Accordance Blog
Sep 23, 2016 David Sanford

Personal Libraries—Past, Present, and Future

[Editor’s Note: We recently welcomed David to our marketing team, and asked him to plunge right in writing a few blog posts as a newbie. This is the second in that series.]Bookshelf

Until age 52, I enjoyed a house full of bookshelves and untold thousands of books. This was true despite living in a variety of homes over the years. Before moving to home #11, though, a wild and almost exuberant question unexpectedly slipped from behind the curtains and took center stage in my mind.

Even today, I hesitate to write the question, let alone publish it: “Do I really want to keep lugging all of these books with me wherever I go for the next 52 years?”

This was no small question! Of course, the answer was obvious. Especially for someone who has spent his entire adult life in the book publishing world. First, as the conceptual designer and executive editor for study and specialty Bibles published by Zondervan, Tyndale, Nelson, and others. Second, as the author, co-author, editor, or executive editor for a number of Bible-related books. Third, as the editor of 100+ books. Fourth, as the literary agent for 300+ books. Fifth, as a contributor to or endorser of dozens of books. Sixth, as a judge for several regional and national book awards. Seventh, as an avid reader who writes notes in his favorite books and can’t stand to part with any.

Still, I was haunted: “Do I really want to keep lugging a ton of books wherever I go for the next 52 years?”

In the end, I gave away more than 95% of my personal library. Many of the books now reside at Africa College of Theology in Rwanda. Many more reside in other libraries, in the offices of pastors and youth pastors, and in the homes of many friends and family.

Fast-forward to a few days ago. I installed Accordance 11 and now have more books than ever--instantly accessible, instantly searchable, instantly informing me more accurately and thoroughly than any huge stack of printed books ever could.

This, I realized, is the amazing library I will take with me, wherever I go, for the rest of my life!


Dec 1, 2014 David Lang

The Library Goes to 11

Accordance 11 is here, and we’ve been playfully alluding to a scene from This is Spinal Tap in which a guitarist boasts that his amplifiers “go to 11,” which is “one louder” than the usual maximum volume of 10. In this series of blog posts, I want to look at how specific features of Accordance now “go to 11.” We’ll start with the Library.

Ever since we added tools such as commentaries and dictionaries way back in Accordance 2.0 (nearly twenty years ago!), we have divided those tools into five categories based on how those resources were organized.

Type of Tool


Where You Would Find…

English Tool

English Alphabetical Order

Bible Dictionaries, Topical Resources, etc.

Greek Tool

Greek Alphabetical Order

Greek Lexicons

Hebrew Tool

Hebrew Alphabetical Order

Hebrew Lexicons

Reference Tool

Bible Verse Order

Commentaries, Cross-References, Translation and Study Bible Notes, Outlines

General Tool

Any Other Method (Chapter and Section, Calendar Date, etc.)

Historical Works, Systematic Theologies, Devotional Literature, Grammars, etc.

This system of categorizing tools was simple and objective, but it also required some explaining and was not immediately obvious to new users. After all, you don't walk into a bookstore or library and find all the alphabetized resources on one shelf and all the verse-based resources on another.

ToolCategories Somewhere around Accordance 6 or 7 we enabled you to subdivide the resources within these five categories however you liked. Within Reference Tools, for example, you might create a folder for all your commentaries, another for your Study Bibles, another for Cross References, and another for Critical Apparatuses. This made a lot of you—especially those with large libraries—very happy. Still, you could only create subcategories within the five categories listed above. There was no way to move a Greek grammar out of General Tools and into Greek Tools, for example.

That has all changed in Accordance 11, which now organizes your Tool modules into 23 distinct—and far more intuitive—categories. Not only that, but these top-level categories are now completely flexible. You can rename them, delete them, create new top-level categories, or even place modules outside of any category.

New Accordance users will see their modules organized into these categories automatically, but those of you who upgrade to 11 can decide whether you want to move to the new system or stick with the old one. Just click Organize Library in the Setup Assistant to have all your Tool modules reorganized. Just be aware that you'll lose any custom folders you've created.


Important: Before you move to the new system, be sure to select Check for Content Updates… from the Accordance menu (on Mac) or the Utilities menu (on Windows) and update any modules you've purchased to the latest versions. The information that tells Accordance where to put each resource is built into the module itself, and if you have an old version of a module, you may find commentaries and lexicons being placed in the Other Books category.

Any new modules you purchase from this point should automatically be placed in the proper categories, so you shouldn't need to click the Organize Library button again.

Now that your modules are organized into these categories, you can begin adding subfolders, moving modules around, and generally making your library your own. If you don't agree with where we've placed a module, just move it into a different category. For example, our newly released N.T. Wright books are all grouped together under Writings, but we could just as reasonably have chosen to place some of them under Biblical Studies, others under Theological, etc. If you would prefer to organize them that way, go right ahead.

It's your Library, and it now "goes to 11."


Apr 12, 2013 David Lang

Powerful Preferences: Workspace Settings

This is the fourth in a series of posts on Accordance preferences. We've already covered the General and Appearance settings. Today, we'll look at the Workspace settings.


The first three options all have to do with the look and behavior of workspace zones. The active zone in a workspace is highlighted with a certain color. You can change this color by choosing a new one from the pop-up menu labeled Active Zone Color.

The next option lets you specify the maximum number of zones that can be opened in any given workspace. If you have a small screen, you may find that the third, fourth, or fifth zone that opens is too just too small to be useful. If you set the Default Maximum Zones pop-up to two, then Accordance can open no more than two zones in that workspace. If you open a resource that requires a third zone, Accordance will display that new zone in a separate workspace.

Now, even if you choose to set a maximum number of zones, that only prevents Accordance from opening more than that number of zones in a workspace. You are still free to drag a tab into a separate zone in order to create more zones than your default maximum.

Another option for small screens (or even those with large screens who like to save a little space) is Hide tab area if only a single tab. When you check this option, Accordance will show only a small title area for zones that only contain a single tab. As soon as a second tab is opened in that zone, the zone title area will increase in height to accommodate the two tabs.


Workspace with "Hide tab area" option unchecked


Workspace with "Hide tab area" option checked

The next three options have to do with how the Library and Instant Details panels operate. First, you can choose to have the Library always open as a popover rather than as a panel. Whenever you have a workspace that is too narrow or has too many zones to allow room for the Library to open as a panel, Accordance will automatically open the Library as a panel. If you want the Library to appear that way no matter how much room there is, simply check this option. Whatever your preference, you can always override it by holding down the shift key when you click the Library icon in the toolbar. In other words, if your default is to have the Library display as a panel, you can always force it to display as a popover by holding the shift key. If your default is to have it display as a popover, you can likewise force it to display as a panel.


Workspace with Library displayed as a panel


Workspace with Library displayed as a popover

If you would like the Library to be open whenever you create a new workspace, leave the previous option unchecked and check Add Library to new workspaces. If you would like the Instant Details to be displayed whenever you create a new workspace, check Add Instant Details to new workspaces.

The final option is to Limit window size of new workspaces. With this option checked, Accordance will open new workspaces at a specific size rather than having them fill the screen. If you have a really large monitor and you want Accordance to remain in one portion of the screen, you might want to consider this option.


Dec 7, 2012 David Lang

Organizing Your Library: English Tools

Last week, I showed you how I organize all the Text modules in my Accordance Library. Today we'll look at how I organize my English Tools. This is, of course, simply the way I organize my modules. You may find my system worthy of emulation, or you may decide it isn't for you. Whichever is true, I hope this series will get you thinking about how best to organize your own Accordance library.

Remember that you can open your Library in Accordance 10 simply by clicking the Library icon on the Toolbar. To filter your library so that it only shows the Tools, click the Tools button at the bottom of the Library panel. To view your English Tools, simply click the disclosure triangle for that category.


What are English Tools? They are not merely study aids primarily written in English, but rather resources which are organized by the English (or more properly the Latin) alphabet. So this is where you'll find all your Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias, word study books, topical Bibles, alphabetized collections of quotations, etc. If it's a book arranged in English alphabetical order, then you'll find it under English tools.

Since dictionaries are the most obvious kind of resource in this category, I have all my more general kinds of dictionaries pushed to the top of the list. With the exception of the dictionaries from InterVarsity Press, which I keep grouped in a folder, I leave most of my dictionaries at the top level of the English Tools category. That way, when I open the corresponding English Tools menus throughout the program, I don't have to navigate through a submenu to access my most used dictionaries.

As far as the order of my dictionaries is concerned, I have Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary at the top of my English Tools so that it will be the dictionary that opens whenever I triple-click an English word. Below that I have other general Bible dictionaries, followed by the aforementioned IVP folder. Inside the IVP folder, I start with a general reference, the New Bible Dictionary, followed by the more specialized Old Testament and New Testament dictionaries and dictionaries devoted to specific topics. The various IVP Pocket Dictionaries are at the bottom of this list. After the IVP Dictionaries, I have the Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. If I didn't have Anchor, Eerdmans would likely be higher up in my list, but since it is similar to Anchor in scope and perspective, yet not as exhaustive in its treatment of each subject, I've placed it here.

After that I have an admittedly odd chain of connections. The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism comes next because it is by the same publisher as the Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. After that, I have the JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words—different publisher, but loosely related subject matter. I say "loosely" because the Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism offers a scholarly level treatment of Judaism during the period between the fourth century BC and the second century AD. The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, on the other hand, defines modern Jewish expressions and practices, such as hanukkah and mazel tov. Still, it seems fitting to me to keep these two together. After that I have some lesser used dictionaries including older Bible dictionaries, Webster's English Dictionary, and some Zondervan dictionaries which are basically abridgments of the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible (ZEB).


Beneath these more general dictionaries, I have folders for more specialized kinds of alphabetized resources. These include Word Studies, which contains various books dealing with key biblical concepts and the Greek or Hebrew words behind them. Next I have History/Biography, Geography (where I keep the Bible Lands PhotoGuide), and Quotes. Note that Quotes contains collections of quotes which are alphabetized by subject matter. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, which is arranged chronologically rather than alphabetically, is a General Tool and so does not appear in this category. Finally, I have Topical resources, and a folder named Translations. This contains glossaries and other alphabetized helps which are usually included with a particular translation of the Bible. For example, the HCSB translation includes bullets beside key words which point to a glossary in the back of most print editions. We include the HCSB Bullets glossary as an English Tool. I've placed it, and similar resources, in this Translations folder.

Last of all, I have the Latin Dictionary and the database of Accordance Module Info. These don't really merit a folder of their own and I rarely consult them, so I just have them floating at the bottom of the list.

That's how I have my English Tools arranged, and I hope it helps some of you think through your own systems of organization. If you have a different system you'd like to share, feel free to do so in the comments on this post.


Nov 30, 2012 David Lang

Organizing Your Library: Texts

OrganizeTexts1 At the recent training seminar in Chicago, one of the attendees asked me to share my system of Library organization. I didn't have an easy way to do it on the spot, but I did promise to get that to him "somehow." On the assumption that others may find this helpful, "somehow" will be a series of blog posts on each major module category. You may find my system worthy of emulation, or you may decide it isn't for you. Whichever is true, I hope this series will get you thinking about how best to organize your own Accordance library.

First, let's open the Library. In Accordance 10, opening the Library panel is as simple as clicking the Library icon on the Toolbar. To filter your library so that it only shows the Texts, click the Texts button at the bottom of the Library panel.

As you can see from the screenshot at right, I've created three folders at the top of my texts containing all my tagged Greek New Testament, Hebrew Bible, and Greek Septuagint texts. I've also added a divider line between those folders and my most used English Bibles.

Because the way you organize your modules in the Library gets reflected in all the corresponding Text and Tool menus, I do not group my main English Bibles in a folder. By leaving them at the top level of my Texts listing, I can select them quickly from the menus without having to dig through a submenu.

OrganizeTexts2 Beneath my most used English Bibles, I have folders for lesser used Text modules. These include other English and modern translations, as well as other bodies of literature, such as our various original texts and translations of the Pseudepigrapha, Apocryphal Literature, Church Fathers, etc. By grouping these lesser used texts in folders at the bottom of my list of Texts, I can still easily find them in the various text menus, but I don't have to scroll past them to get to my most used Bibles.

Well, that's how I organize my Text modules. I hope this helps some of you think through your own system of organization. If you have a different system you'd like to share, feel free to do so in the comments on this post.


Jul 21, 2011 David Lang

Creating Groups is Easy in 9.4

The other day I showed how to use Accordance's Search All feature to find commentaries which discuss a selected passage. In that post, I mentioned that I selected a custom group containing all my commentaries rather than having Accordance search all my modules. In this post, I want to show you how to create such groups—a process which is now made easier by the improved Library searching in Accordance 9.4.

To create a custom group of modules, simply scroll down to the bottom of the Library window until you see a folder labeled My Groups. Click on this folder to select it, then click the gear pop-up at the bottom of the Library window. In the menu that appears, choose Add folder.


Now give your new folder a name. I'm going to place all my Zondervan resources in this folder, so I'll name it Zondervan.

Now that you've created a group, you can add modules to it by dragging them into that folder, or you can select a series of modules, then click the Gear button at the bottom of the Library and choose the name of your group from the Add to User Group submenu.

In this case, I'm just going to enter Zondervan in the search field of the Library window. Instantly I get a listing of nearly fifty modules which have been published by Zondervan. Now I'll just select them all by clicking the first module and shift-clicking the last, then I'll choose my new Zondervan group from the Add to User Group submenu of the Gear pop-up menu.


Just like that, I have a custom group of modules I can use in a Search All or amplify to via the Resource palette or contextual menus.


Jul 20, 2011 David Lang

Accordance 9.4 is Here

I'm pleased to announce that Accordance 9.4 is now available. This free update for anyone with Accordance 9 includes some really cool enhancements you'll soon wonder how you ever lived without.

Library Search The link I just gave summarizes the new features really well, so I'll just mention two of my favorites. The first is the ability to search your library by Module name, full Title, Author, Publisher, or Any Category. This makes it much easier to find your modules even when you can't remember the module name. Want to find every commentary you own? Type "commentary" in the Library search field. Want to see all your Greek texts and lexicons? Enter "Greek."

My second favorite feature of Accordance 9.4 is that you can now hover over a footnote marker in a Bible text to see the note in the Instant Details box. If you click on the note marker, the appropriate Notes module will open in an automatically-tied zone so you can follow hyperlinks or scroll the notes in parallel. It's a feature many of you have been waiting a long time for, and its implementation is really slick.

Footnote Details

Be sure to download the update and begin playing with all the new enhancements. Also, be on the lookout for a new update to Accordance for iOS in the coming days (pending Apple's approval).