November is always a busy month for us with new releases and our participation in the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). Maybe you were able to attend one or both of these conferences and drop by our booth. But if you weren’t there this year, here are a few highlights!
Accordance Bible Software always has a tremendous presence at these events in which we create an open area for old and new customers to come sit down, learn, ask questions, and experience Accordance for themselves. This year was no exception as we set up our Accordance demo areas in Providence, Rhode Island for ETS (November 15-17) and Boston for SBL (November 18-21). We ran non-stop demos for all seven days of both conferences combined. We previewed the new features of Accordance that will be available any day in the free upgrade to version 12.2 as well as showing off a number of new titles for the Accordance Bible Software Library. We also demoed at a smaller booth at the meetings of The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) from November 15-18 in Boston.
Anyone who was willing to sit down for a demo of any kind was able to enter our drawings which were held at the end of the second conference. Matthew C. won an iPad Pro; Ben Shin won 10 of our special English, Greek or Hebrew Starter Collections for his students; and Todd Chipman won a $200 Accordance gift certificate!
At both conferences, the Accordance booth is a great place to rub shoulders with well-known biblical scholars who use Accordance. This year, Dan Wallace dropped by to record a video describing A Reader's Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers that we released earlier this year for Accordance. You can read Dr. Wallace’s blog post about the Reader’s Lexicon and watch the video on his website, and you might even catch a discount code if you act quickly!
We also enjoy meeting so many interesting Accordance users at these scholarly meetings. Longtime Accordance user and webinar instructor Abram Kielsmeier-Jones came to help out in the booth on Saturday of the SBL meetings. He commented, “I really enjoyed meeting so many folks at the conference from such a wide array of backgrounds: an Anglican pastor in Australia, a seminarian from Puerto Rico, a professor or religion with interest in DSS and Pseudepigrapha, a leading Hebraist who was being honored at SBL, and many more!”
These days Accordance Bible Software is mentioned pretty regularly--practically in casual terms in papers delivered--with comments such as “I used Accordance to determine x number of occurrences of _____ in the Dead Sea Scrolls” or something similar. However, Accordance was also a focal point in a couple of seminars as well. Tim Hegg gave a “Demonstration of the Dotan-Riech Masora Thesaurus Module in Accordance Bible Software.” Robert Holmstedt, Martin Abegg, John Cook, and Roy Brown held a session at SBL on “Syntactic Databases for Biblical & Early Jewish Texts.”
Regarding this syntax session, Dr. Holmstedt said, “I enjoyed the opportunity to walk through the strengths and features of the syntax database in real-time. Answering questions about how the database is constructed or about how to build effective searches is almost always more useful in a face-to-face context, and this is perhaps the greatest benefit of conferences.” Dr. Abegg shared this encounter: “In one of the searches I displayed, I intended to determine whether we should expect a definite direct object to have the particle את. One of the attendees talked with me later and pointed out that he had noticed that my results suggested that it made a difference whether the direct object was animate or inanimate. He had just written a chapter on definiteness for a Hebrew grammar so his observation is important.”
For attendees who could spend a bit more time with us, we also offered an all-day Accordance Training in Boston right before SBL began.
As already mentioned, we showed off exciting new features that will be forthcoming in Accordance v. 12.2, and we released a number of new titles at the conference that were geared toward scholarly interest. Included among these new releases was a Quran bundle of five texts, including the first morphologically-tagged Arabic version of the Quran available in Bible software, updates to the Biblia Hebraica Quinta, a more complete edition of the Babylonian Talmud in Hebrew, and more. Many attendees were also interested in seeing our Android version of Accordance in action and learning how to take part in our open beta.
These sessions are always a whirlwind of activity for us, but it’s so exciting to talk with users who engage ancient texts using Accordance in so many different and fascinating ways. Next year’s meetings are in Denver, Colorado. We hope to see you there!
Dr. Robert Holmstedt, Professor of Biblical Hebrew and West Semitic Languages at the University of Toronto, invites Accordance users attending the Society of Biblical Literature conference in Boston next week to submit Accordance syntax searches now that you’d like him to demonstrate in the Hebrew Bible or Dead Sea Scrolls in his upcoming session.
Accordance Syntactic Databases
Saturday, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Marriott Copley Place-Yarmouth (Fourth Level)
Syntactic Databases for Biblical and Early Jewish Texts: Please join us for a demonstration, with examples and discussion, of the research potential of the Accordance Bible syntax databases on the Hebrew Bible, Qumran texts, and New Testament. The basic principles of the tagging process will be briefly covered, but the focus will be on example searches and the more advanced linguistic issues relating to the databases, such as verbal valency. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions and sample searches for discussion.
From Dr. Holmstedt: "For those attending this session in Boston, we welcome submissions beforehand for desired searches you would like us to demonstrate on the Hebrew Bible or Dead Sea Scrolls."
You can email Dr. Holmstedt at [email protected] or post your questions in the comments, and we will make certain he receives them.
In session 2 of this Accordance Bible Software Training Seminar, David Lang demonstrates the Info Pane, Papers, Stacks, Research, and more. This training seminar was filmed in San Antonio, Texas, on November 18, 2016 in conjunction with last year's ETS/SBL meetings.
Also, don't miss session 1: Accordance 12 Overview.
By the way, this year's free Accordance Training Seminar, held in conjunction with ETS/SBL, will be held on November 17 in Boston at a yet-to-be-announced location. We are already accepting registrations, so if you can make it, please email [email protected] and put in your name!
Each year in November, between the meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature, we host a free, all-day Accordance Training Seminar. This past year in San Antonio, with Accordance 12 fresh on his laptop SSD, David Lang (VP of Development for Accordance) led our all-day seminar and we just so happened to record it. In this first session (more will be posted in coming days), David offers a general overview and introduction to Accordance. Check back soon for more Training Seminar videos.
By the way, this year's free Accordance Training Seminar, held in conjunction with ETS/SBL, will be held on November 17 in Boston at a yet-to-be-announced location. We are already accepting registrations, so if you can make it, please email [email protected]ccordancebible.com and put in your name!
This week at the ETS, AAR and SBL meetings in San Antonio, Texas, we look forward to seeing a number of active Accordance users, including Ian Vaillancourt, Th.D. (Cand.), Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto.
Ian says: "Accordance has been the game-changer for me as I work on my dissertation and begin my teaching career. It was great as a pastor, but it has been indispensable as a scholar!"
He adds: "I recommend Accordance to all of my pastor-friends, students, etc. It's simply excellent on all fronts, including your commitment to updating the application regularly.
"I felt safe investing money in this software because I believe it will be around for a long time."
* * * * *
Yes, Ian, we plan to be around for a very long time!
Since 1994, OakTree Software, Inc., has offered exciting new releases of Accordance Bible Software before Thanksgiving every even numbered year.
We are delighted to do so again in 2016, and already are looking forward to 2018, 2020, and beyond.
Congratulations to Pastor David Denbek of Insight for Living for winning our 2015 ETS/SBL 64 GB iPad Air 2 giveaway! David told us that "space gray" was his color of choice. His iPad is being shipped to him this week and should arrive in a few days.
We would like to offer our thanks to everyone who came by our demonstration area on the exhibit floors at this year's Evangelical Theological Society and Society of Biblical Literature meetings in Atlanta. Be on the look out for future offers and event appearances in 2016!
Seven Kinds of Accordance Users
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been participating in the Accordance “discovery space” (see part 1 of my reflections) at the annual Evangelical Theological Society and Society of Biblical Literature meetings for a few years now. And in all this time, I never get tired of meeting and interacting with Accordance users of all kinds. With each year’s conference, I’ve discovered that some Accordance users can fit into a handful of categories, which I’d like to share here. Perhaps you see yourself in one of these groups (don’t worry—they’re all good!).
- The Neophyte. There are actually two kinds of persons who fall into this category. The first kind is the person who has simply never heard of Accordance. Perhaps it’s because for so many years we were Mac-only, but we still have people who will walk past our booth, pause and stare for a few seconds, and then say, “Are you a new company?” Then we can tell them we’ve actually been around since 1994 and invite them to have a seat for an Accordance test drive.
My favorite kind of Neophyte, though, is the person who is simply new to the idea of Bible software in general. It’s fun to give these folks a basic demonstration of what Accordance can do for their studies and then sit back as the virtual light bulbs begin to go off over their heads as they realize all the time they could save with Accordance as opposed to time-consuming page-flipping in their research.
- The Seeker. This is the kind of person who is either frustrated with another Bible software platform or trying to determine which to invest in as a first-time purchase. The seeker always begins with this question: “What’s the difference between Accordance and [other Bible software brand]? I’ve always felt that when given a fair comparison, Accordance stands on its own without having to say anything negative about other companies. My strategy in this kind of situation is to say something positive about that other brand and then simply show off Accordance’s strengths. In these situations, Accordance sells itself.
- The Groupie. Some Accordance users just want to come and hang out; and, of course, we welcome that. Accordance has top-level biblical scholars among its users, so the Accordance booth is the place to be at a conference like ETS or SBL. Sometimes, an Accordance Groupie’s eyes will go wide and say, “Oh my—there’s Dr. [Well-Established Biblical Scholar]! I didn’t know s/he used Accordance, too!”
- The Challenger. I like to remind people that Accordance is extremely versatile and used by a wide variety of people each day. Occasionally, users who are deep into their research has become stuck because they can’t figure out how to do something. I tell them my first rule is to always assume Accordance can do it—it’s just a matter of figuring out how. When I first started working these conferences, I was intimidated by the idea of the Challenger. What if someone asked me how to do something I don’t know how to do? This actually happens now and then, but it’s not a big deal. All of us demoing Accordance have our own specialties and interests. If I don’t know how to do something, I can bring someone else in to help.
This year, I didn’t have to get help for the main challenger who sticks out in my mind. I had a user who needed to know whether or not the non-biblical texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls had any connection, or perhaps even influence, on a particular section in Leviticus. This is not a problem for a program like Accordance. Simply narrow down to one section of Leviticus in the Hebrew Bible and run an Infer Search from the Qumran non-biblical manuscripts. This challenger told me he had prayed that I would be able to give him the answer, and fortunately, I could!
- The Remediator. Some users who have had Accordance for a while, for whatever reason, forget how to perform certain tasks. Their introductory statement is usually something like, “I’ve had Accordance for a few years, but do you have a few minutes to give me a basic refresher?” We’re happy to do this, of course.
My favorite Remediator memory has to do with a a well-known biblical scholar a few years back who had been tasked by his publisher with revising his volume a very popular Bible commentary series. He had owned Accordance for a while, and he knew the exact kind of tasks he would need to do as he brought his commentary up to date. I sat with him and was able to show him everything he asked as he hurriedly wrote down notes on everything I showed him. A couple of years later, when his revised commentary was released, I was thrilled to see it available for the Accordance Library; and I even felt like I had been able to make a small anonymous contribution.
- The Hungry. This type of Accordance user is immediately recognizable by the questions, “What’s new in Accordance?” This kind of user often knows our software inside and out but is excited to hear about new features or new titles available for the Accordance Library. Although we release new features and new resources all year long, ETS and SBL often become a primary time to “catch up” on what’s new with Accordance. And those of us in the Accordance booth get to show off new features and newly available works.
- The Elder. This is the most exclusive group of Accordance users. I began using Accordance around version 3.x, so I will never be an elder. This group often comes under the guise of being a Challenger or one of the Hungry. Somewhere in the process of talking to them, though, they will will make the statement (with a certain level of reserved modesty), “You know, I’ve been using this software since version 1.” I find myself in awe of these individuals because I wish I had been using Accordance long before I actually discovered it.
And there’s actually one subgroup of the elders. A very exclusive part of this group will tell you they were handed a copy of Accordance on a floppy disk somewhere between 1992 and 1994, when it was in its initial beta before the first version was released. Even in this early form of the software, these individuals will tell you they knew their biblical studies would never be the same.
So, these are my seven kinds of Accordance users whom I often come across at conferences like ETS or SBL. Do you fall into one of these groups? If so, let us know in the comments!
Creating a space for exploration, learning, and discovery.
I'm sitting in seat 31B at 30,000 feet, iPad Pro (yes, it's really nice) on my knees, reflecting on another successful November marked by the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and Society of Biblical Literature. We had a great week meeting with longtime Accordance users and introducing new customers to the best Bible software for the serious explorer of the ancient texts.
Now, I should clarify that when I say booth, I mean something that's actually on a far grander scale. Many vendors at these conferences have a booth—a 10 x 10 space usually consisting of a backdrop, long table, maybe a couple of chairs and often lots of physical books and/or informative literature. When we set up our space to demo Accordance, we create an environment for exploration, learning, and discovery.
The Accordance area actually takes up about four standard booth spaces together in one big square. We bring in multiple tables, chairs, and computers of all kinds. There's a projector running all week, displaying a slideshow of our newest titles and best deals of the year.
We’ve designed an environment made for much more than selling software. Rather, we want to build relationships with our customers--have them sit down and tell us about their research--so that we can help them tailor the incredibly flexible Accordance engine to their specific scholarly pursuits related to biblical studies. The Accordance area is staffed by a dozen or so Accordance professionals--mostly employees, but often a couple of power users, too--who can help users regardless of their questions or needs.
Now, I only began working in the Accordance booth around 2008, so I'm somewhere between rookie and old pro compared to some of my fellow Accordance professionals. Nevertheless, in my time spent demoing Accordance at these two scholarly conferences, I've come to recognize a few common types of individuals who frequent our booth.
In the second part of my 2015 ETS/SBL reflections, to be posted early next week, I'll describe the SEVEN types of Accordance users who frequent our booth. Maybe you'll see yourself in one of these descriptions.
If you're attending the AAR/SBL Meeting in Atlanta, be certain to come by Exhibitor Booth #903 to experience everything new related to Accordance Bible Software! Our booth is humming with activity, and if you haven't had a chance to stop by, don't miss the opportunity to be a part of the excitement!
Here are SEVEN reasons you should drop everything and come by the Accordance booth right now:
- If you've never used Accordance, you need to see it in action!
- If you've never purchased Accordance, you can get the incredible Essential Collection for 40% off at the conference!
- Whether you purchase Accordance or not, you can register to win a FREE 64 GB iPad Air 2!
- Learn about our conference-only discounts, including reduced prices on everything in the catalog!
- Come see our new titles for the Accordance Library released only yesterday!
- Discover the incredible new features in Accordance 11.1!
- Hang out with Accordance employees and fellow users--it's one big celebration going on in booth #903!
See you soon!
The annual November Bible conferences are fast approaching, and as always, Accordance will be there! These days, thanks to modern technology, attendees at academic conferences no longer have to leave their research tools behind; instead, their libraries travel with them wherever they go!
This year, we're giving away a 64 GB iPad Air 2 so that if you're the winner, you will be able to carry your entire Accordance Library wherever you go in the palm of your hand! The current iPad Air 2 is the most powerful and up-to-date tablet from Apple in this size range. And 64 GB of storage is more than enough space to carry a theological library with you at all times that would rival personal libraries of generations past!
And if you win the iPad, we'll even let you pick the color!
During either conference, simply register for the drawing at our booths (ETS #29 & SBL #903) from November 17-24 or at the Accordance Training Seminar (November 20).
Please, only one entry per registered attendee please.