Have any of you tried importing a Bible yet? This is by far the biggest new feature in Accordance 7.2. Some of you have already successfully imported a new Bible or two. Others may have tried and run into errors which stopped the import. In this post, I'll talk a little about some of the issues I ran into when importing Bibles into Accordance.
The first thing I tried was exporting a Bible text from an older Mac Bible program and then importing it into Accordance. We have a lot of users who have said they still use some legacy program because it has a certain Bible text they like to consult, so I wanted to make sure the import Bible feature would meet their needs. In general, texts exported from other programs went very smoothly. First, I could export them as a single text file. Second, most programs handle the challenges of versification differences among versions by forcing everything to conform to the common English system, so versification wasn't an issue with these Bibles. Bibles exported from other programs were typically easy to import.
Bible texts downloaded from the web can be another matter altogether. The next thing I tried was to find Tyndale's New Testament and Wycliffe's translation online. I managed to find some e-texts here which I could download directly to my computer. Clicking these links downloaded a folder containing one text file for each book, so the first thing I had to do was to put all these files together into a single text file. That was a little bit of work, but not that big a deal.
Once I had that done, I had to use find-and-replace to format the files properly, with each verse on a single line, with proper chapter and book references, etc. It's here that a good text editor with some kind of pattern matching capability comes in handy. You can try BBEdit, TextWrangler (free), and possibly Nisus Writer Express. Personally, I still favor an ancient text editor for Classic, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone else (if you can even find it anymore).
Since I do this kind of stuff all the time, it didn't take me long to get my Tyndale and Wycliffe texts ready for import. When I tried to import the two Bibles, Tyndale imported just fine. I may have had a few errors I had to go back and fix for the import to work successfully, but it basically imported without any problems. Wycliffe, however, was another matter. I discovered to my chagrin that Wycliffe follows the versification of the Latin Vulgate (and in some cases its own unique numbering), which meant repeated error messages telling me I had to go back and make Wycliffe's versification conform to the common English references.
Now, here's a tip if you run into this. When I went back to my Wycliffe text file, I would change the "erroneous" verse numbers at the beginning of the line, but then I would put the original Wycliffe reference in brackets after the text. That way, I still preserve the original referencing system Wycliffe used. Here's an example of what I mean:
21 And now, for Y woot, that thou schalt regne moost certeynli, and schalt haue in thin hond the rewme of Israel, swere thou to me in the Lord, [24:22] that thou do not a wei my seed aftir me, nether take a wey my name fro the hows of my fadir.
22 [24:23] And Dauid swoor to Saul. Therfor Saul yede in to his hows, and Dauid and hise men stieden to sikire placis.
Here you can see that Wycliffe has an "extra" verse when compared with the common English numbering system. The latter part of verse 21 is numbered as verse 22, and verse 22 is therefore numbered as verse 23. I "fixed" this by removing the return before Wycliffe's verse 22, making it a part of verse 21, but I also preserved Wycliffe's reference by placing it brackets. Then I changed Wycliffe's verse 23 to the 22 which Accordance's import feature expects, yet again I preserved Wycliffe's numbering by placing it in brackets.
This is how it looks in Accordance when placed in parallel with the KJV:
Wycliffe has proven to have so many versification issues like this that I have yet to finish it. Fortunately, Accordance allows you to import partial Bible texts.
As you can see from these examples, importing Bibles can be a challenge depending on where you get the e-text from, how it happens to be formatted, and how it handles versification. But with a little effort, most of these issues are easily overcome.
In my next post, I'll talk about my experiments with importing a Polish Bible which uses accent characters which are not in the standard English fonts.