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LM89

Please Help Me Understand Tagging

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Hi Evernoters, 

I'm a church-based family worker who has been using Evernote since 2008. I use it to store meeting notes, logs of pastoral visits, sermon notes. I also have a resource library notebook of scans, notes, and web clippings on work related topics that, at the time of writing, contains over 1,200 entries. 

Despite this, I have never gotten my head around how to best use tags. I dabbled in the past but I ended up deleting them all in favour of a prefixing methodology. For example, meetings note titles always follow this format: YYYY MM DD Meeting: [Person/Reason (eg. Staff)]. This is all fine and good for meetings, but for my resources library, it is a bit more complex. Notes on specific biblical books or passages use the following: # Book Ch: Verse (Eg. 01. Genesis 1:1-10). Whereas articles, scans and clippings have a topic prefix (eg. Parenting: [Article title].  Currently, I only have two tags: '.CurrentBook' & '.CurrentSermon'.

Long story short, I am not sure if I have posted this in the right place, and I know I'm not your 'usual' Evernote user, but could someone please help me get to grips with tags so that I can make the most of the mountain of notes and resources that I am compiling. Moreover, the larger my library gets the more I can't help but get the feeling that I'm not making the most of Evernote by using tags to link similar notes across notebooks. 

So yeah, if anyone can help me get my head around how best to use tags I'd be extremely grateful!

Thanks in advance. Have a great evening all. 

Liam

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On March 11, 2016 at 2:16 PM, LM89 said:

Despite this, I have never gotten my head around how to best use tags.
I dabbled in the past but I ended up deleting them all in favour of a prefixing methodology.
For example, meetings note titles always follow this format: YYYY MM DD Meeting: [Person/Reason (eg. Staff)].
This is all fine and good for meetings, but for my resources library, it is a bit more complex.
Notes on specific biblical books or passages use the following: # Book Ch: Verse (Eg. 01. Genesis 1:1-10).
Whereas articles, scans and clippings have a topic prefix (eg. Parenting: [Article title].
Currently, I only have two tags: '.CurrentBook' & '.CurrentSermon'....

if anyone can help me get my head around how best to use tags I'd be extremely grateful!

There's nothing wrong with putting your tag information in the title.
There are users prefer it, and don't use tags

Are you comfortable using search to retrieve your notes, for example       intitle:Parenting intitle:"2016"
or would you prefer to click on the tag Parenting and sort your notes by creation date

I make sure my titles are complete, but I also use tags extensively because they are more precise.
For example, I would put Statement in the title of a note, or maybe it was Statmnt
Using tags, I would type St and a drop down list would appear and I can select Statement 

I categorize my tags to make it easier.
For example all my Person tags begin with ?; all my where tags begin with @

>>For example, meetings note titles always follow this format: YYYY MM DD Meeting: [Person/Reason (eg. Staff)].
I'd have a tag !Meetings, a tag ?<person> and maybe a collection of tags for Reason
I don't start my note title with date (YYYY/MM/DD) but do include the date elsewhere in the title
Most of the time, it duplicates the create/modified date which I can sort on to get my notes in date sequence.
In your example, if I sorted on title, I would want to see
Meeting 2016/01/01
Meeting 2016/02/01
Meeting 2016/03/01
Sermon 2016/01/01
Sermon 2016/01/05

>>Notes on specific biblical books or passages use the following: # Book Ch: Verse (Eg. 01. Genesis 1:1-10).
I'd have a tag !Bible, or at least prefix the title with Bible: 

>>Whereas articles, scans and clippings have a topic prefix (eg. Parenting: [Article title].
I'd have tags for the common topics.


 

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Cliff's Notes version.

IMO, the emphasis on tags should be help you find things.  So if you think about what your searches may be like, organize your tags accordingly.  For example if you would be searching for sermons create a tag sermon and apply to those notes (maybe staring the note title with yyyy_mM_dd or the like to help with a title sort).  Maybe create a tag named Verse, then when you do a search for tag:verse you will have a smaller group of notes to apply the text search to.  Add a tag for each person.  Just some examples.

Net of it all, work backwards from what you think you will be searching the most and make it easy on yourself.  So start simple, keep your tags broad, and "play" a while, see what works for you.  Good thing about EN, it's easy enough to modify your tags once you get started.  Harder to modify your titles when you make a change in process.

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@LM89 - Let me offer a specific suggestion to get you started with tags. Create the following set of Tags:

  • Type=Meeting
  • Type=PastorVisit
  • Type=Sermon
  • Type=BibleVerse
  • Type=ResourceLibrary

No doubt, you will think of / have other "types" that you can add to the list, but, hopefully, my examples convey the underlying concept of these kinds of Tags.

Now, assign one or more of these "Type" tags to each of your Notes. I realize that you have 1,200 Notes. However, Evernote will allow you to assign a Tag to a batch of Notes all at once.

Now, use this set of Tags for a 1-2 weeks. See if they are helpful. If not, you can modify them or abandon them entirely. In either event, I hope this exercise will convey to you how to use Tags and how you might best structure / define them for your particular needs.

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Firstly, can I thank each of you for taking the time to reply to my post. I am extremely grateful for all of your help and feel like I have a much better grasp of the pros and cons of tagging now. 

Based on the advice above and some reading I did, I have moved away from a notebook/prefix dependent system onto a tag based system and finding it really helpful. I use 'Who, what, when, where, why, how' as the main top level tags and then subdivide under that, for example, 'When' is separated into year, month, date and quarter tags. I also have a few frequently accessed tags that remain outside of this top level tags, for example, a tag for notes on the current book I am reading or note templates that I regularly access. 

As a result of this, I now have just 7 notebooks and 1 stack. I am also moving away from prefixing articles in favour of tagging which seems to be providing a more extensive and dynamic referencing system, as well as a more powerful way of searching for relevant content.

Again, thanks so much for all the help. Much appreciated. 

Liam

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All explanations above are great. You can also create a temporary tag for a specific sermon, Bible study session, etc. and tag items you think are relevant to that item. 

Example: Create a tag for your next sermon, perhaps something like 20160403sermon . Then tag any Bible versus, snippets, sentence ideas, etc. with that tag. Clicking it brings you information from all around your collection to one spot, ready for sermon writing! Then once you're done, you simply delete that specific tag. Everything still has all of its other tags - you've just finished using that specific sermon tag. This also lets you prep many sermons in advance - letting you prepare for your next sermon, but perhaps also your Christmas sermon way in the future (but one can never start early enough, eh?).

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Here is an artlcle I read today that helped me streamline my tags and notebooks with Evernote. http://www.noraconrad.com/blog/evernoteresourcelibrary

The bottom line, is how everyone uses tags and notebooks in EN is a little different.  Read and try the suggestions you've been given here and know that you'll likely end up tweaking them some to fit your particular needs.  How my notebooks and tags are set up are different from yours and that's part of what makes this program so flexible is it's ability to adapt to wide variety of users.  

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