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Where to Start Reading about Bible Software

Although some of the specific contents are badly outdated, I would still recommend reading Harry Hahne’s course notes “Using a Computer in Biblical and Theological Studies”. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since 1999, particularly so in the field of computing and computer-assisted Bible study, but many of his general insights still hold true (see, for instance, the first section: “Introduction: How a computer can help in seminary and ministry”, where he deals with subjects such as Computer Basics, Major types of software, Computing and the Process of Research and Writing, What a Computer Can and Cannot Do, Working Efficiently With a Computer, etc.) The comments he makes, later on in the course, on certain programs and Internet sites only apply to the current situation at the time of writing, and should be taken with a grain of salt.

Harry Hahne was also the editor for the Bible Analysis website, which unfortunately hasn’t been updated in a long, long, time. However, his essay “Interpretive Implications of Using Bible-Search Software for New Testament Grammatical Analysis” remains a must-read, IMO, for anyone interested in the rigorous study of the Greek New Testament with the aid of computer tools, despite the fact than most of the programs he mentions in the test cases have been vastly improved over the years.

More on New Technology for Webs and Blogs

I have followed with interest the recent technical discussion presented by Stephen C. Carlson in his blog. He replies to my previous comment
on the subject, particularly my question about whether this “In-line Glossary Technique” could be used for footnotes. He suggests a somewhat different approach for publishing footnotes on the Web. Here is what he says:

Some people have suggested from time to time the use of sidenotes rather than footnotes for annotating texts on web pages. To me, it makes theoretical sense because, unlike book pages, which are taller than they are wide, browsers tend to show web pages with a greater horizontal width than its vertical height. Thus, the sides, not
the foot, constitute the area of the web page with potentially the most space for notes while still being in view.

He has posted two examples: an article with footnotes and the same article with sidenotes. Since his blog doesn’t have a commenting system implemented (hint, hint, hint…), I’ll state here that I like the sidenotes better. It seems to me that they look more elegant (though maybe some will find the page a bit too crowded, depending on the display’s resolution being used), and save us from having to click and move forward and backwards all the time. By the way, when it comes to printed books, I much rather have footnotes than endnotes. One of the links he points to is particularly useful.

Fancy Another Interview?

As I had anticipated, there is now another interview available. Today is David Lang who shares with us some of his insights. Incidentally, OakTree Software has just

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  • February 13, 2004
  • BSR Update, Update Permalink

Recommended Review

Late last year, Jim Barr pointed me to an excellent review by H. Van Dyke Parunak, published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS 46/3, September 2003, pp. 465-95) and entitled Windows Software for Bible Study. I have requested permission to make this review available online.
Meanwhile, you can download a PDF version of the full article by clicking here. I will be referring to this review in the next few days.

Blogs on Bible Software

I am not aware of the existence of many other blogs related specifically to Bible software. Apart from the occasional reference to the subject in some people’s personal blogs, I can only think of Bob Pritchett’s thoughts . You might find it interesting, but he only blogs from time to time… Another blog from someone directly involved in Bible software is Brandon Staggs’, although very often what he posts has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

Updating Website

Now that the hardware part seems to have been taken care of, things will gradually get back to normal (I hope!).

Today we start a new section
with interviews with key people from the Bible software industry. I have sent them a survey, and the first replies are already coming in. Ivan Jurik is the first of what will hopefully be a rather long list. More should be posted in the next few days. There is now a handy “What’s new” area where all updates will be duly recorded. I’m glad things are taking shape, and would remind you that I am open to your suggestions.

Giuseppe Regalzi, a correspondent from Italy, has brought to my attention that the site doesn’t display very well at all at 800 x 600. I promise I will revisit this issue as soon as I can, but for the time being my plate is too full. If there is a real demand for it, I’ll do my best to care for those visitors who use lower resolutions. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss the opportunity to join us! Meanwhile, I have set the blog to use slightly smaller font sizes. This should help some of you.

Hardware Woes

I’m in the middle of some hardware changes, and the transition wasn’t as easy as I had anticipated. So, to make a long story short, I was unable to blog. Yesterday was a particularly looong day. I’m sure many of you can simpathize with me. Now I’m off to the computer store. More later.

Using New Technology for Webs and Blogs

It may be pure coincidence, but the fact is that I was getting ready to blog about Stephen C. Carlson’s most interesting topic on In-line Glossary Technique, when I noticed that he refers to the launching of this little weblog of mine. Much obliged, Stephen!

Now, regarding the technique he introduces to “mark up Greek words for glossing”, it just dawn on me that it could be equally used as a means to replace footnotes, and most certainly to present brief definitions for some of those cryptic words scholars are so fond of using every now and again ;-). I don’t have the time to test it right now, but maybe others have used this method and could enlighten us a bit…

The Word is Spreading…

I appreciate Jim Davila’s mention of my web and blog. Note that his excellent PaleoJudaica weblog is included in my list of recommended blogs.

Incidentally, these referals just come to show how visited and respected Mark Godacre’s NT Gateway and related weblog are. It is a real gem in the overwhelming – and all too often mediocre – universe of cyperspace!