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  News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Friday, April 28, 2006  

The Same Word Translated Differently

In Wednesday's post, we built a simple graphical search to find cases where "kingdom" is closely followed by "God," but where "of" does not appear between them. That was pretty cool, but that's just scratching the surface of what you can do with the Construct window. Today, we'll go one step further, by building a Construct that uses Key numbers.

What are "Key Numbers"? Key numbers are the term we use for any system which uses numbers to link words in an English translation with the original Greek or Hebrew words they translate. These include Strong's numbers (KJV), a modified form of Strong's numbers (NAS95), and Goodrick-Kohlenberger numbers (NIV). There's a lot you can do with texts that have been tagged with Key numbers, as explained in this blog entry, and this article I wrote for CMUG. Today, we'll build a graphical search that will look for two occurrences of the same Greek or Hebrew word which have been translated by different English words.

If you have an English Bible text with Strong's numbers, open a Search window and make sure that text is selected in the search text pop-up menu. I'll be using the KJVS, but the same search can be done with the NAS95S or NIV-G/K. Now make sure the "Search for words" radio button is selected and hit the Tab key to select the contents of the argument entry box. Next, choose Simple from the New Construct submenu of the File menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-1). A new Construct window will open, and will automatically be linked to your search window.

In the Construct window, do the following:

  1. Drag a WORD element into the first (leftmost column).
  2. Click OK to dismiss the Select words dialog box without selecting any specific words. Then type an asterisk (*) directly into the WORD element.
  3. Hold down the option-key and drag the WORD element in the first column into the second column. This will place a copy of that WORD element in the second column.
  4. Drag a WITHIN item into the area above the two columns. In the dialog box that opens, enter "3" in the first field and click OK.
  5. Drag an AGREE item into the area above the two columns. In the dialog box that opens, check Key Number.
  6. Drag a second AGREE item into the area above the two columns. In the dialog box that opens, check Word.
  7. Drag a NOT item over the label of this second AGREE item.
Your construct should now look like this:

This construct will find two different English words within three words of each other which have been tagged with the same Key number. Click OK in either the Construct window or the Search window to which it is linked, and Accordance will perform the search. Here's a look at the first few verses that were found:

When I drag my cursor over the highlighted words to see what Key numbers they've been tagged with, I discover that most of the hit words do not have any Key number at all! This is obviously not what I had in mind. I wanted to find instances where the same Greek or Hebrew word was translated two different ways in the same verse, but I also found all the words which have no Key number at all. Technically, all of these words agree with respect to the fact that they have no key number, but I want to find the words which actually have been tagged with a key number.

Now, I obviously knew this was going to happen before I had you build this search, so why would I have you construct a search which I knew would result in a number of false hits? That's hardly good salesmanship!

I had you do it this way because I wanted you to see that even with a graphical search interface as intuitive as the Construct window, there will be times when the results you get are not what you expected. At those times, the thing to do is to go back to your construct and tweak it slightly. Quite often, developing a good construct involves a process of trial and error. That's when you'll really appreciate how easy it is to follow the logic of an Accordance construct: it makes it much easier to troubleshoot and modify.

Okay, let's go back to our Construct and figure out how to refine it. How can we specify that we only want to find those words which have actually been tagged with a Key number? Well, we used the WORD element with an asterisk to specify that we wanted to find any two words. What if we replace those WORD elements with KEY elements, to tell Accordance we want to find any two key numbers which agree in key number but not in word?

Here's how to do that:

  1. Click on each of the WORD elements in the Construct to select them. Then hit the delete key to delete them.
  2. Now drag a KEY element into the first column, click OK to dismiss the dialog, and enter an asterisk (*) right in that KEY element.
  3. Option-drag that KEY element into the second column to copy it there.

Your Construct should now look like this:

Click OK to perform this search and you get far fewer hits. Drag your cursor over the highlighted words and you'll see that they each have been tagged with the same Key number.

So what did we find? Well, we found some instances like Genesis 1:16:

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day.

In this case, the Hebrew words have been translated essentially the same way, except that the second instance is singular rather than plural, and uses the comparative form "greater" rather than "great."

In addition to instances like this, where the English words are essentially the same with minor differences in tense or number, this search also turns up a number of more interesting hits:

Gen. 2:16: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat"
Gen. 2:17: "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
Gen. 3:4: "the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die"
Gen. 3:16: "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception"

Hmmm. Now we seem to be on to something. Here the same Hebrew word is repeated twice, yet each word is translated into English by two very different words: "freely" and "eat," "surely" and "die," "greatly" and "multiply," etc. What's going on here?

Next week, we'll explore the answer to that question by building a Hebrew construct search. Until then, have a good weekend!

 

P.S.: Our Apple Thirtieth Anniversary Sale ends on Sunday. If you haven't taken advantage of this sale yet, you've only got a few days left! :-)





Wednesday, April 26, 2006  

Crash Course in Creating Cool Constructs

Okay, all week I've been crowing about how great the Accordance Construct window is, but I've yet to show you how or when to use it. So let's get to it!

First, when should you use the Construct window? For most searches, you won't need to build a graphical construct. If you want to find Word A within 5 words and followed by Word B when it does not appear in the same verse as Word C, you can do all that using the search commands listed in the "Enter Command" submenu of the Search menu. Using text commands is simple, straightforward, and fast: you can enter everything by typing or by using keyboard shortcuts, so you don't even need to move your hand to the mouse.

Note: This is one reason the Construct window doesn't have graphical items representing Boolean commands like AND, OR, and NOT. Since those are so readily accessible within the Search window itself, why create a drag-and-drop alternative?

The time to build a graphical search is when you need to define word relationships which are more sophisticated than simple Boolean relationships. Specifically, you would build a construct when you:

  1. need to specify agreement among search terms
  2. need to specify items which may or may not appear between your search terms
  3. have so many different search terms and relationships to define that seeing everything laid out will make your search easier to understand

Okay, now that you know when to use the Construct window, let's explore how to use it.

The first thing you need to understand is that the Construct window does not stand on its own; rather, it is an extension of the Search window. For the Construct window to work, it needs to be linked to a Search window via the LINK command. The easiest way to do this is to start with a Search window. Make sure it's set to Search for Words, pick the Bible text you want to search, set a search range if you like, and then (here's the important part) hit the tab key to select the contents of the argument entry box. Now go to the File menu, and choose the appropriate type of Construct from the New Construct submenu. If you're searching an English Bible, you would choose the Simple Construct. If you're searching a Greek or Hebrew text, you would select Greek or Hebrew respectively.

(If you're following along, make sure you've got an English Bible selected in your Search window and then open a Simple Construct. I'll be using the HCSB, but any English Bible will work.)

Once you've chosen an appropriate type of Construct, a new Construct window will be opened, and a link to that Construct will automatically be inserted into the argument entry box of the Search window. Essentially, the link command tells the Search window to go look at the Construct window for its search argument. If, for some reason, the LINK command does not automatically get inserted in your Search window, you can always choose LINK from the "Enter Command" submenu of the Search menu to link the two windows yourself.

As I explained in Monday's post, the columns along the bottom of the Construct window represent the different words, grammatical characteristics, etc. that you wish to find, and the area above these columns is where you define the relationships between the various search terms. The different options available to you are all located in the palette of items to the left of the columns. To define a search, you simply drag the elements you want from the palette into the columns and the connection area above the columns. To see how this works, do the following:

  1. Drag the WORD item into the first (leftmost) column.
     
  2. In the dialog box that appears, type the word "kingdom" and click OK.

    Note: As you type in the Go to box, the list will be scrolled to match what you type. So you can type "king" and then double-click the word "kingdom" in the list if you prefer. You can also just click OK to dismiss the dialog box without typing anything, and then type what you want directly into the Construct window.
     
  3. Drag another WORD item into the second column.
     
  4. In the dialog box, type "God" and click OK. Then type an asterisk immediately after "God" in the WORD item to search for "God's", "gods," etc.
     
  5. Drag a WITHIN item into the area directly above these two columns.
     
  6. In the dialog box which appears, type "5" in the first field and click OK.
     
  7. Drag an INTER item into the area directly above these two columns.
     
  8. Drag a WORD item into the INTER item.
     
  9. In the dialog box, type "of" and click OK.
     
  10. Finally, drag the NOT item over the label of the INTER item and drop it there. A slash should appear across the word INTER.

Your construct window should now look like this:

This search will find every place where "kingdom" is followed within 5 words by some form of the word "God," provided the word "of" does not appear between "kingdom" and "God." Now you just need to click OK in the Construct window (or the Search window to which it is linked) to perform this search.

In the HCSB, this search finds six occurrences (2Chr 1:1; 20:30; 1Cor 15:24; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 17:17). By filtering out all the occurrences of "kingdom of God," I've zeroed in on the handful of other places where "kingdom" and "God" are used in close proximity. If I wanted to narrow the search further, I could specify that "kingdom" and "God" have to appear within the same clause. (To do this, open the More Options section of the Search window and choose "Clause" from the pop-up labeled "Search within every.")

This is a fairly rudimentary example, but it should give you a good idea of how a construct is, well, constructed. In the next post, we'll build a more sophisticated construct in English, using agreement and Strong's numbers. After that, we'll look at a really interesting example in Hebrew.





Tuesday, April 25, 2006  

Easy is Hard

In yesterday's post, I talked about the Accordance Construct window, a graphical interface for constructing sophisticated searches which has been around since version 1.0. In addition to explaining how easy it is to understand, I went on to contrast the Construct window with other approaches to building searches graphically. And naturally, I argued that the Accordance approach is superior.

In response, Mike in Siberia(!) left the following comment:

You're right — Accordance has something going there. But why invite flak! Why not just extol and demonstrate Accordance's powerful graphical search abilities, instead of setting a tone of 'my graphical search engine is better than yours!'

Besides, as you said, "It is not rocket science."

I can certainly see where Mike (and others) might have thought I was being too competitive, so let me clarify my intentions here.

First, I had no intention of denigrating the efforts of other developers. My goal was simply to point out that there is a fundamental difference between the Accordance Construct window and all other "graphical search engines." While I gave a brief synopsis of the history of graphical search engines, I did not name any other developers; nor did I include any links or screenshots of other graphical search engines. I even wrote that the free-form system developed on the Windows side does make possible "a few things which the Construct window [doesn't] do." I actually applaud the first developer I mentioned for developing their own system rather than just copying ours.

Second, my tone should not be read as saying, "my graphical search engine is better than yours!" for the simple reason that I am not addressing those other developers directly. Rather, I am writing to an audience made up primarily of Accordance users. They, rather than our competitors, are the "you" I am addressing. So my tone is better read as, "The graphical search engine you [our users] have at your fingertips is clearly the best, and here's how. . ."

Why can't I just tell our users that our approach is "the best" without contrasting it with other approaches? Partly because everybody claims to be the "best," so users rarely pay attention to such claims. But more than that, I want to give our users a basis for comparison, so that they will be better equipped to evangelize others on the merits of Accordance. If you, our users, start extolling the virtues of the Construct window to a colleague or friend, and are answered with, "Oh yeah, brand Y does that too," I want you to be able to point out that not all graphical search engines are created equal.

I'm not quite sure what Mike meant when he wrote, "Besides, as you said, 'It's not rocket science.'" When I wrote that "it's not rocket science," I was talking about the Accordance Construct window, not about graphical searching in general. What's more, I meant it from the perspective of the user, rather than from the perspective of the developer.

When I first got a Mac way back in 1992, I read a book called The Macintosh Bible. In that book, there was a chapter entitled, "Easy is Hard." The point of that chapter was that the Mac is easy to use because the developers have done the hard work of making it easy for the user. It's easy to make an OS or software program that is hard for the user to use; but very difficult to create something which the user finds easy.

Thus, from the developer's perspective, creating a graphical search engine is rocket science. You have to figure out how to represent word relationships using pictures, how to make it easy to understand for the user who may not happen to be a mathematician or logician, and how to prevent the user from creating combinations which are logically impossible. Every developer who has undertaken such a task should be applauded; but that doesn't mean that every approach is equally successful. I would argue that Accordance has been the most successful at creating a graphical search engine which is not "rocket science" to use. In the posts which follow, I'll attempt to prove it. :-)





Monday, April 24, 2006  

Often Imitated; Never Duplicated

When Accordance 1.0 was released more than a decade ago, it was truly groundbreaking. Grammatically tagged Greek and Hebrew Bible texts had already been around for some time, but searching them had never been for the faint of heart. In developing a Mac program that could access these databases, our programmer applied Mac interface concepts to grammatical searching. The result was an enormous breakthrough in ease of use.

One of the coolest features of Accordance 1.0 was the Construct window. The Construct window provides a simple drag-and-drop interface for building complex grammatical searches. Just as the Mac graphical user interface made it possible for "the rest of us" to use a computer without having to learn an arcane system of text commands, so the Construct window enabled Greek (and later Hebrew) scholars to build sophisticated searches without having to learn a programming language.

Here's an example of a Greek construct designed to find examples of the Granville-Sharp rule:

If you don't know Greek, or haven't got any idea what the Granville-Sharp rule is, don't worry. You can still follow the logic of this search. And since you can use the Construct window in English as well, you'll want to understand how this works.

First, notice the columns along the bottom. Each of these columns represents a separate element of my search. So I can look at these columns and see that I'm searching for:

  1. an article, followed by
  2. a noun or participle, followed by
  3. the lexical form kai (which means "and"), followed by
  4. another noun or participle

See, it's not rocket science!

Now, look at the area above these columns. This area is where you define the relationship between the various items you're trying to find. Here I can see that the article and the noun need to be WITHIN 3 words of each other, they need to AGREE in gender, number, and case, and there cannot be any verbs, adjectives, or pronouns between them (INTER stands for "intervening," and the slash over the INTER means "not"). Now look at the relationship between the first and second nouns/participles. Can you figure out their proximity, the nature of their agreement, and the items which may or may not appear between them? Sure you can!

We've just seen how easy it is to follow the logic of a graphical construct—even one which is fairly complex. Try that with any of the other Bible programs which boast "graphical search engines." I think it was about five years after Accordance had pioneered these concepts that a Windows developer implemented its own graphical search interface. I remember at the time someone told us they had "copied" our Construct window, but when we looked at what they had done, we found they hadn't copied us at all. Their system was much more free-form: a blank canvas on which you could place boxes to define items and arrows to define relationships. This free-form system allowed you to do a few things which the Construct window wouldn't do, but it was difficult to follow, and it was much easier to create logically impossible searches. What's more, this graphical interface still used arcane abbreviations to represent grammatical characteristics, rather than actually spelling out words like "verb" and "participle."

Since then, other Windows developers have tried to get in on the act, but it appears that they followed the graphical conventions their Windows counterpart had come up with, rather than looking at the Accordance Construct window which had started it all!

The end result is that twelve years after Accordance pioneered a graphical system for building a search, nobody else has even come close to duplicating its power and ease of use. The point of graphical searching is not to create attractive flow-charts, but to make it easy to get your mind around a complex search. This week, I'll be showing you how to use this powerful feature. First, we'll build a basic English construct. Then we'll build a more complex one in Hebrew. Stay tuned!





Thursday, April 20, 2006  

"Go Away" Again

In my previous post, we looked at the use of the Greek word hupago, meaning "to go away," in the Greek New Testament. This word was first brought to our attention when we searched for all the imperative verbs in the GNT-T and then clicked the Details button to get an Analysis of the Search results. By changing the sort order of the Analysis from "Alphabetical" to "Count down," we found that hupago is the fourth most frequently used command in the New Testament.

Since "Go Away!" seems a rather antisocial command to make, we selected the word hupago in the Analysis window and chose GNT-T from the Resource palette to search for every occurrence of that word in the tagged Greek New Testament. We then explored the use of this word by doing an Analysis of the new search, then customizing it to break down the results by Mood and Person. Doing so showed us that hupago is used as a command more often than in any other way, and that it is always used as a direct command ("Go away!") rather than as an indirect command ("Let him go away").

We've learned all this by using the Details to give us a bird's-eye view of this particular Greek word. Now we're ready to examine each occurrence of hupago in the imperative to see how it is used.

To do this, I'll go back to the Search window and constrain my search for hupago with a grammatical tag. I just need to make sure the cursor appears in the argument entry box immediately after the word hupago. Then I'll select "Verb. . ." from the "Enter Grammatical Tag" submenu of the Search window. In the dialog box, I'll choose "Imperative" from the Mood pop-up menu and click OK. My search argument should now look like this:

Note how Accordance automatically inserts the at (@) symbol, which joins a tag to the word with which it must be associated. Since Accordance has already done the work of setting up the proper search syntax, I just need to click OK in the Search window to perform the search.

A quick look through the search results reveals that hupago is not always used with the negative connotation that we often associate with the English phrase "Go away." When I saw the English gloss "to go away" in the Analysis window, I immediately associated it with the idea of saying to another person something along the lines of "Go away! Get out of here! Get away from me!" It was that negative association that led me to see the frequent use of hupago as somewhat surprising.

Certainly, in Matthew 4:10, hupago is used in this negative sense: "Go away, Satan!" But in most other instances, it is simply used to instruct someone to go somewhere else:

  • "leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother. . ."
  • "And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two."
  • "See that you don't tell anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest"
  • "Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you."
  • By searching for hupago wherever it appears in the imperative, we've been able to learn more about why this command appears so often. Occasionally, it is used to tell someone to "buzz off," but in most cases, it's just used to tell someone to go somewhere and do something. I guess the New Testament writers weren't so antisocial after all.

    Now, I've been camping out for a few posts in the Greek New Testament, primarily because I thought this little study afforded some good examples of how to use the Details, how to customize the information displayed in the Analysis window, and how to search by grammatical tags. Naturally, those of you who don't know Greek have probably been wondering how this applies to you, while those who are more interested in Hebrew are wondering when I'll get to something useful! Not to worry. In upcoming posts I plan on showing how to create a graphical search argument: first in English and then in Hebrew. In the process, I'll probably look again at the Details and will almost certainly use the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn. :-)




    Tuesday, April 18, 2006  

    A New Command I Give: Go Away!

    Yesterday's post got me into a bit of trouble. Some of our users felt it was "cruel" of me to provoke their curiosity about version 7 without giving them any real information. Then one of my coworkers half-jokingly warned me that if I talk too much about version 7, I might initiate the Osborne effect. On top of all that, I learned that my screenshot of the Details window from the version 7 alpha is already out of date. Since I was given that alpha, the interface has changed slightly; thus underscoring why we wait until just before release to talk up the features and interface of a new version—too much can change during the development process.

    Oh well, at least my wife liked the bit about the "pretty girl at the office"! ;-)

    All this makes it clear to me that the only safe things in life are telling your wife she's pretty and talking about features your software already has. So without further ado, let's get back to discussing the many uses of the existing Details window!

    In Friday's post, we searched the tagged Greek New Testament (GNT-T) for all imperative verbs, then looked at the Graph and Analysis of the results. By going to "Set Analysis Display..." (command-T) and changing the Sort to "Count down," we saw that the most used imperatives in the Greek New Testament are ginomai "be," poieo "do," and lego "say," followed closely by hupago "go away." Since the command to "go away" seems a bit antisocial, it's curious that hupago appears so frequently in the imperative mood.

    To explore this further, I can go back to my Search window and do a search for hupago, but I'm exceptionally lazy, and I never learned to type properly, so I'm going to take a shortcut. First, I'm going to double-click the Greek word hupago right in the Analysis window. This simply selects the word, according to standard Mac interface conventions.

    (Note: This is why we require you to triple-click a word to automatically look it up in a lexicon or dictionary. If double-clicking did that, then you would always have to drag your mouse to make a selection—and who has time for that?)

    Now that the word I want to focus on is selected, I can go to my Resource Palette and search for it in any text, tool, parallel, or other resource I happen to have installed. In this case, I want to find every occurrence of this Greek word in the Greek New Testament, so I'll select GNT-T from the Greek texts button of the Resource palette.

    Voila! Before I can blink, a Search window has been opened (or recycled) displaying every occurrence of hupago. Now, at this point, Accordance has given me every occurrence of hupago, regardless of inflected form. Eventually, I'll want to constrain this search so that it just finds the imperative forms of hupago. But while we're here, let's see what other forms of hupago were found. Perhaps that will give us some insight into how this word is used.

    To do this, I'll click the Details button and look at the Analysis tab.

    By default, the Analysis lists all the lexical forms that were found and the number of times each one appears. Since I only searched for one lexical form, the Analysis window doesn't tell me much about this particular search. But I can change that by selecting "Set Analysis Display. . ." from the Display menu, or by using the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn. That's right, command-T.

    If you look again at the Set Analysis Display dialog box, you'll see a series of columns. Each of these columns represents a different word or element of your search, allowing you to set the information which is displayed for each individual word. Since we only did a search for a single word (hupago), we're only concerned with the first column right now.

    Note how, by default, all the columns contain the LEX item. This is why the Analysis window defaults to listing every lexical form. We can get more information about our search by dragging additional items into the leftmost column. I'm going to drag the Mood item into the first column (beneath the LEX item) and click OK.

    (Note: Because I'm displaying multiple criteria—that is, both the lexical form and the mood—I must make sure "Alphabetical" is selected in the Sort pop-up menu. Accordance doesn't allow "Count up" or "Count down" sorts when displaying more than one criteria.)

    Now my analysis window tells me that hupago appears in the imperative mood 38 times, more than any other mood. Thus, "Go away" is used as a command more often than it is used in any other way.

    Now, is it most often used as a direct command ("Go!") or an indirect command ("Let him go")? To find this out, I can go back to the Set Analysis Display dialog (by using command-T), and add another criteria to the sort order, such as Person.

    When I click OK, each Mood of hupago is further broken down according to Person, enabling me to see that every time hupago appears as an imperative in the GNT, it is in the second person, indicating a direct command.

    By changing the display of the Analysis window, I've learned that hupago is typically used as a command in the GNT, and that it is always used as a direct command rather than an indirect one. If I wanted to carry this line of study further, I could drag a Number element into the column of the Set Analysis Display to see whether the command to "Go!" is most often directed at individuals or groups. Or I could add Tense to compare whether these are aorist imperatives or present imperatives. As you can see, modifying the display of the Analysis window can open up a new world of information about your search; and it's all just a command-T away.





    Monday, April 17, 2006  

    The Fun of Being the First to See

    There are lots of reasons I love my job. I get to be at home, have flexible hours, zero commute, and stimulating projects to work on. Rather than getting distracted with office politics and water cooler gossip, I get interrupted with pleas for help with long division problems and requests to see the latest LEGO creation (okay, I also have to break up the occasional sibling quarrel). Best of all, my wife never complains when I flirt with the pretty girl at the office (since she is the pretty girl at the office!). All in all, it's nice work if you can get it. :-)

    Yet in addition to all these fringe benefits, one of the high points of my job is that I get to be among the first to see the new goodies our programmer Roy is in the process of developing. Heck, I even get to put my own two cents in!

    The other day I was at Roy and Helen's house for a developers' meeting, and after the meeting was over, we all gathered around Roy's computer to see his progress on a major new feature for version 7. This particular feature is one of my favorite kinds: it will be of benefit to everyone from novice users to scholars and power users, it represents a slick new addition to the interface, and it will answer a variety of needs. Add all those things up, and it becomes very important that we get this particular feature right.

    As we watched Roy demonstrate the interface of this new feature, we asked questions ("What happens if you do this?"), made suggestions ("I think the items should appear in this order . ."), hammered out a few minor details, and of course, ooohed and aahed over how cool it is. This interface design meeting was completely impromptu, yet very productive. (It was also much more fun than the preceding developer's meeting, in which I had been reminded how much work I have to do and when it all has to be finished!)

    Personally, I can't wait until Roy is done with this feature so I can start playing with it. It's great fun to be the first to see and try out some new feature, and to anticipate how it will be received by you, our users. It's a little like the feeling I get when wrapping presents for my kids on Christmas Eve. Just as I hope their eyes will light up when they get that really great gift, I hope you, our users, will get as excited about these new features as I am. I'm sorry I can't go into detail about them just yet, but soon and very soon. . .

    By the way, I'm surprised no one seems to have noticed the slip I made on Friday. If you look carefully at the screenshots of the Details window, you'll notice that one of them came from an alpha of version 7. Could this mean we have some new kinds of Graphs in store? Maaayyybbbeeeee. . . . ;-)





    Friday, April 14, 2006  

    Countdown to Insight

    In my previous post, I gave you a quick introduction to the Details button, and showed how getting a bird's-eye view of your search results can lead you to insights you might otherwise have missed. Today, we'll look at one way you can use command-T—the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn—in conjunction with the Details to get even greater insight.

    Let's say I want to search for all the commands in the Greek New Testament (GNT). To do this, I would need to search a grammatically tagged GNT for all Verbs in the imperative mood. So I select GNT-T in the search text pop-up menu of my Search window, click the Search for Words radio button (if it isn't already selected), and then enter [VERB imperative] in the search entry box. Notice that I don't need to use any cryptic codes or do anything special to search for a particular grammatical tag. I just need to place the part of speech and the tag details in square brackets. I don't even need to place the tag details in any particular order: for example, [VERB active imperative aorist] works just as well as [VERB aorist active imperative]. Even better, I don't have to remember even this much search syntax. I can simply go to the Search menu, choose Verb... from the Enter Grammatical Tag submenu, and then set whatever tag details I want in a simple dialog box. When I click OK, the tag will be entered for me, complete with the proper search syntax.

    Incidentally, we've been making it this easy to search grammatically tagged original language texts for ten years now. We want you to use your brain cells to master Greek and Hebrew and to study the Bible. Why waste those brain cells on trying to figure out cryptic tag codes or confusing search dialogs peppered with dozens of checkboxes?

    Okay, enough with the shameless self-congratulations, let's get back to our search. Whether I type it in or go through the Search menu, what I want to see in the search entry box is [VERB imperative]. When I click OK, Accordance will find every imperative verb in the Greek New Testament—all 1,636 of them! Now, let's see what we get when we click the Details button.

    The first thing we see is a Graph of the search hits. Interestingly, the highest concentration of imperatives in the New Testament is found around 1 Timothy 5 and 6, followed by Ephesians 6. Remember, I'm seeing that by double-clicking on the highest spikes of the Graph and then looking back at my Search window, which has automatically been scrolled to the corresponding place in the text.

    I could camp out here on the Graph and explore all kinds of trends, such as why there seems to be such a thick concentration of imperatives in the books of Luke and James; but for now, let's move on to the Analysis by clicking on the Analysis tab.

    By default, the Analysis window gives me an alphabetical listing of all the lexical forms which were found by my search, along with the number of times each one appears. Yet I can customize the display of the Analysis window to enable me to get more than a mere vocabulary list. Let's say that I want to know which Greek verbs are used most often as commands. To see this, I'll select the first item in the Display menu, "Set Analysis Display...", or better yet, I'll just use the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn: Command-T.

    This opens the Set Analysis Display dialog box, which offers a host of options for the kind of information I want displayed. For now, I'm just concerned with the Sort pop-up menu in the upper right corner. If I change this from "Alphabetical" to "Count down" and click OK, the Analysis will be sorted to display the most frequent words at the top of the list.

    This simple customization lets me see immediately that the most frequent commands in the GNT are ginomai "be", poieo "do," and lego "say." That's a pretty nifty ethical trifecta. Curiously, though, these three are followed closely by hupago "go away." That sounds pretty antisocial. I wonder what's up with that?

    To find out, of course, I could go back to my search, and modify it to search for all occurrences of hupago when it appears in the imperative. But that sounds like a good subject for another post. Until then, play around with doing different searches and sorting the Analysis by "Count down." It works for English and Hebrew as well as Greek, and it enables you to gain unexpected insights into the Biblical text.





    Wednesday, April 12, 2006  

    The Devil is NOT in the Details

    On the search window, just below the search entry box, there's a rather unassuming button labeled Details. If you haven't tried it yet, you're missing out on a world of interesting and helpful information. If you have tried it, you'll find that you can get far more information by using the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn. Anybody remember what that was? That's right, command-T.

    In this post, I'll give you a quick rundown of what the Details button does. Then later in the week we'll explore how command-T can really make the Details come alive.

    Whenever you do a search, you get a list of the verses that contain that search term, with the search term highlighted. You can then navigate through the search results and explore what was found. But what if you want a bird's eye view of your search results? What if you want to spot certain trends without having to go through hundreds or even thousands of hit verses? That's precisely the time when you need to click the Details button.

    Here's a simple example of what I mean. Let's say you do a wildcard search for any form of the English word "love." You would enter lov* into the Search window and click OK. Now, you get a list of verses with words like "love", "loves", and "loving" highlighted. But what if you want a list of all the words that were found? You guessed it, click the Details button.

    When you click the Details button, a special Workspace window opens. Along the top of this Workspace you'll see four buttons: Graph, Analysis, Concordance, and Table. Clicking any of these buttons will open a tab displaying a particular kind of information about your search.

    You may have some tabs open automatically, depending on the defaults you set in the Search window panel of the Preferences. Accordance defaults to showing the Graph and Analysis tabs.

    The Graph displays a visual representation of how frequently the search term appears across the search range. I did my search for lov* in the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), so my resulting graph looks like this:

    Note the spikes at Psalms, Song of Songs, John, and 1 John. If you double-click on one of the spikes, your Search window will be scrolled to the place in the text which corresponds to the point on the graph you double-clicked. You can customize the appearance of the Graph in a variety of ways, and can even graph multiple searches, so you can compare things like the two Greek words for "love" or the various Hebrew names for "God." I'll discuss how to do those things in a future post, but for now, let's move on to the Analysis.

    The Analysis tab lets you break down your search results in a variety of ways. The default for English language searches is to list every word that was found, along with the number of times each word appears. So my search for lov* in the HCSB results in the following Analysis:

    Most of the words that were found are pretty much what I expected, but note that the word "lovemaking" appears once. Since I had no idea the Bible talks about such things (wink!), I might like to find where this particular word is used. So I can select it, then go to the Resource palette and select HCSB from the English texts pop-up menu. This will open a new Search window displaying every occurrence of the word I had selected. Now I can see that the HCSB uses the word lovemaking in Proverbs 7:18, which describes the seductive speech of a prostitute.

    If you do this search in a text with Strong's numbers, such as the KJVS or NAS95S, the Analysis will show not only the list of English words that were found, but the various Greek and Hebrew words which they translate. Once again, there's a lot more to the Analysis, especially when searching grammatically-tagged Greek and Hebrew texts, but we'll get to that in a future post. For now, let's take a quick look at the Concordance and the Table.

    If you click the Concordance button on the Details Workspace, a new Tab will open displaying a Concordance of every word that was found by your search. For common words, such as "love," only the references where that word is found will be listed. For less common words, like "Love" (note the distinction in case), both the reference and an excerpt will be displayed. Want to publish an exhaustive concordance of the HCSB? You've got the tools to do it right here!

    Finally, if you click the Table button, you'll get a Table displaying the number of times your search term appears in each book within your search range, along with a ratio representing the number of hits per 1000 words. It is this latter number which forms the basis of the Graph we looked at earlier. Often the most interesting thing about the Table is discovering which books have zero occurrences of the search term. For example, the word "love" is not used at all in the New Testament book of Acts—at least, not in this particular translation. This surprising bit of statistical information might lead me to search other English translations to see if this pattern is repeated there. Or I could search the Greek for Greek words which are typically translated love, and see if any of them appear in the books of Acts.

    Wherever I go from here, by now it should be clear that the Details Workspace provides various ways to get a bird's-eye view of my search results, and this alternative perspective makes it easier to discover things about my search that I might not have noticed were I simply to scan through the search results.

    By now it should be clear that in Accordance, the devil is definitely not in the Details. Rather, to use another cliché: "There's gold in them thar hills!"





    Tuesday, April 11, 2006  

    Keys to the Original

    Key numbers are what Accordance calls the numbering systems used to identify the original Hebrew or Greek words behind the English text. Strong's is the original and best known system, but the Zondervan materials use the Goodrick-Kohlenberger numbers. Accordance makes it really easy to see the numbers, look them up in the dictionary, search on them and analyse them.

    So many people just use the Key numbers to look up the dictionary article on a word. Our latest chapter in the Beginning in Mark series, Keys to the Original, shows you how to go much further in exploring the original words that lie behind the English text.




    Friday, April 07, 2006  

    Accordance and the History Channel

    Last night, I stumbled across a show on the History Channel which analyzed various Biblical battles, complete with animated routes showing troop movements, translucent overlays showing the territories of the twelve tribes, and 3-D maps of Israel's terrain. Naturally, I pulled out my iBook and followed along using the Accordance Bible Atlas, overlaying the same animated routes the TV program was displaying.

    Now, the History Channel's maps were very cool looking, with each line snaking across the map giving off a fiery glow (as if the army was burning everything in its path). Accordance Bible Atlas simply uses colored lines with arrows. But it's fun to think that while the History Channel had to pay large sums of money to professional animators, I could produce very much the same thing on the fly, simply by choosing "Battle of Gibeon" or "War of Gideon" from the Routes pop-up menu on the Map window. Then, if I really wanted to analyze the terrain, I could create a 3-D map that I could examine from any angle—rather than being limited to whatever view the television show gave me.

    Okay, enough bragging. How about a tip for those of you who have read patiently while I break my arm patting ourselves on the backs? Did you know that you can choose from three different animation styles for the animated routes of the Atlas? And you do it using the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn: namely, command-T.

    This will open the Set Map Display dialog box, which contains a pop-up labeled "Animation." You can choose from Normal, which shows a faded, pre-drawn version of the entire route which gets filled in; Continuous, which is just like Normal except that it loops over and over; and No Faded Route, which removes the pre-drawn route and simply draws the lines across the map as the route unfolds. For me, "No Faded Route" is the clear winner. It's much more dramatic than the others, and looks much more like what you'll get in a History Channel documentary.

    Oh, by the way, the History Channel used the recently maligned Papyrus font on its maps, one of the looks I recommended for Accordance maps. I guess Papyrus is better for maps than for business ads. ;-)

    It looks like the History Channel show I saw will air again tonight at 2 a.m. Eastern time—for those of you who want to set your VCRs. (Am I dating myself, should I be talking about TiVo?) Anyway, I'd highly recommend it.





    Thursday, April 06, 2006  

    More on Changing the Display of Bible Text

    In my previous post, I talked about the use of command-T to change the display settings of any pane containing Bible text. I explained how you can set the display of each pane individually, how you can set the default display of each different translation, and how you can go to the Preferences to set the default display of every Bible text at one time. In the comments on that post, someone asked the following question:

    David, is there a way to select all of the versions displayed in a workspace and change them all together? Hence, in your illustration, the ESV along with the Message and Living would all be changed.

    Also, (this might seem stupid) but when do you use this command? In other words, what does it do for you and when?

    The answer to the first question is no, with one exception. (Don't you love those definitive answers?) You can set the default display for all Bible texts at once, but to change each pane in a search window, you would need to select each pane, do command-T, and then make your changes for that pane.

    Now for the exception, and today's bonus tip. Above each pane, you'll see a small and large letter "A." These are the text size buttons, and they enable you to increase or decrease the size of text in each pane. If you hold down the option key while clicking one of these buttons, you'll increase or decrease the size of text in ALL the panes of that window. Pretty cool, huh?

    With respect to when you would use command-T to change the text display, the short answer is, "Any time you need to change the display of text in a pane." Here are a few practical examples of when that might be:

  • At a few of the recent seminars, I was hooked up to a projector that was limited to a resolution of 800 x 600. This meant I had less screen real estate to work with than normal. At one point, I had four parallel text panes open, and I was looking at a passage containing poetry. The panes were so narrow that it made the poetic formatting look funny. So I did command-T and checked "Suppress poetry." Boom! No more funny-looking poetic formatting.
     
  • In most cases, I want each verse displayed on a separate line with the verse reference displayed. But when I just want to read the text of the Bible, that's a visual distraction. So I'll do command-T and choose "Continuous paragraphs" from the Show as pop-up menu. Then I'll choose "Omit entire reference" from the Format pop-up menu in the References section. Now my text is more conducive to continuous reading.
     
    Actually, I just said all that so you'd know how to make those changes using Command-T. In real life, I never make those settings by going to the dialog box. Instead, I go up to the Display menu and choose "Continuous Paragraphs" from the "Show Text As" submenu. Then I go back to the Display menu and choose "Hide Verse References." We figured these are the kinds of formatting changes that many people want to make on the fly, so we put them right in the Display menu to save you the trip to the dialog box. That's your second bonus tip of the day!
     
  • Okay, one more example and I'll quit. Let's say you've spent years highlighting the text of the Bible with highlight colors, dashed underlines, boxes, etc. (You did know you can do that, right?) That rainbow of color is great for study and future reference, but it can also be distracting when you're trying to read the Bible. So choose command-T and check "Hide verse highlighting" and "Hide word highlighting." Voila! Your highlighting is hidden, but you haven't lost all that work. You can bring it back any time you want, but it's out of the way when you don't want it. Try that with a print Bible and a color highlighter!

    Hope this helps some of you.





  • Tuesday, April 04, 2006  

    The One Keyboard Shortcut You Must Learn

    At the recent training seminars, I told the attendees that there was one keyboard shortcut which they absolutely had to learn. By the end of the day, I had repeated it so much that I doubt any of them will ever forget it. Learn this one key-combination, and you'll unlock a world of power that you may never have realized was there. Are you ready for it? Here it is . . . command-T.

    Honestly, we've tried hard not to keep command-T a secret, and you may even have used it occasionally. This key-command always applies to the very first item in the Display menu: Set [Window Name] Display...

    The words "Window Name" in brackets are meant to indicate that the name of this command will change depending on which type of window you're looking at. If you're looking at the text of the Bible, the first item in the Display menu reads Set Text Pane Display. If you're looking at the Analysis tab in the Details workspace, this command will read Set Analysis Display. If you're looking at a Map window, it will read Set Map Display. And so on down the line. Any time you want to see if there are formatting options or other ways to customize the display of information, give command-T a try and see what you get.

    As I just mentioned, when looking at the text of the Bible, command-T invokes the Set Text Pane Display dialog. That's where the "T" comes from: it originally gave you options for changing the appearance of the text of the Bible. Want to change the font, size, style, or color of text? Want to display the text as continuous paragraphs rather than as separate verses? Want to make the text of the references smaller, italicized, and superscripted? Want to remove the references altogether? You can do all that and more with the Set Text Pane Display dialog.

    Why is it called the Text Pane Display? Because the changes you make here apply to whichever pane of a Search window you have selected. Thus, if you have a Search window with panes containing the ESV, the Message, and the New Living Translation, the Set Text Pane Display dialog will only apply to one of these panes. The active pane is the one which is bounded by a blue selection box. Let's say for purposes of this discussion that the pane containing the ESV is selected.

    When you make your appearance changes in the dialog box and click OK, those changes will apply only to the pane containing the ESV. What's more, they will only apply temporarily. If you open another pane containing the ESV, it will appear in the default display format. To have your custom appearance settings apply every time you open the ESV, you need to click Use as Default in the dialog box before you click OK. (You can also set the default appearance for all your Bibles in the Text Display section of the Preferences.)

    Okay, by now you can see that command-T comes in handy when you need to customize the appearance of Bible text, but it hasn't exactly unleashed all the power I talked about it the first paragraph of this post. We'll save some of that for our next post, in which I'll discuss command-T in connection with the Details Workspace.





    Monday, April 03, 2006  

    Accordance Announcements

    For those who follow this blog but not the News page of the website, nor the Forums, and are not signed up for our newsletter, I wanted to remind you of recent announcements:
    • Celebrating Apple's 30 Year Anniversary: we have a major sale all month.
    • We are now offering academic discounts to full-time teachers.
    • The latest article in our Beginning in Mark series, Knowing the Time, demonstrates how the Timeline adds depth to the context of the Bible.