Dot Notation Tagging with Del.icio.us

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I’ve been using Del.icio.us for almost a year now and I think it’s great. The only problem I had was that I wound up with too many vague tags that were used only once or twice. It was great that I had these links saved but the lack of organization made any one particular link virtually impossible to find.

Bundles, a way of grouping similar tags, helped to better organize my one-offs into specific categories but it still became a time-consuming affair to continually try to discern which tags belonged in which bundle. Then one day as I was taking a diversion from my ActionScript to check out the popular tags on Del.icio.us I started wondering what would happen if I used a kind of dot notation when tagging.


I made the first word in my tag very general, possibly a name that I would also use as a bundle name. Then I place a dot and a more descriptive word, and if necessary, another. For example, I would tag a flash tutorial on drawing as flash.tutorials.drawing, or a page with css layouts as webDev.css.layouts. By using this method I created easily distinguishable tags that were grouped together with like tags.

I wondered at first if this was defeating the purpose of bundles but, to the contrary, it ended up helping enormously since I was now able to see my major groupings at a glance. Tag names not only made new unbundled tags easier to find, but also suggested new bundles. When I see that I have three or four unbundled tags starting with the same general category, I create new bundle for them. And when I want to organize my Flash tags, I know can just select the new unbundled tags that begin with “flash.”

While my bookmarks aren’t perfectly organized yet, they’re certainly much closer. And the regular routine of organizing them into bundles now takes me about three minutes every couple of weeks as opposed to an hour or two of clicking on tags labeled ‘color’ or ‘tutorial’ to figure out whether it belongs under webDesign or homeImprovement.

So, now that I have my bookmarks organized it’s time to tackle my desk….well, maybe another day.

-rG