Sunday, June 2, 2013

To Tag or Not To Tag

I've been reviewing my Notebook and Tagging system in Evernote recently with the hope of collapsing my hierarchy as much as possible. During that process I began to wonder about my windows hierarchy as well.

In Evernote I've been good about limiting my folders and relying on tags more and more. The search feature in Evernote is very powerful and finding what I need has not been a problem with this method. I did however start to notice redundancy and even unnecessary folders that I'm working to eliminate.

Once I started looking at my windows folder system I realized my job there was much larger. I had originally started with a folder for each surname then a folder within the surname for each type of record. One of my record types is Deaths. When I search for Deaths I get 229 folders called Deaths. I don't think I need 229 folders with the same label.

The more time I've spent looking at this, the more I'm inclined to flip-flop my thinking. Wouldn't it make more sense to have one folder labeled Deaths with all my surnames in that folder? Better yet, just a folder labeled Deaths with no sub-folders. Then each death record would be tagged with the surname and I could search for the surname tag. Do I even need a Deaths folder? I could tag all my documents: Death; Surname; Year; Location.

Some may also wonder why I have two systems, so to speak. Evernote is how I capture my information. If you are familiar with GTD you will know what I'm talking about. Based on the way I research, I capture first then process. While it may seem redundant to have a copy of something in Evernote and in my windows system, that is the one part of this that I know works well for me. And to clarify just because a document is captured in Evernote it doesn't necessarily make it to my windows system.

I'm afraid my minor OCD is not going to let me go completely folder-less but I do like that idea. This is going to be a fairly big job to switch my entire digital filing system. Also I am only talking about my digital filing system. Any thoughts on where I might run into problems with this line of thinking in going heavy on tags and very light on folders?

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