What Is Tropy?

Tropy is a free and open-source software tool for the collection, organization, description, and sharing of digital photographs that researchers take during their research. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the tool was created by developers at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and in Vienna, Austria.

How Can Tropy Help You?

Tropy allows researchers to create collections of photographs that they might take during the course of their research. The tool was created with researchers who use archival materials in mind: researchers are increasingly using digital cameras in archives as a way to reproduce and revisit archival documents later in their research process. Tropy users organize and describe their photos through tags and adding metadata through fields provided through the software. Metadata templates include Dublin Core, as well as Tropy-created templates for generic items, digitized photos, and digitized correspondence; the Tropy-created templates include fields that are specific to archival materials, allowing for details about an object’s location in an archive.

An example of using Tropy to catalog and transcribe a digitized document.

Using Tropy

Users begin by creating a project, and then uploading a set of photographs to that project. Photos can then be assigned with metadata, tags, and free-text annotations to transcribe or more richly describe the digitized object. The software has full-text search capabilities for users to find their digitized research materials easily. Researchers can easily share their Tropy collections (and the item-level metadata) with collaborators or colleagues by exporting to JSON-LD and Omeka S.

Currently, the file formats that Tropy supports are PNG, TIFF, GIF, JPG/JPEG, and SVG.

Tropy’s documentation provides clear and comprehensive information about how best to use the software’s features to their full potential and for their full benefit to researchers, including primers on assigning metadata to digitized documents and  copyright laws that apply to archival materials.

How to Get Tropy

Tropy is available for a free download and installation from its website, and is supported by Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems.

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