Tags and Folders are different
The annotation file must always be stored in a proper folder and not in a tag group (although its possible to do so, it has unintended consequences). Tag groups should only ever contain replicants (and they are not true replicants because deleting the annotation file will also remove it from all the tags it is associated with). The annotation template takes care of this so you shouldn’t have to worry about this occuring.
The only way you should ever add a tag to a document is by adding the tag to the documents tag list (the strip at the bottom of the document) or in the information panel.
Tags are for metadata and Folders are for documents
The default is to store the annotation file in a folder called ‘annotations’ in the Inbox but you can store it anywhere that works for you. For some types of documents I like to store the annotation in the same folder as the document being annotated.
Folders and tags are two completely different organisational structures. For me folders represent ‘physical bundles’ of document whether they be transcripts of hearings, or documentary evidence received from one of the parties to the litigation. Annotations are also ‘physical’ but more akin to Post-it Notes or note cards. Tags are a way of classifying the information in the ‘physical bundles’ and narrowing it through annotations into more abstract and precise categories. Tags are also a way of pulling related information from different documents into the same logical category. Tags are akin to the index in a book.
The way I use the tags is best illustrated with the following four examples:
a) I want to find all annotations (or source documents) that concern ‘John Smith’ AND the issue of ‘misrepresentation’. I can use advanced search or a smart group to find all annotations that are the intersection of these two tags.
It doesn’t matter where these annotations (or documents with the same tags) are stored in the folder structure. A search on one or more of the tags will find the annotations whereever they are.
In this example I might turn up a passage from an evidence transcript at trial by Mary W about the representations she made to John Smith and an extract from a statement she gave to the police on a different occasion a year earlier about the same thing. These two pieces of information may be hundreds of pages apart and in different folders in documents received from different people. Previously I might have overlooked the linkage.
b) The reason for the tag sub-groups is that I found groups of logically related pieces information (in my case, People & Issues) were being lost in my tag cloud. When I am annotating the 100th document I can no longer remember whether I tagged the person I saw in document 1 as ‘Smith’, ‘J Smith’ or ‘John Smith’. Having separate tag sub groups not only allows for auto-complete just on a subset of the tags, and thereby aids consistency, but also reminds me constantly that its an important field that I probably should complete. It’s so easy to get lazy when you have thousands of pages to work through and cross-reference.
c) Tags make it easy to extract just a portion of evidence. Before I go to trial I can give John Smith just a subset of the documents that are relevant to him together with a list of pages he should pay specific attention to. In a similar vein I may want an overview of just what evidence I have on the issue of misrepresentation and whether it needs to be bolstered by looking for further evidence. Looking in the tag group ‘Issues’ shows all the issues in the case that I have identified, and burrowing down further to the ‘misrepresentation’ tag shows all the annotations and documents that deal with the question of misrepresentation. I will generally export a summary of these annotations and their source documents to numbers for printing so they can be discussed in a strategy conference.
d) A witness may refer to a particular document. Clicking on the url link brings up a window with all the other annotations I have made to that document which will probably include what other witnesses have said about the same document. Opening an annotation will show me my notes to the cited passage and the tags at the bottom of the document can take me to the tag groups containing all the other related referenced people and issues.
The examples I have given are quite specific to what I do, but I hope it will stimulate people to think about how they use DT and modify the workflow to suit them.
I hope this provides some clarity.