tagging notes

I take notes (Humanities) in DT, creating one entry for each source, eg book or article. Then I plan my essay or chapter. I want to identify each paragraph within my notes according to the headings in my plan, and then output a raw document that has all notes on a particular heading pulled out from all the sources. I cannot see a way to do that in DT, unless I make a separate entry for each paragraph, because it does not have paragraph level control (I might want to identify half a paragraph as relevant but para level would be great). I have read about Qualitative Data Analysis (eg N-Vivo) which does that (among other things), but it is geared to Social Science interviews (whereas my work is Humanities and books), and sadly is Windows-only. Is there in DT (1) a way to tag sections within an entry as relevant to one of a set of categories, and (2) pull out those bits into a set of raw notes all about one category?

Why not have a category for each source instead, and then put all the paragraphs in about each particular source in the category?
eg. sources->articlebyauthor->para1

And then have another category tree for the tags, eg.
Then you just place each note in the categories where they belong as well.
In this way, the notes are sorted both by source and by category.

If you also have the sources themselves in devonthink, you can take just a few words as a citation marker, and be able to find the article again.

It’s a simple workflow that you can use right away.

Yeah, this was the killer feature of circusponies notebook (CPN): The ability to tag individual items (outline items in that case) and then see those items gathered together across all your notes. Onenote also has this ability, so if you’re on windows you could consider that as an alternative to DT, but unfortunately the mac version of onenote has some serious crippling problems (no local saves), and it’s overall a bit too lightweight a tool compared to CPN or DT.

I’ve used DT for a long time as a general storage box, and I like it for that. But for notes that I need to later gather/organize as you’ve described, CPN has been my primary app. Unfortunately, CPN just shut down last week, so it’d be foolish to start using it now. So I again went scrounging around looking for an app that can gather collect portions of pages based on tags but I still can’t find anything. DT actually seems painfully close to being able to do it. Someone skillful enough with scripting could probably just do it quickly. But of course a proper solution from the developers would be even better. If anyone has ideas for how to do this or some sort of workaround in DT I’d be grateful to hear your ideas.


Doubtful in this case. Though I never used CPN (or OneNote), I imagine their documents were not file-based, unless it was package-based (though the Tags would be opaque to Spotlight then).

I share this problem. I have massive research project that would be made much easier if I could import a chapter of a book and then assign separate paragraphs to different categories and have the source tag automatically go with the text.

If I break the source material down into separate paragraphs manually I can do this, but that’s a ton of work for which I was hoping to find a shortcut in DT.

This is a venerable (i.e., 6 year old) script that still does its thing – break the paragraphs of a text into separate documents.

If you search the forum, there are other variants that have built on this script.