Dec 7, 2012 David Lang

Organizing Your Library: English Tools

Last week, I showed you how I organize all the Text modules in my Accordance Library. Today we'll look at how I organize my English Tools. This is, of course, simply the way I organize my modules. You may find my system worthy of emulation, or you may decide it isn't for you. Whichever is true, I hope this series will get you thinking about how best to organize your own Accordance library.

Remember that you can open your Library in Accordance 10 simply by clicking the Library icon on the Toolbar. To filter your library so that it only shows the Tools, click the Tools button at the bottom of the Library panel. To view your English Tools, simply click the disclosure triangle for that category.


What are English Tools? They are not merely study aids primarily written in English, but rather resources which are organized by the English (or more properly the Latin) alphabet. So this is where you'll find all your Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias, word study books, topical Bibles, alphabetized collections of quotations, etc. If it's a book arranged in English alphabetical order, then you'll find it under English tools.

Since dictionaries are the most obvious kind of resource in this category, I have all my more general kinds of dictionaries pushed to the top of the list. With the exception of the dictionaries from InterVarsity Press, which I keep grouped in a folder, I leave most of my dictionaries at the top level of the English Tools category. That way, when I open the corresponding English Tools menus throughout the program, I don't have to navigate through a submenu to access my most used dictionaries.

As far as the order of my dictionaries is concerned, I have Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary at the top of my English Tools so that it will be the dictionary that opens whenever I triple-click an English word. Below that I have other general Bible dictionaries, followed by the aforementioned IVP folder. Inside the IVP folder, I start with a general reference, the New Bible Dictionary, followed by the more specialized Old Testament and New Testament dictionaries and dictionaries devoted to specific topics. The various IVP Pocket Dictionaries are at the bottom of this list. After the IVP Dictionaries, I have the Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. If I didn't have Anchor, Eerdmans would likely be higher up in my list, but since it is similar to Anchor in scope and perspective, yet not as exhaustive in its treatment of each subject, I've placed it here.

After that I have an admittedly odd chain of connections. The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism comes next because it is by the same publisher as the Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. After that, I have the JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words—different publisher, but loosely related subject matter. I say "loosely" because the Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism offers a scholarly level treatment of Judaism during the period between the fourth century BC and the second century AD. The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, on the other hand, defines modern Jewish expressions and practices, such as hanukkah and mazel tov. Still, it seems fitting to me to keep these two together. After that I have some lesser used dictionaries including older Bible dictionaries, Webster's English Dictionary, and some Zondervan dictionaries which are basically abridgments of the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible (ZEB).


Beneath these more general dictionaries, I have folders for more specialized kinds of alphabetized resources. These include Word Studies, which contains various books dealing with key biblical concepts and the Greek or Hebrew words behind them. Next I have History/Biography, Geography (where I keep the Bible Lands PhotoGuide), and Quotes. Note that Quotes contains collections of quotes which are alphabetized by subject matter. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, which is arranged chronologically rather than alphabetically, is a General Tool and so does not appear in this category. Finally, I have Topical resources, and a folder named Translations. This contains glossaries and other alphabetized helps which are usually included with a particular translation of the Bible. For example, the HCSB translation includes bullets beside key words which point to a glossary in the back of most print editions. We include the HCSB Bullets glossary as an English Tool. I've placed it, and similar resources, in this Translations folder.

Last of all, I have the Latin Dictionary and the database of Accordance Module Info. These don't really merit a folder of their own and I rarely consult them, so I just have them floating at the bottom of the list.

That's how I have my English Tools arranged, and I hope it helps some of you think through your own systems of organization. If you have a different system you'd like to share, feel free to do so in the comments on this post.

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