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Merits of tagging

There are different ways to organise notes but the best for me have always been tags. Tags are links to thoughts I have in my head. It connects my brain with my second brain built on a note taking app.

I have always found that simple keyword searches generate a rather random result. Notebooks I have found laborious. Why not tags? But tags in recent years may have fallen into disrepute. 

Tiago Forte was of the opinion that tagging is a waste of time - see the article "Tagging is broken" (11 February 2015). https://fortelabs.co/blog/tagging-is-broken/

 Readwise supported the use of tags in the blog: "How to Tag Your Highlights While You Read" by Daniel Doyon (16 May 2018)

https://blog.readwise.io/tag-your-highlights-while-you-read/

"Distilling a highlight down to a single keyword or forging an association between a passage and something you're working on are both forms of actively engaging with what you're reading. And actively (rather than passively) reading is essential to getting more of what you want out of books."

Daniel Doyon critiqued Tiago on note taking too: 

"Tiago might argue that if you've had an idea with merit, you need not write it down because surely you will have the same great idea again later. ("I practically never write down my own thoughts. I assume if I thought it once, I'll probably think of it again. And probably better next time.") To each his own. I'm one of those people who benefits from sometimes writing down thoughts and ideas."

 Me too. Ideas are fleeting and good ones should be noted down in my opinion and preferably developed too. 

 Why I use tags

 With a tag, you are grouping similar things. One tag will not help much as there can be over a thousand notes with this tag. Use 3 or 4 tags together (with a logical AND function) and you can end up with a quite small number of notes and they are all very, very similar. I not only find the note I was looking for but also other notes that could be helpful too. You discover a gold mine of stuff you may have forgotten about. Tagging is about giving a text a personal context: “for me it means this.” Tags allow you to structure a search in the way you think. The tagging makes finding things intuitive. 

 Benefits of tags

Tags go beyond a keyword text search which are limited to the words in the text. Here are a few:

    • Traditional the association between a folder and note is unique. Tags allow multiple associations. Logically, notes marked with the tag FolderA or FolderB to do the same. 
    • Standardise spellings - some words have different spellings and particularly regional spellings (-or vs -our, -ise vs -ize). It is much quicker to tag than "correct" spellings in the original document. Sometimes the wrong word may be used or spelt incorrectly - such as common misspellings ('coarse' or 'course').
    • A single tag can be used to mark text of the same language or same source. In later searches, this makes them easier to find.
    • Generic terms come up everywhere but some words have different meanings depending on the context and often technical meanings. Tags allow you to find a subset of meanings. Eg. tag:economics AND efficiency. In economics, the word “efficiency” has a technical meaning that has nothing to do with the general understanding of the term.
    • Two or more words have the same meaning. An example, from economics: market liberalism = economic rationalism = Thatcherism = Reaganism. It is all the same thing and just regional variations
    • if you keep the tags very short, preferably one word, you can use set theory and boolean algebra to reduce the selection from thousands to just a few and refine searches. The basic Boolean algebra operations (AND, OR, NOT) are few but combined with nesting very powerful.
    • It pretty standard finding the same word in noun, adjective or verb form in different notes and usually the spelling will be different for each grammatical form. These variations can be again marked with a single tag.
    • Tags capture associations that may go beyond the original article. Articles are written for a particular audience and have a specific purpose but when you read them it, you may find relevance beyond that. Tags allow you to collect notes under one topic in any way you like, independent of the original intention of the article.

 Why do you use tags?

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On 11/18/2020 at 4:18 PM, Tamagotchi said:

Why do you use tags?

I have notes to be retrieved as a collection   
For example    
- receipts tagged with a budget expense-type (groceries, rent, charity, tax,  ...)   
- project tasks/notes tagged with a project-id

Archived notes are identified by tag !Archived
and excluded from searches with   -tag:!Archived
                         

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I use tags INTENSIVELY and like a ninja so fast, indicating time (do today, this week, month, year, touch (next time), parked, waiting, reference, archive). ALso comntect /Project XYZ, also team **MT, **tech, **sales, **company, also person ?CharlesDickens, and various aspects /HrmContracts, /HrmIllness, /Hrmetc...  I use 100 saved searches to open directly a list of items voor e.g. a meeting of a certain team, or a day-view of what to do today, a view of all items related to a person, when a have a bilat-meeting with a person. See here the details: 

 

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21 minutes ago, Tcellguy said:

So can Evernote 10 not search by two tags to form AND search like the legacy version can? 

Of course1014439755_ScreenShot2020-11-26at21_05_38.png.7cfddce3865e10153b40437bc47bf44e.png
- screenshot is from my Mac

>>Are they getting rid of tags altogether?
No indication of this
In fact, tag hierarchy is now available on the mobile platforms

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as a part time photographer I‘m used to tag my photos - no chance to organize images in folders only. Imagine folders named „blue sky“, „flowers“, „vacation“, „italy“ to store images. Well, now imagine you‘re in italy for vacation and taking an image of nice flowers and a nice blue sky in the background...where to store this file now? 🙂

This is how I explain why I‘m using tags.

I know, AI based photo search may also work, e. g. „show me photos with blue sky and flowers“ - but is it really getting all images?

So, I‘m a tag fan, yes. And I do miss the REAL tag filter of the legacy version.

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18 minutes ago, stocky2605 said:

as a part time photographer I‘m used to tag my photos - no chance to organize images in folders only. Imagine folders named „blue sky“, „flowers“, „vacation“, „italy“ to store images. Well, now imagine you‘re in italy for vacation and taking an image of nice flowers and a nice blue sky in the background...where to store this file now? 🙂

This is how I explain why I‘m using tags.

I know, AI based photo search may also work, e. g. „show me photos with blue sky and flowers“ - but is it really getting all images?

So, I‘m a tag fan, yes. And I do miss the REAL tag filter of the legacy version.

I miss it too, but luckily, I can still use EN search expressions.  For instance, if you would like an "OR-search" you can still use    any:  tag:abc  tag:def

@EN : It would be great if  the search expression in the title bar of the left pane would be editable !

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On 11/27/2020 at 5:50 AM, Tcellguy said:

So can Evernote 10 not search by two tags to form AND search like the legacy version can? Are they getting rid of tags altogether?

you can add tags in the search panel at the left: just type the first characters in the search string field and you get a list with matching tags below in the "Add Tag" at the bottom of the search panel. You can repeat this for more tags (only the relevant tags in that scope are shown) and you can refine  with an extra search string if you like.

Edit: if you fold open the side bar (F10), the search panel doesn't overlap the result list while building your filters

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