I’m a digital squirrel — what are you?

Use what is useful,
reject what is useless
and add what is specifically your own.
Unknown

It’s been some time since I posed a question here. I got one regarding your work infrastructure.

Looking at my infrastructure, e.g.:

  • using DEVONthink to quickly save websites as PDFs and putting them in a “WebCapture” database (and sorting them into categories there)
  • using a DEVONthink database for all scientific literature I stumble upon and another one for the private literature (labeling the actually read literature in yellow)
  • using GoodReader on my iPad to read the literature, highlighting the parts I need to know when I cite this information and exporting only the highlighted text and my notes
  • using Circus Ponies Notebooks with a page for each source I have read and all highlighted information/notes in outliner cells tagged with the source name_year
  • using Circus Ponies Notebooks with pages for (sub-)topics and the information from the literature I have read tagged with the source information
  • using Papers2 for the literature I have actually read to have an additional copy of the literature and to be able to quickly cite it/export the source in APA style

Yup … looking at all that I think the term “digital squirrel” would describe me (almost) perfectly. If I see something that strikes my eye/brain/heart, I get a digital copy and store it in a way I can find it again and use it (okay, some things get lost, but that’s also the squirrel part). I save it and make backups, because I don’t trust that online material will stay online. I rush though huge amounts of information and take what I think is useful … and it does not weigh me down because it’s all digital. I can store copies in multiple places, including behind steel walls in a bank or on servers abroad.

And despite some setbacks and other “evolutionary” dead ends in the past (e.g., using a Wiki prior to the current solution) — and constant risks (e.g., data corruption) — it works really well for me (and for others who ask for information).

I am still going through my material and sorting and restructuring it — and this will be a continuous task: New information will either be simply added or the information I already have must be restructured to be able to deal with the new information.

But I think it works and I see how well it works when share information, answer questions, or create or write something new.

To come back to the question — this is a solution that works for me — so I am curious, how does your work infrastructure look like? And how would you see yourself if you would use a metaphor?

Drop me a line or a comment. 🙂

Categories: Circus Ponies Notebook, DEVONthink, Doing Science, DokuWiki, General, Improving your Creativity, Infrastructure, Inspiration, iPhone/iPad, Learning to do Science, Other Programs, Other Tools, Science, The World, Tools, Writing


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4 Comments on I’m a digital squirrel — what are you?

  1. JustdaveyB // July 5, 2013 at 11:46 am //

    LOL My “to read” label is also yellow in DEVONthink Pro and I do also PDF web pages to file for future reference.

    I now use DEVONthink as my RSS accumulator since the shutdown of Google Reader. I have ceased to use both Instapaper and Pinboard since focusing on Devonthink. Now all I need is a decent iOS sync of my databases and all bases will be covered

  2. Yup, I second the iOS sync … I hope the second edition of DEVONthink To Go will provide mobile (iOS) support — their latest news announcement seemed promising.

  3. Luc Beaulieu // July 13, 2013 at 12:03 am //

    My mail application (Apple mail) and task manager (Things) are also an integral part of my digital workflow, in addition to DevonThink Pro Office and DevonThink To Go (http://lucbeaulieu.com/e-office-series/).

    It does take a few iteration to get a workflow that feels confortable, in particuler when dealing with a large number of documents.

  4. Hoi Luc,

    yup, I agree … it also took me a while to get a workflow that I am comfortable with. I started with a Wiki, now I use DEVONthink and CPN topic notebooks and Papers and Scrivener. I think it works, but who knows, perhaps there are some better tools in the future. Still, whether it works or not is determined by the output …

    All the best

    Daniel

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