The zettelkasten post

Building a zettelkasten

File format

File naming

My zettelkasten

  1. DEVONthink is built around open formats and plain text. If you no longer wish to use DEVONthink, you can easily extract your notes from a DEVONthink database, and import them into whatever new system you want. This is in contrast to, say, Scrivener or Ulysses, which save your text in unintuitive file structures, and in formats that make it painful to extract your text if you no longer have access to the software that created it. This problem gets more and more painful to solve as your zettelkasten grows.
  2. You can share a DEVONthink database with multiple devices, and there’s a good iOS app. This means I can make notes on my phone, on my laptop or on my desktop and they all sync seamlessly. And unlike Evernote, you maintain custody of your database at all times — it doesn’t sit on a cloud server waiting to be compromised.
  3. You can create links between entries to view and group items in different ways without affecting the structure of the database.
  4. DEVONthink handles PDFs — and its search algorithm includes PDF content in search results. You can also add images, sound files and video files.
  5. DEVONthink’s search is amazing. You can use Boolean operators like AND, NOT, OR, NEAR, XOR (either one result or the other, but not both) and OPT (first term must be present, but second is optional).
  6. But things get really funky with the ‘similar words’ search function. You can use this to select terms that not only look similar, as in a fuzzy search, but are contextually related. This allows you to find connections between notes that you wouldn’t ordinarily see, and bring forth the wonder of your life’s compost.

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Freelance writer and editor. Sign up for my newsletter about writing, freelancing and whatever is worrying me https://tinyletter.com/Andrew_Macrae

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Andrew Macrae

Andrew Macrae

Freelance writer and editor. Sign up for my newsletter about writing, freelancing and whatever is worrying me https://tinyletter.com/Andrew_Macrae

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