I’ve been using DTP for about a week now. I had some questions after using it, and so spent the time to read through all the documentation and online tutorials. As so often happens when I learn something new, it answered several of my questions and left me asking many more…hoping you folks can help me out. I’m almost positive I’m going to be one of those people who says 6 months or years from now that DT is indispensable. Need some pointers getting started though.
I have several PDF books (~400 pages each) on my computer. I started by importing those into DT. The result wasn’t so hot…when I search and something matches, if I click on the item, it takes several seconds to load. As an example, a 3.3MB PDF with 415 pages took 6 seconds of wall clock time to even display. This is on a brand new MBP with 8 gigs of RAM & fewer than 100 documents in the database (most are much smaller than the PDFs). Another thing I noticed was that the search results weren’t very useful. It showed me that the document matched, but doesn’t really show where the best matches are. In a 400 page document it would be much more useful to get a pointer of where to look. So the conclusion I’ve come to is that I’m misusing DTP by dumping my eBooks into it. Am I correct in believing that it’s better with smaller, more focused documents? If I’m reading an eBook and see a particular paragraph or page that I really want to keep, I should just import that section specifically? I know that DTP can also split documents…so maybe it would work well to split the eBook into chapters, and import the chapters individually? Would appreciate some tips on that.
The next big question I have is how to split up multiple databases. The documentation said that having “topic databases” is the way to go, to maximize speed & AI’s effectiveness. I’m confused as to just how I should break this up. Do I want to split the DBs up based on content, function, or both? I downloaded all the example databases and looked at them…the “Research Archive” covered a fairly broad range of topics - computers, science, politics, and fun. The demo DBs all seemed to be used for very different functions though - research archive, project management, a GTD tool, images, etc. I’m not sure if it’s recommended to break things up based on how I’m using it, or if those were just demos. My basic plan was to have two databases - one for my job, and one for everything else. As an example of the “everything else” db, I will have articles I’ve saved online, archived emails, meal plans & recipes, receipts, etc. So a pretty broad range of stuff…should I be drawing hard lines and creating multiple databases for some of this stuff, or will good group management be sufficient? I won’t have 20 million words in my db for a long time, so my basic plan is to start with one db, and if it looks like one topic is starting to have a disproportionate weight then I can create a new db for it. Seems sensible to me, but there’s a chance I’ll shoot myself in the foot by having unrelated stuff in the same db and thus making the AI less effective. To give an example of something I’m on the fence about, I’m currently working on a programming book. I’ve collected a lot of reference material for the book, and it’s a big project so it can naturally have its own DB. On the flip side though, I collect a lot of info in my day to day work that I might not file directly with the book - and yet I would really like for DTP’s AI system to find some related items that I may not think of. So would it be okay to have a single DB, with a top-level group for Book, one for Reference Articles, one for Recipes, etc? I know it’s a bit weird but I’ve seen stories about people finding seemingly unrelated things via DTP and I don’t want to miss out on that.
Okay now that the big questions are out of the way, here are two easy ones:
How should I store web pages? Links apparently aren’t indexed, plus I won’t have the content offline…so this leaves plain html, web archive, and PDF. The docs say that web archive is proprietary to OS X, and that PDF is an open standard. So I guess either plain HTML or PDF would be best, and then it’s just personal preference?
The documentation says that I need Pro Office in order to archive email. As far as I can tell, I can drag messages from Mail.app into DTP just fine. Am I missing something?
Apologies for the length, but I need some help with the fundamentals so I can really take advantage of this software. Thanks for reading