Updating a native database with only changed documents

I’m looking for feedback, trying to figure out if my workflow can be improved. My firm currently uses Netdocuments, a document management system targeted at law firms. I currently have many documents in Netdocs, organized into folders for each case.

Netdocs offers WebDAV access, so my current practice (when I need a document offline, and want to take advantage of the power of DEVONthink) is to connect to Netdocs via a tool like Forklift or Transmit, and download the documents into a local folder. I then index that folder in DEVONthink. I periodically re-run Forklift, to download new or changed documents for a particular case/project into the indexed folder.

I had one occasion where I think I got careless, and accidentally synced in the wrong direction, and overwrote some items on the server, and had to restore from a backup.

That brings me to my question - I’ve wondered if there is a better way of doing this?

Ideally, I’d love to use a native database, rather than an indexed database, but I can’t think of a workflow to only import new documents into the database after download.

My law library is now completely pdfs, thousands of them. Four main folders, law (parent), cases, act and temp. The latter three are sub-folders in law. When I add a new item or create a new one using print to pdf, I add the new pdf to temp folder then import it to a database in DT. I then move the pdf from temp into the appropriate one of the other 3 folders. I keep the temp folder in finder navigation bar for quick access. (In law I also have other subfolders for each topic, eg forfeiture, arbitration, and so on.)

Interesting. I am an academic (cultural anthropologist) moving into legal studies and have always shied away from DT because most everything I relied upon was in academic journals with PDFs linked to BibDesk. But in the last few years I’ve accumulated hundreds of judgments, heads of argument, etc. that don’t have ready made BibTeX citations available and for which it seems DT may be the best solution.

Thanks for the replies. I am using native databases to store research, legal articles, and pretty much everything else. What’s hanging me up is all my case documents, and mirroring what is online in Netdocuments in those case files. Maybe my current workflow (download only changes into a folder, and index that folder with DT3) is already the best way, but thought I’d take a shot and see if anybody else had a similar but different setup.