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Only one level of folders...
Posted by: gabester
Date: July 30, 2012 02:42PM
Poll
15 votes were received.
All visitors can vote.
Are you smart enough to use more than one level of folder hierarchy?




[informationarchitects.net]

I'm not sure I buy the premise that "people aren't smart enough to use folders." I think it's a better argument to say that while the metaphor of files and folders may have worked well as an initial introduction to computing it has been stretched... And there's no practical place in the linear desktop hierarchy metaphor to easily indicate multiple associations which is often what throws so many into fits of obsessive folder organization.

I'll agree that search is a solution to some extent, but as evidenced by how any search I conduct invariable turns up dozens if not hundreds of emails about related subjects but irrelevant to my current needs it clearly isn't the end-all answer.

I also think it's a poor idea to take away the need for people to organize on their computers or anywhere else. The human brain's role as an organ of categorization is it's primary defining feature.

g=
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Re: Only one level of folders...
Posted by: hal
Date: July 30, 2012 02:58PM
you say a poor idea, I say insane ramblings...
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Re: Only one level of folders...
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 30, 2012 03:13PM
search smiley search smiley search smiley search smiley

Which solves the problem of a few of my users who happily keep all their files on their desktop. Despite my commenting :

"Do you keep all your papers on top of your desk in piles ? "

Of course some of them do. Myself included.
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Re: Only one level of folders...
Posted by: davester
Date: July 30, 2012 03:19PM
It is pure folly to think that searching a disorganized mess can replace a carefully organized and viewable hierarchy. Search is a great supplement, but is a poor stepchild, to organization (i.e. when your organization fails).

It takes 10 minutes to show a new worker how the massive amounts of data and publications at my workplace are organized, and they can instantly get an understanding of what is there. If I just showed them a search box they would have no idea what to look for.

Search alone is akin to having a command line interface instead of a menu based interface. Who wants to go back to

c:\>



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/30/2012 03:28PM by davester.
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Re: Only one level of folders...
Posted by: GGD
Date: July 30, 2012 03:20PM
I download and organize monthly billing/account statements for all of my accounts. The folder hierarchy is the only way to locate them, the actual file names are in the form YYYY-MM.pdf, so there can be dozens of files called 2012-07.pdf on my hard drive, it's the folder names that matter, and for each business, I have a folder with sub-folders for each year.

I also have several real filing cabinets, and although they don't really allow nested file folders, I still group associated folders next to each other, and associated groups in the same file drawer to get some sort of hierarchy.

In the original Macintosh File System (MFS), there were no folders in the file system, it was all an illusion in the Finder, so you couldn't have two files with the same name on the same floppy even if they were in different Finder Folders, but with only 400KB per floppy, you couldn't have too many files anyway.

With 800KB Floppies and 20 MB hard drives coming, Apple addressed the problem/limitation with the Hierarchical File System (HFS), which had directories/folders at the file system level.

I can't imagine how reducing the hierarchy could be an advantage as the size of hard drives continue to grow.
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Re: Only one level of folders...
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: July 30, 2012 04:56PM
Seing as I had to organize music and photo libraries before iTunes and iPhoto existed, I set up a system which works for me and Mrs Z. The System 7 innovation of the down arrow to view subfolders in List view makes them usable in this fashion. However I also use Spotlight to find things, especially Apps, quickly if I don't want to root through the folders.

The big failure of the filesystem comes with digital images - they are practically anonymous if you don't spend time organizing them in at least some fashion, because they aren't easily searchable by a distinctive data tag. # years on, you may not know what day you took a picture and probably don't know which version of IMG2345.jpg is the one you're looking for. We settled on 1 folder per calendar year and in those are folders with date and event description: 07_30 Lizard Wrestling. Makes it easy to add old scans from 1959, add new year folder and event: 03_21 Parent's Wedding.
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Re: Only one level of folders...
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: July 30, 2012 05:13PM
Hierarchy is essential. That being said, my desktop (and my desk) are a mess. But the computer would be much worse without nested folders.

/Mr Lynn



"Hillbilly at Harvard"
Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
Founded in 1948 by Pappy Ben Minnich
Saturdays 9am - 1pm Eastern
WHRB-FM, Cambridge, MA
Streaming at [www.WHRB.org]
Be there!

The HAH weblog: [hillbillyatharvard.wordpress.com]

Topical weblog: [walkingcreekworld.wordpress.com]

On the river in Saxonville.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/30/2012 05:14PM by mrlynn.
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Re: Only one level of folders...
Posted by: edgarbc1
Date: July 30, 2012 05:28PM
Quote
GGD
In the original Macintosh File System (MFS), there were no folders in the file system, it was all an illusion in the Finder, so you couldn't have two files with the same name on the same floppy even if they were in different Finder Folders, but with only 400KB per floppy, you couldn't have too many files anyway.

With 800KB Floppies and 20 MB hard drives coming, Apple addressed the problem/limitation with the Hierarchical File System (HFS), which had directories/folders at the file system level.

i bow to you and am humbled by your Mac-geekiness, my liege....
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Re: Only one level of folders...
Posted by: GGD
Date: July 30, 2012 05:57PM
Quote
edgarbc1
i bow to you and am humbled by your Mac-geekiness, my liege....

Thanks, I've got lot of grey in my beard, I used this technology when it was new, but I don't think my experience is all that unique on this forum.
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Re: Only one level of folders...
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: July 30, 2012 06:52PM
Quote
GGD
Quote
edgarbc1
i bow to you and am humbled by your Mac-geekiness, my liege....

Thanks, I've got lot of grey in my beard, I used this technology when it was new, but I don't think my experience is all that unique on this forum.

I'm a newbie: I came in with HFS (but not HFS+, I think).

/Mr Lynn
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