Hierarchical folders or tags?

I’m working with a new install of SilverBullet, and I’m absolutely loving it. My goal is to replace Notion and Evernote as I don’t need all those bells and whistles. I just need a solid, streamlined note-taking tool to maintain a Second Brain knowledge base of articles, documents, and general information.

I’m now trying to determine the best way to group Pages. I see that I can use a hierarchical folder system, but Tags seem to make more sense, particularly because you can apply more than one Tag to a given Page.

If you want to maintain groups of Pages, which would you use?

What are the pros and of using folders?

What are the pros and cons of using Tags?

I’m coming from a Gmail mindset where Labels (Tags) rule.


Hi Jim, I think you’ll find as many approaches as users here. Or more :smile:

Between the two I would suggest tags, exactly because you can assign more than one. I myself went even further away from folders, but you specifically say that you want to maintain groups.

To keep it short, I’m very satisfied with taking inspiration from Wikipedia:

  • navigate mainly with search or links between notes
  • start notes with lead section linking to related concepts
  • if a clarification is needed, do it in the title, like “C (programming language)”

I find it annoying that when creating pages I have to Backspace the name of an existing page, instead of partial completion by one level.

If you have a page with the same name in two different folders, you won’t tell the difference when the cursor is away.

Another note-taking app, Dendron is a lot more into hierarchies, I like SilverBullet more, but you may find a lot about hierarchies from them.

Tag pages shown when you click on a tag are just a “search result” page, so if you want to for example tag books with an author, you’d need a separate author page to write about them (as far as I know)

You can use them with queries easily, and that’s my main use case, but I made a choice to not group my notes in a structured way anymore


That makes a lot of sense. I decided to go the Tags route as it is just so much more flexible, and Tags now handle my grouping needs perfectly. I don’t need (or want) to physically organize anything, so Folders won’t apply in my use case. I’m also learning Queries and Templates more and more, so creating customized lists to achieve grouping of Pages is now straightforward. Thank you!

I’ve gone back and forth between either or nothing at all. Initially I started out with putting every note top level, potentially with a tag but often I mostly navigated by name anyway so not using tags much. Later I started using a folder prefix for company specific notes (I use one space mixing private and work stuff). That’s more or less what I’m using now.

One possible use of folders is if you ever use external programs to consume or create notes that are stored in SB. That external program can easily work on a set of notes that are stored in a particular folder without having to parse all notes to find an embedded tag.

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