Exporting multilingual notes on selections?


The team that I am working on is currently working to use Tropy to annotate West African Islamic manuscripts that are primarily in Arabic, but include segments in African languages. Right now our idea is to use “selections” to flag the the African language segments that we are interested in and then fill out the “selection’s” note in a standard way.

Our current idea is to use the first four lines of the selection-note represent the following:

  1. transcription in Arabic script
  2. transliteration in pointy brackets
  3. interpretation
  4. translation/gloss in single quotes

This would give us, for example, something like the following:

mndsnsn (but with these >< around it! – the forum won’t let me post text with them)
‘Mandensunsun plant’

I’ve had a look at the text version of the .jsonld export and it seems kosher to me, but I’m not a programmer and don’t know of issues that might arise when we wish to extract these notes into a table, text or the like. As such, can you provide any guidance for exportability issues that might arise?

Would we be better served by adding semi-colons or something similar at the end of each line, for instance? And should we be worried about the Arabic script which is R-to-L and the fact that it’s coded as “EN” (English)? In copying and pasting the text of the .jsonld file, for example, it doesn’t place itself in the right position etc.

Thanks for weighing in or pointing us in the right direction if you can!

I’m a bit torn here. On the one hand, I think your idea should work well. Tropy uses its own document model for notes; on export we currently include a plain text and an HTML version of this internal representation. Depending on how you prefer to parse this, I would encode your data as a list (which could be easily extracted from the HTML output) or using just new lines (or something like semicolons, as you say).

Now, I’m a bit torn, because ideally such metadata should be added ‘properly’ as metadata attached at the photo or selection level. This is not possible currently, but we’re close to releasing a version of Tropy which will allow you to add arbitrary properties at those levels. However, even once we have this, I feel like you might still prefer the current approach, because the note field in the UI is just better situated for transcriptions. That’s certainly something for us to think about!

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