Custom metadata per database

Dear all,
DT3 seems like a huge update, thank you! For me, the ability to assign custom metadata to files / groups is one the top features.

However, I find “global” metadata to be to broad. Maybe it’s highly complicated to have custom metadata per file / group, but is it the same for databases?

I.e. : could one database display some custom metadata fields and another others? Maybe one script that could access DT global settings and activate / deactivate metadata fields on demand could be a viable solution for this?



Thanks for the suggestion, we’ll consider this for future releases.

I would like to add a very strong second to @bmscmoreira’s request.

As your own documentation emphasizes, smaller databases on focused topics work best. To me, global metadata fields are clutter. I don’t want the same fields in a books database, a birds database and a travel database. I recognize that this would require error detection and user interaction when I drag an item from one database to another with different metadata fields, but I feel that, from a user viewpoint, this is well worth the small hassle on the move vs. dealing with extraneous fields everywhere all the time.

Regarding the idea of activating/deactivating fields on demand, I would find that problematic because of the potential to inadvertently hide fields relevant to a particular item.

I think a fixed set of fields per database (not item or group) is the right granularity.


Database granularity would be great (and simpler I guess).

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Yep, I’ve just noticed this too. Per-database custom data fields would be very useful. And I’m already hoping if I invest in using them now that there’ll be an easy way to transition (i.e. for me to select which global fields belong to which database in the future).


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I’m already hoping if I invest in using them now that there’ll be an easy way to transition

And if per-database custom fields aren’t supported in the future?

The request is noted, but I wouldn’t go into it with the assumption they will. I’d advocate using them merely if they fit your purpose.

That’s the most compatible and therefore the most likely way it’s going to work in the future.



Just wondering … was this feature given enough love? :slight_smile:

I have different databases, so this feature is an essential!

Coming from a world where metadata is everything (video editing software) I can say that this is a potential mess if not handled well.
What I would want before asking for per-database Custom metadata is an enhanced column display management tool.
Because the main window doesn’t scroll left and right if you’ve got more columns than you can view and restrictions to the columns widths to fit within that window, you’re left turning columns of/on to see some at full width when you need it.
Having a set of column-view presets would make this more amenable to the way I work(!). But I come from experience with software (AVID Media Composer) that gives users a huge amount of control over which columns can be seen. There is a long long list of possible metadata that can be associated with media and not all of them are useful to everyone at any one time. Factor in custom metadata and it gets complicated quickly if you’re trying to share information.

BTW For those interested in other types of databases, almost all video editing software does some form of Indexing (in the DevonThink context) to media on storage drives. There’s a middle ground that some packages can do that Devonthink doesn’t do (for a good reason) where the imported media is copied to a storage drive and folder and THEN indexed.

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I just want to add another request for the ability to be able to assign custom data to specific databases. I currently have three databases and each of them requires unique custom data. Having only one common set means I have a couple dozen fields but only use a handful of them for each database. It’s messy and bloated.

Welcome @patamystic

The request is noted with no promises, of course.

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I could envision a middle ground where the custom metadata tab would allow you to group the metadata by categories that might be aligned with databases or are just groups (not the devonthink kind of group) the user makes themselves to make custom metadata manageable when that list gets too long.

I’m no programmer but I still find it hard to imagine how one would go about isolating custom metadata to one database without overcomplicating things in some other way. But I am willing to be proven wrong on that point.

I think one of the issues is UI.
If there was per-database custom metadata, the UI would have to provide a logical and intuitive place to define the attributes *for each database.

That’s why I am suggesting a middle ground where the custom metadata is not per database but there is a way to organize the custom database window into custom categories or folders.

Throwing another of my 2 useless Canadian cents in for metadata column display presets, which I think would reduce the pressure to have per database custom metadata.

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Agreed about the UI - plus what would happen if you try to move a record from one database to another and the custom metadata fields do not match?

A very good point! :slight_smile:

In my case, I would never move a file between databases (their purposes are too different), but I can see how that would be an issue for others.

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Adding a vote to the request for metadata that is assignable to a specific database.