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Data Storage

File Organization — How Do You Do It In 2011? 356

siddesu writes "After 30 years of being around computers, I have, like everyone else, amassed a huge amount of files in huge amount of formats about a huge amount of topics. And it isn't only me — the family has now a ton of data that they want managed and easily accessible. Keeping all that information in order has always been a pain, but it has gone harder as the storage has increased and people and files and sizes have multiplied. What do you folks use to keep your odd terabyte of document, picture, video and code files organized — that is, relatively uniformly tagged, versioned, searchable and ultimately findable, without 50 duplicates over your 50 devices and without typing arcane commands in a terminal window? I found this discussion from 2003 and this tangentially relevant post from 2006. How have things changed for you in 2011? And how satisfied is your extended family with the solution you have unleashed upon them?"
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File Organization — How Do You Do It In 2011?

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  • Re:Directories (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RuiFerreira ( 791654 ) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @12:52PM (#35192666) Homepage
    I basically use the same structure as you but I have an extra directory called "attic" where in practice I end up putting everything.
  • by Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @01:02PM (#35192724) Homepage
    I have recently found an incredibly fast search tool called Everything [voidtools.com]. We're talking about Google-like searching where the results pop up as you type. It must be something on the order of a fifth of a second for my 1.5 million files. This kind of technology should be widespread - it makes searches actually *pleasant* to do. Anyway thanks to Everything, I worry less now about where I store my files, and I also try to pack in keywords into the filename.

    Anyway, this kind of program is just a glimpse of what a future OS would look like. Imagine a system where everything is stored in tags and where folders become obsolete or used far less often. What you have then is a database or metadata file-system. The relatively new Haiku OS uses such a system, and I wrote about the massive advantages from this old page:
    http://www.skytopia.com/project/articles/filesystem.html [skytopia.com]

    Honestly, we'll all be better off the sooner we switch.
  • by icemaze ( 1865436 ) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @01:11PM (#35192772)

    Who has the time to hand-pick all the relevant tags for every file they download? Yeah, me neither.
    Finding time to put things in their own directory, and not dumping them all in "downloads", is a great accomplishment.

    However finding a meaningful, hierarchical structure is non-trivial. I'm still working on it.

  • google desktop (RIP) (Score:4, Interesting)

    by meeotch ( 524339 ) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @01:18PM (#35192822) Homepage

    I had great success with Google Desktop Search (on windoze) for a while. It would index my mail, files, and web history (if instructed to) - and the best part was hitting one key to get an instant, minimalist search box with auto-preview. From there, you could jump straight to what you were looking for, or open a further page to narrow the search.

    Sadly, it doesn't work with Thunderbird 3.0, and Google doesn't appear to care, or even to be supporting it anymore. So now I'm on a hodgepodge of GDS, Windows built-in search, and the sucky T-bird search bar.

    I honestly can't believe that nobody has duplicated this Spotlight-esque functionality yet. I realize there are other desktop search options, but none of the ones I've come across have that one-key mini search that goes away as easily as it is called up. For an operation that I'm performing dozens of times daily, that's pretty crucial. It even replaced the file browser for me - much easier to call up the GDS box & type a couple letters than to grab the mouse and drill down into some directory structure - even if I know exactly where I'm going.

  • by Xian97 ( 714198 ) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @01:35PM (#35192932)
    Everything [voidtools.com] is what I use on the PC to quickly find any file I am looking for.

    On the Mac I use Spotlight.

    While it would be nice to be completely organized, these tools let me find my files anywhere they are located on my PC. I try to keep things organized into folders, but I am always falling behind so these are what I can use in the interim.
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:11PM (#35193132)

    Imagine a system where everything is stored in tags and where folders become obsolete or used far less often.

    It bothers me when people think tags are fundamentally different from folders (directories) in the first place. I'm going to re-introduce directories as "hierarchial tags" and blow everybody's mind.

    Maybe it's because people think of directory membership as exclusive? But it isn't. You can link a file into as many directories as you like with the 'ln' command. If that hasn't caught on, and if Windows Folders don't even really support that, it's because most people just don't bother... and the same is/will be true of tags by any other name.

  • Nemo Documents (Score:4, Interesting)

    by daserver ( 524964 ) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @05:33PM (#35194472) Homepage
    If you are on Windows you might want to give Nemo Documents [nemo-docs.com] a try. It gives a time based view and allows one to use tags. Disclaimer: author posting ;-)

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