Posted by Eric (April 16, 2010 at 12:17 am)
I’ve been thinking about directory structure lately. I have to deal with it all the time, generating so much material (e-mail drafts, photos, newsletters, handbills, handbooks and so forth). What goes where?
You’ve got what it is (a postcard). You’ve got what it’s about (a protest). You’ve got where it’s happening (Chicago). And when it’s going on (July 2010).
At least four different “folders” you could put it into. But why have to put it in just one? Or better yet, why not just one—one folder for everything, with user tags to make it all accessible?
If every file, no matter what file type, could be user-flagged—if in fact the OS made it a point to gently ensure each file at least gets presented for tags (along with contextual suggestions), none of us humans would ever have to think about directory structure again. We can leave that to the robots; they seem to like that kind of thing.
I could tag that postcard as “postcard,” “protest,” “Aurora” and so forth. I could add tags for “picket” (the kind of protest), “activism” (the larger category of which protest is one kind), “two-color” (the print method) and on and on. The OS will also do as it already does and tag every file with a filetype and datestamp. Then just search for anything you want by tag.
Having everything heaped in one box is messy and confusing for a human being, but robots couldn’t care less. Let the robots search by tags for us, and we can forget all about folders.