Devonthink & Obsidian?

I’m curious how people are using Devonthink and Obsidian toge?her. What’s your workflow? What goes into each tool? How do you cross-link or reference?

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My Two Uses for DEVONthink and Obsidian

Use Obsidian and DEVONthink Together! - Effective Remote Work

  • I am using Devonthink to store materials, Obsidian to write;
  • I use Devonthink To Go to access my linked pdf from Zotero on Ipad,
  • I sometimes paste link to my DT files in Obsidian notes about them (Curtis McHale has nice shortcut making note in 1writer in chosen folder about your specific DT file on iOS)
  • I index Obsidian files in DT
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I’m just getting started with Obsidian again after playing with it on and off several times in 2020.

I have an idea for an organizational scheme:

I write a half-dozen articles per month. Until recently, when I started a new project, I started a new group for it, and then dumped in all my work documents there.

Recently I switched off “exclude groups from tagging” in DevonThink preferences. Now all my groups are tags. (They were before—as you may know, groups and tags in DevonThink are kind of the same thing. But switching off “exclude groups from tagging” makes the interchangeability more distinct.)

Now here’s my plan: Previously, I gave groups long, descriptive names. I will continue to do that, but I will also create a short, unique identifier for the group, and use that as a tag in Obsidian. Then I will use that hashtag to tag documents appropriately in Obsidian.

I will index the Obsidian vault in DevonThink, tag documents appropriately in Obsidian, and create a smart rule in DevonThink that looks for the hashtag in the Obsidian document, and adds the appropriate tag in DevonThink.

In theory, at that point, Obsidian documents will appear in their appropriate DevonThink folders, while retaining Obsidian’s distinct structure.

I have no idea if this will work. But it is my plan.

UPDATE: This works from a technology perspective–I created the smart rule described above, and my Obsidian document successfully appeared in the appropriate group.

Whether this proves practical in real-world usage remains to be seen.

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I have an existing corpus of about 25 million words across some 6,000 files (much of it dealing with regulations and processes) which is carefully categorized in DevonTHINK. Most of them are PDFs and DT Pro has powerful OCR and rapid search capabilities which make finding information in those documents nearly trivial.

I use Obsidian as a Zettelkasten and occasionally pull an item from my DT database for extraction into ZK notes. When I do that I reference the x-callback-url for the DT file in the note.

Basically files in DT can (when needed) become sources in my existing source processing workflow.

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I use DT to store sources. Any paper, book or article that I want to keep for reference is stored in DT.

In Obsidian I store what I write. I might’ve read something elsewhere but in Obsidian it has to be my words. The way I understand the idea. The way I would’ve conveyed it to someone else.

I use footnotes for sources. I link to the source in DT, and add more specific location: a page/paragraph or an annotated anchor I leave in the source.

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Updated: The technology works–remains to be seen whether it’s practical though!

I use Obsidian for note-taking because it’s fast, easy, and auto-saved. I also just like the way it looks with my favorite Theme (Blue Topaz). I index my Obsidian vault in DevonThink so as to have access to the DT superior search, and also to have a bit of access to Obsidian on iPad via DevonThink To Go.

I’ve moved away from native Obsidian linking and am using Hook for most links because Hook links work equally well in Obsidian and DT. I’m not a big user of the Obsidian graph so I don’t mind that the graph isn’t as complete.

So far-

DevonThink - Source files (websites, podcasts, PDFs, images…)
Obsidian - highlights/literature notes, my notes, my creations, meetings, journal…

I’m working on some automations that will put the source material in DevonThink with tags and a link to the proper Obsidian note and create templates for my to file out in Obsidian that have a DT link.

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Also sometimes the addon Markdownload is better in saving page as Markdown without clutter than Devonthink sharesheet.

My daily workstation is Linux (old MacPro is too slow for programming), so I started saving pages that I want to save into folder within Obsidian Vault indexed by DT.

Just in case you haven’t seen it, I’ve put together a plugin and AppleScript that provides a soft integration between the two apps:

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I haven’t thought of this. What’s the benefit to this? Besides a unified place to search in DT.

How do you work with these on mobile?

Yes, the search and access to my notes from DT on mac is the main reason for that;
For example I could use @ryanmurphy plugin;
I could access my notes on mobile using DT (I don’t have access to beta) but I don’t do that often;

Rooting around in your blog, I also found the Connect DEVONthink PDFs, Bookends references, and Obsidian summary notes with this script - Axle post about which I have a few questions / remarks. I don’t think I’ve seen you post here about it. Is there a thread somewhere (I’m particularly interested by the apparent KM integration in the script, which you don’t mention in the post itself …)

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Sorry for the delayed reply!

Oh no! That’s probably a terrible idea.

Good eye. This is actually an artifact and can be deleted. I was trying to find a way to stitch together a one-button method of activating this so that it worked whether I launched it from DEVONthink or Bookends. The solution I went with is much simpler. I use the following macro:

Essentially, if I launch it in Bookends, it first runs a simple script to open the PDF in DEVONthink, then it runs the script I provided in the blog post.

As for questions/a thread about it here, I’ll start one in a few days or a week or so. DT’s latest beta actually introduces a little thing that makes this script more robust, so I’ll launch the new version, post about it, and tag you.

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Revisiting this (sorry …) I realized that for some reason my DT names Summary files differently than expected in your script. I had to replace

set highlightsSummaries to lookup records with file (eachItem's name & ".pdf" & space & "Summary.md") in theDatabase

with

set highlightsSummaries to lookup records with file (eachItem's name & space & "Summary.md") in theDatabase

because my summary files don’t include the original “.pdf” extension …
I guess there’s a setting somewhere

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Devonthink Noob here— is there a way to automatically create an inbox folder in devonthink that syncs with Obsidian? So if I wanted to make use of devonthink’s web clipper to save files — can I create a folder in my obsidian vault that makes it possible to search using Obsidian (as opposed to indexing an obsidian vault and making things searchable in Devonthink)

You’d ultimately still be using indexing—but sure:

  1. Create an Inbox folder in Obsidian
  2. Index that Inbox folder in DEVONthink in a database’s Inbox (or the global Inbox).
  3. Whenever you clip something, put it there if you want to see it in Obsi.

It actually isn’t strictly necessary to put the inbox folder in a DEVONthink inbox in step 2. You can clip to any folder in any database from
the DEVONthink clipper.

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@ryanjamurphy Hey Ryan, the apple script, as simple as it is, it is giving me a “Vault not found” error. I copied/pasted the vault ID from the obsidian.json file in my ~/library/application suppor/obsidian folder. Twice. Same error.

For which script, sorry? I modified one recently to take the vault name instead.

@ryanjamurphy I downloaded from your website, Axel? Can you send me the link to the new script? Thanks! (That is the DT3 script to open a file in Obsidian, using the call back url)