I started this as a comment on the thread inquiring about pdfs, but it occurs to me that maybe I was asking the wrong question by assuming that way to do it.
At it's heart, this is an organizational and retrieval problem. Organize a large # of files by labels for theme/subject (tags), and then be able to quickly and easily generate a list of all files with Y tag.
I am a few months into my research year in the archives and have already amassed A LOT of potential sources for my PhD dissertation. Some I've photographed in the archives myself, others I have been able to procure from digitized collections online. Almost anything I got online is a PDF. Anything I have taken in the archives I have as jpegs, and many of those I have converted to pdfs as well.
Most files I look at are organized by topic. They might span one week or 30 years. They might have a single sheet of paper or 300 pages of letters, reports, and internal memos. As an example, there is this file from the British Library:
Title: File Gen 184/9 Correspondence on the disposal of war grave monuments formerly in St Sepulchre's cemetery, Poona
Collection Area: India Office Records and Private Papers
Creation Date: Jul 1956-Jun 1959
The ability to work with sources on such a granular level with Tropy is truly fantastic and something that should not be under appreciated. That said, at this point in my research I am trying to organize WHOLE files in their entirety so that I can cluster them by category (and in turn, dissertation potential chapter). Then I want to go through and reread them more closely. At this early stage, I do not, for instance, want to hop between files, a letter from this file then a letter from that file. That will probably come later, but for now I want to read all the files on topic Y, from beginning to end.
There are a few ways I imagine I might approach this, but none of them seem quite right or quite possible, thus my current inquiry.
Import each archival file into Tropy and then create a list for that particular file reference. Cluster as normal within list. Tag everything in that list as necessary. I started doing it this way, but realized having a couple hundred LISTS in the left hand panel would get unwieldy VERY quickly.
Import all the jpegs for each archival file into Tropy clustered as a SINGLE item (even if it is composed of 200+ images of letters, memos, etc). Tag each item. The read. This is probably the most doable at the moment, but Tropy's inability to make subitems within a larger items means that I worry how much of a mess I will have on my hands once I begin to break things up on a more granular level. And "exploding"/unclustering items has so far proved a fairly messy process in my experience thus far
Idea #3 (currently not supported by Tropy)
Import to Tropy as PDFs so each archival file, regardless of how many pages/images it is, is only a single item to be tagged in Tropy. Not sure how later in the research I'd break this into a more granular option either, but perhaps after organizing and rereading I'd bring in select jpegs instead of ALL OF THEM?
Something else entirely? Organise them in Zotero as PDFs first somehow? Excel?
The ability to use a "tag" function is really what I think is necessary here, but I'm not sure how to implement it.
Any advice, Tropy or otherwise is most welcome!