How do you utilize tags in DevonThink?


I’ve moved from Evernote to DevonThink Pro. I think of it now being an extension of my brain, allowing myself to have 3 databases 1) Work 2) Personal 3) Workflows. Within my Personal database, I have my previously imported Evernote files. As such I have groupings for some of these. That said how do you use tags in DevonThink? What things need or get tags and what doesn’t? If I tag everything this could be rather laborious. Maybe I want to strike a balance. For example for research for example of various journal articles and things I search, something might fall under ADHD and autism for example. So this would lead to needing both tags. Curious any thoughts.

My rule of thumb is, if something seems like it belongs in two or more different categories, groups, folders, etc. it gets an appropriate tag.

So an image I used in a poster last year, in an SfN17 folder, might be tagged EEG, as would an article in my Bookends reference library that discusses EEG as used in their study, and a pdf somewhere else about EEG equipment we’re thinking about purchasing.

I think you have the right inclination in that less is more when it comes to tags. It can easily get out of hand and become so complex it’s useless.

Hope this helps.

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I tag a file in macOS first. Hazel moves it to the right folder. DTPO indexes that file in the right place. I then have smart groups based on tags to find things quickly.

You don’t move things after indexing right? If I import documents into DTP then I need to tag and move them to appropriate places then.

I’m not a tagger so my solution is to not use tags :slight_smile: Seriously, I found that I did better when I set up a clean consistent folder system and filed things appropriately. I also dabbled with using DT to index folders but also found that I use it best as a standalone for things I actually import. I kept getting caought with me changing things in Finder and DT losing them.

The only thing I tag are photos in LightRoom, and for that I developed (am developing) a very controlled vocabulary that also has set rules for the style of tags. If you are going to tag think about things like will you want prefixes to group tags together? In filing I often add prefixes to files I need to stay together ex LambTracker-lambtracker.db and LambTracker-db_schema

Will you want to have a tree of tags that things inherit if you select the bottom tag? ex any pictures tagged with Desert_Weyr_Yoda (name of our pet wether Yoda) also gets the tags ANIMAL, Ovine, sheep, domestic _sheep, Breed_BWMS, ANIMAL_SEX_AGE, wether with basically 2 trees of tags added.

Will you use singular or plural in your tags? dog vs dogs (advantage for sheep here, no singular or plural modification :slight_smile: )

Depending on your subject matter will proper scientific names be important?

Define a date format that is consistent and a timeone if times matter. Useful if you wish to edit those fields in your files. I use yyyy-mm-dd whenever I have to put in a date and hh:mm:ss for times.

IMO tags should be used only deliberately and carefuly and only when I really truly cannot get the info from other means. But again, I am not a tagger by nature.

I’m pretty limited user of tags, preferring folders and descriptive, searchable document names. On the other hand, I have about a million tags lying around my system from failed attempts to implement tags in previous iterations of fussiness. I need to clean those up.

There is one and only tag I consistently use: contacts. When I am interviewing someone and get their contact information, I add the contacts tag to let me know that the document contains contact information. Then later I can search for the name of the company the person works at, and the tag:contacts, and find that document.

I am thinking about augmenting that tag with another, the person’s company name. That way when I search on, “Apple,” I won’t find every document that MENTIONS Apple. I’ll just find documents that are ABOUT Apple. Paired with the contact tag, it’d find me contact information for Apple employees.