Jun 24, 2011 David Lang

Who Needs a Table of Contents?

Did you know that Accordance module developers routinely strip out information from the e-texts we receive? That's right. We select a big chunk of text and just hit the delete key. Often the text we delete has been carefully prepared with hypertext links to other parts of the text—links someone worked hard to put in there. We don't care. It gets left on the cutting room floor.

What information could we possibly be so cavalier about tossing aside? The Table of Contents. Many of the e-texts we receive have a detailed table of contents at the beginning which has been fully linked to each chapter and section. The creators of the e-text intend for it to be used as the primary means of navigation, but to us, it's redundant and just adds to the stuff you have to scroll past at the beginning of a book. That's because the Accordance tool browser does everything a table of contents does and more.

Every Accordance tool has a browser which can be opened by clicking the disclosure triangle labeled Browser. The browser lists every article and subarticle in the tool, and you can drill down as far as you like. Once you've found an article that interests you, simply click it to navigate to that portion of the tool.


The advantage of a browser over a table of contents is that you can open it no matter where you are in the tool. A table of contents requires you to scroll back to the beginning of a resource in order to navigate somewhere else.

In addition to functioning as a convenient means of navigation, the browser can be used in a variety of other ways: to select a portion of a tool to search, to see where your current article fits into the overall structure of the tool, and more. In future posts, I'll show you how to harness the power of the Tool browser.

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Archived Comments

Jon Aalborg

June 24, 2011 6:21 PM


I love the browser, but I would love it even more if it could be used with my WBC-NT/OT when I display two text panes above and the commentary across the entire screen width below. I can only get the Browser to work (to be visible as an option even) when the reference tool is positioned side-by-side with the text, which calls for a much wider screen than I've got. (OK, so it's a good reason to buy a new 27" iMac!) 

Any plans to implement that?


David Lang

June 24, 2011 6:57 PM

The browser does not appear when a tool is displayed as a "pane" within a search tab, but you could open the tool in a separate zone and drag the tool zone beneath your text rather than beside it. That said, I don't want to take away an excuse to buy a 27" iMac! ;-)

Dr. J

June 27, 2011 5:05 PM

David's suggestion also allows users to have two instances of the same commentary open to two different places. Why would anyone want to do that? It's nice to be able to have a commentary open to the introductory matter of a book in the Bible (where the browser is really useful); it's also nice to have it open to the exact passage one is investigating. With this method, we can have both at the same time!