Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2, 2nd Edition
Publisher: TidBITS Publishing, Inc.
Final Release Date: March 2012
Pages: 199

With the information-management program DEVONthink 2, you no longer have to swim in a sea of Web bookmarks, email receipts, RSS feeds, scanned memorabilia, Post-it notes, and phone bills. DEVONthink stores your digital documents and clippings, helps you scan and store paper documents, and serves as home base for organizing and viewing all your information. But mastering all that power can take effort, and this ebook - created in partnership with DEVONtechnologies - has the real-world advice you need to understand how DEVONthink can bring order to your information.

This book got me around some suboptimal usage patterns that were holding up my profitable use of this excellent software. I'd recommend this book to any level of DEVONthink user. -Scott McGrath

After covering essential DEVONthink vocabulary and concepts, Joe helps you start using DEVONthink effectively. You'll learn how to:

  • Get around in the interface
  • Decide how many databases you need and set them up
  • Determine whether to input or index data
  • Configure where incoming data will go
  • Import data from many different applications
  • Input data from a scanner, including OCR options
  • Use grouping and tagging to organize data
  • Use simple (and sophisticated) techniques for searching
  • Create smart groups that automatically gather newly imported data
  • Edit data in DEVONthink (or externally)
  • Find the best way to sync DEVONthink data with other devices
  • Share DEVONthink data with other people
  • Export data from DEVONthink
  • Back up and maintain healthy databases

Questions answered in the book include:

  • What is DEVONthink good for, and what should be left to other programs?
  • What kinds of data can I import? (Short answer: Nearly everything!)
  • Which of DEVONthink's many views should I use?
  • When I import data from different sources, where does it end up, and why?
  • Is it better to sort imported data right away, or leave it for later?
  • Should I group my data, tag it, or both?
  • What are duplicates and replicants, and how can I tell them apart?
  • Which types of data can be created or edited within DEVONthink?
  • How do I make my DEVONthink database accessible via the Web?
  • How do I use DEVONthink To Go on my iOS device?
  • Are there Automator or AppleScript options for DEVONthink? (Hint: Yes!)
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oreillyTake Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2, 2nd Edition
 
4.0

(based on 2 reviews)

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4.0

Devonthink 2

By dspruce

from Toronto, ON

About Me Maker

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate
    • Novice

    Comments about oreilly Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2, 2nd Edition:

    Excellent book to get you started with Devonthink. Devonthink does not appear complicated to use however it's groups & tags and AI are concepts you need to understand to get the full benefit from the software. I only wish there was more detailed discussion about groups and tags, i.e. copying tags to other databases.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    A good field guide to a complex app

    By Roy

    from Cary, NC

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Concise
    • Helpful examples

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Expert
      • Intermediate

      Comments about oreilly Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2, 2nd Edition:

      (Note: I received this eBook through the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program)

      Now that we've entered the 'post-PC' age, the spotlight is often on small, simple apps that have a narrowly-defined focus and feature set. However, I still believe there is a need for larger and more complex apps to do the heavy lifting of our digital lives. DevonThink, a personal information database for the Mac, is one of those apps. The sheer number of options and features for getting information into and out of DevonThink practically demands a third-party manual, which Joe Kissell effectively provides in his Getting Started with DevonThink book from TidBITS.

      For books like these which cover a complex app, I'm looking for two separate things: 1) an easily-digestible survey of the app's features, and 2) suggested workflows or patterns that use those features effectively. Thankfully, Kissell's book is successful at both objectives. There are many, many ways to get information into a DevonThink database, and Kissell outlines each of those methods clearly and concisely, recommending particular approaches depending on one's individual work style and environment (e.g. those who like dragging and dropping vs. keyboard shortcuts, those with big vs. small monitors).

      The marquee feature of DevonThink, and the one which sets it apart from many competing products, is its artificial intelligence, which can automatically classify documents and recommend other pieces of information in your database that are related to what you are currently reading. Given that the AI is somewhat of a black box, it's been difficult for me in the past to wrap my head around how to take advantage of it properly. Kissell addresses this uncertainty in a number of ways, perhaps most importantly by providing clarification about AI features that sound the same but have actually have distinct roles, like when to use 'Auto Group' as opposed to 'Auto Classify'. Kissell also provides tips about how to organize your database to let the AI work at its best, including how deep to organize groups and what the ideal size range of individual files should be.

      The bottom line: Even though I'm still not sure if DevonThink is a proper fit for me, reading this book gave me enough information about how best to use it that I will be able to experiment with it more effectively. If you have a need to wander into the forest of information management and wouldn't mind having a little AI help along the way, it's worth checking out DevonThink, but only as long as you get a copy of Getting Started with DevonThink to use as a field guide.

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