Has anyone posted example databases?

DEvonthink is not just the app; it includes the supporting information such as this board. The growing list of 3rd party videos, for example, is helpful.

Has anyone seen an actual DT database posted where others can look at and download it? One of the best ways to learn a new coding language is to work through someone else’s code, and I bet the same thing applies here. I’m petty sure that Devontech does not have such examples, so has anyone found one elsewhere? A 2009 post in DevonThink Times asks what example databases people would like to see. But the examples it links to are 404.

Here are some blog posts that include both discussion of how they use DT, and screen shots. But none of them has any actual data from their database.

Christopher Mayo’s site has a number of useful links. I am still working my way through them.
There is no reason to wait for the developers to post a DB. My own DT examples are so far are basically just flat files. :blush: Will anyone volunteer?

Running DEVONthink is not like learning a programming language. Approaching it like this will definitely lead you to the mythical “steep learning curve”.

Why that face?!? What’s wrong with your flat file approach?? Nothing.

I’ve said this for 6+ years now: If you can operate the Finder, you can operate DEVONthink. It is really that simple. DEVONthink is an organizational tool, just as the Finder is. While you can glean approaches from other peoples’ databases, you should focus on what makes sense to you. How YOU think about organizing and segregating your data is a personal thing that will differ from how I or others think about it. And unless you’re working in a collaborative situation where common ideas need to be upheld, you don’t need to follow anyone else’s roadmap.

If someone created an “example database” they would have to create example files, and dummy groups, etc. etc. It’s like creating an “example novel” or “example major motion picture”. Agreeing with Jim here, I don’t know how that helps with learning anything,

What does help, and has helped lots of readers here over the years, is to lay out a knowledge management problem and discuss approaches to working with DEVONthink to solve it. Your data is different than anyone else’s so examples are not going to help figure out how to use your data.

BTW, the problem is usually not about “how do I use DEVONthink”. The problem is usually “I have a bunch of files / note / images, and I not sure what I want to do with them”. Not saying this applies to the OP, but I think sometimes folks buy software like DEVONthink because some blogger said “cool stuff”, and then buyer’s regret sets in because they really have no purpose for the software.

I agree with Jim & korm. The best (only?) way to ‘learn’ how to make the best use of DEVONthink for your particular set of circumstances is to just do it! Throw some stuff at it, set up some groups, play with it! Jim is right “If you can operate the Finder, you can operate DEVONthink. It is really that simple. DEVONthink is an organizational tool, just as the Finder is”. An hour spent using it will teach you more than any example will show you.

And I agree with Allsop on this point specifically. Play with it.
I tell people to use DEVONthink for what they need to use it for. Don’t think you will master it, top to bottom. (I have over 16,000 hours in it and I learn stuff in and about it every week.) But, also give yourself time to discover and play in it.

Jim and Korm are right - but - BUT, there might be something to be said for elaborating some of the particular use cases which Devonthink advertises when you sign up - e.g. lawyers, researchers etc - just to show the tremendous flexibility of Devonthink.

Scrivener is highly flexible and personal too (no two pieces of writing are the same - unless they’ve been plagiarised!) but has a very robust tutorial system for different sorts of scripts. I reckon there are useful features in DEVONthink which even pros don’t use which could be easily demonstrated by a particular use case. A variety of these would show off the huge potential of Devonthink. It’s not about saying you have to do things a particular way, more, “look at all the different ways you can think though things in Devonthink!”.

I say this as a chap who wrote one of the blog posts mentioned above, and as someone who’s generally quite nosey I’d be very interested in looking at other people’s databases!

… But I’m not sure I’d want to want to give anyone access to my actual databases!

DEVONtech has a Solutions page on the main site where they discuss how all the DEVONtech tools (DEVONthink, DEVONagent, etc.) can be used in various fields (Education, Research, Law, etc.) along with a User Portrait section where people in their respective fields describe how they use the tools. It’s a nice resource for those considering DEVONthink and/or those just getting started with the tools.

Yeah this is a really good resource, and is what I meant above, but perhaps it could be expanded with screenshots of actual databases, and more detail on the ‘how’ of particular features and workflows (there’s been a lot of questions on this forum about integrations with other apps for example). Or a well-curated blog series showing how particular people approach things. After all, workflows are continually evolving and there’s no one best way of doing things, so a continual series focusing more on the ‘hows’ would be useful, without saying “this is the only way to do things”.

Yeah, I don’t see anyone at DEVONtech doing that. They have their hands full creating and supporting their products. Scrivener is a different use case-written for writers by writers, and as a bonus all example documents can be written in lorem ipsum as writers have come to expect that. I’m sure DEVONtech could put up an example database or two, but they may not be close to an appropriate example for my profession or yours. Having said that, DEVONtech may have some room in the budget to support some freelance work in this area, so it couldn’t hurt to float a proposal by them if anyone is interested.

I hope I do not offend anyone with what I am about to say next, but I expect that the utility for DEVONthink and other tech products would improve if people would simply banish the word ‘workflow’ from their vocabulary. It’s a throw-away term that describes nothing and is waaaay overused these days. When someone says ‘my workflow is continually evolving’ I have no clue what they were, or are, wanting to accomplish nor have they convinced me that they know themselves. When people come here and define with clarity a problem/use case that they want to use DEVONthink for, the members here usually respond with a focus on the ‘hows’ to address the situation. Or not address the situation if that’s the case, as it is also helpful to learn that there may be better tools for a particular situation.

no offence taken :wink: . I simply mean work processes, in the sense of a step-by-step system, but it is bandied about a lot and I am perhaps guilty of over-using it!

I have learned tremendously by other members of the forum here, or at Scrivener’s or Bookends’, describing how they work with their data. Taking this and that piece of advice … “evolving” is probably the wrong term, “bricolage” seems more appropriate … :wink:


Things move fast on these forums, which is good, and for some reason, my attempt at getting alerts on threads do not work. That is by way of apologizing for my delayed response to previous messages here.

I think some of the reactions to my question miss the boat, and I’m going to attempt to explain why. We all have personal styles, of course, and X’s personal style might be to use DevonThink like the Finder. As for myseIf I have used various lightweight databases starting with DB2 and Lotus 1-2-3 in the 1980s, and for 10+ years I’ve been using EagleFiler to manage about 20,000 academic and quasi-academic papers. So yes, I could use DT as if I were using the Finder.

But the purpose of more powerful tools is to do more things with them, or do them faster, or better. DT at least in principle “more powerful” than EagleFiler for my purposes. So I want to get ideas, from other people, about useful ways to use DT. There are very few technical activitie where newcomers don’t get useful ideas by watching masters at work, and from reverse engineering what they built.

More evidence of a latent opportunity: These forums have > 100,000 words of people talking about how to use DT, how they use DT, why DT is good for tasks X, Y, and Z, and so forth. Eric Böhnisch-Volkmann just posted a blog entry in which he writes “Thank you, Paul, Kirby, and Barrett for granting us a look over your shoulders!”
And yet in all that, I found nothing but a few screen shots of actual uses of the software. Color me shocked. :open_mouth:

Obviously, the company has 100s of things it can work on, and “it” has decided that constructing sample databases (whether toy or real ones) is not important enough to make the cutoff. Fine. Also obvious is that for many people their data is too sensitive to share. Furthermore, DT is so polymorphic that any single example database might be of interest to only a fraction of its users.

But I still bet that many besides myself would be delighted if a few of the major contributors to the DT community each shared a 1% sample of their content and structures. I hope that I will eventually get proficient enough to do so myself.

Well, I’m a major contributor I think. I am an executive IT consultant, researcher, and writer. At present, I have 35 GB of data across 20 active database. My data are for the most part confidential, but even If not and I randomly, or with intention, excerpted 1% of it the result would be meaningless to anyone else. There are no archetypes in DEVONthink database construction. My data and databases were constructed over 10 years based on the work I did during that time. I didn’t start with “DEVONthink database model 13A” and stick with that. I started with a few files and groups, then more, then I wrote scripts to work my data the way it needed to be worked with, etc.

The arrangement of data, files, groups, personal naming conventions, smart groups, tags, etc., within these databases was all organically derived over 10 years, thousands of hours of work, constantly evolved, and means nothing to anyone else – not because it is proprietary, or that I do unique, or strang, or arcane work, but because these databases are related to what I do, not what anyone else might do. I guarantee you that if I shared a database, or spent a few dozen hours making a sample database, it would be a pointless exercise for you to look at it. You wouldn’t learn a thing from it. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have learned a thing from it.

Databases are a construction of information organized in a manner that means something to the constructor and no one else. That’s the point of the responses so far. I don’t know what else anyone could say. Are we completely missing the point of the original question?

Now, since I don’t believe we have heard what data the OP has and what problems they want to solve with it, etc., it would be useful to see some context. If the OP wrote that " I have 3,000 property deeds issued between 1850 and 1865 in Marion Country Missouri, and I want to explore those to see how they might relate to characters in Mark Twain’s early writing", then that would give the forum readers something understandable to grasp and propose “database” approaches to it. Same thing Greg, Andrew and Jim suggested: what’s the concrete real world problem we’re asked to advise on?

So, tell us about your data, your professional challenge in organizing it, and let’s see what we can do for you. 8)

R^2_is_misleading, in the responses you have here I believe you have the opinions of the best and most knowledgeable folk on these forums: korm, Bluefrog, and Greg_Jones. I have often taken their advice and invariably it has proved to be the best way forward. Specific problems, no matter how daft they may seem (I speak from personal experience having posted some pretty daft questions in my time) are always answered by someone with the requisite knowledge but we do need to be prepared to accept their advice.

I have been using the same database for more than 10 years now. I aggregate all my research papers there and have duly set up a certain folder structure. I have an In-folder where the currently relevant papers are stored which later get filed away into the appropriate folders (with replicants).
However, in pratice, I access older papers only by searching and “See also”. Thus, the folder structure does not really matter. I realised that I maintain the structure mostly for my own joy to see the AI at work when auto-classifying the papers. Of much more importance was the successful linkage several years ago between DTPO and my writing programme (Scrivener) and reference manager (Bookends) of choice.
As previously has already been noted: More important than the folder structure is your actual use of DTPO.