Of tags and topics

Hi all,

I've been doing some thinking (sorry!) about the way tags and topics are
being explored in different ways in different systems (Nautilus,
Epiphany, GThumb, Evolution Contacts, not to mention those online).

I'd like to see a GNOME-wide tag/topic system eventually, but we should
get some definitions sorted out first. Please reply with any comments
about these definitions. I've based then on what I would use tags/topics
for *after* they've been associated with an object.

Tag: any label that can be used as metadata for an object.
This can include basically anything. Take a photo of a group of friends
standing on a beach, and you can tag it with the name of each friend in
the photo, plus "photo", "beach", "sand", "water", "sunshine", etc. If
you ever want to find some photo of your friend Jack you can just say
"find all objects with tags 'photo' and 'Jack'". It's great for
situations where you want a list of objects because you're not after a
specific object necessarily. Or you want to look at all objects with
certain properties - not just one.

Topic: the label you would think of first when trying to find an object.
This definition may sound to have been written backwards, but try it out
for a bit before criticising. Imagine you are trying to find a specific
photo again. Not just any photo of a beach, or of your friend Jack, you
want that specific photo. What labels would you think of first? Perhaps
"Photos", "Friends", "Beach". You could say that a topic describes the
main characteristics of an object as if the user was trying to organise
their objects using the minimum amount of meta-information, but the real
definition is what I gave first.

Note that, by what I've described, tags are user-independent and pretty
haphazard. They're just properties of the object, which should be
observable by all. Topics are things that are user-dependent, and rely
on how the user's mind works when looking for something.

Now, do these definitions seem to fit everyone? I've left things like
"keywords" undefined, and I've assumed that "categories" is the same as
"topics", but feel free to argue. :)

See ya,

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