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Electronic Commentaries - Long Term?


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#1 RogueMonk

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 06:02 PM

It was 15 years ago. I was in college. I was broke, but I managed to save enough to buy a state of the art, Windows 3.1 based Bible Program. I used that for years. But as technology changed, the program became obsolete--including some of the costly modules I had paid for.

Now I am happily using Accordance. And I like the idea of saving some bookshelf space and having my commentaries all electronic. My fear is, however, that the electronic versions may not live as long as the old fashioned print commentaries.

Any boy have some thoughts here? Perhaps I am looking for a measure of reassurance that just can't be given. But I'd be interested in hearing some other thoughts.


Thanks.

#2 R. Mansfield

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 06:22 PM

Well, 15 years ago, OakTree/Accordance was around. So you just picked the wrong set of electronic books back then :-)

But in all seriousness, the fact that Accordance is an established platform that's been around for two decades (a couple of centuries in computer years) should say a lot.

But to me, such things are a calculated risk. Anything could happen to any company out there. However, flood or fire can destroy your physical books, too. Thus, the physical is not necessarily a better investment than the electronic.

I'm simply going to use what I can use today and leave tomorrow to itself because I have no guarantee of tomorrow. I don't mean that to sound pious at all. I just mean that I need to use what I need to use today. I -do- hope Accordance will still be around in seventy years (which I think would put me at somewhere around 114), and I'm acting as if it will. If it's not, I'll have to make other arrangements at that time.

Actually, by then, we will just upload it directly to our brains and assimilate the content immediately.

Can't wait.

Edited by R. Mansfield, 29 September 2011 - 09:16 PM.

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Rick Mansfield

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#3 RogueMonk

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 07:27 PM

Please don't interpret my post as any sort of complaint or detraction. I already own a couple of the commentary series offered by Accordance. Its just something that has been bouncing around in my thoughts as of late.

Good point re. fire and flood.

#4 Levi Durfey

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 07:46 PM

I've given this some thought also.

Here's a worst case scenario:
Suppose Accordance went out of business today. Would that mean that you couldn't use your books and commentaries? Of course not. Accordance wouldn't stop working on your computer.
Now, 2-5 years down the road, Apple puts out a operating system that finally breaks Accordance. Then what?
Well, you could run the last operating system that Accordance worked on in a Virtual Machine (like Parallels or VMware) on the new operating system. And you could do that for possibly decades.

Here’s another scenario (a little better):
Someone buys out Accordance. Our resources are converted to their standards. We continue on.

Another possibility:
An eBook standard is finally established. Accordance converts to it. What matters then would be the software that the eBooks are used by.

My point is this: there's quite a bit of reason to think that, somehow, we would still be able to use our electronic resources decades from now.

#5 David Lang

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 10:59 AM

As Rick noted, there are certainly no guarantees. The Bible software landscape has changed dramatically over the past 15 years. Many of the major players back then have been limping along on life support for a number of years now, and their customers have certainly been burned. Most of the Bible software developers who were catering to the Mac back then abandoned the Mac in the 1990s. Their decision to go Windows-only didn't really seem to help their survival, since most of them are no longer around either. The few developers who continued to develop for the Mac eventually foundered on the treacherous shoals of PowerPC, then OS X, then Intel. At times I look around at all the Bible software developers who seem to have fallen by the wayside and think of Psalm 91:7.

Many of the Bible programs which have died or are dying have done so because they either stopped innovating or they failed to adjust to changes in technology. They eventually lost the confidence of their users, and their sales dried up as a result. Accordance, on the other hand, has a long history of innovation and Bible software firsts: easy morphological searching, graphical searching, statistical analysis of search results, diagramming, the interactive Atlas, the interactive Timeline, root searching, INFER searching, and on and on it goes.

Some Bible programs have lost (or never managed to gain) the confidence of a broad range of publishers, and have been unable to offer their users both high-end scholarly resources along with a large library of commentaries, dictionaries, and other books. This inability to provide a complete solution has put them at a tremendous disadvantage when compared with programs that could. Accordance is one of the few developers who have successfully licensed a wide array of materials. Our reputation with publishers is stellar, and we now have many publishers approaching us about developing Accordance editions of their resources.

Through it all Accordance has been steadily growing, constantly innovating, adapting to changing technology, and doing so in a way that does not leave our users in a lurch. We have continued to grow in the face of increased competition and an economic downturn . . . and we've done it all without anything close to the sales and marketing efforts of those companies which seem to be falling by the wayside. (Though we're now upping our marketing efforts significantly.) In short, I don't think you have to worry about Accordance following that Windows program you mentioned into obsolescence.

Now to get back to work on Rick's requested brain-upload feature! ;)

P.S.: For more on the advantages of Accordance commentaries over print commentaries, see today's post on the Accordance Blog.
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#6 R. Mansfield

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 09:14 PM

Now to get back to work on Rick's requested brain-upload feature! ;)


Oh good. Since you're working on it, let me throw in a few feature requests.

Not only do I want to be able to upload the texts directly to my brain (I assume that all Bible software will be able to do that when I'm 114), but I also want to be able to immediately assimilate it. This is surely the factor that will distinguish Accordance from all those other Bible software platforms in the future.

So just like in the Matrix where Neo gets an upload and says, "Hey, I know Kung Fu," I want to be able to say, "Hey, I know the entire Peshitta in the Syriac." And then, when I quote it from memory, I believe it will be important that it is spoken in my own voice and not "Fred" from Mac System 7.

Edited by R. Mansfield, 29 September 2011 - 09:15 PM.

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#7 Chuck Schneider

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 10:21 AM

My first purchases of Bible software and content didn't survive the years, either. I was wary of having a similar experience when I first bought Accordance, but that changed over time and now I'm "all in".

The long-term support that Accordance had shown for the classic Mac OS reassured me that any investment on the OS X platform was likely to be around for a long time as well.

I was even more reassured, later, by the fact that Accordance expanded to yet another platform (iOS) and supported all of my purchases (except for timeline & maps) at no extra cost.

The main reason, though, for going completely digital with Accordance was because of the value that I continue to acquire from the software. For example, some of my purchases have included volumes that I already owned in print, but I get so much more out of these same materials by using them in Accordance that it's as though many of these are new to me again.

Accordance has radically improved my Bible study and devotional times. The efficiency of following any train of thought or idea with this software continues to satisfy my questions and curiosity in a way that printed books never will. Even if Accordance ever goes the way of other, extinct Bible software I will never lose the progress and accomplishments that I've made since the time that I went digital.
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#8 Mark Nigro

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:41 AM

I'd like to have 'highlighting' and 'text-to-speech' implemented in the direct-brain-upload version :D

But on a serious note, I'm in the process of selling off the vast majority of my print library. As a missionary church planter, I can't keep lugging around my printed books when we make a move (and I'm facing an imminent one in 2013).

I have also found that, in reality, more and more I am relying on and utilizing electronic resources in Accordance. Which I can take anywhere with me at all times in my MBP or iPad.

In short, I share Rick's perspective on the inherent risks and overall lack of guarantee no matter what you do. Kind of a 'cross that bridge when I get to it' scenario, although I also believe the betting man can safely go with Accordance as David has demonstrated.

For now, I'm going with what works best for my life and ministry right now. And building my Accordance library fits that bill.

Edited by Mark Nigro , 06 September 2012 - 03:53 AM.

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#9 Michael J. Bolesta

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 08:29 AM

I have also found that, in reality, more and more I am relying on and utilizing electronic resources in Accordance. Which I can take anywhere with me at all times in my MBP or iPad.

In short, I share Rick's perspective on the inherent risks and overall lack of guarantee no matter what you do. Kind of a 'cross that bridge when I get to it' scenario, although I also believe the betting man can safely go with Accordance as David has demonstrated.

For now, I'm going with what works best for my life and ministry right now. And building my Accordance library fits that bill.


Concur. Accordance has been a good investment for me personally. The trend toward pervasiveness of electronic resources seems likely to continue. I am not anticipating a move, but when I travel, I read on my iPad rather than lug conventional books. Some of my reading is in Accordance modules. The iOS interface is not perfect, but continues to improve.
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#10 Julie Falling

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 09:00 AM

The main reason, though, for going completely digital with Accordance was because of the value that I continue to acquire from the software. For example, some of my purchases have included volumes that I already owned in print, but I get so much more out of these same materials by using them in Accordance that it's as though many of these are new to me again.

Accordance has radically improved my Bible study and devotional times. The efficiency of following any train of thought or idea with this software continues to satisfy my questions and curiosity in a way that printed books never will. Even if Accordance ever goes the way of other, extinct Bible software I will never lose the progress and accomplishments that I've made since the time that I went digital.


Amen! Accordance has accelerated the learning because amplifying does not require pulling one book after another off a shelf, running out of desk space, and ending up spread out all over the floor. I can get to my resources so quickly. I can mark them up with Highlights. I can add a note in the text to remind myself where to look for a really good discussion, etc. I know lots of people who don't seem to be interested in Bible software. I cannot imagine studying without it at this point.

I also like not having to find room for all the books and not having to dust them!

Additionally, I like being able to actually examine the apparatus of the UBS4 or NA27 w/o a magnifying glass (and, yes, I really do have to resort to one with a hard copy).

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#11 Fr. Rich

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 09:06 AM

It was 43 years ago. I had just finished college. Computers for personal use were still in the future. I had to learn how to use the hard copies of Biblical research volumes. Accordance has reduced what used to take hours, or sometimes days, to accomplish to just a few minutes or even a few seconds. Still, the direct brain upload version seems attractive to me - assuming that my brain could retain it after it had been uploaded!

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#12 Donovan R. Palmer

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 01:56 AM

My first program was Quickverse which was at the time produced by Parsons Technologies. At the time, it was a wonderful Bible program and had a pretty decent Atlas module. Then it was bought out by a number of companies if memory serves me correct, Matel, Intuit and I think another party. It really lost the plot IMHO and was never the same. This to me is the biggest fear I have. People come and go. Succession in any business or organization is the biggest challenge to the future.

In the plus column, the world has changed then and will continue to change with the proliferation of e-resources. When Oaktree announced that they were developing for Windows, this in addition to developing for iOS was a huge insurance policy that your resources will be accessible in the future in some form. To further assist with this, there is now virtualization software. I started on the Mac and after a long period came back to the Mac. I love the Mac in its present state. However, I would never rule out going to another platform in 10 years. Technology is changing. Oaktree being multi-platform gives me some insurance I am not locked in.

What I would love to see happen in the publishing industry is some sort of standard of cross grade discount. Oaktree is the only one that I know that offers a cross grade if you purchased resources in another platform. I think this is brilliant and I wished publishers would establish this all across the industry. I know there are admin and tagging production costs to cover when moving to another software package, so the discount I am talking about is paying for the resource twice. Yet as complicated as publishing contracts are, I don't know if this will ever happen. The STEP format was a shot at it in some sense, but it wasn't the right solution.

Nothing is certain. I am as happy as I can be with what we know. Carrying a bunch of boxes of books around the world is not an option to me. Further, when I gained the ability to read my books on an iPad, this was the last major stepping stone to going completely digital. Now my preferred format is always digital. I hope that the markup and note taking feature of Accordance can grow with time as well.
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