DEVONthink Export Question

I have historically indexed my research files in DT. I’m experimenting with importing them mainly because I like the web clipper and the sorter in DT for quickly getting stuff in DT. If I decide to import rather than index the files, I will create a monthly recurring task to export all of the files into an archive research DT folder in Finder for backup to both iCloud, Blackblaze and an external drive. I’ll feel better having my research in DT knowing that if something is corrupted in DT I have good backups not dependent on a database to open.

When exporting I want to preserve the folder structure.

My research includes a mix of file types: PDFs, Pages, Webpages, markdown, rich text, plain text, Word, Excel, Numbers, Keynote, PowerPoint and more.

Based on what I want to do, which of the export options listed in this screenshot would you recommend?

Files and folders would seem to make the most sense, no?

Well, duh!! :grimacing: I was thinking that was location, not type because below that is a list of “as…” I should stop and think before “speaking!”

Thanks. :+1:t2:

1 Like

Before going too much farther (into what I feel is a rabbit hole), I recommend that you re-read the sections in the “DEVONthink Handbook” about backups. Look at the script provided in DEVONthink to do a daily backup archive". Or the manual process to export a Database Archive. And ensure to have a system backup run when DEVONthink database not open for best results.

[I made and use an Applescript automated in cron, based on the daily backup script, to backup to zip all the “open” databases to a local folder ~/backups/dt which is then in turn backed up by TimeMachine, CCC, and Backblaze.]

Good suggestion, I’ll revisit the handbook. Quick question, I’m “assuming” that a backup archive will be in a database format. I’m a bit concerned that if I have a corrupted database or something goes wrong with DT that I’ll have trouble opening those backups. Am I concerned for no reason?

Dunno. A risk (impact and probability) you need to consider for yourself. Given the file and database integrity feature built in I would first exploit the standard and recommended ways and then after that venture out on my own. That is just me, though.

Yes, my understanding the zip file is an archive of the database. As explained in all of the documentation DEVONthink stores all the files in the file system in their source native format without change so all your imported files are available even in the case of database catastrophe. And of course you can keep as many old copies of those zip files as you want. also remember that files in the macOS file system can corrupt and you would never know. Finder won’t tell you. But DEVONthink checks the file integrity on open. i do not know the technical details of that but i would rely on that before relying on myself.

Remember that I would think most experienced DEVONthink users consider indexed files a greater risk of getting messed up in the database than imported files. There is no free lunch when computers involved.

Totally agree

I have been surprised by how moving files can result in missing Indexed files - and the problem is not immediately evident because the database still verifies as intact.

In many years of use I myself have never seen the situation where a Devonthink database entirely fails to open. The worst data corruption issue I have seen with Devonthink is where files are deemed to be “orphaned” and I need to go back and figure out where they belong- that does not happen often and when it does I would rather it fail that way than cause me to lose the file completely.

1 Like

That is a helpful reminder. I’ve been assuming that files stored in Finder would not be corrupted but I’m not sure why I’ve assumed that. Like you said, no free lunch. I need to worry less and second guess less and just use the apps, backup religiously and get on with it. :wink:

1 Like

remember that Finder stores nothing. It is an app which gives you views into the macOS file system with tools to manage those files and folders. I know people say that but …

Good plan. :wink:

1 Like