Hi, Robert: I’ve got some very large collections of reference materials and tend to organize a number of topically-oriented DT Pro databases. And I want to have “portable” databases, so that I can work with my references whether I’m using my Power Mac or MacBook Pro.
So I don’t put all the files that I’ve got on my Power Mac into a single database. It simply wouldn’t fit on the 100 GB drive on my MacBook Pro, and it would be slow and unwieldy.
My main database contains about 20,000 documents, totaling about 24 million words. It’s quite a comprehensive reference collection reflecting my professional interests in environmental science and technology. The contents range over many disciplines, from policy, law and regulations (in several countries) to analytical chemistry, statistics, molecular biology, toxicology, risk assessment, conservation ecology and so on.
On my machines this database operates very quickly. The AI functions such as See Also work well for me, because although the contents seem very diverse, they are in fact related in many ways.
It really isn’t all that hard to design topical databases. Is there material about the history of science, food and agriculture, archaeology, anthropology and genomics in my main database? Yes there is, and it’s often useful.
But I’ve got another database for my financial and tax records. Still another database for a huge collection of information about the Apple Newton. And still others related to the health care infrastructure in Louisiana following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. And others still.
There’s really very little topical overlap between my databases, although sometimes I will “duplicate” a particular item into another database as well.
The first time I launch DT Pro after a restart it takes almost a minute to make my default database (my main database) available. Then it takes only a few seconds to switch to a different (usually smaller) database, and only a few seconds to switch back to the main database.
So even though I can’t currently run two or more databases concurrently, I gain a lot by splitting databases, and it’s no big deal to switch between them.
Like most databases, DT Pro databases need RAM to operate quickly. Although DT Pro version 2.0 will be much more efficient in memory use, some operations in big databases will still need RAM (I emphasize physical RAM, as it’s much faster than Virtual Memory swap files, which are slower because of the requirement for disk access). So even in DT Pro 2.0 I would not plan (or need to) launch all my databases concurrently.
So the practical answer to your question about marking some material to exclude it for searches is that you really recognize that such material belongs in its own database. If you’ve placed it in a database where it becomes an impediment to the searches you do in that database, take it out and put it in a separate database. You will then be able to search the material in both databases more usefully. But if you could mark it for search exclusion in the original database, you’ve made it less useful, as you could no longer search it!