Enhancing annotation: Adding tags to selections

Hi Tropy community!
Wouldn’t it be useful (to other people than myself) to be able to add tags to image selections and not only to the image itself? Tagging people in a text, highlighting a paragraph where a certain concept appear, tagging unreadable words to collect them, etc.
Interesting corollary: in the global view, when a tag would be activated, the search results would be directly centered on the image portions (all the signatures, all the unreadable words, all the bibliographic references, etc.).
Tropy would then become a free and fresh alternative to MAXQDA and other annotation software.

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Good question!

At the moment, tags can only applied at the item level (not the photo level); we have considered making it possible to tag any or all of photos, photo selections, and notes independently but decided against it mainly to reduce UI complexity. It would certainly be possible to add tags at lower levels (an item’s tags would then have to be defined as the sum of its own as well as all the tags nested below it), so it will be helpful to hear your thoughts.

Many thanks for your answer, and good to know that you did already discussed this question.

[I didn’t tried the photo grouping functionality yet, so I hadn’t noticed that the tag was only available at item level]

I understand your concern about the UI complexity. In my opinion, and having rather complex archives (but I presume every researcher will have its own complex questions/material), a software that makes it possible to tag only pictures as a whole is not much more useful that simply using - on a Mac OS - the Finder tags. It’s already pretty common to use folders to sort a picture collection and add colourful tags to distinguish the items: Tropy is not really adding anything (the “annotate your photos” slogan seems to me a bit overrated).

I can not imagine all the uses, but think for example of someone who has a collection of old photographs: tagging people makes sense if it is possible to frame / select their faces. For now, and this is the example of your video, the annotation is used to transcribe a portion of a document, but one could imagine having several “categories” of annotations: transcription, identification of concepts or people, personal notes or comments, identification of a type of media/element (an illustration on a newspaper page, a signature, an address on a letter), etc. We could also automatically give the selection box the color of the tag assigned to it, to make reading faster, or display the color tag in a corner.

Of course, I do not know how much you would like to develop Tropy in the direction of an analysis software (and therefore no longer only a collection software), but one could very well imagine researchers who would manually tag their corpus to then count occurrences or co-occurrences. It could be very useful on small to medium corpora on which the OCR is not possible.

In short, I do not know if all these ideas deserve an answer today, but they are things that would make Tropy’s use justifiable in my case.

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I’d really appreciate tags at the selection level too. I hope this is introduced at some point. I understand the need to keep the UI simple, but perhaps “tags for selections” can be enabled by users who need more complexity.

Enabling tags at the photo and selection levels would be relatively easy; the bigger UI problem is the more general ‘searching within an item’. So I’d be curious to know how you would intend to use selection-level tags; if you’re only concerned with being able tag selections to highlight them in the list or to export the information to some external data repository, this is probably something we could add quickly.

However, we don’t have a clear UI solution yet for searching within a given item or displaying partial hits within an item – so in terms of searching there currently would not be much difference between a tag applied to a selection versus one applied to the full item.

Here is my use case: I work with image plates of mixed fragments from several ancient scrolls. I also work with images of individual fragments. I only want to tag an item with a fragment tag if it contains just one fragment. Otherwise, I want to use fragment tags on selections. I would like to be able to tag a fragment everywhere it appears and be able to call up all the items and selections of a fragment in the search results. I want to review, compare, and take notes on each item and selection containing a particular fragment in the search results.

Also, I’ve been naming the selections according to the tag, but it’d save a lot of time if I could just apply the tag to the selection to name it.

Thanks for considering this.