(This is an updated re-post from the internal beta forum)
The last days I tried to unleash the full power of tags on my main database. I think it was a wise decision in the long run to go for the group=tag approach. It is so powerful and flexible.
So if tags are groups why do I not stick with groups but use tags? Basically it is the interface that makes the difference (even with some limitations in pb8). The toolbar makes it much faster to replicate a document to several groups, the AppleScript property tags is easier to handle than asking for parents and Smart Searches can be focused with tags. And finally I like that replicates within the tags group don’t render the document name red. So most of my documents have black names again, giving the red font indication back to those files only that are “real” replicates. Tags are a great tool.
But the new tool calls for well thought decisions. The main question is: which groups should be excluded from tagging and which should become tags only (=move to the tags-group) and which groups should work as tags too?
The simple road (exclude all groups from tagging and tag independently from them) was not so compelling to me, so I started to find a more holistic approach.
This is still a work in progress, but I like to share some of my results so far.
Basically it boils down to this:
A group is where something lives/belongs to.
A tag describes what something is.
Here are my details:
I am an author and use the database for collecting notes on characters/places/things/events, for outlining the story and for holding the written text itself.
I exclude groups from tagging, if they are „only“ part of my work structure and don’t add anything to the nature of the content. A description of a person might live in a chapter-group in my outline (where I expect the person to appear), but that does not qualify that chapter-group to be a tag (because it does not say anything about the content of the description). For the same reason I exclude from tagging the groups (=chapters) with the final text and all groups that organise the more general notes for rewrite.
On the other hand I include every group that would help to describe the content (nature) of the documents inside. So all my geographically nested groups that hold everything about locations are used for tagging. It adds meaning if the character description gets the tag of the town where he/she lives (and the country that town belongs to). Using the already existing classification avoids doubling the same groups hierarchy in the tags groups. In this case belonging and being are the same. A person living in Germany is German (even if he/she would might consider him/herself as very un-German .
But some terms/groups have to be doubled. Because not all items in my top level group „places“ are actually places (but people who life in the places) I have to exclude that top level group „places“ from tagging and create a tag „place“ within the tags group (I think it is not accidentally that one is plural and one is singular). All documents that actually are describing a location get this tag. People who live in location are stored in those location groups, but are tagged with „people“.
I avoid tagging groups that are used for tagging themselves because it would inherit its own tags to the children.
An indication for tags that should not be in the special tags group seems to be the sort order of a group: if the content of a group needs to be in a certain manual order (the document “lives” at a certain position) it is better not part of the tagging domain.