CATMA – short for: Computer assisted textual markup and analysis – is a powerful web-based tool for text researchers. It is particularly well-suited for the typical ‘close reading’-centred approach where human interpretation and our knowledge about textual context are indispensable.
CATMA’s approach to text annotation and textual mark up is consciously ‘un-dogmatic’: unlike the taxonomy driven approaches commonly used by e.g. computational linguists, which strive for a high degree of inter annotator agreement, CATMA aims to support the practice of hermeneutic annotation and text commentary where the ‘right or wrong’ of an observation or textual comment cannot be decided by way of a normative definition, but is always subject to discourse, critique and subsequent revision. Two features in CATMA enable you to capture, analyse and make fruitful even radically opposing interpretations of a textual segment: (1) a mark-up technique which does not impose on the user the need for making binary true/false-decisions, but which tolerates and can help you to exploit the power of interpretative diversity, and (2) a multi-user collaboration design which enables any number of users to work on a given text or text corpus together.