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Catherine dee Auvil

Towards universal pre-tag characters (#WHAT, @WHERE, .WHEN, ?WHO)

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I am really close to perfecting my personal Evernote System. Many starts and redos under my belt. I went from many notebooks to tags thinking I could organize using hierarchy of tags. But soon realized that was too much maintenance to drag tags to their place. When I create a tag I want it to just fall in place. No maintenance.  But I do like order so I created pre-tag characters to create categories. I think we all agree the "at" symbol works for "WHERE". You can't put toothpaste back in the tube so "WHAT" should be #hashtag because it is already used that way by millions on FB and Twitter. And Instagram. I like to use the period, .1970s , for time. TimePeriod, get it? And I think question mark works for WHO. It will be interesting to see what other people gravitate to over time.

Websites have no pre-tag at all - that way they get all grouped together.

Every tag gets a pre-tag character except websites. I have a saved search -tag:* to find untagged notes and I fix that about once a month.

I use a few more - !IMPORTANT, +blog post or writing, ^private-keep it under your hat.

I have very few notebooks, but within a notebook I will use * for the subjects of a notebook. For example, in a notebook about the history of Native Americans, I use *Navajo for saved articles about the Navajo people.

I have just a few one letter tags for Projects I am working on. I am working on a project about US presidents. Since ALL my notes go in my INBOX - if it is a note about presidents, I tag it with "p". Then, once a month I will search for tag:p and move every resulting note into the Presidents folder. Since I don't have many folders this is very easy. It is also easier to do it this way because I can select all and use the "move to folder:" option instead of dragging a lot of notes which is unreliable.

I'm stuck for the last few:

(?)STATUS (incomplete, waiting for)

(?)TITLE (Gone with the Wind,  The New York Times)

not sure about

& for Projects

What do you think? I would love to know your pre-tag system if you have one!

Catherine

Edited by Catherine dee Auvil
ommitted "pre-tag character"
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On 5/23/2018 at 4:51 PM, Catherine dee Auvil said:

When I create a tag I want it to just fall in place. No maintenance.

For tags, I use prefixes   ? ! @ .   (?Who, !What, @Where .When)586233177_ScreenShot2018-05-23at22_43_20.png.a27d56de1f6442f367f3c0ea5cafdc7d.png

I do drag tags into a hierarchy (Mac tag page)
- it isn't critical and not displayed on all platforms/lists

I also prefix with parent names; for example tag:!Colour-Red, tag:!Colour-Green instead of just Red and Green

 

>>For example, in a notebook about the history of Native Americans, I use *Navajo for saved articles about the Navajo people.

For my use, these would be tags.  
My notebook use is mostly related to the local/offline/share features

 

>>& for Projects ... (?)STATUS (incomplete, waiting for)1610791397_ScreenShot2018-05-25at04_30_01.png.f4c0f3456a58cc407aaf8b5c30586796.png

 For tasks I use tag:!Actionable and the reminder feature.  
Reminders give me a searchable start date and completion date/status.

Each project gets      tag:"!Project: <description>"
All notes and tasks get the same tag
Each project has a Master note with tag:!Type-Project

 

>>(?)TITLE (Gone with the Wind,  The New York Times)

I use tag:!ReadingList   

I also have a Master Note, a TableOfContents/Checklist

 

>>I use a few more - !IMPORTANT, +blog post or writing, ^private-keep it under your hat.

tag:!Archive for notes to exclude from current searches
tag:!Type-aaaaaa for note types.  For example Receipts, Appointments, Journal, ...
tag:!Vendor-aaaaaa for vendors
tag:!Dr. aaaaa for doctors
tag:!Budget-aaaaa for budget categories
tag:!Ref-aaaaaaa for reference notes

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@Catherine dee Auvil, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your system. I need to improve mine through use of tags, and this "advanced" method may prove helpful! I presume this is effective because you sort notes in the Note List by tags, yes?

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I use  !   =   _   .  1040   for when (TSW like version), who, fiscal year, project, tax related.  I typically enter tags in the note header area and occasionally use the Assign Tags dialogue.  I rarely have the left panel open so dragging would be a PITA and slower for me.  Horses for courses.

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That's a really cool system, I'm taking notes :P

Some other symbols that seem to work, with some potential uses I came up with just now:

%status  // percent progress, status?
=title   // like wikitext formatting, == Title ==
$finance // cash money
`code    // like the markdown `code here`
<input   // something to process?
>output  // something that needs to be sent out?
~misc    // I couldn't think of anything

 

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@Catherine dee Auvil,  Below is a table I created back in 2012 relative to special characters and their sort sequence.  I updated the layout when new tables were introduced.  Green I have used at some time or other, tan probably not a good fit.  FWIW.

ScreenClip.png.d0b9bf019479c14608c585d73c78a34c.png

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I use webclipper A LOT and it is pretty slow if I change the folder I want the note to go into so I just keep it at "INBOX", I add, usually, one tag and save.

Then, I usually search the inbox by tag if I want to see something again. This is faster than scrolling down my tag list because it is very long now and the scrolling is not that reliable (very slow to use the mouse "wheel", what is that thing called? and moving down with the mouse pointer always goes off track and I have to start over several times.)

For the title of a book or magazine I think I am going to put that, instead of a tag, in the actual title of the note and then if I want to retrieve a book note I will just search intitle: Gone with the Wind. I guess that's a no brainer. I don't use titles of notes that much. Web clipper uses the title of the web page and if I don't like it I am not going to go into it and change it - takes too much time.

I did read The Master Note System by Marjory Harris so I have one note starting with an exclamation point in each folder (! so it will come up first in the notebook if you are looking at sort notes by title.) This note explains the notebook contents. And has important links for this subject.

I have about 6,000 notes. I have 1,500 tags. 20 notebooks.

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An interesting idea, but maybe I'm too old school. I just use words, just like in written language. #OldDogOldTricks... :) 

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4 hours ago, Catherine dee Auvil said:

I have about 6,000 notes. I have 1,500 tags. 20 notebooks.

Can definitely be a use case thing, but I have 37,600 notes with 400 tags with 6 notebooks of merit (I don't count Scans or Inbox which get cleared quickly).  Rely on tags to start a search and then use text search if needed.  FWIW.

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6 hours ago, CalS said:

Rely on tags to start a search and then use text search if needed. 

I also rely on sort sequence.  Default update date; also title.

I have 12,000 notes, 325 tags, minimal notebooks 

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Jefito - the advantage is when you are typing in a new tag, if you have pre-tag characters just a few options will pop up to choose from rather than 100. And it does work for me to have some kind of order to my tags. 

CalS - thank you, that is helpful.

rezecib - I like % for status - I'm going to use that.

One of the reasons I am asking about other people's systems is that I think I would like to set up new Evernote Systems for people. Pre-populated with most of the tags you would be using. For example, A person in the United States could have a system already set up with tags for the states and major cities.

But it would work better if everyone agreed on the same kind of tag system.

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On 5/24/2018 at 11:56 PM, DTLow said:

I also rely on sort sequence.  Default update date; also title.

Ditto, and I save the view as appropriate which can be done with the Windows desktop.

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12 hours ago, Catherine dee Auvil said:

CalS - thank you, that is helpful.

You are welcome.

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16 hours ago, Catherine dee Auvil said:

Jefito - the advantage is when you are typing in a new tag, if you have pre-tag characters just a few options will pop up to choose from rather than 100. And it does work for me to have some kind of order to my tags. 

Not an issue for me; I have maybe 200 tags between two accounts (I use tags in combination with other tags, just like adjectives); typing a single letter gets me pretty close with respect to tag prompting. Only a couple of the special symbols seem intuitive to me, the rest are a stretch and I've never remember them.

But it's great that Evernote has the flexibility for those who can make use of them.

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5 hours ago, jefito said:

Only a couple of the special symbols seem intuitive to me, the rest are a stretch and I've never remember them.

who/what/where/when is the limit for me.

My other solution is to prefix my tagnames, as in !Type-aaaaaa, !Ref-aaaaaa
This works well but can be problematic in that long names get truncated on some lists.

>>typing a single letter gets me pretty close with respect to tag prompting.

Agreed; I'm rarely using the sidebar taglist to find tags

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I’ve used a very similar system for years to create system-wide, platform-independent tags.

The problem with non-letter tags is that they don’t work outside of Evernote. Neither Windows nor - to the best of my knowledge - Mac OS or iOS searches pay attention to symbols. So a search for, say, @Work would return any sentence with the word “Work”.

I want my tagging system to be completely platform independent, so I use a unique letter prefix:

jjAct - todos

jjFav - favorites, records I often look up

jjFile - a record that needs special attention 

jjProjectName - project specific

and so on.

(Actually it’s a couple different prefixes, I just show one for simplicity)

So, I can use this in any document that contains data - spreadsheets, mindmaps, emails, text snippets, PDF comments, emails. A single search using Windows indexing will bring up a list of all documents that contain the tags I am looking for. And I can copy that data between Evernote, Onenote,  Onedrive, or any other storage system without having to do anything at all to make it work.

Another advantage is that the tags can be placed in particular places throughout a record, as opposed to assigning them to the record. And I can use other apps and programs to make use of these tags. E.g. I  set up my task management app 2Do to automatically create a new task from any email that I forward to myself with a tag jjAct. And there’s a lot of automation that can be set up in email by forwarding yourself emails with tags attached, and creating rules that use them.

I use typing automation apps so I don’t really have to type an entire tag every time, it helps to make using tags as quick and painless as possible. iOS already has this functionality built into the system, and there’s a couple of utilities for Windows.

The two biggest advantages a system like this offers - from my perspective - is that (1) you are not tied to any one service or app, you can have your data scattered across multiple files in different apps and a single search will find them all, and you can switch services at will without losing tags, (2) typing a three letter combo to place a tag is much faster than manually picking every one from dialog.

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1 hour ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

The problem with non-letter tags is that they don’t work outside of Evernote.

Good to see someone else concerned about this; it's more a project to future-proof my data.

Non-letter tags seem to work ok on my Mac but you have a point; Evernote itself drops special characters for searches

>>tags can be placed in particular places throughout a record, as opposed to assigning them to the record...I use typing automation apps so I don’t really have to type an entire tag every time

Can you provide more details as to your automation.  I'd also want to maintain a standard keyword list to pick from
I can use a script on my Mac.

Also, how is your keyword formatted; I'd like to make it less obtrusive than just simple text but not too cryptic.  Something like  keywordjjjProjectName

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19 minutes ago, DTLow said:

I thought I was the only one concerned about this; it's more a project to future-proof my data.
non-letter tags seem to work ok on my Mac

good to know, I don’t own a Mac. When I first tried to set up a tagging system, I realized that Windows search ignored non-letter characters like #, and was told by someone that Mac does it too, I know iOS doesn’t seem to see a difference between #Work and Work.

Quote

>>tags can be placed in particular places throughout a record, as opposed to assigning them to the record...I use typing automation apps so I don’t really have to type an entire tag every time

Can you provide more details as to you automation.  I'd also want to maintain a standard keyword list
Also, how is your keyword inserted; I'd like to make it less obtrusive than the text.

In iOS, the automation is built in - see Text Replacement in Keyboard settings.

in Windows, I use an ancient freeware, I need to look it up, I think it’s called Lister, not near my laptop at the time.

Basically, every tag has a three to four letter combo I type that automatically gets replaced with full tag text.

 

As to how it’s inserted - well it’s always inserted at the cursor ;)

It depends on what kind of record, PDF comments. Word tags etc, are stuck somewhere out of sight. Plaintext tags are the first line of text. Tags specific to a certain phrase (usually action tags) are inserted in the margins next to that text, or just before it if plaintext document. And if you’re really concerned with them being as inconspicuous as possible, you may format them to use tiny light gray font, where formatting is allowed. I don’t bother with this.

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What works for me is:

Minimal notebooks: "Inbox" and "Cabinet" are the main. Couple of other notebooks just because they are Shared.

Root tags are similar to what has been mentioned here already.

There's some tag maintenance, which I don't mind.

 

tags.png.252305629212ea925790200706d4ec41.png

tags.png

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5 minutes ago, N.A. said:

Root tags are similar to what has been mentioned here already.

Could you provide details on the $moleskine tags?

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Sure. This is for notebook paper based notes. Default moleskine tags. Not much to customize there. 

tags2.png

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*action root tag is used for sticky notes and corresponding reminder timeouts.

Red - *urgent - 24 hrs

Yellow - *when possible - 72 hrs

Blue - *waiting for response - 5 days

Green - *read - 5 days

*archive - when the task is done, it goes under this tag

fullsizeoutput_1098.jpeg

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42 minutes ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

@DTLowThe Windows automatic text freeware that i use is called Texter.

Thanks, I'll check it out.  My priority is for a list to pick from.

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Oops I just went through a test to see how responsive pre-tags were when I use Evernote on my desktop. For example, when I open a note, how responsive is the autofill? Everything went fine till I got to %. It didn't autofill any %tags. So I won't be using %. Because I depend on the autofill to save time. % works in the Web Clipper.

Screenshot 2018-06-22 20.19.59.png

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On 6/22/2018 at 11:23 PM, Catherine dee Auvil said:

Oops I just went through a test to see how responsive pre-tags were when I use Evernote on my desktop. For example, when I open a note, how responsive is the autofill? Everything went fine till I got to %. It didn't autofill any %tags. So I won't be using %. Because I depend on the autofill to save time. % works in the Web Clipper.

I would call this a bug. You should report this as a separate issue in the Product Feedback / Feature Requests forum of the Evernote client you're using where the prompting fails (looks like Windows to me).

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