Feedback: Canvas Tool and Levinsohn's BART Displays Enhanced for Discourse Features

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Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Feb 18 2019 9:14 AM

I just wanted to give some brief feedback on the Canvas Tool. So far it hasn't surpassed OneNote for my combination of text-charting and note-taking needs. OneNote's strengths are its overall accessibility, efficiency, versatility, and functionality, although it has plenty of weaknesses when it comes to handling text-charting (and other linguistic analysis), biblical languages, and Bible study. The Canvas tool has a lot of potential and seems designed for the areas where OneNote is most lacking.

First, Hebrew support. I know that you know this already, so I rest my case! Wink

Second, the Canvas Tool needs keyboard support. If I am not able to quickly and easily outline/edit text via keyboard input (e.g., insert line and/or paragraph breaks, indent text, and perform other basic editing functions), then I'm unlikely to ever make extensive use of the Canvas Tool.

Third, I tend to use and adapt text-charting methods modeled by Stephen Levinsohn's Bart Displays Enhanced for Discourse Features and Steven E. Runge's Lexham Discourse Greek New Textament and Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible, which he edited with Joshua R. Westbury (and corresponding datasets). Levinsohn's Enhanced BART Displays are relatively simple as far as markups go (e.g., using mostly colored fonts, highlights, and boxes; suprscripted text-labels; underlining; vertical bars; and the like). I haven't found a quick and easy way yet, however, to add superscripted text-labels before individual words and before-and-after larger units such as phrases and clauses (e.g., Top, Sit, prox, Rel, L-dis, R-dis, and App). The drag-and-drop text boxes could be an alternative, but they seem too slow, cumbersome, and inconsistent (and inelegant) in their results to accomplish such a relatively simple task. An annoyance in OneNote is that underline text-formatting cuts right through many Hebrew vowel-points and diacritics.

Here's a link to Levinsohn's BART Displays for illustration. Narrative and non-narrative genres include some significant differences. Also note the Enhanced displays of Exodus 1–23 and Jonah (listed near the bottom of his "Bart Displays" page) and the overviews of OT and NT features linked to below:

Finally, I'll mention that in OneNote I tend to outline/chart a relevant passage, section, and/or (short) book of Scripture. Then I generally create a new page, insert the chart (usually with the Hebrew/Greek edition and an English translation arranged in parallel columns), and then take notes establishing the context and relating every new unit and section to the relevant context, flow, development, and unfolding message of the discourse. I often edit and condense them and include one or more additional sections (e.g., conclusion/summary, application; biblical, systematic, and historical theology; etc.); otherwise, they essentially become my teaching/sermon notes. Sometimes I teach simply from a charted text, depending upon the timing, situation, and how well I know the passage (if not straight from an open Bible, which I always have on hand). I use labels similar to SIL's Exegetical Summaries Series in addition to other series, resources, books, etc. I assume that my usage of OneNote probably goes beyond what Faithlife intends for the Canvas Tool. If so, that would be an advantage of OneNote's general versatility.

I'm grateful for everyone at Faithlife for making such excellent resources and tools available for Bible study, teaching, and translation!

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