Re: Qualitative software

wilkr (wilkr@INDIANA.EDU)
Tue, 30 Jan 1996 09:12:59 -0500

Nudist is now a fully commercial package--friends use it and say it is
very complex (as is ethnograph) and it reflects its origins as academic
shareware (kludgeware as some call it).

I have always used a clunky old dos-program called Lotus Magellan, which
simply searches text files (from any word processor) and indexes every
word. Then you can do searches through your files and find anything you
want quickly, and yank the text out to put in new files arranged any way
you like. Unfortunately Magellan is an orphan, even Lotus has forgotten it.

One possibility that I am thinking of moving to is a much more open and
unstructured hypertext-linked indexing system. I have a student who is
using Storyspace - a hypertext writing system for Mac or Windows. Its
really a way mof making sets of topical links between chunks of text, to
break out of the linear flow of field notes (or other narratives for that
matter). I think in many ways the final product of ethnography should
still be linear, in the sense that humans like to be told a story with a
beginning, a middle, and an end (this is why hypertext novels dont sell
big, in my opinion). But the process of writing an ethnography involves
transforming one linear structure (field notes) and several others
(photographs in sequence, video, memory, documents) into a new one. And I
am intrigued at the prsopect of using hypertect links to discover that
new linear structure.

Storyspace has an academic pricing. 1-800-562-1638 for more info. I am
not connected with Eastgate systems, who sell it, in any way.


Richard Wilk Anthropology Dept.
812-855-8162 (voice) Indiana University
812-855-4358 (fax) Bloomington, IN 47405