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

Wednesday, April 23, 2008  

Anchor Bible Dictionary: Back and Better Than Ever

A while back, I blogged about the importance of Anchor Bible Dictionary, not only as a seminal resource for Biblical studies, but also as the impetus for creating many of the features Accordance users enjoy today.

A few months after that post, Anchor Bible Dictionary was sold to another publisher, and we had to suspend sales of the product until we could negotiate a contract with the new publisher. I'm pleased to say that all of that has now been resolved, and we are once again able to offer Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary for sale.

This new edition of Anchor has been updated with various corrections and extensive improvements to the hypertext links.

If you've been waiting for Anchor to be made available again, the wait is over. Anchor is on sale through the end of May for just $249, and those who already own Anchor (and Accordance 7) can get the updated edition for a whopping ten bucks!

I placed my order for the upgrade on Monday and can't wait for it to arrive.

I can't imagine life, let alone Accordance without the Anchor Bible Dictionary.

Now, if we could just get table creation added to user tools... :-)

This is excellent news! I've been waiting for this!

I just bought AYBD and it's very helpful, but honestly, could the interface be any more clunky? Maybe I'm just using it wrong, but after I find an entry, shouldn't I be able to run a textual search limited to that entry?

Tonight I searched under the "entry" mode for "heave offering", which redirected me to "Sacrifice and sacrifical offerings." So far, so good. But then how do I find where "heave offering" is mentioned in that article? If I click the down "mk" arrow, nothing happens. If I switch to "english content" and run the search again, it goes to the first instance of "heave offering" in the *entire dictionary*, when it should go to the first one after the cursor--within the "sacrifice" article, right?

I've actually gotten to the point where I text-block an entire article and paste it into MS Word just so I can run a normal text search.

Also, since there's no way to isolate the article in its own window, the scroll bar at the left of the window is useless--move it just a little bit, and you've already jumped to a whole other article. So if it's a long article, and you have to skim it looking for the content you want, you're stuck scrolling through with the cursor, which inexplicably jams every few lines, wasting a bunch of time. The Browser bar on the left helps a little bit, but you have to continually play with the arrows to get it to show you which article you're on. To jump quickly to the bibliography of an article, I find myself going to the next article and trying to scroll up -- but then the cursor sticks, sometimes halfway through the bibliography, for no particular reason.

In the end, I feel like I spend most of my time in this tool trying to figure out why I've accidentally switched to an entirely different entry, and wondering how to get back to where I started.

I really hope this gets improved in a (free) update soon. Shouldn't each entry pop up in its own window, which can stay open and be rearranged like everything else? Isn't that the *whole point* of having the tool within Accordance's interface?

On the whole, Accordance is very well designed, but this $250 tool is just annoying and embarrassing. I guess I'm glad I have it since it saves trips to the library, but it could hardly be less helpful in the way it's designed.

Scott, if you need help, posting to our user forums or e-mailing us directly is much more effective than posting a comment on an old blog post. I can try to help you here, but I have no idea if you'll ever check back here to see this comment!

To do what you want, option-click the triangle labeled Browser to expand the browser to the current article. Now option-click the name of the sacrifice article to highlight it in the browser. From this point on, any subsequent searches you perform will be restricted to this article.

Now if you switch to English content and search for "heave offering," Accordance will search just in the article on sacrifice. Unfortunately, this particular search is still likely to frustrate you, since "heave offering" is not found in the Sacrifice article!

If you still want to display just the sacrifice article so that you can make more effective use of the scroll bar, keep that article selected in the browser and enter an asterisk (*) in the search entry box. Then choose Articles rather than All Text from the Show pop-up menu.

By the way, if you find that you have inexplicably jumped to some other article, you need only click the Previous button which should appear at the bottom of the window.

In short, everything you're wanting to do with Anchor can easily be done. I'm not sure why scrolling is presenting problems for you, but as I said, if you e-mail us directly, we'll be happy to help you.

Ah, that's a very clever solution, plus it's a good example that should help me when I need to jury-rig other kinds of searches. Thanks for the help--especially for responding so quickly. Sorry to vent on your blog.

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