Although SharePoint provides the ability for users to be able to tag their own content, I find it tends to get a bit unmanageable and like to stick to the “Managed Metadata” feature with hierarchical predefined tags.
Here are my guidelines for tagging:
- Think long and hard about your top level tags. You shouldn’t need more than 10 at most and there should be as little cross over as possible. Again don’t have more than 10 items per each individual branch.
- When deciding what the tags should be, think of words that will segregate content into even chunks. Don’t create a tag that will only ever be used once. Think of the game Guess Whowhere you are trying to find the person in as few guesses as possible. You don’t start with some obscure physical feature. The first question is usually - Are you a boy (or girl) to split the content evenly.
- Try not to go more than 3 levels deep in the hierarchy at first, including the top level. You can always add further levels if drilling that far down still displays too many articles.
- Don’t use words that are going to change often such as names of clients or projects. The list will eventually get too long to be useful. In this case it may be easier to keep a list of all clients in a custom list that is referenced through a site column.