Suggestion on linking / referring to docs across databases

Welcome @FrodeW

The first batch of data that I am looking at putting into DT3 takes 168 GB of disk space for a total of 130,611 files.

That is a considerable amount of data.

Due to the large amount of data I have decided to split the static reference documents into several databases based on topic and archive provenance.

That is not a bad idea at all. This is especially the case if DEVONthink To Go is or will be involved at some point.

Basically I would have liked to replicate documents across these databases and my project and research database, however this I understand is impossible.

Correct. You can’t replicate across/between databases.

You advice the users to duplicate the files into the project or research databases, which of course is a sound and valid solution.

This is possible but it’s certainly situational. This may be a good option in some cases, but not necessarily others.

However, I have found that I can do a pseudo replicate by adding a reference document’s item link into a bookmark in the project database. This seems to work fine, but are the hidden problems with this approach that is going to hit me later down the line.

pseudo indeed, but if it serves your purpose, there is nothing of concern in my mind.

How many words and unique words there are in those files I have no idea, so I was worried that this amount of data would exceed the DT3 recommended limits of 200,000,000 words and 4,000,000 unique words in a database. I have no experience in judging this.

Select the open database in DEVONthink and choose File > Database Properties to view the statistics about a database.


Thank you very much for this very detailed answer. Having seen the massive and impressive database of @rkaplan I think I will reconsider and possibly put more of the static files in one or only a few large databases.

These databases I will never port to DEVONthink To Go, but my Research and Projects databases I plan to have accessible on my iPad and iPhone and they should therefore be relatively small. Finished research will go into either Projects or the Archive database, which will also be the end stop for closed and terminated projects.

Of course my item linked bookmarks to files in the large database(s) will only work on my main Macbook Pro and not on the iPad and iPhone that cannot see the main static database. This is something to keep in mind and it means I probably will have to use duplicate files a lot more than I had hoped for.

I see that it is not all clear-cut and I probably will need some time try things out and adjust my aims as things progress. Many thanks to @rmschne, @rkaplan and @BLUEFROG for your very helpful comments and advice. I must admit I find DEVONthink to be a lot of fun, apart from being a very useful research tool.

You’re most welcome!

It has kept me engaged and interested for 12 years now, personally and professionally. And as we don’t rest on our laurels, there are even more things to come! :slight_smile:


Believe it or not - my database also works on iPhone and iPad! The initial sync took quite a while but thereafter it’s fine.

Devontech has made it clear this is “not recommended”

I am afraid my present iPad and iPhone both would bite the dust, being an 2018 iPad Pro and an iPhone XR both with 256 GB memory. Upgrades are planned, but the finance department says I am low on credit.

Indeed. Just as driving 100mph isn’t recommended so the legality and safety issues are the individual’s responsibility :wink:

Don’t forget that DTTG isn’t the only way to access your databases on iOS. I’m a fellow academic with a gigantic single database of research materials that’s vastly too large to sync, but DT Server offers basic access to databases of any size via a browser (and on any platform, not just iOS). The upgrade is expensive, though, so you’d need to consider whether access to your main database from other devices would warrant the outlay. I think, though it’s not wholly clear from this year’s blurb, that upgrades to Pro and Server are covered by the current Summerfest discount.

If you do need to slim your master database down, incidentally, the place to start might be with moving out any big collections of material in languages other than your primary search language. I haven’t yet needed to do so, but I can feel the point approaching; the unique words total in a database is significantly inflated by the inclusion of multiple languages.

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Many thanks for these points. I have heard about the DT Server, but I think that will be outside my budget because I also will need to rent a server to put it on. However, I will look at it. I am not so often on the road for long periods of time so I don’t think I will need access to the large static database. The Research and Projects databases are different and they are definitively useful to have accessible when doing work at archives etc.

Your point about multiple languages is very interesting. Even if the majority of my documents are in English, I also have a large number of documents in German, Norwegian, Swedish and French. So this is indeed something I need to watch.

No server needed -it runs on a regular Mac or MacBook. A bit of understanding of port routing and network security is helpful though to configure it.

This complexity only required if you want to access from outside the local network, e.g. internet. And the machine running the server has to running with DEVONthink running.

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I should explain as it is a bit complicated where we live. There is no cable or fiber networks available at our location and we therefore only have Internet over a 4G network with marginal coverage. So in my case I would need a server outside our region hosting the DT Server. Unless DT Server also runs on UNIX I think it will be hard to find a commercial MacOS server. I have also looked at the price of the DT Server and I think it is not for me.

Server is generally seen as intended for use in business, academia, and group collaborations. However, if the individual need or want is there, and one’s pocketbook allows for it, anyone can use it. :slight_smile: