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You make some very valid points. I find tags to be very powerful. Search accuracy is a critical feature for me.

And if you want to double check for notes that pertain to the company but are not tagged accordingly, you can do a one-time housecleaning by running a search for:

CalAmp -tag:sym.com

 

and

 

"NASDAQ: CAMP" -tag:sym.com

Then tag the appropriate notes.

 

I also have many real-world examples that rely on tags.

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Using tag is a has-been trick in SEO, since it is said that Google place no value in the tags any more, and it will not help SEO. However, Tags and Categories are also important ways to manage contents. 

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Using tag is a has-been trick in SEO, since it is said that Google place no value in the tags any more, and it will not help SEO. However, Tags and Categories are also important ways to manage contents. 

 

Hey Lucy, thanks for your comments.  However, I'm not sure what Google has to do with Evernote Tags, since Google is not involved in searching in my Evernote account.  In fact, Google can't even see my Evernote account.

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JMichael, Tags have value. I don't mean to suggest otherwise. However, for your specific situation, I suspect you can get accurate search results on sym.camp if you put sym.camp as text in the body of the appropriate Notes. - - -  So, based on only its merits, I don't think your example substantiates the benefit of Tagging Notes. - - - But, there is a clear-cut benefit.

 

In addition to convenience and possibly speed, another important benefit of searching Tags is that EN will only search for an exact match of the Tag. For example, if you put sym.camp as text in the body of the Notes and do a search on that character string, EN will also find any Notes with sym.campX. However, if you search for the Tag sym.camp, then the Note with sym.campX will not be found. - - - At least, that is the kind of results I get with the Windows version of EN.

 

To restate and generalize the distinction, putting a text string (like abcd) in the search box will find all Notes with text strings that start with abcd, which means that a Note with abcde would also be found.

 

However, searching for the Tag abcd will find Notes that have that exact Tag, but not those with the Tag abcde.

 

The difference is "starts with" versus "exact" match.

 

Because there are many security symbols that start with the same 2 or 3 letters, I'd guess that your needs are better fulfilled by using your sym.xxxxx Tagging method. While many to most EN users might get by just fine by putting key text strings in the body of Notes and doing simple searches on those text strings and getting results that "start with" those text strings. - - - I, for one, fall in the latter group. I started using EN regularly about 18 months ago. I started out creating lots of Tags. I found it took additional time to conceptualize what Tags I might need in the future, create those tags, manage them, and use them. So, I stopped. Now, I rarely add a Tag to a Note and with over 1,100 Notes, simple text string searches are working just fine for me.

 

Each to his own, however.

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Thank you, JMichael and jbenson2, for the real world use of Tags.  I'm going to have to revamp my own tagging system at some point in the not too distant future, so have been saving posts like these to my own EN account for reference ideas. :)

The Benefit of Using Tags

Over the last year or so there has been a lot of discussion about the benefit of using Tags in Evernote. Some users have completely quit using Tags, claiming they see no benefit.

While I have given a number of examples before, a real world example just occured with me, that I would like to share with all of you.

The Earnings Report for CalAmp, symbol CAMP, came out today, so I wanted to see what I had researched previously and saved in Evernote. So, I just did a quick search of "intitle:camp", thinking that should be good.

But, to my surprise, I had a number of false positives. The Search returned Notes about "Boot Camp", a Mac system software, as well as Notes about camping.

But when I did a search using Tags, "tag:sym.camp", I got perfect results. I had decided long ago to tag all of my Notes about the stock "CAMP" with one from my Evernote Stock Symbol list, which is Tags that all begin with "SYM."

So, all I have to do is click on the Tag filter, start typing "sym." and I'm presented with my "Stock Symbol list". As I further type, adding a "ca" then Evernote autocompletes my entry to "SYM.CAMP". I hit ENTER, and I'm DONE.

I now have a very accurate Search results, very easy to search for, and very easy to apply tags to the appropriate Notes.

Well, this was a long story to provide you with a real-world example that literally takes seconds to use, and avoid false positives!

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 I started out creating lots of Tags. I found it took additional time to conceptualize what Tags I might need in the future, create those tags, manage them, and use them. So, I stopped. Now, I rarely add a Tag to a Note and with over 1,100 Notes, simple text string searches are working just fine for me.

 

Each to his own, however.

 

Analyst, with only 1100 Notes the benefit of Tags may not be obvious yet.  It really depends on how much text you have in each note, whether you include lots of long PDFs, Word Docs, or Excel files -- Evernote searches all of these.   The more long notes you have the more likely some will contain text that matches your search but is not really related to what you're looking for.

 

The problem is that by the time you get to 10,000+ notes, it may be very obvious, but then its almost too late.  To go back and add Tags to 10,000 notes would be onerous.

 

Setup/maintenance of Tags can be a chore, but it need not be.  In the case of my symbol tags, it really has not taken any extra effort.  As I begin to generate more and more notes about stocks, it was just obvious to me to create tags using the naming convention of SYM.<symbol>.

 

I did this after I started tracking 2 or 3 stocks.  Then I just used the technique that JBenson suggested to quickly find the Notes about my stocks, and apply the tag.  Now, as I add a Note about a new stock, I just create it in the process of assigning it to the Note -- quick and simple.

 

It's not like I took several hours one day to sit down and design my tag system and create them.  I've just been creating them as the need arises.  I probably have more Tags now than I actively need, but it's no big deal.  Since Evernote autocompetes the Tag name when I start to use it, it is easy to find the tag I want.

 

There is one technique that I use, which was first designed/discussed by JB.  And that is to use a short, common prefix to a group of related Tags.  I use this extensively.  My symbol Tags is a great example.  The really nice thing is that this provides you with like a custom list for picking.  I described this behavior in my OP above.

 

I also make use of Tag hierarchies to nest related tags into a collapsible list.  This takes 10-15 min every now and then to keep orderly -- again, no bid deal.

 

Everyone can choose if and how they use Tags.  I just wanted to share what I have learned about Tags, and what a great benefit they can be.  I can't imagine using Evernote without Tags.

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I only have a Master Notebook plus a couple of shared Notebooks and use Tags and use a tree structure

Eg

Wine

            Cellar Red

            Cellar White

            Drunk Red

            Drunk White

 

However I'm confused by what you mean by symbol Tags

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I only have a Master Notebook plus a couple of shared Notebooks and use Tags and use a tree structure

Eg

Wine

            Cellar Red

            Cellar White

            Drunk Red

            Drunk White

 

However I'm confused by what you mean by symbol Tags

Using your own tags as an example, if instead of using nested tags as you did, you created the following tags:

 

Wine.CellarRed

Wine.CellarWhite

Wine.DrunkRed

Wine.DrunkWhite

 

In a new wine-related note, when you go to the tag field and start typing 'Wine', you get a drop down list of all your tags that begin with 'Wine'. That's what JMichael is doing with his SYM.<symbol> tagging. So his list looks something like:

 

SYM.aapl

SYM.msft

SYM.intc

SYM.goog

 

And if your list of such tags is long and cluttering up your tag list, you can nest them all in a 'MyWines' or similar tag.

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Tags are great. I do not see a benefit for my use case, and I think many other kinds of workflows won't need them either, but I have no particularly strong feelings against using them. In fact, I recommend users do whatever works best for them and it is great to see that JM (the OP) has a system he likes. Cool!

 

Here is my system.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=367

 

Here are my thoughts on notebooks.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=425

 

Here are my thoughts on tags.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=437

 

Other people, like Guy Kawasaki, also eschew the use of tags for their workflows, though he does run into some of the problems that JM mentioned about having too many hits. I wonder if he is using advanced searches.

http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2013/02/28/guy-kawasaki-real-men-dont-use-tags/

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Tags are great. I do not see a benefit for my use case,

 

You should explain your use case, GM, which I believe few other users have.  You use Evernote mostly for academic research, right, with very long Notes of plain text.  I don't know what kind of searches you do, but I am amazed that you don't get a lot of false positives with that much text.

 

Since you don't use Tags, you have to be careful to not have typos in the keywords you have to fully type in the Title each and every time.  You have nothing to remind you of which keywords you have used before.  IMO all these keywords in the Title clog up the Title preventing you from having a clean descriptive Title easily read in many of the small Evernote views.

 

It may work for you, maybe you have a great memory and keen typing skills, but I doubt it would work for many others over the long run when they have 10,000+ notes.

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Tags are great. I do not see a benefit for my use case,

 

You should explain your use case, GM, which I believe few other users have.  You use Evernote mostly for academic research, right, with very long Notes of plain text.  I don't know what kind of searches you do, but I am amazed that you don't get a lot of false positives with that much text.

 

Since you don't use Tags, you have to be careful to not have typos in the keywords you have to fully type in the Title each and every time.  You have nothing to remind you of which keywords you have used before.  IMO all these keywords in the Title clog up the Title preventing you from having a clean descriptive Title easily read in many of the small Evernote views.

 

It may work for you, maybe you have a great memory and keen typing skills, but I doubt it would work for many others over the long run when they have 10,000+ notes.

 

 

1. My use case is explained in the links that I sent. I have my writing, research, journals, diaries, receipts, etc. all in there. I'd say the content isn't so very different from anyone else's account except in the amount, perhaps.

 

2. It's not terribly difficult to avoid typos. Most of my keywords are quite simple. In addition, I've also got it set up as a wiki, so everything is quite easy to find. As you'll see on the link, I don't use a lot of keywords, so I have no problem remembering them. If I forget, I guess I can go visit my website and check them out :)

 

3. My titles look pretty clean to me. What is messy about them?

 

4. Nothing amazing about it. I actually have rapidly gone beyond 100,000 notes (I only keep a small fraction in Evernote -- this is a relatively recent change in part because of scalability issues discussed elsewhere) and the system works fine. For your example at the beginning of the thread, the following search would accomplish exactly the same thing without the need for tags:

 

intitle:camp CalAmp

 

or 

 

intitle:camp stock

 

or 

 

intitle:CalAmp

 

or (using my method)

 

intitle:stock intitle:camp

 

As I said, if tags are working for you, then keep using them. I've got nothing against them, and I continually experiment with my workflow to see what I can improve. At the moment (and for the last few years), this is a system that I know works for me. Maybe it will work for others. If not, please visit the other links I posted to see alternative organizational systems with notebooks and tags. 

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GM, if you read my OP, you'll see why the "intitle:" searches don't work well, resulting in lots of false positives.

 

Plus, it is very hard to maintain keywords in Titles.  If you decide to change a KW, or add a KW to a block of Notes, then you would have to EDIT each and every Note separately.   Whereas, with Tags, I just select the Notes, and Evernote provides a dialog to ADD one or more Tags to the entire block with one, simple, action.

 

If I want to change a Tag, I simply edit the Tag name in the Tag list, and the revised name shows up automatically in all Notes that use it.

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I only have a Master Notebook plus a couple of shared Notebooks and use Tags and use a tree structure

Eg

Wine

            Cellar Red

            Cellar White

            Drunk Red

            Drunk White

 

However I'm confused by what you mean by symbol Tags

Using your own tags as an example, if instead of using nested tags as you did, you created the following tags:

 

Wine.CellarRed

Wine.CellarWhite

Wine.DrunkRed

Wine.DrunkWhite

 

In a new wine-related note, when you go to the tag field and start typing 'Wine', you get a drop down list of all your tags that begin with 'Wine'. That's what JMichael is doing with his SYM.<symbol> tagging. So his list looks something like:

 

SYM.aapl

SYM.msft

SYM.intc

SYM.goog

 

And if your list of such tags is long and cluttering up your tag list, you can nest them all in a 'MyWines' or similar tag.

 

But that's the problem , why would one want to start typing wine? Just select wine from a list your top level nested tags so much easier. and then select say Cellar white, works quickly on Android and Windows PC

I do think tags are great by the way!!

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This is a case of different strokes for different folks.  I'm also not a tagger, though I can see why others may use them more than I do.  I'm at over 10K notes and have maybe 20 tags.  Key word search works fine for me.  It seems like the desire is to minimize false positives.  It doesn't really bother me.  I type in a couple of key words and once I'm down to around 30 notes I can very quickly scan the list to find the one I want.  If this bothered me I would add intitle to my search to further refine it.  I use saved searches for the few exact searches that I want.

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Yep, it all depends on how much data you store, and how quickly you want to find what you are looking for.

I'm an information junkie, so I store lots of data.  At the same time I need to quickly find very specific Notes, like about a specific stock, and like specific tax info/data. 

 

I sometime just try typing into the Search box the text I'm looking for, but in most cases I get way too many false positives to waste my time pouring through.

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In addition to convenience and possibly speed, another important benefit of searching Tags is that EN will only search for an exact match of the Tag. For example, if you put sym.camp as text in the body of the Notes and do a search on that character string, EN will also find any Notes with sym.campX. However, if you search for the Tag sym.camp, then the Note with sym.campX will not be found. - - - At least, that is the kind of results I get with the Windows version of EN.

 

To restate and generalize the distinction, putting a text string (like abcd) in the search box will find all Notes with text strings that start with abcd, which means that a Note with abcde would also be found.

 

However, searching for the Tag abcd will find Notes that have that exact Tag, but not those with the Tag abcde.

 

The difference is "starts with" versus "exact" match.

The answer is wildcarding: use tag:abcd*. This is supported directly in the search language: http://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/search_grammar.php, and has done for years now.

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GM, if you read my OP, you'll see why the "intitle:" searches don't work well, resulting in lots of false positives.

 

Plus, it is very hard to maintain keywords in Titles.  If you decide to change a KW, or add a KW to a block of Notes, then you would have to EDIT each and every Note separately.   Whereas, with Tags, I just select the Notes, and Evernote provides a dialog to ADD one or more Tags to the entire block with one, simple, action.

 

If I want to change a Tag, I simply edit the Tag name in the Tag list, and the revised name shows up automatically in all Notes that use it.

 

But, I am not talking about just an intitle search. As you'll see, I put another word in each of the searches that would narrow the search down and avoid your false positive problem. In short, I am talking about a combination of advanced search terms (you could use advanced search fields for date created ranges if you knew it was recent, web clippings if you knew you had gotten it from the web, etc.) as an alternative to tagging.

 

If the ability exists to quickly find it (especially if you have saved searches) without the need to organize, then I feel that is perfectly sufficient (at least, for my use case) and there is no point in putting more work into tags. Tags would give me much more flexibility and they are potentially quite powerful, sure, but the amount of time and effort invested in them isn't worth it for me. If it is for others, then that is great. I am saying that users can enjoy Evernote (or any other notetaking program) without any organizational tools at all, if they don't want to, because the search features (actually, I prefer a combination of Evernote, DevonThink, Spotlight, and other apps) are quite robust (especially on the Mac, where you can access the data with any app). 

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GM, you guys keep talking about "the amount of time and effort invested" in creating and maintaining tags as if it is a huge amount of time and effort.  It is NOT.  I spend very little time maintaining my Tags, and I create new Tags as needed while assigning the Tag to the Note.  So, NO lost time creating!!!

 

Frankly, I think you are over-promoting NOT using Tags.  If it works for you, then that's fine.  But I think your over-promotion could lead a lot a new users into believing they don't need Tags.  Then, later, when they have thousands of Notes, the need for Tags will be obvious, but its too late, or takes too much time, to go back and add Tags to thousands of Notes.

 

But  Evernote was originally designed to provide Tags as one of the primary ways of searching for your Notes.  It works VERY WELL, and there is little cost to using Tags.  Yes, you need to give some thought to how you want to use Tags, just like you need to think about how you will use Notebooks, and how you will Title your Notes.  But it is NOT a big deal, and doesn't take that much time.

 

The rewards of using Tags from the beginning are great.  The cost of not using tags may turn out to be great.  There is little cost to using Tags from the beginning.

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Yep, it all depends on how much data you store, and how quickly you want to find what you are looking for.

Actually, IMO it does not.  I entered the conversation as a counterpoint to the perception that tags are required.  I spend zero up front time in tag organization and maintenance and can very quickly type enough key words to be able to pick the note I'm looking for out of the list.  Some new users seem to agonize over what their tag structure should be when they really should just jump in there and start using the software.  Some people will morph into taggers, others will not and others will settle at some middle ground.  It centers around how much structure one wants or feels they need in their data.  The beauty of Evernote is that it is flexible enough to accommodate both tagging and advanced searching.  Which methodology is right is very much user dependent.

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Maybe what's needed is the ability to search with a tag

eg Tag Cellar Red Search Pinot Noir

 

You can do that now:  tag:CellarRed PinotNoir

 

This searches for Notes that have a Tag named "CellarRed" AND have PinotNoir anywhere in the Title, Tag, and Note body.

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Yep, it all depends on how much data you store, and how quickly you want to find what you are looking for.

Actually, IMO it does not.  I entered the conversation as a counterpoint to the perception that tags are required.  I spend zero up front time in tag organization and maintenance and can very quickly type enough key words to be able to pick the note I'm looking for out of the list.  Some new users seem to agonize over what their tag structure should be when they really should just jump in there and start using the software.  Some people will morph into taggers, others will not and others will settle at some middle ground.  It centers around how much structure one wants or feels they need in their data.  The beauty of Evernote is that it is flexible enough to accommodate both tagging and advanced searching.  Which methodology is right is very much user dependent.

 

 

Well, good luck to anyone who has 100,000+ Notes with hundreds or thousands of words in each Note.  If you think you're going to get fast, accurate searches without Tags, you're likely to be disappointed.  If you know anything about databases, you would understand that a search for discrete fields (like Tag) is much, much faster than a general free text search.

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Let's suppose for the moment that searching by Tag (for example abcd) and searching for the text string abcd in the body of Notes always find the same set of Notes. (I know there are cases when it won't, but just suppose for the moment.) In that case, I say that over many searches, using Tags will take more time and effort (maybe only a little, but definitely more). Why? Because if user doesn't remember exactly what the syntax of the desired Tag is or whether he already has a Tag for a specific case, he will have to scan the Tag list, looking for the appropriate Tag. (It may not happen every time, but it will some of the time, especially when there are hundreds of Tags.) - - - (Also, I am assuming that adding a Tag to a Note takes no more time than adding a text string to the body of the Note. As a relatively fast typist, adding a Tag takes longer for me.)

 

Now, I am willing to be enlightened. So, if someone can see the flaw in my line of thinking, please set me straight.

 

If you accept my line of reasoning, then there needs to be at least one benefit that using Tags offers, that searching for text strings within the body of Notes doesn't offer, in order to justify the additional time and effort needed to use Tags. In my prior post on this subject, I pointed out such benefit. That is, searching by Tag will find only "exact matches", whereas searching the body of Notes for a text string will find all Notes which "start with" the text string, quite possibly producing false positives.

 

I don't want to become know as an anti-tagger. Tags are one of the great design elements of EN. I'd just like to do what I can to clarify the pros and cons of using Tags, more so for the benefit of the people who have not yet determined if and to what degree they want to use Tags.

 

As JMichael just pointed out, there's some point when your number of Notes and the size of your Notes becomes so large that the need to find only "exact matches" becomes very important.

 

We each have our own preferred method for using or not using Tags. It works well for us and few of us are likely to change our ways on this. However, the objective merits of using or not using Tags cannot be based solely on how well our methods work for us and the information we work with.

 

I've pretty much come down to a sole factor: Do you need to find only "exact matches"? If yes, then start Tagging your heart out.

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I can think of a few examples where tags have a benefit over searching content, though the benefit may be minor. 
 

If, for example, you have notes concerning a particular academic topic, something like "governance", or philosophical deliberations on "nature", or geographical discussions about "space". I store a lot of things in Evernote, and many of these things might have the word "governance" or "nature" or "space" in them, but aren't actually about these topics. 

 

So if I go ahead and search:

nature

or

governance

I'm bound to get a whole slew of false-positives. 

 

However, if I tag all of my academic material that pertains to "nature" "governance" "space" whatever, then I can search

tag:governance

and get only that which is concerned with an academic discussion of governance. 
 

Now, the trouble with this scheme is that what if I also tag some stuff about "governance" with the related and almost interchangeable term "governmentality".... that is a shortcoming of tags. tag:governance will NOT bring up things I've tagged "governmentality" even though they are likely related. 

 

But it isn't really too onerous to do three searches when your false-positives are reduced. So I can quickly do

tag:governance

tag:governmentality

governance governmentality

 

The first two will probably bring up every single relevant note with no false positives and likely no omissions. the last one will bring up a slew of false positives but will reveal any potentially omitted results from the first two tag searches. Normally I don't spend much time on that third search, if I even do it. 

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If you accept my line of reasoning, then there needs to be at least one benefit that using Tags offers, that searching for text strings within the body of Notes doesn't offer, in order to justify the additional time and effort needed to use Tags. In my prior post on this subject, I pointed out such benefit. That is, searching by Tag will find only "exact matches", whereas searching the body of Notes for a text string will find all Notes which "start with" the text string, quite possibly producing false positives.

In your prior post, you got the bit about exact matches wrong with respect to tags, or at least missed out the possibility that you can do wildcarded tag searches, and I responded: http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/57740-the-benefit-of-using-tags/?p=274349. Short form: you *can* do tag searches that match on tag-name-starts-with. Tag, or don't tag. But know your tools.
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Jefito - How is searching for the TAG abcd* (using a wildcard) different than searching the body of Notes for the text string abcd? Specifically, is it possible that the two approaches might find different sets of Notes?

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Jefito - How is searching for the TAG abcd* (using a wildcard) different than searching the body of Notes for the text string abcd? Specifically, is it possible that the two approaches might find different sets of Notes?

If you take my scenario (and thanks jefito for pointing to a solution to my governance/governmentality problem):

Don't know if I tagged "governance" or "governmentality" so search:

tag:govern*

 

no accumulation of unrelated notes with "governance/government/govern" in their body, but should bring up all my governance/governmentality notes which are explicitly tagged as such. 

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In that case, I say that over many searches, using Tags will take more time and effort (maybe only a little, but definitely more). Why? Because if user doesn't remember exactly what the syntax of the desired Tag is or whether he already has a Tag for a specific case, he will have to scan the Tag list, looking for the appropriate Tag. (It may not happen every time, but it will some of the time, especially when there are hundreds of Tags.) - - - (Also, I am assuming that adding a Tag to a Note takes no more time than adding a text string to the body of the Note. As a relatively fast typist, adding a Tag takes longer for me.)

 

Now, I am willing to be enlightened. So, if someone can see the flaw in my line of thinking, please set me straight.

 

...

 

I've pretty much come down to a sole factor: Do you need to find only "exact matches"? If yes, then start Tagging your heart out.

 

Analyst, actually I find it FASTER to enter tags than the analogous keyword in the Title.  Here's why:

  • First, I don't have to "scan the Tag list"
  • When you click in the Tags panel, and start typing, Evernote immediately tries to autocomplete the Tag
    • It matches as best it can with what you have typed, so that IF it has selected the correct tag, after having typed on 2-3 characters of the tag, all you need to do is hit ENTER.
    • It also shows other choices in a drop-down list.
    • So, if you prefer one of those, just arrow down and hit ENTER
  • Selection of Tags is quicker, more accurate, and more consistent
    • Maybe you guys have a better memory than me, but if I have to rely on my memory to type in the full keyword, I have to remember the exact spelling that I have used on other notes
    • You said "if user doesn't remember exactly what the syntax of the desired Tag is or whether he already has a Tag for a specific case"
      • So what happens if the user is trying to type the keyword in the Title, and doesn't remember????
      • May likely use a differenet keyword, or a different spellng than before.
    • For example, lets take Financial Matters.  Possible keywords for this are:
      • Financial
      • FIN
      • Finances
      • Finance
    • With Tags, all I do is type in "fin" and it autocompetes the tag I have previously chosed/created.
    • If you can type without ANY typos, then kudos to you.  Most of us can't.  So you're likely to end up with typos in your keywords.
    • The longer the keyword, the more likely it will have typos
    • Different keywords, typos in keywords, means it is harder to find this Note when you search
    • As we all know, there is nothing worse than something that is "misfiled"

Finally the purpose of using Tags is NOT to get "exact" search results -- it is to elimnate as many false positives as possible.

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JMichael, two posts back when I said I can type keywords in to the body of a Note faster than specifying a Tag, I thought I shouldn't say that since it clearly wouldn't be the case for many people.

 

I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to narrow down the discussion to those things about Tags that would be true for all EN users.

 

In my prior post, I asked a question that I don't know the answer to. Do you?

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Jefito - How is searching for the TAG abcd* (using a wildcard) different than searching the body of Notes for the text string abcd? Specifically, is it possible that the two approaches might find different sets of Notes?

Dunno. Don't care. You made the claim, twice, that tag searches always yield exact matches. That's just not true, and easily proven. I don't really care about what is largely a silly topic. I do care that some reading the topic will get incorrect information about Evernote.

OK, since you asked: a normal search on a text string 'abcd' -- at least in the Windows client, and probably others -- will cause Evernote to search note content for abcd*, note titles for abcd*, and tags for abcd*, based on a short test (try it yourself). A search for 'tag:abcd' will perform an *exact* search for tag 'abcd'. The results will almost certainly be different. Again, easily shown.

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JMichael, two posts back when I said I can type keywords in to the body of a Note faster than specifying a Tag, I thought I shouldn't say that since it clearly wouldn't be the case for many people.

 

I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to narrow down the discussion to those things about Tags that would be true for all EN users.

 

In my prior post, I asked a question that I don't know the answer to. Do you?

 

Sorry, Analyst, I'm not sure which question you are referring to.  Would you mind repeating it?

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GM, you guys keep talking about "the amount of time and effort invested" in creating and maintaining tags as if it is a huge amount of time and effort.  It is NOT.  I spend very little time maintaining my Tags, and I create new Tags as needed while assigning the Tag to the Note.  So, NO lost time creating!!!

That's great. My experience has been different with tags and notebooks. Again, if it works for you, I'm pleased to hear it, and I appreciate your contributing your use case here.

 

Frankly, I think you are over-promoting NOT using Tags.  If it works for you, then that's fine.  But I think your over-promotion could lead a lot a new users into believing they don't need Tags.  Then, later, when they have thousands of Notes, the need for Tags will be obvious, but its too late, or takes too much time, to go back and add Tags to thousands of Notes.

As I said, "Tags are great." I don't know how many different ways that I can say that, but I say it a lot on these forums. Heck, I even have two blog posts devoted to the benefits of tags and notebooks for users along with helpful links to get them started if these are organizational tools they want to use. That would be two blog posts more than you have on notebooks and tags :)

As far as I know, I have not told people to stop using tags. I say that for my use case, and possibly for theirs, tags are unnecessary. Your mileage may vary. It's never too late to tag your stuff, but I do think you won't get back time spent, and that is why I prefer to minimize the amount of time and effort I spend organizing. If you can do it quickly and easily, then you are more accomplished than me.

Who knows? I might end up re-integrating tags into my workflow. I'm open to new possibilities. I'm cool like that, and I'm always experimenting with new methods.

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GM, OK then, you are officially "tag neutral"  LOL.

 

Sorry if I misinterpreted you.  It just seemed like you were consistently coming across as effectively recommending that people don't use Tags.

You didn't use the word "recommend", but that's the impressing I got.  Obviously I was wrong.  Thanks for setting the record straight.

 

Have a great day! 

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Some users can get by with simple Evernote searches and no tags. Just keep in mind that you might miss something. I have several methods to increase the accuracy of my overall search results. The 3 most important are
 
1.) Detailed consistent structured titles
2.) tags (lower case, no_spaces, singular - not plural)
3.) good understanding of Evernote's search grammar.
 
Tags have an important place in Evernote for some searches. Consider the different way words are spelled in different countries:
  • color vs colour
  • center vs centre
  • aging vs ageing
  • sizable vs sizeable.  
If you use a simple search, you could miss the alternate spelling. 
 
Or consider names. I have many political editorials saved in Evernote. Here is a name that is spelled in several different manners depending on the media and/or location. 
 
  • "Moammar Gaddafi"
  • "Muammar Gaddafi"
  • "Moammar Gadhafi"
  • "Muammar el-Qaddafi"
  • "Muammar al-Gaddafi"
Which one do I search for?
I don't need to worry about all these different spellings, I just search for my tag:"gaddafi-muammar"
 
The same sort of problems arises with honorifics. Consider the different ways the media reports on individuals.
  • Is it the President?
  • Is it the leader of the free world?
  • Is it the head of state?
  • Is it the commander-in-chief?
  • Is it the commander in chief (with no hyphens)?
  • or is it POTUS?
All of these possibilities make a search more difficult. A single tag nails it. 
 
Tags also help if you are looking for a common word that has multiple meanings.
  • Lead poisoning can lead to health issues.
  • You may see a rainbow in May.
  • Scale the fish completely before weighing it on the scale.
  • The dove dove down to its nest.
 
There are many additional benefits to using tags in Evernote.
 
The bottom line: tags increase my search accuracy.
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There are many additional benefits to using tags in Evernote.

The bottom line: tags increase my search accuracy.

 

NAILED IT.

 

That whole comment pretty much sums up why I heavily advocate the use of tags versus just a plain search. Tags and keywords in notes are identical in their input - you have to click somewhere and start typing. Tags win this battle because they autocomplete. I frequently start typing a tag, get three letters in, and can hit Enter, and start typing my next tag. This A. speeds up the process and B. guarantees you spell it the same way, and thus it's the same exact tag. Note keywords have to be typed out completely. Plus, you also have a list on the sidebar where you can just click the "keyword" by which you're searching, as opposed to having to type it out, every single time. You have a list you can easily go to with every "keyword" you've ever used. Actual note keywords mean you must remember them, or waste time maintaining a note where you list them all, and my memory's not so hot under pressure. I like having a master list available i can scan and tap and boom, there they all are.

 

I also use CloudMagic for email on my iPhone, and its Cards feature lets you create an Evernote note, complete with Notebook designation and tags, right from the email app. But, you can't edit the note's content. Lots of Evernote note creation apps function this way (or make it difficult to edit the note's content). So then, if you're only doing keywords, you have to go into that note at a later point to add all of your keywords. And the biggy - if you need to rename a tag, easy peasy - edit the tag in the Tags list and done. It automatically applies to every note with that tag. This is flat-out impossible when you simply use keywords.

 

Did I mention how much faster it is to navigate by tags when on mobile versus having to type? It's really quite ridiculous, how much time is wasted when having to tap search, type your search query in, OOPS, SPELLED IT WRONG, delete delete delete, re-type, did I type it right? yeah, okay! *Search*

 

I admit, I've tried to see the benefit of just using keywords, and that's how I started when I began heavily using Evernote. It fell apart very quickly due to false positives in search results, confusing note lists filled with keywords but not telling me the actual note content, or misspellings not pulling up the right notes. When it comes down to it, though, it's the same mechanisms to input a tag or a keyword (click and begin typing), but Tags have so many additional features... it's beyond my understanding why people wouldn't take advantage of them :D I'm a firm believer that tags are factually better at sorting than keywords for these many reasons.

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Did I mention how much faster it is to navigate by tags when on mobile versus having to type? It's really quite ridiculous, how much time is wasted when having to tap search, type your search query in, OOPS, SPELLED IT WRONG, delete delete delete, re-type, did I type it right? yeah, okay! *Search*

 

 

Excellent point.  I make great use of the Tag filer, both on my iPhone, and on my Mac.  MUCH faster that typing "intitle:KWName" in the search box.

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Here's another great blog/article on Tags:

 

Evernote Tags – Create An Evernote CRM and Other Tag Uses
Posted on January 7, 2014 by Jason Frasca

 

 

I encourage you to tag strategically for these reasons:

  1. Tag for context. Use tags to define Who, What, When, Where and Why and you your Notes will come alive with greater meaning.
  2. Tags can create filing systems in Evernote.
  3. Powerful Search with Multiple Tags To Create An Evernote CRM
  4. Tags replace Notebooks
  5. Quick reference whats most important to you

 

Jason provides details on each of these uses.

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I have 8300 notes and LOTS of tags. I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one who finds them useful. In fact, tags are one of my favorite features of Evernote. 

 

Tags are a simple way to organize notes. I use them like temporary folders. Everything I need for a particular day or lesson gets a special tag. When I'm done, all I do is select all the notes with that tag and delete the tag. I suppose I could put them in a special notebook and delete that, but doing it with tags is faster, IMO. I find notebooks less useful, only use them for general areas: Home, Work, Finances, Reference, Projects, etc., to produce fewer search results. I create shortcuts in the sidebar for any tags I use to organize stuff in this way. Shortcuts are also easy to add and delete.

 

As far as maintenance goes, I periodically delete the tags which have no notes, look at the ones with only 1-2 notes and decide whether I need them. Easy to delete or change the name of the tag. If I have two similar tags, I just add one tag to all the notes and delete the other one. It does not bother me to have tags with just a few notes, as long as they are terms I would be able to think of when searching by tag. The auto-complete function in the tag bar helps me name them consistently. When I search by tag, all similar tags come up, so it's easy to see if I've got notes grouped under similar tags.

 

I rarely have more than 5-6 tags per note, so the visibility of the tags is not a problem. Whenever I create a new note, I give it tags. I also search for notes without tags when I get a chance, just to see if I've missed some, and I sometimes do a key word search and tag the results. 

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Using tag is a has-been trick in SEO, since it is said that Google place no value in the tags any more, and it will not help SEO. However, Tags and Categories are also important ways to manage contents. 

 

Hey Lucy, thanks for your comments.  However, I'm not sure what Google has to do with Evernote Tags, since Google is not involved in searching in my Evernote account.  In fact, Google can't even see my Evernote account.

 

 

At least not as far as you know :D.

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It seems to me that one of the pillars of the Evernote design is to make the service and apps as generally useful as possible. This means that the user is able to pick and choose from the organisational methods available and use the one that is best suited to their use case.

I'm a pretty sophisticated (get my number later ladies) user and my expectations are high, I expect to be able to find things quickly and accurately so I use a mixture of tags, titles and keywords. I also use my actual brain and throw in a modicum of common sense, I don't think there is a general right answer to how you organise and categorise your data.

Like most things in life, how you use Evernote is a bit complex, it's grey, somewhere between black and white and humans are rather good at adapting to these situations. My advice is to absolutely read what others do but then figure out which grey suits you best.

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Evernote Mac HTML Export DOES Include Tags

 

GM, one of your big, on-going concerns is the portability of Evernote Notes.  You have said that is that is one of the reasons you don't use tags.  I have learned today the EN Mac DOES export the Tags in it's HTML export.

 

It labels the Tags as "keywords".

 

Here's an example:

<meta name="keywords" content="EN.Export, Issue, testTag"/>

The EN exported HTML also includes:

  • Evernote version
  • Evernote user name
  • Created Date
  • Updated Date
  • Latitude/Longitude
  • Note Title

 

So, you could export each Notebook into a separate Mac folder, and you would have all the data you need to import into just about anything.

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Evernote Mac HTML Export DOES Include Tags

 

GM, one of your big, on-going concerns is the portability of Evernote Notes.  You have said that is that is one of the reasons you don't use tags.  I have learned today the EN Mac DOES export the Tags in it's HTML export.

 

It labels the Tags as "keywords".

 

Here's an example:

<meta name="keywords" content="EN.Export, Issue, testTag"/>
The EN exported HTML also includes:
  • Evernote version
  • Evernote user name
  • Created Date
  • Updated Date
  • Latitude/Longitude
  • Note Title
So, you could export each Notebook into a separate Mac folder, and you would have all the data you need to import into just about anything.

I do value portability, and one of the reasons I like Evernote so much is that it has always valued this as well. As you noted, they include the meta data in the header of the html files (this has been the case, as far as I know, since 2008).

The problem for moving in and out of other apps is that no one else (as far as I know) recognizes this header information. If Evernote used Open Meta tags or Mavericks tags, it might be a different story. Even if someone (I guess I'd probably be scratching my own itch on this one) coded something that would take the keywords and turn them into Open Meta or Mavericks tags, you'd still have the problem of keeping them on the return trip back into Evernote. I haven't found it to be worth the effort yet.

As I mentioned before, I am always experimenting with my workflow, and one thing I have been doing recently (since Mavericks in October 2013) is to see what I can do with tags outside of Evernote. Using Leap or HoudahSpot (really cool OSX programs that pretty much guarantee I'll never be able to leave the Appleverse) you can easily attach tags to anything, including Evernote notes. This is pretty amazing, because it means that you can have stuff on your external hard drive, your disk, and in Evernote all show up in a search for a single tag.

I haven't done enough testing of it yet to say for sure whether I will keep it permanently in my workflow, but it certainly has potential. I'll post on my website about it when I reach some kind of conclusion. Anyhow, as you can probably guess, this tagging does not survive the export out of Evernote. Like I said, I am not averse to tagging in principle. I just want to do it in a way that makes the best use of my time. A tagging system that can handle everything (Open Meta and/or Mavericks)? That might be worth it.

My recommendation to Evernote would be to include this kind of stuff into their app so that notes show up in searches for keywords and tags done from outside the app, and to make it so that we can export out of the app using these kinds of keywords and tags. Of course, removing the cap on the number of notes in databases, implementing notebook-level encryption, and introducing selective sync might make it possible for me to actually stick "everything" into the "everything" bucket, and then I wouldn't need to do anything from outside the app. Maybe someday.

At the moment, Evernote limits (however reasonable and understandable) make it necessary for me to have my data in multiple locations, and that is why I need a more comprehensive solution -- up until now that has relied a lot on title + keyword searches, but you might well find me this time next year using more tags. Stay tuned :)

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Evernote Mac HTML Export DOES Include Tags

 

GM, one of your big, on-going concerns is the portability of Evernote Notes.  You have said that is that is one of the reasons you don't use tags.  I have learned today the EN Mac DOES export the Tags in it's HTML export.

 

It labels the Tags as "keywords".

 

Here's an example:

<meta name="keywords" content="EN.Export, Issue, testTag"/>
The EN exported HTML also includes:
  • Evernote version
  • Evernote user name
  • Created Date
  • Updated Date
  • Latitude/Longitude
  • Note Title
So, you could export each Notebook into a separate Mac folder, and you would have all the data you need to import into just about anything.

 

The problem for moving in and out of other apps is that no one else (as far as I know) recognizes this header information. If Evernote used Open Meta tags or Mavericks tags, it might be a different story. Even if someone (I guess I'd probably be scratching my own itch on this one) coded something that would take the keywords and turn them into Open Meta or Mavericks tags, you'd still have the problem of keeping them on the return trip back into Evernote. I haven't found it to be worth the effort yet.

 

This doesn't make sense, and is not the way database apps have historically been designed.

The only responsibility of a DB app is to provide a means to export all the data for each record (Note) in a well-known common format, like CSV or HTML.

Evernote does this now.

 

Furthermore, OneNote provides a direct import from your Evernote account (currently available only in Windows).

DevonThink provides an Evernote importer.

Veritope.com provides an AppleScript to move notes from Evernote to DevonThink.

 

I would expect any serious Evernote competitor to provide an Evernote import tool so as to make it as easy as possible for users to move to their system

 

I have dealt with migrating data from one system to another for years.  This can almost always be done if the old system provides some type of export, and the new system provides some type of import.  Often the user has to clean up the data for import using tools like Excel, or simple scripts.

 

Anyhow, as you can probably guess, this tagging does not survive the export out of Evernote.

This is wrong. Both you and I have stated above that Evernote DOES include the Note Tags in the HTML export.

So, tagging DOES survive the export.

 

Like I said, I am not averse to tagging in principle. I just want to do it in a way that makes the best use of my time. A tagging system that can handle everything (Open Meta and/or Mavericks)? That might be worth it.

My recommendation to Evernote would be to include this kind of stuff into their app so that notes show up in searches for keywords and tags done from outside the app, and to make it so that we can export out of the app using these kinds of keywords and tags.

I don't think this would work, mostly because, IMO, this is not something Evernote is likely to provide.

Why?  Because it does not work cross-platform, particularly on smartphones and tablets.

 

I would much prefer that Evernote spend their time on improving their Search engine, providing common search techniques like full Boolean searches.

 

So, now that I know that Evernote DOES export the essential Note metadata (except NB) in the HtML export, I am very comfortable that, if need arises, I can get my Notes out of Evernote (exporting to HTML by NB) and into a new system.

 

Sure, there is always the very small chance that I might not be able to import into some future system, but IMO that is no reason to avoid taking full advantage of Evernote features, like Tags, now.  Tags provide such a great benefit/advantage, that the reward far outweighs the risk.

 

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This doesn't make sense, and is not the way database apps have historically been designed.

OK. It (I assume you mean the option for users to export tags as Open Meta or Mavericks tags) makes sense to me, but if it doesn't make sense to you or Evernote developers, that is fine. As I said, I am doing fine with relying on title + keyword searches to narrow down search results. And, the alternative tagging system I outlined also shows promise, though I haven't done enough testing yet to confidently recommend it to others.

Anyhow, as you can probably guess, this tagging does not survive the export out of Evernote.

This is wrong. Both you and I have stated above that Evernote DOES include the Note Tags in the HTML export.

So, tagging DOES survive the export.

Please read my writing in context. It only becomes wrong if you misinterpret it.

 

So, now that I know that Evernote DOES export the essential Note metadata (except NB) in the HtML export, I am very comfortable that, if need arises, I can get my Notes out of Evernote (exporting to HTML by NB) and into a new system. Sure, there is always the very small chance that I might not be able to import into some future system, but IMO that is no reason to avoid taking full advantage of Evernote features, like Tags, now.  Tags provide such a great benefit/advantage, that the reward far outweighs the risk.

Great to hear! I agree that Evernote has done a good job with portability.

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 As I said, I am doing fine with relying on title + keyword searches to narrow down search results.

 

So, now that I know that Evernote DOES export the essential Note metadata (except NB) in the HtML export, I am very comfortable that, if need arises, I can get my Notes out of Evernote (exporting to HTML by NB) and into a new system. Sure, there is always the very small chance that I might not be able to import into some future system, but IMO that is no reason to avoid taking full advantage of Evernote features, like Tags, now.  Tags provide such a great benefit/advantage, that the reward far outweighs the risk.

Great to hear! I agree that Evernote has done a good job with portability.

 

 

This is what I meant about promoting NOT using tags.

 

If it works for you, then fine.  But I continue to strongly believe that for most cases, most users, Tags offer a lot of benefits for very little cost.  I think I've shown that portability is not really an issue with Tags.

 

And, there is a very significant risk of not using Tags from the beginning, or very near the beginning.  If you find out after you have thousands of Notes that you need Tags, then you're in a world of hurt.  It would be most laborious to go back and tag all those Notes.

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As I said, I am doing fine with relying on title + keyword searches to narrow down search results.

 

So, now that I know that Evernote DOES export the essential Note metadata (except NB) in the HtML export, I am very comfortable that, if need arises, I can get my Notes out of Evernote (exporting to HTML by NB) and into a new system. Sure, there is always the very small chance that I might not be able to import into some future system, but IMO that is no reason to avoid taking full advantage of Evernote features, like Tags, now.  Tags provide such a great benefit/advantage, that the reward far outweighs the risk.

Great to hear! I agree that Evernote has done a good job with portability.
 

This is what I meant about promoting NOT using tags.

 

If it works for you, then fine.  But I continue to strongly believe that for most cases, most users, Tags offer a lot of benefits for very little cost.  I think I've shown that portability is not really an issue with Tags.

 

And, there is a very significant risk of not using Tags from the beginning, or very near the beginning.  If you find out after you have thousands of Notes that you need Tags, then you're in a world of hurt.  It would be most laborious to go back and tag all those Notes.

Well, you have taken another statement of mine out of context, but...great! You have a workflow that works for you, and I have one that works from me. I don't think either of them involve any risk, world of hurt, or any other perils. In fact, if other users want to use tags and notebooks in addition to my methods (as I often recommend on these forums and elsewhere), that seems just fine to me as well. I will continue to voice my opinions, and I recommend users take advantage of the "ignore" feature in the forums if they find the content of my posts too perilous to even consider.

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GM, come on, I NEVER even thought of wanting to constrain you in any way -- keep on posting whatever you believe.

 

But whenever you advocate not using tags, I will counter with the benefits of Tags, and the risk of not using tags.

Users should be aware of the full picture, so they can make a good choice for their situation.

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Wow, such passion over tags?  It's simple, user prerogative. Tag is just a pick list for a database field. I have thousands of notes & EN can find them fast either way, tags help limit the result by design. We can make it work however we like, I like simple.  Trying to remember the work around to get nested structure is only simple if you are young and have few notes, I am neither. I have lots of notes & few tags choosing to imbed search words that broadly relate notes ..but that's me??

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Wow, such passion over tags? It's simple, user prerogative.

 

I don't see much need to get dogmatic over their use, either way: if they make Evernote easier to use, or help you find your notes easier, great, use them. If you don't want to use them, and have other techniques that help you use Evernote easier to use, then also great. Simple.

 

Tag is just a pick list for a database field.

Not exactly, since a note may have multiple tags. That being said, they're not all that complicated, though there are some techniques that people use to make them "smarter". Again, their use is certainly not required.

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Evernote is a very flexible application, with tools such as searchable notes and tags to give users more ways to use the application. The moment you bring up a use case to show where some feature isn't needed, someone else will show you one were it's essential. Evernote is flexible and adaptive to your needs and wants. Behave accordingly.

 

 

Disclaimer: I just started taking Evernote seriously last week, after years of just having a few random notes stored in it.  

 

I really enjoy discussions that show how to leverage the Evernote's toolset. Keep them coming!

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I really enjoy discussions that show how to leverage the Evernote's toolset. Keep them coming!

 

Thanks, The Gooch.  That was the whole point of my thread -- to show/explain the benefits of one such tool:  Tags.

Nobody has to use Tags, but they are available for those who choose to take advantage of them.

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Just discovered yet another benefit of using tags:  Viewing Related Tags/Notes from the Tag View
 
This was pointed out by Extropy
 

Good catch Extropy (interesting username).
 
By "related", it appears to me that the other related tags that are highlighted are tags that appear on the same Note as the main selected Tag.  Can someone from Evernote confirm this?  That presents a very interesting view when one is browsing or data mining.
 
BTW, this is yet another BENEFIT of using Tags.  No way to get this view with just keywords in the Title.
 
Now, the next step.  CMD-Click on one or more of the related tags, and then click on the "Show nnn Notes" button in the upper right.
Magic!  Now you have the list of Notes with the selected tags.


** Note: Mac only **

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Just to add my 2 bits worth to the discussion: I believe that one can put all one's notes in 1 notebook plus have 2 or 3 smaller ones for specific purposes like sharing, receiving clippings, ...

Tags, in combination with advanced search operators is far more powerful & flexible. There are many different, useful & usable tagging systems out there. Those who say they don't use tags but use keywords in note titles (e.g. Grumpy Monkey) or in note titles instead are in fact using tags. Keywords are tags, let there be no misunderstanding about that.

But people who use a lot of different notebooks don't seem to realise that, having that a note is somewhere in a specific notebook, does not add more value/efficiency to the search for that note than having it in 1 big common notebook. In both cases one has to do the operations to find the note. Having many notebooks just adds to the clutter, in my view.

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Just to add my 2 bits worth to the discussion: I believe that one can put all one's notes in 1 notebook plus have 2 or 3 smaller ones for specific purposes like sharing, receiving clippings, ...

Tags, in combination with advanced search operators is far more powerful & flexible. There are many different, useful & usable tagging systems out there. Those who say they don't use tags but use keywords in note titles (e.g. Grumpy Monkey) or in note titles instead are in fact using tags. Keywords are tags, let there be no misunderstanding about that.

But people who use a lot of different notebooks don't seem to realise that, having that a note is somewhere in a specific notebook, does not add more value/efficiency to the search for that note than having it in 1 big common notebook. In both cases one has to do the operations to find the note. Having many notebooks just adds to the clutter, in my view.

I disagree. Keywords are not tags. Titles are not tags. Tags and titles perform similar functions in the sense that they contain keywords, but that is where the similarity ends. In this case, JM and I are in agreement (I think) on the point that developing some keywords will help you to navigate your account more easily. We choose to go about it in different ways, though. He relies on tags to handle his keywords. I rely on titles.

In my approach to navigation, I am willing to trade the flexibility of tags for the universality of titles. There is no reason there has to be any trade off, as you could just as easily use both titles and tags. In my workflow, though, I've found tags (and notebooks, as you mentioned) extraneous. Not good. Not bad. Just unnecessary for me. I encourage everyone to try various approaches to find one that best suits them. However, I think it is worthwhile to make distinctions between tags and titles in terms of theory and practice, because Evernote (along with most other apps that I know) does.

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Just to add my 2 bits worth to the discussion: I believe that one can put all one's notes in 1 notebook plus have 2 or 3 smaller ones for specific purposes like sharing, receiving clippings, ...

Tags, in combination with advanced search operators is far more powerful & flexible. There are many different, useful & usable tagging systems out there. Those who say they don't use tags but use keywords in note titles (e.g. Grumpy Monkey) or in note titles instead are in fact using tags. Keywords are tags, let there be no misunderstanding about that.

But people who use a lot of different notebooks don't seem to realise that, having that a note is somewhere in a specific notebook, does not add more value/efficiency to the search for that note than having it in 1 big common notebook. In both cases one has to do the operations to find the note. Having many notebooks just adds to the clutter, in my view.

I disagree. Keywords are not tags. Titles are not tags. Tags and titles perform similar functions in the sense that they contain keywords, but that is where the similarity ends. In this case, JM and I are in agreement (I think) on the point that developing some keywords will help you to navigate your account more easily. We choose to go about it in different ways, though. He relies on tags to handle his keywords. I rely on titles.

In my approach to navigation, I am willing to trade the flexibility of tags for the universality of titles. There is no reason there has to be any trade off, as you could just as easily use both titles and tags. In my workflow, though, I've found tags (and notebooks, as you mentioned) extraneous. Not good. Not bad. Just unnecessary for me. I encourage everyone to try various approaches to find one that best suits them. However, I think it is worthwhile to make distinctions between tags and titles in terms of theory and practice, because Evernote (along with most other apps that I know) does.

 

 

I never siad that titles are tags !! And I did not suggest there should be a trade-off between tags & titles. I agree that titles & tags can & should be used concurrently.

 

But dismissing the notion that keywords within titles are not tags is a delusion, if not of yourself then certainly of others, in an attempt to show that one can live without tags. A conventional tag, or label as Google calls it, is nothing more than the external attachment of a keyword to a note. Instead of applying an external attachment you assign a keyword as an internal attachment, either in the title or in the text of a note. But the purpose of both types of note identification, external & internal, is exactly the same: to find one particular note in the database of thousands of notes.

 

I never disagreed with the notion that everyone should use the system that suits them best. A few months after starting to use EN I came to the conclusion myself that having as many notebooks as I had was pointless, so I put all my notes in 1 notebook. I'll even go further: after reading the interview you gave to Daniel Gold about your Evernote organisation & thinking about it carefully, I concluded that I also liked to have as minimalistic & flat an organisation as possible & ditched all my conventional tags to replace them by title tags - keywords as you call them. I don't use keywords but 2 or 3-letter short codes. In fact I call them "short code title tags". So you see, my concept of EN organisation is in fact pretty close to yours :). And it works really well for me. Thanks for that GM !

 

But whether one calls them keywords, tags, labels, title tags or text tags, at the end of the day the all serve the same purpose. Let's be straightforward and call a spade a spade, or, in this context, call a tag a tag.

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Just to add my 2 bits worth to the discussion: I believe that one can put all one's notes in 1 notebook plus have 2 or 3 smaller ones for specific purposes like sharing, receiving clippings, ...

Tags, in combination with advanced search operators is far more powerful & flexible. There are many different, useful & usable tagging systems out there. Those who say they don't use tags but use keywords in note titles (e.g. Grumpy Monkey) or in note titles instead are in fact using tags. Keywords are tags, let there be no misunderstanding about that.

But people who use a lot of different notebooks don't seem to realise that, having that a note is somewhere in a specific notebook, does not add more value/efficiency to the search for that note than having it in 1 big common notebook. In both cases one has to do the operations to find the note. Having many notebooks just adds to the clutter, in my view.

I disagree. Keywords are not tags. Titles are not tags. Tags and titles perform similar functions in the sense that they contain keywords, but that is where the similarity ends. In this case, JM and I are in agreement (I think) on the point that developing some keywords will help you to navigate your account more easily. We choose to go about it in different ways, though. He relies on tags to handle his keywords. I rely on titles.

In my approach to navigation, I am willing to trade the flexibility of tags for the universality of titles. There is no reason there has to be any trade off, as you could just as easily use both titles and tags. In my workflow, though, I've found tags (and notebooks, as you mentioned) extraneous. Not good. Not bad. Just unnecessary for me. I encourage everyone to try various approaches to find one that best suits them. However, I think it is worthwhile to make distinctions between tags and titles in terms of theory and practice, because Evernote (along with most other apps that I know) does.

 

 

I never siad that titles are tags !! And I did not suggest there should be a trade-off between tags & titles. I agree that titles & tags can & should be used concurrently.

 

But dismissing the notion that keywords within titles are not tags is a delusion, if not of yourself then certainly of others, in an attempt to show that one can live without tags. A conventional tag, or label as Google calls it, is nothing more than the external attachment of a keyword to a note. Instead of applying an external attachment you assign a keyword as an internal attachment, either in the title or in the text of a note. But the purpose of both types of note identification, external & internal, is exactly the same: to find one particular note in the database of thousands of notes.

 

I never disagreed with the notion that everyone should use the system that suits them best. A few months after starting to use EN I came to the conclusion myself that having as many notebooks as I had was pointless, so I put all my notes in 1 notebook. I'll even go further: after reading the interview you gave to Daniel Gold about your Evernote organisation & thinking about it carefully, I concluded that I also liked to have as minimalistic & flat an organisation as possible & ditched all my conventional tags to replace them by title tags - keywords as you call them. I don't use keywords but 2 or 3-letter short codes. In fact I call them "short code title tags". So you see, my concept of EN organisation is in fact pretty close to yours :). And it works really well for me. Thanks for that GM !

 

But whether one calls them keywords, tags, labels, title tags or text tags, at the end of the day the all serve the same purpose. Let's be straightforward and call a spade a spade, or, in this context, call a tag a tag.

 

 

Glad to hear that I could help and that the system is working for you! I am afraid we will have to agree to disagree on our definition of tags, though.

 

Tags are associated with a note, but are not part of it, and this flexibility is one reason why they are appealing as an organizational tool. If thinking of tags as keywords works for you, then that is fine, of course. But I think it is worth making a distinction, because Evernote recognizes a "tag" as a unique category that can be searched, sorted, etc. Likewise, a "title" is recognized as a unique category. Although both titles and tags often contain what might commonly be called keywords, it doesn't (in my opinion) follow that tags are the same as keywords. The functions overlap in some regards (as mentioned above), but they are not the same.  

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Just to add my 2 bits worth to the discussion: I believe that one can put all one's notes in 1 notebook plus have 2 or 3 smaller ones for specific purposes like sharing, receiving clippings, ...

Tags, in combination with advanced search operators is far more powerful & flexible. There are many different, useful & usable tagging systems out there. Those who say they don't use tags but use keywords in note titles (e.g. Grumpy Monkey) or in note titles instead are in fact using tags. Keywords are tags, let there be no misunderstanding about that.

But people who use a lot of different notebooks don't seem to realise that, having that a note is somewhere in a specific notebook, does not add more value/efficiency to the search for that note than having it in 1 big common notebook. In both cases one has to do the operations to find the note. Having many notebooks just adds to the clutter, in my view.

I disagree. Keywords are not tags. Titles are not tags. Tags and titles perform similar functions in the sense that they contain keywords, but that is where the similarity ends. In this case, JM and I are in agreement (I think) on the point that developing some keywords will help you to navigate your account more easily. We choose to go about it in different ways, though. He relies on tags to handle his keywords. I rely on titles.

In my approach to navigation, I am willing to trade the flexibility of tags for the universality of titles. There is no reason there has to be any trade off, as you could just as easily use both titles and tags. In my workflow, though, I've found tags (and notebooks, as you mentioned) extraneous. Not good. Not bad. Just unnecessary for me. I encourage everyone to try various approaches to find one that best suits them. However, I think it is worthwhile to make distinctions between tags and titles in terms of theory and practice, because Evernote (along with most other apps that I know) does.

 

 

I never siad that titles are tags !! And I did not suggest there should be a trade-off between tags & titles. I agree that titles & tags can & should be used concurrently.

 

But dismissing the notion that keywords within titles are not tags is a delusion, if not of yourself then certainly of others, in an attempt to show that one can live without tags. A conventional tag, or label as Google calls it, is nothing more than the external attachment of a keyword to a note. Instead of applying an external attachment you assign a keyword as an internal attachment, either in the title or in the text of a note. But the purpose of both types of note identification, external & internal, is exactly the same: to find one particular note in the database of thousands of notes.

 

I never disagreed with the notion that everyone should use the system that suits them best. A few months after starting to use EN I came to the conclusion myself that having as many notebooks as I had was pointless, so I put all my notes in 1 notebook. I'll even go further: after reading the interview you gave to Daniel Gold about your Evernote organisation & thinking about it carefully, I concluded that I also liked to have as minimalistic & flat an organisation as possible & ditched all my conventional tags to replace them by title tags - keywords as you call them. I don't use keywords but 2 or 3-letter short codes. In fact I call them "short code title tags". So you see, my concept of EN organisation is in fact pretty close to yours :). And it works really well for me. Thanks for that GM !

 

But whether one calls them keywords, tags, labels, title tags or text tags, at the end of the day the all serve the same purpose. Let's be straightforward and call a spade a spade, or, in this context, call a tag a tag.

 

 

Glad to hear that I could help and that the system is working for you! I am afraid we will have to agree to disagree on our definition of tags, though.

 

Tags are associated with a note, but are not part of it, and this flexibility is one reason why they are appealing as an organizational tool. If thinking of tags as keywords works for you, then that is fine, of course. But I think it is worth making a distinction, because Evernote recognizes a "tag" as a unique category that can be searched, sorted, etc. Likewise, a "title" is recognized as a unique category. Although both titles and tags often contain what might commonly be called keywords, it doesn't (in my opinion) follow that tags are the same as keywords. The functions overlap in some regards (as mentioned above), but they are not the same.  

 

 

I agree that conventional tags (as external attachments to notes) can be sorted & manipulated (in the positive sense of the word) in a way that keywords or title tags cannot. In fact, with my system (only using title tags/keywords) I sometimes miss the possibility of changing or adding a tag to a batch of notes in 1 go, rather than having to go through the notes 1 by 1 & amend them. But, like everything else in life, nothing is perfect, no single system is perfect.

 

Perhaps further down the line, when I have a multiple of my current 1100 notes, I will change system again because, like everything else in life, nothing stays the same. I believe you, like many others, have changed organisational system along the way as your insights & needs change with time & an increasing database.

 

My main point in this whole discussion is this: one cannot live without unique identifying words (or other forms of character codes). And whatever we call those unique "things" they make an app like EN workable in a formidable way.

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Here, I think we can agree. I have definitely changed my organizational system and use of Evernote over time as my personal and professional needs have changed. I am experimenting with tags (I am intrigued by Mavericks tags as well), but they haven't really been useful for me yet. Nothing against tags, of course, but I just haven't found them to be a benefit in my workflow. 

 

Ideally, I would hire someone to take advantage of all the tools available in Evernote -- notebooks, tags, date created, author, third-party services, etc. I don't have those kinds of funds, though, and I am definitely too lazy to do it myself. Life being what it is, and my workflow focused so much on the iPad, I don't expect I will be making any major changes anytime soon. 

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Here, I think we can agree. I have definitely changed my organizational system and use of Evernote over time as my personal and professional needs have changed. I am experimenting with tags (I am intrigued by Mavericks tags as well), but they haven't really been useful for me yet. Nothing against tags, of course, but I just haven't found them to be a benefit in my workflow. 

 

Ideally, I would hire someone to take advantage of all the tools available in Evernote -- notebooks, tags, date created, author, third-party services, etc. I don't have those kinds of funds, though, and I am definitely too lazy to do it myself. Life being what it is, and my workflow focused so much on the iPad, I don't expect I will be making any major changes anytime soon. 

 

Hmm, Mavericks tags. As with so many 3rd party apps they are for Apple devices. I am on Windows but am always on the lookout to improve efficiency in my workflow. I use EN solely for personal files @ home but really like the app.of course. I haven't found anything to improve on the way I have organised it at present. I don't know of a Mavericks equivalent for Windows.

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Here, I think we can agree. I have definitely changed my organizational system and use of Evernote over time as my personal and professional needs have changed. I am experimenting with tags (I am intrigued by Mavericks tags as well), but they haven't really been useful for me yet. Nothing against tags, of course, but I just haven't found them to be a benefit in my workflow. 

 

Ideally, I would hire someone to take advantage of all the tools available in Evernote -- notebooks, tags, date created, author, third-party services, etc. I don't have those kinds of funds, though, and I am definitely too lazy to do it myself. Life being what it is, and my workflow focused so much on the iPad, I don't expect I will be making any major changes anytime soon. 

 

Hmm, Mavericks tags. As with so many 3rd party apps they are for Apple devices. I am on Windows but am always on the lookout to improve efficiency in my workflow. I use EN solely for personal files @ home but really like the app.of course. I haven't found anything to improve on the way I have organised it at present. I don't know of a Mavericks equivalent for Windows.

 

 

Yep. That is part of the reason I am not very enthusiastic about tags. There is always a catch.

 

With Mavericks, you are stuck in the Appleverse. With openmeta, it is the same thing, for the most part. Evernote is cross platform, of course, but local notebooks cannot be (easily) shared among different devices, so the whole system falls apart there as well. I work with Windows and Mac, and I have to say it is still a pain after all of these years. As usual, I go around in circles thinking about all of this until I am back in the same place : keep everything as simple, portable, and compatible as possible. In my case, that translates into using titles for navigating notes. As keen as I am on the Evernote service, there are still a couple of hurdles left (no encrypted notebooks and no selective sync) that mean I have to use multiple apps to manage my notes. 

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So what apps do you use for your notes, and for what purposes? I hope you don't mind my asking. I use EN for all my notes but sometimes feel I would like to have a note-taking app with more features. I don't want to use Word then have to copy paste. Even if I were to use a separate app I prefer to use one that integrates with EN. Any suggestions?

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So what apps do you use for your notes, and for what purposes? I hope you don't mind my asking. I use EN for all my notes but sometimes feel I would like to have a note-taking app with more features. I don't want to use Word then have to copy paste. Even if I were to use a separate app I prefer to use one that integrates with EN. Any suggestions?

I'm afraid I can't be much help, because my main concern is with security, privacy, and confidentiality. Encryption options exist for Evernote, but they don't scale well. For sensitive data (the bulk of my notes since 2013) I use DevonThink or VoodooPad. Both have much more robust encryption, and they are excellent apps overall.

Unfortunately, they have significant drawbacks. Both are Mac/iOS only and neither of them do terribly well on iOS. At the moment, it would be difficult to recommend them unless you are living in the Appleverse and you are willing to be patient with less-than-stellar iPad sync conditions. The best candidates for these apps are Mac folks, who can take advantage of all the features.

If you are not syncing to an iPad and just using one laptop, Evernote with local notebooks will probably be a better (and far less expensive) option. For a while, I fiddled with FileMaker, but it is both overkill for my needs, and kind of clunky (in my opinion). Business users will probably be the most interested in this option. There are some interesting security features.

Of course, if Evernote had encrypted notebooks, things would be very different for me. As for tags, they both have tagging systems. Personally, even with my complaints about Evernote's tagging (from a UI perspective), I'd say that Evernote's system is far more user friendly.

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OK GM, thanks for the feedback. I only use the EN Windows desktop client so I cannot use the apps you mention above. Like I pointed out above I only use EN for private data & do not need to share. Therefore my main notebook with all my notes in is a local notebook to give me complete privacy & security. I back up the Evernote database folder every day using Wuala. I have some 3rd party apps connected to my account and only put notes that I want to use the apps for in a synchronised notebook temporarily, then put them back in the local notebook. I read your comments elsewhere on this forum regarding 3rd party apps & privacy, which I agree with. My main notebook being local protects me from snooping.

Anyway, thanks for your views. It was refreshing to have a lively debate with differing points of view & eventually finding common ground.

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Many good thoughts here.  I teach undergraduates and graduate students in my classes to use Evernote.   I think that tags are very useful once collections get large and old, partly because they can be structured to correspond to one's mental taxonomy of topics and subtopics.  As an academic, I need a way to keep "found things found" over long time periods for a variety of projects.  I have (borrowed) many ideas from others on this forum to develop a "Tags for Academics" primer for my colleagues and students considering Evernote as a notetaking tool.  I hope this resource is useful for people beginning to build their collection of notes (and Evernote habits). 

 

I look forward to reading your observations and suggestions. 

 

Jay

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When I started out with Evernote over a month ago, I wasn't keen on tags and made a large number of note books and several notebook stacks. It didn't take long to realize that the majority of my notes fit into several categories. Since there is no way to put a single note into several notebooks, I consolidated my notebooks and switched to using tags to organize my notes.

 

It's important to note that with any system, you really don't know which approach is best for you until you dive in and start using one. As long as you keep you mind open to switching methods when the need arrises, you can develop a note organization system that works well for you.

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When I started out with Evernote over a month ago, I wasn't keen on tags and made a large number of note books and several notebook stacks. It didn't take long to realize that the majority of my notes fit into several categories. Since there is no way to put a single note into several notebooks, I consolidated my notebooks and switched to using tags to organize my notes.

 

It's important to note that with any system, you really don't know which approach is best for you until you dive in and start using one. As long as you keep you mind open to switching methods when the need arrises, you can develop a note organization system that works well for you.

 

Well said, that's the best way of putting it.

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Many good thoughts here.  I teach undergraduates and graduate students in my classes to use Evernote.   I think that tags are very useful once collections get large and old, partly because they can be structured to correspond to one's mental taxonomy of topics and subtopics.  As an academic, I need a way to keep "found things found" over long time periods for a variety of projects.  I have (borrowed) many ideas from others on this forum to develop a "Tags for Academics" primer for my colleagues and students considering Evernote as a notetaking tool.  I hope this resource is useful for people beginning to build their collection of notes (and Evernote habits). 

 

I look forward to reading your observations and suggestions. 

 

Jay

Jay, your post is great and helpful! I wonder, though - to you and anyone who uses the tag structure you outline, since it's quite a popular method - how you deal with ambiguous topics. For example, you have a tag labeled ZZ-Learning.Research.Motivation. So I'm assuming you clip articles and such that are motivating in there. But what if those articles are motivating beyond just that one subject, the ZZ-Learning? Do you have multiple tags relating to Motivation in your account? I tried the method you outlined when I first set up my Evernote, but found that too many things I was clipping reached too many different topics, so instead of having 12 motivation tags (one for each topic), I would tag your note zz-learning , research , motivation , so that all motivation items in my account can be under one tag, and then I just add whichever topic it works for as well. How do you deal with the potential of having tags like ZZ-Learning.Research.Motivation , AA-Learning.Research.Motivation , BB-Learning.Research.Motivation , etc.?

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The key value of tags is the ability to have multiple filling mechanisms at once.

 

I remember being fascinated as a kid when I saw an index card system (yes, when I was a kid we all learned how to use the index card system at the library - no Internetses back then!).

 

Imagine an index card with a bunch of holes punched along the top edge. Now, when you file a card in a stack, you get to decide which of those holes remain closed, and which ones you punch out so they are open all the way to the edge. You then stack up all your cards in the drawer. If you want to select all the cards with, say, hole "A" left closed, you stick a metal rod into the "A" notch in the front of the cabinet and push it all the way to the back. When you lift it up, you have all the cards that left the "A" hole uncut. If you want all the "B" cards, use the "B" hole. This lets you file the same card in different ways. "A" could stand for fiction, for example, and "B" for non-fiction.

 

This is how I see tags. I remember always having difficulty in preparing technical documents, deciding where to put certain information in the outline. For example:

 

1 Red things

2 Blue things

3 Green things

4 Square things

5 Round things

6 Sweet things

7 Sour things

 

Now, where do I put the description of the round, sweet, red cherry? Section 1,5 or 6? With tags, I just tag it round and sweet and red. I can tag a red currant as round and sour and red using the same system. The same tags can be used for things entirely unrelated to fruit, too. For example, the Evernote logo would be tagged green and square.

 

In practice, I tag things as I go, using old tags where they exist and making up new ones as needed. Here is where the real value comes. For travel, I tag things with the city, year, month, day and the event I'm traveling for (meeting, conference, etc.). If I later look up just the city tag, I'll see all kinds of information about what I did there, where I stayed, etc. If I look up the tag hotel, I'll see all the cities where I have stayed or noted a hotel name. If I look up a month and a year tag, say 2014, May, I see where I travelled in that month. Yes, I know Evernote has time search criteria, but I find it easier with tags.

 

Needless to say, I have lots of tags, but they help me find things, and more importantly, they let me discover relationships in my own notes that I didn't know were there, or had forgotten about.

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The key value of tags is the ability to have multiple filling mechanisms at once.

 

I remember being fascinated as a kid when I saw an index card system (yes, when I was a kid we all learned how to use the index card system at the library - no Internetses back then!).

 

Imagine an index card with a bunch of holes punched along the top edge. Now, when you file a card in a stack, you get to decide which of those holes remain closed, and which ones you punch out so they are open all the way to the edge. You then stack up all your cards in the drawer. If you want to select all the cards with, say, hole "A" left closed, you stick a metal rod into the "A" notch in the front of the cabinet and push it all the way to the back. When you lift it up, you have all the cards that left the "A" hole uncut. If you want all the "B" cards, use the "B" hole. This lets you file the same card in different ways. "A" could stand for fiction, for example, and "B" for non-fiction.

 

This is how I see tags. I remember always having difficulty in preparing technical documents, deciding where to put certain information in the outline. For example:

 

1 Red things

2 Blue things

3 Green things

4 Square things

5 Round things

6 Sweet things

7 Sour things

 

Now, where do I put the description of the round, sweet, red cherry? Section 1,5 or 6? With tags, I just tag it round and sweet and red. I can tag a red currant as round and sour and red using the same system. The same tags can be used for things entirely unrelated to fruit, too. For example, the Evernote logo would be tagged green and square.

 

In practice, I tag things as I go, using old tags where they exist and making up new ones as needed. Here is where the real value comes. For travel, I tag things with the city, year, month, day and the event I'm traveling for (meeting, conference, etc.). If I later look up just the city tag, I'll see all kinds of information about what I did there, where I stayed, etc. If I look up the tag hotel, I'll see all the cities where I have stayed or noted a hotel name. If I look up a month and a year tag, say 2014, May, I see where I travelled in that month. Yes, I know Evernote has time search criteria, but I find it easier with tags.

 

Needless to say, I have lots of tags, but they help me find things, and more importantly, they let me discover relationships in my own notes that I didn't know were there, or had forgotten about.

 

Remember though: too many tags is like too much information - it causes clutter so sooner or later you will get lost in the many tags. You will struggle to decide which tag to assign to a new note & you will also have trouble deciding which tag to use in your search for a note.

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 How do you deal with the potential of having tags like ZZ-Learning.Research.Motivation , AA-Learning.Research.Motivation , BB-Learning.Research.Motivation , etc.?

 

 

I'm not sure how Jay would deal with this, but I deal with it by NOT using such long, extended Tags.

 

I would have the following tags:

  • ZZ-Learning
  • AA-Learning
  • BB-Learning
  • Research
  • Motivation

I would then apply multiple tags as needed.

 

BTW, I don't think Jay (nor would I) uses tags like "AA-Learning" and "BB-Learning".

He uses prefixes like "ZZ-" to denote "topics" or "concepts".  So there would be only one "Learning" tag, ZZ-Learning.

 

If you find that you are repeating the same word in multiple tags, you should probably break out that word into its own tag.

At least that's how I do it.

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Jay ?

Many good thoughts here.  I teach undergraduates and graduate students in my classes to use Evernote.   I think that tags are very useful once collections get large and old, partly because they can be structured to correspond to one's mental taxonomy of topics and subtopics.  As an academic, I need a way to keep "found things found" over long time periods for a variety of projects.  I have (borrowed) many ideas from others on this forum to develop a "Tags for Academics" primer for my colleagues and students considering Evernote as a notetaking tool.  I hope this resource is useful for people beginning to build their collection of notes (and Evernote habits). 

 

I look forward to reading your observations and suggestions. 

 

Jay

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Thanks to everyone for excellent tagging questions and observations. I agree with JMichael and Chimer that an "AA-Learning" tag would probably not be a good idea in my tag scheme. I also agree that a major power of tags is the ability to tag a note with multiple tags, in effect putting the same note simultaneously in multiple folders. I too was fascinated with analog index card schemes for cross referencing. I am also inspired by the renaissance idea of keeping a "commonplace book" to fuel future writing and thinking.

I use the "zz-" prefix for my topic tags just to keep them together in my sidebar tag list. Though I do have a lot of tags, I can use my touch sensible mouse to flick through the tag list very quickly. In addition to "ZZ-", I have a lot project tags ("PR-" ) and student tags ("ST-"). This method allows me to zig zag through my (~19k) notes as I meet with students, conduct literature reviews, and work on particular projects.

I too have wrestled with tag structure/length. Problem with long tag names include (a) the limited space to view a note's tags in the Mac app GUI and the the fixed tag label width in the iOS app sidebar tag list. That said, I LOVE the think-ahead capability of Evernote that offers me a list of possible tag names when I begin typing in a tag. As I type from topic to subtopic, this list helps me remember what subtropics I have already used. This solves a major tag weakness: using different terms at different times to mean the same thing, e.g Evernote.tagging and Evernote.tags.

I'll add this to our discussion. As an educator and researcher, I am interested in how programs like Evernote might go beyond helping us "remember everything" to using personally collected knowledge assembled over many years to enhance our expertise and creativity. In this context, a strategic tagging scheme might correspond to how we categorize knowledge that we are trying to make sense of. This might mean that these tags actually mimic a part of our internal knowledge organization. Then our Evernote collections become digital extensions to our own long term memories, and the tags are ways that we call up, revisit, and augment specific sub collections.

An example of this are projects. I have both short term and long term intermittent projects. With my tagging system, I can call up my project notes for any project and begin where I left off. I name my notes strategically so that when I list a project's notes by title, they are display in the order of a well organized notebook:

!Project Overview note

.Ref - critical reference notes, e.g. contact info, rfps, etc

Yyyy-mm-dd. - daily work records titled with the work date

Other titles - all other non critical reference material for the project

I find that this approach allows me access to all my project materials and to remember where I left off.

I hope this is helpful. I am enjoying reading the insights that have bee shared here.

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I really like this thread and think I'm going to copy the whole darn thing into a Word document an organize it by the different methods used. Then print as a reference to help me clean up my own tagging mess and decide, once and for all, how I'd like set-up my own - hopefully permanent - workflow in Evernote. If and when I get around to it, would anyone else like a copy?

To clarify, it would just be the cleaned up and amalgamated copies of the posts in this thread, not my yet to be finalized workflow plan. PM me if you're interested.

Cheers!

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Wordsgood - You're going to copy it to a "Word" document?!?!?!?

 

Why not copy it to your Evernote database?

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Because I want to organize, edit and format it into an easily readable format. Almalgate info the belongs together, edit out anything not directly related the topic, etc. Do so on the EN text editor would drive me bats.

Wordsgood - You're going to copy it to a "Word" document?!?!?!?

Why not copy it to your Evernote database?

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If use web clipper to put it in EN it will be editable & it will avoid copy/paste etc.

 

Because I want to organize, edit and format it into an easily readable format. Almalgate info the belongs together, edit out anything not directly related the topic, etc. Do so on the EN text editor would drive me bats.
 

Wordsgood - You're going to copy it to a "Word" document?!?!?!?

Why not copy it to your Evernote database?

 

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I really like this thread and think I'm going to copy the whole darn thing into a Word document an organize it by the different methods used. Then print as a reference to help me clean up my own tagging mess and decide, once and for all, how I'd like set-up my own - hopefully permanent - workflow in Evernote. If and when I get around to it, would anyone else like a copy?

To clarify, I just the cleaned up and amalgamated copy of the posts in this thread, not my yet to be finalized workflow plan. PM me if you're interested.

Cheers!

 

Wordsgood, great idea!  I suspect many would find it helpful.

 

If you'd like to share with all, you could just copy the file or the text from the Word document into an Evernote Note, and share it.

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Thanks DutchPete, but for the kind of editing I'm thinking of, EN's text editor just isn't robust enough. It's no big deal for me as I've been working in Word since it first came out.

Cheers! ☺

If use web clipper to put it in EN it will be editable & it will avoid copy/paste etc.

Because I want to organize, edit and format it into an easily readable format. Almalgate info the belongs together, edit out anything not directly related the topic, etc. Do so on the EN text editor would drive me bats.

Wordsgood - You're going to copy it to a "Word" document?!?!?!?

Why not copy it to your Evernote database?

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 How do you deal with the potential of having tags like ZZ-Learning.Research.Motivation , AA-Learning.Research.Motivation , BB-Learning.Research.Motivation , etc.?

 

 

I'm not sure how Jay would deal with this, but I deal with it by NOT using such long, extended Tags.

 

I would have the following tags:

  • ZZ-Learning
  • AA-Learning
  • BB-Learning
  • Research
  • Motivation

I would then apply multiple tags as needed.

 

BTW, I don't think Jay (nor would I) uses tags like "AA-Learning" and "BB-Learning".

He uses prefixes like "ZZ-" to denote "topics" or "concepts".  So there would be only one "Learning" tag, ZZ-Learning.

 

If you find that you are repeating the same word in multiple tags, you should probably break out that word into its own tag.

At least that's how I do it.

 

Yeah, that's what I do, which is why I was asking how well those long-length tags work in the long run. I've never had much luck with them, because they get so long and detailed, it might as well be a Notebook. I prefer how you listed it - motivation being its own tag, not tied into any higher tiered subject. That way ALL motivation items are together in one spot, and I can easily combo-select tags to get the narrower view I desire.

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I agree that tags can be too long. I usually do not use tag names longer than zz-topic-subtopic. I also like the dual tag idea described above but I just didn't do that. The autocomplete feature is helpful to me and this feature would not be as useful if I had to remember two tags for each note. To each his own. Keep the ideas coming! Thanks.

Jay

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I think tags give you option for another level of categorisation of information. Notebook stack is the direct form of categorisation of note inside them but tags inside each note create another level of categorisation which group the notes according to particular keyword. From the search point of view, Evernote can perform search in text inside note so search is no more a big criterion for justification of tags creation. Broadly tags rearrange the available notes in different architecture. Use the power of evernote to organise your office and home.

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i think it ought to be 10,000 tags on the site. i doubt anyone was in danger of hitting a ten thousand tag limit. it could be a typo.

either way, i guess that the current ui would make hundreds or thousands of tags pretty unwieldy. tens of thousands would be a real nightmare.

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i think it ought to be 10,000 tags on the site. i doubt anyone was in danger of hitting a ten thousand tag limit. it could be a typo.

either way, i guess that the current ui would make hundreds or thousands of tags pretty unwieldy. tens of thousands would be a real nightmare.

 

I also thought it was just 10,000, that is why I included the link to the Knowledgebase which says:

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tags

100,000 tags per account

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

I have just over 1,600 tags and use a tag system that makes them easy to remember. Half of my 35,000 notes pertain to politics - local, state, national and international - so the range of tags I use (people, places, acronyms and issues) is huge.

 

I also have serious concerns about Evernote's scalability.

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yeah. i saw the link. it looks like a typo. the same number of tags as notes? well, maybe, but anyhow, it is a whole lot more than notebooks. as for scalability, they've begun to address some issues on the mac side.

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i think it ought to be 10,000 tags on the site. i doubt anyone was in danger of hitting a ten thousand tag limit. it could be a typo.

either way, i guess that the current ui would make hundreds or thousands of tags pretty unwieldy. tens of thousands would be a real nightmare.

 

I also thought it was just 10,000, that is why I included the link to the Knowledgebase which says:

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tags

100,000 tags per account

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

I have just over 1,600 tags and use a tag system that makes them easy to remember. Half of my 35,000 notes pertain to politics - local, state, national and international - so the range of tags I use (people, places, acronyms and issues) is huge.

 

I also have serious concerns about Evernote's scalability.

 

 

Evernote support confirmed that the tag limit is 100,000. That seems awfully high for accounts that can only have 100,000 notes in them. Perhaps they are preparing for the day we'll have 500,000 (business users do now), or even 1,000,000 notes.

 

By the way, I wonder where I got that 10,000 number? My own blog post on Evernote limits says it has been 100,000 since 2011. Weird, LOL.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=169

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Well, I think the message is clear.  While the number of stacks/notebooks has a very clear software and practical limit of 250, the number if tags is, for all practical purposes, unlimited.

 

So, there is no practical limit on organizational schemes using tags.  I think this was JBenson's point.

 

Also, given that EN export to HTML includes tags as metadata, and EN Mac has full access to all notes, including Tags, via AppleScript to easily create exports in most any format, to me it means that one should NOT artificially constrain one's use of Evernote because of potential future needs to export to some other system.  Just my 2c.

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Well, I think the message is clear.  While the number of stacks/notebooks has a very clear software and practical limit of 250, the number if tags is, for all practical purposes, unlimited.

 

So, there is no practical limit on organizational schemes using tags.  I think this was JBenson's point.

 

Also, given that EN export to HTML includes tags as metadata, and EN Mac has full access to all notes, including Tags, via AppleScript to easily create exports in most any format, to me it means that one should NOT artificially constrain one's use of Evernote because of potential future needs to export to some other system.  Just my 2c.

 

I got JB's point. It was also one I agree with :)

 

But, I disagree about your conclusions. Now, if you were to say one should use saved searches, then we'd be in agreement. Those things are like magic.

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After all this I'll add that the only reason I stopped using tags is there is no lookup of current tags when creating a note.  Without the lookup, I tend to forget which tags I used and end up creating a new tag with a different word for a similar topic (e.g. Communications vs. Telephones). After a while, they just become useless in finding things.  Yes, I know you get a short list when you start typing the tag, but that's not enough.

 

One of my biggest complaints about Evernote is the tag field doesn't list currently used tags... all of them.

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After all this I'll add that the only reason I stopped using tags is there is no lookup of current tags when creating a note.  Without the lookup, I tend to forget which tags I used and end up creating a new tag with a different word for a similar topic (e.g. Communications vs. Telephones). After a while, they just become useless in finding things.  Yes, I know you get a short list when you start typing the tag, but that's not enough.

 

One of my biggest complaints about Evernote is the tag field doesn't list currently used tags... all of them.

Wholeheartedly agree.  The tag field/area should expand to show all tags for a note.  

 

I also agree that saved searches are a godsend.

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AreK - Click on the word "Tags" in the left hand panel in the Windows version of EN. That will show you a list of all your Tags.

 

I realize this takes you away from the Note you want to add a Tag to, but it will allow you to scan your list of Tags to determine which to apply to a particular Note.

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Tag person here, primarily because of the speed of getting to what I want.  I think one's choices of notebooks and tags should be predicated on their own use cases.  Two examples:

  1. One of my use cases has to do with statements,  I download all of my statements; bank, utility, credit card, mortgage, whatever.  I have 2579 notes that are statements at this point, each tagged Statement.  I also have a tag for each statement provider, 20 or so.  To see all of my electric statements, I only have to hit 5 keystrokes - ST<return>E<return>.  I then have before me all statements from the utility company.  Some searches may take 6 keystrokes.  I don't think intitle: or key work searches would be of much use here.
  2. I use EN for following up on things.  I have a tag for each individual responsible for something within a note.  If I use an inttitle or keyword search I may end up with more false positives than I want.  Also, I am proactively deciding to make that note a follow up by adding the tag.

As far as keyword searches go, could someone explain the difference between tag:keyword and intitle:keyword?  Other than the note title looks a little funky?  All IMHO.    :)

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Tag and Intitle are metadata. They both work the same way in searches. In practice, you can tag multiple items at once, but can only title notes one at a time. In this respect, tags are far superior.

 

If I were you, though, and looking to automate things, I'd make a saved search for each of your statements using your account ID. No need to tag or title, if you don't want to, because your notes will automatically appear (Evernote OCRs your stuff, or you can do it if you would like) whenever you tap on the saved search. Now, instead of 5 keystrokes, you get 1 :)

 

In my case, I'd title everything "statement" and use that for my saved search (intitle:statement), but, technically speaking, this is as unnecessary as tags. The ultimate minimalist would just toss everything into Evernote pell mell and let saved searches sort them out.

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GM,

 

Appreciate the effort to get me to one keystroke, but how do you count using the scroll wheel when you have a long list of saved search results?  That and some of these companies have the temerity to **** out or eliminate the leading characters in the account number.  Highly uncooperative of them if you ask me!   :huh:  That and I'm not sure I know the first character of every account.

 

Anyway, the point is made, there are so many ways to skin the cat we have to pick the one that works best for each of us.  I guess I just think in terms of sets of things and tags are a natural metaphor for that.  But I'm not a zealot about it. I'm just a "kind of" minimalist trying to balance keystrokes, search results, and what little native memory I have left,

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GM,

 

Appreciate the effort to get me to one keystroke, but how do you count using the scroll wheel when you have a long list of saved search results?  That and some of these companies have the temerity to **** out or eliminate the leading characters in the account number.  Highly uncooperative of them if you ask me!   :huh:  That and I'm not sure I know the first character of every account.

 

Anyway, the point is made, there are so many ways to skin the cat we have to pick the one that works best for each of us.  I guess I just think in terms of sets of things and tags are a natural metaphor for that.  But I'm not a zealot about it. I'm just a "kind of" minimalist trying to balance keystrokes, search results, and what little native memory I have left,

 

I am not sure what you are counting, so I cannot help there. As for the numbers, whatever they put in there, that is what I would search for in the saved search "*1284" or something like that. Alternatively, you could use a phrase or word that always appears on those particular statements but not in other places. As you said, lots of ways to skin the minimalist cat. 

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