Monday, 8 April 2019

Computerised filing

For a long time I've found the file systems on computers disappointing. Increasingly I find I want to store things in multiple places.

"\Top-Level\Sub-Level\My-File"

The concept of folders is not efficient for the computer nor is it helpful in finding files that relate to multiple subjects.

"My-File, #Top-Level, #Sub-Level, #Also-Something"

I think, in this day and age, all files could use a tagging system.
Computers are powerful enough to carry out these searches in real time. The tags would need to be indexed and stored in a database.

Many online systems already use tags instead of folder.

Very simple to implement. When the file is saved the person would get the opportunity to add tags to the file. These would be saved with the file and indexed in a database.
Existing tags should be easily browsable at the point of saving, exactly like the existing folder structure.

"Other-File, #Top-Level, #Something-Else"

When browsing files, the existing folder structure gets translated, automatically, to a search. Rather than a folder and sub-folders, it would be a list of tags with the logical AND applied to them. In addition a manual search box could be used so the logical OR would take precedence.

"#Top-Level\#Sub-Level" = files tagged #Top-Level AND #Sub-Level
"#Top-Level,#Sub-Level" = files tagged #Top-Level OR #Sub-Level

The important bit is that a browsable hierarchy exists. You don't have to remember any of the tags used nor the file name. As you select tags any tags that are also on files with that tag are displayed for easy selection along with a list of all the files tagged with the selection.

File Manager
"#Top-Level"
Browse: #Sub-Level, #Also-Something, #Something-Else
Matching files: My-File, Other-File

File Manager
"#Top-Level\#Sub-Level"
Browse: #Also-Something
Matching files: My-File

File Manager
"#Top-Level\#Something-Else"
Browse:
Matching files: Other-File

I'm sure there must be some disadvantages but I'm struggling to think what they would be.
The system can easily integrate in to the current way of working with the additional benefits being available in parallel.

If only I had time to write a file system.

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