Folders are dead! Long live tags!

May 2, 2023
Say goodbye to digital folders and hello to tags! Discover the benefits of tagging construction data for flexible organization and easy access.

Construction has long relied on physical processes, and we often transplant these into the digital world without considering whether technology can offer new and better ways of working.

Take digital folders, for instance.

We're all familiar with the trusty site lever arch files, but simply replicating this process in the digital realm may not be the best approach.

What if there were more effective ways of organizing, segmenting, and searching through construction data?

What if digital folders were too rigid and limiting, while technology could give us unparalleled flexibility and organization capabilities?

In this blog, we'll explore how tagging your construction data can offer new and better ways of organising and accessing your digital documents...

Folder v Tags - a paper file analogy

A folder of data on your computer or shared drive can be compared to a physical lever arch file.

When you drop a shift record into a folder in your shared drive or common data environment, it is like stashing away let’s say, a paper diary inside the lever arch file.

And just like how a file can exist only inside a particular file at any given point in time, a Shift Record can be stored only in one folder at one time, which can be a bit of a downer when it comes to team collaboration.

Think of a tag or a label as a Post-it note tacked on to your paper Shift Record.

Multiple files can be stored in the same lever arch file and each can have multiple Post-it notes attached to them in the same way.

A commonly used example of this is Gmail.

Gmail allows you to add as many tags/labels as you want to an email, without needing to make a copy of the email. You can then view the emails under all of the labels that you have applied to it.

Why use tags to organise construction data?

Let's say you have a Shift Record that has an access delay due to a late running train but also had production issues due to weather.

If you put that in a folder for Access Issues then you will need to remember to look in there to find it when considering weather issues.

You will not find that record in another folder called Weather Issues.

If you want to find the article there, you would have to make a copy of the article and put it in the Weather Issues folder.

You would have two physical copies of the record in your files.

Seems a little silly.

Tags take care of these problems.

How to tag data in Gather

Gather allows you to tag Projects, Shift Records and Site Documents to give you the ultimate flexibility in organising and interrogating your project data.

Watch how it works

Final thoughts…

Both folders and tags have their benefits when it comes to organizing digital construction data. While a 2008 study from the University of Washington compared the use of tags/labels and folders for managing correspondence, it failed to reach a definitive conclusion, suggesting that both systems are likely equally effective.

Ultimately, the choice between folders and tags comes down to personal preference.

That being said, if forced to choose, tags may be the preferred option due to their versatility.

Unlike folders, which limit a file to a single location, tags allow for multiple categories to be applied to a single file, enabling easy and flexible organisation. This can be particularly helpful for large construction projects with complex data sets that require extensive categorisation.

Book a demo to understand how tagging would work for your project…

Folders are dead! Long live tags!

Will Doyle


I am an experienced RICS chartered Quantity Surveyor​ with first-hand experience of how the consistent capture and analysis of data can transform global project delivery.

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