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I'm moving from using Tags to using Collections for my users to organize their items. (See background below for why I'm doing this.)

My issue is with AND/OR searching. For example, what would be the UI and terminology for, "Find books that are in my Horror and in my Children collections?" It's not really clear if I'm asking for just the cross section, or if I want books that are in either one of the collections. For tags, my current (radio button) options are:

  • Find things with all / any selected tags

There's then a list of selectable tags. I don't need mixes of AND and OR.

Note that these are common searches; it's not something that should be hidden away in an advanced menu. "Find books that are either thriller or mystery or dark," "Find books that are romance and Victorian"

(My site isn't about books, but same idea. Stuff to organize.)

Before you say, "Stay with tags!" see here:

A little background:

Way back when, people organized things into folders. That wasn't great because a thing can only be put into one folder. The solution to this was tags. Now a thing can have multiple tags. Books can be tagged Horror, Children, and Quick-Read. You can even use AND/OR to search tags.

That's what I use on my site. However, many people don't like tags. They ask, "how can I organize things into folders?" Tags also don't make a lot of sense when it comes to sharing. For example, people don't really think of sharing tags as in, "Here's a link to my Horror tag" or "You can see my public tags if you go to my profile."

The solution to this, it seems, is Collections. Collections are like tags (a thing can belong to many collections), but conceptionally they're more like folders: "I'm adding this book to my Horror collection" and "Here's a link to my Horror collection." I've started to see this term used more and more, for example, on Etsy, allrecipes.com, and Apple Books.

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  • What's the problem about using both as Dribbble does? I don't think one thing should override the other. On the contrary, it's an advantage, you are offering to the user more options to manipulate their items.
    – Danielillo
    Nov 16 at 21:45
  • Adding a whole new thing to get around an issue of and/or search terminology is overkill. My users don't need two ways of organizing stuff. The organization is fine. It's just how to make it's clear what they're searching for. (Don't know Dribble, but I have real issues with Gmail's use of both Folders and Labels.)
    – user295469
    Nov 16 at 21:51
  • Maybe there's a confusion in the functionalities, a collection is to organize and share while the tags are mainly for a global search. Although you can search inside a collection, but you know in advance what you are looking for and where it may be, while searching through a tag is global. I'm looking for a children's book in the "Horror" collection or I'm looking any book with "child" + "horror" tags.
    – Danielillo
    Nov 16 at 22:15
  • I realize that's how it often is. What I want is to have Collections (for organizing and sharing), but add an extra layer of search functionality for convenience. I'm asking for suggestions for how to do that since I haven't seen anyone who does it. Adding extra complexity with overlapping functions isn't what I'm looking for.
    – user295469
    Nov 16 at 22:37
  • Does this answer your question? OR & AND representations for the non technical user
    – jazZRo
    Nov 17 at 10:30
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Instead of saying:

Show me books in ALL/ANY of these collections: Children, Horror

I ended up saying:

Include a book if it's in ALL/ANY of these collections: Children, Horror

Where any/all is a radio button. I think that distinguishes between whether I want to see children's horror books or all children's books and all horror books.

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