I’ve long felt that tagging is the unsung story for Web 2.0. Sure it’s abused, but it’s one of the best ways to “move beyond Google” as a way of finding stuff. If everyone tagged what they found on the net, we could all find stuff so much more easily. Actually, come to think of it, that would be a nightmare, since then we’d need a search engine to sift through all the tags. But in general, the idea is a good one: if you’ve ever looked for a range of sites on Google and been confronted by a mess, checking your keyword on out something like del.icio.us gives you some idea of the power of tags.
But the question I have been trying to ask myself then is: what software lets you use tagging in a non-social environment — an anti-social environment, if you will? Tagging, it seems to me, is just as powerful for sorting and accessing one’s personal information. Why hasn’t more standalone software got tags built in? (And to be simple, I’ve excluded anything that is more like a category, in that it’s either a fiddle to add or else only allows assigning one category.)
So here’s the beginnings of a list. As usual, I’d love to hear more. And this is very Windows biased. Sorry about that.
- Taglocity allows you to tag your content from within Microsoft Outlook. Tagging helps you find things more easily, organize a lot of information and to communicate more clearly to others – all without complex rules or a new way of working. Tagclouds? Yup.
- MyInfo a personal-reference information manager. MyInfo is a complete solution for collecting, organizing, editing, storing, and retrieving personal-reference information. You can search and list entries in the usual tree form, or via tags. Tagclouds? Yup.
- TiddlyWiki like a blog because it’s divided up into neat little chunks, but it encourages you to read it by hyperlinking rather than sequentially: if you like, a non-linear blog analogue that binds the individual microcontent items into a cohesive whole.
- Email: ThunderBird 2.0 supports tagging, although it’s a bit basic. TheBat! does a more comprehensive job, turning tags into virtual folders, a bit like GMail’s labels.
- Photos: Picasa and Adobe Photoshop Album both support tagging. But be warned. Photoshop Album is, er, no longer available. Instead you’re nudged towards the $90 Photoshop Elements.
- EverNote: still one step too many for me, but version 2.0 makes it easier to assign categories to items. And they’ve changed the icon from a stamp to a tag, so I’m guessing they’re getting it.
Windows XP tagging
You can add tags to files in Windows XP by the following, according to the company:
Right now in Windows XP, the best way to tag and annotate files is to right-click on the file, select “Properties,” select the “Summary” tab and then insert the metadata (tags) you want to associate with that file. The basic categories are Title, Subject, Author, Category, Keywords and Comments. An additional click on the “Advanced” button in the Summary section provides a few additional categories. For photos though, Digital Image Pro today enables users to add meaningful keywords to your pictures so that you can view them in lots of different ways. Those keywords are applied directly to your photos and so when you put them on a Windows Vista PC in the future, you can immediately take advantage of the built in organization capabilities of the system.
Windows Vista tagging
we have made dramatic changes and improvements to the ways in which the operating system uses that metadata. For instance, all Windows Vista Explorers will include a Preview Pane that displays the metadata associated with the file the user has selected. With the Preview pane, you no longer have to right-click a file to open the Properties dialog box. Instead, a rich set of file properties (metadata) are always visible in the preview pane. You can also add or edit properties easily, for one or many files by selecting the “edit properties” option also found in the pane. Each Explorer also includes an Instant Search field, which immediately searches file names, file properties — including any metadata added by the user — and text within each file, and returns results instantly. Users can also save their customized searches as “Search Folders;” a Search Folder re-runs a created search anytime you click on it showing you the latest results. That way you no longer have to worry about where you put your documents and email as your Search Folder instantly looks across your PC and automatically finds them for you.
Users also have the option of following essentially the same steps as in Windows XP to add metadata to their files. The “Summary” tab is called “Details,” and one change that has been made is that all of a file’s properties (metadata) are included in this view in a scrolling menu, so the extra click to get to advanced properties is no longer necessary. However, with Windows Vista, users can select multiple files, right click, follow the same steps, and the metadata is added to all of the files selected. This makes it much easier for users to add metadata and saves them time.