Indexing just file names


one of my main uses of DevonThink Pro is to index all my CD’s and DVD’s with it, which basically means keeping an inventory of all those discs and what’s in them. This has probably been discussed before, but I’ve various times tried searching the forum for an answer and haven’t really found one. Or well, I guess I just haven’t found the answer I’d like to find.

So here is the simple question: can DevonThink Pro be used to just index the file names from the discs without getting deeper file information? I haven’t really cared that much earlier about it, but the main database I have for CD/DVD indexing has just reached 3,5 GB and it’s just unacceptable to me. (Of course the file has the backups inside it.)

My discs contain all kinds of files, ranging from text files to pdf’s to various multimedia files to movie files to music files. And actually all I really need is a searchable database of just file names. I just exported with the AppleScript a listing of this 3,5 GB database into a text file and its size came down to a nice 1,9 MB, something I’d much rather see, since I’m keeping this database on both of my Macs, the G5 and my iBook, which of course is not the fastest computer by any means.

I must add also, that various times during the year or so that I’ve used DT Pro for indexing I’ve had multiple problems with this particular database. One of the latest problems was so big that after “repairing” the database DT Pro had destroyed all the non-folder files inside it, and I’m glad I noticed it before I overwrote the old backup file. I always take backups to another location of the db but that particular time I had just indexed about 5-10 DVD’s and I lost all of their info when I restored the backup.

So perhaps you understand why I ask this question, since I’ve almost decided to find another software solution for the indexing. One of the main reasons for me to buy DT Pro license was because it was advertised to be good for indexing of CD’s and DVD’s, but probably you only meant moderate sized indexing of small text files. There’s probably been talk about this in the forums too, but it’s really hard to stop indexing when a problem occurs, for example if DT Pro can’t for some reason understand the file it’s indexing. I’ve seen DT Pro try to read the single file literally for half an hour before I had to force quit the app. And I’m not talking about some 300 MB pdf-file but about a single .avi-file. This problem has of course escalated even more now that Apple in its wisdom decided to break the Quicktime in the 7.2. update. Now even the normal video-files can take minutes to read by DT Pro (the same time it takes the QuickTime to open them). The indexing is always a bit of a hit and miss, and I’ve learned that sometimes it’s impossible to index a certain CD or DVD because DT Pro doesn’t understand just a single file in it. I’ve then had to copy the whole CD or DVD to my hard drive, remove the offending file and then try indexing again. Which is one he11 of an annoying thing to have to do.

I have to say that I haven’t been pleased at all in the DT Pro. Sure I don’t master it, but I did spend one day going through the manual and trying all the things in it when I bought the software. Of course I did also try the demo before I bought it, but I guess I’m not the only one who doesn’t get too involved with the software until he has bought the license. You just sort of take a leap of faith and hope you haven’t been duped. And I guess the problems I’ve had with the indexing are just so random that they don’t come up until they just come up. And I’m not saying that as a whole DT Pro sucks, but I do think that in some senses it does suck. For some reason I have never found myself to be at home with it, but I must admit that because writing my thesis for the university has been delayed I haven’t delved so deep into DT Pro as a document gatherer. But that’s really not the point, I just wanted to ask about the indexing.

One thing I might do is to export the text-listing of the already indexed CD/DVD with the AppleScript and then add that text-file to DT Pro, although I must say I’m not that hot about this idea. But I guess it’s the only way to get the indexing with only the file names done? Thanks for anyone answering!

DT Pro does indeed CD/DVD indexing but what you’re looking for is CD/DVD cataloging. And that’s a different story. But to bypass the QuickTime issues you’ve encountered, just disable either the option to create thumbnails for QuickTime movies or the option to import/index QuickTime movies at all.

Thanks for answering! I must admit I was thrown a bit by the term ‘indexing’, which I see as cataloging with deeper information.

But really my most common issues with indexing DVD’s with movie-files in them are solved by disabling the thumbnails, thanks for telling that. I can’t understand how I could’ve missed that, I probably have tried it at some point but didn’t somehow take it in.

But yeah really, thanks a lot. Since indexing without the thumbnails seems pretty fast I guess I’ll index all the DVD’s and CD’s again to bring down the size of the database. I must admit, though, that I still wouldn’t mind an option in the importing preferences that would just catalog with the file names :wink:, since on some of my medias there are files that DT Pro can’t understand and it’s trying to ‘index’ them but since it can’t understand what they are it just freezes. But thankfully those kinds of files are not that common. I don’t remember exactly what files they were, but at least some files made by the 3D-programs I use. Even if I don’t want to get their whole information in the indexing I wouldn’t mind seeing the file names appear in the database. But like you said DT Pro is not for cataloging so let’s leave it at that.

Do you know the extension and/or HFS type of those 3D files? Or could you send me an example?

Sorry I can’t do it right away, since I don’t remember which CD’s/DVD’s had the offending files :confused: I’ll keep my eyes open when I start to index the discs again, though. But if I remember correctly it wasn’t straightforward like all same kinds of filetypes would’ve been the problem, it really seemed like a random thing. I guess I would’ve filed a bug report if a particular type of files were always the problem, but because that wasn’t the case I didn’t bother. One explanation is of course always that the particular files were damaged in some way. And that’s one of the reasons I’ve always hoped for a preference to just index by the file name so the damaged file doesn’t get a chance to harm the database :confused:

But I’ll keep my eyes open and inform you when the files come up.