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I'm a doctoral student doing research in the humanities. As part of my research I have gathered together a lot of interview text. To analyse this data I want to be able to easily tag sections of text with keywords (the tags need to be able to overlap, and perhaps be organised hierarchically) and later be able to collate those sections from across multiple files. I need to be able to do this on a Mac.

It feels like a simple task but I can't find any software for doing it that isn't either horribly clunky or a massive overkill worth hundreds of pounds. Is there any good software for doing this, or are there any good ways of doing it with other software?

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This question has an open bounty worth +50 reputation from Shayan ending in 4 days.

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I want to be able to tag PDFs or Microsoft Word files inline (For example, not copying and pasting text to some other place). Tags might be hierarchical with multiple levels. I want to be able to find texts annotated with each tag. Moreover, the user is not a geek computer expert and thus I need the tool to be user-friendly. In addition, it is a not-for-profit task and thus it would be great if it is free!

I've already found TAMS (tamsys.sourceforge.net), and Catma (catma.de) which both seemed rather inelegant to use, and the latter of which didn't seem to support multiple files. Commercial software such as NVIVO and Atlas seem to be overkill for this. I have Scrivener installed but can't see how I'd use it to tag small sections of a text and then search the tags. Tagging on a document level wouldn't be much help. –  Mark Porter Jun 24 '12 at 19:56
Oh, well that's far more than I even expected to be there on the market. I guess I'm out of ideas then, sorry. Maybe you could edit your post to add those and briefly explain what didn't work about them? –  slhck Jun 24 '12 at 20:04
Devonthink Pro only supports document level tagging, and overlapping color highlighting in PDFs, but that becomes unreadable quickly. EagleFiler metadata is also only on the file level, Together probably as well, and Yojimbo basically has no features. I'm out of ideas about general purpose document/information managers... Circus Ponies Notebook maybe? –  Daniel Beck Jun 24 '12 at 20:11
I don't really understand what you are trying to do. ** Is there a package on another platform that does what you want? ** How would you do this WITHOUT a computer. Go through the manual stages of what you are trying to do. ** How do you imagine a section of text with, say, 6 tags appearing? –  Sherwood Botsford Feb 16 '14 at 2:55
Dear Mark, did you find a solution? I have similar requirements. –  Shayan Feb 22 at 8:00

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