18 Responses to “Essential Metadata Tips”

  1. Thanks David. The price has been scaring me off. I often feel I have not really proved the good of a program before the trial period ends, and have forked out good money in vain. I shall try to give Leap a good try. — John

  2. David Voelker

    John: Following up on your desire to search tagged files only, I think that the best software for tagging and searching these days is probably Leap, which I use alongside YEP for managing tags:
    Here’s the link:

    One reason I like using Leap is that it has a database that effectively backs up all of your tags, in case you were to lose the Spotlight Comments metadata.

  3. Hello all,

    I appreciated the tip at the beginning about DFX and Tagbot. But something important is missing. We need to be able to search within the tagged files to narrow our search. I have yet to see that made simple.

    Using Tagbot, I have just tagged all items in two folders in one fell swoop – neat. Number 74 is in brackets after the tag name, “staff”. (And I would like to add more…)

    Then I double clicked my tag to open a tagbot search in the finder window. Now, I want to search within that finder list for the word “map” in the filename, to get it down to 6/7, and easily see the file I want. I type map at the top right, then select tagbotsearch and filename as the qualifiers – but lots of other, untagged files in other folders now appear in the list. Not much use!

    Is there another way to do this? I need to be able to search within my tagged files somehow. (Every tagging program that I have tried lacks the kind of simple solution I crave.)

  4. I think some of the problems are that changes were made ‘under the hood’ to Leopard that have made some things not work properly for Quicksilver’s tagging plug-in & TagBot, & they haven’t been updated properly to work with Leopard.

    For me Quicksilver will tag files properly but when opening a Finder smart search window it won’t correctly display only files tagged with the tag you want to display (it will show lots of other files, instead of only tagged files).

    When adding tags with TagBot (for me) it wipes out all other tags on a file added previously which is a pretty serious bug. It looks like TagBot isn’t being actively developed anymore & email support is awful (replies takes, weeks or months if you get a reply at all). I’ve had to ditch TagBot to prevent wiping existing tags from my files.

    So at the moment I’m tagging files with Quicksilver & Default Folder X & just using Spotlight & Finder windows to display tagged files (saving my most commonly used tags as Smart Folders).

    Punakea is a great all in one tagging app but uses it’s own proprietary tagging method (i.e. you can’t just use the & to prefix tags).
    But it looks like they’ll let you specify your own prefix in the future, so I’m hoping this is in the next version to be released in the near future.

  5. byrnegreen

    I am trying to institute a meta-data convention, and I am having some inconsistency issues. I am wondering if anyone has any advice for me. I am using a combination of TagBot and Quicksilver on 10.5 w/ 3g ram to tag files, and there are many inconsistencies when adding/removing tags. I am sure there is an underlying pattern, but to this point i am unable to find it.

    Basically, it comes down to this: there are different results for the same tags/files across my system, depending on how the tag was set/how it was searched/how it was removed. The frustrating thing is that the behavior itself seems inconsistent as well, meaning that the same type of action produces different results in different instances. I don’t think it is a TB issue per say, but thanks to the great UI, it is where the issue shows up.

    Here’s an example: If I pull up a search window by double clicking in TB, and then select a file in that window, and erase the tag in the GetInfo/Spotlight Comments dialogue, the number of tags in TB (sometimes) remains as it was before erasing the info in Spotlight Comments. Also, clicking again on the tag in TB will still (sometimes) find the file (from which te tag was just removed) in the smart folder (which has a different # of files in it than the TB dialogue box says), even though the tag no longer exists in the Spotlight Comments box. For example: If I erase–in spotlight comments–‘&zzax’ as a tag for a particular file, and then double click on zzax in TB, the smart folder still comes up with that file in the window. Further, if I highlight the file in the smart folder, and then click cmd-I to get info, the meta data does not exist. TB is finding phantom tags?!?!?

    One more issue, when in QS: If I invoke the tag catalogue, arrow over to a tag, arrow over through that, there is a list of appropriate tags (whether that is consistent with TB is inconsistent) HOWEVER, if i stay at the tag level and hit “show files matching…” then the Finder Window that comes up seems to show every file on my computer.

    I am confused, to say the least. Could this have to do with Quicksilver or another application (e.g. Leap) I installed? Is it a delay issue (I have 3gb ram and not much running) that only occurs sometimes? Are there different databases where tags can be added, and hence different results for different queries?

    Thanks for reading this long comment/cry for help. Any and all suggestions for helping me sort this out are appreciated!

  6. Interesting, I was able to get the bigrobot site to work this afternoon (9/3/07), and I downloaded Tagbot successfully.

    Thanks for the backup tips, Nick. I may wait and see how Time Machine performs before changing my current system, but SuperDuper sounds great.

  7. David, I’ll have to see if I can get in contact with the devs and see what’s going on there.

    As for the backup, I use SuperDuper for my system wide backup (EVERYTHING), and then Chronosync for more custom backups/syncs of files.

    If I understand the metadata setup in 10.4, the Spotlight Comments are actually stored in a database (probably someplace in the /system folder or something like that). So my tags persisted across my backup because I did the entire system, and not just my user folder. I can’t be certain, but that’s my guess. It sure would be nice if that metadata was actually stored as a couple bytes on the file itself, similar to ID3 tags with music files…

  8. Yea, I’ve sent a couple of emails over the last few weeks (about a support issue) & keep getting messages saying the emails couldn’t be delivered.

    They’ve either got really poor hosting or it’s the power problems? (or something else?)

  9. On Sept. 1 and 2, bigrobotsoftware seems to be down again. Does anyone know of other trustworthy places to download tagbot?

    Nick, when your drive crashed, you mentioned that your back-ups preserved your spotlight comments. What kind of a system were you using at the time? (I use Backup.)

  10. I just wish I didn’t have to pay $35 to get a save dialog with Spotlight comments. Damn you Apple! I’m sure DF does other cool stuff, just not sure if I need it.

  11. Our McNucle offers some good metadata management support for your Mac data. The browser exposes all your metadata for edit and offers Spotlight like search. Remote access to your Mac data is included…

    And it is free.

    You can check it out at inuron.com