Functionality

CATMA supports text research from quantitative to qualitative analysis, from text interpretation to annotation and back to further analysis. Here are some questions typically raised in this context:

  • Analysis: What are the words that my text is composed of? How often and in which patterns do they occur?
  • Manual annotation: How can I make my understanding of a word’s (or a phrase’s) meaning and function explicit through annotation in a digital environment?
  • Automated annotation: Some of these annotation tasks seem rather repetitious—can’t the computer deal with these routines automatically?
  • Modeling: When I systematically annotate and analyze a text I will often use labels that are not merely text specific descriptors, but point to some theoretical assumptions about text and language—can I organize my labels as reusable building blocks for “text modeling”?
  • Collaboration: I know from experience that many phenomena in texts and text corpora can be better explored if more than one human looks at them—how can we do this in a digital working environment? And how about standards such as TEI-XML and markup export and import?
  • Visualization: Can I output text analytical results in some visual format?

CATMA has a functional module adressing each of these requirements. These modules (which are described in more detail on subpages—just follow the links) are integrated seamlessly in a single working environment. This means that you can easily switch from analysis to interpretation to annotation, just as you would when using traditional methods of literary studies (ref. Gradmann and Meister, 2008).

A key method used in text studies is annotation: we enrich a given text with additional information. In CATMA such information is captured using Tags (descriptive labels) that you can attach to a single word, a paragraph, or even to an entire chapter. Suppose we had highlighted a word in an example sentence like this because we wanted to make explicit that “Snoopy” is an animal:

Snoopy had lunch, and Tigger had breakfast.

This is what it would look like in CATMA after attaching an <Animal> tag to the highlighted word Snoopy:

Snoopy had lunch, and Tigger had breakfast.

So you do not have to write tags into your document—just highlight and assign a Tag (which can be pre-defined or defined by you ‘on the fly’) by clicking it, done.

CATMA uses what is called “external stand-off markup.” This means that the text that you upload into CATMA will not be manipulated in any way—rather, all your markup is collected separately and automatically cross-linked with the original text file, word by word, character by character. CATMA markup is saved in TEI compliant XML-format and can therefore easily be exported into other applications—see the Collaboration section for more details on this.

References

  • Gradmann, Stefan & Meister, Jan Christoph (2008): “Digital document and interpretation: re-thinking ‘text’ and scholarship in electronic settings.” Poiesis & Praxis. International Journal  of Ethics of Science and Technology Assessment. Electronic pre-publication: http://www.springerlink.com/content/g370807768tx2027/fulltext.html [last visited 19.12.2016]