In the stone age of PCs (circa. 2001), files were organized by filename and a hierarchy of file folders. If you wanted to retrieve a file, you needed to remember the filename and where you placed it. If you’ve ever tried to find something over a month old you quickly came to realize what an inefficient method of storage this is. In this post, I’ll discuss tagging, a fairly new method of organizing your data, and explore how to use your tags in an effective manner.
Not to long ago web service companies realized the value of storing meta-data with your data to allow you to efficiently search for the things you were looking for. The metadata can take many forms, one popular type of meta-data is the tag. Tagging items allows you to provide relevant keywords to your data. This allows you to group your data by keywords to help you recall it later.
Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking website that makes excellent usage of tags to group your bookmarks so that you and others can easily find interesting links. My venture into tagging initial was very successful, however, over time, as with the filename and hierarchy my tagging has become a jumbled mess so that recall is difficult.
After spending a year tagging my bookmarks I realized that the thing I am missing most is consistency. For example, I have links that are tagged software:development, development, programming, and software. In all cases, The link www.djangoproject.com could be categorized under each of those tags.
I’m working on a new approach to tagging that I hope will work better for me, classifying things in a hierarchy that goes from least to most granular. I’ll explain by way of a few examples.
Django is a web application framework written in python. The home page for this project is at djangoproject.com. Upon discovering it, I want to tag it so I can find it again. A suitable set of tags for me would be Development, Web, Frameworks, Python, django.
As I learn more about Django, I will be search and tagging various articles on the web. Once such article is Django Templates: The Power of Inheritance from JeffCroft.com. I’ve tagged this as django tutorial templates. I could include the additional tags above but since this is a django specific tutorial, Django is the most obvious top level tag.
Another example is Metacritic. Metacritic is a music/movie/book review site that takes reviews from print and web and assigns creates a meta review. I have this tagged this book mark as entertainment reviews movies music
This method is by no means perfect for everybody. The key to an organized tagging structure is consistency. I have a post-it note on my PC with a sample tag to help me recall my system.
I hope this post was useful, feel free to share your ideas on tagging in the comments. [tags]Productivity, Tutorial, tagging, bookmarks, delicious[/tags]
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