tagging segments of text, anyone?

i am new to scrivener but it seems to be the best approximation to what i am looking for (with many beautiful extras more than i had expected). I work in a setting where i am writing educational curricula, do qualitative educational research and other tasks. Scrivener helps with both of these.

What i am desperately looking for, and what usually only a wallet and cpu-heavyweight software can do, is to be able to select sections/fragments of text within notes/docs and associate tags with them. Currently within scrivener one can only assign keywords, status and labels to entire notes. But, if you wanted to import research documents (as i did), and want to assign categories to themes that emerge within each doc, and then to later be able to summarize or shortlist to just those segments, WOW, i would pay triple the price for such a software. I would be able to use it for so many things. In my curricular writing, i could categorize segments of text, say, as “develops language capabilities”, and other parts of text as “develops artistic capabilities”. Get the idea? BUT i would also be able to use this in my qualitative research to find important themes in documents. I would even greatly love this feature for my own journal writing. I tend to oscilate between writing in a single journal (all my thoughts, personal, educational, philosophical, etc.). But to see only those thoughts that relate to education, i am totally at a loss. So, alternatively, i end up creating a convoluted scheme of hierarchichal notes which, on the other hand, tends to make me feel very fragmented, and if i want to read through the evolution of my thoughts (chronologically), it becomes impossible.

So, i tend to use complicated qualitative research software to do this (such as TAMS–incredible, free, and robust, but visually unappealing for journal and curricular work).

Have i missed a way to do this, or have others found other software that better does this. The only work around i have found is to use MS word (much to my chagrin), and assign segments of text to custom-defined styles, and then to generate a table or indes, telling word to only use the style(s) that i had been using for categorizing my text. This allows for a shortlisted summary of all the text relating to, say, spirituality (as a topic in my journal).

Surely other writers would need such a feature, no? Wouldn’t this be useful for categorizing passages of a script to be tagged as “revise this” (for editors), or “to be filmed in New York” (for filmers), or “Bill speaking” (for cast to quickly shortlist to their parts). Because of its obviousness, i am convinced there must be many software that can do this, but somehow all the writing software i have looked at eludes me in this respect. :question:

Probably the best way to accomplish this is to use Scrivener’s core ability to operate on documents as small chunks. There is often little reason to keep long documents in a single Binder item, since the Binder can act as a table of contents for long documents. Using Cmd-K, or Cmd-Opt-K with selected text as the title of the new document, you can rapidly split up the large document into workable chunks, and arrange them in whatever hierarchy you prefer beneath a parent document that represents the research paper.

These smaller sections can then be tagged however you like. Remember you can drag a keyword to multiple selections in the Binder, if you wish to assign a global keyword to all of them. If you ever wish to view your entire document at once, simply select the top level document, and press Cmd-Opt-1, or select from the Documents menu Edit Scrivenings/All Content.

This is not practical if you want to tag just paragraphs, or sentences within paragraphs, but you could potentially use a combination of highlights and annotations to achieve a finer granularity of meta-data than you could otherwise. Using the annotations finder, you can narrow it down by typing in tag words into the bottom section. Pressing next will skip through documents in the project that have annotations matching that tag word.

thanks AmberV, for the detailed explanation of how Scrivener can approximate what i am hoping to do. This is in fact the one saving grace that has put scrivener above all others for me (namely being able to view a nested list in a seemless document format as you mentioned).

still desperately hoping there might just be a feature in the works, or another program that would do this (though i am not sure i would give up scrivener entirely for it).

thanks again

Hi oneworld9,

Just to add the official word: there is no feature in the works anything like this. In fact, I would have no idea where even to start. :slight_smile: Scrivener is intended to be much more general, so keywords are only added to “chunks” of text. I doubt the feature you want would ever make it into Scrivener, in all honesty, sorry. :frowning:

All the best,
Keith

thanks Keith, its good to put the hope to rest so that i know definitively it isn’t some hidden feature. i will likely have to use TAMS for this, and Scrivener for the other great things it does. If it is of any interest, my most cherished aspects of the software are:

  • very elegant and feature-rich full screen mode
  • ability to view many notes in the “edit scrivenings” mode
  • search for annotations and higlights.

What i realized in hindsight as well (may be useful to share with others that inquire similarly), is that by defining names for the highlights (such as categorical themes), and then use the ‘find highlights’ menu to basically search for highlighted segments.

Hi Oneworld,

I have been having the same problem, and think I came up with a solution… I wrote down the method on this post [url]https://forum.literatureandlatte.com/t/qualitative-research-and-interviews/3584/1]. I think it could work. Would be interested in hearing if you had any luck finding a good method this past year.

Cheers,
Lou