Short term lurker, first time poster... in fact I joined the forum for this one specific question. We'll see how it goes after that So, the backstory: semi-professional with a catalog of many thousands of photos built up of 11 years of digital photography. Very few of these photos are tagged for easy search. They are organized in folders by Year, month, and (sometimes) event or day. Impossible to find a specific photo unless you know exactly when you took it. I've looked at a variety of program solutions: I have Aperture, iPhoto, I've tried Picasa. For organization, I am unhappy with all of these for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is simplicity and elegance. And I hate it when programs make copies and duplicate my photos (iPhoto, looking at you!) although I know there might be a way to turn this off. And so the search continues. Here's the brainstorm I had recently. If anyone else has some insight, I am looking for reasons why this will not or should not work for me. Put tags in the file names. Windows has a path limit of 248 chars, and a path+filename limit of 260. Mac is 255 chars and unlimited path. The entire library is stored on a dedicated 1Tb HDD like this: Photos/2012/01/2012012 [tag1 tag2 tag3] With this setup, I have over 200 characters of taggage space available, which should be plenty to put as many descriptors as possible. Here's how I see the pros and cons: PROs easy to implement no third party software platform independent can search easily w/Spotlight or Windows search can search for multiple tags (but not true boolean) CONs need HDD connected to be able to search each file has to be individually tagged (some copy/paste, but each filename has to be unique) will be slow to implement inelegant? So here's the question: Is there a valid reason why I should not adopt this system? Yes it will be a long time to get up and running, but it's fairly easy to run through the 100-200 photos on a busy day and tag them on the go. Not much longer than using a semi-automated system (Aperture or suchlike). And if anyone thinks this is not a good way to go, are there any other ideas out there? I haven't committed to this system just yet, but am inclined to start. Real. Soon. Now. Cheers - I look forward to the conversation.