Thoughts on Tagging

I’ve got my first few reviews up by now, and I thought it might be a good idea at this point to clarify my policies in categories and tags, as I have been using them so far. This is mostly admin, but if you’re interested (or, more likely, confused) then feel free to read on!

We’ll start with categories, since they’re fairly straightforward. I’m using categories to classify my posts by the type of text being reviewed (or, in this case of a “Personal” post such as this, to mark it out as not being a review at all). Most reviews will fall into a basic category – e.g. “Bible” or “Novel” – and then a sub-category such as “Old Testament”, although I also have a “Greco-Roman” category which might overlap with any of the others. For now at least, as I’m just starting out, there aren’t many sub-categories, and it’s only really worth paying attention to the main text-type categories: they can be accessed from the bar at the top of the homepage – I’ll try to keep the contents pages relatively up-to-date – while the full list is available at the bottom of each page of the site.

Tagging is a bit more haphazard, and I make no secret of my tendency to go back and edit reviews to add new tags as and when they come to me. My tags fall into four basic types. The first categorises texts chronologically, by century and (from 1800 onwards) by decade, and as such there is a limited (although still fairly large) number of tags available. I’ve listed all the possibilities below, whether or not they are currently empty:

Century tags: C16, C17, C18, C19, C20, C21

1800s tags: 1800s, 1810s, 1820s, 1830s, 1840s, 1850s, 1860s, 1870s, 1880s, 1890s

1900s/2000s tags: 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s

Eras: Georgian Era (c.1719-1836), Victorian Era (c.1837-1900)

The second type categorises by genre, and this is probably the best way to find related books; I’m going to create links to these tags within each review. At the moment, there are probably only one or two items for each genre, but that will hopefully change as the weeks progress. The third type is similar, but aimed more at plays and books of the Bible, since I avoid using genre in the same way for these texts: it categorises Shakespeare’s plays according to the conventional tripartite assignment given by the edition I am using (regardless of how well it fits), and books of the Bible according to a series of conventional (if sometimes unstated) sub-divisions: “New Testament” is a category, for instance, but “Gospels” is a tag which groups its first four books.

The fourth type of tag is the most common, the least well-defined and the most subjective; this is also the type of tag which I’m likely to go overboard with in any given review. It is aimed at showing thematic connections between books, abbreviating the themes and imagery as I have noted them, but is unlikely to be very useful until I have a larger collection of reviews published on this blog. In theory, if you click on any given thematic tag at the bottom of a review, you should find yourself directed to something from a different genre, medium or period which treats some of the same ideas; in practice, at the moment, you’re more likely to find that the only review which shares that tag is the one you’ve just finished reading. I’d appreciate it if you bear with me for using these tags even when I don’t really have enough reviews to make this worthwhile, since I tremble to think what a horrendous task it would be to add all these tags retrospectively on a year’s worth of reviews some time in late 2017.

With the possible exception of the chronological, the best way to use these tags is via the “tag cloud” widget at the bottom of my home page. This only shows the most popular tags, so you’re far more likely to get a couple of related reviews at a time to grab your attention.