Accordance Blog
Nov 27, 2015 Richard Mansfield

2015 ETS/SBL Reflections, Part 1


Creating a space for exploration, learning, and discovery.

I'm sitting in seat 31B at 30,000 feet, iPad Pro (yes, it's really nice) on my knees, reflecting on another successful November marked by the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and Society of Biblical Literature. We had a great week meeting with longtime Accordance users and introducing new customers to the best Bible software for the serious explorer of the ancient texts.

Now, I should clarify that when I say booth, I mean something that's actually on a far grander scale. Many vendors at these conferences have a booth—a 10 x 10 space usually consisting of a backdrop, long table, maybe a couple of chairs and often lots of physical books and/or informative literature. When we set up our space to demo Accordance, we create an environment for exploration, learning, and discovery.

SBL 2015

The Accordance area actually takes up about four standard booth spaces together in one big square. We bring in multiple tables, chairs, and computers of all kinds. There's a projector running all week, displaying a slideshow of our newest titles and best deals of the year.

We’ve designed an environment made for much more than selling software. Rather, we want to build relationships with our customers--have them sit down and tell us about their research--so that we can help them tailor the incredibly flexible Accordance engine to their specific scholarly pursuits related to biblical studies. The Accordance area is staffed by a dozen or so Accordance professionals--mostly employees, but often a couple of power users, too--who can help users regardless of their questions or needs.

Now, I only began working in the Accordance booth around 2008, so I'm somewhere between rookie and old pro compared to some of my fellow Accordance professionals. Nevertheless, in my time spent demoing Accordance at these two scholarly conferences, I've come to recognize a few common types of individuals who frequent our booth.

In the second part of my 2015 ETS/SBL reflections, to be posted early next week, I'll describe the SEVEN types of Accordance users who frequent our booth. Maybe you'll see yourself in one of these descriptions.

Tags: ETS , SBL


Nov 21, 2015 Richard Mansfield

7 Reasons to Visit AAR/SBL Booth #903

If you're attending the AAR/SBL Meeting in Atlanta, be certain to come by Exhibitor Booth #903 to experience everything new related to Accordance Bible Software! Our booth is humming with activity, and if you haven't had a chance to stop by, don't miss the opportunity to be a part of the excitement!

ETS 2015

Here are SEVEN reasons you should drop everything and come by the Accordance booth right now:

  1. If you've never used Accordance, you need to see it in action!
  2. If you've never purchased Accordance, you can get the incredible Essential Collection for 40% off at the conference!
  3. Whether you purchase Accordance or not, you can register to win a FREE 64 GB iPad Air 2!
  4. Learn about our conference-only discounts, including reduced prices on everything in the catalog!
  5. Come see our new titles for the Accordance Library released only yesterday!
  6. Discover the incredible new features in Accordance 11.1!
  7. Hang out with Accordance employees and fellow users--it's one big celebration going on in booth #903!

See you soon!


Nov 9, 2015 Richard Mansfield

Come See Us at ETS/SBL to Win a 64 GB iPad Air 2!

iPad Giveaway The annual November Bible conferences are fast approaching, and as always, Accordance will be there! These days, thanks to modern technology, attendees at academic conferences no longer have to leave their research tools behind; instead, their libraries travel with them wherever they go!

This year, we're giving away a 64 GB iPad Air 2 so that if you're the winner, you will be able to carry your entire Accordance Library wherever you go in the palm of your hand! The current iPad Air 2 is the most powerful and up-to-date tablet from Apple in this size range. And 64 GB of storage is more than enough space to carry a theological library with you at all times that would rival personal libraries of generations past!

And if you win the iPad, we'll even let you pick the color!

During either conference, simply register for the drawing at our booths (ETS #29 & SBL #903) from November 17-24 or at the Accordance Training Seminar (November 20).

Please, only one entry per registered attendee please.


Nov 5, 2015 Richard Mansfield

FREE Accordance Training Seminar in Atlanta!


Training seminar

If you're planning to be in Atlanta later this month for the meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society or Society of Biblical Literature, consider joining us for a FREE all-day Accordance Training Seminar.

Our seminar will take place on Friday, November 20, from 9 AM to 5 PM. Whether you are a new user or experienced Accordance veteran, come learn how to take your Bible study and research to the next level.

Location for the meeting:

Candler School of Theology at Emory University
Rita Anne Rollins Building, Room #252
1531 Dickey Dr., Atlanta, GA 30322

For more information, including driving directions, please see our Seminars and Shows page.

Although the seminar is free, we do ask that you register at [email protected]. And if you register by Tuesday, November 17, you will qualify for $20 worth of Accordance credit!

Note also that if you live in the area or within driving distance, you do not have to attend ETS or SBL to join us for our seminar.


May 1, 2014 David Lang

Throwback Thursday: Scholars Don't Care About Maps

atlas 2-cdIn a previous Throwback Thursday post, I told you about a meeting way back in 1995 that helped get us thinking about developing a Bible Atlas that would prove to be years ahead of its time. Two years later, we had developed a limited prototype covering little more than the region of Galilee, and we were about to focus all of our attention on completing development of the Atlas. Having just released Accordance 3.0, with ground-breaking features such as Greek and Hebrew text-to-speech and diagramming, we had plenty to show at that year's Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, but we were so excited about the Atlas prototype we couldn't resist showing it off as well.

By 1997, the success of Windows 95 and Apple's own missteps had sent it into something of a death spiral. At the same time, the power and ease-of-use Accordance offered had earned it a reputation as the software to have for serious study, and many Bible scholars were buying Macs just to be able to use Accordance. This meant that we had a lot of people coming by the booth wanting to see what Accordance could do, yet with serious misgivings about the future of the Mac platform. The Atlas was a great way to show that there were still some really cool things you could only do on a Mac.

At that year's SBL, we were using a projector to show Accordance on a big screen. We naturally showed Accordance with Greek and Hebrew text in parallel, the new Diagram window, and other features of Accordance 3.0. We also showed some of the map images from the new Atlas prototype. Our hope was that these would grab the attention of conference attendees and draw them into the booth to learn more about Accordance. I saw this as a no-brainer, but someone from outside our company questioned the wisdom of using maps to attract attention. Apparently believing that serious scholars would regard such flash as fluff, he told us, "Scholars don't care about maps."

Now, as a very part-time seminary student at the time, I was admittedly no Bible scholar, but I found myself completely dumbfounded by this assertion that scholars don't care about maps. Even those engaged in high-level linguistic study presumably had to teach the occasional introductory survey course, and surely maps would come in handy then, right? I therefore ignored the unsolicited advice not to show the Atlas and kept the maps on the screen.

Sure enough, the Atlas prototype drew a lot of people in, and when we demonstrated what you could already do with the prototype people were absolutely blown away. We released the Atlas in July of 1998, right about the time Steve Jobs was back at Apple unveiling a colorful new all-in-one desktop computer called the iMac. That year's annual meeting of SBL was fun. We had people coming into the booth just to see our new iMac, and when we showed them the new Bible Atlas they seemed to forget any questions they might have had about the Mac's long-term viability.

Since that time, our interactive Bible Atlas has been one of our best-selling products and among our users' favorite features. If you've been missing out on all the fun, be sure to check out our Graphics Bundle.

That is, of course, unless you're one of those scholars who just doesn't care about maps!


Apr 3, 2014 David Lang

Throwback Thursday: Demoer and Demoee

In my last Throwback Thursday post, I talked about the development of the very first Tool modules for Accordance 2.0. Although version 2.0 was not yet ready for release in November of 1995, we were planning to offer a preview of all the new features to attendees at the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) in Philadelphia. I did not accompany my employers to ETS, since it was a smaller conference and they could manage the booth without me. I flew in to join them for the start of the larger SBL meeting. I had used that extra time at home to whip out a couple more prototype modules, so I arrived at SBL with some Accordance tools to demonstrate which my employers hadn't even seen yet.

Today when we attend a conference, we bring laptops and relatively portable flat-screen monitors. Back in 1995, laptops were not nearly as ubiquitous as they are today. They were expensive, and they had significant drawbacks such as tiny screens or limited speed compared to desktop computers. Fortunately, airline passengers could check more baggage back then. I had to lug my desktop Mac in one box and my 14-inch CRT monitor in another, along with my suitcase, to the airport and hope it all made it to Philadelphia without getting broken, lost, or stolen. Then I had to schlep all that stuff to the hotel and exhibit hall to get it set up. Once it was all set up, I had to be without my computer for the duration of the show.

At that time, we exhibited Accordance under the auspices of the GRAMCORD Institute, which served as the exclusive distributor of Accordance. Basically, we formed the Macintosh side of the GRAMCORD booth.

I actually found an old photo on the GRAMCORD website of Dr. Rex Koivisto, our associate Greek scholar (right), demonstrating Accordance 2.0 to Frederick Danker (the D in BDAG, center) at that very conference. If you look closely at the background, you can see me seated with my back to the camera, demonstrating Accordance to someone else. This was my very first time demoing Accordance to the public, and it was fun to be able to show scholars and students some of the cool stuff we had been working on.

Today when I demonstrate Accordance at ETS and SBL, I can only show a tiny portion of what Accordance can do. It is therefore rare that we offer a sneak peek at any not-yet-released features. Back then, however, we were the new kid on the block, doing our best to show people Accordance's potential as a Bible study platform. In those early days, we would demonstrate what the current version of Accordance could do, then offer a look at what was coming in the next version.

In the evenings, I got to be part of meetings where we would discuss new feature ideas or new resources we hoped to license, such as the massive Anchor Bible Dictionary. It was all pretty heady stuff for a young kid still in seminary.

One of the most memorable moments of this conference was when I got to tag along to a meeting with a gentleman who had high-resolution atlas data of Israel. As with laptops, such data was far less ubiquitous back then, and this gentleman was looking to establish partnerships to develop computer applications that could utilize his data. This gentleman did not have a booth in the exhibit hall. Instead, he had booked a hotel suite where he was meeting with potential partners. I remember entering his suite and seeing a Silicon Graphics workstation on the desk. Beside it was a large set of goggles. It was in this meeting that I went from the demoer to the demoee. The gentleman handed me the goggles and joked that I should be careful not to drop them, since they cost a substantial amount of money. If I remember correctly, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000. Needless to say, I was very careful not to break them!

Looking through the goggles I saw a three-dimensional image of some portion of Israel. These days I might actually recognize it, but back then it was just an unfamiliar series of hills and valleys. If I remember correctly, it was just a wireframe image, but it was at a resolution that required some serious computing power to generate. Next I was shown a simulated 3D flyover. This was done without the goggles, and I seem to recall that it used actual satellite imagery rather than a mere wireframe. This felt snappier than the wireframe image as well, but that was because it was essentially a pre-rendered animation rather than a 3D image being rendered on the fly. The downside of this was that you couldn't really navigate the flyover to go wherever you wanted; you merely went where the animator had decided to take you.

This was all very cutting-edge stuff, and I must have seemed like a kid in a candy store. Our discussions centered around how we might use this data to provide Mac users with a 3D Bible Atlas. After all, there were far more people with Macs than with graphics workstations. Apple had recently begun incorporating 3D technologies into the Mac operating system, so the possibilities were tantalizing, but we also knew it would be challenging to deliver acceptable 3D performance on a personal computer.

That meeting helped get us thinking about adding an Atlas component to Accordance, but that wouldn't actually happen until Accordance 3.5 was released in July of 1998. I'll tell you the rest of the story behind the Accordance Bible Atlas in a future Throwback Thursday post.

I returned home from that first SBL Conference exhausted but excited about the future of Accordance. At that point I was still only working for Accordance part-time, but I was now officially hooked. I was getting to be a part of the creation of something truly cutting edge, and I had seen how Accordance was changing the lives of its users. Since 1995, I have exhibited Accordance at SBL every year except 1996 (when my second son was born). To this day, I return home from SBL each year both exhausted and excited about the future.

How about you? Were any of you at the 1995 SBL or ETS meetings in Philadelphia? If so, did you stop by for a demo of Accordance?


Dec 3, 2013 David Lang

Thankful for my Remarkable Accordance Family

Last week, we brought our largest team ever to the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). While Accordance is based in Orlando, Florida, many key members of the Accordance team—including trainers, developers, marketing personnel, and associate scholars—are scattered across the United States and even throughout the world. These folks all telecommute really effectively, but we decided to use ETS/SBL as a pretext for getting many of them together in one place. For that reason, we actually brought more people to work the conferences than we really thought we would need.


I was a little worried that with so many hands on deck, we would have Accordance staff standing around our booth with nothing to do, but the Accordance booth was so consistently busy that boredom was never a problem. I did lots of demos to new Accordance customers, many of whom were Windows users excited about finally having access to Accordance without the need for an emulator. The demos I enjoy the most are the ones where a Ph.D. student comes with a specific research need, or a professor comes with a new class they're preparing to teach, and they want to see if Accordance can help them. When they see what Accordance is capable of, it is not uncommon for their jaws to drop, their eyes to light up, or even for them to laugh involuntarily.

One of my favorite things about working the Accordance booth is the way our team of demonstrators works together to meet people's needs. It is quite common for one of us to begin a demo and then get asked a very specialized question: "Can you show me the new Hebrew Masora Thesaurus?"; "Is there a way to do this search using the MT-LXX Parallel?"; "Can you teach me how to create my own custom maps with the Atlas?" If this question is one that could better be answered by someone else on our team, the demonstrator will not hesitate to ask for help. The scholar with the MT-LXX search had three of us working on his problem before we finally came up with a solution, and he left feeling very well taken care of. The thing I love about this dynamic is the complete lack of ego among our team members. No one is afraid to ask for help. No one is tempted to try to fake their way through a demo. Everyone's focus is on finding the solution the customer needs, and I think people leave our booth knowing we truly care about the work they do.


On the last night of SBL, our entire team enjoyed a wonderful company dinner at a restaurant in Baltimore's Little Italy. After dinner, we each said a few words about how we thought the conferences had gone. As I listened to each person's comments, I was struck by the degree to which each speaker was praising other members of the team—including team members who hadn't come to the conference. When someone mentioned that this year's brochure was really helpful, several people began praising the behind-the-scenes team members who had prepared it. When we discussed the excitement among some scholars over our new Masora Thesaurus, we were told about the remarkable scholar who had produced it, and the incredibly talented developer who had compiled the module. I never cease to be amazed at how quick my coworkers are to praise one another.

A few days later, I was back home with my family enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving. Among the things I'm most thankful for is the fact that I get to work with such amazing people who function more like a family than a mere company.


Nov 13, 2012 David Lang

Headed to Milwaukee and Chicago

It's that time of year again! This week the Accordance team will be converging on the cities of Milwaukee and Chicago for the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). While I'll be missing ETS for the first time in many years, I'll head to Chicago later this week to teach an Accordance training seminar and to help out at SBL.

If you'll be at those conferences or in those cities, there are several opportunities to meet Accordance staff and to learn from Accordance experts. Here's a rundown of where we'll be and what we'll be doing:

ETS Conference (Nov. 14-16): Look for us in Exhibit Hall B of the Frontier Airlines Center in Milwaukee. We'll be in booth #238.

Free Training Seminar in Chicago (Nov. 16): On Friday, while the rest of the team is breaking down the ETS booth and driving down to Chicago, I'll be teaching a seminar at Moody Bible Institute. If you're in the Chicago area and would like to attend, we'll be in room 319 of the Sweeting Building from 9 am to 5 pm. As with all our seminars, you're welcome to come and go as your schedule permits. To register for the seminar, e-mail us at seminars(at)accordancebible(dot)com. I hope to see you there.

SBL Conference (Nov. 17-20): You'll find us in Exhibit Hall F2 of the McCormick Place Convention Center’s West Building. We'll be in booth #539. As always, our booth is sure to be both large and extremely active.

The Accordance Booth at SBL 2010

Accordance Reception (Nov. 18): Want to come socialize with us in a more relaxed setting? We'll be hosting a reception in Suite 1879 of the Chicago Hilton from 7:30 to 9:30 pm on Sunday, November 18. Eager young students are finding that this is a great opportunity to network with top scholars—and just think how impressed they'll be that you're already using Accordance!

So there you have it. We have a busy week ahead of us, but it's always fun to put faces to names and help people get the most out of Accordance. If you can join us at any of these events, we look forward to seeing you!


Jan 16, 2012 David Lang

Sacred Techs Interviews Our Own Darin Allen

Remember the old commercial for Life cereal? Two boys are sitting at the breakfast table discussing this new cereal their mom says is "good for them." Not sure what to make of that, they go back and forth urging each other to be the first to try it. Then they hit on a brilliant way forward. They'll give it to Mikey, their finicky little brother, and see if he likes it. When Mikey enthusiastically digs in, the two older boys want some too.



At the recent annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, I was talking with another member of the Accordance team when Christian Brady, a professor, long-time Accordance user, and author of the popular Targuman blog, came up to us and asked who would be the best person to interview for his new Sacred Techs podcast. My colleague and I looked at each other about like those two boys in the Life commercial: neither of us wanted the pressure of an impromptu interview, so we cast about for a suitable Mikey. Then it hit us: Darin! He's our new Director of Marketing—let's get him to do it.

Darin was just finishing a demo when we called him over, introduced him to Dr. Brady, and told him that Dr. Brady wanted to interview him. I don't think we managed to tell Darin that this was for a podcast, so I'm not sure he realized that he was about to be recorded live.

In spite of getting put on the spot like that, Darin handled the interview like a pro. I just got done listening to it, and the guy is downright smooth! You can listen to the Sacred Techs podcast, which also includes an interview with the guys from Olive Tree Bible Software, here. Be sure to check it out, and if you think Darin did well in a pinch, be sure to let him know in the comments on this post.


Nov 29, 2010 David Lang

"Trusted by Scholars" Is More Than a Slogan

On every page of the Accordance web-site, you'll see the slogan "Designed for Mac. Trusted by Scholars. Right for You." As anyone who visited our booth at the recent annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) can attest, our claim to be "Trusted by Scholars" is anything but marketing hype.

For years now, the Accordance booth at ETS and SBL has been a hotbed of activity. In fact, we now have other exhibitors telling us they request booth space near us because they know we'll draw traffic past their own booths. We always book a large open booth and pack it with demo stations. At SBL we had no less than eight demo stations and three sales stations, yet even that was sometimes not enough to accommodate everyone.

The Accordance Booth at SBL 2010

Why is the Accordance booth always so busy? I think it's because over the years the scholars who attend those conferences have come to trust us to provide them with cutting-edge features and resources found nowhere else. It's not uncommon to have an Accordance user drag a student or colleague into the booth and tell them, "You've got to see this." Neither is it uncommon to have someone sit down for a demo and say, "I've been following you guys for years, but I've finally got a Mac so I know I need to get Accordance." The scholars and students who enter our booth at ETS and SBL don't need to be convinced of their need for Accordance; they come knowing that Accordance will save them time, advance their research, and aid them in their teaching.

"Trusted by Scholars" is more than just a marketing slogan. It's a reputation for excellence among the users whose needs are the most difficult to satisfy. Judging from the activity at this year's ETS and SBL, that trust remains strong, and we're committed to keeping it so.