Are Doc and Proj Notes individual, or in a single container?

I’m a Scrivener Prodigal Son, returning after a bleak period using other programs. So my learning curve is back at the beginning.

I’ve spent the past two hours searching the forum and Scrivener Help looking for this answer because I thought I used to be able to do this: write individual notes as they came to me, and park them for later.

It appears, now, that Document Notes is one long note. Ditto Project Notes.

Is this true?

I’m just starting a project and dont have a draft document to attach a note to. But as I am writing, little things come to me that I want to capture for use later.

Is this relegated entirely to the Scratchpad function? Seems like a lot of keystrokes, and it’s distracting, both in having to look at the left panel, when Notes, for me, are on the right.

I am sure this is a newbie question and I apologize if I appear not to have done enough work to search for the answer myself. Any help, however, would be appreciated.

Scrivener has never been capable of attaching multiple notes to a single document. While there will be a capability for multiple note pads in the future, it might still not be quite what you are looking for here. Honestly, what I would recommend for you is to use the Corkboard for these kinds of inspirations. There is nothing that says you have to use Binder documents for parts of your draft, and the Corkboard format makes it exceptionally easy to create tons of little notes to yourself, using the text area of the card to flesh out the details of your idea.

There is another feature you might find useful, and that is linked document creation. By pressing Cmd-L in your source text, you’ll get a new document created in a special area of the Binder, and automatically linked to the text spot where you were typing. To hide this from the rest of the draft, just throw it into an annotation by selecting the link and press Cmd-Shift-A.

Unless I completely misunderstand you, it definitely sounds as though you are trying to make things too difficult. If you have ideas that you want to get down for a project, stuff that might be used but you don’t know where it goes, just create a folder somewhere and create a document for each idea inside it. The folder could be inside the Research Folder, or between the Draft folder and Research folder, or wherever you like. Call it “Ideas” or “Notes” or “Unplaced Scenes” or whatever. You can them move your notes and ideas where you want later, when you have a home for them. Author David Hewson has a blog post about this here: … nt-page-1/

(Although is web page seems to be down as I type this.)

The main thing to remember is that although the text files inside the Draft folder will eventually become your manuscript, you can create text files anywhere else in the project too for whatever you want, and move things in and out of the Draft folder. So while the document notes are for making notes about a particular document, and the project notes are for making notes about the project that you may want to refer to while looking at any document, you can also create documents within the project to hold notes, which may or may not go into your Draft later.

Hope that helps.
All the best,

Very helpful. Thank you.

BTW, are you going to develop the ability to archive projects in PDF/A or PDF/X? One or the other of these formats was designed to have a 300-year shelf life as a documentation standard, and since you just know our work produced in Scrivener, long after KB is enshrined as a saint in some cathedral somewhere, will be poured over by budding writers in digital university libraries, we need to preserve our work in a format that will last that long.

I ask because Amber wrote somewhere in my travels here that Scrivener has all these bits and pieces, therefore tread lightly if you use networks like Dropbox for local storage. I struck me, then, that the .scriv format is proprietary. And I’m already howling about the proprietary formats I used in 1992 under OS 9.

The .scriv format is proprietary, but even if Scrivener went kaput you could still get your work out, as under the hood it uses RTF, which is twenty years old and counting and can be read in a plain text editor. If you ctrl-click on a .scriv package in the Finder and select “Show Package Contents”, you can browse through the files - a bunch of .plist and .rtfd files (RTFD files are just folders containing RTF files). I am using a more proprietary format than .plists for 2.0, but conversely the new format will be easier to read in ten or twenty years time. 2.0’s format will use my own XML format, which will be much easier to read and fathom in a plain text editor than Apple’s .plist format. And 2.0 will use RTF rather than RTFD packages, making it easier to extract files. Any PDF or image files etc that you import remain in their original format. So Scrivener files are fairly safe in terms of whether you’ll be able to get your information out in the future, even if all copies of Scrivener have somehow disappeared from the face fo the planet.

As for PDF/A or PDF/X, I’m afraid I don’t know much about those. You can export your draft to PDF, but I don’t know what type off the top of my head.

All the best,

File formats do not have “shelf life”. They are just 1 and 0 and will never “go bad”. Just unsupported. Anyone who claims a format will be supported more than 2-3 years in the future is just trying to give you a warm and fuzzy.

What you should be worried about is the shelf life of the storage media (CD/DVD, USB, etc). There is no writable media that has a shelf life (a legitimate concept since these things are actually stored on shelves when archived) of more than 5 years. I don’t care how bullet proof a vendor claims their product or service is, there are simply not guarantees. Don’t believe me? Check the EULA/warrantee disclaimers.

Which is the long, convoluted way of saying, if you want historical archive, go to an archival quality printer and pay the big bucks to get something that will survive a power outage.

Which is a shorter but still convoluted way of saying you can not trust electronic media for archiving.

There is one form of archival media which comes with a 100-year EULA, the MAM-A Mitsui Gold Archive DVD. You can buy them in packs of five for $17 or so, and they have a manufacturers warranty for 100 years. Whether or not that really means anything is something for debate. Very few companies break the 5 year mark, let alone the century mark, but that they are willing to stand by their product “for life” should say something. The surface is 24karat gold; gold is incredibly resistant to most forms of decay which cause most DVD and CD materials to break down after 5-20 years. Their CDs have a projected 300 year shelf life, but with a much reduced capacity of course. For text documents it is still sufficient storage space. Using your burn software, set the speed down as low as you can tolerate as this will reduce burn errors, and don’t label the discs in any way. That’s good advice for any optical storage, gold or not.

Of course, this is media though, not what you burn onto them. Stick with basic formats is the best advice. Plain-text UTF-8 (or a meta-format based on it, such as RTF, XHTML, or XML, while keeping in mind that a meta-format is more “fragile” to the effects of time, as it requires a parsing engine, than plain human-readable text) are both safe bets (and that means the Scrivener project format already has you covered, as Keith explained). PDF may or may not stick around. My guess is that it will, but that’s just a guess.

If I remember correctly there are intersting stipulations in the warantee of those disks. Check the upper temp threshold. I could have the wrong product in mind though.

If you want the nitty gritty, here is a paper prepared by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. These show the results of several artificially accelerated ageing techniques, which can be used to predict shelf-life conditions. They could also be used to estimate damage impact during spiked periods of duress (say exposure to a fire within a heat-insulated safe).

The MAM-A technology suffers most under damp heat ageing, but it should be noted this deterioration is at 400–500 hours of 80C/85%H conditions, and that after that point it levels off and doesn’t spike again up to the constraints of the test at 800 hours (about a month). It should also be noted that by the time it starts to spike, all other technologies have failed to the point of becoming coasters. Under non-humid heat tests the technology has a nearly flat failure rate, which is how they can tentatively predict a 300+ year rating under normal conditions.


I guess I didn’t make myself clear.

Before the US Government and Federal Courts would accept electronic transmission of important docs, briefs, and records, etc, in PDF format, with digital signature certification, for long-term storage replacing paper storage, Adobe had to promise to deliver a universal PDF standard (WWC? WCC?) that would be readable X years from now without the requirement of upgrading according to future software releases.

In other words, docs could be copied from one storage device to another as hardware was upgraded, but there would be no requirement to open each one of those docs and re-save in the PDF of future releases.

The Senior Adobe Engineer who managed the creation of this standard within Adobe Corp. told me directly this format (PDF/X or PDF/A, can’t remember) is guaranteed to be readable by all future releases of PDF for 300 years. But not all PDF makes this standard. If you save your PDF in this format now, and it ‘makes’ the inspection because it will verify that it can be signed that way, then you dont have to touch it.

It seems absurd that an engineer would ever make a claim such as this. There is no way for anyone, including Adobe, to provide that level of assurance. If we look at companies with immutable assets, ones such as GM, Chrysler, GE, etc we see that they can not make assurances over 10 and 20 year periods when their products are not as nearly as quick to evolve as those of the computer world. In my brief 20 years in this industry I have seen the these claims made before and every time the product has vanished.

That said, scrivener is not an “output” platform. It is a drafting platform. You should use a certified PDF/? product to make your file from the input provided by scrivener.

BTW, your signing certs must be special as all the CA’s only have 10 year rot certs. Has any one said how that will be circumvented when all the root certs expire? Or is there some tops secret CA that you are using?

Well, Jaysen, I answered my own question…it’s PDF/A. If your claim of a 10 to 20 year shelf life are true, then digital libraries are a bad thing.

From Wikipedia:

PDF/A is a file format for the long-term archiving of electronic documents. It is based on the PDF Reference Version 1.4 from Adobe Systems Inc. (implemented in Adobe Acrobat 5 and latest versions) and is defined by ISO 19005-1:2005, an ISO Standard that was published on October 1, 2005:

• Document Management - Electronic document file format for long term preservation - Part 1: Use of PDF 1.4 (PDF/A-1)

PDF/A is in fact a subset of PDF, obtained by leaving out PDF features not suited to long-term archiving. This is similar to the definition of the PDF/X subset for the printing and graphic arts.

In addition, the standard places requirements on software products that read PDF/A files. A “conforming reader” must follow certain rules including following color management guidelines, using embedded fonts for rendering, and making annotation content available to users.

Read all about it here, including the background:

From Wikipedia…the requirements…so that’s knocks out PDF of the audio and video files in Srivener research.
Other key elements to PDF/A compatibility include:
Audio and video content are forbidden.
JavaScript and executable file launches are prohibited.
All fonts must be embedded and also must be legally embeddable for unlimited, universal rendering. This also applies to the so-called PostScript standard fonts such as Times or Helvetica.
Colorspaces specified in a device-independent manner.
Encryption is disallowed.
Use of standards-based metadata is mandated.