Giving a research assistant access to my database: use one of my seats?

Hi everyone

I know that versions of this question have been asked and I have read a number of threads. I am still not entirely sure the best way to approach what I want to do.

I would like to give a research assistant access to my database in order that she can do some data entry. I understand that we cannot be on at the same time. May I simply allow her to use one of my two seats? That way she can download the database; do the work I would like done; and then sync it.

Until recently I used both seats between two Macs. It worked really well. I am happily now back to one computer. But given my experience bouncing back and forth between two Macs simply giving my RA one of my licenses seems the easiest way to allow us both access.

Does that sound right? Am I missing something? Again, I know we cannot work simultaneously. That’s OK.

Thanks a lot

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Depending on the kind of data entry using DEVONthink To Go on the iPad might be also an option, this wouldn’t affect your Mac seats.

Interesting idea–thanks! I did not know that iPad use would not affect seats. Does my proposal otherwise seem sound?

Yes, sounds doable.

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You’ll need to deactivate the seat on the Mac you won’t be using.

  1. Log into your DEVONtechnologies customer account.
  2. Click the appropriate product in the Your Licenses section to display your licensing information.
  3. In the Devices section, press the Edit button.
  4. Press the encircled minus (-) button next to the device from which you want to remove the seat.

Are you geographically near her?

Thanks. I have deactivated one seat. We will be in the same city much of the time, but not all of the time.

Ideally, since the license belongs to you, you will need to log into your DEVONtech account on her Mac and activate the seat on her machine.

Good idea. Will do!

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Why not? I have several users on simultaneously regularly.

If you mean you both plan to open the same .dtbase2 file on a network drive but from different computers, I agree that is not a good idea.

You can set up a local Sync Store and then each of you can have your own .dtbase2 file which syncs to that sync store. Then you can both be on Devonthink simultaneously.


Thanks. Bear with me as I am not sure I understand entirely. I was under the impression, incorrectly it seems, that two people could not work simultaneously on the same database.

I am not sure what you mean by a local sync store that syncs to that sync store.

Maybe explaining what I want my RA to be working on would help. I have just collected thousands of pages of archival material (I am a historian). I would like my RA to catalog each document using a very basic template. Then I will be able to go and read them and take notes, tag them, etc., but will have saved the time it takes to catalog them. As my RA becomes more familiar with the materials she can start tagging as well and taking notes.

But in any case I don’t want two databases, i.e. each of us having our own, because I want one database that is for my use.

Does that make sense? Again, perhaps I am misunderstanding your suggestion or I was not clear initially.

Thanks for the help.

Not really.

DEVONthink databases must reside on local machines. DEVONthink move “copies” of databases to other machines (macOS and/or iOS) via synchronisation using one or more of the synch methods as documented in the outstanding “DEVONthink Manual”, section “SYNC” on page 60 of the 3.8.7 version.

Thus, your assistant will be working on his/her device and you working on your device. The sync will keep the copies in synch.

It is advisable you pick a reliable sync service. From reports here and on the “interweb”, Apple’s service not reliable for some. Dropbox is solid. Depending on the service provider, WebDAV works. When/if both your machines on the same local network, Bonjour works very fast and very reliable.

You cannot use a DEVONthink database residing on a networked remote server regardless of the protocol. It is not a multi-user database.

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OK, thanks for the reply.

As noted, I used to use DTPO on two computers. I would work on one; when finished I would close the database. Then, sometime later, I would open it on the other computer and it would sync the changes (via Cloudkit). I did this because I had thought one needed to be closed before working on the other.

What I am proposing to do is a version of the above: DTPO on two computers that sync. I understand that both will have a local copy. If we can both have DTPO open at the same time so much the better.

Thanks again

Well, give it a go. Try working on the a database that exists on two machines and is synced. See what happens.

Definitely it is not needed to have the databases be closed to sync. Synch an only occur when the database is open. You can set it to be automatic, at at time interval, or manual.

I can be sitting on my iMac instance and next to it is the MacBook with Bonjour. Syncs. Changes on one go to the other pretty quickly.

I suppose it’s worth doing an experiment where your both edit the same document at the same time. I have not tested that. One of the versions will “win”.

Indeed, each can be working on the same database at the same time as it’s a local copy on each Mac. Do bear in mind, changes made on each will propagate to the other. This includes file changes, reorganization, etc.

If you both make changes before a sync happens, a conflict could occur, e.g., you both change the same document. How this is resolved is handled in DEVONthink’s Preferences > Sync > Conflicts. Either it will create a duplicate, preserving both documents, or the most recent change will be preserved, no matter what machine it comes from.

If you anticipate working on the same documents, e.g., making edits, it would be best ot coordinate non-conflicting times when you’re editing them. Things like file additions are less likely to be causes of concern. Each machine would just receive those documents on syncing.
That being said, conflicts are usually not as common as you may think, so don’t let this worry you too much unless you know for sure you’ll both be editing file A at the same time :slight_smile:

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Thank you!!

This makes total sense to me: " If you both make changes before a sync happens, a conflict could occur , e.g., you both change the same document."

And this does allay my concern–so, thanks again.

Best wishes



Or use a two database system.

RA has a “Cataloguing” database where they do all that work on the raw untouched files. Once RAs work is done it goes into “Research” database where you do your work.
You don’t have to keep the cataloging db open and RA only opens the research db to put new files into it when they’re ready for you.
Gets you both started without having to worry about working on the same doc at the same time. By the time everything is catalogued you’re both familiar with the system and can choose what needs to be done in the Research db and when.

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That’s a really good idea too. I might try that.

Thanks all

I’ll put on my instructor hat and remind you to test every workflow with at least 10 docs to make sure you’ve got everything taken care of. Custom Metadata and tag rules (all/no caps, punctuation, abbreviations etc), date and language settings on both Macs, all that stuff that might cause confusion down the road.
Plus all the academic stuff I couldn’t even begin to guess at.

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Great idea–thanks