Setting up historical research database

Let’s say I wanted to write about the first American astronaut’s short flight into space, and scan ten books about it.

Now, I’d like to create a database that organizes all this information by date and time - so all the accounts of the launch itself are grouped together, and all the accounts of the landing are grouped together.

I’d also like to be able to organize all the information by character (the different astronauts, NASA administrators, etc.), and also by subject (spacecraft design, political concerns, etc.)

But I need each bit of information to remain connected to its source citation, so I can relate every small item to its source and page number.

What’s the best way to do this? (I know this is a lot to ask, but I suspect you all can save me a LOT of time if I set this up wrong.) So thanks VERY much in advance.

Hi. I am a historian (Japanese history), and I think there are several ways of going about this with DEVONthink. First, I recommend visiting my website and checking out the links to use cases by historians. Rachel’s setup seems to be especially popular.

Some of the features you might find especially helpful are: “see also and classify,” links directly to each page of a PDF, replicants, tags, DT’s OCR, DEVONagent. DEVONagent is especially useful for scraping stuff off the web, getting it into your account, and organizing it.

Thanks for the links - lot of interesting stuff there.

One of the things I’m most interested in discovering - and haven’t found yet - is whether I can break a large file down into smaller pieces, and have each piece automatically carry the source citation with it somewhere.

For instance, if I’ve scanned a 200 page book, I might like to break it down to 400 or 500 smaller sections - each its own document that I could tag with dates or names or whatever - but have each piece retain (perhaps in Spotlight comments or somewhere else) the name of the book, the author, and maybe even the page number.

Any way to do something like that or do I have to enter kind of information that manually for each piece?

@R Barre

You might find this useful.

Sorry but that’s a long thread. If you’re not familiar with the long history of discussion on this forum of various annotation techniques or tools, you might find some interesting gems by browsing.