximately the same.
Moreover, if you perform a search from the a launch page for certain library items, like YA Weekly, or October 2018 General Conference, you’ll see a useful option pop up underneath the search bar as you type your search. This option allows you to narrow your search to only the contents connected to the launch page you started from… It will have a little search icon beside it and say something like “search only YA Weekly content?” If you click on this option after you finish typing your query, the results will focus solely upon the content specified. The option to “search on page” has never really worked for me. I’d recommend sticking to higher-level search queries. The pictures below give you more of an idea what this looks like.
The search function within the hovering toolbox will automatically populate the search bar with whatever you have highlighted, which seems useful, but the actual search results are pretty weak. They will usually return a topical guide link, and sometimes return links to books, songs, or articles that include the search term in the title… Like I said, not the best. I assume this is a bug. Feel free to message me if you notice it’s started working more like the main search and I will update this article.
The search functionality on lds.org, is quite simple to use, and returns the largest number of results. Click the search icon on the top right-hand side of the page and when the search bar appears, enter the word or phrase you want to search. You will see a list of filters appear on the left-hand side of the page, allowing you to narrow the results of your search to just scriptures or videos or whatever.
If you happen to be looking for an exact quote and can’t find what you want on the lds.org search, I suggest searching on Google because Google search engines are (and likely always will be) many times more powerful than the search engines on the church website. Because of this, sometimes I’ll find something through Google that was on the lds.org site, even though searching lds.org failed to return the result I wanted. Just be careful to read what sources you click on in the listed results. Obviously, not all websites Google indexes are… appropriate.
The define function in Gospel Library is pretty awesome. You use it like this: highlight a single word you want to know the definition of. In the hovering toolbox that appears, tap on the icon labeled “define.” Gospel Library will then shoot the word into a google search and you’ll see the resulting definition. Hitting your phone’s back button will take you right back to your place in Gospel Library. Unfortunately, the define button only works when you’ve highlighted a single word, so you can’t get a definition for a phrase.