The key to finding what you’re looking for is to know where you put it. When it comes to computer files, sometimes a folder structure is just not adequate. For digital photos, we have many programs that allow us to edit the metadata embedded in the filename to tag each picture for easy retrieval by searching for all photos with certain tags. When it comes to all other digital files, I have never found a good tagging solution until stumbling across TAGS by Gravity Applications.
I record eye surgery when I’m in the operating room directly to my computer. I thought I found a great and inexpensive solution for altering the metadata by using Google’s Picasa, a free download. I assumed that as with Apple Aperture that I use to tag my still photos, that the Picasa tags were embedded in the hidden metadata that is part of the filename so that if I were to transfer the surgical video to another drive that my tagging would be maintained. Alas, it does not do that at all. Picasa keeps these tags within the Picasa database and in the root of the current folder rather than saving as part of each file. Once I copied my surgical videos over to another external hard drive, the tags were all lost.
Enter: GravityApps’ TAGS! I searched for programs to tag videos but again these were no better than Picasa in allowing for portability until I found TAGS. This app actually works for all file types as part of the journaled file structure in Mac OS X. If you move the file elsewhere, the embedded metadata tags move with the file. Highlight a file name, click on CTL-spacebar, and up pops the tagging window. When you need to find fies with specific tags, ALT-spacebar is the default key combo to bring up a tag enabled version of Spotlight that includes search for tags along with your normal spotlight results.
TAGS is $29 for a single user or $49 for 4-user Family Pack license and is available as a trial download. I have it installed on 4 of my computers now so that I can easily find that surgical video I’m looking for and even files in my DropBox shared by all these computers very easily. It matters less where I put any file as long as I marked it with the appropriate metatdata tags.