I use to use a lot of tags. It’s an important feature of my reading workflow and I’d like to know how many tags I’ll be able to create with Obsidian? Thanks for your feedback.
I have several kind of nested tags: system attributes such as attributes/booktitle or attributes/author which are relatively few (39) and more specific attributes such as notions: notion/mind or notion/essence or notion/voice and so on. I need those tags because sometimes, if the notion appears in a text, the word does not. For instance, you read an article about aesthetic and the author writes about something which isn’t explicitely mentionned, say “object”. In this case, I’ll have to create a tag “object”. Therefore, the amount of tags could be very high. Is this a realistic way of categorizing my notes?
I have ~3600 tags and it doesn’t seem to be causing problems (I used to tag more things before I used Obsidian, and some are from copies of text, some are variants I should consolidate, and some are just things that happen to start with a hash).
Thank you for your reply. 3600 tags! I used Tinderbox before Obsidian and used a lot of tags too. I don’t know how many, but it was characteristic. My question is: I rebuilt a new vault two days ago and I have already about 160 tags. It is reasonable to think that before the end of august, I’ll have about 500 tags. What about the end of the year? I have a speed computer, but I’m wondering if my tagging system is rational enough.
I don’t think there is any specific limit when using tags - in the end, tags are also just plain text within files. They don’t do anything special as long as you don’t click them. If you click them, all that happens is a search being started, just like any other search operation in obsidian that finally relies on obsidian’s cached note content.
As to the question if your tagging system is “rational” - well, that all depends why you use tags and what exactly you want to achieve. Can you describe your aims in more detail?
I, personally, rely a lot on tags. For me, they establish a network of related topics and notes I wouldn’t remember or think of on my own. In doing so, they produce new connections and force me to leave behind or question my conventional, pre-structured ways of thinking. I have advocated the use of (content-related) tagging in more detail here.
In order to achieve my described goal, I heavily rely on the dataview plugin. The template I use for all my Zettelkasten notes contains a dataview query so that, whenever I read any existing note, I am reminded of connected arguments and topics without explicitly searching for them. In a simplified version (mine is a bit more complex), the last part of my template looks like this:
Thank you for taking time to answer my question.
First of all, I consider tags as a kind of index cards I’d use if I had a physical Zettelkasten. It’s the way I used to proceed when I was a student: I used to cut pieces of paper and wrote on each of them an idea and its references.
Second, I’d like to tag my notes as I used to do with Tinderbox, also a great tool for taking notes. Therefore, in this case, I use to tag a note with every word which seems to me related to this note. At this point, the amount of tags can be compared to a dictionary and that is the reason why I’m afraid of tagging a lot: I wouldn’t like to have to reset entirely my notes if I observe that my tags slow a lot my files.
I agree with you when you say HERE : https://forum.obsidian.md/t/tags-vs-page-link/193/28:
“Trying to find out something about conservatism, I probably would have searched for “conservatism”, maybe for “politics” or “parties” etc. - but not for “desire”, “school”, “procrastination”, “digitalisation” or “existentialism”.”
I think it’s exactly the process I’m searching for. Would it be better to use a more generic system tagging such as categories, notions, concepts, etc. ? In my case, I don’t think so at all. In my field of research, philosophy and human sciences, concepts take a central part in the research process.
My question is not documentation-process oriented. It is technic-oriented: how many tags can an Obsidian vault contain without bugging my vault? Is Obsidian designed for allowing a lot ogf tags and how many? But it seems that you answered:
“I don’t think there is any specific limit when using tags - in the end, tags are also just plain text within files.”
In principle, this is how I am proceeding, too. Yet, from my own experience, I would nevertheless give the advice to not choose too many tags per note - because this would result in such an overwhelming quantity of potential connections that they become rather meaningless in the end. Depending on the length of the respective note, I usually produce between one and three or four tags.
I don’t know if your tagging system is rational. Mine is semi-rational at best. I apply tags often but rarely click them or use them in searches (I do use them occasionally as search filters). Mainly they help quiet my fear of not being able to find things (I have less of that fear in Obsidian than I did in my previous system of plain-text notes without any special app). They also serve as a quick summary of a note’s topics.
I’m reducing the number of tags in my vault. Besides variants and things like hex numbers that aren’t actually tags, I have some things like people’s names which I am converting to notes. I’ll probably still have a lot of tags, tho.
I don’t know how much tagging affects performance. Obsidian indexes them but I don’t think that takes much. I have a fast computer so it’s harder for me to see performance problems than it used to be.
I completely modified my note-taking process. The fact is that, when I used Tinderbox, which is, I must say it, a very very strong and superpowered tool, I used to let my tags organize my notes. And I tended to not re-reading systematically my tags. Therefore, I did not use as much as I could the Attribute browser, which lets you see your tags one by one.
I apply tags often but rarely click them or use them in searches (I do use them occasionally as search filters). Mainly they help quiet my fear of not being able to find things
My fear too is that I could forget or ignore some important aspects of my notes I mentionned above: a word is not a concept and a tag is there to highlight a concept without word in a note.
I have now several, but relatively few, tags I use in the following format : attribute/book, attribute/author, and so on and I don’t tag any note I take, I mean, in fact, any sentence I take. But, if it’s a quotation, I use attribute/quotation. And I create systematically a fleeting note as soon as I associate a sentence, a quotation, a reference… to an idea.