Oct 6, 2009 David Lang

Who's Your Daddy? Part 2

In yesterday's post, I began offering tips for how to get the most out of Accordance's edition of the Church Fathers. I began by showing how to combine the three modules which comprise the church fathers into a single Search All group. This makes it easy to search for a particular father without having to remember if he appears in the Ante-Nicene series (CF-AN), the Nicene and Post-Nicene series one (CF-NPN1), or the Nicene and Post-Nicene series two (CF-NPN2). Today, I want to show you how to narrow a search to a particular father or even a particular work.

For example, let's say you want to search Augustine's Confessions for references to his mother. As I explained yesterday, the writings of Augustine are found in CF-NPN1, so we'll open that module. We'll then set the field to English Content in order to search the body of each work, and we'll enter mother as our search term. When we click the Find button to perform this search, we get 1279 occurrences!

Why so many hits? Because CF-NPNF1 contains all of Augustine's works as well as the works of Chrysostom. A simple search of that module will therefore find every hit within fourteen separate volumes of material. To narrow your search to a particular portion of this material, click the disclosure triangle labeled Browser. This will open a browser showing the contents of this module. Volume 1 is devoted to Augustine's Confessions and Letters, and if you click the disclosure triangle for that volume you'll see where the actual Confessions begin. Merely clicking that title in the browser will take you to that place in the text, but if you option-click that title, Accordance will highlight that portion of the tool with a red bar. This indicates that all subsequent searches will apply only to the selected portion of the tool. If you run the search for "mother" again, you'll get a much more manageable 63 hits.


Notice that when you've selected a portion of a tool, not only does that portion become highlighted, but any sections which contain that selected portion (such as the title for Volume 1) also become highlighted. That way, even if you close the disclosure triangle for Volume 1 you'll still have visual feedback that you've selected some portion of that volume. In the same way, the label for the Browser itself is also underlined in red, so that even if you close the entire browser, you still have a reminder that any search you perform will apply only to a selected portion of the tool.

To remove the red highlight from a selected portion of a tool, simply hold the option key while clicking on the red bar itself.

This ability to highlight a portion of a tool and search only that portion is particularly useful in a massive body of material like the Church Fathers, but it is also useful in other kinds of tools. For example, Anchor Bible Dictionary often has long articles spanning several pages. If you want to search a particular article, you can option-click that article in the browser to narrow your search.

As you can see, the Tool browser is far more than a navigational tool, and a great way to focus your study of the Church Fathers.

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