Why Doesn't the Magic-Hat List Suggest Tags?

I use a shallow folder structure supplemented by twenty or so tags. The magic hat list is great for quickly assigning the items to the right folder (group) but why can’t it also suggest all the relevant tags? i realize tags have autocomplete but if DEVONthink can guess the group why can’t it guess the entire list of tags without me doing anything? Perhaps I should just convert my tags into subgroups, but for me, and for my database, I think a shallow folder system with ~20 or so tags is the right system, but it is a shame I can’t automate it more fully.

Think about it. You want DEVONthink to replicate your document to any number of Tag groups? I can suppose this might be an interesting option for someone – not one I would want, however. I think I’d be forever cleaning up goofy tagging mistakes.

Thanks for the response, Korm. I should have said that I am a DTPO newbie that is naively trying to carry-over the tagging system I’ve used in pinboard and prior note taking apps without knowing how the DT community thinks about the subject of tagging.

Perhaps a specific example of my desired behavior would be helpful:

Any website not directly related to my research goes into a News and Websites group. Many of these non-research-related websites are software related. Nevertheless, I just send the webpage to the DEVONthink inbox using the browser extension in Safari. Later I go into DEVONthink to process the inbox. In processing the inbox, the Magic Hat almost always suggests the News and Websites group, correctly, which is a big help. But then I have to manually type “software” in the tag field. I find myself doing this repetitively and often, which led me to wonder: If DTPO can guess the group why not the tag too?

I am coming to the conclusion that if the “label space” is small and applied sparingly, then it should be a group in DTPO but if that space is large and applied widely, many labels for each item, then it should be a tag in DTPO. Therefore to get my desired behavior, my sparse tags should be groups in DTPO and any additional “cross referencing” should be done with cross-group replication. I plan to not use explicit DTPO tagging in my workflow until a use for it becomes obvious.

DT experts: Am I thinking rightly on this?

Fellow noob here with the same question. As I understand it, Groups are just a type of tag to DT, so I don’t see why the same panel couldn’t also suggest tags as well.

If all I needed was a hierarchy of folders, I would just use Finder.

DEVONthink provides tools to allow the user to organize documents into groups by topic or other association and to add additional associations with tags. Hierarchies are possible in groups and in tags.

There is a circumstance in which the ‘Magic Hat’ will suggest tags. That’s if the option “Exclude Groups from Tagging” is unchecked in a database’s Database Properties panel. But most users reserve groups for collections of topically related documents, leave that option checked, and use tags for associations that are usually neither topical nor searchable.

I can think of a number of cases that would benefit by very fine-grained grouping and tagging, such as a collection of archaeological artifacts, a collection of nuts and bolts for different purposes and environmental settings, etc. But it takes a great deal of time and effort to do that for every item in such a collection, and there are logical and human behavior circumstances that tend to threaten the completeness and consistency of efforts to fully define items by fine-grained grouping and tagging.

IMHO the ROI (Return on Investment of time and effort) to do fine-grained grouping and tagging of every document in a database is very poor. If I had tried to do that in my main research database, which holds more than 30,000 documents, I would never have had time to do actual productive work in it.

Fortunately, DEVONthink provides other tools such as powerful full-text searches, See Also, Option-click on a term and clicking on Keywords to let me find useful references when I’m embarked on a project. For that reason, I tend to use tags when I’m working on a project and have identified references and notes relevant to that project. When I’m finished with the project, I delete those tags because they would be of doubtful use in the next project. This is a much better ROI of my time and effort, as DEVONthink acts as an effective research assistant.

I got my baptism of fire in extracting information from large document collections in the 1960s and 70s, as project director of a university computer information center to disseminate the results of federally funded research. Full-text searches were not possible then. Searches had to be based on tags. Believe me, that’s very inferior to what DEVONthink does for me today. That’s because the individual assigning tags will usually fail to assign tags for all the important information in the document, and is often inconsistent in the selection of a tag for an information component. No amount of training of the staff at the federal agency that furnished the computer tapes nor of my staff for creating search queries based on tags could overcome those limitations.

Don’t become obsessive/compulsive in organizing and tagging your database, as that becomes a justification for not getting real work done. :mrgreen: