Concord allows you to see the nearest tag, if you have specified a tag file, which teaches WordSmith Tools what your preferred tags are. Then, with a concordance on screen, you'll see the tag in one of the columns of the concordance window.
The point of it…
The advantage is that you can see how your concordance search-word relates to marked-up text. For example, if you've tagged all the speech by Robert as [Rob] and Mary as [Mary], you can quickly see in any concordance involving conversation between Mary, Robert and others, which ones came from each of them.
Alternatively, you might mark up your text as <Introduction>, <Body> and <Conclusion>: Nearest Tag will show each line like this:
1 ... could not give me the time ... <Introduction>
2 ... Rosemary, give me another ... <Body>
3 ... wanted to give her the help ... <Body>
4 ... would not give much for that ... <Conclusion>
To mark up text like this, make up a tag file with your sections and label them as sections, as in these examples:
<ABSTRACT> /description "section"
<INTRODUCTION> /description "section"
<SECTION 1> /description "section"
or, if you want to identify the speech of all characters in a play, and have a list of the characters, and they are marked up appropriately in the text file, something like this:
<Romeo> /description "section"
<Mercutio> /description "section"
<Benvolio> /description "section"
In cases using "section", Nearest Tag will find the section, however remote in the text file it may be. Without the keyword "section", Nearest Tag shows only the current context within the span of text saved with each concordance line.
You can sort on the nearest tags. In the shot below, a concordance of such has been computed using BNC World text. Some of the cases of such are tagged < PRP> (such as) and others are <w DT0>. The Tag column shows the nearest tag, and the whole list has been sorted using that column.
If you can't see any tags using this procedure, it is probably because the Tags to Ignore have the same format. For example, if Tags to Ignore has <*>, any tags such as <title>, <quote>, etc. will be cut out of the concordance unless you specify them in a tag file. If so, specify the tag file and run the concordance again.
You can also display tags in colour, or even hide the tags -- yet still colour the tagged word. Here is a concordance of this in the BNC World Edition text with the tags in colour:
and here is a view showing the same data, with View | Hide Tags selected.
The tags themselves are no longer visible, and only 6 types of tag have been chosen to be viewed in colour.