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Mac and the good book.

Computers are wonderful for compact storage. So much information can be stowed away in such a small amount of space. But compact storage is one thing; retrieving a particular bit of data is another. Thus search-and-find programs are devised to help you. These program work like indexes or concordances to books, but they do the job much faster.

Without a doubt the one book in the western world that has elicited the greatest amount of study and research is the Bible. Many guides and reference tools have been devised to aid the student. The reference section in any library will include different versions of the Bible, several encyclopedias, dictionaries and concordances, and a variety of other reference works. Computer-based guides now supplement these printed aides, and one religious publishing house, Zondervan, has released both printed volumes and computer software for Bible study.


macBible- (yes, a lower-case m), a product of the Zondervan Corporation, Michigan, is a set of computer disks that include the full text of the Bible and a search program to retrieve information quickly. Zondervan has published macBible in three different English-language versions: the King James Version, the

Revised Standard Version, and the New international Version. Additionally, it has the text in Hebrew and Greek. For these languages it furnishes Hebrew and Greek screen and printer fonts. macBible was written by Ray Brown and originally marketed by Star Software under the name The PerfectWORD.

What macBible does is search the text of the Bible for your selected word or group of words. The verses that include the words you request are displayed on the screen. You can save the result of your search and print it out as a document, or you can copy it to a word processing document and incorporate the data there. If you wish, you can create a verse file of groups of verses that you individually request.

In addition to the search mode, there are two other basic modes for macBible. In the Show Mode you can call up any verse or verses and display them and then print or save them to another document. hi the Count Mode you can cord the number of times any word or words you request occur in the Bible.

At times you may call up a verse but not understand its full import because you are not immediately aware of its relationships to verses before or after it. Here you can take advantage of the the context display and open a separate window showing the neighboring verses.

Through a tiling command, you can display multiple windows on the screen and compare the results of different searches.

macBible in the Library

Reference librarian Robby Molina at the Jeffrey Star Library has installed the program on his Mac. macBible is simple to install, but a hard disk is desirable to facilitate its use. Robby is eager to use macBible to assist students and faculty in their research.

Although the college has no department devoted to religious studies, students often need to consult the Bible. Robby finds that in most cases students call upon the King James Version because it is so closely related to many courses in the humanities. Therefore, Robby has the King James Version module.

Student Amy Winslow asks Robby for assistance as she works on a paper for an English class. Her topic is imagery in the Bible, specifically as such images appear in the King James Version. She will seek to draw links between the language used in that version and other English literature of the period.

Robby introduces Amy to the voluminous print literature in the Jeffrey Star Library, primarily through the subject catalog and the related headings, for example, Plants in the Bible, Birds in the Bible, Animals in the Bible. Amy is surprised so much has been written, but she makes some notes of relevant volumes and scans them. She is particularly taken with Alice Parmelee's book, All the Birds of the Bible,' and returns to see if Robby can help her further in defining her topic.

Now Robby thinks that machible can be of help. So he introduces Amy to this program. Amy studies the machible manual briefly and learns much from the several short tutorials in the volume. She knows that to use tools tool she must name each bird specifically. There are ever so many, and she decides to concentrate a few. What better bird to start with than the dove ! Preparing a Search

Amy opens machinable, and a blank screen appears with an entry box at the bottom. In this box she will enter her search words. Amy knows that the dove appears in the Bible under several names - dove," "turtle," and "turtledove." She am wants to make sure she finds passages that include both the singular and plural forms of her words. Thus she needs to enter some specific symbols to aid in her search.

From the Help menu she selects Word & Phrase Search Mode. A screen appears (Figure 1) that tells her how she can modify her search command. To get passages that include "dove" or "turtle" or turtledove," she adds a semicolon after each word. Then to get both singular and plural forms of "dove" and "turtledove," she places a period after each as a wild card." The period retrieves any words with "dove" or "turtledove" as the first element. Thus she might retrieve such words as "dovecote" or dovetail" if they were included in the Bible.

The help screen also tells her she can use a hyphen if she wants to exclude a term or to use parentheses to group expressions. Me program manual explains these symbols in greater detail, but it is helpful to have them at hand on the computer screen.

With the Search mode button clicked Amy enters "dove.; turtle; turtledove." in the entry box (Figure 2). Amy decides to divide her search so that she can report how the word "dove" appears both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. From the Options menu she selects Set Range of Search. In the ensuing dialog box she clicks the button to restrict her search to the Old Testament (i.e., Genesis through Malachi).

With that choice made, Amy clicks the OK button (lower right comer, Figure 2). In the twinkling of an eye the search is finished and results appear. The title bar indicates Search 1 of the King James Version (KJV) for the books Genesis through Malachi Gen.-Mal.) with thirty-three verses retrieved. These verses are displayed on the screen in a series of four pages as indicated at the bottom of the window. Amy can proceed from one page to the next using the arrows, and she can move through entries on each page with the scroll bar.

Tiling Windows

Amy opens a new text window and repeats her search for these same terms in the books of the New Testament. She finds the words appear in only four verses. She wishes to compare the images there with those in the Old Testament. To do this she chooses the Tile Windows command from the Display menu, and the windows for the two searches of the Old and New Testament appear next to each other (Figure 3). She can easily scroll through the entries for the Old Testament comparing the use of words with that in the New Testament.

Counting Words

It appears that in the New Testament the words "turtle" and "turtledove" are not used. To get a quick reading on the variations in the Old Testament, Amy chooses the Count mode for the Old Testament. Figure 4 shows how the three words appear in six different ways in those thirty-three verses in the Old Testament.

Seeing the Context The results of each search show the individual verses that include the requested words. Sometimes the individual verse is not sufficient to understand the meaning of a term. You want to know what precedes or what follows.

Thus Amy, puzzled like many others at verses in the Gospel of John, wants to see the context. So in the window reporting the New Testament search, she clicks twice on the verse of John 1:32. A Context Window pops up giving the three verses before that verse and the three verses following (Figure 5). Buttons at the top of the Context Window permit her to move through other verses retrieved in that search and to display their contexts as well. If the context range is not sufficient, she can add more verses through a command in the Options menu.

Amy can either print the results of her searches or save them as files. If she wishes to pick out individual verses for further work, she can create a separate verse file as well. She has a good beginning for her project. Using reference books and identifying other titles through the library catalog, she has acquired some background for her paper. With machible she now has begun to get detailed information that will provide appropriate examples for her paper.

Searching Text with Other Programs

Each word processor furnishes its own search capability. With it you can quickly check through a document for a given word. These search commands do not have all the special features that macBible has; however, they are a quick way to check a manuscript.

Recently John Kidd at the James Joyce Research Center, Boston University, used a novel approach to make a computer-searchable manuscript available. Kidd is the author of "An Inquiry into Ulysses: The Corrected Text," which appeared in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America.2 In this lengthy paper (174 pages) Kidd offers his critique of the 1984 Garland edition of Joyce's Ulysses. He concludes his paper with thirty-seven lengthy tables recording errors, variations, and inconsistencies he notes in the edition. His critique merits further study and analysis, and Kidd has simplified the process for other scholars.

Kidd now has issued an offprint of his paper, with an important add-on. He includes a computer disk with the full text as well as the article. A special added note to the offprint gives general information about the disk.

The text is prepared for an MS-DOS computer in WordPerfect 5.0. Received on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, it can be easily transferred to the Macintosh computer using Apple File Exchange. Once in the Mac, it is opened and saved in Mac's WordPerfect 1.0.3. using the File Management command. Kidd's manuscript is now ready for further study and analysis with all the search tools present in WordPerfect.


1. Alice Parmelee, All the Birds of the Bible: Their Stories, Identification and Meaning. New York: Harper, 1959.

2. John Kidd, "An Inquiry into Ulysses: The Corrected Text," The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 82 (December 1988): 411-584. See also his Me Scandal of Ulysses," The New York Review of Books, June 30, 1988.

Products Discussed

macBible Zondervan Electronic Publishing, a division of the Zondervan Corporation 1415 Lake Drive S.E. Grand Rapids, Mi 49506 800-727-7759 John Kidd "An inquity into Ulysses: The Corrected Text." Includes the electronic version, compiled by David M. Seaman James Joyce Research Center 725 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, MA 02215 617-353-7171
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Title Annotation:The Library Macintosh; macBible
Author:Johnson, Harriett; Johnson, Richard
Publication:Computers in Libraries
Article Type:column
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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