Manipulating Items in Collections

The ScreenCast Manipulating Quotes, Clips & Snapshots in Collections provides an overview of how analyze data items in Collections.

NOTE: This ScreenCast shows only the manipulation of Clips in Collections. Please note that you can use these same methods with Quotes and Snapshots.

Manipulating Items in Collections

Transana has several features that allow you to analyze Quotes, Clips and Snapshots in Collections.


A Collection is like a folder where you can place Quotes, Clips and Snapshots to group them together.  Like a code, a Collection often indicates something analytically meaningful about the data items it contains, but unlike a code, it is visual, persistent, order-able, and nest-able.  Like a physical folder, you can simply open the collection to see the individual items inside it without doing a search, and you can change the order of items in a Collection, move items between Collections, or remove them completely.  You can also place collections inside other collections in a hierarchical way.

One way to think about Collections is as theoretical constructs or themes, and to think of your Quotes, Clips and Snapshots as evidence that supports or refutes the theoretical construct of the Collection you place them in. When working in this mode, the manipulation of data items within Collections is an important analytic activity.

Transana allows you to move or copy Quotes, Clips and Snapshots from one Collection to another. Moving a piece of data from one Collection to another is a very different analytic act than  copying that piece of data so that it is in both Collections. If an item of data is evidence of the concept represented by both Collections, then copy it. If you decide it only belongs in one of the Collections, then place it just where it needs to go.

You can right-click a Clip and choose Cut for move or Copy for copy. Then right-click a different Collection and choose Paste. Alternately, you can select and drag a data item from a Collection and drop it on a different Collection to move it.

[If you hold down the Ctrl key on Windows or the Alt/Option key on macOS during the drop, this changes the drag-and-drop move operation to a drag-and-drop copy operation. You can also move or copy more than one item at a time using the Ctrl (on Windows) or Cmd (on macOS) key to multi-select items in a Collection. ]

Manipulate a Data Item in Collections

In the database tree with an open Collection that has data items within it, click one item to select that item.

Right-click the item and choose Cut.

Right-click a different collection and select Paste from the popup menu.

Advanced Topic:  Throughout your analysis, you may occasionally need to refine your Quotes, Clips, or Snapshots, changing an item’s name, its text or transcript, or its coding. When you have multiple copies of a Quote or Clip, Item Change Propagation can be very helpful with this process, ensuring parallel changes are made to all copies of the data item.

Specifying the Order of Items Within a Collection

You can specify the order of items in a Collection. In this way, Collections are different from most other category nodes in the database tree, where items are presented in alphabetical order. When you add a new data item by pasting or dropping on a Collection, Transana puts the new item at the end of the list of items within the Collection. If you want to place a new item in a specific position in the Collection item list, you can paste or drop the text or data item into the list of existing items in the position where you want the new item to appear. Transana inserts the new item above the item you paste or drop it on. Existing items can be reordered using cut-and-paste or drag-and-drop within the Collection.

Being able to set the sort order of items within a Collection is particularly useful when it takes multiple items to fully demonstrate an analytic concept in your data, or when you are doing a narrative analysis where the items need to be able to illustrate a coherent story that relies upon the order of the items in the Collection.

Creating Nested Collections

Collections can be nested within other Collections by right-clicking a Collection name and choosing Add Nested Collection. This allows you to create more complex analytic structures within Transana. This is often used for categorizing and sorting an existing Collection as one’s theoretical understanding of the data develops.

During this activity, you are developing and modifying your understanding of your data, and you should take pains to capture the analytic insights that occur during this process in analytic memos, as this will be extremely valuable when you write up the results of your analysis.  You would document all of this with a combination of Collection Notes, Quote Notes, Clip Notes and Snapshot Notes as you progress.

Playing All Clips

You can play all the Clips in a Collection in order. This is useful when you want to review all of the Clips in a Collection to make sure they belong together and have been categorized appropriately. Quotes and Snapshots are not included in this process.

If you are using Transana for media case development, you can create a prototype case by making a Collection of the Clips you want to include in your final case and ordering them via cut-and-paste or drag-and-drop. Playing all the Clips in order will show you roughly what your final case will look like when you are done with the video editing process. To play all Clips in a Collection in order, right-click the name of the Collection in the Database Tree and choose Play All Clips from the pop-up menu.