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Managing lots of notes

I've seen a few discussions that mention Joplin note collections in the thousands, and lately it's got me interested. I don't have close to that many (yet?), maybe 300 or so, but I can see that organisation is something that I need to address.

Obviously I use tags a lot - way more than links between notes to be honest, so for those who have Joplin notes collections in the thousands, how do you organise them?

Specifically, how do you manage the number of tags? OK, that's probably a reflection of the way I use the product - but I can forsee that I'll end up creating tag hierarchies in an effort to help me find notes, and Joplin doesn't really support tag hierarchies (I'm referring to a hyponym / hypernym type of model here).

I'm interested to understand how other people manage large collections of notes.

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I don't use tags much, although I might if hierarchical tags is ever implemented. Instead I simply put the notes in a hierarchy of notebooks, with the ones I often use at the root. Then I use Goto Anything quite a lot to quickly jump to notes or notebooks.

It's simple -- just write your notes once and never read them again.


I am in the same boat, I use nested folders for organization. I've done some refactoring of my folders a few times, but mostly they stay the same. When there was hierarchical tags (I think this feature was beta for a few days forever ago?) I was planning to abandon folders and move to a similar structure of tags. This would allow for multi-dimension view of notes. In the end folders has been fine.

And to be honest, many of my notes are in this category :stuck_out_tongue:

It was, but unfortunately could not be kept due to serious performance issues.

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Thank you for pointing out Goto Anything. I was not aware of that feature and usually just used the Search box but Goto Anything is useful.

GoToAnything is better than regular search box. Partial word search, search for notebooks or tags with one keystroke.

What I wrote above about not going back to my notes is of course not quite true. In fact, I even have a telegram bot that sends me a random entry from my journal every morning.

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OK, that's understandable. Perhaps as an alternative I need to look for a plugin that can search for notes by combining tags:

data AND sharepoint

For example.

I haven't spent a lot of time looking through what's what's available as an "add-on" and I should.

@JackGruber's Note Overview plugin can do this.

Tags are not very well done and they seem to increase the number of files that have to be sync'd. So I went for text tags. And here anything will do: #tag, @tag, :tag:

Just go ahead and make a list somewhere with the tags you use so you won't have variations like :tag: :tags: :Tags: :TaG: and than use the global search to get a list of notes and tasks that are labeled.

just in order to give you a different point of view. I started with nested folders, it got a bit out of control and felt like too much work to get back under control. So I started using a few important notes with tags, added more and more. Since I got it organized this way, I use nothing but tags.
Also think roman's line is more than appropriate for many "notes" users. If you have got 10.000 notes, start watching your back trail. It may well be that 90% could simply be deleted (get nebver looked at) and of course it doesn't hurt if you add another 20.000. Just buy a bigger SSD :wink:

A quote from Bruce Schneier : we have learned how to store data, now it's time to learn how to delete them ... efficiently.

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What is a text tag in contrast to a tag ? one word you do manually add to a serious of notes ... when you happen to remember ?

@ajay - agreed. In the end it's about knowledge organisation and having the will to delete notes that are no longer needed or helpful, or maybe just plain wrong.

This weekend I found a directory with maybe 50 notes that I'd written a decade ago, and I've been going through them. Many are bookmarks for a specific subject - some of the links give '404' now, others are clearly dated (Windows 7 networking anyone?) and others relate to products no longer available or that have been superseded. I may have kept 2 out of the 20 or so that I've looked at, the rest just got wiped. The 2 are in Joplin.

I'm currently collecting information about Knowledge Graphs and the articles and notes are going into Joplin where they're all tagged with 'knowledge management', some also have 'python'. The acid test will be in a year when I've made use of the information in them, how many will survive? I've a feeling that most will because I'm a magpie. And that's something that neither tags, notebooks nor Joplin can fix.

I could write extensively about a system I'm developing outside Joplin to handle notes in bulk, but this is neither the time nor the place. And even with a reasonably powerful server it's not a real-time system.

Why bother? Search via title, keywords, or tags is an efficient way of finding what you need, so I don't see the need to spend time culling old notes. If obsolete attachments are bloating the Joplin profile directory, it's easy enough to delete the largest offenders. I'm sure I have many hundreds of notes that are irrelevant for me going forward, but I see very little reward for taking the time to identify and delete them.

These ones mostly held URLs (each with a line of descriptive text), and we all know URLs go stale quickly so to me it was worth checking. Particularly as so few were still useful.

For me that's the most useful aspect of Joplin - interesting pages can be clipped so that they don't disappear.

In due course, the NLP system I'm building will handle the Joplin notes as well as the main corpus I've built up elsewhere.

Meaning you put the text somewhere in the beginning of the note. This has the added advantage of when you decide to move over from Joplin. Like front matter in YAML which Joplin can't understand, yet more polished apps do, say Typora.

Coming in from Evernote, with over 10 000 notes imported (that took a few days, let me tell you), I'm using the nested notebooks and the favorites plug-in for quick access.

I miss the nested tags, though, as I've got hundreds of them. But I've seen that it's in development, so hopefully it will come some time soon.

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Could you give an intuitive, simple example which shoes the benefits of nested tags ? Or is the only purpose to collapse the list of tags into separate lists ?

I've used a similar approach before, and for me it worked like this:

I have an article about database programming in Python which has neo4j example code. In Joplin I've added these tags (here the comma is the tag separator):

Python, database, neo4j

If I had nested tags, that would become:

python / database / neo4j

The first approach needs the equivalent of a database join to find the article, the latter is a hierarchy which makes the finding easier. The more articles you have the more useful hierarchic or nested tags can become.

With nested tags, for similar articles I could also have:

python / database /cockroachdb
python / database / mssql
python / database / sqlite

and so on.