SOPHOX

The Awakening

Kate Chopin

Dover 9780486277868

The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger

Little, Brown 9780316769488

Dracula

Bram Stoker

Norton 9780393970128

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley

Signet Classics 9780451532244

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Scribner 9780743273565

Mansfield Park

Jane Austen

Oxford 9780199535538

The Sound and the Fury

William Faulkner

Vintage 9780679732242

Speak

Laurie Halse Anderson

Square Fish/Puffin 9780312674397

Match Case

Any of these terms

All of these terms

None of these terms

Match Case

This term

within sentences

of this term

Match Case
There are no results to display yet.

Library Help

Selecting a book to search is fairly simple.

Books are initially sorted alphabetically by title. They can also be sorted according to the author's last name. Use the menu to choose the method you prefer. Note that the words "the," "a," and "an" are ignored when books are sorted by title.

Book covers and ISBN numbers are provided to help you select an edition of the book whose pagination matches yours. Be aware that publishers sometimes change covers and ISBNs without changing a book's pagination. On the other hand, book covers are frequently used on multiple editions with different paginations. It's wise to run a few test searches before committing to a particular edition.

Tap a book once to select it. Tap "Search" in the menu bar to display the search panel.

As a shortcut, double-tap a book to combine those two gestures.

If you discover that you have selected the wrong book, or if you ever want to search a different book, tap "Library" in the menu bar to return to the library panel.

For a more comprehensive explanation of the entire process, tap "Instructions" in the site menu.

Results Help

General

Result sets are organized into two sections. The large section on the right contains the sentences that match your search parameters. The small section on the left indicates the page number on which each matching sentence (or range of sentences) begins.

For your convenience, all of your search parameters are highlighted.

Basic Search Results

The Basic Search tool compiles a separate list of results for each of your search terms. A heading at the top of each list identifies the search term that was used to generate that list. The bracketed number in the heading indicates how many unique matches were found.

Advanced Search Results

The Advanced Search tool returns a single list of results. Each result is a single sentence, and the number of matches is indicated in the heading. If you are dissatisfied with the number or quality of matches returned by the tool, consider adjusting your search terms. The number of terms in the all field can have a powerful effect on the number of matches, while the number of terms in the none field usually has a more subtle effect.

Proximity Search Results

The Proximity Search tool likewise returns a single list of results. Of the three search tools available, only this tool returns multiple sentences for each match. Notice that when one result would overlap another, those results are combined. In some situations, therefore, a single result might contain more sentences than you might naively expect.

Because of the potential for overwhelming the Sophox servers, the Proximity Search tool does not permit searches for multiple search terms in either of the search fields.

Adjusting the "within" parameter in the Search workspace usually causes Sophox to return a greater or fewer number of results. We suggest that you experiment.

Bookmarks and Sharing

Remember that Sophox gives you the ability to bookmark searches for later use, and to share your searches with others.

Note that Sophox does not have special bookmarking or sharing capabilities built-in; use the features built into your browser.

What Sophox does do is encode all your search parameters into the URL currently displayed in your browser's URL bar. This is the URL that will be saved as a bookmark. If you or anyone else loads that bookmark into your browser at any time in the future, your exact search will be replicated.

The same is true if you share that URL with a friend or colleague, perhaps by email or MMS message. (Traditional SMS text messaging does not permit enough characters). You could even paste the URL into an HTML document -- on a blog, say.

Error Messages

Numbered Errors

No doubt you've encountered errors like 500 or 404 in the past. They indicate that something has gone wrong with our servers. We suggest you wait a few moments and try your search again. If you continue to get error messages, increase your wait time. We're probably aware of the problem and trying to correct it as quickly as possible. Please remember that as of 2015, Sophox is staffed by volunteers, and our attention is likely to be divided.

You must enter at least one search term . . .

There are a few variations on this theme, depending on the search tool you are using. Quite simply, you left a required text field empty. Return to the Search workspace and try again.

Search terms must include more than spaces and linebreaks

This is a lot like the preceding error. You probably typed a space or two and tapped the Go button by mistake.

Your query will return too many matches

To prevent server-flooding and copyright violations, Sophox will return no more than 10% of a complete work. If a search would return more than that, Sophox displays this message instead. Either you entered too many search terms, or the terms you entered are so common that they are generating matches all over the place. Return to the Search workspace and try again.

Sophox Overview

What is this thing?

Sophox is a tool that lets you search the full text of any literary work in our library for words or phrases that interest you. For each instance of your search term, Sophox displays the complete sentence in which the term appears. Sophox also notes the page number on which the sentence begins.

Why would I want to do that?

1. Let's say you're taking a literature class, or perhaps even teaching one. To illustrate some point, you want to draw attention to a particular phrase in a novel. You remember a small part of it, but after flipping through the pages, you just can't find it. Sophox can find it for you. (We use it this way in the classroom all the time.)

2. Literary themes can frequently be identified by locating important words that happen to be repeated. If you've ever gone through the mind-numbing process of highlighting every instance of a certain word in a 400-page novel, you will appreciate the speed and completeness of Sophox. Literary scholars will also appreciate the ease with which they can identify potential themes just by trying out words that seem promising.

A basic example. While reading Laurie Halse Anderson's novel Speak, you notice a lot of tree imagery -- but you're not sure if it means anything. To explore the idea further, you instruct Sophox to search Speak for every instance of words like "tree," "leaf," "root," "prune," and so on. You quickly discover that the novel is full of this imagery, and that it really does add up to a consistent pattern.

Why does Sophox display entire sentences?

Not every instance of a word contributes to the development of a theme. Let's go back to the Speak example. Imagine that you are now examining seasonal imagery. You might search for every instance of the word "spring." Sophox will display 13 matches, of which ten refer to the season, and three refer to other meanings of "spring." Knowing at a glance that those three matches are irrelevant to your theme, you won't have to waste time tracking them down.

We have found that Sophox works best when used in conjunction with a printed version of the text. You might think it is easy to find a word if you know what page it's on, but that turns out not to be the case. It is much easier to find a complete sentence.

What if the Sophox page numbers don't match the page numbers in the edition I'm using?

Use a different edition! Seriously, matching the search result to actual page numbers is a big part of the service that Sophox offers. In time, Sophox will allow you to select from multiple editions of the same work, especially those that are commonly ordered for college students. For now, you'll just have to settle.

Be aware that publishers sometimes publish a new edition of a book but use the original layout. So while the ISBN numbers don't match, the pagination does. You can easily determine if this is the case by searching for the first 8-word phrase at the top of page 50 (or whatever).

Is Sophox better than services offered by Google Books?

The Advanced Search and Ngrams Viewer at Google Books are extremely powerful, no question about that. If you need that kind of power, they really can't be beat. What Sophox offers is a kind of pin-point accuracy keyed to particular editions of works. For the specialized job that it does, Sophox is probably more convenient. The user interface is also easy to learn.

What does "Sophox" mean? How do I pronounce it?

As far as we know, "Sophox" is one of those names that look like they mean something when in fact they do not. We pronounce it in the spirit of "sophomore." If you want to pronounce it like "sofa," we won't try to stop you.

Regarding Copyrights

Does Sophox violate copyright laws?

We believe Sophox is protected by fair use principles. In an influential article, United States Court of Appeals Judge Pierre Leval reviews the history of fair use in the United States. The following passage from that article may shed some light on the way fair use applies to Sophox:

If the quoted matter is used as raw material, transformed in the creation of new information, new aesthetics, new insights and understandings--this is the very type of activity that the fair use doctrine intends to protect for the enrichment of society. (Harvard Law Review, 3/1/1990, Volume 103, Issue 5, 1105-1136)

Sophox transforms a literary work by identifying subsets of related ideas and organizing them in a way that makes patterns recognizable. In so doing, it allows students and scholars of literature to create "new insights and understandings."

Note also that most of the literary works we hope to make available are in the public domain because they are no longer protected by copyright (if in fact they ever were). Where the Sophox edition has been paginated to match a critical edition, the actual text that is returned will be taken from an edition available in the public domain; editor's introductions, footnotes, and similar apparatus are not a part of our library.

Further, in no circumstance will more than 10% of a copyrighted work ever be displayed; if a search were to return more than 10% of a work (if, say, you tried to locate every instance of the word "the"), the search would be terminated immediately, and no results would be returned. Even when a smaller set of results is returned, it is unlikely that more than a few contiguous sentences would ever be displayed at one time. It is even less likely that an unscrupulous user could craft a series of searches that would facilitate the eventual concatenation of a complete work.

Still, we really do want to play nice. If you feel that you have a legitimate copyright grievance, please send us an email from a corporate address and we'll be happy to discuss the matter.

Technical Requirements

Desktop Computer

A connection to the Internet.

Windows: Windows 7, Internet Explorer 10, Firefox 16, Chrome 19, current versions of Opera.

Macintosh: OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), Firefox 16, Chrome 19, Safari 6.0, current versions of Opera.

For best performance, we recommend upgrading your browser to the lastest version supported by your operating system.

Javascript must be enabled.

Mobile/Phone

A connection to the Internet.

There are so many mobile devices and operating systems out there, all we can really say is that the more recent your device, and the more current your browser, the better your performance will be. If you bought an Android device or iPhone of 2015 or later vintage, you're almost certainly OK.

Javascript must be enabled.

Contact Sophox

How can I reach you?

Send an email to contact@sophox.com. We would like to hear about performance issues, feature requests, and texts that you would like added to our library--especially if you are willing to help with the pagination (it's not very difficult).

Instructions

Beneath the SOPHOX logo, there is a menu with three items: Library, Search, and Results. These items link you to the application's three workspaces.

Library

Begin with the Library. It provides a list of all the books that Sophox allows you to search. Use the cover illustration and/or ISBN number to select an edition of the book that matches your personal edition. ISBN numbers are generally more reliable.

Books are initially sorted alphabetically by title. They can also be sorted according to the author's last name. Use the menu to choose the method you prefer. (For your convenience, tapping the Library menu item while the Library workspace is displayed toggles the sorting method and saves you a trip to the menu.) Note that the words "the," "a," and "an" are ignored when books are sorted by title.

Once you have selected a book, Sophox will refer to that book until you select a new book, even if you run many different searches.

If you ever wish to select a different book, tap the Library menu item to return to the Library workspace.

Search

Once you have selected a book, tap the Search menu item to move to the Search workspace. Sophox provides three different search tools. Use the menu to choose the tool you wish to use. (For your convenience, tapping the Search menu item while the Search workspace is displayed toggles the active search tool and saves you a trip to the menu.) If you are new to Sophox, we suggest using the Basic Search tool.

All three search tools have this in common: you choose one or more search terms that you would like to find in your book, and Sophox will display sentences that contain those terms.

Search terms can be individual words or longer phrases. The Basic search tool allows you to search for multiple search terms at a time; distinct search terms must be separated from each other by a comma.

The Advanced Search tool allows you to search for individual sentences that contain multiple search terms. The Proximity Search tool allows you to search for different search terms that fall within a range of sentences (e.g., you can search for every instance of the word "night" that occurs within five sentences of the word "black").

Once you have performed a search, you will automatically be directed to the Results workspace.

Results

The Results workspace displays every sentence in the book that contains your word or phrase, as well as the exact page number on which each sentence begins. Additionally, your search terms are highlighted to make them easily visible.

If you are using the Proximity Search tool, the entire range of sentences will be displayed for each result.

You will probably find yourself moving back and forth between the Search and Results workspaces quite often. Simply tap the Search and Results menu items to do so. Your work will be preserved until you make changes yourself.

Bookmarks and Sharing

One of the most powerful features of Sophox is the ability to bookmark searches for later use, and to share your searches with others.

Note that Sophox does not have special bookmarking or sharing capabilities built-in; use the features built into your browser.

What Sophox does do is encode all your search parameters into the URL currently displayed in your browser's URL bar. This is the URL that will be saved as a bookmark. If you or anyone else loads that bookmark into your browser at any time in the future, your exact search will be replicated.

The same is true if you share that URL with a friend or colleague, perhaps by email or MMS message. (Traditional SMS text messaging does not permit enough characters). You could even paste the URL into an HTML document -- on a blog, say.