How to tag easily AKA How do you remember all your tags?

Hello all,

There might not be a correct answer to this - but curious how others do it…

I’ve now built up quite a collection of tags. Which is useful.

But when I’m in 3-Pane view, having entered a search term - and consequently in the process of working through the various articles thrown up by the search query - I still come across plenty of articles that have not been tagged.

So I try and tag them. But here’s my question - in spite of the tag “auto-complete” option being really useful, I still find it tricky to remember all the correct descriptions of my already-existing tags - so whereas the auto-complete helps, it’s obviously still dependent on my starting the tag-name with the correct letter combination…

How do you guys work around this? It would obviously not be an issue when working out of the Tag-pane/view - but suppose you don’t? Do you have a simple hand-written / whatever “tag-list” stuck up next to the computer? Or is there a way to get the tag-list over onto the secondary display, whilst still working in the 3-Pane view?

Hope my question makes sense… and that someone can provide a [face-palm] why-didn’t-I-think-of-that solution… :slight_smile:

I keep the number of tags to a minimum as there is a tipping point where too many tags makes tagging less/not useful at all. I also use a naming convention for tags that makes it easier to group and recall tags. Tags are also always one word, lower/upper case to indicate multiple words. So, instead of having tags such as:

Mideast Research,
Asia Research,
Europe Research, etc. (note how the names prevent the similar tags from appearing together in an auto complete list).

I would have the tags:


Here’s one good article on tag naming … eview%2529

A Google search on ‘openmeta tag names’ might turn up additional info.

You can display your list of tags in the Three Pane view by selecting Tools>Show Groups & Tags.

Many thanks Greg - the Tools>Show Groups & Tags is exactly what I needed - since I can drag it over to the secondary screen, and work unimpeded over in 3-Pane.

I hear what you are saying about the tags. My naming-protocol is pretty sorted, but my research is spread across 4 different jurisdictions, that all share certain similarities, but many more idiosyncracies… Having many tags is an unfortunate by-product. :unamused:

Presently, I’m tagging extensively with the view to possibly introducing high to mid-level groups a bit later, through replicants, to at least group the ‘heavily-populated-tag’ documents together, which should assist in cutting down some of the numbers…

Greg’s advice is excellent – I’d emphasize his caution to keep tags to a minimum.

Don’t make tags that parallel your group hierarchy. Tags should enhance your categorization, but having tags that mimic your group categories merely becomes confusing.

IMO, if I spend more than a couple of seconds tagging a document then I’ve spent more time than it’s worth. If I tag a document with a concept that is obvious in the content of the document then I have not added any value to my database. If I use tagging as a replacement for a good file naming scheme, then I have not improved the organization of my documents.

Finally, DEVONthink’s search capabilities far exceeds its tagging capability. So if you are tagging as a substitute for using Search, or as shortcut to make searches go faster, that probably won’t happen. Finding relationships among your documents by using tags is really, really hard if not impossible. But DEVONthink’s AI can help you find relationships in an instant.

Now this IS good advice! I am very lazy about tags and only do them (a) when I remember and (b) because I think I ought to! If, then, they really are not that useful in DTP, (as I have found) why bother tagging at all? Unless someone knows better and can out the other side of the case?

Tags are simply another tool to help the user categorize items, like groups, searches (which can be used in that way), smart groups, flags and labels.

I almost never bother to tag new items as they are added to a database. For me, there’s not a good return on the investment of time and effort to tag everything as it is added. But when I’m working on a project I’ll create a set of tags to help me manage the information relative to that project. When I’m finished with the project, I usually delete those tags.

That’s my personal workflow. Those who use tags heavily can freely regard me as deluded, and should continue their own workflows if they prove useful. :slight_smile: It has evolved from my experience that DEVONthink searches and the AI assistants minimize the need to pre-categorize the information contained in my database collections, and so minimize the up-front drudgery as I add content.