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Using Tags as Pseudo Notebooks (pNB)

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Using Tags as Pseudo Notebooks (pNB)

[Note:  At the urging of another user, I have started a new topic for this subject.  I posted the below originally in Jan 2016. I am in the process of rewriting, fine-tuning this article, but for now the below is a copy of my original post at Using Tags as Pseudo Notebooks .  The basic design of pNB has not changed.]

My knowledge of how to use Tags continues to evolve.  This has been largely due to limitations Evernote has placed on Notebooks.

So, the question is:  How does one make the best use of the tool they have?

Notebooks (NB) are limited to 250.  Tags are virtually unlimited at 100,000.    Tags can have a hierarchical structure of Parent Tag / Child Tag, much like the folders that you see on your computer.
 
So, if we can model NBs as Tags, then we can effectively have unlimited NBs and sub-NBs.  One of the most appealing features of Notebooks (and folders) is how they visually appear.  But what if we can do the same visual layout with Tags?  Stay tuned to learn how.
 
I use tags in two fundamentally different ways:
  1. Pseudo Notebooks -- use in place of where you would normally use a notebook.  This includes sub-notebooks.
  2. Note Categorization -- traditional use of tags to categorize the entity, which can have multiple tags.  Can be used across Notebooks, or in this case, across pseudo NBs.
 
Using Tags as Pseudo Notebooks
 
Tags can be organized in hierarchies (meaning Parent-Child relationship).  So we can achieve the appearance of Notebooks and sub-notebooks,
 
Without going into a lot of detail at this point, I have created a number of Tags which serve as pseudo Notebooks.   Note that all of the pseudo NBs, actually tags, all have a prefix of ".NB.", which makes it easy to identify which tags are pseudo NBs, and will cause them to appear at the top of the Tag list.  You can, of course, use any prefix that works for you.
 
One great advantage of using tags as pseudo NBs, is that you can assign multiple pseudo NBs to the same Note.  Can't do that with actual NBs.  Each Note can belong to only one NB.  So this allows me, for example, to assign multiple pseudo NBs of .NB.IT, .NB.Business, and .NB.Personal to the same Note, which is the asset record for a new Mac, used in both business and personal activities.  Now when I search or filter on any of the 3 pseudo NBs it will find the asset record of my Mac.
 
I now have all of my pseudo NBs that appear at the top of my Tag list, and the pseudo NBs can, and do, have sub-pseudo NBs.  Here's an example:
 
EN-Mac-6.3-Pseudo-NBs.png.a04a1800aadfb467f67ab7f7c4956c19.png
 
As a result, I now have a need for ONLY 3 main Notebooks, plus any Notebooks needed for sharing or mobile offline use:
 
EN-Mac-6.3-NBs.png.f9de1465cff90a888dd0a2964742ca68.png
 
Please feel free to post any questions or comments.
 
EDIT:  Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 12:36:27 PM CST
For more discussion on pseudo notebooks, 
see 
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9 hours ago, JMichaelTX said:

plus any Notebooks needed for sharing

Take note, there's a new tool Spaces being rolled out.  Still too early, but this may replace my need for shared notebooks

>>One great advantage of using tags as pseudo NBs, is that you can assign multiple pseudo NBs to the same Note.

That's a big advantage for me.  The one notebook per note was a significant limitation for me

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Good work around for people who are needing more notebooks for sure. 

I find more use and value when I use less notebooks. Notebooks remind me of folders and how we used to look for things. The more I improved my tagging, the more notebooks I merged. 

My biggest notebook differentiation that helps with my workflow is "Actionable" vs "Reference". Rest I handle with tags.

At the end of the day, whatever works for the user is the key. You seem to have created a system that works for you for sure.

Curious to hear others' take on it.

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1 hour ago, TK0047 said:

My biggest notebook differentiation that helps with my workflow is "Actionable" vs "Reference". Rest I handle with tags.

I understand Actionable and Reference notes.  I use Evernote for task management, and I have many reference notes,

Why wouldn't Actionable/Reference be tags (or Pseudo Notebooks)?

What if you wanted to take action on a reference note?

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

Why wouldn't Actionable/Reference be Tags (or Pseudo Notebooks)?

They could be, I just don't have a tag for "Action" since that's how I started. In reality, you can have one notebook and handle everything with multiple tags.

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5 hours ago, TK0047 said:

In reality, you can have one notebook and handle everything with multiple tags.

That's my process.  I do need other notebooks for sharing (40+), and offline access (mobile)

Back to Actionable notes; some of my  tasks are spread out over the shared notebooks

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I created a tag hierarchy when @JMichaelTX first posted about pseudo-notebooks, but as the # of notes in my EN database has grown (approaching 4k), this hierarchical organization has become less and less relevant, and I increasingly rely on tags and search. That said, I appreciate having some sort of hierarchical organization - but this is less about practical use and more about psychological comfort of having thousands of notes roughly organized even if the organization is rarely used to locate information.

Does anyone remember when Yahoo was the most popular way to find things? Info was organized in hierarchies. Along came Google with great search and the rest is history. 

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15 minutes ago, tavor said:

this hierarchical organization has become less and less relevant, and I increasingly rely on tags and search. That said, I appreciate having some sort of hierarchical organization - but this is less about practical use and more about psychological comfort of having thousands of notes organized even if the organization is rarely used to locate information.

I see the tag hierarchy as an important tool in organizing my tags, not so much in organizing my notes

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2 minutes ago, DTLow said:

I see the tag hierarchy as a portent tool in organizing my tags, not so much in organizing my notes

Agreed. Having a hierarchy of tags makes it easier to locate tags I haven't used, or run searches on, in a long time.

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