Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ideal Bookmarking System

On Mozilla's addon page, there are over 700 extensions under Bookmarks, and about 100 of those are listed when searching for 'tag'.

You would think with all of that attention about tags I would be able to find something to suit my tastes. But when it comes to tagging I appear to by picky. So this is a description of the tagging system that I think would satisfy me.


Keyboard only. I hate having to switch from keyboard to mouse and back. Since adopting Ubiquity, I do most of my navigating with the keyboard. Tagging should fit in my keyboard centric world.
Firefox natively supports keyboard tagging, though it takes a few tabs.

There has to be some way of keeping similar tags under control. I often have to do maintenance finding I have duplicate tags like 'app' and 'apps', or 'Music' and 'music'. An alias would remove the 'apps' tag and replace it with the 'app' tag.
tweeze and Gbookmarks Reloaded support auto-complete.

Auto-tagging. This could be easily misinterpreted as there are some services that automatically apply search terms and the like to bookmarks. That is NOT what I mean.

I want specific tags to automatically invoke a general one. Rather than manually tagging all video links with 'video' and 'media', the 'media' tag should be applied automatically when I tag something with 'video'.


Structure. Bundles seem to be the dominant method for creating structure in a tagscape. GBookmarks Reloaded uses a weak form of hierarchical tags. I could also imagine creating a few primary tags that would be a gateway to all other tags. Categorize might eventually work something out. Whatever the method, some structures is needed to let tagging be as free as possible while still being useful.

Searchable. Sometimes tags fail you. Searching is an important contingency.

NULL Tag.When I open my C:\ drive I see 7 files and 8 folders. There are millions (or something) of files on this drive but I only see 7. This is the list of files that didn't belong in any of the other 8 folders. The way tagging systems work now, if I were to find one of those 7 files, I would have to browse through the millions of files, or search. Mandatory search means the tags have failed us. Any civilized manageable tagging system is going to have to be able to produce that list of 7. That is to say that I need to be able to ask my tagging system for all the links that have 'tag1' and no other tags ('tag1' and NULL). Likewise I must be able to find 'tag1', 'tag2' and NULL, and all other combinations.

I have not been able to find any tag system that can do this. Some developers have told me it would be difficult to implement. It is however essential to a scalable tagging system.


Portable. There are two bookmarking strategies. Online and local. Local is its own silo, and ever online service is its own silo. Porting from one silo to another always loses some data. I`ve done this a few times, and every time I lose something: dates, folders, links, tags. Right now my new bookmarks are saved locally and backed up with a syncing service. This seems to act like part of the local silo.

The Categorize addon has a few great things about it, though there are enough distractions to water them down. Categorize does local tag bundling but cannot port in my existing bookmarks. Nor can it export them. This is no good to me. I am subscribed to its feed to follow its progress.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is quite the list. I know someone who is working on a project that would do (most) of what you're asking for -- he's creating it for tagging pictures though, not for bookmarking. It's a very hard problem, but our lives would be so much easier if it was solved!