With the explosive growth in the amount of data we keep, the current folder-based approach to organizing information is becoming insufficient.
The music, photo and video industries have been leading the path in defining new ways to organize vast amount of information, mainly using various forms of tagging. However people don’t compartmentalize their lives in music world, photo albums and video libraries. All these are intricately intertwined with many other aspects of our lives, as well as with other data types.
Characteristics of a useful file tagging implementation:
- Universal – applies to all file/document types
- Portable – tagging follows the object
- Flexible – each user can define his/her own tagging scheme
- Multi-valued – each tag can be defined as a category with a specific value. e.g. media=photo, media=sound, or media=video, such that a search for media produces a result set containing three buckets of relevant content, instead of a single list.
- Multi-level – allows for multi-tag dimensional view – the simplest being a grid with for example the multi-valued media tag on the x-axis, and time on the Y-axis
- Evolutionary – borrows from existing organizational paradigms such as folder hierarchy, file date/time, music file tags, etc. and provides migration from current structures
- But not revolutionary – allows users to view result of tag search in a familiar format such as folders
- Cross-platform – Windows, OSx, Linux, iOS, Android, etc.
- Intuitive – one click, integrated to searches, available within apps, network/cloud aware
- Ubiquitous – available everywhere, not just on a specially configured device
What other characteristics should this functionality have, and can we have it before we lose track of our current data?