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For example, if I have
Book 1 tagged "history, England, 20th century",
Book 2 tagged "USA, 20th century, history", and
Book 3 tagged "history, England, Scotland, 16th century",
Book 4 tagged "fiction, fantasy, England"
I would like to be able to click on the tag "history" and get a listing of "16th century, 20th century, England, Scotland, and USA". "fiction and fantasy" tags would be excluded from this list because they aren't on a book with a "history" tag. Ideally, I'd then like to be able to click on "England" and then get a listing of all books with the tags "history and England". I know that I can run searches for all books w/ tags "history and England", but I'd really like to see a list of associated tags for any given tag.
If it's related tags only within your own library, I agree, and I requested something like this before:
I'm not sure if I'm thinking of exactly the same thing as you, though. Is there more you would want this to do? Would it be something like a tag page, but personalized - i.e. a tag page restricted to how the tag is used in your library?
It's already possible to see related tags from LibraryThing itself.
Not sure about the tagmash part of it.
rsterling: Yes, I think we are talking about the same thing - related tags within our own libraries.
I know how to see related tags across LT, but I'm less concerned about that than locating related books w/in my own library. I'm in the process of cataloguing my books and I'm trying to work out a tagging system that's not completely random - this feature would be a huge help, since I'm kind of an organizational freak. :-)
I wouldn't think that the UI would be difficult (not that I know much about these things). If I go to my tag page and click on "history", right now that takes me to a page that lists books with that tag. Great. Theoretically, on that same page couldn't there be, below or off to one side, a list of related tags? Or a link that says "related tags" that takes you to another page that lists all tags also found on the list of books tagged "history"?
book 1: history, 12th century, England
book 2: history, 12th century, Scotland
book 3: history, 20th century, Canada
The order you enter your tags is the order they will sort when you sort your library by tags, so if you use a hierarchy, you can see what books relate. Go to my library and sort by tags if this seems confusing - you'll see what I mean. This may be a way to help you, if Tim and co do not implement a tagmash for personal use.
At the top where the 'map' is showing where you are you could follow it with a drop down of the tags related, and if one is selected you can add it to the list and have another dropdown showing the tags related to BOTH of the current tags listed (as a bonus)
Doing two related tags wouldn't be too hard - the way elphaba44 suggested in 9 would work (or a separate link under the tag for 'related' or something like that). It's doing three or more that would be very difficult. Maybe...a page (like Tags, or a lightbox off Tags) with 3-5 fields (or a field with a More function), where you enter a tag, enter another tag (number of books with both displays), enter another tag (number updates to books with all three)...then click a button to See Books with all those tags.
That gives you related tags, but not really hierarchical. That may have to wait until tags get modified to codes instead of text (yeah, I believe it will have to happen at some point...), when Historical as a subset of Fiction will be distinguished from Historical as a subset of Romance as a subset of Fiction...to draw an example from my library.
ETA hierarchical discussion
Part of me thinks, yes, hierarchal and related tags would be awesome. And then I thought but that's just one more thing to distract from collections...or is it?
Because couldn't collections semi-solve this problem? I could create a collection for my history books and then, ideally, be able to look at the tags on only those books.
See we want collections even more than you thought we did.
I, too, am currently doing some modified forms of grouping tags - mostly for subgenres of fiction (Fantasy: Contemporary, Fantasy: Historical, etc) so I can find them easier on my tag listing. But that doesn't give me an idea of the true breadth of topics associated with any other topic, and that is what I'd dearly love to see. It would be doable to do group tags for my history collection, but it's pretty varied, so that would get to be a rather long list of tags! I may end up doing it anyway. I haven't catalogued most of my history collection yet for just this reason.
Hierarchical vs. related tags? I don't think I'm quite grasping the difference. Would this be a difference in the programming of the feature (in which case, I'd be clueless anyway) or would there actually be a difference in how it functioned for the users?
(and I appreciate the discussion, all - it's good to see what others are thinking about this!)
Again, this is how _I_ visualize Collections working. I _think_ it's pretty close to how Tim is thinking, but given some previous guesses that were wildly off, I'm not making any guarantees.
24> Yes, if you only need 'things with this tag', anything that won't screw up a URL will work fine. The searching is necessary if you want to find 'things _without_ this tag' - I have all my tags that mean 'not-owned' (borrowed, discarded, read at bookstore) marked with @ so if I search for tags:-@* I can see all the books that I actually own. So for your purposes, the } works fine.
As it is, my list of tags is awkward but ordered (well enough -- there's still the alphabetical issue):
category_1 : subcategory_11
category_1 : subcategory_11 : subsubcategory_111
category_1 : subcategory_11 : subsubcategory_112
category_1 : subcategory_12
category_1 : subcategory_12 : subsubcategory_121
category_2 : subcategory_21
I would prefer to see:
I could get approximately and awkwardly what I want with a numbering system, which would be ordered though difficult to read (and which would require me to think about the order more carefully), but then my tags would never match anyone else's tags (not that they do now, except at the highest level):
The issue for me is actually not that I want LT to know how I logically group my books, but that I want my tags displayed on the tag page in a particular order that I can control (with the same order in the book list).
Now, seeing that, of course, could also help with organizing tags in a hierarchical way, but the request i had was simply about having a "related tags" display - something like the one on this and other tag pages (http://www.librarything.com/tag/literature), but only for *my* library, i.e. where the relationships are only for my tags of my books. So it's not about creating something new called "related tags" but simply about displaying those that are already related to each other in my library (something that's already done on a site-wide basis).
On collections: I hope collections is open-ended enough to accommodate various ways of using it and creating user-generated collections (and not just set collections), so that we can use set collections like currently reading, wishlist etc. but also create others, as we want, for "borrowed from library," "at mom's house," "read but do not own," "kid's books," and - if individual users want, "history" or "fiction" or whatever.
"Hmm, I wasn't necessarily thinking of drilling down through levels, but just being able to create groups with a heading to organize the tags on my tag page, instead of having just the alphabetical or frequency run-in lists. It would make life so much easier for me.
To repeat and extend the example above:
biodiversity, biogeography, developmental biology, ecology, geology, mathematics
French, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish
The headings wouldn't have to be tags themselves, just an organizing tool."
I wrote that in November 2006, and I would still (or even more) love to be able to do it.
Just imagine: I click on the tag "history" and easily see that my history collection leans heavily toward "architecture," on the one hand, and "American society," on the other, with strong showings by "dystopias" and "globalization" as well. Or I could see that "human ecology" brings together my books on "building technology" and "corporatism," which could be useful if I'm wondering what to read next. Or, I could pull up my "wishlist" tag and see what sorts of books I've been coveting. Clicking on a tag in the tag cloud would lead me to a tag-mash: "history+architecture", for example, or "wishlist+sustainability."
>5 timspalding: Right. In theory, this is doable, but what's the UI for it?
I imagine the UI would be on the tag page, changing the menu that pops up when you hover over a tag to: edit | tag page | related tags, where "related tags" pulls up a sort of personal tag cloud for that tag in your library, either in a lightbox or as another page.
>27 rsterling: The point about displaying relationships between tags is different from the idea of designing hierarchical tags, because in the former, we're just requesting that we be able to *see* relationships that already exist
Exactly. Although I understand why people tag hierarchically (I've toyed with the idea, although it seems like too much work), hierarchy does seem kind of antithetical to the idea of tagging. (To use Tim's well-worn example, there's no reason for France to be a subset of history, or vice versa.) But hierarchical systems do grant a great deal of functionality that tagging can only rival by capitalizing on its strength: the combined power of small bits of data.
I cringe a little when I see tags like "category: subcategory: subsubcategory," because in truth that's three separate tags. But I understand why they're useful, especially if you're focusing on how your own library is organized rather than on how it connects to others'. LibraryThing's been very much on the cutting edge about maximizing the potential of tags site-wide (innovations like the tag-mirror come to mind), but tags are still relatively limited within one's own catalog.
In the world at large (if a system of specific categories were to be designed for use by everyone), I'd agree with this. In my own world/mind, I might well be interested in all things French including history, or in all things historical including France -- I would not necessarily consider the two categories equally significant. Also, I think it's not unreasonable to view biology and physics as subsets of science.
31: I cringe a little when I see tags like "category: subcategory: subsubcategory," because in truth that's three separate tags. But I understand why they're useful, especially if you're focusing on how your own library is organized rather than on how it connects to others'.
I also cringe, more than a little, and I completely agree that it's three separate tags. It is precisely _because_ I cringe, and _because_ it's three separate tags, that I'd like to see improved tag features (at least the ability order tags, though ideally something more sophisticated). I joined LT to organize my own library. (And really, I'd've paid the $25 lifetime membership fee for only that.) The social stuff was an unexpected extra. The more I see of the social/connection features, the more I am interested in them. But so long as I have to make a choice, I care more about seeing an overview of my books, and the tag page is where it's at. Most of my books fall into about half a dozen major categories, and I don't want to search for these tags in a list of over a hundred less important tags.
I'd love to see something like this!!
My tags are not in any hierarchical order, and I like it that way. They are basically in the order in which I added each tag, which is how I like it. As long as the tag order doesn't go changing willy-nilly because of some new feature, then... yeah.
(and fyi, I'm saying this with very little knowledge of what exactly "hierarchical tags" would be.)
37: Me too. I'd be shuffling my books around for awhile because many wouldn't fit into nice neat categories. I'd assume that hierarchical categories would still allow books to have multiple tags just as they do now. My current tags are preliminary. I've made an attempt offline to revise (because I enjoy this sort of thing), but it's a daunting task (and I don't want to get so bogged down that I never get all of my books into LT). My hope for hierarchical tags would not be that I'd eliminate all clutter and ambiguity, but that I'd eliminate a fair proportion of it, and also have a tool for thinking.
38: This is more about the library as a whole, not individual books (though the tag order for individual books might become an issue). Your "very little knowledge of what exactly hierarchical tags would be" is the general state of things. It's an idea, and not well defined, and so far LT has not officially taken up the cause -- too immersed in other features at the moment (and who knows, the work on collections may be relevant).
I opened a bookbox from my storage and had to go trough my whole library and write out sides to get the hierarchical system on print to see how I had done it before. (It was 18 pages A4 written out.)
It would have been so much easier to just have a list of the tagstings on your tagsite.
Lightroom is Adobe's RAW image editing and cataloging tool. It was originally targeted at serious photographers who do a lot of shooting (I have a third of my photos in LR and have 4,000 photographs tagged).
Their tagging structure is very similar to LT's. You just tag items with single tags like "WWII" or "Christopher" or "France." Their UI then allows you to organize your tags much like you do a folder structure on your harddrive. By doing this you create tag "trees" that give your tags a hierarchical order. You can also create the trees manually by tagging something with a complete path with delimiters between the tags like so:
Each of these tags can also have numerous aliases, so anything tagged with Greece would also be considered to be tagged with Hellas for instance. Searching for either would find the item. Likewise, searching for Greece will find all of the items tagged with Acropolis (because after the hierarchies are made then you can simply use the lowest level for which an item matches and the system knows the structure above that is inferred). Of course, the catch with this sort of system is that there can't be an "Acropolis" tag under "Greece" and "Cyprus" at the same time. That's a minor issue when you consider the fact that each member would have their own set of hierarchies and you could always vary the term slightly to make it unique:
And honestly, we could probably figure out a way around that if we felt the need.
We already have some idea of tag aliases here because tags can be combined, although it is only at the global level.
It's much easier for LR to deal with tag aliases and hierarchies because they are only dealing with a single user. We deal with half a MILLION of them but that isn't something that would keep us from using hierarchical tags if it came to that.
The great thing about h-tags is that if you don't want to use them then you just don't. Tags are treated exactly the same.
My tuppen'orth: do, for the sanity of your users, adopt hierarchical tags quickly. A flat hierarchy creates extra work for users, both in avoiding redundancy (why tag London, Britain & Europe when you can tag just London?) and distinguishing between semantically different tags (do you mean orange the colour or orange the only fruit?)
For example: I have 15 books tagged Africa. But the top tags for those books are: Theology, Travel, History, Biography, Food, Fiction.
My theology heirarchy has a section for 'Women in the church', but I have added that tag to lots of books that are in other parts of the heirarchy.
OK, every book I tag Vienna has to also be tagged Austria, so it comes up on a general Austria search, but it isn't that difficult to add the extra tag.
Partly because most hierarchies are not as clear as the concocted geographical examples people always bring up. Does a book about French history go under History > France or France > History?
Also, if you're brokenhearted about anything to do with a web browser, count yourself fortunate that your troubles are so small. ;)