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JayF

Higher Ed Academic Tagging

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There have been numerous discussion threads related to organizing notes within evernote from which I have learned a  great deal.  I have revised my own suggestions for academic tagging here:

http://evernoteaturi.wikispaces.com/07+Tagging+for+Scholarship

The target audience for this page is really my graduate students and advanced undergraduates.  I require them to create a "Personal Knowledge Base" in Evernote where they accumulate scholarly articles and web-clipped articles around their research topics over the course of the semester. As their collection grows, I have them synthsize across their collection by creating a synthesis note that is basically an annotated bibliography.  

I would welcome ideas to improve this strategy or its explanation. 

-Jay

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1 hour ago, JayF said:

I would welcome ideas to improve this strategy or its explanation. 

Tag Hierarchy

I didn't notice a mention of tag hierarchies in your notes.

An example would be that all your pr- tags can be grouped under a pr- parent.  On the sidebar this hierarchy can be expanded or contracted.  Note - this is a desktop platform feature.

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1 hour ago, JayF said:

I would welcome ideas to improve this strategy or its explanation. 

Notebook vs Tags

You pointed out that multiple tags could be assigned to a note, but didn't indicate that was a con for using notebooks.

imho This comparison is important for beginners.  They start out organizing their notes under Notebooks.  Then they hit a problem, one notebook per note, limited number of notebooks, only two levels for stacks.

My viewpoint is to avoid Notebooks for organization and use them when required for sharing or local (non-sync) storage.  There  are other viewpoints.

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19 minutes ago, DTLow said:

Notebook vs Tags

You pointed out that multiple tags could be assigned to a note, but didn't indicate that was a con for using notebooks.

imho This comparison is important for beginners.  They start out organizing their notes under Notebooks.  Then they hit a problem, one notebook per note, limited number of notebooks, only two levels for stacks.

My viewpoint is to avoid Notebooks for organization and use them when required for sharing or local (non-sync) storage.  There  are other viewpoints.

I agree.  I suggested they group notes by course in notebooks to match their intuitive organization strategy.  I was worried that the minimal notebook view might be two extreme for novices. 

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35 minutes ago, DTLow said:

Tag Hierarchy

I didn't notice a mention of tag hierarchies in your notes.

An example would be that all your pr- tags can be grouped under a pr- parent.  On the sidebar this hierarchy can be expanded or contracted.  Note - this is a desktop platform feature.

I agree that this is a useful feature, though isn't it currently a bit awkward to use now that you can drag and drop tags in the sidebar to create the hierarchies? Maybe I should create a new page to explain the tags view and how to add tags under other tags (stacks). 

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Hi.  There are quite few threads in the forums about notebooks and tagging,  and everyone has their own favorite system.  This is my take on the general subject...

My experience with training out and supporting information systems is that everyone's mind works differently.  Some users are content with minimal organisation and rely on searches (and Evernote's -premium only- Context feature) to extract related information;  others prefer a much more detailed hierarchical system,  and others range over every variation in between,  including more graphical displays such as those offered by MohioMapsCardDesk or Kanbanote,  the many mind-mapping options available including the very scholarly Docear,  the more presentational Vue,  and outlining tools such as Workflowy.

My preferred system is to use structured note titles so that an 'intitle:<searchterm(s)>' search will give me a useful output.  My note titlles always include:

  • date (yyyymmdd) - of the item in question (the created and updated dates of my note may be very different)
  • type - of the item;  letter / invoice / extract / clipping
  • source - NYT / BBC / whomever
  • subject - what's this about? Psychology / Medicine / etc
  • keywords - any other search terms by which I might want this item to be triggered.

I now use very few tags and most of my 20K+ notes are in one notebook.  New notebooks are reserved for various works-in-progress and shared notes/ notebooks.

Three things on which new users usually need much reassurance:

  1. It's OK to try things out - Evernote won't lose your data,  and you'll get more used to what you can do with the app the more you use it.  So don't wait until you have the 'perfect' system clear in your mind.  Start adding data now so you can try things out in the real world.  Don't be afraid to change horses several times before you get to midstream.  Change tagging systems,  use more notebooks - mix and match from any system until you find one that fits your needs.
  2. Once you find your ideal system,  stick with it.  It's very easy to be distracted by enthusiastic claims from others that they have now found the best way to do things.  While working out how to follow someone else's favorite system and converting your own,  you could probably have doubled the size of your database.  Don't get distracted.
  3. Big databases need love and attention - there will always be small things;  duplicate notes,  titles misspellled,  keywords to add.  Every search will turn up a few false hits.  Work out why they occur and try to avoid them in future.  That's refining the system,  not changing it.

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_reference_management_software

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/25608-request-mind-mapping/

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/53060-mind-map-software-any-that-integrate-save-to-that-you-know-of/

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/75790-use-mind-map-to-link-to-notes/

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Fewer to one prime notebook and tags for sure, saved searches for classes.  You hit on the head relative to designing the system that makes it easy for you to find things.  I would add something relative to controlling the number of tags, havng the "right" number.  You can over tag and make it more work to add notes and more difficult to find things in a search.  Optimally a compound tag search should return 25 or less notes, IMO.

Sometimes a special character is a good lead to a tag type, for example a period before projects, an equal sign before people.  A little quicker in most cases and they will sort to the front in a tag sort.

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On 10.2.2016 at 1:25 PM, gazumped said:

My preferred system is to use structured note titles so that an 'intitle:<searchterm(s)>' search will give me a useful output.  My note titlles always include:

  • date (yyyymmdd) - of the item in question (the created and updated dates of my note may be very different)
  • type - of the item;  letter / invoice / extract / clipping
  • source - NYT / BBC / whomever
  • subject - what's this about? Psychology / Medicine / etc
  • keywords - any other search terms by which I might want this item to be triggered.

I now use very few tags and most of my 20K+ notes are in one notebook.  New notebooks are reserved for various works-in-progress and shared notes/ notebooks.

Hi - I'm a bit confused:

1. how do you remember all those types, subjects etc.? Using tags you have them stored, get a list etc. - parts of title can not be organized or listed...
2. how to avoid mistakes in writing?
3. Why not tagging with e.g. source_BBC, source_NYT etc
    I clip dozens of internet-articles (mainly as pdf) every week and tag them very easily with 1...3 tags - title comes automatically + no need to change as you described,
 

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38 minutes ago, kilavos said:

1. how do you remember all those types, subjects etc.? Using tags you have them stored, get a list etc. - parts of title can not be organized or listed...
2. how to avoid mistakes in writing?
3. Why not tagging with e.g. source_BBC, source_NYT etc
    I clip dozens of internet-articles (mainly as pdf) every week and tag them very easily with 1...3 tags - title comes automatically + no need to change as you described,
 

I agree with you on this.  
If I had to rely on free form typing in the title I would have a mess of different/incorrect spellings.
It just seems that the tag feature is there, why not make use of it.

I also make a point of duplication tag information in the title just as back up for when the tag information goes missing.

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What can I say?  My system works for me,  YMMV....  ;)

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7 hours ago, gazumped said:

What can I say?  My system works for me,  YMMV....  ;)

I've got an impression that this is a thought-terminating cliché - an ultimate argument in a debate, used to stop a discussion...o.k. I got it.  :blush:

Who is interested in a discussion with serious arguments and samples - JMichaelTX in particular  - might have a look at

  See page 2 - item "Analyst, actually I find it FASTER to enter tags than the analogous keyword in the Title.  Here's why:...

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?? With two posts (now three) advocating tagging over titles I didn't think there was a 'discussion' as such...  ^_^

As you indicate,  the most important thing about any schema for any purpose is that the user has to be comfortable with it,  and able to employ it (reasonably) consistently.  I'm very comfortable with the Windows search process,  and over a longish period I've evolved a system that relies on 'batch' scanning and OCR;  which is to say that I'm in the habit of scanning the majority of my attachments to a folder on my hard drive as a once per day operation.  They'll get batch OCR'd there,  and I can retitle them suitably.  Then the files get moved to an Import Folder and sucked into notes - the file names translating as note titles.  I don't want to have to go over those notes later and add tags.

(And yes,  I also use my Note4 phablet as a hand scanner for a variety of things that won't sheet feed,  but that's another story..)

I use the title layout specified above because I can apply it consistently,  and the categories for the first parts of the filename/ title don't vary that much.  I use 'user guide' for all instructions,  whether they're titled 'instructions', 'quick start' or 'manual'.  I also (courtesy,  I think,  of @jbenson2) use all lower-case for my titles to ensure caps vs low-case searches don't cause me problems.

Since I'm batch processing,  and my documentation isn't that diverse,  I'll either have looked up a previous note about an item,  have another similar document in my queue of files that I've already titled so I can easily refer back for consistency.  In a few cases like suppliers I have a reference notebook which contains a note called 'scanning admin' with an alphabetic list of specific individuals and companies to iron out differences in names. 

There's a company "Davis & Son" forinstance where I might use 'Davis and son' or '& Sons' or '+ Son'.  I can easily copy and paste the correct entry,  which also includes the standard item which I purchase there,  and the standard keyword.  If I go crazy and order other items I change the detail.  If it's my regular monthly order,  I just cut and paste everything but the date.

(Plus I live and work in Wales - Spellcheck doesn't like the Welsh language much,  so I need to copy the spelling of some places like 'Llancaiach Fawr Manor' which is an occasional conference venue!)

I also make use of Phrase Express which is a handy-dandy text expander,  and produces my dates '20160308' -and other items- with one keypress.  I have a longer term aim to use it to replace my suppliers directory - eventually - in my 'copious free time'.  It's possible to generate phrases with 'pick from a list' inclusions.

It's also useful that some documents have an internally assigned number - like my Davis & Son Customer Number - which appears on everything as their reference.  UK.GOV departments are good at that too - so those entries barely need additional tags.  If I search for my allocated reference,  I'll get all documents;  add a standard date or date range qualifier,  and I can get detail. 

Having said all of which,  I got here by starting with something very simple and growing extra bells and whistles as I went along.  Like I said it (currently) works for me - YMMV.

Edit:  Oh yeah - and I forgot to mention curation.  This is a variant on the Deming "Plan / Do / Review" cycle where,  following the plan above,  I title my notes consistently... -and then find that a search which should give me a couple of hits generates either nothing,  or 100 or more.  Some introspection follows.  When I can fix that - by changing a standard title,  amending a saved search or even (gulp) adding a tag,  that's what I do.

I've managed various big customer databases and KB's before now,  and the one thing you find is that data gets duplicated,  corrupted, randomly deleted and plain gremlin-ed for a variety of completely inane user-related reasons.  All you can do is find the issue and fix it.  The bigger the database,  the more time you spend topping off the oil and kicking the tyres.

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19 hours ago, gazumped said:

As you indicate,  the most important thing about any schema for any purpose is that the user has to be comfortable with it,  and able to employ it (reasonably) consistently.  I'm very comfortable with the Windows search process,  and over a longish period I've evolved a system that relies on 'batch' scanning and OCR;  which is to say that I'm in the habit of scanning the majority of my attachments to a folder on my hard drive as a once per day operation.  They'll get batch OCR'd there,  and I can retitle them suitably.  Then the files get moved to an Import Folder and sucked into notes - the file names translating as note titles.  I don't want to have to go over those notes later and add tags.

Well, this is just the explanation I was looking for. And the answer to my questions. It seems to me that your environment is very special, might be even unique. Without having this background information it is not possible to understand your solution. Sure, works for you.

However - without any knowlegde of this special background and reasons some Evernote user might misunderstand (often without scrutinising) and transfer your way to their individual evernote...

No hard feelings :)

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:) No problems - I tend to be terse when responding to detail questions because I agree with you that it's a really bad idea to 'adopt' a fully-developed process.  Much better to start with something simple and build it up.  That way you develop something designed to fit your own situation exactly,  instead of struggling to work a much more detailed system that you haven't quite learned completely,  in an environment (ie Evernote) with which you may not be fully familiar,  that wasn't designed to support your actual needs anyway! 

This is one area where folks need to think for themselves instead of accepting a ready-made template.

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2 hours ago, gazumped said:

This is one area where folks need to think for themselves instead of accepting a ready-made template.

Caveat emptor should be posted somewhere in these forums.  To your point hopefully folks take the varied input available and mold their own solution in these more esoteric preferential areas.  Hard to find the one and only true Rx for tags vs notebooks.  Unless of course it is mine.  ;)

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As a student in the Islamic Seminary I use a workflow that I think may be of use to those who study religion or preaching or just would like to collect notes and clips regarding personal issues.

 

 

On that I rely heavily on tagging system. Because I speak three languages and collect notes in these languages, so I have three main tags for each language. You can focus on the English one. 

 

So first of all, any note I write I keep in mind for whom I would like to use it later. So will it be useful to youth? or children or women? etc ...

And also in what Form it is.. for example, is it an advice? a picture? a story? etc... This helps me for example to find only notes that are about "parenting" and are "story".

 

Also for what occasion is this note useful? This is important for me as a scholar to know the topics that can be talked about in a lecture during the holy month of Ramadan for example.

 

Also the source is very important in searching. Was it from a speech? or a website? etc... Know that you may be adding new sources by time, but whenever you do that, you have to organize your tagging tree.

 

and the most important is about the subject of the note. I try to not add a lot of tags. 

 

About my notebooks, I use only two... when I add a new note it's always in Pending. When I add an accurate title to it and add all the tags we talked about, then I move the note to Processed.

 

Finally to not forget about the tag types I have to add to each note, I keep these tags in my shortcuts so I can look at them while tagging.

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