Improve Your Tagging

Improve Your Tagging

Stormtrooper TaggedI am a tagger. I tag notes in Evernote and I apply OpenMeta tags to my documents in OS X.

It may seem odd, I often do not recommend that people get too into tagging their documents[1]. I find that people are either “taggers” or they are not, and when they are not it adds an unnecessary level of complexity that they have trouble wrapping their head around.

For those people who do start tagging, the chain of events is pretty predictable:

  1. Tag Evernote notes or documents with every possible word you can think of.
  2. Tag with singular or plural versions of many of those same tags because you forget which way you did it before.
  3. Get a ridiculously long and unwieldy list of tags, many of which have only one or two notes or files associated with them.
  4. Either stop tagging altogether, or just let things get out of control because you don’t have time to go back and fix it.

I came across this great post by Robert Oschler: 5 Step Plan To Better Document Tagging where he goes through a great strategy to have tags that are actually meaningful.

One of the biggest hurdles to tagging information successfully is forgetting that you are going to forget most of what you are thinking at the time you tagged it. Many of the associations in your mind that seem blindingly obvious and fresh to you now may not even be there in a few days and will probably be nearly vaporized in a few months.

The most is very lightly focused on Evernote (it is on Daniel Gold’s blog, after all), but I think it applies to any tagging situation.

Do you have any tips that have worked well for you when you are tagging notes or documents?

(Photo by JD Hancock)


  1. On the Mac, anyways. In Evernote it is a different story as you are more limited as to how you can organize.  ↩

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

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