Smart Group - Search for 'Author' is empty?


I would like to make a smart group which shows all PDF files without an author.

I can’t seem to work out how to do this. If I add a condition which specifies that the author matches ‘’ - i.e. I leave the matches field empty then DT deletes the condition.

Does anyone know how to achieve this?

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This would be very helpful - I’d like a smart group that shows me which DT files are missing a URL. Any thoughts on how to achieve this, or from the devs on whether this functionality can be added to the next release?

I have no use for the Document Properties fields in my databases, as they do not apply to all of the document filetypes in my databases. And even if Document Properties fields were available for all my documents, I wouldn’t consider the time and effort to fill them out worthwhile – but that’s just me. Feel free to consider me eccentric. :slight_smile:

I can’t think of a direct way to create a smart group for empty content in the Author field.

But if I were working with a collection of PDFs and wanted to identify those in which the Author field is empty, I could use a kludge that would first do a search of a group that contains repiicants of all the PDFs in a database for those that contain any vowel, then select the search results and remove them from that group. The remaining items in the group would be those that don’t contain a vowel in the Author field, so are likely to be empty.

Of course, the remaining items that don’t contain a vowel in the Author field don’t constitute a true smart group. The result is a collection of items that’s static, not dynamic – if additional PDFs were added, the kludge should be repeated in order to include them.

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Open the smart group in a database that lists all PDFs in that database. Select the contents and replicate them to a new group. For the sake of discussion, we’ll call the group “Joe”.

  2. Open the full Search window (Tools > Search). Leave the query field blank. Choose “All”, and select “Joe” as the group to be searched.

  3. Click on the Advanced button and set these conditions:
    Any of the following are true:
    Author matches a
    Author matches e
    Author matches i
    Author matches o
    Author matches u

  4. Run the search. The results will be those documents for which the Author field has content that includes at least one vowel.

  5. Select the results and move them out of Joe. The remaining PDFs in Joe don’t have a vowel in the content of the Author field, so it’s highly probable that they contain no content in the Author field. (The NOT operator wasn’t available in DEVONthink 1.x, so I used this kind of kludge to emulate it.)

Kludges rule! They often can let one achieve an objective when an application doesn’t include a feature that would do just what you wish to do. Kludges may allow at least an approximation of the desired result – in this case, although not a smart group that contains all PDFs with empty Author fields, at least a list of PDFs in the current database that probably have empty Author fields. That’s probably good enough for government work. :slight_smile:

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I would love to have a way to filter files which have no authors. That would be very hand.

The advanced condition Author … is … using an empty search string should work, just like the toolbar search docAuthors==