NewSearch 4 is the latest version of a software program designed for studying Emanuel Swedenborg's theological writings and collateral literature. I asked Chuck Ebert (one of the key people involved with developing NewSearch) about the history of it.
The first release of NewSearch was in 1989 for the PC DOS system. It came on 45 floppy disks. If you did not have a big enough hard drive, you could read in as many disks as your computer could hold and then change them out when you wanted to search other volumes of the Writings.The original version of this program allowed users to electronically search a number of translations of Swedenborg's works using basic Boolean search terms. This software was developed by the STAIRS (Swedenborgian Theological Automated Information Retrieval System) project which also did the work of digitizing Swedenborg's works. All of the Swedenborg search engine web sites use texts from STAIRS. (See my Swedenborg Search Engines Review.)
The second version was in 1994 for the Mac and Windows 3.1. The software came on a CD.
NewSearch 98 was released for the PC (Windows 95/98) in 1998. There was no Mac version because by then there were good Windows emulators for the Mac.
Shortly after NewSearch 98 (around 2001) the first Web version became available. It has been upgraded regularly.
The new version of NewSearch has been completely rewritten and has way more content available to search. Chuck Ebert also sent me the description of NewSearch 4 that he wrote for the online bookstore which explains some of what's new with the new version.
NewSearch 4 (Windows) allows full searching of the theological Writings for the New Church. Compared to NewSearch 98 that it replaces, NewSearch 4 has much more extensive document collections and greater searching capability. Most of the English translations of the Writings are included and much of the original Latin. The user may choose to search other document collections including New Church Life (1881-2007), over 100 Books and Monographs by New Church authors, several New Church journals and some of Swedenborg’s Pre Revelatory works. Also included are New Church translations of the 5 books of Moses (Pentateuch) and the New Testament. The New Church Life collection allows field searching (author, title, etc.).NewSearch 4 has been a long time coming so it's exciting that it's finally done. I've been able to play with some pre-release versions which makes me excited and a little nervous—excited because I think it will be a very powerful and useful tool and nervous because it's had lots of bugs to work out.
For 20 years NewSearch has been a prime tool for the study of the Heavenly Doctrines. For a sampling of NewSearch 4, check out the online version at www.heavenlydoctrines.org.
Once I get a copy of it I'll play with it and post a full review. I'll be sure to include details about how it's better than the online version. (Although I've heard that, now that NewSearch 4 is done, the folks who were working on that will be able to devote more time to working on improving HeavenlyDoctrines.org.) I'll also explain what I had to do to get it to work on my Mac. There are no plans to write for the Mac or Linux because good Virtual Machines are available.
You will be able to buy NewSearch 4 from the Bryn Athyn Cathedral Book Room and also from the New Church Bookstore Online. The price will be $39.95. It requires Windows XP (Service Pack 2) or a new Windows OS.