The Source View - part 2: working with clips

4 September 2020 by Fouke Boss

Centurial v1.17 introduces the new concept of clips. This blog describes how to create and manage clips, and demonstrates how they further improve your research.

Introducing clips

A clip is a (small) part of a document, for example a part of a sentence or a signature. Starting from v1.17, Centurial enables you to create and manage those clips. The main purpose of clips in Centurial is to connect each claim to the part of the document that contains that claim. As an example, this is how you first create a clip for the name of Theodorus van Gogh (yes, the father of) and then connect this clip to the Family name and Given names claims:

Connecting clips to the corresponding claims helps your research in Centurial in 3 ways:

  1. Clips help you to methodically scan and process your documents, serving a bit as a reading ruler.
  2. With a single click, you can easily focus the part of the document (the clip) that contains a certain claim.
  3. In the Analysis View, Centurial displays all the clips right next to the evidence, allowing you to compare different spellings without having to open each of the Source Views.

In the remainder of the blog post, we will go through all these new features in more details, including an altogether new feature that is an application of clips: signature analysis.

Creating a new clip

As the left mouse button is already used in the file viewer for moving the document around, creating a new clip is done using the right mouse button. In the simplest form, a clip is a rectangle. Creating such a rectangle is a 2 step process:

  1. Move the mouse pointer to the top left corner of the part of the document you want to select and press the right mouse key.
  2. While keeping the right mouse key down, move the mouse pointer to the bottom right corner of the clip; then let go of the right mouse key.

Or to put it schematically:

To abort the creation of a new clip, press the Escape key on your keyboard.

Multiline clips

Many a time, the relevant part of a document spans 2 or more lines. That's why Centurial supports multiline clips. Creating a new multiline clip is basically the same process as creating a rectangular clip, the only additional step is to use the space bar to indicate the intermediate points. Centurial supports 3 variations:

As an example, let's select the marriage date of Theodorus van Gogh and Anna Cornelia Carbentus. The date (Eenentwintigsten Mei Achttien honderd een en vijftig, meaning twenty-first May eighteen hundred fifty-one) spans 2 lines. To select this date:

  1. Move the mouse pointer to the top left corner of the first line, and press the right mouse button.
  2. While keeping down the right mouse button, move the mouse pointer to the bottom right corner of the first line. Then, while still keeping the right mouse button down, press the space bar.
  3. While still keeping the right mouse button down, move the mouse pointer to the top left corner of the second line, and press space a second time.
  4. Finally, move the mouse pointer to the bottom right corner of the second line. Only then, let go of the right mouse button.

And this is what it looks like in Centurial:

Creating multiline clips might take a little time to get used to. The key is to keep the right mouse button down all the time until the clip is fully completed, and to use the space bar to indicate the intermediate points.

Connecting the selected clip

In the file viewer, only one clip can be selected at a time. The selected clip is shown in a darker tone than the other, unselected clips. After you have created a new clip, Centurial will automatically select this new clip. To select a clip, click it once with the left mouse button. To unselect all clips, click somewhere in the document (but not in any of the clips) or press the Escape button on your keyboard.

To connect a claim to the selected clip, click the small button left of the claim field you wish to connect to:

Notice how a click on the button moves the focus to the claim field, allowing you to enter the corresponding claim value immediately after. This way, identifying and entering all claims in a document becomes one continuous process:

  1. Open the document, start reading, and identify the first claim in the document.
  2. Create a clip for the identified claim.
  3. Click the button of the corresponding claim.
  4. Interpret and enter the value of the claim in the claim field.
  5. Identify the next claim in the document, and continue with step 2.

Each claim can only be connected to one single clip. In other words, a claim is either connected to a single clip, or not connected to a clip at all. A claim that is connected to a clip is marked with a small button just before the edit field:

Clicking this button will make sure the connected clip becomes the selected clip in the file viewer. This way, you can easily see where the claim is located within the document.

Annotating, disconnecting and deleting clips using the Clip Panel

When a clip is selected, Centurial displays the Clip Panel. The Clip Panel allows you to manage the selected clip:

First of all, the Clip Panel shows which claims are connected to the selected clip (1). While a single claim can have only one connected clip, a single clip can be connected to multiple claims. This comes in handy in several scenarios, for example the clip for the phrase 'born and living in The Hague' could be connected to both the Birth place and the Residence claims of a single person. Notice that the clip might even be connected to claims of different entities, for example the phrase 'both living in The Hague' would be connected to the Residence claim of two distinct persons.

By clicking one of the connected claims, this claim will be highlighted in the Claims Panel. To disconnect a claim from the selected clip, click the button (2) for the corresponding claim.

The annotation field (3) allows you to add an annotation to the selected clip, either documenting the readability, writing style, or any remarkable property of the clip, that might be of interest during the analysis of the claim. This annotation will be displayed later on in the corresponding Analysis View.

Finally, the Remove button (4) allows you to remove a clip from the document. If the clip is connected and/or contains an annotation, a confirmation popup is shown first.

Resizing a clip

A clip can be resized at any moment after creation. To resize a clip, first make sure it is selected. Then place the mouse pointer over the edge of the clip that you want to move, and press the left mouse button to start resizing. Drag the edge to the desired location, then release the mouse button.

The abort the current resize action, press the Escape key on your keyboard.

Clips and the Analysis View

Why go through all the hassle of connecting clips to claims? Well, part of that answer lies in the Analysis View that in Centurial v1.17 replaces the earlier Analysis Dialog. In the new Analysis View, all clips and annotations are displayed next to their corresponding claims, like for the given names of Theodorus van Gogh:

Showing all the clips and annotations next to the claims allows for easy analysis, combining and verifying all possible spellings and variations in one single view.

Adding clips to existing sources

With the introduction of the new clip feature, you as a Centurial user are facing the question of whether or not to add clips to the already existing sources in your research. To make things easier, please note that adding clips to an already correlated source does not require you to uncorrelate the source first! In other words, all you have to do is to go through the document once more, create clips for all claims, and connect them to the corresponding claim. There are no additional changes you need to make to your sources.

Analyzing signatures

Another new feature in Centurial v1.17 is the support for analyzing signatures of persons. Just as you would create a clip for a phrase, you can also create a clip for a signature. After creating the clip, you can then add the clip to the new Signature field in the Claims Panel:

As you can see, a signature is actually a status, meaning that Centurial not only stores the signature but also the date on which the signature was created. This way, Centurial is able to show the signatures of a person over time:


Clips are another new way of really getting the most out of your sources. They help you during the extraction of claims, and later in the process with the analysis of these claims. I'd love to hear what you think of this new feature!