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 Alphabetical Order
Bible Dictionaries, Topical Resources, etc.
Greek Alphabetical Order
Hebrew Alphabetical Order
Bible Verse Order
Commentaries, Cross-References, Translation and Study Bible Notes, Outlines
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.
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."
We at Accordance believe that our software is so much more than just a tool to study the Bible. It's a means of community and creativity. We've created Workspace Wednesday because we want to give you a chance to show us your creative workflow in Accordance.
Watch the video to find out how you can participate:
Join us on social media to post your workspace:
How it works:
- Take a screenshot of your workspace
- Post the screenshot to the comments section of our Workspace Wednesday post every Wednesday
- Hashtag the post with #work_wed
- Eagerly await sweet victory
How to take a screenshot of your desktop:
Mac users: the keyboard shortcut ⌘Cmd+Shift+3 will take a screenshot of your screen and place the image file on your desktop. If done correctly, you should hear the sound of a camera taking a snapshot.
Windows users: the keyboard shortcut ⌘Win+PrntScrn will take a screenshot of your screen and automatically save it in the Screenshots folder within your pictures folder.
For more information on how to take screenshots with earlier versions of Windows, follow this link.
May the best workspace win!
In a recent thread on the Accordance User Forums, someone looking for purchasing advice asked some questions about an Accordance tool called the Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. This dictionary provides in depth biographical information about a variety of figures in the history of the early church, and it just happens to be a great example of a little-known feature of some Accordance tools. This short video demonstration will show you what I mean.
We've been doing a lot of reminiscing lately, and I promise we'll get back to helpful tips and other kinds of posts soon. Still, since it's Thursday again, I'll continue reminiscing for "Throwback Thursday." In my most recent post, I went back before my own involvement with Accordance to look at Accordance pre-history. Before I took that detour, however, I was beginning to talk about the development of Accordance 2.0. In this post, I'll pick up there.
For me, the most promising feature planned for Accordance 2.0 was the addition of "Tools"—reference works like lexicons, commentaries, dictionaries, and so on. As I explained in a previous post, Accordance 1.0 offered incredible depth with respect to searching the Bible in English and the original languages, but it was not yet broad enough to serve as a complete Bible study solution. As a language student, I was most in need of a good Greek and Hebrew dictionary. In fact, before I started working for Accordance, I cobbled together a dictionary for my own use using a development environment called HyperCard. It was a nifty little resource, but I was looking forward to the day when I would have a dictionary integrated into Accordance itself.
I remember being both excited about and a little frustrated by each new feature that was added during the development cycle for Accordance 2.0. You see, I most wanted Tools, but it seemed that every other feature on the list was developed first. When I was shown the new Reference List feature, I was impressed by it, but remember thinking, "That's cool, but when are we gonna get tools?" I felt the same way about User Notes, the Parallel window, and most of the other improvements. They were all great, but I most wanted Tools. When the time finally came for Tools to be developed, I was absolutely champing at the bit.
Had I been a little more aware back then of all the work that would go into the development of Tool modules, I imagine I would have been a little more patient. All kinds of decisions had to be made before one could just whip out a dictionary or a commentary. What kinds of tools would we offer? How would they be organized and accessed from within the program? What kinds of searching and navigation would be possible? And of course, there were more technical considerations I wasn't even aware of.
I'm sure I had some input into the way Accordance tools were designed and implemented, but most of the things that make Accordance tool modules unique were conceived by our lead programmer. If I remember correctly, the first Accordance tool module was the concise Greek dictionary included at the back of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament. Edited by Barclay Newman, we simply called it "Newman." We released a revised edition of this first Accordance tool not long ago.
Even that first Accordance tool supported multiple fields which could be searched independently, a simple hierarchical table of contents, internal hypertext links, and the ability to amplify from a selection of text. After I was shown the features of this first prototype module, I was tasked with developing other tools. I believe the first tool I ever worked on was Louw & Nida—another Greek lexicon which offered greater depth and an innovative design very different from Newman. The additional features of this lexicon prompted the development of additional enhancements to our Tool modules.
At the same time I was working on Louw & Nida, another seminary student named Greg, who had been hired shortly after I was, began working on other tools. Though we worked separately out of our homes, Greg and I began calling each other for help with any problems we might run into, to discuss possible improvements to the development tools we were using, etc. We were becoming the Accordance module development team, and while we eventually took on a variety of other roles and responsibilities, we would continue to pitch in developing new modules for the next two decades.
I believe I finished Louw & Nida a few weeks before we were scheduled to exhibit at the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) in November of 1995. Although Accordance 2.0 was not yet ready for release, we wanted to give our users a sneak peek at our upcoming Tool modules, but we only had a couple of Greek lexicons finished. I seem to recall that Greg was hurrying to finish the abridged BDB Hebrew lexicon, but we still needed some English tools and commentaries. I hurriedly began converting a few simple public domain resources into Accordance tools to give the folks at ETS and SBL an idea of the breadth of material we hoped to offer. I actually flew to the conferences with a couple of new modules my employers hadn't even seen yet!
I'll tell you about some of the things that happened at those conferences in my next Throwback Thursday post. In the meantime, we'd like to know which Accordance tool modules you find most helpful. Please let us know in the comments on this post.
On Monday, I showed you how to display only the captioned images in a tool so you can easily scroll through all the pictures. This trick, which I use often when checking modules just prior to their release, involves searching every word in a field and then choosing to show only the hit paragraphs. As you might have guessed, a trick like this has lots of other potential uses as well.
For example, yesterday Jeremy posted a very helpful introduction to the just-released Pentateuch volumes of the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary. Among the features he highlighted is the fact that each commentator provides his or her own translation of the passage under discussion. These translations are, of course, interspersed with the other kinds of content Jeremy mentioned, such as the Textual Notes, the Comment section which treats the passage as a whole, and the Notes section which offers verse-level commentary.
This is, of course, a natural arrangement for a commentary, but what if you wanted to begin your study by reading through the Anchor Bible's translation of an entire passage? With the print commentary, you would have to read the translation for one section, then flip past all the commentary before you could pick up reading the translation of the next section. When viewing the commentary normally in Accordance, you would have to scroll past all the commentary or use the more efficient method of clicking the title of each section in the Table of Contents pane. Yet one of the great advantages of Accordance is that we don't just treat modules like electronic equivalents of a book. On the contrary, we leverage the power of the computer to enable you to access each book in new and powerful ways.
In this case, we can avoid navigating past all the commentary we don't need at the moment so that we can focus exclusively on the translation, and we can do it using the same trick we used for images. Simply choose the Translation field, enter ?* (question mark-asterisk) to search for every word, and hit Return. Then choose Paragraphs from the Show Text As submenu of the gear menu.
Now you can read large portions of the translation even if they are divided among various commentary sections. In the screenshot below, the translations of Genesis 2:1-4a and Genesis 2:4b–24 appear in separate sections, but we have changed the display so that they appear as a continuous text.
While purchasing large commentary sets in Accordance is always much less expensive than purchasing them in print, they still represent a substantial investment. Accordance lets you maximize that investment by offering the flexibility to access content in ways impossible with a print volume or even other electronic formats.
When searching an Accordance Tool module, you may get results which are buried deep within a long article. When that happens, how can you see the wider context of where you are in the tool?
For example, let's say I search the Titles field of the Holman Bible Dictionary for the word "judges." Here's the first result I get:
This is obviously a subarticle within a much larger article, but how can I find out which one? I could obviously scroll back until I got to the beginning of the article, but if it's a very long article, that's not particularly practical.
So here's the trick: if you hold the option key down while clicking the Table of Contents icon, the Contents browser will open and automatically drill down through all the higher levels of the current article, enabling me to see immediately that this is a subarticle of "Israel, Land of."
If I decide that's not what I'm looking for and I click the down Mark arrow to examine other occurrences of the word "judges," I'll eventually come to an article under the alphabetical heading "K."
The option-click trick works here as well. I need only option-click the disclosure triangle next to the letter K to have Accordance drill down and show that the current subarticle belongs to the article "King, Kingship."
Using this trick enables you to see from the surrounding context whether a search result is what you're looking for, which is a lot faster than reading each article or scrolling back to its beginning.
Picture this: you open Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary and want to go to the main article on David. You could search the Entry field for the word "David," but that would give you every article and subarticle which mentions David. You would then have to hit the down Mark arrow a half-dozen times to jump to the main article on David.
A much simpler approach is not to do a search at all, but to use the Go To box in the bottom right corner of the Tool tab. Simply enter "David" in that box and hit Return to navigate to the article which begins with the word David.
How well entering something in the Go To box will take you to your desired article depends to some extent on the contents of the tool, but for dictionaries like Anchor which tend to have standard articles, this approach works really well.
On Monday, I showed you some tricks for seeing more than one Scripture link in a tool at the same time. Today, I want to show how you can specify which Bible text displays when you hover over or click on a Scripture link in an Accordance tool.
For example, let's say your default Bible is an English translation, but you want the links in BDAG to go to the Greek New Testament rather than an English translation. If they're Old Testament references, you want those to go to the Greek Septuagint. Is that even possible?
This is Accordance we're talking about: of course it's possible. To do this, simply open up BDAG and use the one keyboard shorcut every Accordance user must learn: command-T.
As I've explained before, command-T opens the Display settings for nearly every kind of window in Accordance. If you do that from a tool like BDAG, you'll get this dialog box:
As you can see, this dialog lets me set the font, style, and other aspects of BDAG's appearance. It also lets me customize the way hypertext links are handled. If I wanted links to appear in Burgundy italic instead of Blue underline, I could do that here. I can also specify the text and alternate text any Scripture links should display. The alternate text will only be used if the primary text does not contain the verses a link references. In this case, since I set my primary text to GNT-T and my alternate text to LXX1, any New Testament references will display the primary text, and any Old Testament references will use the alternate text.
It's as simple as that! If I want this change to be temporary, I can just click OK and these texts will be used as long as the current BDAG window remains open. Any other BDAG window I open would still use the default settings. If I want to make this change the default setting for BDAG, then I would click the Use as Default button before I click OK to close the dialog.
In describing his workflow, Pastor Levi Durfey mentioned a feature he uses to explore cross-references to a passage. It's a little known feature, and there is another related to it, so I want to go over Scripture links in detail.
Of course, you all know that when you're looking at a series of Scripture links in a tool, you can hover over each one to see it in the Instant Details box, or you can click the link to open the passage in a separate window. But what if you want to see all the cross-references in a separate window? Do you have to click each link in turn? Of course not. This is Accordance!
If you simply hold down the command-key while clicking any Scripture link, every link in the paragraph will automatically be opened in a text window. So if you're looking at a cross-reference tool, command-clicking any of the cross-references will show you all of them. Or if you're looking at a dictionary, command-clicking one reference will show all the references in that paragraph.
Now, what if you want to view more than one link, but not all the links? Say you're looking at an article in BDAG that lists a string of five references as examples of a given usage. You want to see those five references without the noise of all the other references in the paragraph (which may refer to other usages). To do that, simply drag a selection from some point inside the first Scripture link to some point inside the last link you want. Like this:
As long as you start and end your selection inside different links, all the Scripture links inside the selection will be opened in a text window. This is the tip Pastor Durfey mentioned as one of his favorite features.
Learn these two simple tricks—command-clicking a Scripture link and selecting multiple links—and you'll be able to see exactly the verses you want to see.
Accordance offers a lot of commentaries, and their number is growing all the time. Some commentaries cover a single book, some an entire testament or the whole Bible, and some an odd assortment of books. Series like Pillar, MacArthur, NIGTC, etc. are missing volumes that have not yet been published, and it's hard to remember which of these commentaries includes a volume on Ephesians. Accordance makes it easy to jump from the text of the Bible to a commentary, but how do you know which commentary will have something on that passage?
The simplest way to find out is to select the reference for the passage you're working in, then choose the group of modules you want to search for that verse. For example, if I'm looking at Ephesians 2:10, I can simply double-click the reference to select it. Then I'll click the Search button of the Resource palette and choose the group of modules I want to search. If I haven't created any of my own custom search groups, I would just choose [All Tools], but since I've already created a group containing all my commentaries, I'll choose that.
A Search All window will now open listing every commentary which cites Ephesians 2:10. The default sort order of Importance will place every commentary which has Ephesians 2:10 in its Reference field at the top of the list, so I can see immediately which commentaries actually comment on Ephesians 2:10.
Now I can simply double-click any of the commentaries listed to open them right to Ephesians 2:10.
Another way to accomplish this is to right- or control-click the reference for Ephesians 2:10 in your Bible text, then choose the group you want from the Search All submenu of the contextual menu.