Best way to tag & filter poems, ideally in/across MS Word or gDocs?
July 29, 2018 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Is there a good way to tag and search/filter MS Word or gDocs docs (in this case, poems) by a few criteria, e.g., author, time period, tone, subject matter? I want to be able to tag and then search for a doc with "carson," "modern," "humorous," and/or "pottery." I'm interested in a tagging/search mechanism, and not in search criteria. Additionally, I'm not searching for one poem I already have in mind but rather I want to serve up all the poems in my collection that are "x" "y" and/or "z."

I have a large number of poems and readings I refer to professionally, currently in one MS Word doc. I’m constantly adding to the doc when I find a poem or reading I like. When considering a poem to use, I dive into one of the long docs and skim sequentially, sometimes using the search function, but that can be hit or miss.

This could be either a process solution (adding those search items below a poem each time I add one?) or a technology solution. Evernote I think filters/searches by only one tag at a time?

I don’t mind breaking the doc into one doc per poem, and maintaining that approach going forward, if they could then really be served up appropriately by search parameters. However, I’m reluctant to do that, then load them all into an app that may disappear or shape-shift features overnight. So if there’s a way to do this in Word or Docs, it’d be great. Barring that, or if there’s a purpose-built program for this, I’m open to suggestions.
posted by cocoagirl to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you are on a Mac, you can create tags and add them to your files. Otherwise maybe creating new files for each item and putting each item into a specific directory for that tag may be the most sustainable approach.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:05 PM on July 29, 2018

Maybe Zotero can be (ab)used to do what you want? I think it has very robust tagging and searching capabilities, and it looks like you can set up "notes" and tag them like you would a file or website.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:43 PM on July 29, 2018

Having one poem per file is the place to start. Using directories to organize poems isn't a great approach, since a poem could have multiple tags (yes, you could use aliases, but this would quickly get arduous).

AFAICT, gDoc does not allow tagging, or "smart" folders. There are some plugins for gDoc that might get you partway there.

Here is a multiplatform program that supports file. I played with it once, but haven't gotten any mileage on it. It seems a bit clunky.

The Mac does have native support for tagging--in fact, you can build whatever kind of taxonomies you want--you could have one taxonomy for mood, one for subject matter, etc. Depending on your uses, though, it might be easier (and would definitely be more portable) to embed the tags either in the body of the files, or in the file names, perhaps set off by punctuation that indicates "this is a tag". I've done exactly this, adding {tag1} {tag2} to file names for a project. I then create a smart folder in the Finder that matches on the desired criteria (this would also work with tags embedded in the body of the file).
posted by adamrice at 1:44 PM on July 29, 2018

Came to say what BungaDunga suggested.
posted by Gotanda at 6:18 PM on July 29, 2018

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