Setting up "Journal" database - advice needed

I’ve been using one structure for a database and am experimenting with another. I’d like to get some advice as to whether I’m being unnecessarily complicated, or if there’s an easier way to do this.

The database is a Journal. Notes during the day about what was said in a meeting, or in a phone call, or information I want to save about various projects. I have a Work folder, under which I have folders for each project at work … and I have a Personal folder, nested in which are folders for things like House, Car, etc.

Up until recently, if I wanted to create a new item, I’d navigate to the appropriate folder and create a new document and enter it there. The only problem with that is if I wanted to see ALL the items created on a given day, I couldn’t. I would go to Tools:Search:Advanced and select “Date Created”, but I couldn’t enter a specific date. I could enter Today or Yesterday or Last Week, etc., but not April 3, 2010.

So I’m now experimenting with a new structure. I’ve created a folder for the 2011, sub-folders for each month, and sub-folders for each day. (Data:New from template:Registers made this relatively easy.) Now, instead of navigating to a different folder for each new item, I just create each new item in today’s folder and then replicate it to the folder where I want it to reside.

This means I can view my data in two different was: by date or by project (the folder it’s replicated to). That’s my goal, and this works, but I’m wondering if there’s some simpler way to accomplish the same thing.

I’d appreciate any advice anyone might have to offer.



No response from anyone? How strange. I am getting ready to start keeping a journal within my DTPO. Curious if you are still doing what you mentioned above or have moved on to something else.

I had been keeping a journal on password protected wordpress blog. But it seems to me that having a local copy on DTPO would be faster. And, could be useful if I want to do some searches within other databases that I have.

The drawback for me, I suppose, would be how to get journal entries into to DevonThink when I am traveling or vacationing without my laptop or iPad. Something that I do on a regular basis to preserve some semblance of my sanity.


I switched to Evernote. Worked a lot better for my needs - mostly, the instant syncing to multiple devices.

That makes perfect sense. I just started journaling via DTPO, if it does not work, I may switch to Evernote. Right now, I want the easiest solution for my overworked brain. There is only so much new software that I can learn.

Thanks for the feedback!


At least korm is/was using DEVONthink, Day One, and Evernote. Some of his posts might be helpful:

Make a journal entry in Day One linked to this document
… scripting for the jrnl CLI which offers more choices than the DayOne CLI.

I keep a rich text journal in DEVONthink for noting items of interest, one or two documents per year. Each day I make an entry, the ‘header’ for that day is written as YYYYMMDD (easy to search in DEVONthink).

On some days there may be multiple topics noted, on other days no entry is made. That reflects the reality of my activities. My journal doesn’t require multiple groups and complex organization; it’s just a series of rich text notes with Names such as WBD 2012-1, WBD 2012-2, WBD 2013-1, etc.

I often refer to other documents within a journal note, using their Item Links to result in clickable links.

My approach is to keep the system simple, but I find it extraordinarily useful. I’ve been dong this for years. Recently I needed to pull information about some real estate transactions several years ago. A quick search in DEVONthink pulled up the journal note for that year, with my search terms highlighted, and I had immediate access to the details of the transactions, including links to legal documents.

What was I doing on March 26, 2005? A quick DEVONthink search limited to the group that holds my journal notes for the text string 20050326 would pull the entry for that date (if any).

It’s roundabout but you can create a smart folder for a specific date created. It just requires two conditions, e.g. Date is < 2013-06-20, Date is > 2013-06-18.