Jun 27, 2011 David Lang

Tool Browser: Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Last Friday I discussed the value of the Tool Browser as a navigation tool and promised to show some other cool features of the browser. The first of these I want to talk about is the Browser's value for showing you where you are in the context of a tool.

For example, let's say I want to see what Grudem's Systematic Theology has to say about Genesis 1:26. I search the Scripture field of that module for =Gen 1:26 (the equals sign tells Accordance to limit the search to where a verse is cited exactly rather than included in a range of verses). The first hit I get is somewhere in the middle of an article, and I want to have some idea of what Grudem is discussing in this article: is it the Trinity, creation, gender, or what? If I'm interested in this verse as it relates to the creation of humanity, I don't want to have to skim a bunch of articles on other theological subjects.

If I open the Browser at this point, I will see the top level of articles, which are broad theological subjects like the Doctrine of God, of Man, of Christ and the Holy Spirit, etc. I'll also see that the section which contains the current article is highlighted.


So without drilling down any further, I can see that this article is in the section on the Doctrine of God. Since I'm interested in the creation of humanity, I might just want to hit the down Mark button until I find a hit in the section on the doctrine of man. Once I get to such a hit, I might want to drill down further to see what is being discussed. By clicking the disclosure triangle for Doctrine of Man I see by the highlight that the current article comes from the chapter on the Creation of Man. I can then drill down a couple more levels to see that this paragraph is part of a discussion of humanity's creation in the image of God. If that's not exactly what I'm looking for, I could click the down Mark button to look for a hit in a different section.


Now, being able to see from the highlight where you are in the article hierarchy of a tool is helpful, but depending on how deeply nested the current article is, you may have to click several disclosure triangles to see that hierarchy in its entirety. But you know we would never require to click things repeatedly right? So here comes the cool shortcut: if you option-click any of the disclosure triangles in the browser, or even the one to open the browser itself, Accordance will automatically expand every article and subarticle containing the current article. So for example, if I had option-clicked to open the Browser when I was looking at the very first hit from my search, the browser would have expanded to show the following:


This simple trick makes it easy to see the forest for the trees when you're examining the results of a search, and that can save you having to skim articles to see if they're really what you're looking for.

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