DT-internal names in list for indexed files?

Greetings – I am quite new to DT, but here is what I would like to do:

I am not at this point in a DT-only world. In particular, I have a large library of PDF files (in EagleFiler). What I would like to do is to index all of the PDF files so that I can search them within DT.

In EagleFiler, I have metadata for all of these, with the paper’s title and author information. I leave the file-internal metadata (which is often wrong, or gives the journal editor’s name, or whatever) untouched.

When I index these in DT, I seem only to be able to see the filename as the “Name” and any columns I choose to view show me the metadata from the original file. Of course, DT can’t detect my EagleFiler metadata, but what I want to be able to do is at least be able to call the file whatever I want (e.g., Author Year Title) in the DT lists. Changing the filename isn’t an option, because the PDFs are still within EagleFiler’s library and they’d get lost/disassociated if the filename changes. Importing them into the DT database also isn’t really an option because this is nearly 10GB of material.

Ideally, there would be a field that I could choose to display instead of Name (if Name must be filename, which it appears from my forum searching that it does), with only a DT-internal life, so I can use it as a kind of alias name to this file.

Long term, I have the idea that I’d use an Applescript pathway to transfer the EagleFiler metadata into DT—but only if there is someplace I can put it.

I fear that what I’m trying to do is simply not possible, though it doesn’t seem like it would be a difficult or problematic feature (a “name” field in the database that defaults to filename, or PDF metadata title, but can be changed). In fact, it seems that something like this already exists internally, judging by the discussion elsewhere on the forum of a file named “SomeFile” within DT actually pointing to “SomeFile-1” in the filesystem. Couldn’t this just be a simple matter of turning off whatever it is that changes the filename whenever the name is changed?

This matters somewhat less for imported files, but it seems like mine is not the only situation where an indexed document, used by some external application, should remain untouched regardless of what fiddling goes on within DT. I’ll probably get used to it or figure out some other way to deal with it if it really isn’t possible to give a document a DT-internal name that I can see and sort on, but if it is possible and I just haven’t found it yet, I’d be grateful to hear how it is done. Otherwise, I suppose this constitutes a (small, I think) feature request.

Thanks in advance for whatever thoughts people have.

Maybe just a couple more things: Abandoning my EagleFiler library in favor of using DT for this is also not very appealing to me for a couple of reasons. One is that I mirror this archive online (using Interarchy to sync the folders), so having an organizer that is close to the filesystem (like EagleFiler is) is a big advantage. I don’t think I could replicate this if the files were all in DT, because within the DT database, things are all filed away atomically by type.

The second, even if I somehow overcome that obstacle (which I doubt I can), is that I have something like 9000 PDFs, nearly all with titles and authors entered into EagleFiler. I have to get this information into DT somehow if I import all/some/many of these into the DT database.

Perhaps what I need to do is write a script between Acrobat and EagleFiler (if I can work out how) that takes the EagleFiler metadata I entered and replaces the file-internal metadata in the PDFs. Then, of course, DT will find it with no problem. I’m not sure if Acrobat is Applescriptable enough to do this, but I believe that I need to do this with Acrobat (and not PDFKit-based solutions) for an independent reason: in my experience PDFKit destroys the OCR data in files that have been OCR’ed with Acrobat’s ClearScan option. Anyway, updating the file-internal metadata automatically might be possible, and it might be worth doing anyway. But it would be much nicer and quicker if I could put that concern off until some other year, and just enter an override name within the DT database.

This is an interesting problem. There is an “alias” property available for each document (see Tools > Show Info), though it has limited use and is intended to be an alternate name in a wiki-link. In other words, a document named “War and Peace” could be aliased “Peace and War” and both of these would act as wiki-links in a text document and point to the same document. But, this doesn’t help you, because the alias isn’t otherwise viewable as a column, and cannot be found in searching.

So, if the unbreakable rule is that the original name as contained in the Eagle Filer folders can never be changed by DT, then I’d suggest you put your virtual alias in the Spotlight Comment field. This column can be displayed in views, could be dragged to the first column position (before Name), and you wouldn’t need to put anything there unless you wanted to have a different document identifier for the DT views.

Of course, if you are already using Spotlight Comment then things are more difficult. In that case, you might use the URL field (assuming you’re not using it for any purpose). The URL field can contain any text you want. Both the Spotlight Comment and the URL fields can be clicked and edited in views. You can search and sort on either field.

The risk in all of this is that some other external program or process modifies either Spotlight Comment or URL. I’d hazard that the risk isn’t great in either case, and lower for URL than for Spotlight Comment, since URL is an internal DT metadata field.

The final approach would be to use one of the other editable metadata fields.