yet another 'Should I buy DevonThink' question

Hello Devonites,

This is similar to macmac’s question, but didn’t want to take over their thread :slight_smile:

Ok, I’m about this close to actually buying Devonagent and possibly Devonnote – I can see the value in them and having tried out the demos I’m sold on them both. If they were together as a bundle, I’d have bought them already :smiley: Devonagent is probably the closest thing to Copernic out there, so I’m already sold on it, and Devonote is like a wiki run by info architects, and I’m all in love with that. I can see how people really like their products, and I can see that Devon sounds like a fantastic company.

But for the life of me I’m trying to understand Devonthink. I appreciate they’ve got a feature comparison page – that helps – but I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth it for me to purchase. Is it like a database of my files on my computer? Is it like Devonnote on steroids, with the ability to actually have the files in the database? How big do the databases get? Does this replace or more like augment Finder and Spotlight – a ‘layer’ on top of them? I’m reading a lot about ‘steep learning curves’ and I don’t always like those. Also I don’t know if I’m really the target for this – I am pretty organized on my computer, so the AI aspects of it (searching, specifically) aren’t always the biggest of my worries.

I’m reading through the user profiles in the Academy section, which is helping, but would love to hear more user stories from YOU – how has it helped?

-Does it matter if you use professional or personal editions?
-Do you use DT, and does it play well with the other Devon products?
-How is DT with multiple databases, or do you just have one, with lots of groups in it?
-How do you reconcile using DT with lots of online Web 2.0 repositories of info – do you find yourself using DT more? (I’m trying to get things off my harddrive, but I can see me putting more on it using DT)

  • Did you start out using Devonnote and what made DT more special so that you switched?
  • DT Personal or professional – better to just go pro?
  • I have stuff in Devonnote I’d like to extract if I eventually do get DT - can I do that? I suppose one doesn’t need both of them, although I’m open to interesting suggestions.

Sorry for the million and one questions – any help is appreciated. You don’t have to tackle all of them :smiley:

To anyone from Devon who’s reading this – don’t get me wrong. The web site is fabulous – please don’t take this as a reflection of anything other than my confusion.

Thanks for any suggestions or comments!

bumping to see if anyone actually replies to this thread. Kind of disappointed that neither anyone from Devon or any of the users responded to it.

1st Part: I went from DevonNote to Devonthink Personal, to Pro Office.
DevonNote was consticting to just text files
The Devon Think line will support any file you throw at it
Anything from images, to audio, to applications, ect.

So with this you can have a wide variety of databases or put them all in one database. I didn’t think I would actually use these extra file types but I found quickly, that it is incredibly helpful to for example in my notes to have the audio lecture that I record in that class, side by side with any images, pdfs, anything and this is just amazing and you don’t have to worry about deleting import files because everything is stored right there in the database when importing so you can have a very clean hard drive with just your database and then some other files but all of your notes and documents that you choose to use with Devonthink may be deleted off your hard drive.

Devonthink as completly changed my life in terms of how I use my mac, it is always at the ready to grab info from the web by just highlighting some text and then using my keyboard shortcut and boom its in the database. It keeps my life in order and has enabled me to get rid of all of my papers.

With Devonthink you can also export to much greater variety of formats my person favorite the iPod. You can have your text file database (any text exported to your ipod so you can have all that handy info with you at all times)

You get a much greater control over your workspace with Devonthink especially in the Pro variance and Pro Office. Which is kinda a big deal :slight_smile:

The reason I love Pro Office variance is the scanning, OCR and email support: these may not seem like much but any pdf I have now I can copy and paste into another text doc when Im taking notes and the pdfs are now searchable and autoclassifiable. The email support enables you to have a good database with all of your important emails in an easy to find way.
Scanning support is a huge improvement: Now I just scan within Devonthink and import them without any hassle, you don’t have to deal with the complicating scanning software which is shipped with most scanners.

Also in Devonthink you can do website offline archiving so say your going on a trip with no internet you can archieve that page so it will act as a real page except it will be as current as you archieved it so you will have some good reading on the plane :slight_smile:

In the Pro variances you will also be able to have multiple databases which I have finally started to use and I love dividing my research and info storing seperated so its easier to find.
Databases can be as large as you want them to be without any issues but I think it is easier to work with multiple databases.

The integration between Devonthink and Devonagent is seemless and I can’t imagine what it would be like without either of them.

To transfer to Devonthink you can easily export your devon note database and then import those files (which will keep the structure as it is in DN)
I recently did this when dividing my databases up.

I hope this clears up any questions, I would recommend jumping to Pro maybe pro office not sure on your needs for the application, you can always upgrade at a reduced cost.
I cannot stress how incredible these apps are and is always on the top of my recommendation list for new mac users.

If you have any more questions I would be happy to answer them.

Perhaps the reason for the lack of response was that there are so many questions, all of which have been discussed on the forum, but ultimately the answers depend on your needs – what you want to do with your information.

I don’t think the issue is so much a “steep learning curve” as that the DT applications (especially DT Pro and DTPO) provide a great many tools that can be adapted to a very great many uses in collecting, managing and analyzing information. It’s easy to start simply, but the environment is rich enough to be adaptable to many uses. I’ve been using DT for years and am still discovering new things I can do. That’s not a steep learning curve, but a lack of rigid constraints on what I can do. I like that.

Yes, you can export the documents you created or imported into a DEVONnote database to any of the DT applications.

I make a great deal of use of the AI features, from assistance in classifying new material to (especially) looking for related material – including relationships that I might not have recognized without assistance. Web 2.0 repositories lack those features, and I simply wouldn’t trust my data to one of those repositories, anyway. I want to own my data, and I see no value in having other persons of unknown intelligence and background ‘socially tagging’ my information.

I’m managing over 150,000 documents among a number of topical databases. My main database runs to over 21,000 documents with a total word count a bit over 25 million words. That’s small enough to run quickly on my MacBook Pro with 2 GB RAM.

Whether you need DT Personal or DT Pro/Office depends on what you want to do. I’m making heavy use of the OCR function in DT Pro Office to nibble away at several hundred pounds of paper in my study. If you are into scripting for automating functions, go DT Pro/Office.

DT Pro and DEVONagent make a great team for collecting, organizing and information-mining data from the Web. I do a lot of that.

If you rummage about in the forum threads you will find a wide variety of users making a wide variety of uses of databases. There are students, lawyers, novelists, journalists, scientists, doctors, poets, consultants, playwrights – all of whom have various reasons for collecting documents and using the information in the collection.

I like to make my own databases self-contained, so that I can easily move them among computers. Others prefer indexed databases tied to external files on a hard drive. Both approaches work.

What would you like to do with an information collection?