Sure – it’s a program that you will often hear mentioned on these forums, as a lot of people find it useful for handling very large research projects when these get unwieldy in Scrivener.
You might like to think of it as being like the Research folder in Scrivener’s Binder, but with very extended capabilities. You can import all sorts of files into Devonthink (text, .doc, rtf, images of all sorts, pdfs, etc), and arrange them in sub-folders as you like. You might think that this sounds like what you do in the Finder, or in Scrivener’s Binder. But there are two big differences: 1. Devonthink creates an index of any text in the items that you import; 2. It is very easy to get items to appear in more that one folder at the same time.
What does this mean? In the first case, Devonthink uses the index and its artificial intelligence to find items that are similar, and will give you suggestions of where it might be best to file an item (because it will be with other items that are on a similar subject). Even if you do not want to file the item in the same place, you are presented with a list of items that you may want to look at because they seem to deal with something similar. In other words, the program helps you to sort your research material, or to find associated items when you need them.
In the second case, it helps to solve that old problem of “where do I put this file?” If you have an article that is about Freud, but is also about Lacan, do you put it under the first, or the second? In Devonthink, it can be under both of them, and also under psychoanalysis, and any other categories that you can think of simultaneously.
This is a very crude summary of a sophisticated piece of software. It would probably be a good idea to visit their website to get a bit more of an idea of what it can do:
devon-technologies.com/produ … index.html
They have a forum, which will also give you information about how people use the program. It would also be worth your while to do a search on these forums for Devonthink – you will get a lot of hits and further ideas about its use.
A couple of hints: the artificial intelligence does not work well until you have done a certain amount of organisation of your data by hand. As you are doing that, the program is building a picture of how your material is organised (e.g., anything with the word “Freud” in it seems to go under “psychoanalysis”, so it will begin to learn that). Second, I’ve noticed in my own case that I move the material around inside Devonthink as I gain a better understanding of the material, and I begin to perceive themes emerging from the material. In other words, the program actually helps me to understand the material, and is capable of gradually morphing with it at the same time as it is shaping it.
In short, to a lot of people it is a very valuable tool, though it can feel a bit confusing at first. Don’t be put off right at the beginning: it will take a little while to investigate the program and find out what it can do.
If you need any more information, I’ll try and provide it.