View Full Version : Query: Accordance//BibleWorks

10-06-2004, 07:36 PM
Dear colleagues,

As someone concerned to do academic research and exegesis of the Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East, and working extensively in comparative texts and versions, the history of Second Temple interpretation, and analysis of language, I am in the market for a software tool. I attended a seminar yesterday at Luther Seminary given by Charlie Gibson, which was excellent--but turn to this Forum for some guidance. Could anyone speak to how, for a user like me, Bible Works would compare with Accordance in terms of ease of use, power, breadth of tools, etc. I am a PC user and know that for the PC nothing compares with BibleWorks. But Accordance (on the Mac) does now come with an emulator for the PC. Does anyone have any comments/advice? Does anyone know of a formally published review in an academic journal that compares the two software programs, despite their being at home on two different platforms?

I see btw that Accordance has some modules that do not seem available yet unfortunately in BibleWorks:
a) Bill Schniedewind's tagged inscriptional corpus;
b) Tagged Mishnah
c) Samaritan Pentateuch (unfortunately, not tagged).

I would welcome comments and advice (and was urged to post to this forum by Charlie Gibson himself--principled guy!).

Best wishes,
Bernard Levinson

10-07-2004, 03:17 AM
A few points about my background that may help you understand "my humble opinion."

As a library employee at a GCTS (http://www.gordonconwell.edu/library/hamilton/index.php), I have had the privilege of trying out several different exegetical software packages. I am an avid user of BibleWorks, bordering on fanaticism (this is a bit of an understatement, considering how many posts to the forum I've made (http://www.bibleworks.com/forums/search.php?do=finduser&u=30)), but I have learned enough of Libronix, and I am learning Accordance enough to help someone that comes to our library use the resources that the seminary has purchased for exegetical studies.

I have tested Accordance only on a PC emulator, so I can't tell you how well it does in its native environment. I am almost exclusively a PC user, so often I feel lost in a Mac (lost is too strong a word...perhaps just disoriented).

In my job at the library, I also get to see how much everything costs, given that I am the one who purchases all these fancy databases.

The cost: if you were to take all of the databases that come with BibleWorks "out of the box" without any extra add-ons (like BDAG or HALOT) you would come up with a package deal of $299 (http://www.discountchristian.com/bibleworks.html). To put together a similar package to BibleWorks, one would have to pay quite a bit more with Accordance. Compare their Scholar's Collection (http://www.accordancebible.com/packages/details.php?ID=39) at $199. While it seems that they are $100 cheaper, consider that the $199 does not include Brenton's English translation of the LXX, TWOT (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0802486312), Textus Receptus, UBS Greek Dictionary, Targums, Josephus, Vulgate and others. (Adding just these texts would cost another $400!).
Shovelware? Some computer programs raise their prices and then shovel in a bunch of public domain-often useless-resources so that they can say "you just purchased umpteen thousand dollars worth of printed material for the LOW LOW LOW PRICE of $1000!" I can say with confidence that if you compare BW and Acc. and note the "extras" that you'd get with BW out of the box, you will find that this is not just another instance of "shovelware." The folks at BW have made it a point (perhaps even a passion) not to just throw in any old thing that can be made into a database--that's the job of the over-eager BW user who obsessively tries to compile anything he can find in public domain! (I wonder who I have in mind here?) (http://www.bibleworks.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53)
Resources available: That being said, if you NEED Semitic Inscriptions, or the Mishna or Greek Pseudepigrapha & Charles' translation, etc. Then perhaps you would want to consider purchasing the $199 package from Accordance and then adding these things instead. My experience has been, however, that folks would rather first have access to all of the above mentioned resources available "out of the box" with BibleWorks, rather than getting a comparable package with Accordance. Now if you choose to go with BibleWorks, make sure you "squawk" about the things that you'd like them to add. Often one of the deciding factors in putting together a database is demand. There is a great deal of up-front cost involved in scanning (if necessary) and gaining copyrights, so it is wise for the folks at BW to wait to see about demand. That being said, I believe that just about any ANE/Greco-Roman 2nd Temple era text is worth any effort or investment in the program...but I'll dismantle my soap-box for now!
Functionality: As far as I can tell, Accordance and BibleWorks are very similar in functionality, except that Accordance is more "modular." This has the benefit of allowing the user to spend money on what they want, but the drawback is that you can end up spending a great deal of money by the time you're done. As far as searchability, ease of use, etc. I would say that the two programs are comparable.
Are you a Mac user or a PC user? If you use the Mac emulator to run Accordance, you have to do a few "extra steps" for cut an paste operations, etc. that you would not have to do for BibleWorks. Also the emulator seems to eat up a lot of your CPU's "energies" while running Accordance. Perhaps there are ways to change this if you are more "computer savvy." If you use a PC emulator to run BibleWorks, I imagine you'd have to deal with the same issues--but perhaps not. Also, you want to consider that Accordance is designed for Macs and that you may feel like you are in a foreign land if you are a mere PC-using-lackey like myself. The same could be said if you are a Mac user purchasing BibleWorks, a Windows driven program.
Solution? I have given my "two cents" to quite a few students over the last few years at the Seminary. If you are a PC user, purchase BibleWorks and if you really need the extras, purchase the emulator & Accordance modules that you need. If you are a Mac user, purchase Accordance...after all, why would you stoop to the level of using a program built for the computer of the masses? (http://members.ozemail.com.au/~lbrash/msjokes/joke.html) :) Just realize that you will end up paying more for less. Mac folks tend to act like they've just touched something slimey each time they use a PC based product (:eek: ), so the fact that they can remain undefiled using Accordance, makes up (perhaps) for the extra cost. :p Though there are folks on the list who DO use BibleWorks on a Mac (http://www.bibleworks.com/forums/showthread.php?t=142) who may disagree with my assessment.

I've said too much already, but that's my humble opinion.

For BibleWorks reviews see http://www.bibleworks.com/reviews.htm (http://www.bibleworks.com/reviews.htm)
For Accordance reviews see http://www.accordancebible.com/about/reviews1.php (http://www.accordancebible.com/about/reviews1.php)
Do a search on ATLA's religion database and you'll find several product reviews that are out there.

Joe Fleener
10-07-2004, 05:03 PM
I am one of those fanatic BW users too!

Jim's comments are fantastic and very accurate, I second his assessment.

One other thing to look into if you consider using Accordance on a PC is their statements:

Accordance can also be run on a Windows PC using an emulator. The emulator is fast and free, and all but one of Accordance's powerful features are supported. To find out more about using Accordance on a PC,

Found: http://www.accordancebible.com/about/index.php

They really don't say what that one powerful feature is, but I would look into it more if you consider this option.

11-29-2004, 12:42 AM
This is just to send a big thank you to Jim Darlack and Joe Fleener for the incredibly helpful responses to my posting last month! Jim's extensive reply was especially helpful and I will share the discussions here with my students as well.
I will also follow up on the recommendation re squacking to get more modules--the inscriptions and the Peshitta text would be wonderful to have.

By way of some attempt to say thank you, I just discovered a useful article by Imanuel Tov reviewing electronic resources for studying the Biblical text and versions:
http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/vol08/Tov2003.html (http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/vol08/Tov2003.html)

Best wishes to all,
Bernard Levinson
University of Minnesota

Joe Fleener
11-29-2004, 09:42 AM
Thank you for the link to Tov's article...it is very helpful.