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How do you tag (or even organize) your files?

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Cross-posted from: Re: Interesting: Tag2Find, Tagging for All Filetypes for Windows


Almost a decade on.

Still searching but has anyone discovered a good way of tagging files in windows?
-Daleus (November 25, 2016, 02:31 PM)
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+1 for tagspaces
-wraith808 (November 25, 2016, 09:24 PM)
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Interesting you ask! I have abandoned my quest a long time ago, but I just googled tag2find, etc. and found this

It's open source -- a great thing for that type of software...

The funny thing is that it implements the same solution I implemented myself 8-9 years ago. Basically, to avoid compatibility problems, writing the tags directly in the file names, using specific tag delimiters, etc. I described my method somewhere on DC. (Wonder if someone in their team read my description of if they just reached the same conclusions after an analysis of the situation.)

After at least 8-9 years tagging my files this way, I'm still finding it convenient. Using it every single day. People laugh when they see my file names, but I smile... they don't realize that I can group files on "any" subject (or combinations of subjects) in just a few seconds... in any OS or file system.
-Armando (November 25, 2016, 05:55 PM)
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@Armando: Yes, tagging the filename currently seems to be the only easy and practicable/feasible approach for meeting all one's tag/search requirements, and for a whole bunch of reasons. Essentially, the problem is solved by putting meta-data codes/keys (strings of A-N text) into the filename.

The main advantages of this approach would seem to be:

* Tagging can more easily be made reliable, available, consistent and visible at the lowest common denominator (the filename, visible in any file browser and not locked-in to a separate/proprietary viewer; no use is made of the ADS, Registry, or a proprietary indexing system).
* The file tags are persistent and easily changed if required - individually, or in batches (any filename editing utility, or mass filename editor will do; no proprietary tool is required and no use is made of the ADS).
* The index database for the tags can be a common and non-proprietary utility already on the Desktop - e.g., the index database of (say) WDS (Windows Desktop Search), or other file indexing/search system of choice - e.g., I often use Everything.
* If required, the tags searched can be treated as being in a structured notional/virtual hierarchy (regardless of their location on disk) - which can enable very powerful/useful filtered searches.
* The structure of a notional/virtual hierarchy can be easily changed at any time, as required and without necessarily invalidating the tags already in use.
Aside from the perhaps visibly sometimes odd-looking filenames, the main disadvantage would probably be that tags make file names longer, potentially causing the LFN (Long File Name) or "path/file name too long" problem at some stage - where (say) nesting of files/folders occurs where longish file names have been employed. This PITA can especially occur in backup/archive directories/subdirectories, even though the original file paths may have no LFN problem.

However, the LFN hack in Windows 10 (only) apparently overcomes this problem in NTFS systems, though I am unsure whether it applies also to FAT file systems under all conditions, and certainly it apparently only works for Windows 10, and not the earlier Windows OS versions.

I recall there was a freeware app ("Tag-something" - maybe it was Tagspaces, but I forget the name) that ran as a Firefox extension, or something, enabling a tagging system in the file names. Out of interest, I tried it out and found it quite good, but it felt a bit clunky and was kinda superfluous, given that the filename tagging tool can be whatever tool one uses to edit file names - singly or en masse.
It used delimiters to identify the tags (thus potentially making the filename even longer), and I could never quite see a solid reason as to why delimiters might be mandatory, never mind desirable. So, I use tags in the filename, but not delimiters.
I am therefore curious to know your reasoning on this, as you write that you use delimiters. Could you please describe that?

EDIT: By the way, I, like you, have used tags embedded in the filename for years - starting in 1998, whilst needing a tagging capability on a large document management exercise. The users had differently (non-standard) configured PCs and we badly needed an LCD (lowest common denominator) approach, so that any user could use the tagging system, regardless of PC configuration or Win0S. Using filename tags was simple/easy for the users to understand as well.
-IainB (November 25, 2016, 09:34 PM)
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Hi IainB,
I generously described the method I use there .
IMO, delimiters are fundamental if you want to have tags in file names and some flexibility -- e.g. modifying tags in batch -- or any part of the file name -- without ruining your file names.
I actually use several types of delimiters and use regex and software like Renamer to batch modify file names. Geeky, but works well.
(BTW, the reasons I described back then -- numbered and all... -- for using filenames are almost the same as yours!  ;D )
-Armando (November 25, 2016, 10:45 PM)
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@Armando: Ah, thanks for that thread link. I think I understand your rationale a little better now. I didn't realise that you are using Regex and that you probably need to be using delimiters and sometimes using tags that may even contain meta-data about the tag hierarchy.
I consider that you are using a system with the potential for a high degree of granularity/definition, but it has the potential to defeat one of my earlier objectives, which was that the tags needed to be simple/easy for the users to understand and use.
Having said that, I reckon your approach may turn out to be the only way to go - using the available common technology.

Food for thought!    :Thmbsup:

By the way, it's probably not surprising that the reasons you described in that old thread, for using filenames, are almost the same as those that I gave. If it's a common problem in a common OS, with common constraints to a solution, then - given the nature of filenames - the solutions are probably going to be few in number and closely similar.

Rather than take this Tag2Find thread off-track, it might be worth bumping that old thread to discuss anything else about this: Re: How do you tag (or even organize) your files?

EDIT: I have cross-posted the salient bits to that thread anyway, just in case they might be useful.
-IainB (November 26, 2016, 02:53 AM)
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