This is possibly the most exciting tool a person can use in the world of digital note-taking. If you’ve never tagged your notes, get ready! This is a game-changer.
One of the biggest weaknesses I have seen in traditional scripture study is the the worthlessness of handwritten note taking. I come from a long line of diligent note-taking Christians. After a lifetime of watching my parents scribble away, I often felt the urge to join them, filling notebook after notebook with my thoughts and impressions. Sometimes I felt guilty for not taking notes. And then sometimes I’d learn something really fascinating, or I’d have a really amazing spiritual experiences and I’d want to record it… preserve it somehow… But I couldn’t see the benefit of scribbling them into a notebook. I knew I wouldn’t be able to find anything after the fact. It seemed like a lot of work to put into something that would just sit… and then I’d feel guilty about throwing them away even after years of not using them… Not appealing to me.
Tags make sense out of note-taking. In fact, I consider a note completely worthless unless I’ve tagged it. So, what are tags? Tags are a way of organizing information so that you can find it when you need it. In Gospel Library and lds.org notes, A tag is a word or phrase that you associate with a highlight or note. For instance, in my personal study I highlighted, “My people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge;” (2 Nephi 15:13) and then I tagged it “knowledge” and “freedom.”
So, Let’s pretend I’ve been asked to give a talk on knowledge next Sunday. I turn to my notes for ideas and pull up everything I’ve tagged “knowledge” over the years. Presently, I would find 28 saved notes including 11 scriptures, 16 quotes, and the Young Women’s Theme. The quotes mostly come from General Conference and other church talks by Joseph Smith, Elder Richard G. Scott, and President Dallin Oaks. Some are from Church manuals, and one is a verse of poetry. Most of these notes I don’t even remember finding or making, and yet, here are enough materials to write several robust church talks.
But tags are useful for much more than just writing talks. I find I use them for two things much more often. First of all, I use them when I talk to people. I’ll be having a conversation and something I’m studying will come to my mind. Thanks to Gospel Library I can just whip out my phone and share a quote, scripture, or idea immediately. Secondly, I tend to find topics and questions I’ve been pondering pop up throughout my scripture study. I use tags to save everything I find concerning those questions and thoughts, and then I use them to write scripture thought blogs. The 35 items I’ve tagged with “obedience” helped me write, “The God that Makes Men Free,” and the 25 items tagged “Priesthood” helped me write, “Women and a Male Priesthood.”
Here’s how tagging works.
In Gospel Library, rest your finger on the text you’d like to tag until little colored cursors appear to the left and right of the word your finger rests on. Then drag the little cursors to the beginning and ending of the applicable phrase. You will notice a box appears with the option “Tag.” Tap on “Tag” or it’s corresponding icon and you will be able to type in a new tag or select one you’ve used before. You can tag an item with as many tags as you want. When you’re finished, tap the check-mark in the upper left-hand corner.
You can find items that share a certain tag in “Notes” on Gospel Library. Select “Notes” from the Gospel Library’s Library screen (shown left) and the next screen will have the words “All | Tags | Notebooks” along the top of the screen. Tap on “Tags” and you will see a search bar and a list of your tags. It defaults to displaying the list according to what you’ve used most recently, but by tapping on the three bars icon on the right of the search bar you can sort the list by name or by count as well.
On lds.org tagging is equally simple. Once you’re logged in, highlight the phrase you want to tag with your cursor. A floating box will appear that says, “Edit Note/Tag.” Tap on those words and the floating box will grow to include a section with a tag icon. Typing within that section will create a tag. If you want to use more than one tag, put a comma between the tags as you type and you will see them become button-like icons.