Back from the holidays, and freshly organized

Hello everyone, we’re officially back from our winter holidays. I hope that all of you had a wonderful time!

I used the quiet time to organize and archive all the stuff that collected … itself … in the last twelve months. Chat logs, scanned letters, web clippings, and, of course, email, email, email. In an Internet-based business like ours all this stuff quickly takes over all available space — and so attention. Fortunately I am working for just the right company 🙂 So here’s what I did:

  1. I created a ‘Correspondence 2007’ DEVONthink Pro Office database.
  2. I created only a few groups, namely:
    • Administration
    • Distribution
    • General
    • Internals
    • Marketing
    • Press
    • Partners & Resellers
    • Support
  3. I imported all my email from Mail.app using File > Import > Email. For me, this was more convenient than doing it directly from Mail using our Mail.app plugin, but that is a matter of personal taste.
  4. I scanned whatever was still on the ‘to scan’ pile in my office and imported that into my database as well. Thank you, ScanSnap.
  5. Then, I wanted to import my chat logs. I had switched from iChat to Adium recently, so while the iChat logs imported fine, the Adium XML files where pretty much useless. After some chatting to the Adium developers I got my hands on an XSLT style sheet for transforming the Adium chat logs into HTML and I wrote an AppleScript script that makes it a bit more comfortable.
  6. Finally, the fun part: I deleted all the archived messages, chat logs, and files from my accounts. And I ditched all the papers, letters, etc. that I had scanned.

Stuff, be it physical or digital, jams ones mind, says David Allen. He’s right. And archiving all the digital in an easy to search form is definitely liberating. Using the new Spotlight support I am also able to search through all archived correspondence from 2002 until today as well as everything not-yet-archived.

I wish you all a great start into the new year!

2 Responses to “Back from the holidays, and freshly organized”

  1. Daniel O'Donnell says:

    I’ve been putting all sorts of items into a single DTP database, but have wondered if I should split that into two (or more) databases that contain general topics, e.g. “science” vs. “politics” vs. “daily life”. Do you have recommendations for best practices for when and why to create separate datbases – either for content management or for technical reasons?

    Would I find answers to this in the user forum or in the DTP manual?

  2. The Classify and See Also features of DEVONthink work best as the more diverse the contents of your database are. On the pure technical side it’s just the performance that would make you split up a database into two. It depends highly on the amount of RAM your computer is equipped with. Personally, I have a number of databases: DEVONtechnologies stuff, personal “stuff”, accounting (collecting invoices etc.), as well as mutiple correspondence databases (split up into years for performance and archival).

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