I wanted to really sit down and focus on Accordance, so I’ve done so during the past few weeks. Before I go on, let me point you to the features page in Accordance 11.
I noticed that after I had not opened Accordance for 7 days, I needed to go online to validate it. This means that I could not get my Mac, my iPad, or my iPhone (even 3g) to sync and thus validate my credentials. It simply wouldn’t work. If someone is using this in an area with little or no internet connection, they are going to have a bad time. When I spoke with Billy at Support, he told me this was a known issue and should be solved shortly. Indeed, he sent me a new download and it is virtually solved.
One of the key issues is customer service. If I cannot contact you, if I cannot talk to you, if you don’t know what I’m talking about — or worse, pretend you don’t, and then don’t share other experiences — I will not invest with you. I tweeted last night, after hours, to Accordance and they promptly responded. I called first this morning and they walked me through it and explained what the problem really was. Honesty is the best policy.
Let’s not kid ourselves. This is an investment into something that will take you longer to learn how to use than to buy. Great service is really a major selling point.
My biggest complaint thus far? Simply, I have to have wifi to sync. The sync feature is nice, because it allows you to carry your notes everywhere, to pick up where you put the book down, and to waste no time getting back to the subject you were studying. Remember, this software is designed for pastors and students, neither of which are usually stationary. But, I wish I could sync with 3g.
One of the features I really like is the way you can categorize your resources. This comes in handy when, say, I want to organize my Greek sources or, in the future, my Wesleyan resources. If I want to create a category removing all devotional material, without removing them from my library, I can do that so that I no longer have to worry about having them searched. I can create a category, say for Wesleyan modules/tools, and search only that category. I can, perhaps, discover that Outler improperly named the third leg “Experience” when he should have named it “Assurance.”
Speaking of searches, Accordance has 2 types of search available to us. The first is flex. It allows you to take a shot in the dark. It is like google, but for the bible. What I mean is this: you ever think you know what you want to search for, but do not know how it is phrased? Sometimes, searches require you to make an accurate guess. I rarely ever get this to work for me because I am always hearing things differently. I mean, if you read Scripture in a variety of translations, you will eventually mesh this together. Flex search prevents that and allows you to look for close connections to what you are searching. It also changes numbers and senses so you aren’t stuck with “search for plane” (when you mean “search on the planes”).
The second type is the exact search. When they say fast, they mean fast. Granted, my library is (for now) small, but the search feature seems almost instantaneous. Added to this, you can modify the exact search to look for tags, syntax, and other varieties. This is not the flex search, as it is really geared to the original languages.
A related feature is the topic search. Thank of Nave’s, but better and faster. A lot faster. Sort of like a highway in Montana. You type in a topic — say, baptism. You will get verses associated with baptism (ranging from dipping to baptism). If there isn’t a topic exactly like you want, there are usually others provided that come close to it. Accordance bills this as perfect for topical preachers. That’s fair, but it is also helpful for students who want to follow a thought around Scripture while working on their dissertation. This feature is actually new in Accordance 11.
Accordance’s search features are a thing of beauty. They are fast, agile, and responsive to the pastor and student. It is no wonder concordances are almost a thing of the past…
Here are some screen shots of the various searches (flex and exact):