tagging pdf annotations

I’m sure it must be possible but I just can’t figure out how to tag pdf highlights and comments. Help…

You want to highlight text and then “tag” it? Just curious – but, why? I don’t recall ever seeing that feature in any OS X software. Not possible with DEVONthink. Generally, tags are metadata that belong to a document, but not to text within the document.

You could use an annotation document to copy your highlights or comments and tag that annotation document.

That’s not directly possible, as tags apply to documents, not elements within documents such as highlights or comments.

There’s almost always a kludge–a way to accomplish an objective using existing tools and features.

You can create a rich text note and paste into it the Page Link of the PDF at which a highlight or comment appears. Now you can tag the rich text note.

Scenario: You are chronicling participation of a somewhat obscure participant in the Battle of Hastings and have collected a number of references in which he is mentioned. There are disagreements as to whether he was killed or survived. On that point, you could create two rich text notes, and in one collect Page Links to PDFs alleging that he was killed, and in the other, Page Links alleging that he survived the battle. Tag the first “[Name] Killed” and the second “[Name] Survived”.

Wow, you guys are quick!

My scenarios are qualitative analysis and literature reviews where I want to give tags to specific passages in the pdf. Normally I might use Nvivo or Atlas.ti but it feels like DTP should be able to do this somehow.

This is what I am doing now:

  1. click “take a note”
  2. copy and paste the desired quote to the main note field
  3. copy and paste the page link in the url note field
  4. give it the desired tags

Any suggestions for streamlining /automating this process?

Ah, if only I could afford Nvivo!

This is a classic DEVONthink use case. If you browse around the forum looking for annotation workflows you’ll find lots of suggestions (including Bill’s, above).

Here is one of my favorites.

Thanks for the link.

Beta Nvivo for Mac is a free download until June but I found it too slow on my Mac with about 50 pfds that I was trying to code (remember they’re associated with MS). Atlas.ti has promised a Mac version in July and hopefully that will run faster. In the meantime if DTP could integrate a better PDF tagging (coding) annotation workflow I think they’d be in a better position to compete! Fingers crossed. :wink: