forums.tropy.org

Project Direction - Non-photo based sources

It seems clear that the Tropy is intentionally designed for exclusively organising and analysing photo based sources and not say websites. This seems a reasonable design trade-off however it does appear to mean that projects with sources in a range of mediums (webpages, videos, etc) would have some of its sources and notes stored in Tropy and other stored in a different place. This would definitely be the case for our project and I would imagine it would be relatively common. Having read though some of the official responses in this forum you have clearly spent, and continue to spend, a lot of time thinking about how small changes to Tropy fit into the bigger picture (how it supports the project vision, how it effects the overall user experience, etc) and I was wondering what your thoughts are on this situation?

Perhaps you see the long-term solution to this being closer integration with other source organisational software designed for a broader range of sources. For example Zotero and Tropy could reach the point where there is a reliable, quick, 2-way sync between the two. Zotero which would include sources+notes from Tropy as well as other sources like webpages. This would mean you could annotate photo based sources in Tropy but preform searches of all sources related to your project in Zotero. Such a solution would not be without it’s downsides though. Searching in Zotero would mean you’d lose a bit of the context associated with selection notes for example (you’d probably have to open up each selection note in Tropy to see what parts of the source it relates to).

Anyway, you must be bored of hearing this by now but thanks for making such a beautiful and clearly excruciatingly well thought out piece of software. At least to an outsider the Tropy project looks like the epitome of a well run and productive open source project. :heart:

Many thanks for the kind words!

You raise good questions, but I’m afraid there are no easy answers to them at this time. Have we considered non-photo based sources? Speaking only for myself, I certainly have; specifically video or audio recordings, and text documents. Tropy’s data model is designed, intentionally and at a high cost, as generic as possible in order to potentially allow for such extensions in the future. We also have a few interesting UI ideas with regard to non-photo sources which would be exciting to explore.

However, the fact is that Tropy was devised by a group of historians specifically for the work with archival photos so this remains our most important usage scenario and there are still quite a few features we have in mind to further improve work with photo sources before we are ready, I think, to consider non-photo sources.

Zotero and Tropy are being developed by an overlapping team so, naturally, we’re thinking about how best to create synergies between them going forward. But again, speaking for the Tropy side of things, I think we’re still a little caught up in working with photos and adding a few more elementary features before we can define new goals.

And, most importantly, Tropy is free and open source software, so that was just my opinion and I certainly don’t have all the answers. All the work, feedback, and ideas contributed by the community here, on GitHub or Transifex is valuable input that will continue to shape the project and influence its direction one way or another.

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As one of the historians on the Tropy team :slight_smile: I would add to what Sylvester said that we are a small shop and have a limited amount of resources. Tropy isn’t meant to be an omnibus tool, but at the moment (and for, I think, the foreseeable future) focused on images. Your point about having sources and notes in multiple places is definitely one we’re aware of. As we go forward, closer communion with Zotero is likely, so stay tuned.

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It would be great if a 2-way sync with Zotero or other bibliography tools would be implemented…

You could look at the Better BibTeX add-on for Zotero, maybe the developer of that would be interested in helping out (more or less half the work is already done)…

I don’t think it would be abig problem to have 2 program, as long as it is a “live” sync (in this case, live is sync when open and closing or with a button to read/write from/to a file (BibTeX, CSL json)…

Could you atleast make an extra feature to export to a CSL json file or to a BibTeX fil, so that it would be possible to import bibliography to other bibliography software?

We could easily make a CSL/JSON export plugin (similarly for BibTeX). But how would this work: would you expect the export to map certain fields of your Tropy items to the CSL/JSON fields, or were you thinking of using a vocabulary for CSL/JSON (I’m not sure that exists, but we could create one).

I’m not sure how this work in Zotero, but I know that Zotero do import CSL json files…
Same with BibTeX files, those can be imported directly into Zotero… I will assume that there are some standards for both CSL json and BibTeX, so some sort of mapping would be neccessary when exporting from Tropy…

I was just thinking that that might be a easy way to create a manual “sync” from Tropy to Zotero untill you have time and resources to do something more automated…

And if you look at the Better BibTeX ad-on for Zotero, you will see they can export and keep both CSL json and BibTeX files updated from Zotero… and that approach are actually used by some other software already (using citeproc.js)
I use Zettlr notbook, and it works okay there…

Most people in need of citing/referencing only need to get the citations into Zotero so that it can be used in software like Word, LibreOffice, TeX, Atom, Visual Code or maybe Scrivener…

just thinking that you don’t need to create more add-ons than neccessary, if people can get objects into Zotero, much would be done…?