Tags vs page/link

The decision of using a new page link or a tag slows me down frequently. How do you use them differentially?? I am worried about a very long tag list.

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My purposes might be different than yours, but for me it’s very clear.

I do research in the humanities that requires interdisciplinary methods.

So tags are concepts or ideas that are typically referenced (implicitly or explicitly) by a wide range of scholars across varying disciplines.

Links, on the other hand, are for the argument of a particular theorist/scholar.

Notes/pages/links are typically an article, chapter, or book of a particular theorist/scholar. Or it can be an edited volume where each chapter will have its own link (almost like a TOC); conversely in the corresponding note of that chapter/link, I have a link back to the edited volume/TOC.

Maybe another way of putting it is: tags = concepts; notes/links = arguments of a particular author (which is usually a journal article, chapter, or book).

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Great topic! I imagine everyone does something different :grinning:. Personally, I like to use tags for static identifiers like note types (person, book, article, daily journal, weekly review) or status (not started, in progress, final draft, done). Everything else is a note/link. I realized that when I was using tags for categories that I almost always wanted to add some information with the tag so it needed to be a note.

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Most often, I use tags to notate the item, not the tag, is transient. I use page links if that item has some relevant sticking power, if you will.

For example, recently I received two book recommendations. The first one came from a buddy whose enjoys reading so, for me in this context, that means relevant sticking power. They even provided a synopsis. That book gets added to my [[TBR]] page. Actually, I just dropped a [[TBR]] next to the book title that I typed on my Daily Journal page and I’ll move it on to the appropriate page in the next day or two.

The second book was recommended by a different friend. Their recommendation was, “Check out So Far From God by Castillo. I heard someone talking about it and sounds like you’ll like it.” That recommendation gets the #tbr tag.

I don’t want to psychologically manage a TBR page, with hundreds of off-hand book recommendations, floating around in the back of my brain. I can deal with 200 tbr tags (I don’t think about tags) but not 200 bullet points/check boxes (sometimes I can’t stop thinking about them) on my one TBR page.

The #tbr will not be going away but some of the books I append it to will, whereas most of the books on my TBR page will, ideally, be read and then transferred elsewhere in my vault as its own page. For me, the content is not cruicially important in determining tag v. page because both will appear in a keyword search, with page links being discovered passively and more frequently due to backlinks.

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Usually I use page/link to combine two concepts when I note down something. For example, when I add something in [[Obsidian]], I would probably think of [[PARA]] and [[Roam Research]], which will be noted down in a new page/link.
I use tags to group concepts that belong to a specific context, such as #agenda, #review, #idea, #draft, etc.
Hope it can help. : )

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thanks for all of above responses. I am currently using tags as “folders”. A markdown file, of course, could belong to multiple folders.

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My observation is that in Obsidian tags are just an automatic search (which I love). So pages are created when I want to formulate knowledge of some sort, they are places to aggregate (and/or create) information related to the page name. Tags are specifically used to answer the question “under what searches would I want to stumble on this idea again?” Yes I try to keep them general and the list short - we’ll have to see how that goes with time.

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I’ve just replied on another post on this (Quote Notes: How to label, an exploration - 40 notes downloadable), but will share here agreeing with most that has been said:

  1. I think important people, books, articles and websites/companies as entities and they deserve to exist with the brackets. I give them a different {} at the main name mainly for org reasons (ex: articles are {a}, books are {b}, evernotes are {e}). I still enjoy them at the correct folders (articles, books, videos) than hashtags, but I believe that has to do anything with my studies on library sciences.
  2. I mainly use tags for aggregating “themes”, “call-to-actions” and “statuses” - ex: some meta-articles have a tag I’ve named #StudyGod. This helps me remember common concepts, what do they serve me for in my study/life strategy and also for having the grouped in a weekly note called “Atomic Ideas”;
  3. Instead of creating one note for each Quote or important text I’ve found, I prefer aggregating them at “Evernotes”. For instance, yesterday I’ve read an article in which some paragraphs serve me for a mental note called “Blogging is the best way to study something”. Then I saw a video today with the same theme… I mainly link those two entities (video and article) to ONE Evernote, but with backlinks to the direct quotes and citations (mainly directly to headers);
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i am using tags as an action… Like #todo or #BibleStudy… and the #TBR i would be using it as a tag.
I am then deleting the tag after i have taken the appropriate action. whereas the [[tbr]] would require a little more work? Because you would have to delete the whole title from the TBR page. and move it to the [[read]] page.
I am probably going to change the whole thing once i put a few hundred notes in here.

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Yeah, there is more work involved with me using a combined [[TBR]] #tbr method. That extra work of moving information from a general page to a more specific or individualized page or section is an aspect of my overall workflow. So, I’m comfortable with that process.

I am benefitting from the time I spend using the app and that benefit increases as I bring in more notes.

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This is a tough nut to crack. Something I recently figured out about myself is that I’m stingy with [[blank tag pages]] and liberal with #tags.

Whatever tag makes sense in the moment I’ll add. What’s the worst that can happen? My tag pane gets super messy I guess. That’s okay with me. I’d rather keep my files cleaner.

Maybe this will change

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This is really helpful, thanks!

I am new to digital knowledge management and somewhat paralyzed by the idea that I should be using a #tag when I should be using a [[page]], or using them inconsistently.

But you’ve succinctly shown me a use case for using both and how I can ‘convert’ between them.

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I used tags for:

  1. keywords: e.g. PCR-method, DNA
  2. progress: e.g. highlight, literature-note, permanent-note
    with tags, I can quickly search my uncompleted notes and filter my whole second brain for specific keywords.

In case the keywords need to be explained,
e.g. PCR method which can consist of qPCR, dPCR, LAMP, etc,
I will develop it into a note page. Borrowing the term used by roam-research community, this page becomes a tag-page.

Note page itself is self-explanatory: anything that need to be explained, explored and recorded.

But, I still leave the tags as it is for boolean filtering

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Interesting because I’ve become more liberal with links since Obsidian doesn’t create the file until you click into it.

I’m hoping we get embeddable queries that solve this problem :crossed_fingers:

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I call this approach ‘fuzzy tags’ since the tags you choose will evolve over time and will vary from one situation to another. This has many advantages when combined with links which are always fixed. It means you can follow links which lead you to new tags which you can then follow. Offers a greater variety of paths. I tend to add a new tag or link to every note that seems interesting (depends on what seems most useful at the time).

A completely different system to tags as fixed categories.

Nothing to stop some tags being categories either.

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I am similar to this. Although I wonder if I am not leveraging the power of backlinks. But I think part of it is making a backlink is cumbersome in comparison to tags. Tag is nice and easy (just a simple # and you don’t have to close it); backlinks are messy–not only do you have to close it, but the autofill (my note titles are long) stress me out everytime!

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I stumbled upon this the other day and made me rethink my own approach. Maybe after when I finish this journal article submission!

EDIT = but I’ll be honest, I’m also in the humanities and in my subfield, scholars are citing others out of context. I think it’s somewhat accepted, but personally I find this unethical and just intellectual appropriation. So while I see the efficiency of atomized notes, I don’t think I can get myself to do that. So I’ll probably keep my current method.

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by the way, I found that I can’t add tags for some long words or some special character like _ & . for example, #Literature Notes is treated as #Literature.
I have tried #Literature Notes#, it sometime works, but a little ugly and sometime doesn’t.
Currently I have to use pages for these tags. like [[Literature Notes]].
This is a bug or I haven’t use it in right way? Anyone else meet this problem?

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That is currently how it works. Obviously multiword tags would require some sort of special delineation but there is not a way to do that yet.

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What I do is add dashes in between the words. I don’t really mind it personally, because I don’t use full sentences for tags as much.

Example: #how-to-cook

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