Categories and Subcategories options

Hi everyone!

I’m starting my PKM journey. After watching @tallguyjenks video about the use of tags and links (, it resonated a lot with me. I prefer organic structures to pre-made rigid ones. Now my doubt is…

Are there any best practices (specially with that use of links as tags) for categorization? Let’s put an example. Say I have a note about something related to “JavaScript”. In my mind its categories (links) could be:

  1. Single link to “Computer/Programming/JavaScript” MOC (hierarchical).
  2. Links to “JavaScript”, “Programming”, “Computer” MOCs (no strict hierarchy but links to all upward "chain).
  3. Links to just the “JavaScript” MOC where that MOC links up to “Programming” MOC which links up to “Computer” MOC.

All in all, I’m trying to avoid pitfalls to the growth of my Knowledge base and emergence/discoverablity but I don’t have a clear notion on whether it is better to:

  1. Have strict hierarchical subcategories (in theory “JavaScript” should always be a child of “Programming” but you never know) or…
  2. If its better to keep it flat but link to all related topics even if they are “far away” or…
  3. Link to just the most concrete topic which would then be linked/related to its parent topic but can also be linked to other topics (IDK, maybe I have a MOC about “sorting algorithms” or “AI” which that note can be related too).

I think I haven’t expressed this well but I find it hard to explain. Any insights and experiences are really welcome.

Thanks a lot!

I link / tag to where I think I may in future expect/want to find it, and avoid hierarchies as you describe. It also means I may tag it with something that for an outsider would have no relation to the note content.
When I find a note using my collection, I sometimes add tags for the terms I would want to have found it this time.

I call my MOCs ‘elephant paths’ , short EP, and they too are emergent. They may link to each other, but I have no expectation of MOCs being ‘complete’ just a map of things that constitute the paths I follow. For me they don’t constitute a categorisation or hierarchy as you suggest with computer/programming/javascript.

What simplest behaviour now as a heuristic will lead you to interestingly complex patterns in your notes over time?

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Thanks a lot @ton,

I think that last phrase is the key. I guess a part of me still wants a perfect hierarchy even though I know it’s impossible (or at least impractical) for me to maintain.

I think I’ll link to closely related topics/terms that come up in my mind when I think of the content at hand instead of trying to think a perfect global fit.

Thanks a lot!

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