Database health...

I’m curious how do people maintain the health of their Databases. Data gets stale after a while and needs to be culled. Does devonthink have anything that can assist with this?

Doesn’t the answer depend on your own perspective, decision rules, and data? If “stale” and “culled” refer only to age, then smart groups are the simplest way to locate old data.

The only reason to be concerned about database size is the technical performance capability and performance of your machine. The best long-term strategy for keeping database sizes in check is to avoid massive databases that are dumping grounds for all sorts of unrelated stuff. I believe this is contrary to the pervasive opinion about “going paperless” and “everything bucket” data stores, but I’d prefer more rather than fewer databases, focused on broad subject areas, so I can keep open only the databases I need and use my machine’s resources for more interesting things.

I’m glad to see that you echo my experiences with DT. I thought I was just doing it wrong.

I’m considering a rolling review of my documents etc, but I have to figure out how I can mark documents as reviewed and thus remove them from a smart group. I’m currently leaning towards a last modified or opened date and just touch the file to update it (this is the unix hacker in me speaking now, could probably do this with Apple Script without too much difficulty).

This topic has piqued my interest in the last few days as I was just browsing through one of my databases and realised it was filled with what I now consider junk, having said that not everything that’s old is junk - I do have a bit of a hoarding tendency which I need to keep in check.

Tell me about it! My own trick to is to use Scripts > Rename > Add Prefix… together with TextExpander, to add “zOLD_” to the front of stuff that I’ll delete in the future. It’s just a nonce prefix meant to sort documents to the bottom of name-sorted lists and tell me “kill me”.

Well since we’re thinking out loud, I just had a quick look at the file inspector. From the help file:

Attached script

Script: This field allows you to attach an AppleScript script to any item in DEVONthink Pro Office, documents as well as groups. The script will be executed every time you view the item in a Split view or Three Panes view as well as when you open it in a separate document window. Click the Select button to choose the script to attach.

I guess it’s possible to attach a script to every single file in the database to update the modified date. That way you can use a smart folder to cull documents that hasn’t been used in years or something. I’m of course assuming I’d be happy with deleting stuff if I haven’t used it in ages… I guess I could also use that as the review bucket and at that point the script should execute again automatically marking it as reviewed…

Just an idea, but it does screw your modified date up, I could have sworn I saw a last opened date in a file inspector in the last week - maybe I was imagining it. I remember thinking, oh that’s nice - haven’t seen that in any other OS before… guess I still haven’t…

As usual I’m over thinking the solution, I’ve managed to create a smart group that works on the date opened. the only catch is that as soon as I open the file to review it, it gets removed from the smart group so deleting it would be tricky…

Just another tweak that might help is to have another condition on the smart group.

I’ve set it up to show any document that was opened last year or opened today.

This is not quite ideal as I cannot get rid of documents in the list that I consider reviewed, but I suppose it will be gone the next day. There might be something in this idea, but I’ll keep thinking…