For not really any reason other than hoping to drop an, “I told you so,” I’d like to make a prediction about how Apple will revolution their file system in their 10.7 update. Everywhere we go with a keyboard these days, we’re asked to identify blogs, bookmarks, photos, notes, conversations, videos, and more with a new type of label: tags. Tags give users the ability to filter and search through content based on the desired file having one (or multiple!) tags. The concept makes any search a custom search, perhaps containing photos in one’s library that contains “vacation”, “Steven”, “animals” in order to find that sequence of photos of Steven feeding the seagulls on vacation.
Throughout this year, I find myself trying to find the most useful ways to organize my files for my first year of creating content for fifth grade language arts. As my plans are dictated by a standards-aligned map, each IWB file, worksheet, assessment, notes file, etc., are all connected to single or multiple standards. In addition, the content is often related to relevant information for the kids (Christmas content at Christmas, hunting content during hunting seasons, etc.). Long story, short: I want to be able to label files according to what exactly the file contains.
Currently, I’m stuck giving a file a single name and placing it in some heirarchy of folders. Until Apple chooses to take on this system of file labeling, there are a couple workarounds I can think of. First, you could use the current file system to make folders labeled according to the tags that you may want to use.
In each folder, you could make an alias, or shortcut, and place it in each appropriate folder. This will make a file that points to the actual file.
Secondly, you could use a file’s Get Info option to place tags in the Spotlight Comments box. This will allow you to use Apple’s Spotlight search engine to find files according to what tags you’d like to search for.
Make no mistake, introducing tagging into the file system would take some thinking on the programmers’ part. Moreover, they would need to think about how files migrated to other operating systems would adapt their tags to a standard file name-based system. Still, I foresee the payoff of adapting this approach to be extremely helpful to Mac users. And if anyone can pull off a revolution, it’s Apple.