It strikes me this is about the difficulty, when one only has experience of being allowed a single ‘tag’ bucket and the narrowness of analytic vision this creates. Outside the narrow niche of controlled vocabularies, nested tags/keywords is a sticking plaster over the the tag-only metadata desert.
As I recall ‘tags’ crept in around because the Web 2.0 hipsters didn’t like the (controlled) keyword approach common at the time. Keywords for squares, the cool kids were into folksonomies of ‘tags’. Meh, they are all just search/indexing terms. Indeed, understanding the latter is key to breaking out of the tag-set mentality.
When analysing/annotating, what are the strands you need to later recall/revisit? These are worth capturing and, if discrete groupings exist, placing these in discrete stores (in Tinderbox - attributes). If you started with data from a tags-only app, when arriving in Tinderbox let go of that limitations. You can keep the original tags data (in $Tags - or another attribute of choice), but still tease out the tags into discrete attributes.
Imagine an address book where name, street, zip, etc. were all just tags for records. How much easy if the zip code is in a $ZipCode attribute. An overly simply metaphor but I hope it helps explain the process. So if you have tags like “Organization_United_Nations” and “Organization_DEA” likely you want an $Organization, allowing you to search by org and to list all orgs (United Nations, DEA, etc…).
Just as peoples’ styles differ, ‘tags’ is a loosely defined term and thus implemented differently in different apps, even if some sub-groups of apps take a similar approach. In year of migrating data around apps (and from before the dawn of tags), really the only thing to bank on is you have a list of values. Certainly a big issue back when keyword hierarchies were popular is no two vendors used the same method for saving/sharing the hierarchies.
Another thing I’ve seen is note titles as proxy keywords. Wether you stick with your original imported titles, don’t forget to properly capture the metadata in the titles that isn’t also in a tag.
Tags are the shallow end of understanding your data; do make use of the extra flexibility Tinderbox offers. Tinderbox isn’t a magic tool that turn your tags into structure, some assembly is required—and rightly so as that way lies greater understanding.
Anyway, I offer the observations above which draw on my own initial experience of Tinderbox and subsequent longterm use in case it helps people getting started.