Hierarchical tags

One of Supernotes’ key differentiators is its ability to create a hierarchical taxonomy of notes, and quickly navigate the resulting tree in the Outline panel.

As the number of tags in my database has increased, I wonder if we’re missing an equivalent feature for creating a hierarchical structure of tags?

For example, imagine if we could create a “tag tree” such as:

  • #science
    • #biology
      • #neuroscience
    • #chemistry
    • #physics
      • #astronomy
      • #orbital mechanics

Then, with a “tag-depth” feature (which could be very similar to the “note-depth” feature I believe you’re already working on) we could search or filter for all #science related tags, without needed to add all of the relevant nested tags to every notecard (as is the current situation).

I imagine this feature might also make browsing tags a useful exploratory entry-point, similar to the current Outline panel.

Hi @JamesT, thanks for the feature request!

Definitely an interesting way to make tags even more powerful and I can understand how it could be very useful to quickly filter down on a certain tag. However I worry that this added flexibility creates unnecessary complexity to tags, especially for new users, and further blurs the decision when to categorise a card with that tag and when to add it to a parent with that title.

We will be launching custom collections in the near future, which will allow you to save regularly used filters (including a combination of OR and AND filters). And when combining this with note-depth, this should hopefully be the best way to quickly explore and save unique collections of your cards. But the proof will be in the pudding, looking forward to sharing this with you soon!

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I understand your concern, but couldn’t the same complexity argument be used to conclude that notecards shouldn’t support a hierarchical taxonomy?

I think that’s already an issue with Supernotes (and other note taking apps), but I agree with you that adding complexity and hierarchy to tags would further exacerbate it.

I’ll gladly experiment with those features when they’re released, and there’s a chance they’ll at least partially solve this problem for me. It would essentially mean encoding the tag hierarchy in a saved filter (e.g. #science AND #biology AND #neuroscience), and giving the filter a sensible name. I have a gut feeling that will be less useful, flexible, powerful, and explorable as a real hierarchy, but it will still be interesting to play with.

Yes you’re right, the trade off with adding functionality is that you will always add some form of complexity. But in the case of notecards, we found this made the most sense as the hierarchy allows for better navigation, organisation as well as inherited sharing – something we are continuously improving, especially with the major UX restructure in the next update.

What we are also very excited about, which I didn’t mention in my previous post is providing even more opportunities for different types of metadata such as locations and custom values. This will eventually work hand in hand with tags and collections.

Custom values sounds intriguing! Do you have any example use cases you can share for that feature?

Lots of things, such as adding a number rating system to cards, or creating custom categories for difficulty or status. It will be a little while before we begin to work on this properly though!

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Interesting!

I currently use tags to assign a notecard type (e.g. insight, definition, cheatsheet, question, glossary, study note, etc.) to each card. Do you think I’d get any benefits to switching that “card type” tag to a custom value?