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Thursday, July 17, 2008  

Worth a Thousand Words

I love all the Bible texts, translations, commentaries, and lexical aids that I have access to in Accordance, but I get especially excited about those resources that offer images and other visual aids. The Accordance web-site lists those modules which are particularly focused on graphics—such as our Atlas, our PhotoGuide, and our Timeline—but it doesn't list every resource which includes photos, maps, or other useful graphics. In this post, I'd like to focus on those resources in the new Library 8 which offer images "worth a thousand words."

Holman Dictionary. The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary is included in the Introductory Level, and includes more than 700 color photographs, maps, charts, and illustrations. The photographs are not as high-resolution as those in the PhotoGuide, but most will still look good when projected on a large screen. The maps include excellent artistic renderings and even 3-D views. By far my favorite images are the artistic reconstructions of ancient cities (like Jerusalem, Jericho, and Rome), structures (like the Tabernacle, various temples, Israelite houses, etc.), and weapons (such as a Roman ballista or siege engine). You can search the caption field for "reconstruction" to find most of these.

NET Notes. The Notes to the NET Bible include about a dozen 3-D maps of various regions within Israel, along with some simple line-drawn maps.

Bible Art. The Accordance Gallery of Bible Art is one of my favorite Accordance modules. It is a reference tool containing artistic depictions of Biblical scenes. It includes paintings, engravings, mosaics, and sculptures by such masters as Doré, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Rubens, Rembrandt, etc. Because it's a reference tool, you can display it in a pane alongside the text of the Bible to create your own illustrated Bible. I use it to help "flesh out" Bible stories for my children, and to find images which can be used in slide shows, documents, Christmas letters, etc.

Holman Charts. The Holman Book of Biblical Charts, Maps, and Reconstructions is included with the Standard Level of the Library 8. In print, this book was designed to take the best illustrations from Broadman and Holman's various reference works and publish them all in a large, flip-chart style format that would be useful in a small group study setting. It's divided into three sections: Charts, Maps, and Reconstructions. The charts are all colorful tables covering everything from ancient numbering systems and archaeological periods to the doctrinal differences among various Christian denominations to the family trees of various Biblical figures. The maps are relatively simple, and I don't think they're as attractive as those in the Holman Dictionary, but they're still quite useful. Again, the reconstructions are my favorite part of this module. Many of these are identical to those in the Holman Dictionary, but there is not complete overlap. You'll find reconstructions in the Dictionary which are not in the Charts, and vice versa. At the end of the Charts module, a cross-reference includes links from each chart, map, or reconstruction to the articles in the dictionary which contain them. So you can search or browse the Charts module and then jump to the dictionary for more in depth information.

Other Sources: Other modules included in various Library 8 packages contain images, but not to the same extent that the modules just mentioned do. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) has a fair number of older black-and-white photos and line drawings. If you ever need an image of someone like Spurgeon or Calvin, many of the modules which contain the selected works of certain authors will include portraits of those authors on the title page.

Along with our various Graphic Resources like the Atlas and Timeline, the new Library 8 provides a great deal of visual material which is worth many thousands of words.

Thanks for the post! Yet another incentive for me to upgrade to Library 8. Thanks for putting these blogs together. It is a good way for me to get more out of Accordance and it comes in manageable daily chunks. Thanks!

Those are great. It's difficult to overstate how powerful the right graphical element can add to a teaching time.

I'd love to see a package/set that was just graphics, or see them all available as individual modules. I don't know about most users, but after buying the Scholar's Library I've purchased most of my stuff piece-meal. I have sometimes been frustrated that a title isn't available unless I buy a whole set.

It would be helpful, at least, to have some sort of shopping cart tool that worked like this: I go through and select the different tools and volumes I want (creating a shopping list/wish list of sorts) and it would tell me the most affordable way(s) to get them all.

Just a thought.

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