Access KM user manual + wiki + forum with DevonThink?

Anyone else using DevonThink (DT) to access the KM user manual and wiki?
Or to search this forum?

In another thread here, “ccstone” (Chris) politely encouraged me to “read the instructions”.
Best way I know to gain reading leverage (for reference material) is to use DT.
So, I’m now downloading both the KM user manual and the wiki.

DT automatically creates indexes, glossaries, and cross-links, plus offers artificial intelligence suggestions based on word frequency and “nearness” to other words.
(Certainly other programs do that, too, but I use DT.)

Now I’m wondering about downloading this entire forum into DT.
Virtual merge into a single reference base.
Anybody done anything like that?


If DT’s download manager isn’t up to the task, SiteSucker is a pretty good tool for downloading entire websites. Once downloaded you could import it to DT.

But, IMO, it’s questionable if it is a good idea to download this forum. The forum is pretty active and you would have to synch/update your local archive constantly.

1 Like

Thank you, Tom.

  1. DevonThink quickly downloaded KM .pdf user manual - fast.
    Now downloading the entire Wiki - slow.

If I decide to download the forum, and DT chokes on that, will use SiteSucker as you suggest.

  1. Yes, indeed, I wonder about synching/updating the archive.
    Perhaps the only way to determine the value is to actually do it?

Overall strategy is find ways to accumulate and use a variety of reference sources for complex topics (like learning and using software).

I’ve decided to start this search using KM’s reference materials at the first prototype.
If that works, will do similar with DevonThink next.

Is there a better approach?

Deep inside I’m also an “information hoarder” :slightly_smiling_face: But I’m trying to get away from that. Why?

I’ve noticed that it doesn’t make much difference if some information is in “my” archive on disk, or on the web. In 90% of the cases, when I look up information, I do it on the web. One reason is that I often simply forget, that I could have that information in my archive, the other is, when I look something up on the web I usually find the same information as in my archive, plus the chance to find something new. This is good.

Maybe DT’s semantic cleverness makes the difference, but I doubt it. (I’ve used DT in the past.)

When it comes to learning, my preferred approach is, to collect information when I actually need it, or when I find something very interesting, for example a very clever AppleScript snippet.

Once found the information, I don’t download the whole article/topic, I just copy the core information (for example the code snippet) and paste it into a new document (for example a Quiver note). Then I add my own description in my own words, my own explication what it does, and why it does what it does. Plus a link to the source.

If, later on, I find an alternative solution, – or if I develop an alternative solution – I add it to the existing note, plus some information – in my own words – why/when this solution might be better or worse, etc.

This way the collected information gets personalized, and is much more “present” and available to me as if I just had added the article/topic to my archive.


Exactly the sort of critique I appreciate.

Searching at time of need makes sense, especially for software that changes with new versions and updates.
On the other hand, the ability to ferret out connections from the depths can be valuable in a vast and complex topics like this.
How to find optimum balance??

I’m starting this search with KM because the reference sources are a finite set:

  [ user manual, wiki, forum ]

I struggle trying to learn from all three, especially from the forum.
This is one of the best forums I’ve ever found, on any topic, but I don’t want to spend 25 hours a day here.

I’m overwhelmed with notes, bookmarks, snippets, links, wikis and, most of all, with forum posts.
Is there a way out of this maze?
A way to achieve some sort of “learning leverage”?

I wish there was a forum somewhere for “information squirrels” to discuss more about this.

I like the objective of your strategy. It would be great to have one tool to search (for KM questions as an example), and the tool would use my preferred sources in the order I provide. Seems like I have seen such a tool, but it won’t come to mind right now. Anyone know of this?

DevonThink (DT) search is perhaps smarter, but I use Evernote as my primary tool for collecting/archiving information that is likely to be of interest to me in the future. I find its search engine to be highly effective. One nice thing about the Evernote Web Clipper, is that when you do an Internet search, it also searches your Evernote Notes. So, in that context I can just use one tool (Google Search). Mac Spotlight also searches Evernote. So as Apple makes Spotlight more intelligent, it could become the primary search engine.

In theory, Google (or other search engine) should search all of the relevant KM sites (wiki and forum). Note that the KM manual is part of the KM Wiki, and many subjects in the manual section are often duplicated in the other section of the wiki, often with different information.

I don’t want to download the entire source of anything (with some exceptions), mainly because most of the info is dynamic, often being updated daily. So that option is not for me. Evernote stores key info I’m likely to need, but then also has a link back to the source article.

Searching is a great tool when you need to solve a specific problem. But as a learning tool, but itself it not so useful, other than to search for “tutorials” or “training” about a general subject, like KM. Until I know at least the core terms of a subject, I can’t effectively search for details of that subject.

Sorry, I seem to be rambling at this point. Again, I do like your basic idea, and look forward to a discussion here to improve my techniques and tool set. Thanks for starting this topic.

Just thought I'd show an example of this.

###Results of Google Search
which include KM Documentation, KM Wiki, and KM Forum

###My Evernote Notes Shown on Same Page

I particularly like this because it shows my EN Notes that:

  1. My custom EN Note on how to use Palettes
  2. A Palette system posted by @DanThomas that I particularly liked.

So, this approach yields from one search:

  • The latest updates from online sources
  • My reference Notes of stuff important to me
1 Like

Downloading the whole site is ‘slow’ because that’s a big and arguably rather excessive demand on the forum’s server capacity.

I hope it doesn’t catch on – I don’t know what Peter’s hosting contract is like, but if everyone started to do that, it might start to look rather like a DDOS attack … (and the price of KM might have to be increased to cover the escalating hosting service bills).

Perhaps a bit better to rely on the excellent indexing by search engines, and take only what you need and when you need it ?

(It would also not contribute much to cooling the planet, as all those server machines started to consume excess power, and all that excess traffic started to to be pumped from Australia to all the other continents … )

1 Like

[quote=“JMichaelTX, post:6, topic:5211”]
Sorry, I seem to be rambling at this point. [/quote]

Brainstorming for ideas can appear to be rambling.
I encourage you to do more like that here.

[quote=“JMichaelTX, post:6, topic:5211”]
I use Evernote as my primary tool for collecting/archiving information … Evernote Web Clipper … also searches your Evernote Notes.[/quote]

Rambling like that is very helpful.

[quote=“Tom, post:4, topic:5211”]
Once found the information, I don’t download the whole article/topic, I just copy the core information … into a new document (for example a Quiver note). Then I add my own description in my own words, my own explication what it does, and why it does what it does. Plus a link to the source. [/quote]

Tom’s method, over time, would build an extremely valuable “library”.
Tom, are you using Quiver for that purpose, or Evernote, or something else?

[quote=“JMichaelTX, post:6, topic:5211”]
Until I know at least the core terms of a subject, I can’t effectively search for details of that subject. [/quote]

Right there is the essential problem.
So, I’m thinking will post on the forum to ask for the core term, then do the search for details.

Thank you, JM, for posting a detailed example of Evernote + Web Clipper.
Evernote gives a very neat presentation.
I will look more at Evernote.

Tom, JMichaelTX, and now ComplexPoint, are advising similar.
I can see that is a far better strategy than my initial plan.
I’m changing course now.

1 Like

For “concentrated” stuff I use mostly Quiver, sometimes Notes. For other, rather “collected” stuff EagleFiler (mails, web pages, web snippets, misc docs). Sounds a bit messy, I know. Quiver is a rather recent addition, so I’ll see which direction it takes :wink:

I never liked Evernote.

I’m just curious: why not?

BTW, it has changed quite a bit over the last year or so.

One note: I use Quiver to store all my code snippets, rather than Evernote.

I’m just curious: why not?

I’m not Tom, but I’ll offer these comments:

I looked carefully at Evernote before buying DevonThink.
(Not recommending DevonThink – in fact, I’m thinking about changing.)

Several of the reasons I decided against Evernote:
(I could be wrong about these, never having actually used Evernote in production.)

  1. EN requires an “account”. Why, I don’t know, but I avoid “accounts”. I see there is now an EN fork, “Elephant”, which mimics the EN interface, with no need for any account.

  2. EN seems to require constant, or at least frequent, connection to the 'Net.
    Again, why? For important documents (not secret, just important to me) I want to be independent of the Internet.

  3. EN’s web site is “trendy” with meaningless pictures and cartoons, even a “collectively correct” slogan, “Join millions of people who rely on Evernote…” One way I judge software is the rational/irrational quality of the developer’s web site.

That’s why I use alternate email addresses for accounts. With things like Gmail, it’s easy. Then just delete the account if you start getting spammed.

My email provider ( actually allows “aliases”, so I can make new email address easily and route them to an existing account. Deleting them is simple.


It‘s a subscription.

I have been using Evernote many times a day for over 6 years now, and have found it extremely valuable to all of my workflows. It is the best PIM (Personal Information Manager) I have ever used. The EN Search engine, and Spotlight, provide near instant access to the vast amount of information I have accumulated (now over 16K Notes). It costs me less than $4/month, and is worth much more.

The EN account, and internet access, are needed to store your Notes in the EN Cloud, so that you can access them from any device. I find it very valuable, and comforting, to have access to all of my 16K notes from my iPhone anywhere I am. The EN iOS app also lets you store selected Notebooks offline, so you have access even when you don’t have cell or wi-fi access.

I encrypt all of my sensitive data in PDFs, using AES-256.

But you also have the option of Local Notebooks, which are never uploaded from the Mac or PC they were created on.

Once you have logged in to the EN App on your Mac, you do NOT need access to the internet in any way to access existing Notes, and the login is persistent across EN and Mac restarts.

I don’t think I have received any spam because of my EN account. EN makes it clear in their policy that they do not sell your email, your data, or anything about you. There are no advertisements in EN apps. The only thing they sell is the subscription to their service.

I have very little need to visit the EN web site, so I don’t really care what style they use. I don’t see any relationship between the design of the EN Web site and the EN apps.

1 Like