On May 2, 2008, at 9:49 AM, david wrote:

Perhaps there's a context within which the paragraph below explains how tags are superior to folders but it eludes me. I'm not arguing that tags don't have value and aren't at times more valuable than folders, but this paragraph doesn't explain it to me.

Yes, I agree with David. There are cases where tagging works nicely, and I'm actually satisfied with that in Yojimbo.

But in other cases, I prefer the visual aid of being able to see a hierarchical structure of my data. This particularly holds true whenever I do lots of browsing or manual reviewing of the information. That's one of the reasons I prefer OmniFocus for implementing GTD. Yojimbo's strengths lie elsewhere.

Hierarchical structures (nested folders) are certainly *not* in stark contrast to the very first steps of GTD! After all, placing an item in a folder is essentially a way to tag it with a bit of information for later retrieval.

The advantage of true tagging is that it allows you to apply *multiple* bits of information to an item. However, the disadvantage is that tagging is a higher-level cognitive function, requiring more thought to recall and assign a variety of tag names. This is often a distraction from the primary task at hand and leads to inefficiency. That's exactly why I *avoid* tagging my items as I add them to Yojimbo. I can always return later to further tag them if I feel it's necessary, but usually I simply rely on content searches, which makes organizational method virtually irrelevant anyway.

Tagging and hierarchical structures are both just tools to organize your data. Neither is a an end all, be all solution. Sometimes you need a hammer, sometimes you need a screw driver. Use the right tool for the job. For random data collection and storage in Yojimbo, tagging works nicely.


PS - The idea of tagging being a high-level cognitive function is similar to Tog's research on mouse vs. keyboard. Read more at: http://www.asktog.com/TOI/toi06KeyboardVMouse1.html

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