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About iggyOregon

  1. I've been using EN superficially for several years, but I just bought EN Essentials and I'm working to up my game. This is my first post to the forum. Sorry if this is long, but it's an interesting issue. I found this topic because, like many others, I did a search for 'nested stacks', and I learned almost immediately that there are no nested stacks, and no nested folders. As someone else mentioned, the thread then migrated to the philosophy of why or how, which I also find to be quite interesting. I think the real issue is one of information management and organizational philosophy, by no means a trivial topic. If you notice in iOS 7, for example, there are only two hierarchical levels, the desktop, and one level of folders. They recently expanded so a folder can hold more apps, and you can scroll through several 'pages' of icons within the folder, but it is still only one level of folders. And I'm sure everyone recognizes the extent to which iOS 7 and OS X are converging. I read some time ago that Steve Jobs had a vision to largely do away with folders on every platform. This seemed bass-ackwrds to me at the time, for several reasons. First, hierarchical folders have real world equivalents. A piece of paper may be stapled to others. The document goes into a manila folder --> hanging folder --> drawer sections --> drawer --> filing cabinet --> file room --> building. Each group defines a hierarchy; if a topic requires more than one drawer the contents are continued into another drawer, but this can simply be considered an extension of the first drawer -- it remains at the same organizational level. The second reason for resisting change is the fact that we've all been doing this on our computers for 20 or 30 years. Our brains work this way. Let's look at another strategy that might be considered diametrically opposed. Every document receives a sequential number as it is entered into the system, AND it is filed in sequential order. NO HIERARCHY WHATSOEVER! A large (and growing) index of 'tags' or 'categories' is created, and prior to being filed, each documented is labeled with any number of relevant tags. At the same time, the 'tag index' receives a notation that a new entry has just been filed, say '#20140708_00004' -- physically stored by this acquisition number. Storage location provides NO indication of content. Having done this, the 'tag index' resides in a computerized data base, and can be extensively searched using any combination of Boolean operators (for expansion) and filters (for contraction). A search result returns a list of documents that fit the search criteria, and they are easily (?!) retrieved via the sequential numbering system. One more restriction applies to both strategies - for many reasons (error checking, space, etc.), we want to maintain ONE, and ONLY ONE copy of any given document. Here's where it becomes interesting! Assuming a meticulous hierarchical system, -- with the right knowledge and training (and 'road-maps'?), it should be possible to find any individual document. Tags are not required. The great disadvantage, however, is that required files may be stored all over the place, depending on the original organizational scheme. I'll need one set of documents if I'm planning my garden (seed info, lot dimensions, sun direction, fertilizer), and another set (county records, purchase agreement, deed, lot dimensions) if I am dealing with an easement to my property. Depending on my needs, these documents may be located in different files, or different file cabinets, or different buildings! Granted, it takes time and some thinking to enter tags to each document, but this does get easier and easier as your personal collection of tags begins to mature. Once labeled, however, the ability to retrieve the necessary information becomes much, much more powerful. IF (and this is a big IF) we had really good search engines, (e.g. Spotlight is getting better, but ... ), AND our documents were OCR'd and indexed, THEN we should be able to find our documents wherever they are located. Spotlight is getting better, but I have found Windows search engines to be particularly useless. Notice, however, that this really constitutes a super-set of tags! I suspect these fundamental differences lie behind the evolution of computer systems. Yes, it would be nice if EN would keep us better informed, but they're probably feeling their way just like everyone else, while trying to survive and grow in a competitive market. I'm going to put some real effort into tags over the next year or so, with the expectation (???!??) that my digital files will be becoming much more manageable. I'm (cautiously) optimistic, but all such strategies are prone to collapse under their own weight. Wish me luck. I'll report back periodically and let you know how it's going. iggy
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