Workflow DT and Readwise

Being new to DT, maybe I am the one who isn’t understanding, but I will explain my use case pertaining to this.

My point was trying to use DT as a read-later service, instead of Instapaper (I’ve read articles and seen YouTube videos describing this use case). For my “read-later” use case, I throw a ton of stuff in there that I may eventually throw away if it serves no lasting value to me. If there are nuggets that I want to resurface and/or expand on/investigate further, Readwise is a great tool to help me see these again via the highlight import.

Instapaper works here and the highlight import is completely automatic. I am sure I can also figure out how to export things from Instapaper to DT if I want to keep the whole thing, but was hoping I could do it all in DT.

BTW, one thing Instapaper can’t seem to handle are pay-walled sites I belong to. Saving something to Instapaper from those sources doesn’t provide the whole thing, but DT can save a web archive/PDF for offline viewing.

Finally, my reason for web archive rather than PDF is for being able to view those things easily on my iPhone (again, as a read-later use case). The web archive keeps the responsive web design and adjusts for the iPhone’s smaller screen. A PDF is static in its page layout and requires pinch zooming and scrolling around. Not a fun experience (IMO).

Again, once something passes the first-pass read as something I want to hang on to, it would certainly go in DT.

Hope this helps explain my thoughts and reasoning. Also hope I am incorrect in some of this and you can help me find a better way! :grin:

Thanks for clarifying @BabblingBafoon, I understand where you’re coming from and will add my two cents. No right or wrong here in any case :wink:

There are indeed, in general, many advantages to storing everything in DevonThink compared to using Instapaper. So if you were to use DT for storing read-it-later material, the decision needed is whether these advantages outweigh the downside of having to upload PDFs manually to Readwise (as a direct integration doesn’t exist).

However, taking a step back here, I think it’s not 100% clear that DT is the best place to store only potentially relevant Read-it-Later materials. That sounds like it might result in a lot of clutter, which then also shows up in search results and, in general, needs managing.

How about the following workflow (if that’s not what you’re already doing):

  1. Store and highlight only potentially relevant web contents in Instapaper (or even directly highlight them via Readwise)
  2. Review the highlights you’ve taken in DevonThink periodically (they get indexed from Readwise via Obsidian). If a highlight still appears valuable upon review then add the source article in full to DevonThink for future reference and searchability.
  3. Create a smart group/smart rule workflow for PDFs stored in DevonThink that have new highlights (added in DEVONthink). Periodically import them in batch to Readwise so that you can use the spaced repetition (since I understood this is sth you wish to do).

As for reading PDFs on iPhone, the superficial downsides are obvious compared to reflowable eBook formats, but PDF has so many other upsides (especially in DT) that I just deal with it tbh. After a while I totally got used to reading PDFs horizontally on a small screen. I’ve read accounts from others in the forum going the “adaptation” route with this as well.

I use DT as my read-it later service. If you are concerned about clutter, set up a database exclusive for this. I put pretty much everything in the inbox to sit initially. I am sometimes surprised when I go back a day or two later that what I was pretty certain I wanted to read, is no longer of interest to me and so I will delete it. Documents I do want to read, then I will put into my main group and mark it to show up inmy Devonthink reading list. Of course this shows up both on my computer and devonthink to go.

At this point, it is usually in a pretty large pile as my reading is always that way! As it sits there, sometimes I will still decide to knock stuff off of that list and delete it due to moving onto other topics. If I do read it, then I will annotate it in most cases and when finished I will remove it from my reading list. At this point I will rank it with stars and write in the finders comments box why I think it is important to keep this document. This gives me a summary when I go back to the document to remind myself, rather than having to skim the document to refresh my memory.

This discipline really helps me focus on why I am keeping certain things. Then over time if I find that I keep referencing a document, I might increase the number of stars on a document because it is proving over time of becoming very important to me. This means the lower-ranked files in my database start to go to the bottom when I sort according to ranking. The idea is the gold always floating to the top, but with that said sometimes I will go through the lower-ranked files to see if I am missing anything or on rare occasions, delete something.

Keep shifting for gold, having it come to the top of the most important stuff. That is my workflow Of course, there is also the AI and search which may highlight something you are missing and need to elevate. I am starting to play with reminders to get prompts to review important documents, but like so many things in Devonthink, it takes time to evolve your workflows while actually doing some work and I haven’t quite got to that yet.

Off topic, I have in the last year become a very big user of Obsidian. I set up pages over there primarily of my own writing and link to Devonthink files which I think are really relevant to areas of focus using the PARA method… the ‘R’ of resources being in Devonthink. This is yet another way to not lose sight of the most important nuggets of gold as we swim in all this information. I am also doing a level of capture from key documents in Devonthink, forming my own version of Zettlekasten, though this is still very much in its infancy.


Thanks for sharing some good advice on your approach. :slight_smile: