Jan 15, 2009 David Lang

More on Organizing Your Library

Yesterday I went through my Library window and showed you how I organize my Text Modules. Today I want to turn to Tools. In Accordance, we divide Tools into five different categories based on the tools' structure:

English Tools, which are distinguished by the blue book icon with the English letter "A," are tools organized in English alphabet order. This includes English Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias, topical resources, books of quotations, and our Bible Lands PhotoGuide.

Greek Tools, which are distinguished by the blue book icon with the Greek letter alpha, are tools organized in Greek alphabet order. This is where you'll find all your Greek lexicons.

Hebrew Tools, which are distinguished by the blue book icon with the Hebrew letter aleph, are tools organized in Hebrew alphabet order. This is where you'll find all your Hebrew lexicons.

Reference Tools, which are distinguished by the blue book icon with 1:1 on the cover, are tools organized in verse reference. This is where you'll find all your commentaries, study Bibles, book outlines, cross-references, critical apparatuses, etc.

General Tools, which are distinguished by the blue book icon with nothing on the cover, are basically any tools which do not fall into the other four categories. Here you'll find systematic theologies, devotionals, historical and literary works, grammars, introductions, etc.

Since some of these categories can contain a wide variety of resources, I try to organize my tool menus so that similar resources are grouped together.

���English Tools.jpg (custom, l, m, s)For example, the screenshot shows how I have my English Tools subdivided. As you can see, I leave most of the main Bible dictionaries at the top level of the English Tools menu, while I group other types of resources into subfolders. Some people might prefer to group all those dictionaries together into a "Dictionaries" folder, but I leave them at the top level because I don't want to dig through submenus to access them.

I've blogged before about how useful I think Anchor Bible Dictionary is. As you can see, it's the dictionary I have placed at the top of my English tools, so that when I triple-click an English word, it is automatically looked up in Anchor. Immediately beneath Anchor, I have other excellent dictionaries and encyclopedias, including a folder for those dictionaries included in the Essential IVP Reference Collection.

Beneath the Bible dictionaries, I have folders for other kinds of tools. The Word Studies folder contains Zondervan's New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words and Renn's Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, two resources which focus on the meaning of Biblical words.

The History/Biography folder contains dictionaries which focus on historical figures, such as Wace's Dictionary of Christian Biography, the New International Dictionary of the Christian ChurchAll the Men of the Bible, All the Women of the Bible, etc.

In the Geography folder I have geographical resources like the Bible Lands PhotoGuide, the Sites and Place Names modules included with the Atlas, and Zondervan's New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology. In the Quotes folder I have the Quotations module included with the Library, as well as the Complete Gathered Gold.

The Topical folder contains topical Bibles like Nave's and Torrey's New Topical Textbook. Finally, the Translations folder contains translation-specific resources, such as the KJV Dictionary or the glossary included with the HCSB.

Since Greek and Hebrew tools pretty much consist of Greek and Hebrew lexicons, and since there aren't nearly as many of those resources to manage, I just leave all of my Greek and Hebrew tools at the top level of the menu, without grouping them into subfolders. The notable exception to this is the Strong's Dictionaries folder I have in each of those categories. That's where I group the Strong's number dictionaries for each of the English Bibles with Key Numbers (the KJVS, ESVS, NAS95S, and NIV-G/K). As for the resources I place at the top of those module categories, I have BDAG at the top of my list of Greek Tools, and HALOT as my default Hebrew tool.

Since Reference Tools and General Tools contain the widest variety and greatest number of tools, I'll deal with those in a future post. In the meantime, I hope this is helpful to some of you.

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