Simplifying Information Storage
Years ago, when I first started using email, I did indeed do this with procmail and other arcane beasties. Then, I found myself cursing that I couldn’t do cross-folder searches very easily. Also, the filters and folders started making less sense as their structure represented only one possible scheme for finding what I was looking for, and I was needing many possible kinds of schemes over time. So, eventually it all ended up in one pile, and searches became my way of finding things.
I abandoned bookmarks for Google by the same principle. Now, my bookmarks consist completely of bookmarklets and a few stray links to local on-disk pages like Python documentation. In fact, I’m wishing that I could create bookmark folders that are fed by Google API powered persistent searches.
that’s what I want to see: Storage without explicit organization, but with super-rich metadata for super-fast searches. Allow me to create views made from persistent searches – my “project folder” is simply a collection of resources tied together by a common tag, one of many. And, if I want to form a project hierarchy, make my persistent searches into file objects too.
The main thing in all this, though, is that it be woven very deeply within the OS. I don’t want a helper app. I want this to replace the standard metaphor completely.
For a start, I am doing to do one thing with my email folders. I have zillions of folders hierarchically organised in my Evolution (with all data stored on our “thick server”). Just have a single folder called “Keep” for all the emails I want to keep. Others are either in the Inbox or Deleted. And then, when I want to find an email, I just do a Search on the “Keep” folder (and perhaps the “Sent” folder, since that has a copy of everything that I write). Goodbye to all them folders. Lets see how it works.