Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2006.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

Categories and tags

Posted 22 June 2006 in category, metadata, and tag

I've been thinking about metadata lately (a favorite passtime of mine, it seems). The ideas started brewing about a month ago while I was organizing my photos. The resulting thoughts applicable to this website involve the difference between categories and tags.

Categories , I believe, should be mutually exclusive. "People" as a category is distinguishable from "Places". As I have blogged over these past years, I've come to question my categories, which certainly are not mutually exclusive: Life, Technology, Photos, Projects, Quotes, and the most recent one: Asides.

The categories should provide a simple filing system, something that my current categories fail at. For instance, "Asides" is used not to describe the entry's general topic, but instead affects the presentation! This is appalling, and is something I will work to fix.

Tags , on the other hand, describe the content of the entry more thoroughly, and can be applied as needed regardless of the category. Therefore, I can have two quotes in different categories such as "Life" and "Technology", both tagged with "quote".

It will take some work to recover from several years of poor organization, and indeed this may only happen after moving off of Wordpress. (Why doesn't Wordpress natively support tags?!) Does anybody have any good suggestions for generic categories? I'm thinking "Life" and "Technology". "Projects" seems appropriate, but it would likely often be a subset of "Technology"...