Collections vs. tagging


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Collections vs. tagging

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maig 23, 2009, 9:23pm

I've been idly wondering about this for a while. How will collections change tagging behavior? For example, will "fiction" and "non-fiction" become collections for most people, such that it will cease to be a common tag for most books? How about "young adult"? I've been known to add tags to books using other people's tags as reference, but will this become less feasible as people slice and dice their catalogs into collections instead?

On the one hand, this could make tagging impoverished. On the other hand, it will (hopefully) clear things "read" and "wishlist" off the tag list, which would be nice. I'm kind of torn about whether collections will help or hurt tags (although I'm still totally stoked about collections in general). What about you guys? What collections will you create and which tags will you eliminate? Or will you keep redundant tags?

maig 23, 2009, 9:27pm

I figure I can eliminate my tags that relate to the location of the book. Tags like "bedroom" and "hall" are useful only to the owner.

Editat: maig 23, 2009, 11:43pm

Here's an excerpt of a reply I wrote to someone who asked about collections/tags in another (obscure) thread:

I'm sure that ingenious LTers will come with all sorts of clever ways to use the different functionalities of collections (and their intersection with tags).

So - one collection that many people felt that they would use is a "Wishlist". So, why not just tag it wishlist? as many people do now (and many will continue to do)

Previously some of us have avoided adding our wishlists because we didn't want recommendations or connections calculated based on books that we haven't acquired/read yet (what if they are awful!?)

So in collections I can have a collection "Portia's Books" and a separate collection "Wishlist" - I can then select to have LT "Use for Recommendations" and "Use for Connections" for the "Portia's Books" collection and NOT for the Wishlist collection.

Another example for recs/cxn: person may want to catalogue their kids' books but not get recommendations for Little Red Riding Hood - they can put the kids books in a collection and call it "Children's Books" and turn off recommendations for that collection.

Also some people have avoided adding books that they don't own because they want to be able to use LT as a Virtual Card Catalogue for their actual library. They could do this with Tags - as many do now - marking everybook "owned" or "not owned" and then filter tags everytime when they want to see just their books. Now with collections - you can put all the owned books in one collection - call it "My Physical Library" and there they are all in one click.

**(One hint may be that you find yourself filtering by the same sets of tags, i.e. *this* but *not that*, on a regular basis then that might be a good candidate for a collection for you.)

A lot of people seem to be anticipating using collections for things that they are currently using @ tags for - designating status as owned/unowned, read/unread, home/ @work.


And to paraphrase myself (from the BETA thread):

I don't know that I would label such a discussion "Pro & Con" - more like "Pro & Pro" - it's not a movie Tags vs. Collections: Duke It Out - it's Tags and Collections: Fighting Chaos Together.

You know? More of a "Wonder Twins Unite" "Two Great Tastes that Go Great Together" "More Beer, Less Filling" sort of thing.


My planned collections so far:

Our Library - actual books physically present in the house that we own (no inclusions, no read-but-unowned) - this is the virtual equivalent of a card catalogue for the house.
- I don't think that collections will replace my "tbr" tag, those books will be here and tagged "tbr" but may not be included in "Portia's Books" collection below until I have read and decided to keep them.

Portia's Books - MY books (not exhaustive - see Books I HATE! below), read or owned
(*use for rec/cxn)

Petruchio's Books - books owned or read by spouse (not used for recommendations or connections)

Wishlist - wishlist (currently housed on BookMooch)

NOT MINE! - books mooched for others, books given to me by others to list on BM
(not used for rec/cxn)

Books I HATE! - books with 1 1/2 stars or less that I removed from "Portia's Books" so that I don't receive recommendations based on them.

Favorites - my favorite books, whether I own them or not
(*Favorites is a default collection - may have special features developed at some future point.)

Combiners! - temporary collection for books I add solely to aid in combining efforts (makes for easy removal via Power Edit once combining session is over)

Some people in the Beta group who have hierarchies of tags are excited about using Collections/Tags to create a tiered organizational system. I'm very excited to see how creative people are in coming up with cool ways to utilize this feature.

maig 23, 2009, 11:49pm

I hope people will keep tagging because quirky tags are much more entertaining to run across than the standard ones, and the more data the better. Sad to think some of it will be lost when people 'switch' from tagging some info to putting it in different collections. Like seeing which book is the most 'unread' is fun, and if people start just making unread collections then that data will be more and more sparse.

feb. 8, 2010, 4:38pm

I'd like to get this topic going again, as I'm just starting to upload my collection. WOO-HOO LT!! GLAD I FINALLY MADE IT HERE! Started with seperate collections for Science fiction and Fantasy and such like, but quickly saw the value of tagging and placing them both in under Fiction. I don't want the collection list to get so long that it's unwieldy, yet trying to express the main categories of my library. So Architecture, Photography and Interior Design all go under Art. But Textiles is a strong contender for it's own collection. I really appreciate the feature that allows a book to be in several collections. As a newbie, Collections is my main focus, but as I play, I can see that tags will be important too.

feb. 8, 2010, 6:13pm

From my point of view collections are best suited to non-subject divisions of your library, such as location or to-be-read or wishlist. Subjects work best with tags since you don't run into problems adding lots of tags and you can search is a lot more flexible for tags than it is for collections.

feb. 8, 2010, 8:16pm

When I first started adding books to my library, I was stuck in Sgt. Friday mode when it came to tags (you know, "just the facts, ma'am"). My tags were all like "20th century, America, fiction, mystery" kinds of tags.

But after joining this group and seeing how wonderfully creative everyone is, I started to loosen up just a little. So now I have a tag for "too sad to re-read" and another for "undercover heroes." And I've started tagging to help me remember key plot points, like "out of the brownstone" for the Rex Stout mysteries that feature Nero Wolfe leaving home (a rarity in the series).

I'm still working on trying to use tags that are not only convey the factual data about my books, but also the spirit of them. It's an ongoing struggle for me, but I'm enjoying the fight!

feb. 8, 2010, 10:26pm

My personal way of differentiating tags vs. collections is often whether the concept of the label is for the "work" or for the "book". Any genre label: tag; any "state" label (unread, wishlist, discarded): collection. It's a clarifying distinction in my mind.

There's a slight overlap in juvenile works, as I separate those so they won't affect recommendations.

feb. 9, 2010, 5:44am

I've doubled and have say 'science fiction' as a tag and a collection. THis means I can filter my ebook collection by science fiction tags, or see how many books tagged dragon appear in the science fiction collection. It is possible to do these searches purely by tag, but it's easier with the collections.

feb. 9, 2010, 8:27am

I don't use collections at all, just tags.

I realize I'm in a minority, but tags still do everything I need.

feb. 9, 2010, 9:19am

I basically manage my library the same as timepiece in #8.

The majority of my collections are for the status of the book rather than the subject matter. But I have two genre collections (comics and cookbooks) for things that I don't want factored into recommendations. Creating collections for those two also allows me to basically create subtags, which is handy.

feb. 9, 2010, 10:01am

I really like the wishlist collection. It's easy to add to when browsing other libraries,I can find them quickly and delete readily once I've ordered them from the public library. Once I've actually got the book in hand I can evaluate whether I need to own it.
My books are pretty much shelved by type, so I really don't need physical locators.
My use of collections is partly response to browsing other libraries on LT. When I go to someone's homepage, I look at collections rather than tags. I may have that wrong...
And I do like the more evocative tags and plan to incorporate them as rosalita notes. I found one yesterday that made my eyes light up - "garden fiction."

feb. 9, 2010, 2:30pm

My general rule of thumb involves changeable and unchangeable characteristics of books.

Things that don't change become tags; things that can change become collections.

Hardbacks stay hardbacks and don't magically become paperbacks overnight, so if I wanted to keep track of binding I'd use tags. Genres and subjects also, while subjective among people, tend to be static from the individual viewpoint. If I think the book is fantasy today I will likely think so tomorrow too, so I'll tag it fantasy. If the book has a dragon in it, I'll tag 'dragons' because even if I decide I don't want to keep track of dragons anymore, the existence of dragons in the book is unchanging.

Things that can change become collections. Ownership is a big one here. Also read versus unread and the physical location of the books.

That isn't to say I don't break my own rules when it suits. I have collections for 'recreation' and 'education' which other people might generally call fiction vs. non-fiction, but that is mostly due to the fact that I have them physically separated in my home. I have both a tag and a collection to keep track of when I loan books to other people because in the tag I can also indicate who I loaned it to. I have a tag for bookshelf# purely because otherwise I would have as unwieldy number of collections as I do an unwieldy number of tags.

But overall I find the changeable/unchangeable distinction helpful. YMMV.

feb. 9, 2010, 2:46pm

I also use collections for broad categories and tags for narrower stuff. So: collection "Art History", tag "renaissance" for example. This allows me to search my library on the tag "renaissance" for all collections (history, art history, literature, musicology, etc.), or for just any particular collection. Well, I find it practical ;-)

Editat: feb. 16, 2010, 8:24pm

This discussion of how we use Collections made me go back and check: "How do I use collections?" For the most part I don't use them for subjects like science fiction or even fiction, as a group of tags like "fiction, speculative fiction, science fiction" is far more useful. I sort of thought I used collections to indicate location, but that is really only true of some special locations, like "In storage"--for most I use tags like @bedroom or attic. I really use Collections for concepts that either have nothing to do with the book's topic--like "Favorites," "Wishlist," "Borrowed," and "Read out loud together"--or else subjects with a whole lot of subcategories--"Humanities"--or a whole lot of tags unique to that category--"Role-playing," which is also represented by the tag RPG.

edited for typos

feb. 16, 2010, 8:27pm

Oh, and I love the ability to hide Collections I'm not currently making use of! This helps keep that list from getting too unwieldy.