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.

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