Tagging is basically the de-facto way of organizing information on the internet. On the desktop it’s folders. These two ways of organizing content shares many similarities but differ in fundamental ways that makes them both useful in their own way.
In Gmail, tagging is called labels just as in Nemo Documents. They list the reasons for not having folders is in this link which boils down to being able to put something into several categories to make it easier to find again. It’s probably important here to say that they don’t have the legacy of an already existing folder structure.
Microsoft has seen tags as a good way of organizing and has in Vista added support for tagging, but only specific file types such as office documents and jpeg files. The same goes for Win7 but leaves the largest majority of Windows users (running XP) in the cold. Labels in Nemo Documents btw. works in Windows XP and also works with any file type 🙂
So with this introduction, I’ll try to detail how folders and labels can be used together to enhance organization and make it easier to find stuff again. But first lets look at the advantages of folders and labels respectively.
Folders are a great way for organizing information in a hierarchy. Where a specific customer folder goes into the clients folder, and inside this customer folder, the different projects are stored. Because the hierarchy is relatively stable and well defined it is also a good fit for information that is shared in an organization.
Labels on the other hand excels in their lack of structure. One can give as many labels as one sees fit and thus place it in multiple categories. This is especially good for cross-cutting information, such as tests that spans different projects or presentations. Finally labels can also have a temporary (toread) or personal nature.
So to sum up, use folders for the stable organization and use labels for cross-cutting and personal organization.
That being said, there is nothing in Nemo Documents that forces one to use folders or labels. If one is perfectly happy with folders that’s great. No need to change a working system. But I do feel that there is something to be gained from adding labels to an existing folder structure.