Quick Look is used in DEVONthink 2 to display a number of document filetypes such as MS Word, Open Office, Excel, Powerpoint, Pages, Mellel, Mail and others for which Apple or the document creator’s developer has provided a Quick Look plugin. So if you look at those documents in your database, you are reading them via Quick Look.
You can of course browse through a research collection at random, e.g. in the Three Panes view. That’s usually not a very productive use of time.
But if you are doing research and looking for related material, or for ideas, this is where DEVONthink shines as a research tool. Select a document that’s about the topic of interest. Click on the little ‘magic hat’ symbol and See Also produces a list of possibly related documents. These can be opened in tabs by Command-clicking on them. If one of those seems interesting, try See Also on it. Whenever I hit a writer’s block, I find See Also a wonderful tool to get me writing again. Once in a while, I get that Eureka! feeling when See Also leads me to an idea or relationship I hadn’t thought of.
There’s a related artificial intelligence tool, See Selected Text. Select a paragraph or several and invoke it (a contextual menu option). Like See Also, a list of possibly related documents is suggested.
How about checking out other documents in your reference collection that contain a particular word? Just Option click on the word.
Or select a string of words and press Command-/ (Lookup). A search window opens with that string selected. As entered, Search will look for documents that contain all those words. Put quote marks enclosing the string, and Search will look for documents that contain that exact string.
The Search window has a button named Context. After you’ve done a search, try clicking on that button. You will see a list of contextually related terms that may get you exploring further.
DEVONthink 2 has very powerful search operators and a simple syntax. Learn what you can do with searches (and smart groups) to distill information from your database. For example, you can create a smart group from the results of a search by clicking on the “+” button. Then use the Smart Group Editor to further filter the items in that group.
It’s tools like this that lead me to call DEVONthink the best research assistant I’ve ever had.