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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Friday, January 19, 2007  

Cool Commentary Search

At MacWorld, I had someone ask me to demonstrate Word Biblical Commentary, so I showed them how you could display it as a pane in parallel with the Bible, how you could open it as a separate window and search it by field, etc. Then I thought I would really wow him with a multi-field search. Unfortunately, I didn't have a good sample search hidden in my bag of demo tricks, and every multi-field search I tried flopped. Just as lawyers are taught the dangers of asking questions they don't already know the answers to, it can sometimes be dangerous to demo something you're not sure is going to work! Oh well, such moments are good for my character, right?

Later in the week, at the Berkeley training seminar, my coworker Greg took a few minutes to demonstrate Word, and he used a really excellent example of multi-field searching that I wished I had thought of during my earlier demo. Here it is for your edification.

Greg began by explaining that the challenge of working with large multi-volume commentaries like Word is that in addition to the comments on specific passages, there may be other references to those passages scattered throughout the other volumes, buried within introductory articles or excursuses (excursi?) which are not easy to locate. How do you mine the full depths of what such massive commentaries have to say about your passage of study?

Greg began with the WBC-NT module and looked up Ephesians 4 in the Reference field. He immediately found the main comments on this passage and pointed out that this passage focuses on the theme of "unity." Greg then opened the WBC-OT module and searched the Scripture field for any place in the Old Testament volumes where Ephesians 4 was cited. This returned 13 hits, but it was clear that the first couple of occurrences focused on aspects of Ephesians 4 other than the theme of unity. So Greg opened up the More options section of the Tool window and added one extra field to be searched. He chose the Content field, entered the word "unity," and clicked OK.

Now he had clear cases where Word Biblical Commentary discussed the theme of unity in Ephesians 4 in its Old Testament volumes! This is valuable commentary which would have been missed if we had just looked up the Ephesians 4 passage in the actual Ephesians volume.

Of course, this kind of multi-field search doesn't just work in Word Biblical Commentary, but Word is so extensive that it provides us with an excellent example of how Accordance can help you access commentaries in ways that would be extremely difficult and time-consuming in print. Try this search with your favorite commentary and you'll likely be surprised at what you'll find.

By the way, Word is very near release and can still be pre-ordered for just $599. After this month the price will go up to $899, so if you can possibly swing it, now is the best time to order Word Biblical Commentary.

Nice search tip! Looking forward to getting my hands on that set when it is released.

I've been trying to decide if I want to put up the cash for this set before it goes up in price. I'm not convinced, however, that I want the complete set. Will these be sold as individual volumes in the future?




It is my understanding that Nelson's plan is eventually to offer individual volumes of Word for sale, but I would guess that's close to a year away. The current sale price works out to be about $10 per volume. I can almost guarantee that when individual volumes are made available, the cost for each volume will be significantly higher. If you only want a handful of volumes, you might save by buying them individually. If, however, you think you'll want a large subset of Word, you may do better just to buy the whole set at the pre-release price. Hope this helps.

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