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mattjhussey

Tags with multiple parents

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I'm just looking for some advice on how I can organise some tags. Say I have some photos, I could have a tag "image" and also a tag "image.jpeg", because all jpegs are images so I will have no problem with subtagging. If I then have some photos of animals, I can have the tag "animal" and then I may also have a tag "animal.cats" and then another "animal.cats.tigers". All tigers are cats, all cats are animals, so it would work if I typed "tag:animal.*".

However, how do I handle that tigers can also be inside "animal.endangered" and "animal.carnivore" and "animal.dangerous"? I could create "animal.endangered.tigers", "animal.carnivore.tigers", "animal.dangerous.tigers" but I then have "tigers" in multiple places, and without the ability to search for "tag:*tiger*" I won't be able to easily find them all.

Is there anyway to get around this?

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Hi.  Why not use single word tags like animal / tiger / carnivore / dangerous etc,  and search for whatever combination of the factors you require?  To minimise the selection or typing of tags,  I always save tag combinations in a note (actually,  in my case a Workflowy section) as "animal,dangerous,endangered,carnivore,tiger".  Typing 'tiger' in Workflowy's search box gets me to that line,  and copying and pasting that line into one Evernote tag field, generates all the individual tags in one hit.  If my next picture was 'lion',  I'd copy the tag set,  change tiger to lion and save as an additional field, as well as generating the tags.

If you work out what categories you're tagging,  that might also suggest a hierarchy you could create in Evernote for desktop.

Something like this possibly.. (also created in Workflowy but not as useful as the other option above...)

1495161950_ScreenClip2.png.661eceebde151af3c482c0322a9d0be0.png

If you remember that you need one item from each of 4 categories,  you'll at least be consistent in your tagging - which is one of the main requirements. (IMHO!)

Searching is also pretty effective - on the basis that you're not going to find many tigers that are not carnivorous and/ or dangerous,  I'd respectfully suggest that those tags are superfluous for the tiger - unless you're going to need pictures of several animals that are carnivorous and dangerous;  but then searching for <shark>, <tiger>, <leopard> etc would do the job equally well...

The final decision is up to you of course,  but I prefer to keep tags to a minimum.

The question you didn't ask - "Is Evernote a good place for my photo library?" - again,  respectfully,  no.  There are several apps that will allow you to edit,  crop and store your pictures by date,  subject and tag - and they'll preserve the RAW versions and backup your valuable pictures too.  I use Lightroom.  Just sayin'

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Thanks for your reply. This was more an example of how a tag can have multiple parents and what I can do about it. I actually store my photos elsewhere.

If I tagged something as tiger, I'd also want it tagged as animal and also as cat because a tiger is always a cat and always an animal. That seems like a lot of work and I'd definitely forget to do it when creating a new note. Tagging it as "animal.cat.tiger" would fix that, except that tiger can have more than one parent.

Using simple tags would work except I would lose seeing some tigers when looking at animals, if I forget to tag them.

This could also be "languages.compiled.cpp", "languages.clike.cpp". Again it has two, or more, suitable parent groups that it will always be in. 

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7 hours ago, mattjhussey said:

I'm just looking for some advice on how I can organise some tags. ...  a tag can have multiple parents and what I can do about it.... ...  if I forget to tag them.

I have the same issue in my tag organization and assignment.

Evernote's tag hierarchy only allows for a single parent;
and the tag assignment isn't designed for drilling top down

I store the multiple tag parents in a note.  I start with a Note Type, and indicate the tag types needed.
I use a script on my Mac to process notes and assign tags
This provides a dialog that drills down through the sub-tags
The screenshots shows multiple parents for !Vendor and !Budget tags, and drilling down through the tag catetories

1411666998_ScreenShot2019-04-24at06_16_14.png.6ed27e73cb61c47decbac328be2a9c54.png1230233188_ScreenShot2019-04-24at06_30_35.png.56ffd5584d39ef380e4cf5b3cf9d1a15.png      397176697_ScreenShot2019-04-24at06_39_49.png.458dba3f9462a8a5ba6857b63b2b285a.png

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This is exactly what I need. Unfortunately I'm not on mac but something like this may help a lot. 

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2 hours ago, mattjhussey said:

If I tagged something as tiger, I'd also want it tagged as animal and also as cat because a tiger is always a cat and always an animal. That seems like a lot of work and I'd definitely forget to do it when creating a new note. Tagging it as "animal.cat.tiger" would fix that, except that tiger can have more than one parent.

Could be how we all look at things, but not sure I see the memory difference in tagging with a three part compound tag or three tags of the bits.   I guess you could forget a bit.  Though I am with @gazumped, simple tags and compound searches provide more flexibility for my use case.  But as always, horses for courses.  

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3 hours ago, mattjhussey said:

If I tagged something as tiger, I'd also want it tagged as animal and also as cat because a tiger is always a cat and always an animal. That seems like a lot of work and I'd definitely forget to do it when creating a new note. Tagging it as "animal.cat.tiger" would fix that, except that tiger can have more than one parent.

In a pure hierarchy, an item has at most one parent, classification wise. Tags in Evernote have that property. What you're trying to do, however, is mashup multiple hierarchies into one, and Evernote can't do that.. In this case, you can have your animal hierarchy ("animal"->"cat"->"tiger" or "animal.cat.tiger"), which is a natural inheritance tree (a cat is-a animal, a tiger is-a cat, etc.) in terms of a classical Linnaean classification, but endangered vs. non-endangered is a purely transitory classification (a species may go on of off the endangered list, e.g.). I's good practice to keep that  categorization separate from whatever animal classification scheme you use.

Incidentally, you're on Windows, you can implement a sort of hierarchical search using  the tag hierarchy (i.e. "animal"->"cat"->"tiger") and the setting Tools / Options / Navigation / "Automatically select child tags". If this is enabled, and you search on, say, the tag 'cat' (tag:cat), then all of the subtags of 'cat' will be added to the search, so that you get notes tagged with "tiger' automatically. I don't find it useful, because it's a global setting (you cannot apply it to searches ad hoc), but others might.

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42 minutes ago, jefito said:

I don't find it useful, because it's a global setting (you cannot apply it to searches ad hoc), but others might.

Plus it creates an ANY search and the results can't be easily winnowed.  Only useful if the set you want is notes tagged within the parent/child hierarchy.

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23 minutes ago, CalS said:

Plus it creates an ANY search and the results can't be easily winnowed.  Only useful if the set you want is notes tagged within the parent/child hierarchy.

That too. But only if you put a tag that has children into your search. Less of a problem for me because I don't maintain elaborate tag hierarchies. My tag organization methodology is otherwise known as "shoeboxing". Or maybe "laundrypiling"...

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8 hours ago, jefito said:

That too. But only if you put a tag that has children into your search. Less of a problem for me because I don't maintain elaborate tag hierarchies. My tag organization methodology is otherwise known as "shoeboxing". Or maybe "laundrypiling"...

Yeah, I use parent tags strictly for organization.  The auto select all child tags doesn't do much for me.  Horses for courses.

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Multiple parent tags would be useful for me.

I'm just getting used to nested tags (which I have used for a long time, without result). THANKS to Development for providing this ability!

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I recognize Evernote is used in many different ways, but personally I think that the power of Evernote tags is in filtering. IOW, instead of trying to define a structure such as "Taxes", "Taxes-2018", "Taxes-2019", simply have tags "Taxes", "2018", "2019". Then, when you are searching for tax-related notes, filter first by the tag "Taxes" and then add to the filtered search which year tag corresponds to the search you want.

The power of this is that the year tags "2018", "2019", etc. can also be used as filters for completely different searches. For example, you may have a tag "Journal" or "Correspondence" with the year tags to helpfully categorize which years those notes fall under.

So instead of trying to figure out some complicated tag structure like…

Correspondence

Correspondence-2018

Correspondence-2019

Journal

Journal-2018

Journal-2019

Taxes

Taxes-2018

Taxes-2019

You could simply have the following list of tags…

2018

2019

Correspondence

Journal

Taxes

Note: I use special characters before certain tags for major areas of work, life, etc.

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One more aspect to this: On the mobile apps (at least on the iOS-app) the nesting is lost. There is a plain list of tags, with the nesting parents right beside the nesting siblings.

You find "Tax-2019" as a tag if it is in one tag, but if you create a nested "tax.2019" (the point separates the parent from the sibling), you will find both as separate tags. If you are working in a mixed environment of desktop and mobile clients, nesting is of very limited use.

The search logic that works for both is what was posted by DGW right on top of my posting. And I think it is better to put the search logic into the searching part, not into the fixed data given to the notes once and for all. If you want to search more complex issues frequently, create the searches and store them for further use.

There is a good help article from EN explaining the search logic, including all options. Much more powerful than any nesting strategy, be it notebooks or tags.

https://help.evernote.com/hc/en-us/articles/208313828-How-to-use-Evernote-s-advanced-search-syntax

Another article on saving searches:

https://help.evernote.com/hc/en-us/articles/209005267-How-to-create-a-saved-search

 

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23 hours ago, jefito said:

 

Thanks for your replies. Sorry for not getting back sooner but I've not been at a computer for a while and really wanted to sit and read instead of use my phone. 

23 hours ago, jefito said:

In a pure hierarchy, an item has at most one parent, classification wise. Tags in Evernote have that property. What you're trying to do, however, is mashup multiple hierarchies into one, and Evernote can't do that.. In this case, you can have your animal hierarchy ("animal"->"cat"->"tiger" or "animal.cat.tiger"), which is a natural inheritance tree (a cat is-a animal, a tiger is-a cat, etc.) in terms of a classical Linnaean classification, but endangered vs. non-endangered is a purely transitory classification (a species may go on of off the endangered list, e.g.). I's good practice to keep that  categorization separate from whatever animal classification scheme you use.

Incidentally, you're on Windows, you can implement a sort of hierarchical search using  the tag hierarchy (i.e. "animal"->"cat"->"tiger") and the setting Tools / Options / Navigation / "Automatically select child tags". If this is enabled, and you search on, say, the tag 'cat' (tag:cat), then all of the subtags of 'cat' will be added to the search, so that you get notes tagged with "tiger' automatically. I don't find it useful, because it's a global setting (you cannot apply it to searches ad hoc), but others might.

I see about features vs "is a" but things like music have numerous categories that are fusions of more than one patent. Progmetal is both prog rock and metal for example, but prog rock and metal would be cousins or siblings, so wouldn't be in the same parent child line within a hierarchy. I'm sure I could think of others but it's essentially similar to the diamond inheritance problem in software. Reverting to tags of features could address this in a similar way to using Interfaces in software but sometimes it still gets ugly.

I can't always get to my computer and nested tags don't show up properly in my phone so it's not really an option. If need to leave them flat to work on my devices.

2 hours ago, DGW said:

I recognize Evernote is used in many different ways, but personally I think that the power of Evernote tags is in filtering. IOW, instead of trying to define a structure such as "Taxes", "Taxes-2018", "Taxes-2019", simply have tags "Taxes", "2018", "2019". Then, when you are searching for tax-related notes, filter first by the tag "Taxes" and then add to the filtered search which year tag corresponds to the search you want.

The power of this is that the year tags "2018", "2019", etc. can also be used as filters for completely different searches. For example, you may have a tag "Journal" or "Correspondence" with the year tags to helpfully categorize which years those notes fall under.

So instead of trying to figure out some complicated tag structure like…

Correspondence

Correspondence-2018

Correspondence-2019

Journal

Journal-2018

Journal-2019

Taxes

Taxes-2018

Taxes-2019

You could simply have the following list of tags…

2018

2019

Correspondence

Journal

Taxes

Note: I use special characters before certain tags for major areas of work, life, etc.

I definitely agree with this. A year is not a sub tag of journal, taxes, etc. This would only apply when the sub tag is always an entity of its parent.

Notes with the tag "2018" are a different set of notes to those with the tag "journal". On a Venn diagram they are potentially overlapping. However, all notes with "Tiger" exist within the set "cat". Using the tag "Tiger" just narrows the focus within the already selected set, while "2018" takes another slice through it.

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3 hours ago, DGW said:

I recognize Evernote is used in many different ways, but personally I think that the power of Evernote tags is in filtering. IOW, instead of trying to define a structure such as "Taxes", "Taxes-2018", "Taxes-2019", simply have tags "Taxes", "2018", "2019". Then, when you are searching for tax-related notes, filter first by the tag "Taxes" and then add to the filtered search which year tag corresponds to the search you want.

This is more or less a description of my approach. 👍

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The only reason I use a tag like „Taxes-2015“ is when I had created a notebook with all the docs and shared it with my accountant.

After the tax work is done, I will dissolve this shared notebook. To know what was in there, I create a tag like „Taxes-YYYY“ and assign it to all notes that were shared. The I move them out of the shared notebook, mostly into an archive, and delete the now empty notebook.

But this is not a nested tag, it is one for each occasion when I want to be able to reproduce what was in a share without sticking with that particular notebook forever.

When putting a ZZZ in front of the tags text, it will be moved to the end of all tags, and out of reach for daily work.

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1 hour ago, PinkElephant said:

The only reason I use a tag like „Taxes-2015“ is when I had created a notebook with all the docs and shared it with my accountant.

After the tax work is done, I will dissolve this shared notebook. To know what was in there, I create a tag like „Taxes-YYYY“ and assign it to all notes that were shared. The I move them out of the shared notebook, mostly into an archive, and delete the now empty notebook.

But this is not a nested tag, it is one for each occasion when I want to be able to reproduce what was in a share without sticking with that particular notebook forever.

When putting a ZZZ in front of the tags text, it will be moved to the end of all tags, and out of reach for daily work.

I do this with a saved search.  I have year tags (_2018) and tax tags all starting with 1040 (1040.Sched.A, etc).  Then a search for tag:_2018 tag:1040* yields all documents for 2018, change the year for other years.  All the notes are in a local notebook.  Do the search, Save attachments, use Adobe to combine into one PDF, and either post to the accountants site or zip/encrypt and email to accountant.  Just another way.

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Yes, to collect the notes this searching is quite similar to what I do.

My special tagging takes place after the work is done. For reference reasons, I want to know which notes were in each of the shared folders created through the years. Since I delete the folder after the tax declaration for a year is done, I tag the notes in there, then I archive everything in a huge archive notebook, then I delete the shared notebook. By this, I can always reproduce the content of the shared notebook even after the sharing is done and forgotten.

German tax laws are very complex, and sometimes I need to check something years later. In these days, I have got a tax refund for the years 2009 and 2010, because some legal action by somebody else has run its course to the final court, and the ruling was positive for the taxpayer. If your tax declaration contained the relevant docs, and your accountant kept it open with the tax authorities, you will get the refund even 10 years later. In situations like these, it makes sense to be able to find all the docs that were filed in 2009.

Nice argument to keep everything with a service that will not forget, and makes retrieval as easy as EN does.

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1 hour ago, mattjhussey said:

I see about features vs "is a" but things like music have numerous categories that are fusions of more than one patent. Progmetal is both prog rock and metal for example, but prog rock and metal would be cousins or siblings, so wouldn't be in the same parent child line within a hierarchy. I'm sure I could think of others but it's essentially similar to the diamond inheritance problem in software. Reverting to tags of features could address this in a similar way to using Interfaces in software but sometimes it still gets ugly.

Sure; similar situation with respect to books. A couple of things, though:

The Evernote tag system appears to have been designed to facilitate hierarchical browsing of collections of notes, a la a file system, rather than having the notebooks hierarchically organizable (stacks came later on). It's not clear to me that multi-parentable tags would allow for the familiar tree control used currently.

The hierarchic nature of Evernote tags is not reflected in search: the search language (https://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/search_grammar.php) has no facilities for expressing something like childof(someTag) (or my long-ago suggestion: +tag:someTag). True enough, the Windows application supports a form of child tag search, but it's the only one that does as far as I know, and even so, it's pretty much a hack, as noted above. Search language changes are very rare, as they need to ripple across all clients and the Evernote servers. Short form: Evernote tags can be organized hierarchically, but they do not intrinsically express subclassing.

So without an effective UI or facility for making use of multi-parentable tags,  I don't see just don't see much advantage for multiple tag parents, at least at this time. Plus I'd guess that the audience for this sort of feature would be relatively small, and potential for user confusion relatively high. I'd put this in a similar category with proposals to add mind-mapping to Evernote. Interesting, and useful to some, sure, but probably not any time soon.

Me, I just use separate tags in combination to express more complicated categorization, much as we do in language with adjectives, and don't invest much time keeping them organized.

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I avoid using tags for dates by putting the date in the title, 20190426 along with the rest of the title like "taxes" or "Amsterdam trip". Search is a breeze. I then search for 2012* or 201204* to get all notes from that year or from April of that year. Add a few words or tags to filter and I'm good to go. I think I got that trick from gazumped.

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On 4/25/2019 at 11:49 PM, jefito said:

The Evernote tag system appears to have been designed to facilitate hierarchical browsing of collections of notes, a la a file system,  ... It's not clear to me that multi-parentable tags would allow for the familiar tree control used currently.

I suspect the intent was more than "hierarchical browsing of collections of notes, a la a file system"
although it can be used as such.

I'm thinking the intent was also for organization of our tags; up to 100,000

Single parent may be more familiar to the "folder people"
Multi parent allows for more options in accessing our notes.  It would have my vote.

>>The hierarchic nature of Evernote tags is not reflected in search: the search language

Hierarchical and drill-down search options would also have my vote. I need to select the child tags, not all-or-none.

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53 minutes ago, DTLow said:

I suspect the intent was more than "hierarchical browsing of collections of notes, a la a file system"
although it can be used as such.

I'm thinking the intent was also for organization of our tags; up to 100,000

Single parent may be more familiar to the "folder" people. 
Multi parent allows for more options in accessing our notes.  It would have my vote.

>>The hierarchic nature of Evernote tags is not reflected in search: the search language

Hierarchical and drill-down search options would also have my vote. I need to select the child tags, not all-or-none.

Annoyingly, Google Drive actually works like this but they don't provide the UI to make use of it.

A note/file, or even a folder, can be nested inside multiple folders. An invoice could be inside the "Tax Return 2019" folder and also the "Invoices" folder. It's the same item; if you edit it in one place it's edited in both. If files are treated as notes and folders as tags, you get the best of both worlds. A folder structure for specific organisation, and multiple locations for accessing files in different contexts and allow slicing of sets.

The problem is that they don't provide a simple way of saying "search for things in folder A and folder B". It's possible to do but you need to capture some Identifiers to put in the search window. It's a shame because it's free when using their file formats and provides OCR of images and PDFs for free, plus you can have spreadsheets, Coda files and presentations all in one place.

I'm at the point where I'm considering writing a mobile app to give me that UI and allow for better cutting of the data.

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13 hours ago, lisec said:

I avoid using tags for dates by putting the date in the title, 20190426 along with the rest of the title like "taxes" or "Amsterdam trip". Search is a breeze. I then search for 2012* or 201204* to get all notes from that year or from April of that year. Add a few words or tags to filter and I'm good to go. I think I got that trick from gazumped.

I only add a date to a note title if is "important", statement date for example, Company X - yyyy.mm.dd.  Otherwise I use the created field to search for notes from a year or whatever.  FWIW. 

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10 minutes ago, CalS said:

I only add a date to a note title if is "important", statement date for example, Company X - yyyy.mm.dd.  Otherwise I use the created field to search for notes from a year or whatever.  FWIW. 

I used to do that but I was afraid of losing the date info on export.  And now I use that date trick for all my files and pictures on my desktop as well. Nice and consistent.

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9 hours ago, DTLow said:

I suspect the intent was more than "hierarchical browsing of collections of notes, a la a file system"
although it can be used as such.

I'm thinking the intent was also for organization of our tags; up to 100,000

Sure, no question: organizing many tags (can''t recall that it was 100K back then, 10 years ago, but it was certainly more than is manageable in a single list), but it was also offered as a hierarchical way to organize notes. The earliest replies by @engberg in the great nested notebook feature request (https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/96180-nesting-multiple-notebooks-creating-sub-notebooks/?sortby=date) show that.

10 hours ago, DTLow said:

Single parent may be more familiar to the "folder" people. 
Multi parent allows for more options in accessing our notes.  It would have my vote.

But UI is the problem here. Multi-parented notes turn tags from trees into graphs (https://freefeast.info/difference-between/difference-between-trees-and-graphs-trees-vs-graphs/). Common UI controls are lists (1-dimensional), menus (aka trees), file/folders (more trees), radio buttons (more lists), among others. Users are very familiar with these types of UI. But I can't think of any graph controls. Sure there are graph structures (mind maps, for one) but I can't think of any off the top of my head that are used as UI controls. And in a system where notes are the focus, you probably don't want to burn a lot of screen space just for navigational purposes.

Beyond that, since graphs are then (potentially) non-hierarchical, you kind of lose the potential for navigating them easily

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9 hours ago, lisec said:

I used to do that but I was afraid of losing the date info on export.  And now I use that date trick for all my files and pictures on my desktop as well. Nice and consistent.

Sounds good.  FYI, to my reckoning I have never lost a created date on import.  Examination of the ENEX file shows created date so I don't worry too much.  Have lost some links to local notes, but I keep the title of the note and the link the same so as to be able to find it should an import be needed.

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On 4/27/2019 at 9:47 AM, lisec said:

I used to do that but I was afraid of losing the date info on export.

I'm not concerned with losing data.
The enex export/import seems solid, with all the data except for Notebook and Note-Id.  
The import creates new notes in a default notebook.  As @CalS posted, this invalidates note links.

>>And now I use that date trick for all my files and pictures on my desktop as well.

My standard is to prefix the note title with subject date (yyyy/mm/dd)
Notes have a Subject Date field, but Evernote makes it difficult to update or access the field.
I also append a copy of the metadata to the note contents

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On 4/28/2019 at 3:24 AM, DTLow said:

I also append a copy of the metadata to the note contents

@DTLow, howdy. What do you mean by the metadata? And do you paste it at the end? Thanks.

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On 5/2/2019 at 12:39 PM, TdeV said:

@DTLowWhat do you mean by the metadata? And do you paste it at the end? Thanks.

Here's a sample, note's metadata added to the end of the note by a script (Mac)
edit: script documentation here

                            726663124_ScreenShot2019-05-02at12_58_22.png.f552653e06925838d7bbb2930af8ad4d.png

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Thanks @DTLow. Where do I find that (to look at it)?

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