I am creating a fairly large research database within Scrivener for a writing project. I am organizing a large number of files (a few hundred at least) that are stored on my main drive in folders (fifty or so folders). Most of these files are pdf and can be up to 100 MBytes. Some of them are rtf files. The total size of all of it will be a few gigabytes.
I don’t want my Scrivener project to contain all of these files, so I want to import them as aliases. I will work on the project on iOS, but don’t care that those reference files are not available when doing that.
The goal is that I have a research folder in the binder that reflects the file structure on the hard drive. In the research binder, the files are aliases so the Scrivener project doesn’t become too big.
I can’t find a way to import the folders and the files together to maintain the structure in the research binder. The folders won’t import. Import isn’t greyed out for folders, but when selected, the dialog simply enters the folder.
I can’t import rtf files as aliases–they are greyed out. I have to import them as files into the project. Not a big deal, since they are relatively small, but it is an additional step in the process and the process is tedious.
My own approach has always been to keep research material in DEVONthink and to do my writing in Scrivener, which I see as using the two programs for their strengths, rather than get one of them to stretch to fit something it was not really designed for. Judging from what people have written in these forums over the years, this seems to be a fairly common solution, and the larger the amount of research material, the more compelling that solution becomes, particularly as you mention pdfs which are large in size. DEVONthink handles such scenarios without batting an eye, and it is very easy to link from Scrivener to files in DEVONthink. For large projects it may be a better way to go, though others may suggest perfectly workable solutions that use Scrivener alone. In my own case I have built up research databases in DEVONthink that have contained several million words of text, yet been able to get the results of complex searches in less than half a second. We all have to find our own solutions, I believe, as what works for one will not do for another, but I think I would at least investigate DEVONthink because it might help you. Best of luck with the project.
PS – some use cases here: https://www.devontechnologies.com/solutions.html
AFAIK, there is no way to import the folders-- you’ll need to re-create your hard-drive folder structure by hand within your project if you want to preserve it. But I have successfully imported large numbers of files within a single folder.
As for importing rtf or doc files as aliases, the only way to do that is to create aliases in the Finder and then drop them onto the Binder where you want them. (See [url]https://forum.literatureandlatte.com/t/can-i-include-but-not-import-a-word-docx-file-into-the-binder/38443/1]) This impresses me as even more tedious than your method.
Sorry that I can’t offer a method of streamlining the process. I keep my own moderate research databases in Evernote for much the same reasons as mbbntu keeps his in Devonthink. With any luck, one of the people who do keep research databases in Scrivener will chime in here!
I do use Scrivener’s Binder for aliased research and yes, importing aliases from existing Folder hierarchies is a pain unless there is a trick I’ve missed here too. It would be great for Scrivener to be able to import a folder by creating aliases for files within, linked to a subfolder structure.
The way I’d approach it is to write a script to create the aliases (filenames prepended with foldernames) in a flat folder physically, then import and drag and drop based on the filename hierarchy tag. Slightly less less work, but still not ideal. Scripts can also write to the XML binder file, which would fully automate this for you, but that is more work. Perhaps worth posting this as a wish on the wishlist forum, as it would be straightforward for Scrivener to do this for you…
How about dragging the research folder into Project Bookmarks? All hierarchical folders and files are then just a click away, and the structure and content are always up to date.