Organising and tagging material for a book

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david
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Organising and tagging material for a book

Post by david » Tue May 30, 2006 1:53 am

This is cross-posted from the blog. http://www.brainstormsw.com/weblog/archives/181

A user is planning a book with a colleague and they have a lot of interview material. They are wondering whether to use BrainStorm as the organising platform for the work.

The question they asked is:
Is there an easy way that we can "tag" sections of text so that we can bring together in one place all the sections of all the interviews that concern, say, "religion" or "childhood" or "economic class"?
Or, bring together all sections that contain multiple tags, for example: "religion" & "childhood" or "childhood" & "rural" and "economic class"?
For people unfamiliar with BrainStorm, the answer is a qualified "yes".

For those who want to know how, my answer (in three parts) was:

The best way to do it in BrainStorm is to put a tag (or tags) as a separate entry above the block of text that it refers to:
  • Religion
    Childhood
    When I was small, I went to Sunday School
    Here I was taught simple hymns and prayers
    I was also told stories from the Bible
  • Economic Class
    Childhood
    When I was a child
    My father was a sheet metal worker
    He regarded himself as working class
    As time went by, he was promoted to designer
    And, later, to management
    He gradually saw himself moving into the middle classes
    Although, at heart, he remained part of the working class
In BrainStorm, identical entries such as 'Childhood' above link up as 'namesakes'. You can navigate between all occurrences by pressing the left and right arrow keys.

If there is only one tag per section, you might consider 'non-namesaking' it and making the whole section a descendant. Then, in order to collect all the 'Childhood' material together, you could use the Write command with 'Only output selected entries' set and the
word Childhood in the text box.

(Or you could replicate sections - one per tag, if there are multiple tags. The sections would become namesakes of each other, but the headings would remain non-namesaked. You would not be taking up more space by replicating sections because all you are doing is creating a shared section.)
David Tebbutt

HPG
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Post by HPG » Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:04 pm

I've no doubt your suggestions will work, David, and I don't mean to minimize them. However if the user has a big pile of interview material it might be worthwhile investigating qualitative data analysis software, which is designed to do precisely that (tag bits of text). The catch, of course, is that such software is invariably expensive (probably the best-known examples are Atlas-ti and NVivo).

david
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Post by david » Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:05 pm

Yep. I'm not going to pretend that BrainStorm is something it isn't.

It has (almost) no brains. Namesaking is the long and short of it. Everything else is a tool for your own brain to exploit.
David Tebbutt

HPG
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Post by HPG » Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:11 pm

Brainstorm has (almost) no brains, eh? That explains why I feel such an affiliation with it :)

david
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Post by david » Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:32 pm

hohoho
David Tebbutt

liseely
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Re: Organising and tagging material for a book

Post by liseely » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:54 am

Welcome to have more fun game waiting for you

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