Death to Folders

With the increasing popularity of desk top search the limitations of current hierarchical file system are becoming obvious and painful to users. Before people experienced desk top search, they did not realize how it could be without folders — not they know that the current folder system in which a file belongs to only one folder is limiting.

A report in addresses this topic. It points out

But the once-revolutionary notion of files, folders, filing cabinets and other desktop icons is now showing its age. What started out as a helpful metaphor now seems rather limiting. Why hobble digital documents with the limitations of paper ones, such as the need to have a single fixed location?

Interestingly, in a few years we will be talking about text tags in the same way. We would be wondering how could we manage search of images, video, audio, and other non-text documents (if we can call them documents) using text tags. But that is still afew years ahead.

3 thoughts on “Death to Folders

  1. Marco Bertini

    Perhaps folders can be considered as tags, when using a desktop search engines.

    E.g. I’m using Copernic (, and the file path is used as well as the file name when searching. In a certain sense it is as a tag, if I save a file in Papers/conference/ACM Multimedia, when searching for “some keywords + conference” helps me in retrieving the keywords that belong to a document “tagged” as a conference paper, and I may further restrict search to that specific conference rather than finding a project proposal. The problem is that it yet an implicit tag.

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