Where is the Listener’s Curation Tool for Great Podcasts

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This is a feature request for anyone developing a podcasting app. (You're welcome!) Basically I’m asking for someone to combine Pinterest with my favorite podcasting app for the sake of episode curation.

Here is why.

Podcasters are creating a ton of content. Not every episode from a podcaster is a home run. Some episodes are better then others. Some times I want to listen to the best episodes rather then the best podcasts.

The listening habits of most podcast consumers are composed of working in reverse chronological order. When a person opens their podcasting app they typically see the most recent episode first. Based on their settings they may only see the most recent episode.

But is this the best episode to listen to? What if the episode from four weeks ago was so much better? How would the listener know? What about shows that stop generating new content? There has to be a better way of locating and discovering the best of the best on an individual episode basis.

The current world of podcast discovery reminds me of the music industry 15 years ago. The music listener was pretty much locked into purchasing an entire album even if they were interested in one song off that album. Once iTunes came along it gave the music listener the option to purchase the individual song. Podcast listening is similar to the old model. The consumer is pretty much forced to subscribe to the show and keep their ears perked up for good content. Yes, iTunes allows you to download on an episode by episode basis, but unless you know what you are looking for it is useless.

Right now, the discovery of podcasts are primarily based around shows and not episodes. (The iTunes store does give you the ability to identify top episodes vs top podcasts, but this is just based on popularity. And most of the time the ranking is based on new content vs what is the best.) What if I want to find some good episodes that deal with preparing my kindergartener for her first year of school? What if I want to find some episodes that will help me prepare for a future trip to Europe? In these use cases I would love to discover the top episodes from multiple podcasters that help me with the given topic.

I also would love to do my own work of curation. Sometimes I’m listening to a show and think “I’ve got to remember that for later.” Or “That show fits perfectly with that other show from a few months ago.” I wish I could create and save my own list of episodes based on how my brain works.

And this is the genius of Pinterest. That platform empowered individuals to do curation around their own themes and passions. That is what I want for the podcast world.

So basically here is the feature request:

  • This is a podcast episode curation tool.
  • It needs to allow my to “pin” an individual episode to a particular “board” that I created or collaborate on.
  • It needs to be built into an existing podcasting app because that is where podcast consumption takes place.
  • It needs to allow me to rate the individual podcast episode or identify priority in some way or another.
  • It needs to have a social layer that allows me to view my friends “boards” and lets them see mine. I also would want to be able to subscribe to a friends “board”.
  • It could generate original art or some type of visual cue because most episodes don’t come with their own graphic.
  • It needs to allow me to give my own written commentary or context for why I “pinned” it.

It is my guess that is will become a standard feature in future podcasting apps. But there is the opportunity for an innovator to create the first version of this concept. And that first version could become the gold standard that other podcasting apps choose to license.


UPDATE: [8/18/15] There are a few early attempts that have been produced around the idea of podcast episode discovery. While these are not what I have described in my article above, they are based on a similar objective. I’ll keep adding them here as I come across them.

What I’m Checking Out Online

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Periscope 1.1

Today Periscope 1.1 was released. I have been using Periscope since it first launched a couple of months ago. It represents one significant aspect of new social media. This update includes an awesome map view of where people are “scoping” from in the world. It is interesting to see how few livefeeds are happening at any given time.

Sacca’s Recent Essay About Twitter

Chris Sacca is in a league of his own as a VC and has a tone of Twitter stock. This week he wrote a lengthy piece about his opinions on Twitter and what needs to be developed to keep it growing. I think it is highly likely that a number of his ideas will find their way into the app over the next year. Sacca is also on Periscope and is pretty generous with his time in answering Q&A.

The Nuzzel App

Nuzzel is a news aggregator that pulls the top stories from the people you follow on Twitter. It uses an algorithm to determine what is most popular and important. This is a great tool because it is easy to miss important links in the raw Twitter feed. Check it out here.

Periscope, Meerkat, and The Church

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This morning Twitter introduced their livestreaming app called Periscope. This is Twitter's response to the run away success of an app called Meerkat that launched about a month ago.

Both of these apps run on your iPhone and allow you to immediately start streaming video and audio from you phone.

Meerkat was well accepted and even got some usage by Jimmy Fallon this past week.

I have tried out both apps and have some initial thoughts.

1. This Has The Potential to Be Huge

Everyone of these new technologies are a platform for communication and relationships. People using them is what makes them valuable. To be more precise, my friends using them is what makes them valuable. Right now it looks like people are really interested in this type of platform.

2. Use Cases for the Church

Obviously, any church can stream their worship service over this platform. That is a no brainer. You should do it this weekend like my friend Mike Neglia did last week. 

But beyond that, it is a great leadership tool. It gives church leaders an opportunity to communicate with their local congregation and with a global audience.

I think it also is a great tool for missionaries to give live updates from the field. It is another platform for connecting your local church with the missionaries that they support.

I would love to hear how you are using it for ministry or business. Leave a comment below.

 

Logos 6 Has Arrived

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If you think about it, we have the ability to analyze and research  scripture unlike any generation that has preceded us. Studies that take us seconds once occupied a scholar for a lifetime. Have you ever thought about what it must have been like to put together Strong’s concordance before the computer age? It is remarkable to consider the ease at which we can look things up and do a comparative study.

All that to say, Logos 6 was released this morning. I’ve had a couple of weeks to give it a test drive and I was impressed.

Right off the bat you will notice the ascetic improvements. The user interface looks like it has gone through a year of refinements. The overall look and feel is more appealing.

Some of the updates have to do with text comparisons. These are valuable, but it isn’t a major feture that I’ll utilize.

The new Proverbs Explorer is pretty cool. My Dad would have loved this feature when he was in seminary. The book of Proverbs has been tagged by theme, character and so on. With the click of your mouse you can filter the book of Proverbs by the word “wisdom” or “fool”. There are close to 50 different ways to filter the book.

The guys at Logos have also built an extensive tool for Psalms. Check out the video below to see how that works.

Here is the official press release:

BELLINGHAM, Wash., October 27, 2014 — Faithlife Corporation, makers of Logos Bible Software, just released Logos 6, the world’s most innovative Bible study software. Logos 6 offers a brand-new lineup of tools and resources that empower Christians to study the Bible’s background, explore Greek and Hebrew, visualize the biblical world, and make new and exciting discoveries.

“Logos 6 is all about delivering insight,” said Bob Pritchett, Faithlife president and CEO. “Building on the innovations in Logos 4 and 5, this release offers new Bible study tools and interactive media that aim to dramatically change the way Christians study the Word. Logos 6 will impact pastors, scholars, students and laypeople all over the world.”

For pastors, one of the biggest wins is Logos 6’s ability to help them create better sermons, faster. Innovative tools like Visual Copy and Cultural Concepts equip pastors to create engaging presentations while they study and explore the cultural perspective from which Scripture was written.

“Logos 6 empowers pastors to take back their Fridays,” Pritchett said. “They can make new discoveries and share their findings in fresh and engaging ways — all in a fraction of the time.”

For scholars, tools like Textual Variants and Ancient Literature equip them to do intense academic research with ease — with a click, they can connect Scripture to ancient literature and study the Word side by side with original manuscripts and primary texts. Likewise, students can perform impressive research with new study tools, like Inline Search, Morph Charts and Text Converters.

The layperson will also find everything they need for powerful study: easy-to-use tools like Factbook, Everything Search and Interactive Media offer a deeper, more engaging look at Scripture.

“We created Logos 6 so that real people all over the globe could do better, more insightful study — no matter how busy they are or how little they may know about the Bible,” Pritchett said.

Logos 6 is the most advanced Bible study software on the market. Faithlife, its parent company, is the worldwide leader in electronic tools and resources for Bible study, partnering with more than 200 publishers to offer over 43,000 resources across the globe.

Learn more at Logos.com/6.

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About Faithlife Faithlife makes Logos Bible Software, and is the leading provider of multilingual tools and resources for Bible study on Macs, PCs and mobile devices. Faithlife has served pastors, scholars and everyone who wants to study the Bible since 1992, partnering with more than 200 publishers to offer over 43,000 Christian e-books to users in over 210 countries.

Follow Friday: Eric Geiger

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Historically, Fridays have been dubbed #FollowFriday on Twitter. The hashtags #FF is used as a tool inside the tweet to indicate that you are looking at a Follow Friday message. The ideas is to recommend other people that you think others should consider following through their Twitter account. Based on that idea I thought I would begin to recommend people I follow on twitter and receive value from their tweets. Today I wanted to recommend a Christian leader named Eric Geiger. He is the brain power behind the book Simple Church and works with Ed Stetzer at LifeWay Christian Research. He has also been featured on Thom Rainer's podcast this past year.

Eric is a good source for church related news and ideas. For example he posted this two days ago:

As with any good twitter practitioner, Eric shares personal anecdotes that bring a smile to your face.

Eric is posting a couple of things a day on average, so you don't have to fear a firehose gush of tweets. He is down to earth and highly practical. If you haven't discovered Eric Geiger and his twitter feed check him out @RealEricGeiger.

Social Media Do List For Churches and Pastors

Yesterday I had the opportunity to share at the Calvary Chapel’s ReEngage conference about social media and church planting. I’ll link over to the video of the session as soon as it is available. Below are the long list of ideas that I gave for different social media sites.  Facebook Pages for Church

  • Create a Page not a Profile for your church and fill in all the details including location!
  • Give a Christian perspective to events taking place in your community via link and brief commentary
  • Ask for prayer requests
  • Event pictures (be considerate of posting pictures of kids)
  • Create Events for anything that is outside of the normal weekly schedule
  • Tease the sermon for the week
  • Announce any new pages added to your church’s web site
  • Link to other leader’s content that you trust: books, sermons, schools, seminars, blogs, software, apps
  • Ask for sermon illustrations
  • Create a weekly ebulletin and share it on Facebook
  • Thank your staff and volunteers by name
  • Link to practical ways for people to do what was contained in your sermon application on Sunday
  • Print you FB URL in church bulletin and other print info
  • Link to your FB page from your web site.
  • Look for writers and photographers that are interested in contributing.
  • Collaborate and post to multiple social media accounts through HootSuit

Twitter Account for the Church

  • Create a clean profile that points people to the church web site
  • Link to announcements on your web site
  • Remind people of upcoming events
  • Post a reminder of the application point from your sermon
  • Link to resources that amplify your Sermon
  • Link to anything you mentioned in your Sunday sermon
  • Link to other leaders content that you trust: books, sermons, schools, seminars, blogs, software, apps
  • Create a Twitter schedule through HootSuite and stick to it. People will appreciate the routine
  • Retweet your congregations tweets
  • Retweet news or alerts from your local community.
  • Create a Sunday sermon hashtag #hashtag
  • Create an outreach opportunity hashtag
  • Create a prayer request hashtag
  • Link to media on other social sites: youtube, instagram, Quora
  • Follow and listen to the other people in your church on twitter
  • Use Twitter Advanced search to find out what people in your geographic area are saying about Jesus, Bible, God, Heaven, Sin, Hell, 
  • Create lists so that you can drill down and see specific info from specific groups of people
  • Print your Twitter URL in materials
  • Look for opportunities to comment and post in real time based on significant events.

YouTube

  • Create a Channel that only contain church content
  • Provide 3-7 min clips from the sermon
  • Provide videos from the church office
  • Announce upcoming events
  • Record a Google+ On Air Hangout with some of the ministry leaders
  • Do a “man on the street” in your community to help people understand the city where they live
  • Record some of your church’s ministry training and put it online

 

Free Social Media Consulting with NCBP

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s1grYK6neg This is a google+ hangout that I did with my Dad’s ministry: The National Center for Biblical Parenting. (http://www.biblicalparenting.org)

We spent most of our time introducing their team to Twitter and talking about how they can use Twitter to reach more people.

You can follow Scott Turansky on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/turansky. You can follow Carrie Turansky on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/CarrieTuransky.

The User Bubble

We hear about the “Tech Bubble” all the time. And we know from 2000 what it looks like when the bubble pops. But what about the “user bubble”? 

I believer we might be enjoying a “users bubble” on Facebook and Twitter. And that bubble might be in the process of popping. These platforms are feeling the pressure to monetize and the user experience, privacy or simplicity is sacrificed. 

We have all signed up for these free services where we connect with friends, read the news, and share stuff that we like. But these companies where racking up debt to their investors while they gave us a good experience. 

Those investors come back looking for a return on their money and all of a sudden the user experience is compromised. 

This is one of the reasons I took the leap and signed up for app.net yesterday. I don’t think the sky is falling… yet. But I want to be on a platform that was started debt free and puts users first. We will see how it works out…

Social Media Keynote Slides

Social Media Keynote Slides

Four Ideas for Foursquare

Foursquare is a mobile check-in app that allows the user to indicate their location by checking in. Users can earn points, badges and the title of “mayor” based on their frequency of check-ins and variety of locations that are visited. It also has a social component that allows you to see where your friends have checked in and what locations they recommend. This type of application is still on the tech horizon even though they have over 15 million users. There is a big upside for this type of business. 

Here are four new features I’d love to see: 

  1. Classify businesses based on the volume of checkins. This idea springboards off of  the “mayor” concept. If a business can have a “mayor”, why not classify the business as a village, town, city, or metropolis? This would incentives the participation of individual businesses and give a new metric to the users. 
  2. Provide more leadership positions than just the “mayor”. This would incentives more people to check-in and it gives a good metric to the business. If I were a business, I would want to know who my 10 most loyal patrons were verses just a single “mayor”. 
  3. Incentives the To-Do feature. Shouldn’t I get points for publishing a list of places that I’m interested in? And shouldn’t businesses be able to act on my To-Do list? 
  4. Let me give points to my friends. If points have value, then I should be able to use this value for more than just personal status on a list. This builds community and gives users a reason to come back to the app. 

How to Put a Church on Facebook

I have two primary roles at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa: content curation for calvarychapel.com and social media strategies. 

On the Social Media side of things I’m constantly running into Calvary Chapels that want to have their church on Facebook, but are creating a profile rather than a page. This is a violation of Facebook policy, and a self-defeating use of the platform. Click here to read Facebook’s policy about profiles. 

A personal profile is intended for individuals. A public page is intended for an organization. If you want to create a page for your church you can click here. If you need some good examples of public Facebook pages check out these two.  

I’ve been invited to give a workshop on Social Media at the Senior Pastor’s Conference this Summer. I’m excited to help as many Calvary Chapels as possible use these tools to extend the ministry. 

Measuring Your Social Influence

There are two web based applications that will measure your influence on the web: Kloutand Kred. Here is what you need to know about this genre of application and how it can be useful. 

Maybe it all started with Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point. Or maybe it came before that. But for the last ten years measuring an individual’s influence on society has gained attention. There is a desire to objectively quantify the impact of individuals words or actions. 

This is a big deal for business. Take for example the employer hiring new employees. If the employer can identify a potential hire who has 10x as much social influence as the other job applicants, they will obviously know which person to employ. Measuring influence can also play into compensation and salaries. A high “influence score” can be a big asset on a resume. 

So how do you measure an individual’s influence? That is the question that Klout and Kred are attempting to answer. 

Klout started to gain attention about two years ago. I first came across them as an embedded score in HootSuiet’s contact view. Basically, they score anyone who is on Twitter with a score on a scale from 1-100. A person connects their social accounts to the app and they scan your social interaction. Their algorithm generates a score that is updated on a daily basis. Here is how they describe what they are measuring:

“Klout was founded in 2008 to help you measure and leverage your influence. We believe influence is the ability to drive action. For example, Oprah’s opinion on literature has inspired millions to read titles from her book club. But you don’t have to be Oprah to have influence. You influence your friend when she listens to a song you recommend on Facebook. You influence your coworker when he checks out an article you posted on LinkedIn and shares it with someone else. Social actions like these are a reflection of influence.”

There have been many critics of Klout. It seems like they get as much grief as they get praise. But over the last three months they have gained a lot of momentum. Their CEO has appeared in numerous articles and they seem to be around for the long haul. Here is one interview.  

The second influence measurement tool is Kred. Kred is the new kid on the block and has the “coming soon” sign on a number of its features. There are a number of similarities between Kred and Klout, but it would appear that Kred is attempting to build off of Klout’s mistakes. 

They have created a score that is based on 1-1000 scale and work only with Twitter at the time of this writing. Their greatest strength is that they make the scoring process transparent. So users are able to watch their score go up and down as they interact on the web. 

At this point, both of these platforms are early on in development. They are pioneering a new tool and there are a lot of questions and challenges too be determined.

Application For the Christian Leader

I’m reminded of Jesus statement in Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

The call to be an influence in the world is not a question. Jesus told the disciples to be salt and light. We are called to influence the world around us. 

It is important to point out that the change that occurs in others does not originate in us. Truly, God is influencing the world. We are invited into the process of change he is authoring in individual’s lives. As we speak and do the things he is leading us in, we should be impacting others. Paul expressed this beautifully when he wrote to the Corinthians about his influence on their lives; “clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” (2 Cor. 3:3)

To Klout and Kred’s shame, they are evaluating ones influence in quantity. The actual quality of change is not scored. They are measuring breadth of influence but not doing a lot with depth. (How could they?) The edification that takes place as another person reads the scripture I post to my Facebook wall cannot be measured with a mere “like”. There is a hidden work that is taking place in peoples hearts and that will remain unseen no matter how much technology progresses. 

At the same time, Klout and Kred are evaluating my influence based on my ability to move others to action. What a great concept! I don’t want to just make people feel good, but I want people to speak and do based on what I share. “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1)

So for now, Klout and Kred serve as a rough measurement tool that encourages me to stay active in developing my influence in other peoples lives. It is a reminder to participate in the community of friends and followers that God has given me. And it is an external motivator pushing me to do what I know is right. 

Are you using either of these two applications? How do you think they compliment or hinder a Christian’s activity on the internet? 

Tech Tuesday - Google Reader and the RSS

Over the last year and a half I've fallen in love with RSS. I thought I would focus today's post on this wonderful piece of technology and share how it has been useful. The approach I want to take with this post is to walk you through my own experience with RSS.

The Old Way of Surfing the Internet

Up until about two years ago I had a long list of different web sites that I would visit every day to see if anything had been updated. This list of forty sites included news sites, email, tech news, sports news, and church web sites. I would load each individual page and search to see if there was anything new. The routine took me nearly an hour. But I wanted to stay on top of things. I did not want to miss a software update or a breaking story for my favorite sports team.

Introduced to RSS and Google Reader

My routine changed once I found Google Reader in 2008. Before that time I knew it existed, and I think I had checked it out before, but it finally made sense in late 2008. I realized that I could take the RSS feed from my list of forty sites and go to one location when I wanted to see the latest news. Here is how it works.

First, I would load a web site like AppleInsider in my Safari browser. There is a little RSS button that appears in the address box once the site is loaded. If I click on this button it opens up an RSS feed preview.

I then cut and paste that feed address into my Google Reader. Once I click "Subscribe", Google Reader adds that feed to my list of feeds. Any time AppleInsider publishes a new story it appears in my list of feeds in Google Reader. Take this concept and multiply it times forty and I end up with all my favorite sites in one place.

The genius behind RSS is that it is a line of code that goes into a web page and allows a feed reader to subscribe to the page. Any time a web site with RSS adds a new post, my feed reader takes note and adds that new post to my aggregator. Google Reader is an aggregator, but iTunes is also a type of aggregator posts that include audio. This is how iTunes knows how to download the most recent podcast that has been published.

After adding my favorite sites to Google Reader I realized I could add more than just those top forty. The Google Reader format made it possible for me to scan a whole lot more content in a shorter period of time. So I found new feeds from Christian blogs, news, sports, and technology. Soon I had over three hundred subscriptions to different sites. Any time one of those sites posted new content it appeared in my feed list.

The next cool thing I discovered was that a google blog search could be turned into an RSS feed. What this means is that I can go and do a search through google for a specific word. I could narrow my search to just blogs, or new stories. Once I had the results of my search, I could scroll down to the bottom of the page where there was an option to view the RSS feed for the results. If I cut and pasted that feed into my reader I would be given an aggregated list of any blog that used that keyword. Each day I would get a new list of blog articles making mention of that keyword or keyword phrase. This became a powerful tool to monitor the internet and see who was talking about things I was interested in.

The most recent part of this RSS experience was the iPad, iPhone and Mac applications that were created for Google Reader. These applications took the information from Google Reader and presented them in a clean and beautiful format. Right now I'm using Reader on my Mac and iPad. I also have FlipBoard for my iPad which provides and excellent presentation of my various feeds.

Now I'm able to consume a lot more content because I can view it in one location with summary titles on my mobile device. This in turn allows me to curate web content, and push out good content to my friends on twitter and facebook.  In a future post I'll share some of my Google Reader subscription lists. Or you could just follow me through Google Reader and see what articles I'm sharing.

My iPad Review

*Heavy*The first thing I noticed when I opened up the box and pulled out my iPad was the weight. I felt disappointed by how much it weighed. That feeling didn't last, but it was my initial reaction. I had been thinking of the iPad as a book replacement. I had held out on buying the Kindle because I wanted to see the Apple solution. So when I got the iPad in my hands and felt the weight of it I was a little concerned.

I think I have adjusted to the device and view it as solid rather than heavy. I won't really be able lay down and hold it in the air to read. But I appreciate the thought that it is solid aluminum and glass.

*Fast* Apple has outdone itself in the performance category. The response time is incredible. You pinch and it zooms in. But it isn't sluggish. It is almost too responsive. For example when the keyboard pops up I find myself delicately touching the screen lest I bump the wrong key. Just the slightest touch and it jumps to action.

The battery is another aspect of its incredible performance. After hours of use the batter is still just 50% full. And I played games on it, watch video, and pushed it to the max to see how it would perform. The batter is amazing.

*iPhone Apps Are Lame* This afternoon I went through the system and deleted all my iPhone apps. Not one of them is usable when it is double in size, and I have my iPhone in my pocket if I want to see something at that small size.

This means that I need to need to get all new apps for the device. I think this is good and bad because I have already tested out tones of apps on the iPhone. I know what I'm looking for in a portable device. But the down side is the higher priced iPad apps and the slim selection compared to the iPhone. I'm waiting of the Facebook app and the OmniFocus app. I'm afraid I might be waiting on some of those for a while.

*Screen Size* The size of the screen changes the whole iPhone app concept. The screen is huge and after working on it for a while I was shocked by how small the iPhone screen is. I was noticing how the size of the screen allows developers to eliminate pages in the navigation process. It used to be that you had to navigate to multiple pages to find what you were looking for. But now the first screen that opens in the app has what your looking for. If it doesn't a pop up window allows you to navigate rather than opening an entirely new page.

The screen size also displays the books well. I have not read on it for more than a couple of hours so I have not had any problem with the reading environment. But I could see how six or seven hours on the device could take a toll.

*Connectivity* The fact that it is wifi only means that I stopped taking it with me in my backpack. Until I get into the habit of preloading it with what I need, it won't be that useful in my car. The bluetooth capability really made the device useful. I wasn't really sold on it until I connected my wireless keyboard. Once I could type with my keyboard over the bluetooth connection it became an awesome tool.

The next piece in the connectivity picture would be the mifi from Sprint. I know I could have waited to get the 3G version of the iPad, but then the connection would be limited to the device and not be shared with the laptop or iPhone. I could also try and wait for some tethering solution for my iPhone, but who knows when that will happen. When I think I can fit the mifi into my budget I'm going for it.

Logos 4 - Text Comparison

If you haven't tried the new Logos 4 your missing out. I have been working on Logos for the past two years and it can get the job done in a number of Bible study settings. This new version, version 4, is packed with features and resources. The entire program is based on an incredible library of indexed tools. The video demos the Text Comparison tool in Logos 4. Enjoy!

Video: What is Accordance?

What is Accordance? Accordance Bible Software is the premier Bible software program - innovative, intuitive, inspirational. Accordance features: a beautiful E-reader for your resources, organization using an integrated workspace, the best search engine in the industry, the leading library of resources, and excellent support from our online resources and help desk. Find out more at www.accordancebible.com and download a free trial version of the program.