Tinderbox Training: Doctoral Dissertation Variable Hide in Text with RegEx

Tinderbox Training: Doctoral Dissertation Variable Hide in Text with RegEx

Level Intermediate
Published Date 2/5/24
Revision 1
Type Training
Tags 5Cs, 5Cs Learning and Knowledge Management, Dissertation, Doctorate, RegEx, Research, Self-sovereign identity, Tinderbox, personal data
Video Length 09:06
Video URL https://youtu.be/1cm1LxzHMkU
Example File TBX L - Variable Hide with RegExR2.tbx (312.1 KB)
TBX Version 9.7
Instructor Michael Becker

In this training, Michael Becker explains how to use Tinderbox action code with RegEx to search for and hide patterns in text.


My doctoral dissertation chair wanted him to suppress the variable codes he used in the text, e.g. [ATT1]. She believed that this would make the text easier to read. However, as a writer, having these codes in the text served serval valuable purposes, more me. The codes facilitated:

  • Text search
  • Scanning text, i.e., use text highlighting
  • Text and replace to help with consistency of references
  • Text editing for consistency, find places in the text where the codes are used and edit the associated text with the codes for consistency
“TBX Meetup 04FEB24 Unedited Zoom AI Companion Script

Quick recap

“TBX Meetup 04FEB24 Unedited Zoom AI Companion Script

The text covers a wide range of topics discussed in a meeting. The topics discussed include a technical issue regarding the absence of an ellipsis in their chat menu and the introduction of a new rule for future meetings. The meeting also involved introductions and planning for forthcoming events. The discussion also touched upon the participants’ disciplinary backgrounds and experiences with digital media. Towards the end, the meeting was disrupted by technical difficulties.


Technical, Relationship, and Future Discussions


Michael Becker and Mark Bernstein discussed a technical issue regarding the absence of an ellipsis in their chat menu. David Kolb confirmed his authorship of the hypertext “Socrates from the Labyrinth” and agreed to consider joining future discussions. Michael Becker suggested arranging a meeting with Mark Anderson ) to further discuss this potential opportunity and requested David Kolb’s email for future communication.

Introductions and Planning for Upcoming Events


The meeting involved introductions and planning for forthcoming events. David Kolb, Mark Bernstein, and Cathy Marshall, who joined from San Francisco, discussed the need for a screen share for Cathy’s slides. Mark Bernstein initiated the meeting, reminding the team about the East Gate list and the Tinderbox Forum. He introduced Cathy Marshall, who is working on a biography of Beat poet John Volmer and a new book about data. Upcoming events, including a session on Tinderbox for weblogs with Dave Rogers, Jack Bailey, and others, were also discussed. Michael Becker led a discussion about the agenda for future meetings, proposing a new rule where each meeting would start or end with a 10-minute tutorial on a specific Tinderbox feature. He encouraged community members to volunteer to lead these sessions. Cathy Marshall was preparing to share her slides for her presentation towards the end of the meeting.

Disciplinary Diversity in Tinderbox Users


Cathy Marshall initiated a round of introductions where each participant shared their disciplinary background. The group was diverse, with members having backgrounds in chemistry, philosophy, digital humanities, architecture, law, programming, computer science, biology, web security, and environmental engineering, among others. The discussion also touched upon their experiences with digital media and how they utilize tools such as Tinderbox in their work. A notable mention was Paul Christy, a retired economist who uses Tinderbox to manage information for four nonprofit boards he leads.

Biography Research and AI Impact Discussed


Cathy Marshall discussed her work on a biography project about Lyndon Johnson and her interest in Robert Carroll’s research book. She shared her experiences and challenges in conducting research, such as the decentralized nature of the subject’s materials and the potential of biography to bring together physical and digital media. Cathy also touched on the impact of AI on research, the challenges of verifying online information, and the importance of considering the provenance of information. She highlighted the difficulties involved in piecing together the life of a minor figure from the past, as demonstrated in her biography about Joan Vulner burrows. Towards the end, technical difficulties disrupted the meeting.

Regex Stamp for Variable Codes in Text


Michael Becker demonstrated a solution he developed to a challenge he encountered during his doctoral dissertation. He found it useful to include variable codes in his text for easy reference and search, but his chair found them distracting. To resolve this, Michael Becker created a Regex stamp that hides these codes from the reader while keeping them visible to the writer. He explained the process of using the stamp, which involves extracting the variable codes from the text, replacing them with a span element set to display none, and then inserting the results back into the text. This way, the writer can still use the codes for reference and research, while the reader sees a clean document without the codes.

Joan Vulner’s Unknown Life: Research and Discoveries


Cathy Marshall discussed her research on Joan Vulner, focusing on a previously unknown aspect of her life. She shared a story about a competitor who encountered challenges in conducting remote research due to the lack of information available online and in secondary sources. Cathy also mentioned her visit to the Ginsburg collection at Stanford, where she discovered a photo she initially thought was of Joan, but later realized was of Sessa Carr. She also shared about her collection of over 40,000 items related to Joan and other figures. Cathy revealed that Joan had a first husband whom she later married in Henderson, North Carolina, but the marriage was later annulled. She concluded by sharing a memo from the Dean of Barnard about Joan’s actions.

The Keeler Mystery: Fraud and Identity Theft


Cathy Marshall recounted a story about her family’s interaction with a man named Howard Keeler, who had married into the family. She discussed how Keeler had portrayed himself as wealthy but had humble origins. She also shared her research into Keeler’s life, including his participation in the Columbia track team and his career as a real estate agent. She revealed that Keeler had been involved in fraud and had likely assumed a new identity. Cathy Marshall concluded that Keeler had been living in a rooming house since before 1935, working as a bridge teacher, and was communicating with his ex-wife, Mrs. Keeler.

Photo, Fire Ant, Julie, Burroughs, Ginsberg Stories


Cathy Marshall shared several stories and discussions during the meeting. She presented two stories related to a collection of photos from the late 1940s, expressing doubt about their authenticity and suggesting further investigation. She also discussed the issue of fire ants in Texas and her personal experiences with them. Additionally, she brought up a picture of a girl named Julie, questioning the assumption of neglect and suggesting a more nuanced understanding of the situation. Lastly, she discussed a series of images and stories related to William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, sharing details about their collaboration and experiences.

Special Collections Challenges and Significance


Cathy Marshall discussed the complexities and significance of special collections and reading rooms, such as the Allen Ginsberg collection at Stanford University. She highlighted the importance of understanding the scope of a collection and its relation to other collections, as well as the challenges posed by privacy, copyright, and access policies. Cathy shared her personal experiences and challenges in using special collections, including note-taking and citation. She also discussed the potential problems of digitizing collections, such as digital leakage and the challenge of capturing context. Towards the end, she mentioned her upcoming book on the transition from physical to digital materials. Michael Becker raised concerns about potential privacy issues.

Next steps


Cathy will share her experiences with biographical and historical research and digital media after the meeting.

Please comment

Please help with the development of future sessions by answering the three questions below.

  • What were your top 2~3 key takeaways from this lesson?
  • What do you want to learn next? Learn more about?
  • What exercises would help reinforce your learning?
  • Top two - 1. How code can be used to mark the notes for ease of search. 2. I have a better idea how stamps can be used
  • A beginning to end live stream of using TBX on something advanced like this. So I can see the thought process that goes into using the TBX tool.
  • I look forward to using AI tools to do coding for me; but I will still need to know how to direct the AI. So some basic theory about TBX coding language and how it’s best applied.

Thanks for this video, I think it’s very close to what I might need to be doing for my research project. I too need to process text and being able to use shorthand codes to mark select notes would be very useful.

Can you apply more than one code marker to a given paragraph?. e.g. [COM][ADV][STRY] or maybe a different format [COM [ADV] [STRY]] etc

In discussing this interlude in a call with @satikusala we bought up a few observations from the material covered. I should note that the recording was an on-the-spot ‘fill’ for a missing guest speaker so wasn’t a rehearsed speech.

One thing was to do with the regex used, but I’ll start a new thread for that on ‘Regex lookahead’ to avoid thread drift. Another is to answer @bardiccollege 's question:

Yes, as you can see from the text at c. time 1:52. The second paragraph on screen has multiple ‘code’ entries (i.e. name-codes in square brackets for differing tests in the research), indeed some repeat in the paragraph. So, in short ‘Yes’. In thinking of adopting this, do stop to consider if you truly need the code inline in the $Text. I note this because if your need is actually to know a note refers to others, consider storing those codes (or note names) in an attribute. It is then easier to query for stored values or follow links. note that inline codes whilst useful can be intrusive for other readers of your text (IIRC you’re writing a book/article from this work, as was the case where the reader asked for the codes to be removed.

Hiding the codes and the HTML solution actually brought up some interesting other issues, but that’s @satikusala’s tale to tell.