Changing time and dates for entries

Unless I am missing something, I see that there is no easy way to change the time and date of an entry. I see that you can “touch” the time with the provided scripts, however, one cannot put a previous time or date. I would like to request that DevonThinkPro add a feature to change the time and date as easy as it is in SOHO Notes and Journler.

The issue as to whether or not it should be easy to change the date/time of record creation or modification has been discussed previously on the forum.

Some users depend on the integrity of that metadata and feel that making it easy to change creation dates is a bad idea. For purposes of use for lab notes and similar uses creation/modification dates may become very important, and their use of DT Pro would be questionable if user date-setting were easily available. For some very critical uses of DT Pro, it would be preferable if the metadata (and document content) were unalterably locked.

Personally, I’m in agreement with that position, and I would argue that the “Touch” scripts should be removed, although they are probably less a problem than the ability to set any arbitrary date/time.

Another problem with changing creation and modification dates is that it would render the History Tool much less useful for updating copies of a database between two computers. (At least the Touch scripts would force inclusion as recent items in History’s Age sort.)

Why do you want to change creation and modification dates? I suspect you might find an alternative approach, such as entering searchable dates in the Info panel’s Comment field.

My reasoning for wanting to change the creation dates is that besides wanting to use DTP to organize my data, I want to use DTP as my journal. I sometimes do not have time to enter all my Journal entries on the exact dates they happened. Therefore, I need to change the creation date(s) to the correct date. The only way to do that now is set back the system clock to the date wanted and then “touch” the date.

Yes, I do see your argument about not wanting to change creation and modification dates for, say, lab work. However, could’t there be a way to change dates for us who are not in those professions?

Hi, Gino:

Like you, I have a journal document in DT Pro and like you I don’t always enter stuff on the day it happened.

But I keep the document as a monthly or quarterly journal and make successive daily entries in it. My convention for dating entries is, e.g. 061129 (today’s date) so that I can easily search for entries by any date.

My personal reservation about having options for creation/modification date changes is that the very existence of the option brings into question the integrity of dates. Yes, I know that OS X allows modification of dates, and I don’t approve. :slight_smile:


Can you elaborate a bit more what you mean by “I keep the document as a monthly or quarterly journal”. Perhaps I can change my “Journal enrty habit” to match yours and see if it works out for me.

Hi, Gino: Nothing mysterious. I’ve got a group titled “WBD Notes” in which I store my journal documents.

Somewhere between a monthly or quarterly basis I create a new journal document. It serves as a running log of journal entries by day, until I decide it’s getting too big. Then I create a new one. :slight_smile:

If I need to find something, DT Pro will let me search that WBD Notes group by my date code (e.g., 061129) or by content. If I need to inspect my entries for the month of May, 2005 I do a Phrase search for 0505 in my WBD Notes group. All of the entries for the month of May, 2005 are highlighted when I select the search result. Works for me.

As I might want to enter something in that log at any time, regardless of the frontmost application, I use a little free utility called Afloat (Google it). I designate the journal document as floating and nearly transparent, then minimize it to the Dock. Wherever I am, I can click on its icon in the Dock and make it available to enter a note or drag selected text from another document.

Yeah, we’ll just see how well your system works for you 93 years from now. Didn’t we learn anything from Y2K?



While I am not sure that your Journaling system will work for me, thanks for turning me on to Afloat. I tried Afloat last night - seems pretty cool!

You’re absolutely right. My personal date string format will break in only 93 years. It will no longer sort properly with continued use of that notation. So you young whippersnappers should write it instead as 20061130 (today’s date). :slight_smile:

But as I will be 75 next month I’m not too concerned about the transition to 2100 dates. And think of all the time I’ll have saved by eliminating 2 characters in my date string, if I’m still entering dates that way at age 168.

I started using that date notation some years ago when I was editing stuff in both U.S. and European publications. Common ways of expressing dates can be confusing. Does 11/05/2006 mean November 5, 2006, or does it mean May 11, 2006? Further, that shorthand expression doesn’t sort properly unless it’s understood as a date by an application, and the convention is understood properly in the context of either MM/DD/YYYY or DD/MM/YYYY. And of course there are other conventions, such as YYYY/MM/DD or YYYY/DD/MM.

So the notation I use will sort properly (until 2.1K) whether it’s considered a text string or a number.

Just another illustration of the point that a datum must be interpreted and evaluated in context. We can really get into trouble when we forget that, as we so often do. :slight_smile:

And so far, humans are usually much better at figuring out context than are computers. Artificial intelligence software is improving, but we humans are still responsible for evaluating the results of AI procedures. I love and make heavy use of DT Pro’s ‘See Also’ AI feature, but I’m responsible for deciding whether a particular suggestion meets my needs. What DT Pro adds is speed, when it looks for potentially relevant documents. It looks through tens of thousands of documents almost instantly, whereas it could take me days or weeks to do that.

One of the reasons I value the ‘See Also’ AI procedure is that DT Pro lacks preconceptions about the subject matter that I’ve got, based on my prior training and experience. So ‘See Also’ is free to make suggestions that I likely wouldn’t have thought of. Many of them will be dumb, but once in a while there’s a suggestion that leads to a new insight. Then it’s ‘Eureka’ time! I’ve widened the context of my understanding of a subject.

Oh, I agree completely. Just ribbing.

I have several hundred short documents in my database that represent events in the timeline of the series of books I’m working on. The format is like this:

YYYY MM DD@HH:MM – Someone did something, and it was important enough for me to create a unique timestamp for it.

For much the same reasons as you said… that it’s properly sortable. I use 24 hours, rather than AM/PM (which I liked even before I was in the military). I use the four-digit years because I have events going back several hundred years.

But even this isn’t entirely sufficient. I might be adding a [A-Z] or similar after the MM to define which timeline an event is occurring in. So far, this is only applicable for one volume and one timeline, so it might not be worth the trouble…

That reminds me… I really should write a post in the Usage Scenarios forum…