Multiple Databases - How are you using this feature?

In the DevonThink Pro manual it suggests having topical databases to make sure the AI is as powerful as possible. At the same time this makes it very difficult to have Devonthink as a one stop place to clip and then organize information. How many of you out there are using multiple databases, how did you decided to break them off and how are you managing the flow of information?

I use two databases, one for work (~2GB) and one for everything else (~1.2 GB). The flow is no problem. On my MacBook Pro with 3 GB RAM, both open reasonably fast (1-3 seconds). For switching between them I have setup keyboard shortcuts.

Excuse me, do you mean that you can open two instances of DTP and have both databases opened at the same time? Or you mean that your shortcut keys open different databases but then - one at the time is active…

If this is the case please enlighten how do I assign keyboard shortcuts to open different apps? Suggested reading?

Thanks very much in advance.

Sorry for being imprecise. There is only one database open at a time. For that reason I mentioned my configuration and the time required to open the databases.

To assign the keyboard shortcuts, I use the Triggers feature of Quicksilver.

Use case web research:

I am searching for a term related to my work and use the Shift+Cmd+) shortcut of DTPO to import RTF snippets into my work database. While researching I stumble open interesting stuff that would really sidetrack me now, but I want to follow-up. Instead of the traditional bookmark that never really worked for me, I am now quickly switching to my private database (Cmd+F2) and import the snippet. Once done, I switch back to the work database (Cmd+F1) and continue the research. Overall this takes around 5-6 seconds and I can continue to pursue my current task knowing that nothing will be lost. At any time I can scan my “Inbox” folder in the private database for interesting reading material.

That simple trick has a lot of value to me. It helps me focus because I do not have to worry to miss/forget something.

another option to get a shortcut to open (or switch) between databases would be a simple AppleScript in combination with FastScripts. This little app replaces the OS X Script Menu and allows to assign shortcuts to the scripts. I think the light version is free.


… one of those things to follow-up. :wink:

Thanks! Lots of new stuff to learn… :wink:

Thanks guys!

What I have decided on is that I will keep everything in one database until one section starts to get to large. Then I will just export the folders and start a new database.

The amount of RAM in your computer is the most important element for practical size limits to databases.

On my MacBook Pro with 2 GB RAM when I switch from my main database, to another large database, then back to my my main database, it takes about 28 seconds to return from the second to the first database.

Last week my new ModBook (a pen-enabled tablet Mac) was delivered. It has 4 GB RAM. The same procedure as above takes only 8 seconds.

The larger RAM in the ModBook keeps Virtual Memory from use, whereas the MacBook Pro has to resort to Virtual Memory, which is slower.

There’s an old saw, which is true: RAM is good; more RAM is better.