PersonalBrain Integration

Among applications for making information easily searchable, DevonThink is excellent for what it does. But it would be even more powerful if it could be linked with PersonalBrain, an amazing tool for concept visualization.

It’s really easy to add and use tags during search and navigation in DevonThink. What’s missing, though, is the ability to see relationships between tags, a task better performed by a concept mapping or mind mapping program. I’m not looking for a tag cloud – I’m looking for a diagram showing which concepts are associated with each other. I searched long and hard for the ultimate such application, trying many, most of which fell short. Ultimately, I settled on PersonalBrain because of its powerful ability to link any topic to multiple other topics, the ability to hold thousands of such concepts, and the ability to easily navigate through them in an intuitive way.

PersonalBrain allows you to see relationships between concepts, meta-concepts, related concepts, and subordinate concepts, as well as to fly through that information in a very natural way. PersonalBrain mimics how my brain works, hopping from one related topic to another. While it does have basic document import and search capabilities, they are really quite inadequate – that task is done much better by DevonThink.

For a project I’m working on, I’ve now built a map within PersonalBrain showing all the relationships between the several hundred concept tags I have assigned to content within DevonThink. The problem is that I’ve had to do that work all by hand. It would be much better to be able to drag a tag from DevonThink on top of PersonalBrain to create a “Thought” (the PersonalBrain name for a concept). Or at least to be able to easily import a set of tags without creating duplicates. Even better would be some sort of automatic synchronization to ensure that the latest tags created in DevonThink are imported into PersonalBrain.

I hope that the developers involved can recognize the very different strengths of the two applications and the potential benefit to both platforms of creating an interface. There should certainly be some good cross-sale opportunities there given the similarity of the target markets for the two products and their very different strengths. Together, they can be a powerful combination.

Brain XML does not (yet) recognize tag entities or nested ideas in XML imports. PB is not scriptable, nor, AFAIK, does it recognize OpenMeta tags. The script posted here might help by creating “thoughts” in PB from DT records. But that is a one-way street.

In the last version of DTPRO and PersonalBrain this script worked. Unfortunately it now seems not to function properly - either when launched in the Finder, or when the the XML is dragged into PB, the XML file created by the script seems to launch a random application according to whatever file has been exported from DTPRO.

I’m trying to run it on DTPRO 2.0.9 and PB

Help!! Thanks!

The .xml is not dragged into PB. It needs to be imported. Use File > Import > Brain XML from the PB menu.

Working as designed over here, on the same configuration.

I am using both DEVONthink and PersonnalBrain to structure my Information flow, I am currently working with a dozen of topical DT bases the biggest being about 12Go.

I put all relevant info in my DT bases and have them organized with folders and subfolders, I have never felt the need for keywords, but do an extensive use of See Also features.

With reference to PB I have three Brains (One Main Brain mostly personal + Business) and two topical Brains, I tried to use a hierarchical approach, implementing an overall categorization scheme (Thoughts = Categories) and a more relationships approach working on concepts, in that regard I use DT to identify key concepts, so for a specific thought, I had both the causal tree and the categorization tree

I am not sure the above is every clear but you get the big picture

Now I am curious to know how you use PB in connection with DT, specifically :

  1. Why do you need to import your group structure into your Brain?
    Don’t you think it is redundant ?

  2. I see the Group in DT as a reference among others when using a Brain so I use the script which BTW works fine, to point a resource within my DT data base

The way you structure your different Brains and DT bases is indeed unique to you.

At this point do you have any ideas to enhance the integration of PB and DT?