I’m sure many of you have struggled with the choice between digital and physical books. I know I have. Most of my library is in the old fashion paper form. There is nothing like being able to hold a book in your hands, know where something is that you read irrespective of page numbers, and lend to whomever whenever you see fit.
And yet, physical books have their downside. They don’t travel too well. For instance, I have a 10’x10′ storage unit in NC almost half-filled with my books. I was only able to bring those essential resources for thesis writing with me to WA.
Also, try quickly shifting between commentaries when writing papers. You need to have your biblical text open, a stack of books next to your desk with bookmarks for the specific reference you are working in, and then, when you find a quote you want, you need to type it up, flip to the front of the book, type out the reference material, and then move on to the next resource.
To help streamline this process, I once considered purchasing or making a very complex book stand. I have found, though, that this is altogether unnecessary. As I’ve added more books to my library so I can complete my thesis, I have purchased the commentaries in Logos.
For some time, I refrained from purchasing any reference material in my Bible Software—Accordance and Logos alike. I was under the impression that it would be a constant struggle dealing with issues such as accurate page numbers and citation of the program instead of the book, etc. This, however is not the case.
All the books I have purchased have real page numbers that correspond to real editions of real books that real people can reference in any real (i.e., non-digital) library. Furthermore, I can simply copy and paste and it footnotes for me. (Yes, yes, I am coming a bit late to this party. But I have never had a need for a digital library as I have always been rather stationary.)
But the best part, at least for me, is one feature in Logos: Link Set. When you click on the book you have open, a list of options appears. From there, you are able to link the books to one another. I have all mine linked together and tied to the biblical text I am currently using.
This means that every time I scroll in the biblical text, the commentaries match the reference. I’m then able to check what the JPS, Continental Commentary Series, UBS Handbook, and whatever other commentary I have has to say about that specific verse. It has streamlined my research and prevents me from needing to roll around one of those briefcases to a coffee shop with all my books in it. (Yes, I used to do this, and Mary Beth hated it.)
For all of you who know that I was once a staunch Accordance user, have no fear. I still am. I could not do research without the biblical language modules provided by Accordance as well as their search capabilities. I will continue adding to both libraries as good deals on modules I need/want appear.
Also, I have not abandoned the print medium. The ability to lend books (and sell), especially when serving within the local church is something most digital formats refuse or are unable to accommodate.
I just used Accordance for the first time last week on my professor’s computer — I was astonished that such a thing exists. Which (Accordance or Logos) would you recommend to a beginner? How do they differ?
That is no small question. Each has their pros and cons that would take me some time to enumerate. I would say that for someone like you, I would either purchase the “Ultimate Collection” from Accordance or “Biblical Languages” package from Logos. Both of those will give you a significant portion of the original texts with morphological tagging, translations, and searchability that someone like you would be looking for.
I know that both packages are expensive in terms of up front cost, I can assure you that if you buy the modules individually over time, which I have done, you will spend significantly more.
My advice is to do some research in terms of the modules (books) you are interested in having in your starter package, save your money, and get the best bang for your buck.