Similar to Zotero, but for images (i.e., photographed documents). Features include ability to:

  • Upload all photos from a source into Tropy
  • Attach the basic info to them (which archive, collection, etc. do they come from?)
  • Add additional categories
  • Group photos into documents, annotate, add metadata (including long-form notes), categorize, search, export (to Omeka, Flickr)

Tropy v1.0 Characteristics


  • Possible to edit metadata with multiple items highlighted
  • Also possible to “merge items,” (highlight & right click) apply metadata, then “explode” item
    • Same metadata (including title) applied to all individual images
  • Tags – you can color code them and can also tag items in bulk
    • More than one tag per item allowed
  • Once you click on a photo – to edit the notes etc – you can actually select a selection of the photo; useful to show material
  • An institution can create a Template for an institution saying what they want recorded about the material – forcing/encouraging researchers to think about these things – you can add different Properties, such as date
    • Preferences -> Template Editor; 3 basic templates: 1) Archives; 2) Archives Correspondence; 3) Art Objects
    • When changing templates for an image, you do not lose any fields that were filled in; you do lose fields which were blank
    • Includes the ability to create mandatory and read only fields (was created with institutions in mind); you cannot describe every folder/document in the box – but you can describe the box as an institution; and then use material for researchers
  • Global Search function – searches through tags, metadata, notes etc
  • Can export items (json format; cn be converted to .csv – you can also get rid of some fields in this way, because you can export just the metadata)
    • Planning to add plugins for Omeka
  • ArchivesSpace; Archivists Toolkit (digital assessment system) – plug ins being built for this type of system to move information from Tropy; use that information to populate finding aids
  • Possible to create lists and add photos from your main project there
    • Whatever you delete from the lists is not deleted (it’s just a link)
    • Metadata edits will be applied to items on lists though
  • Once portability is in place you will be able to share Tropy files – via cloud or otherwise
  • Simple features to make the photos more legible (e.g., more contrast) to be developed
  • You can add items without photos (you might not have the right to take a photo, etc.)
  • No theoretical maximum file size
  • Tropy – Zotero interaction under development (Tropy does not generate citations)


  • Exclusively handles .jpg and .png formats at present
  • Desktop program only (no mobile app or plan for mobile app)
  • No automatic organization of images
  • Cannot have more than one project open at one time
  • Does not work with proprietary software (example: Scribner)
  • No plans for OCR or ways to link it with transcriber software
  • Tropy does copy your photos in a smaller size
    • It will use a lot of space; but still, maintain a connection with the original photo
    • If you move the photo on your hard drive Tropy 1.0 will be able to update the path

Other Notes

  • Interest has been expressed in building collaborations with archives/libraries
    • Asking researchers to share their photographs with the institution
    • Making sure researchers apply basic metadata
  • Some institutions plan to use Tropy internally to avoid scanning and re-scanning the same items over and over again
  • After generating templates for any collection, people could use those templates in Tropy
    • Once work is done, could send back to the archival institution/library