Last week I was in the Accordance offices for a series of strategic meetings. In addition to housing our sales staff, our central office also houses a massive number of print books.

You see, whenever we license a book from a publisher, we request a PDF or print copy in addition to the actual e-text files for that book. That way, if we come across something in the e-text which looks like an error, we can check it against the print or PDF copy. These days, most publishers just send PDFs, but in years past, we received a lot of print copies. We therefore have a huge physical library—somewhat ironic for a Bible software company engaged in electronic publishing.

Until last year, our physical library was divided among the bookshelves located in different rooms of our central office. If one of our developers needed to consult a study Bible, he might look in Michele’s office. For a systematic theology, he might look in Steve’s office.

Then one of our executives with a penchant for woodworking decided to build custom bookshelves for the conference room. Most of those scattered books could now be brought together in one central location. In all the reshuffling of books, commentary sets and multi-volume dictionaries were largely kept together, but some volumes ended up out of place, in the wrong order, etc. In my occasional visits to the sales office I would move books around when I noticed something out of place, but I never made any systematic attempt to organize them.

Then came that week-long series of meetings. As I sat at the conference table, staring at those shelves for hours on end, I started thinking of how they could be better organized. Then during the breaks I started moving books around, rearranging shelves, and retrieving books which were still scattered throughout other offices. I took a fair amount of teasing for my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and one wag deliberately moved books around to see if I would notice (I did). By the end of the week, I was satisfied that the shelves looked a little neater and were much better organized. Here is a picture of the finished result.

Now, besides satisfying my OCD, all this effort should make it easier for our staff to find print copies when needed. When you discover a typo in an Accordance module and choose to “Report a Correction” via the Help menu, our development staff then needs to consult those print copies, and books on a shelf are harder to find than books in your Accordance library.

The other practical advantage of organizing the bookshelves is that it gives us a pretty awesome background for Zoom meetings and videos. At one point, I was looking at a colleague on a Zoom call and thinking, “You know, he’d look a lot better with that nice hardbound commentary set behind him rather than those old paperbacks.” After the meeting, I swapped out a couple of shelves so he could look his best on the next call.

By the time I was finished moving all those books around, my lower back was a little sore and the rest of the staff was looking at me like I was a little crazy, but I was satisfied with my work.

I was also struck once again by the depth and breadth of material which is available for Accordance. The volumes on the shelves of our conference room are worth thousands of dollars, and they represent a mere fraction of the books available for Accordance. Yet I can search all that material in an instant, carry that massive library with me on the laptop in my bag or even the phone in my pocket. It’s absolutely incredible, yet I confess I sometimes take it for granted.

How about you? Do you remember the days when you had to store all these massive tomes and stack and shuffle them on your desk? How does your Accordance library make life easier for you?

Looking at the volumes on our shelves, do you recognize any favorite resources?