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#1 ian.kissell

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 05:54 PM

One of the big decisions that will drive my choice for buying Bible software will be the prospect of reading commentaries electronically. Most of the pastors that I have talked to say that they prefer having electronic copies of things like lexicons but print copies of commentaries.

Does anybody have any insight into using commentaries electronically vs. hardcopies. Has anyone tried making pdf's of commentaries and converting them to a kindle format? How about the ipad app? How do you feel about it being more expensive to get an electronic copy through accordance vs a print copy through amazon?

Any insight would be great. Thanks.

#2 Joe Weaks

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 07:05 PM

Well, as for cost, it is definitely more economical to buy Hermeneia, WBC, NIGTC on Accordance than my hard copies have cost me.
I'm curious your anecdotal observations about others preferring hard copies.
As for transferring to PDFs, piece of cake. I have done this more times than I can count with the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. I wanted to take an article with me for reading on the plane, or have handy in the classroom, etc., so just converted to PDF. Course, now I keep the AYBD in my pocket with my iPhone, so I always have all the articles ready to go when needed.
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#3 WGTShedd

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 07:06 PM

One of the big decisions that will drive my choice for buying Bible software will be the prospect of reading commentaries electronically. Most of the pastors that I have talked to say that they prefer having electronic copies of things like lexicons but print copies of commentaries.

Does anybody have any insight into using commentaries electronically vs. hardcopies. Has anyone tried making pdf's of commentaries and converting them to a kindle format? How about the ipad app? How do you feel about it being more expensive to get an electronic copy through accordance vs a print copy through amazon?

Any insight would be great. Thanks.


I have quite an extensive commentary collection. Some of it is at my office but most of it at my home. About a year ago, I began using Accordance (always a Mac user but used BW via emulation) and am firmly convinced of its value (often wondering if I really wanted to duplicate my collection, print and electronic). Rather than spreading several commentaries all over the table, I can quickly open several on my external monitor. I teach overseas once a year and have carried too many commentaries with me (ended up scanning large portions [into pdf] to reduce weight). This past summer was the first time I used Accordance in Africa and became fully convinced I made the right decision (and am saving for more commentaries to purchase through Accordance in 2011). All this to say, YES, it is worth it and I prefer the electronic for quick study on a verse or two (multiple commentaries open) but there are times where the print copy is to be preferred (when you need to ponder something very carefully and flip through different portions of the commentary - the electronic version is not as helpful here).

I bought an ipad just so I can use the upcoming Accordance app a few months ago. If Accordance wasn't going to provide one, I would not have purchased it. You can read scanned docs (commentaries) on ipads (with the right app and correct pdf formatting) - as well as google books (free ones). I'm actually surprised at how many different theological books I'm reading on my ipad (free downloads).

I use Accordance in my sermon prep (with all the commentaries I purchased) and printed commentaries (the ones I either have not purchased [YET] or the ones that are not available on Accordance). I ended up purchasing another Bible software for my Mac so that I can purchase the commentaries they provide (though I wish Accordance had them, like the NICNT and NICOT) - that is how convinced I have become.

It is not an either-or solution; it is (for me) a both-and answer. I can foresee a time where most of the commentaries will be only available electronically. MOST OF ALL, the Greek and Hebrew is better on the computer (I remember the days of having lexicons, Analytical lexicons, concordances, Grk and Heb grammar books spread out on my desk just to work through one paragraph) and having commentaries just a click away saves tons of time (also enables you to cut and paste quotes). I hope this helps.
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#4 ian.kissell

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 08:34 PM

I'm curious your anecdotal observations about others preferring hard copies.


Every pastor that I have talked to have said that they prefer using hard copies for commentaries. A lot is the greater ease (some psychological) of being able to hold a book and read it instead of staring at a screen. Also, commentaries normally involve a lot of flipping between pages or skimming to find information that is useful, both of which tend to be easier with a hard copy.

My position is that I am a PC user that is not really interested in switching to a mac at the moment. I really like the look of accordance over logos, but if I decide that I want to build a commentary library electronically, I don't know if accordance is the way to go. The price of commentaries on accordance is quite a bit higher then buying a hard copy from amazon or an electronic version on logos.

#5 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 09:27 PM

Every pastor that I have talked to have said that they prefer using hard copies for commentaries. A lot is the greater ease (some psychological) of being able to hold a book and read it instead of staring at a screen. Also, commentaries normally involve a lot of flipping between pages or skimming to find information that is useful, both of which tend to be easier with a hard copy.

My position is that I am a PC user that is not really interested in switching to a mac at the moment. I really like the look of accordance over logos, but if I decide that I want to build a commentary library electronically, I don't know if accordance is the way to go. The price of commentaries on accordance is quite a bit higher then buying a hard copy from amazon or an electronic version on logos.


Hmmm....

I think you're "asking the choir" here (if I can paraphrase a saying). Aside from looking better on the office shelves, I can't think of a single reason why anyone would prefer hard copies over electronic ones. Hard ones take up huge amounts of shelf space, must be searched by hand, wear out over time, and are not very portable.

I've been swapping out my "hard" commentaries for electronic ones for years. Now, wherever my laptop goes, my library goes with me. I've found the pricing very comparable to that on Amazon, especially if one watches for the special sales (or uses the various discounts available). I can't speak to the issue of pricing in Logos, as I don't use it.

I will say that electronic searches are both faster and more complete—and citing from an electronic resource is a breeze! In fact, I know a number of profs who help finance their Accordance purchased by selling their hard volumes to students. ;-)

See if you can get someone with a copy of Accordance to demonstrate "live" for you—or consider watching one of our podcasts that feature commentaries: NIVAC, Hermeneia, etc.

Edited by Timothy Jenney, 16 December 2010 - 09:28 PM.

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#6 Daniel Francis

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 09:52 PM

Every pastor that I have talked to have said that they prefer using hard copies for commentaries. A lot is the greater ease (some psychological) of being able to hold a book and read it instead of staring at a screen. Also, commentaries normally involve a lot of flipping between pages or skimming to find information that is useful, both of which tend to be easier with a hard copy.

My position is that I am a PC user that is not really interested in switching to a mac at the moment. I really like the look of accordance over logos, but if I decide that I want to build a commentary library electronically, I don't know if accordance is the way to go. The price of commentaries on accordance is quite a bit higher then buying a hard copy from amazon or an electronic version on logos.



Look for your sale prices often times when things go on sale at Accordance the price is equal or better. Also go to the user forums over at logos and look at the mess that you might be getting into. I am happy to use both, but Logos is slow and buggy. The buggy will hopefully go away, but the slow may never go away since it is a port and requires an emulation layer to mimic microsoft.net framework. I think both are good programs and I personally almost never touch a book anymore (I have kept the core of my library in print but over the years i have got rid of most electronically duplicated resources). I think you should do what ever is best for your budget and spiritual life. But don't assume that an oil lamp is the equal to the light bulb just because both illuminate. It may well be cheaper not to have electricity (the bills, the wiring costs). Now Logos may not be as horrible option as light bulb vs. a dangerous dirty oil lamp, but you should try both items out on a mac before you decide (although one might argue the other way around, dirty overly complicated vs. the simplicity of pure light from oil, indeed Logos is overly flashy and that is part of it's slowness and accordance has the cool oil lamp icon).

-dan

#7 Lorinda H. M. Hoover

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 09:55 PM

Another advantage of commentaries in Accordance (and potentially other Bible software) is the ability to see the Biblical text (in original languages or whatever translation you prefer) side by side with the commentary on that section. That's generally not as easy to do with hard copies.

And, electronic versions make it much easier to search the commentaries for references to a particular word, concept, or verse.

I wonder if the pastors you asked are "digital immigrants" who have not fully adopted a digital approach to study and/or who have tried digital versions of commentaries that did not have good user interfaces/usability. (The interface of the New Interpreter's Bible on CD ROM comes to mind as one such example).

Can you give an example of commentaries that are more expensive in Accordance than on Amazon? The sets generally are less expensive than hard copies. The catch is that most of the commentary series must be purchased as an entire series, not selected volumes. (This is a restriction the publishers place on OakTree when they agree to have their commentaries available in Accordance, so it's not something OakTree/Accordance can change)

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#8 ian.kissell

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 10:16 PM

The pastors I have talked to all hold Th.M's or Ph.D's and all are very familiar and regularly use Accordance, Bibleworks, or Logos. They all however seen to prefer having hard copies of commentaries.

A better question seems to be are there any commentaries that are a comparable price on accordance. Ever single one I have looked at are more expensive. Here are a few examples:

http://www.accordanc...TC-1Corinthians
http://www.amazon.co...92555584&sr=8-1

Many also don't seem to be available, like Baker Exegetical Commentaries.

Has anyone tried exporting a whole commentary to a pdf and then putting it on an ereader?

#9 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 10:39 PM

The pastors I have talked to all hold Th.M's or Ph.D's and all are very familiar and regularly use Accordance, Bibleworks, or Logos. They all however seen to prefer having hard copies of commentaries.

A better question seems to be are there any commentaries that are a comparable price on accordance. Ever single one I have looked at are more expensive. Here are a few examples:

http://www.accordanc...TC-1Corinthians
http://www.amazon.co...92555584&sr=8-1

Many also don't seem to be available, like Baker Exegetical Commentaries.

Has anyone tried exporting a whole commentary to a pdf and then putting it on an ereader?


Hi, Ian!

The best discounts on commentaries in Accordance are usually on entire sets and, like I said, the various sales that are offered throughout the year.

Pdf copies are portable, but very, very difficult to search. However, a number of the public domain ones are available on the internet for free. That is probably the lowest cost option.

No, not all commentaries are available electronically. Like other publishers, we tend to provide those most frequently requested by our users.

I can't speak for others' experience, only my own. I'd never go back to hard copies.

Good luck with your decision!
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#10 David Lang

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 01:15 AM

Ian,

With respect to the price examples you gave, it's not a simple matter of Accordance being more expensive than Logos or Amazon. You used the 1 Corinthians volume of NIGTC as an example, which we have priced at $75. Both Logos and Amazon list the retail price at $85.00 and discount from there. Amazon's price is $53.55 and Logos' price is a very low $42.50 because this volume happens to be part of their current Christmas sale.

However, Logos' price for 12 volumes of NIGTC together retails at $660 and is currently marked down to $533.27.

We offer a 13 volume set of NIGTC (which includes the volume on Matthew) for just $499, and that's not even currently on sale.

While not a commentary, I noticed the other day that Logos is offering a special on the two-volume set of Jonathan Edwards' works for around $80, down from their usual price of $120. We include that same work in our Library Premier package and in a smaller package which includes more than 30 additional modules, all for just $49!

Hope this helps.
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#11 Chuck Schneider

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 04:41 AM

Well, it's probably just personal nostalgia, but I sure do miss the scent and feel of the different types of printed paper. I also miss the weight and feeling of the books in my hand as well as the individual book covers that inspired a kind of expectation or sense of promise depending on their contents. It's hard to shake the deeply instilled association between the printed volumes I've owned and the benefit that they have provided to my faith over the years. Not having to go through the search/bookmark/stack management routine of printed copies has really helped me overcome the sentimental aspect.

What I dearly miss, though, is the household mobility that I have lost with Accordance. Although I can travel the world with the convenience of having nearly my whole library on a computer, I can't spontaneously walk into the next room, sit on the couch with my feet up and start reading whatever I please. I can't just take a book or commentary to bed with me or anywhere else where I may have a few moments of peace and quiet to spare. It is this feature of printed books that I'm aching to recover through the arrival of an Accordance iPad app.
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#12 Ingo Sorke

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 04:43 AM

In Germany we say "Papier ist geduldig" - paper is patient. But beyond that and the ability to flip pages in 3 dimensions, I favor the convenience of electronic sources: no packing when moving (books are heavy), saving trees, mobile access, esp. when traveling, copy/paste, Search All, lack of clutter, focus on the text, etc.

One more thing: you might save a little elsewhere now and then, but don't be penny-wise but pound-foolish. You're investing in an entire platform, not just one commentary - choose wisely. Finally, in the end, does it matter what other users/professors/pastors prefer when it comes to paper vs. electronic? I have to decide what works for me, and after careful comparison that's Accordance in a Mac environment.

Best wishes!

Ingo

#13 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 09:05 AM

Well, it's probably just personal nostalgia, but I sure do miss the scent and feel of the different types of printed paper. I also miss the weight and feeling of the books in my hand as well as the individual book covers that inspired a kind of expectation or sense of promise depending on their contents. It's hard to shake the deeply instilled association between the printed volumes I've owned and the benefit that they have provided to my faith over the years. Not having to go through the search/bookmark/stack management routine of printed copies has really helped me overcome the sentimental aspect.

What I dearly miss, though, is the household mobility that I have lost with Accordance. Although I can travel the world with the convenience of having nearly my whole library on a computer, I can't spontaneously walk into the next room, sit on the couch with my feet up and start reading whatever I please. I can't just take a book or commentary to bed with me or anywhere else where I may have a few moments of peace and quiet to spare. It is this feature of printed books that I'm aching to recover through the arrival of an Accordance iPad app.


I too miss paper copies sometimes, but also recognize it as nostalgia. [I wonder if ancient readers missed scrolls when the move to codices began?] However, the freedom I have to study anywhere, anytime, with my entire library makes up for it. I'm no longer crowded out of my office by overflowing shelves of books—and my sinuses thank me for shedding those dust-collecting books. Besides, I can always cover my Mac in leather—and spray it with the smell of paper! :D

Traveling as I do, I've found the portability a real blessing. I can work anywhere: in the airport, on the plane, even in a foreign country. In fact, once I started beta testing the iPhone app, I found out what portability really meant! I can switch commentaries on the fly on my phone, show a map to a colleague over coffee, even read an image of a Greek codex if I really want to check the "ancient" text.

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#14 Chuck Schneider

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 10:24 AM

Besides, I can always cover my Mac in leather—and spray it with the smell of paper! :D


I think you're on to something:
http://smellofbooks.com/


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#15 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 04:06 PM

I think you're on to something:
http://smellofbooks.com/


Posted Image



I LOVE it! :D :D :D

Blessings,
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#16 David Lang

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 04:31 PM

Not to add to the silliness, but this might be an option for those who prefer print commentaries. I think I'll stick with parallel scrolling panes. :)
Sincerely,
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#17 A. Smith

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 05:07 PM

Not to add to the silliness, but this might be an option for those who prefer print commentaries. I think I'll stick with parallel scrolling panes. :)

I am 29 years old, have never been accused of resisting technological trends, and and I've got to say I LOVE BOOKS!. I love accordance, but nothing will take the place of sitting down with a pile of books and getting to work. I use accordance for the hard stuff (text criticism, diagraming, comparing texts, searching of all sorts, note taking, etc), but I have never once been tempted by an e-reader (not kendle, nook, logos or any of them). In fact, when I used pc, I avoided Logos simply because it came with too many books and not enough texts, if you follow my distinction. I agree that searching a commentary like WBC or Hermeneia via accordance is quick and complete, but reading on the computer screen is exhausting and boring to me. In a perfect world, I would have both hard and soft copies of everything--hard copies to read, soft copies to search. This is just my opinion. BTW, I have a few digital commentaries and have never once cracked them. I own hundreds of real book commentaries and have looked through all of them at one time or another.

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#18 A. Smith

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 05:11 PM

btw, how can I get a can of that stuff. The website doesn't have a store :D

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#19 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 05:43 PM

Not to add to the silliness, but this might be an option for those who prefer print commentaries. I think I'll stick with parallel scrolling panes. :)


I love it, David!

I actually made a book holder to use during my dissertation research. It was six foot long and held about six open books—plus those I had stacked open on top of those. My desk was literally buried with sources! I am SO thankful for Accordance. I now have room for my coffee cup on my desktop!

Blessings,
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#20 ian.kissell

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 10:43 PM

I have to decide what works for me...


Well, that is the problem for me. I am trying to decide what will work" for me when I don't necessarily have the option to try everything.

Thanks for all the responses, they have been very helpful. If anyone has any experience of loading a commentary on an ereader, I love to hear about the experience.




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