Semantic file system

Semantic file systems are file systems used for information persistence which structure the data according to their semantics and intent, rather than the location as with current file systems. It allows the data to be addressed by their content (associative access). Traditional hierarchical file-systems tend to impose a burden, for example when a sub-directory layout is contradicting a user's perception of where files would be stored. Having a tag-based interface alleviates this hierarchy problem and enables users to query for data in an intuitive fashion.

Semantic file systems raise technical design challenges as indexes of words, tags or elementary signs of some sort have to be created and constantly updated, maintained and cached for performance to offer the desired random, multi-variate access to files in addition to the underlying, mostly traditional block-based filesystem.

See also

Research & Specifications


  • SemFS - A Semantic approach to File Systems, was TagFS
  • Tagsistant - Tagsistant: semantic filesystem for Linux (Linux), see Wikipedia article Tagsistant
  • TransparenTag - File system compatible with point'n'click and command-line interfaces
  • tagxfs - A tag based user space file system extension
  • Fuse::TagLayer - A read-only tag-filesystem overlay for hierarchical filesystems (Perl, Linux)
  • xtagfs - XTagFS is a FUSE filesystem that organizes files/folders using 'Spotlight Comment' tags (Mac OS X)
  • dhtfs - Tagging based filesystem, providing dynamic directory hierarchies based on tags associated with files (Python, Linux)
  • TMSU - Tagged based filesystem for Linux. Provides a command-line tool for tagging and the ability to mount a virtual filesystem (using FUSE).
  • dantalian - A multi-dimensionally hierarchical tag-based file organization system

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