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  News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Friday, October 26, 2007  

Accordance Bible Software Updated for Leopard

Today Apple is officially releasing its newest operating system, OS X 10.5 (aka "Leopard") with some 300 new features and the now customary interface overhaul.

We've been testing for any incompatibilities with Leopard, and found only one: Leopard messed up the look of the tabs in our tabbed workspace. We've now released a free update of Accordance which fixes the tab issue in Leopard (and updates the look of the tabs in both Leopard and Tiger).

New Look of Tabs in Leopard

New Look of Tabs in Tiger

In addition to improved Leopard compatibility, Accordance 7.4 fixes a number of minor bugs, so this update is for you even if you're not upgrading to Leopard just yet. You can download Accordance 7.4 here. It's free to all users of version 7 or above.

Update: Thanks to Rick Mansfield for the Leopard screenshot. I'm still behind the times!

Thursday, October 25, 2007  

Amplify Options

On Monday, I talked about how the amplify feature of Accordance creates the proper search syntax for any Greek or Hebrew text you select. Today I want to focus on ways that you can modify what happens when you amplify.

Let's say I'm looking at the phrase kai egeneto, "it came to pass," in Matthew 7:28. I want to search for all occurrences of that phrase, so I select it and click the Search button on the Resource palette. Accordance immediately opens a new Search window, inserts the words I selected in the Search entry box, and then finds every occurrence of that phrase. Yet because Accordance defaults to searching by lexical form, it finds not just the specific inflected phrase kai egeneto but any form of kai (there's only one of course) followed by any form of ginomai (the lexical form of egeneto). For example, this search returns kai ginetai in Matthew 13:32, which speaks of the mustard seed becoming a tree. If I'm only interested in places where the text reads "and it came to pass," this lexical search is too broad.

Now, let's rewind back to where I selected the phrase kai egeneto and clicked the Search button. Just clicking the search button resulted in a search for lexical forms, but I can tell Accordance to search for the inflected forms I've selected simply by holding down the option key while I click the Search button.

When I option-click the Search button, Accordance opens a new Search window and encloses the search for kai egeneto in quotation marks—the symbol used to specify inflected forms. This search for the inflected phrase kai egeneto results in 31 fewer hits than the default lexical search.

In addition to searching for a selection by lexical and inflected forms, you can also search by root. To do this, simply hold down both the shift and option keys while clicking the search button on the Resource palette. Doing this for kai egeneto returns all the occurrences of kai ginomai, as well as phrases like kai genea, kai genealogia, etc.

By the way, if you forget which modifier keys do what, you can always right- or control-click to bring up a contextual menu, then choose one of the options in the Search For submenu.

Monday, October 22, 2007  

Don't Forget to Amplify

One of the greatest strengths of the Accordance interface is the ability to amplify a selection of text: that is, to select a word or verse and instantly search for it in any Accordance resource. For example, if I select the word "earth" in Genesis 1:1 and then drag my mouse over the Resource palette, the cursor will change to a magnifying glass to indicate that whichever resource I choose will instantly be searched for the word "earth." This ability to get instant information about any word you select makes it easy to follow a train of thought or explore an idea through multiple resources.

Yet the ability to amplify a selection of text is more than just a convenient time-saver; it is also a way to have Accordance do the work of defining searches for you.

For example, users of grammatically tagged Greek and Hebrew texts sometimes get confused by all the different search options available to them. Do they search for lexical or inflected forms? How do they distinguish homographs? Do they have to worry about vowel points or accents? Does the Hebrew "word" they're looking at contain prefixed or suffixed lexemes which need to be distinguished? If you're typing a Greek or Hebrew search in the search entry box those are all things you need to be concerned about defining, but if you select some Greek or Hebrew text and amplify, Accordance will enter the correct search syntax for you.

In the screenshot below I've selected the Hebrew phrase meaning "the heavens and the earth" in Genesis 1:1.

While this phrase looks like it is made up of three Hebrew words, it is actually made up of six. If I were to copy and paste this Hebrew text into the search entry box and click OK, Accordance would give me a series of error messages until I had separated all the component words and entered their correct lexical forms. Who wants to go through all that?

If, however, I simply select the phrase and click the Search button at the bottom of the Resource palette, Accordance will open a new search window, enter a search for the selected phrase using all the right syntax, and find every occurrence of that phrase—all in the blink of an eye!

So if you're looking at some text you want to search for, and you're not quite sure how to construct the search, try selecting the text and amplifying rather than entering everything by hand.

Friday, October 19, 2007  

Writing is Easy

Someone once said, "Writing is easy. You just sit at the typewriter until you sweat great drops of blood."

I can relate. I've written six books (seven if you count the PhotoGuide), several articles, and numerous blog posts, yet I still find that writing never comes easily. This is especially the case when I'm busy with other responsibilities. I find that my creativity takes a dive and I become too impatient to stare at the blank page long enough for something useful to come out.

All that is to say that I'm sorry it's been a month since my last post to the Accordance blog. Contrary to a comment left the other day, this blog is not dead (neither, by the way, are CMUG and Bible Software Review); I've just been struggling to put pen to paper lately.

It's not that there hasn't been anything to write about. In recent weeks we've released the JPS Torah Commentary, and we're soon to release a new Jewish Collection CD-ROM. We've also released the new Catholic Study Bible and upgraded our Catholic Collection CD-ROM. And we've been doing a slew of free training seminars all over the country.

In the coming weeks, I'll have even more to write about, including a new Accordance update (with improved compatibility with OS X Leopard), a major evangelical commentary, a spate of new scholarly resources, and more.

So to paraphrase Mark Twain, "Rumors of this blog's demise have been greatly exaggerated." Look for more in this space on Monday, and I'll do my best to sweat great drops of blood over the weekend!