Data sheet from folder structure

Hello everyone,

I am new to DevonThink and currently playing around with the trial version. Before buying it I would love to hear from someone more experienced, to make sure it’ll be possible to do what I have in mind.

I want to use DevonThink to manage a large library of recordings from my research, including video, audio, and transcription files (several different formats). Currently the data is organized in a folder structure, and I want to maintain the structure as is but use DT to make the data more accessible, and add metadata, tags, and create temporary groups for files I am working on.

This is how the structure looks like.

and potentially some other files

YYYY-MM-DD_hh-mm-ss is a folder which represents a “session”, which on the disk contains all the media files. Not all sessions have all 5 files, some might have only a video some might only have audio; the other files are transcription or settings files, they are not present in all session folders.

So I did manage to index the folder structure in DT. However, I’m now stuck with the question how to represent it as a table, in order to add fields for metadata. I assume I need something like a “sheet” and I managed to add sheets to certain folders, but what I want is to represent the folder structure “as” a sheet in order to add fields for metadata. All metadata should be added on the session folder level, i.e., I don’t need to have the files themselves represented in the table. I would like to add fields like: Location, Date, Participants (here the field should be able to have multiple values), Type, Duration, and a number of others (the audio/video/transcription files should ideally also be represented as fields in the table although that’s not crucial, or maybe there could be a field that has a 1 or 0 whether there is a given file in the folder or not).

Furthermore, is there a way to have DT (via AppleScript probably) “watch” all the folders in the folder structure, and automatically add and list files that are stored in the session folders so that whenever I add a file to a folder it would automatically appear in DT instead of having to add it manually.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or hints!

If you indexed your folders, then your indexed folders will be updated whenever you click one to view it. Or you can select a number of indexed folders an update them all at once using File > Update Indexed Items.

Read the forum for postings from Greg_Jones for lots of info and tips on indexing.

You can make a Table of Contents notes for anything you select – so if you selected the groups you want to make a TOC for, then use Data > Create Table of Contents. You’ll get an RTF file named “Table of Contents” – you can rename that, of course – with the name of each of the selected groups in the TOC. Works the some way when documents are selected. If it’s groups that are selected, the Table Of Contents document will be placed in the root of the database – you need to use Go > Top Group to locate it.

The TOC rtf document can be opened in Pages or Word and converted to a table, and add columns.

There are other scripts posted in the forum you might find that do variants on tables of contents.

I seem to recall there was a dialog here in recent years for a use case similar to yours – you might find something interesting on the topic by searching the forum.

Korm, Thanks so much for your hints. Indeed, updating the index does automatically add files that are added to a folder, great! That’s easier than I thought.

However, Table of contents doesn’t seem like the way to achieve what I need in terms of metadata, as it just creates an rtf file for files that are selected. To create a TOC for the entire database it looks like I have to select all files at once (selecting a folder is greyed out when I select a folder) and then create the file and then convert to a sheet. However, I need the metadata not for the files but on the folder level. Maybe a script could achieve that, true.

But even if, it would still a separate table, not linked to the folder structure anymore. I had done that in Excel before, but the database was too big and was impossible to handle. So I turned to DT and the way it displays the folders and contents much like they are in Finder is great, as I can collapse and expand them etc. and the tagging and labels are perfect.

But I also need to add the metadata and here I’m still stuck. When displaying in Split View then it looks almost as it should I can add columns for Tags, Desription, Keyword, even Author. However, I couldn’t find a way to customize the columns to add location, type, and other custom fields. I also didn’t manage to edit them, except for tags and keywords. But how do I add a description to a folder for example. Or assign locations.

I could, of course do everything with Tags, but then how do I classify different types of Tags and have them show in different columns.

Any suggestions on how to achieve something like what I have in mind highly appreciated.

Note: You can right-click on the column header and add built-in types. However, you cannot add your own types.

In Split view (or any view with columns) you can add notes to the “Spotlight Comments” column for each group. See the image. “Location” is an internal DEVONthink property that is not editable.

If you want a record of your activity you can select multiple group and File > Print > Save as PDF and get something like the following (screenshot of PDF):

a printout like this is literal – DEVONthink prints what you see, which might be of limited value for what you’re doing.