Terry's TMG Tips

Using Roles to Control Sentences Structures

This page updated 18 Apr 2014

Version note: Applies to TMG 8 & 9

TMG has very flexible tools for managing how the information recorded in various Tags is formatted for output in narrative style reports. They include templates, referred to as "Sentence Structures" in TMG, that describe how the various information recorded in the Tags – names, dates, place information, or the text of memos – will be assembled into finished text when narrative reports are generated. Each Tag Type (Birth, Anecdote, Census, Marriage, College, and so forth) has its own Sentence Structures to generate text appropriate for the event being recorded.

There are default Sentence Structures for each standard Tag Type when TMG is installed, and the user can modify those to better suit his or her personal preferences. In addition, when the user creates an individual Tag to record some information, the default Sentence Structure for the selected Tag Type can be overwritten for that particular Tag, if desired to fit the circumstances of the information being recorded. For more information on modifying Sentence Structures, see my article on Modifying Sentence Structures.

TMG also provides for the use of "Roles," which add powerful tools for further controlling Sentence Structures. Basically, Roles can be used to define the role of each participant in an event. Thus, in a Marriage tag, one might have persons with the roles of Bride, Groom, Minister, Maid of Honor, Best Man, and many more.

Roles essentially allow you to create a "library" of Sentence Structures within a single Tag Type. When you create a Tag to record an event, you can simply choose an appropriate Role for each participant, and the narrative output correctly describes that participant's role in the event. This saves manually modifying the Sentence Structure for that tag for some commonly used cases. For example, my custom Will Tag has Roles for Heir, Executor, and Mentioned, with appropriate variations in the Sentence Structures ready-made when people with these roles are attached as Witnesses.

Roles have another function as well. They can be used to allow the narrative of one participant to refer to another a specific person or group of persons by Role. This makes it easy to create Sentence Structures for participants with one role in the event that correctly refer to other participants. This is generally difficult to do without the use of Roles.

The application of Roles is not entirely obvious, and their dual function of describing the role of a participant and also allowing reference to that participant adds to the confusion. The articles listed below may be helpful in understanding this somewhat complex but very useful feature:

General Information
Understanding and using Roles in TMG
Roles Tutorial - a step-by-step guide to creating and using Roles updated
Sentence Variables - lists of available Sentence variables and their meanings updated
Some Custom Tag Types Using Roles
Some examples of how Roles can be applied
Multiple Marriages - adding the traditional 1st, 2nd, and 3rd labels and repeat marriages updated
Will Tag - including the executor, heirs, and those "mentioned" updated
Census Tag - Basic- enter all members of the household in one tag updated
Census Tag - Expanded 1850 & Later - listing everyone in the Head of Household's narrative updated
Census Tag - Expanded Before 1850 - dealing with unnamed household members


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