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Transitioning folder based organization to nested tags

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Hi all,

I'd love to get one or more of you gurus to straighten me out on this . . .

I'm trying to figure out how to transition a large (windows based) library of folders and nested subfolders to EN. (Yes, I know I'm not the first . . . and I know I've got to ditch the folder paradigm in favor of using tags).

One of the hangups I've got to figure out (with your help!) is the restriction on using the same nested tag under more than one parent tag.

Hopefully an example will help.

I have a folder for social media tools in my master reference folder (my knowledge base) with sub-folders for the category of tool, the name of the tool and then 'about' folders and 'how-to' folders for each tool.

In the structure attached below, the tool categories are 'content' and 'influencers' (named to reflect how I want to use the tools therein). In fact, I have several more categories but kept it to just two here for simplicity.

Note how one of the tools appears in both categories.

The problem here is that 'about' and 'how-to' can't be sub-tags of multiple other parent tags. 

Do I have to tip this thing upside down and designate those sub-tags as top level parent tags?

What about the tool (buzzsumo) that appears in more than one category? How does that play out?

Thanks in anticipation.

example folder structure.png

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8 hours ago, ztalk112 said:

I'm trying to figure out how to transition a large (windows based) library of folders and nested subfolders to EN. (Yes, I know I'm not the first . . . and I know I've got to ditch the folder paradigm in favor of using tags).

One of the hangups I've got to figure out (with your help!) is the restriction on using the same nested tag under more than one parent tag.

Hopefully an example will help.

I have a folder for social media tools in my master reference folder (my knowledge base) with sub-folders for the category of tool, the name of the tool and then 'about' folders and 'how-to' folders for each tool.

In the structure attached below, the tool categories are 'content' and 'influencers' (named to reflect how I want to use the tools therein). In fact, I have several more categories but kept it to just two here for simplicity.

Note how one of the tools appears in both categories.

The problem here is that 'about' and 'how-to' can't be sub-tags of multiple other parent tags. 

Do I have to tip this thing upside down and designate those sub-tags as top level parent tags?

What about the tool (buzzsumo) that appears in more than one category? How does that play out?

>>and I know I've got to ditch the folder paradigm in favor of using tags
Just know that you don't have to do anything.  
For your first pass at this, its not wrong to keep your folder/subfolder structure, although you are restricted to two levels
When you think about it, a folder can be represented by a tag, for example folder-xxxx
This also enables you to assign a note to more than one folder.

>>The problem here is that 'about' and 'how-to' can't be sub-tags of multiple other parent tags. 
One approach is to qualify your child names with a prefix so they are unique
However, as per your example, you would now have two "buzsumo" tools
My approach is to not get too hung up on this.

The tag hierarchy is a system for organizing the tag names.
Be aware, you lose this if you move to a mobile device like the iPad.
When I want to tag a note as a tool, I don't think about where I'm going to use this tool - its simply a tool
Therefor, I may have a hierarchy named tools 

Another example, red flowers, red cars, red doors......
When I want to assign a red colour, I look into my colour hierarchy.
 

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46 minutes ago, DTLow said:

...although you are restricted to two levels

So it's either strictly tags or notebooks and stacks? How about using both and not being restricted to 2 levels?

There's very little spoken about leveraging both a nested tag hierarchy and notebooks within stacks (or just plain notebooks) simultaneously.

A great way to dip one's toes into the waters of a tag-based setup might be to diversify "levels" within a notebook with the use of tags... and as one gets more adept (or if one feels the need) one could convert notebook categories into tags within seconds. Literally. Neither setup precludes the other. Neither setup is a point of no return. 

Heck, if you've got a tag-based setup, does it even matter that one has notebook categories? One could ignore any existing notebooks and hang out in "All  Notes" while filtering for tags. In that sense, it doesn't hurt to try both systems out fully simultaneously... or have a hybrid of both.  

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57 minutes ago, Frank.dg said:

if you've got a tag-based setup, does it even matter that one has notebook categories?  One could ignore any existing notebooks and hang out in "All  Notes" while filtering for tags

Notebooks serve the people who want to categorize by notebook.  There are many out there.
There are benefits to a combined process, it adds a dimension to your searches. for example you can sort on the notebook column in list view

My process is to use a single notebook (File Cabinet) for the majority of notes.  However, I have additional notebooks for shared and local notebooks, and Inbox
You are right about tag based searches not restricting you to the notebook categorization

>>So it's either strictly tags or notebooks and stacks? How about using both and not being restricted to 2 levels?
When you quoted me, it would have made more sense if you added more context, such as
For your first pass at this, its not wrong to keep your folder/subfolder structure, although you are restricted to two levels
I was not indicating a restriction to either tags or notebook/stacks; I added a concept of folder-xxxx tags

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Thanks @DTLow, you're right, I could have given more context to the snippet of yours I quoted.

I was really just getting at the idea that one is not restricted to 2 levels with Stacks and Notebooks... since one could further expand on a notebook category/context by creating infinite tag subcategories. So besides notebooks, you've also got the awesomeness of tags for hierarchical categorizing etc. I don't see notebooks as being restrictive in the least. You can use tags from there on out to go as deep as you want. 

IOW, I know that you weren't indicating a restriction to either tags or notebooks... but rather that one would not be restricted to 2 levels if one used several Stacks and Notebooks... merely for the existence of tags to mix things up and go 2+ however many levels by extending it all with tags. 

All I'm saying is that a notebook-based setup is not necessarily restrictive if one adds tags to the mix to go deeper. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. One could argue the multiple benefits of a hybrid setup.

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11 hours ago, ztalk112 said:

I have a folder for social media tools in my master reference folder (my knowledge base) with sub-folders for the category of tool, the name of the tool and then 'about' folders and 'how-to' folders for each tool.

Try creating a tag for each tool and category (could create a parent for each) and About and How-To tags.   Then for all your notes just add the appropriate tags, put them in a Software Tools or Knowledge base notebook if you like, and it should be reasonably simple to create searches to get at what you want.  Just another way to do it.  FWIW.

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While it may be tempting to create a massive hierarchy of tags, I would suggest not worrying so much about nesting tags, but focus instead on saved searches.

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On 2/26/2016 at 2:00 AM, ztalk112 said:

I'm trying to figure out how to transition a large (windows based) library of folders and nested subfolders to EN.

I recently reorganized my large account using pseudo notebooks, which largely replaces normal notebooks with "special" tags.
For more info, see:

On 2/26/2016 at 2:00 AM, ztalk112 said:

One of the hangups I've got to figure out (with your help!) is the restriction on using the same nested tag under more than one parent tag.

Keep in mind that a tag hierarchy, unlike a PC folder hierarchy, is ONLY an organization of tags, not of notes.  So, no matter where you have placed a tag in a tag hierarchy, you can assign that tag to any note you like, even if that Note is assigned primary tags from another tag hierarchy.

I use tags in two fundamentally different ways:
  1. Pseudo Notebooks -- use in place of where you would normally use a notebook.  This includes sub-notebooks.
  2. Note Categorization -- traditional use of tags to categorize the entity, which can have multiple tags.  Can be used across Notebooks, or in this case, across pseudo NBs

So, tags that fall into class #2 (like your "buzzsumo" tool would), I put into a separate, independent type of tag hierarchy.
In this case, I would have a top-level Tag named "Tools", and then "buzzsumo" and other tools would be sub-tags (or child tags) to it.
You can then assign these "tool" tags to notes of any category.

I have seen some users who create tags that are really combinations of multiple categories, like:

  • content-buzzsumo
  • influencers-buzzsumo

I recommend against this.  Make 3 tags, content, influencers, and buzzsumo, and assign multiple tags to a note when needed.
Otherwise, you end up  with a large number of essentially the same tag, and yet no easy way to get a list of all notes with that tag (tool in this case).

There is a good use, however, for tag prefixes, like for Tools:

  • Tools
    • TL.buzz    (for buzzsumo)
    • TL.tool2
    • TL.tool3
    • etc

As you can see, I like short tag names, but if you prefer longer names, that's fine.
The tag prefix is very handy, making selection of tags much easier when assigning tags and creating a tag filter.  For more info and examples, see:
use of tag prefixes 

It will take some experimentation, some trial and error, to find the system that works best for yourself.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

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Wow. Thx so much guys. This is going to take some processing. 

One immediate question I do have however. . .  if nesting tags doesn't affect notebooks at all, what is the purpose of that nesting? Simply for visual organization and tag recall? 

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18 minutes ago, ztalk112 said:

One immediate question I do have however. . .  if nesting tags doesn't affect notebooks at all, what is the purpose of that nesting? Simply for visual organization and tag recall? 

That sounds right.  Note; on mobile devices (like my IPad) there is no hierarchy.

Aside from the visual aspect in use, it might be considered good discipline for organization and naming instead of creating tags randomly. 

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On 2/27/2016 at 0:27 AM, ztalk112 said:

 if nesting tags doesn't affect notebooks at all, what is the purpose of that nesting? Simply for visual organization and tag recall?

The are at least three benefits to using hierarchical tags (nesting):

  1. Reduce the visual clutter of having lots of tags
    1. Rather than having hundreds, or thousands, of tags all at the same level, making it hard to find a tag, if you organize them logically into reasonably small groups (say < 20 tags per level), then you can collapse your entire tag list.  
    2. This would then show only a small number of tags at the top level.  In my case, that reduces 1,500 tags to showing only 6 top-level parent tags.
    3. Makes it easy to drill-down and find a tag to click on to filter the note list
  2. Control the visual order that notes are shown in
    1. Using the pseudo notebook approach, I can organize my "notebooks" like a table of contents or outline
    2. Makes it easy to browse through an organized set of content in a prescribed order.
  3. Quickly find key tags and notes
    1. At the top of my tag list, I have a top level tag named "!Fav".
    2. The leading character of "!" forces it to sort at the top
    3. The child tags (sub-tags) of !Fav are tags for note that I often need to see

 

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10 hours ago, ztalk112 said:

Wow. Thx so much guys. This is going to take some processing. 

One immediate question I do have however. . .  if nesting tags doesn't affect notebooks at all, what is the purpose of that nesting? Simply for visual organization and tag recall? 

The main reason I use nesting is for organization and I do it by like tags. 

For example, one of my uses of EN is to be paperless and I put all statements in EN.  So I have a parent tag named Accounts and under that tag I have tags for all institutions from which I receive a statement - banks, utilities, insurance companies, whatever.  So when the American Express bill gets downloaded it gets tagged with Amex and Statement. 

I don't use the parent tags on any notes and I don't prefix any of my tags with like text.  Funny thing, it is very rare I even look at the tag window.  My view is left panel hidden (F10)  with vertical list view (Ctrk-Shift-F5).   The tag drop down does the trick for me when applying tags, displaying as I type..

All of this is personal preference to use case.  You will find your own comfort zone I'm sure.  FWIW.

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On 2/26/2016 at 3:00 AM, ztalk112 said:

I'm trying to figure out how to transition a large (windows based) library of folders and nested subfolders to EN. (Yes, I know I'm not the first . . . and I know I've got to ditch the folder paradigm in favor of using tags).

I assume the files are mostly 'document' type files - word processing files, spreadsheets, pdf's, etc.? 

If there are a lot of media or other large files, I'm not sure this plan will work so well considering how bloated the Evernote database would become.

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32 minutes ago, tavor said:

I assume the files are mostly 'document' type files - word processing files, spreadsheets, pdf's, etc.? If there are a lot of media or other large files, I'm not sure this plan will work so well considering how bloated the Evernote database would become.

I listed some of the limits below, and of course you have your device limits.

Beyond that, there is no limit on the Evernote database size, and so far the app seems to handle whatever I pass to it. Also, you can use local notebooks and bypass the sync overhead.

Note size

25 MB (Basic)

50 MB (Plus)

200 MB (Premium and Business)

Monthly note uploads

60 MB (Basic)

1 GB (Plus)

10 GB (Premium)

10 GB for personal notes + shared 2 GB per user for business notes (Business)

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2 hours ago, csihilling said:

 I don't prefix any of my tags with like text.

It is useful in constricting your drop down tag list.  
I use four prefixes !?@ When (example !What, ?Who ...)  When I start typing a tag, for example "When" It reduces the tag  drop down list to just my When tags.

I started out prefixing my tag names with like text, and then discovered the tag name was truncated when viewing on the iPad.  So I keep my tag names short

 

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14 hours ago, JMichaelTX said:

I have seen some users who create tags that are really combinations of multiple categories, like:

  • content-buzzsumo
  • influencers-buzzsumo

I recommend against this.  Make 3 tags, content, influencers, and buzzsumo, and assign multiple tags to a note when needed.
Otherwise, you end up  with a large number of essentially the same tag, and yet no easy way to get a list of all notes with that tag (tool in this case).

Also, on iOS at least, long tag names often don't display fully in the info dialog and can be difficult to know which is which.

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

It is useful in constricting your drop down tag list.  
I use four prefixes !?@ When (example !What, ?Who ...)  When I start typing a tag, for example "When" It reduces the tag  drop down list to just my When tags.

I started out prefixing my tag names with like text, and then discovered the tag name was truncated when viewing on the iPad.  So I keep my tag names short

 

I use leading characters of ! for TSW, = for people, . for projects, and _ for fiscal years, for just for the reason of facilitating the drop down list  But I don't consider those characters to be "like text".  Like text is the pr in something like pr.project1 where one precedes project tags with pr.  Semantics I suppose.

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