TE4: Tropy

Tropy is a tool that was publicly released in 2017 that is used by historians, and other types of researchers to organize, annotate, share notes on, and engage with primary source documentation. Within this tool, there are multipel tagging, sorting and organization functions that would help many historians in a research heavy atmosphere keep their documents sorted and easily accessible. The most personally useful of these tools, were the individual folders within the app, where you could store different documents pertinent to different projects. In the picture below, is the homepage set up of Tropy, wehre you can see your folder, projects and tags on the left, and in the windows directly in the middle, the things within those tags or folder is displayed. Once a document is selected within the middle, in the fa tright, the notes, meta-data and other tags are displayed.

This data displayed to the very right is (pictured below in more detail), within my opinion, the most important function of this tool, as it prompts the researcher using the tool to fully flesh out the meta-data complimentary to the source. This meta-data is also automatically imported with the document if the document is chosen from a reliable source that also encodes their sources with the correct corresponding meta-data. This organization of corresponding author, date, and many other identifying features allows the researching ot go back tot he original source, or easily create a citation based ont eh sources details because they are all being stored within the same place. Other methods of researching primary source documentation may make this series of events a bit harder to keep up with, as it is less organized.

Obviously, I have interacted much less with primary sources as I have with secondary sources, but in the past, I have just linked the primary source in a word document, and put corresponding notes underneath about the importance. With Tropy, you can automatically transport the full picture of the primary source, add notes corresponding with the primary source and even add notes directly to the source document itself, if you are talking about something specific to a certain part of the document. Below is an example Using a letter from William F. Cody, or better known as Buffalo Bil, where hs signature is very different from other letters he had sent within his lifetime, and I noted this change by highlighting his signature within the original document and adding an annotation to it. This annotation can be seen below the picture window and is accessible from multiple different parts of the document within Tropy.

Another feature of Tropy’s is built in photo-editing software, which allows the person researching to manipulate the photo for clarity, to better see what details are already within the photo. Below is an example of editing I did to fully see the text of the image I was trying to decipher. By simply increasing the contrast, and sharpening the image I was able to see the text in a much better view.

Personally, I am unsure if I will use Tropy much in my research within the foreseeable future. Not because of any ill will with the software, but I think because I’m not interacting with mounds of primary source documents that would need this software to organize them, at least, not until I get into truly writing my MA Thesis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *