Tagging in DEVONthink

Having just indexed my first database, perhaps I should hold off on this observation – and it is an observation, not a specific request or suggestion – but I am in fact, at this point, really disappointed in what tagging seems to be in DEVONthink.

Perhaps a word about my standard of comparison would help – or you might say, “We can do that!” In which case, I would say, “Great!” The standard is TiddlyWiki. tiddlywiki.com/ Before TiddlyWiki I disdained tags and never used them. But in TiddlyWiki I learned that tags could actually be meaningful, that tag structures – and in TiddlyWiki tagging is structured – can evolve over time, that they can, amazingly, not only represent my thinking but help me think.

In TiddlyWiki tags are attached to things called Tiddlers, which can be thought of as a kind of mini-document. [They can also be mini-programs.] Somewhere in each tiddler there will be a “tag” button – different people put them in different places. If you click on the button you will be presented with a drop-down list of tags used in the containing TiddlyWiki. By checking the box next to a tag name I can tag the Tiddler with the tag. Or, If I click on a tag name I will be presented with a list of all the Tiddlers tagged with the tag. If I want, I can open them all, or by clicking on one, I can open just one Tiddler. Or, backing up to the list of tags, I can, since tags are also Tiddlers, open the tag Tiddler. When I do that I will again get a list of all the Tiddlers tagged with the tag, and by clicking on items in the list I can again open them. Finally – of the things about tagging in TiddlyWiki that come to mind at the moment, not all there are – I can rename a tag and when I do the name is changed on all the Tiddlers tagged with the tag, and if I rename it to the name of another tag all Tiddlers tagged with the tag are added to the list of Tiddlers tagged with the other tag.

That short list of features may not seem significant, but I have found it powerful. From deigning tagging altogether I find my self reluctant to commit a note to an otherwise unstructured pile of notes without having something like TiddlyWiki tagging to make sense of it.

I have barely looked at what DEVONthink has on offer in the way of tagging. Perhaps there is more to come, possibly even things TiddlyWiki has not conceived. At present, though, it strikes me as limited and fragile in comparison. DEVONthink presumes to suggest a few tags which it thinks may be useful to me. I imagine I would find a list created by me more useful.

Hopefully you will tell me that indeed all these things are possible in DEVONthink. Or perhaps you will tell me you don’t understand what it is I’m hankering for.

Well, guess I have to eat a little crow. What Greg_Jones describes In a response to an earlier request from me for help with tagging in DEVONthink viewtopic.php?f=7&t=12332&p=57768#p57768 suggests that all the features of TiddlyWiki tagging that I described, or something nearly like them, is available in DEVONthink.

Thank you again, Greg, and my apologies to all here for unfairly maligning DEVONthink tagging.