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TdeV

Advice on managing tags needed. How long should a tag be?

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In my Food Notebook, I use single tags such as

Bruschetta-Crostone-Crouton

Dumpling-Croquette

Custard-Flan-PannaCotta

Turnover-Calzone-Boureka-Empanada-Pastie

Pie-Tart-Crostata-Clafoutis-Galette

 

because I don't care which particular term is used in the actual recipe, the results are pretty darn similar. So if I'm searching for some type of pie, I'll select the "Pie-Tart-Crostata-Clafoutis-Galette" tag. And when I'm adding tags, I just need to remember that the tag starts with "pie".

 

Years ago I learned not to abbreviate because I would never remember the abbreviations.

 

BUT, tags this long are difficult to manipulate. You can add one or two and then Evernote sends you off on a complicated add tag function.

 

How do others manage tags?

 

P.S. I've just learned if I rename "Task-ToDo" with "Task.ToDo" I'll be able to search on either word.

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In my Food Notebook, I use single tags such as

Bruschetta-Crostone-Crouton

Dumpling-Croquette

Custard-Flan-PannaCotta

Turnover-Calzone-Boureka-Empanada-Pastie

Pie-Tart-Crostata-Clafoutis-Galette

 

because I don't care which particular term is used in the actual recipe, the results are pretty darn similar. So if I'm searching for some type of pie, I'll select the "Pie-Tart-Crostata-Clafoutis-Galette" tag. And when I'm adding tags, I just need to remember that the tag starts with "pie".

 

Years ago I learned not to abbreviate because I would never remember the abbreviations.

 

BUT, tags this long are difficult to manipulate. You can add one or two and then Evernote sends you off on a complicated add tag function.

 

How do others manage tags?

 

P.S. I've just learned if I rename "Task-ToDo" with "Task.ToDo" I'll be able to search on either word.

 

The shorter, the better. On mobile, it can be esp. difficult to manage long tags. On the iPad, for example, I think you can only see 15 characters at a time. Long tags make it almost impossible to sort through them. Unfortunately, when you join someone's shared notebooks, their tags are thrown in with yours willy-nilly, and other users don't follow the same tagging conventions. I've got a tag called "6x3 on Alt R..." in my account. What does it mean? I don't know. It is obviously much longer and has some significance, but I will never know. So, stick with short tags. Others will appreciate it as well :)

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Don't forget that you can search for things by words in the note. Although I tag things, I find mostly, that it's very fast to just search. 

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Don't forget that you can search for things by words in the note. Although I tag things, I find mostly, that it's very fast to just search. 

 

Indeed. I rarely use tags. Titles work especially well for me, because you can limit searches to them (intitle:).

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TdeV - With the Windows version of Evernote, you can do a search for "Crostata Clafoutis" (without the quotes and with a space between the words). That will find all of your Notes which have both words.

 

So, if you are using Windows version, I don't see that you are gaining any benefit from using long tags with dashes between words (or using Tags at all, for that matter).

 

Also, I can imagine that you have lots of Notes with the word Pie in them. But, how many have the word Clafoutis? In other words, ask yourself how important is it that your search produce the one and only Note that you are looking for? If you do a wider search, you will likely get a list. I'd bet that more times than not that you will be able to select that one desired Note from the list.

 

I hope you feel this response helps.

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FYI folks, the reason that I have a long tag, i.e. "Pie-Tart-Crostata-Clafoutis-Galette" is that I want to search for every recipe which has any of the types of pie in it, and I want to do the search without a long convoluted search string.

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FYI folks, the reason that I have a long tag, i.e. "Pie-Tart-Crostata-Clafoutis-Galette" is that I want to search for every recipe which has any of the types of pie in it, and I want to do the search without a long convoluted search string.

Interesting. I didn't know about this property before. On Windows it also works if you use '.' or '+' as well (didn't try any others). I'll need to verify it on the web version before I really believe in it, though. :)

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To the short single word camp, I query, what's shorter...

 

Typing "pie" then struggling to remember all the other taxonomic-ally appropriate tags (which requires remembering at least some large portion of your entire tag list).

Typing "pie" and having Evernote remind you of all the compound tags currently in use, and picking from the list, or creating something new based on the Evernote prompted suggestions.

 

Tagging should be a simple widget cranking exercise, outsourcing the effort to Evernote, not an uncertain memory exercise.

One or two compound tags picked from a list is more simple than many single word categorizations, leaving you uncertain you got it right, or at least the same as last time.

 

Short single re-purpose-able tag words IMO do not scale past your available memory bandwidth to remember the tag system (and mine has grown well beyond that).

And it steers you to failure IMO, based on the human studies research on the Paradox of choice.

The more choice we're given, the poorer decisions we tend to make, and even if we get it "right", the less certain we are that we did, and the less satisfied we are in the process.

When it comes to trust in a remembering system, and getting our minds to let go of stuff to free up creatively, that's not a recipe for success.

 

I think it might be telling that many proponents of simple short word tags, do not seem to be heavily invested in tag use, relying instead on title search and full text search methods.

 

@TdevV I think you're on the right track, esp. with the switch to periods (what I do too), and assuming that "Pie-Tart-Crostata-Clafoutis-Galette" are all variations on a theme (to you).  My knowledge base doesn't much extend beyond pie and tart...

 

But there are many paths...  and there are many representative threads here.  I'll refrain from linking to them, lest a sub-set of us here, re-open old wounds...

 

If the system you use (which ever approach) has you pausing to remember, or is a typing burden, it may not be the right approach.

 

In my hybrid system I rely heavily on compound structured tags.

I start with a question.  What is this?  and type a few letters and Evernote brings up the list of sorted tags.

 

Is this note a .Client, a .Project, a @Context, an !Action

 

Most of those will be prefixes of longer tag strings.

 

I imagine if I dealt with a lot of food categories, they might start with .Food.[category].[sub-category]

Unless it was items on my .Lists.Groceries with maybe an @Costco or @[supermarket name] 

 

Lastly don't be afraid to refactor and iterate on your system.

Add only as much structure as you need.

When tag sprawl happens, or you get a lot of single tags in a branch that become difficult to remember, then group them.

So that you only need to remember the group, and Evernote autocompletes everything in the group for you to simply pick from.  Maybe that's things in the group, maybe that's sub groups in the group.

 

The key is, Evernote worries about remembering the tags.  You just start with typing the answer into the search bar of what is this thing, and then working through refined smaller groups of things.

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FYI folks, the reason that I have a long tag, i.e. "Pie-Tart-Crostata-Clafoutis-Galette" is that I want to search for every recipe which has any of the types of pie in it, and I want to do the search without a long convoluted search string.

Interesting. I didn't know about this property before. On Windows it also works if you use '.' or '+' as well (didn't try any others). I'll need to verify it on the web version before I really believe in it, though. :)

 

 

Nope.

 

It works on Windows, Mac, iphone, Ipad, but not on the web.

 

So apart from the web, one can search for all the clients or all the Bob's with a search on "client" or "bob".  In both single word searches, Evernote search suggestions with have:

tag: .Client.Bob.Smith

 

Without the tag, the search results could be very long.  But clicking the tag, makes it a very tidy relevant search.

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Another reason to consider adding compound grouping to tag names...

I'm at 516 tags.

 

Merely for aesthetic tidyness, I had the tags all sorted in hierarchy...  Others seem to rely on that more rigidly to keep them organized.

 

I just noticed today that this week (i think) I've lost all the hierarchy, and they're one long list now.

That's the first time that's happened to me since I starting using Evernote in 2008.

Not sure the origin.  Since Gneo's (iphone/ipad) Evernote sync isn't quite what I'd hoped for, I dug out Evernote's Egretlist again.  Perhaps one of the two of them is messing with the tagging while churning through my 4000-ish checkbox's of stuff to do.

 

Anyway.  Aesthetic tag tree structure should be a snap to recreate based on my compound tags.

It's only the single word tags that will require rebuilding into a logical taxonomy.

For now I'm thinking they'll just get dumped under an "unsorted" tag and folded up.

 

That sort of event could cause a riot in the Evernote v4 (v5 haters) GTD camp.

But if your structure is in your tag names, and you live in the search field rather than a tag tree in the sidebar, it's almost a non-event.  And it's for that reason, I can't even be certain how many days it's been since the "event".

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@cwb: On the web, a plain search for one of those inner terms will match, but a tag search won't (maybe that's what you said in more words). That's using '-' as a delimiter, btw. It'd be cool if it worked everywhere, but I'm not sure I'd have a use case for it in my system. Speaking of which...

 

As a member of the for short tag term team, I'll thank you to remember that "it works for me", is the motto that you've previously reminded me to cleave to. Better is a relative term, and there are other ways of using tags in searches than typing them in blindly; in fact, Windows V5 will progressively filter your tag space down nicely as you add tags to your filter, if you use the technique I've described a number of times in in some of the V5-is-horrible-and-useless threads...

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Yup. That's (tag search) what I was getting at (brevity is not my strong suit).

I'm frequently more often than not in the "it works for me" couch camp. Less so today, point taken.

I'll note you gave Grumps a pass on that, which was sort of the pile on tipping point that revved me to counter balance.

"The shorter the better".... "So stick with short tags" in the near context of "I rarely use tags".

I do have an action point to setup a test to take a refresher visit of in the vein of "a mile in your shoes". But I still wager there's more remembering of existing tags/sets of tags, in your system than mine. My memory is shot, or or over saturated. Fortunately Evernotes isn't, and I heavily leverage it.

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Yup. That's (tag search) what I was getting at (brevity is not my strong suit).

I'm frequently more often than not in the "it works for me" couch camp. Less so today, point taken.

I'll note you gave Grumps a pass on that, which was sort of the pile on tipping point that revved me to counter balance.

"The shorter the better".... "So stick with short tags" in the near context of "I rarely use tags".

I do have an action point to setup a test to take a refresher visit of in the vein of "a mile in your shoes". But I still wager there's more remembering of existing tags/sets of tags, in your system than mine. My memory is shot, or or over saturated. Fortunately Evernotes isn't, and I heavily leverage it.

You can mentally append "in my opinion" to all of my posts henceforth. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on tags. As always, I appreciate your contributions to the discussions.

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Aha. An IMO wildcard suffix...

I Like that.

Which reminds me @jefito in post 9 I peppered two IMO's and an "there are many paths" and a deflection to other threads. So not exactly bereft of "it works for me" leaving room for "might not for you".

And I didn't say one word tags weren't quicker. I *asked* what was quicker, with a case for why for me it isn't.

Still in all I don't dismiss it as a good frequent reminder sentiment.

Sorry to have rubbed that particular nerve a little raw.

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You actually nailed it for me with this bit:

Lastly don't be afraid to refactor and iterate on your system.

Add only as much structure as you need.

When tag sprawl happens, or you get a lot of single tags in a branch that become difficult to remember, then group them.

So that you only need to remember the group, and Evernote autocompletes everything in the group for you to simply pick from.  Maybe that's things in the group, maybe that's sub groups in the group.

I was just pokin' ya a little about the "works for me" stuff, no worries :) Fair play, okay?

My personal take on the short compounded tags thingie is that with average vocabulary of what, 10,000 or more words (based on an exhaustive survey of the first page of Google hits for English speakers), we ought to be able to pull out several hundred of them (~200 of them in my case) to describe a collection of stuff that we're invested enough to collect in Evernote. But that's just me. Much beyond that, it's like arguing which natural language is better for capturing your knowledge.

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