Tags are used to create heterarchical systems that lets you iterate on retrieval. The tag names are abstractions like categories, projects, or ideas that are encoded on top of a set of items (like notes) to make it easy to find later.
A built-in assumption with tag-based systems is that you will use tags consistently—a tag vocabulary. That’s why tags are much easier to develop individually than as a group. It’s easier to map your way of retrieving information than having others agree on how to collectively retrieve information. Twitter hashtags are the exception, but I would argue these are a form of Schelling points.
- org-mode uses projects (hierarchy) and tags (heterarchy) to manage large numbers of tasks
- My tag vocabulary is used for driving functionality rather than organizing topics