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Tagging objects automatically

Depending on the number of objects to classify, tagging objects manually can be a very long and inefficient process. Alternatively, you can let the system automatically tag objects for you, as long as you instruct the system on how to classify objects according to the values of their attributes. This is done by assigning auto-tagging conditions to the keywords of a category.

Defining auto-tagging conditions

To define auto-tagging conditions for a keyword in the Finder:

  1. Create or edit a category (see the chapter on Creating categories and keywords).

  2. In the Keywords panel, select the desired keyword. The right hand side of the panel shows the auto-tagging conditions for the keyword. If no condition has been defined yet, this part of the panel is empty the keyword is never assigned automatically to any object.

  3. Click the link Click here to add a new condition to specify an auto-tagging. The way to express auto-tagging conditions is similar to the way you specify the conditions of an investigation. A row with three drop down lists appears.

  4. Choose the attribute of the object whose value will be compared in the first drop down list. For device objects, beware that all attributes are available for selection, but not all of them are necessarily available for all of the platforms.

  5. Select a comparison operator in the second drop down list.

  6. In the last drop down list or combo box, select or type the value to compare with the selected attribute. Once you define a condition for a keyword, a small icon with the letter A appears to the left of the name of the keyword in the panel, indicating that the keyword is used in automatic tagging.

  7. Optional: Click the trash can placed to the right of the drop down lists to remove a condition.

  8. Optional: Go back to point 3 to add new conditions. If you create more than one auto-tagging condition for one keyword, you can specify how the conditions combine using the Logical expression field that appears below the conditions. By default, conditions are combined by a logical or. Therefore, it is enough for an object to fulfil one of the conditions to be tagged with the keyword. You can use the logical operators OR and AND to combine the auto-tagging conditions of a keyword.

  9. Click Save to permanently save your work and continue editing the category or Save and Close to save your work and end the edition of auto-tagging conditions.

Setting the precedence of automatic keywords

An object can be tagged by at most one keyword per category. If an object satisfies the auto-tagging conditions imposed by two or more different keywords, the system tags it with only one of the keywords. You can decide what keywords take precedence over others by establishing a ranking of automatic keywords. Remember that tagging an object manually overrides any automatic assignment of keywords.

To set the precedence of automatic keywords in the Finder:

  1. Create or edit a category that holds automatic keywords, that is, keywords that specify auto-tagging conditions (see above).

  2. Click the button Set auto-tagging order... located below the list of keywords. A dialog pops up with the list of all the automatic keywords, ordered by precedence. By default, keywords are ordered in alphabetic order.

  3. Click the name of a keyword in the dialog to change its order of precedence.

  4. Click the button Move up to promote the selected keyword to a higher rank or the button Move down to lower the precedence of the keyword.

  5. Click OK once you are satisfied with the ordering of keywords or Cancel to ignore the changes made.

Performance considerations

Nexthink triggers the automatic tagging process for all objects of a given type when you create or modify a category that applies to that type. The modification of a category can indeed imply a modification of the auto-tagging conditions, so every object must be rechecked against the new conditions. At a lower scale, the modification of the attributes of an object may also trigger the automatic retagging of the object. If the modified attribute is suitable for comparison in auto-tagging conditions, the new value of the attribute can make the object fall into a different class and, therefore, be tagged with a different keyword.

Although the system does not impose a hard limit on the number of categories and keywords that you can define, automatic tagging can become a costly operation depending on the number of computations required. Specifying too many keywords or auto-tagging conditions may have a significant impact in the overall performance of the system. The maximum recommended values for keeping the system responsive are listed below:

  • 25 categories per type of object (device, user, application, etc).

  • 200 automatic keywords per category.

  • 20 auto-tagging conditions per keyword.

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