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S.J.Scott says, in his book "Master Evernote" (page 50 of 141) to avoid multiple-word tags. They use the example of "2013 ebook" and "2014 ebook" vs "2013" "2014" and "ebook".

I'm not sure I buy it. I'm pretty sure that "Plenty River" is a better tag than using "Plenty" and "River" as separate tags. I want to get my tags done right from early on, so I thought that I would ask. PLEASE don't just say that it depends on the user, or etc. PLEASE be opinionated here.   

(I have also read "Evernote Wow" by Garth Scaysbrook and recon it is a better book, BTW)

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First, I'd say that tags should probably be single-concept, not single-word, and I think that that's what S. J. Scott is really referring to, or ought to be. Single concept tags allow a lot of flexibility in describing your notes with fewer tags. This is a lot like human languages; We (in English anyways) tend to use separate words: "big red ball" to describe something, rather than one packed word: "bigredcircle"; it's a lot easier to extend to other types of shapes by adding individual words (e.g., "small", "blue", "square" than adding new words for each combination of type+color+shape (e.g. "smallorangerectangle", etc.). This also allows you to categorize in other ways: to find all small shapes, maybe a search on "small" would suffice. or all blue squares, regardless of size. And so on.

Second, since users are all different, there's no such thing as one rule that would allow every user to "get tags done right". It purely does depend on the user, what they have in Evernote, and how they want to organize their data. And even so, maybe one hard and fast rules may not cover all of a user's situations. But in any case, it helps to have a strategy up front, and an understanding of why single concept (not single word) tags may be useful.

So yes, I tend agree with S. J. Scott in that type of situation. On the other hand, if "Plenty River" is a single concept for you (you're not cataloguing geographic entities like rivers, mountains, hills, hollows, eskers, etc), then go ahead and just use it. Note that some people don't like to use spaces in their tag names and would use "PlentyRiver". Again, that's up to the user.

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By the way, I'm not sure that I understand your objection. You cite the "2013 ebook" etc. example of the author, and then use a different example ("Plenty River") as your objection. So what's wrong with the original example?

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I agree with @jefito, use single concept tags.  In addition,

  1. Use as few tags as you can
  2. Use tags that are as easy to remember as possible
  3. Think of tags as the basis for searches to cull down to a manageable list of notes. 
  4. If you do use multiple words, use a period as opposed to a space to separate them,it will be easier to search (you won't have to enclose the tag in quotes).

In your example, if the only thing you care about relative to 2013 and 2014 is ebooks, then probably nothing wrong with 2013.ebooks and 2014.ebooks as tags.  If, however, there are other notes you want to group by 2013 and 2014, or if you want to search across all ebooks, then separate tags for 2013, 2014 and ebooks probably make sense.  Not sure if Plenty River is a book or a river, but Plenty.River as a tag would make sense.

You can't really go wrong.  Whatever strategy you start with, you can adjust it across time without too much pain.  And once you get it sorted you may or may not add many tags after a while.  I have been sitting just under 400 tags for quite a while and am approaching 30k notes.

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24 minutes ago, csihilling said:

If you do use multiple words, use a period as opposed to a space to separate them,it will be easier to search (you won't have to enclose the tag in quotes).

Yes, a good reminder; that's the main reason for not using tags with embedded spaces. Of course, if you don't type in tags when you're searching -- say, you always use the tag picker -- then it may not matter that much.

27 minutes ago, csihilling said:

You can't really go wrong.  Whatever strategy you start with, you can adjust it across time without too much pain.  And once you get it sorted you may or may not add many tags after a while.  I have been sitting just under 400 tags for quite a while and am approaching 30k notes.

Well, you sorta can go somewhat wrong, but that can happen when you don't understand how tags and search work; you can find yourself in a place where your tags don't really work for you. Also, overtagging can be a problem early on (I call this the "Flowers for Algernon" syndrome). Anyways, I like to think of the the tagging process as building a vocabulary to use when describing your notes so that you can find them later when you have a lot of notes. As you say, eventually you get to a place where your vocabulary is pretty much sufficient, and you rarely need to add new tags.

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1 minute ago, jefito said:

Well, you sorta can go somewhat wrong, but that can happen when you don't understand how tags and search work; you can find yourself in a place where your tags don't really work for you.

I was referring more to the fact that you can fix it should you find yourself in a place that isn't working as well as you thought it would.  My point being there is no reason not to jump off the cliff in the beginning and just start doing it since it is not that hard to rename and adjust tags as a part of that learning process.  

And yes, you can definitely hose yourself with too many, overly lengthy tags, hence the points in the post.  ;)  Should have added don't think hierarchically to the list...

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15 hours ago, jefito said:

By the way, I'm not sure that I understand your objection. You cite the "2013 ebook" etc. example of the author, and then use a different example ("Plenty River") as your objection. So what's wrong with the original example?

Thank you so much for your reply. I, too, had thought that "one idea, one tag" would be the best way to go. To answer your question, I think that "Plenty River" is ONE idea, and should be one tag, because it can't be part of a matrix (in this case, a 10x10 matrix because there are two terms and 10 variants of each term). I think that "2012 yearbook" is two ideas because it could so easily be represented on a matrix: 2000, 2001, 2002.... 2012... 2020, on one axis, and Yearbook, Report Card, Sporting Ribbons on another axis. If there were 10 things on each axis you could get by with 20 tags instead of 100. BUT that approach is less good for searches. IF you had large notes, and there was more than one year tag, and more than one document tag, then the search "2012" and "yearbook" would be less accurate than "2012 yearbook". 

That is my logic there. I am totally not saying that that division really is the way to do things, but I hope you can see that if there was a plenty this and a plenty that and my notes would be short, it MIGHT be best. Actually... on reflection, just suppose you could have single ideas or a 10x10x10x10 matrix, then I think that you really would be better off using single terms (? or two pairs). Suppose you had a tag Plenty River Fish 1-month-old as a tag, then you would have 40 tags vs 1000 tags, and each of the 1000 tags would have only one item attached. You would not have to fill up your tag page, because you could make the tags under a heading. But you WOULD not be able to pull up all records for, say, all the different animals that were in the Plenty River and were 1-month-old. You would have to write out the tags individually. 

So, to summarise

One word tags give less accurate searches, but more flexible searches.

One word tags are best when each tag/idea would have four or more elements.

Multiple word tags are best when each tag/idea has two or fewer elements. 

Do I get a prize? 

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Actually, one option is to use single word tags AND multiple word tags, to get the best of both worlds (except more tagging). 

Too, you can divide words as well as add them! punch(hit), punch(drink), and punch(pantomime.character) could both be subtypes of the tag punch. 

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4 hours ago, APenNameAndThatA said:

Actually, one option is to use single word tags AND multiple word tags, to get the best of both worlds (except more tagging). 

Too, you can divide words as well as add them! punch(hit), punch(drink), and punch(pantomime.character) could both be subtypes of the tag punch. 

I am not ultra-rigorous, and generally use single word tags, but have some multi-word (but still single concept) tags as well.

I don't worry about using separate tags for concepts that have the same name (just like in language). Other tags or note content provide the context. for search purposes.

I don't take advantage of the tag hierarchy, even though I understand that you can now use it in searches. In fact, I don't really do any organization of my tags any more. Just seems more bother than it's worth at this point. My tag vocabulary suits me fine; if I need to make things more elaborate, I can do that eventually.

5 hours ago, APenNameAndThatA said:

So, to summarise

One word tags give less accurate searches, but more flexible searches.

One word tags are best when each tag/idea would have four or more elements.

Multiple word tags are best when each tag/idea has two or fewer elements. 

Do I get a prize? 

The prize is that you get to organize your notes and tags in the way that suits your needs (flexible is good). :) 

I don't know that one-word tags give less accurate searches, but flexible searches are fine by me: I don't need to identify the single note I'm looking for with one search. If I can can isolate to a small number of notes in a search -- less than 9 or so -- then I can scan the list to pick it quicker than I can add more search terms.

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10 hours ago, APenNameAndThatA said:

So, to summarise

One word tags give less accurate searches, but more flexible searches.

One word tags are best when each tag/idea would have four or more elements.

Multiple word tags are best when each tag/idea has two or fewer elements. 

Do I get a prize? 

In order per the above:

  1. The number of words in the tag doesn't make for more or less accurate searches per se, but single word tags do make for more flexible searches since a word can't be buried in other tags when you want to search by that word (the ebook example above).
  2. One word tags are best when they convey the concept, two word tags when they best convey the concept and don't cause a problem for the first point.  Most of my tags are one word.  But I do have some multi word tags, for example, I've moved a few times and have kept the paperwork from each house.  So I have multi word tags like 123.main.street for each location, but still a single concept tag.
  3. Again, I don't think the number of words is the issue as much as not wanting to search on any of the component words, particularly those after the first word.

Sure you get a prize, when you do a search with your tags and keywords and get a short list of notes that contains what you want.  No muss, no fuss.

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Something to consider for people who use search syntax:

When using search syntax (searching tags by typing: 'tag:YOURTAGHERE') is to make sure you use double quotation marks around the tag phrase. Otherwise Evernote will treat the space as the end of the tag.

Example with non-breaking tag:

tag:YOURTAGHERE

Example when using space in tag name:

tag:"YOUR TAG HERE"

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9 minutes ago, Chaseme said:

Something to consider for people who use search syntax:

When using search syntax (searching tags by typing: 'tag:YOURTAGHERE') is to make sure you use double quotation marks around the tag phrase. Otherwise Evernote will treat the space as the end of the tag.

Example with non-breaking tag:

tag:YOURTAGHERE

Example when using space in tag name:

tag:"YOUR TAG HERE"

Or use periods instead of spaces and eliminate the need for the double quotes, tag:YOUR.TAG.HERE

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10 minutes ago, Chaseme said:

Something to consider for people who use search syntax:

Implicit in what was said above, but good to make that explicit. Thanks.

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I think a dash is a better separator than the dot. I use stackoverflow.com daily and this is the character by convention when having to combine multiple words. I think it is also more easy to read but I'm biased by the fact that it's the way I always use it. 

bullet.journal

bullet-journal 

Also and this is a very geeky thing but I add a lot of notes with my phone with android and SwiftKey and this application automatically add a space after entering a dot and there is no way to configure that option... SADLY! :(

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On 8/19/2016 at 1:12 PM, CalS said:

Or use periods instead of spaces and eliminate the need for the double quotes, tag:YOUR.TAG.HERE

 

3 hours ago, Samyboy said:

I think a dash is a better separator than the dot.

My naming standards are

  • no spaces
  • avoid multi-context tags, but I do reflect hierarchy in tagnames
    "-" for a separator, as in Budget-Housing-Utilities
  • camel case for single context items, as in BulletJournal

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Another one of those Evernote "...whatever works for you items...", other than probably best not to use space as a separator.  Pick your poison otherwise.  :)

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