Tropy and Material Culture

I am trying to decide between Tropy and Digikam to organize my collections of photos of artwork and artefacts. (I may be a historian, but I work with printed sources- paleography gives me a headache). Your documentation page imples that the core use case of Tropy is archival research.

How well suited is Tropy for working with iconography and creating a personal version of REAL Online with all the good bits in a painting or in a vitrine catalogued and searchable?

I think the main difference between Tropy and Digikam (and other photo management tools) is that Tropy’s emphasis is not so much centered on the photos themselves, but more on the abstractions they depict; because this can be pretty much anything, Tropy’s data model has been designed to be completely generic and therefore the idea is that you should be able to make it fit any object of study. This means that if you want full control/flexibility with in regard to which metadata you collect I would like to think that Tropy is a good choice. Digikam is a fantastic tool as well, so I would encourage you to experiment a little bit with both, to see which is best suited to your projects.

Many of Tropy’s features have been devised or vetted by the historians on team, but there are also many ideas which were first suggested here on the forums or elsewhere by users. If, working with iconography, you find specific features lacking, do let us know!

FYI this is my use case as well.

Thanks to both of you! I will continue to explore Tropy’s documentatation (its a shame that Tropy does not seem to be in any of the official repositories but installing from a tarball is not too big a deal).

As a Linux user myself, I’ve long been hoping to improve that situation of installing updates and desktop integration (and adjusting the theme colors based on the Gnome/KDE theme). If you’re on a distro with up-to-date Electron and/or libvips packages it would even be possible to use a minimal Tropy image. The main problem is that there are so many distros that we don’t have the capacity to maintain install scripts for all of them. Which is your distro?

Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS It has its quirks but like you say the way distros multiply is a barrier for developers who want to support *nix.

I have installed from tarballs in the Before Times but I need to refresh my memory.

OK, for this version of Ubuntu it’s best to use the tarball as is. Ideally, the setup process should be something like this:

  1. Extract the tarball at a suitable location (I’d pick /opt/tropy)
  2. Follow the steps in INSTALL to set-up desktop integration (i.e., add/create a .desktop file, install the icons and register the mime-types). This way Tropy should be accessible in your launchers, have the correct icon and .tpy and .ttp files should have icons and you should be able to open them directly from your file manager. We’ll add more detailed instructions on how to register the 'topy://` URL handler.
  3. To install an update you would just replace the contents of /opt/tropy with the new tarball.

We’ll also look into providing a .dep in future releases, but to really make this easy we’d have to look into how to register a PPA that Ubuntu users can easily add.