My man Raz asked some questions about how to tag your files for use with Spotlight. I don’t believe there’s truly a right or wrong way to do it. (Except for the way I do it. That way being the right one of course…) Here are some ideas that hopefully will function as guidelines for creating your own tagging schema.
First and most importantly, decide what system of tagging will work best for you. What’s your general use of these files? I tend to be a project-centric person. So my tags tend to be more about the project name, than a category that the file may fit into. What’s your end-game?
Once you know what you’re aiming for, decide on the vocabulary you’re going to use. STICK TO IT. Pluralize your tags or DON’T. Use descriptive verbs, or just basic nouns. However you decide to use your tags, stick to a system so you don’t end up with a bunch of one-offs. (pic, pictures, photo, photos, photograph, photography….) It’ll be easier if you don’t have to use wildcard search queries to bring back all the results you’re looking for.
Also, decide on how specific you want to be with your tags. Should you use ‘lettertoeditor0206’ or just ‘letter’? Will a shotgun approach of 10 simple (general) tags be more useful to you than 1 or 2 super-descriptive ones? If you’re not sure, do some testing for a couple weeks and find out what works best for your needs.
These things should get you thinking a bit. They may lead you on to other thoughts that will be even better for determining what you really need to do. If so, let us know. We could always use better processes.
On the other hand, maybe you want to follow something fairly well established, such as del.icio.us. There are tons of ‘best practices’ posted to blogs out there, so Google around a bit. That said, my del.icio.us tags are a mess – I was young and stupid, ok?!
So I skimmed some of those aforementioned Google results to see what they had to say. “Be liberal in your use of tags.” Follow what some of the more prolific del.icio.us users are doing. A study of del.icio.us tagging in a social environment.
Approach it however you feel suits you best. I find that some of the more ‘successful’ del.icio.us methods out there aren’t ideal for my Spotlight Metadata Tagging needs. Your mileage may vary.