So I am looking at Vesper the new iPhone note-taking application from Brent Simmons, John Gruber, and Dave Wiskus. It's a functional and tasteful app, no more than you'd expect. If I didn't already have Evernote I'd probably use it regularly. As it is, it'll displace my casual use of the built in notepad.
One thing Vesper does is to allow you to add tags to your notes. I use tagging extensively in Evernote. In fact I've been using tagging a long time, I tagged my first blog post in - I think - June 2002. Having been told nobody would ever tag things I've seen tagging rise to (something like) the mainstream in apps like Flickr and Twitter.
But what seems painfully absent, so far, in these applications is any notion of what tags mean. When I tag a tweet
#sotn13 it's fine as a means of grouping tweets so you can grab them in TweetDeck. But beyond simple collections isn't it valuable to connect the meaning of things?
When I started tagging I called them "topics" and my work was based on topic mapping and on formats like XTM & XFML, and on the idea that tagging systems should be connected so that meaning can be aggregated, refined, enhanced, and - most important of all - shared.
In our hubris Paolo and I even published our own spec for including topics in RSS feeds: Easy News Topics (ENT). A key aspect of ENT was the idea that topics did not stand alone but were part of a web of meaning that could be defined in many places and joined together.
I look at an app like Vesper and it's isolated, lonely, tags and wonder if this too is an idea that will be mainstream one day.
[Update]: Belatedly I realised that "trouble" worked a lot better than "problem".