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Question to Bib. Scholars - Accordance with Mellel/BE/DT vs NotaBene


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#1 J A Miller

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 10:58 AM

I am preparing to write a thesis in biblical studies and am switching to the Mac. I will be using BibleWorks 7 via emulation alongside Accordance in OS X. I also need to purchase a package that includes a word processor, bibliography program, and databse manager. After some research, I have narrowed my options down to two: use native Mac apps - Mellel/Bookends/DevonThink or emulate NotaBene. My questions are as follows:

(1) Mellel has been suggested as a WP alongside Accordance. How well does Mellel export to MS Word? This may be a requirement for me in order to work with my thesis advisor.
(2) I would like input from any others who use Mellel in my field. I will be using a variety of languages (Eng, Heb, Ara, Syr, Grk, Germ), and am thinking about Mellel because of its language support. However, I am also looking toward the future and will likely need to utilize Akkadian and Ugaritic in future studies. I am not sure how this would be supported on the Mac, but perhaps someone else knows.
(3) Any general information on the interaction of Bookends and DevonThink with Mellel would be appreciated.
(4) Is it possible to export data results from Accordance to Nota Bene. How so?
(5) I would also be interested in feedback from anyone who has published using the Mac platform. What do you use?
(6) The only other Mac native app (of which I am aware) besides MS Word that has cross-referencing is Nisus Writer Pro. How does this compare to Mellel? (My problem with Mellel is that I really need cross-referencing and I cannot afford to wait on them).

Thank you in advance for all of your help.

#2 Lorinda H. M. Hoover

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 01:52 PM

(6) The only other Mac native app (of which I am aware) besides MS Word that has cross-referencing is Nisus Writer Pro. How does this compare to Mellel? (My problem with Mellel is that I really need cross-referencing and I cannot afford to wait on them).


NeoOffice also includes a cross-reference feature, and it can work with multiple languages and right-to-left writing. It cannot, however, interface with End Note, and its own bibliography feature is (so I've heard) frustratingly limited. Probably not the solution for your situation.

Lorinda

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#3 Martin Shields

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 05:25 PM

(1) Mellel has been suggested as a WP alongside Accordance. How well does Mellel export to MS Word? This may be a requirement for me in order to work with my thesis advisor.


The best way to do this is to export the Mellel document as an RTF document which preserves more of the appearance than does exporting directly to Word. The results are generally acceptable, and even RTL language information seems to be correctly preserved (Word on the Mac does not support RTL languages, even in its latest manifestation due to be released in the coming weeks).

The other option is to save the document as a PDF. IIRC Adobe Reader now allows some comments to be added to PDFs, so this may allow for notes to be edited by your thesis advisor and then returned to you.

(2) I would like input from any others who use Mellel in my field. I will be using a variety of languages (Eng, Heb, Ara, Syr, Grk, Germ), and am thinking about Mellel because of its language support. However, I am also looking toward the future and will likely need to utilize Akkadian and Ugaritic in future studies. I am not sure how this would be supported on the Mac, but perhaps someone else knows.


Obviously English and German are no problem. Mellel has in-built support for using two different fonts automatically based on the input language (determined usually by the keyboard selected), so things become a little trickier if you need separate fonts for each of the languages you wish to use. Having said that, I regularly mix Greek, Hebrew, and various European languages without much trouble.

Mellel is unique among Mac word processors in that it supports OpenType, so this enhances the range of fonts and features you can access. The main issue for Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Akkadian, and Ugaritic is the choice of fonts. Mellel has a fonts page which links to a large range of fonts for all these languages (and more). I've not had problems with any of the fonts I've tried, and Mellel allows me to use fonts I otherwise couldn't use on the Mac.

As for your other questions, I can't tell you much except that Mellel has good built-in support for Bookends.

#4 J A Miller

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 03:52 PM

Thank you for the information. Especially helpful is knowing that Word does not support RTL. That is a bit of a shock.

[Edit: Do you have the link for the fonts page? I am having trouble finding it. Thanks.]

Edited by Helen Brown, 08 January 2008 - 11:47 PM.


#5 Martin Shields

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 06:31 PM

Thank you for the information. Especially helpful is knowing that Word does not support RTL. That is a bit of a shock.


Yes, quite disappointing. However, I've found that exporting RTF and opening that in Word on a Windows system does correctly preserve the unicode text.

[Edit: Do you have the link for the fonts page? I am having trouble finding it. Thanks.]


Take a look here: http://www.mellel.co...wnloadfont.html

#6 dgarrett

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 07:45 PM

You may also want to check out Nisus Writer Pro. I am just finishing my graduate work in theology, and have used Mellel and NWP. NWP does a better job interacting with Word. Bookends, by the way, is one great app. And its integration with Mellel is exceptional, though it works great with NWP as well.

Edited by dgarrett, 09 January 2008 - 07:47 PM.


#7 danzac

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 12:50 PM

A late reply to this, but I'd like to suggest for Mellel users who need some sort of collaboration to look at a.nnotate.com

I am writing my dissertation in Mellel, and I use annotate for giving drafts to my advisors to read, and they mark it up online. Going PDF is so much better than going into Word from Mellel

#8 syoung

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 10:18 PM

As a side note, Mellel NOW has cross-referencing. The cross-referencing is superb.

#9 danzac

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 09:40 AM

Yes, quite disappointing. However, I've found that exporting RTF and opening that in Word on a Windows system does correctly preserve the unicode text.


Exportint to .doc or .rtf is the same in Mellel. They are both an RTF export, but just with different extensions.

#10 Thomas

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 11:24 AM

I'm a Mellel/Bookends user.

(1) Mellel has been suggested as a WP alongside Accordance. How well does Mellel export to MS Word? This may be a requirement for me in order to work with my thesis advisor.
(2) I would like input from any others who use Mellel in my field. I will be using a variety of languages (Eng, Heb, Ara, Syr, Grk, Germ), and am thinking about Mellel because of its language support. However, I am also looking toward the future and will likely need to utilize Akkadian and Ugaritic in future studies. I am not sure how this would be supported on the Mac, but perhaps someone else knows.


I can confirm that Hebrew, Arabic, Syr, and Greek will work when exporting as a .doc filetype from Mellel, and opened directly in MS Word 2007. The other languages, Ugaritic and Akkadian export fine, but the specific font used in Mellel is not carried through into Word, and thus these would have to be assigned inside of Word, which might not be what you're after.

Entering Ugaritic and Akkadian can be done on the Mac side: Unicode for Ugaritic, and partially Unicode + massive Private Use area for Akkadian. The glyph index for "Cuneiform" submitted to Unicode was driven by Sumerian largely, and pays no regard to NA (Neo-Assyrian), or OB (Old Babylonian) cursive or lapidary. So, for example, to enter the sign AM would require knowing that it is a complex sign made of GUD x KUR. Many intermediate/advanced students of Akkadian might not ever make this connection and be lost as to why AM is missing. To address this obstacle, I wrote my own input method inside OS X Leopard that lets me assign the NA or OB sign names to these "complex" signs, so entering AM is as simple as entering AM. This also allowed me to enter homophones, e.g. tu, tú, and tu15 which all appear in Gilgámeš.

I would only use a Unicode compliant Ugaritic font, and not some clumsy hack. Same goes with Akkadian. I know there's a popular font supplier (remaining nameless) out there for ancient Near Eastern languages, but I can no longer recommend their products until they address issues of kerning/metrics on their Hebrew font (which they seem to have no interest in fixing). Nice people, but just have a broken Hebrew font. For Hebrew just use Ezra SIL. We can talk about this stuff off list unless there's a massive demand for the topic here.


(3) Any general information on the interaction of Bookends and DevonThink with Mellel would be appreciated.
BE works seamlessly with Mellel. To cite inside DevonThink, you'd likely just export the citation directly. Which style are you using to cite? If you're using SBL, let me know. I've been scrambling to rewrite the Bookends SBL stylesheet. The one that was supplied by a user seems to have massive issues.

(5) I would also be interested in feedback from anyone who has published using the Mac platform. What do you use?
I know the journal Ma‘arav accepts Mellel. They just might be ahead of the curve though. Most other places might dictate Word only. Bookends also works with XeLaTeX (TeX), but I doubt any NELC/ANE journal would know what to do with such a filetype.

(6) The only other Mac native app (of which I am aware) besides MS Word that has cross-referencing is Nisus Writer Pro. How does this compare to Mellel? (My problem with Mellel is that I really need cross-referencing and I cannot afford to wait on them).
I really really tried to like Nisus Writer Pro, but it was unstable—repeatedly. Effectively it is like TextEdit but with a massive amount of enhancements. I say it's like TextEdit because Nisus chose to go with Apple's AAT font techonology rather than OT Opentype (which Mellel uses). I've forgotten all of my issues with it, but in the end, I went from Word (worthless-ware for me), to Mellel (frustrated with non page-breaking tables and sometimes awkward interface), to XeLaTex (real typesetting that unfortunately our field is not ready for), to Nisus (the crash master), and finally back to Mellel.

Let me know If I've missed something. I've been through all of this before, and it can really be frustrating.

Thank you in advance for all of your help.
[/quote]

Edited by Thomas, 12 December 2008 - 11:27 AM.





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