The following apps currently make up my Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) tech stack as of December 2021. This post details how I use them together.
This month I added two new tools to my tech stack: Craft and Readwise's Reader. I've added both very recently; within the last two weeks.
I was inspired to try Craft after reading several posts on social media and in various Discord forums I belong to that talked about the beautiful user interface. I do love well-designed apps, and the enthusiasm in those posts made me consider giving it another go (I originally signed up in September but hadn't really tried it).
If you'd like to read someone who does frequent deep dives into all sorts of PKM tools, I highly recommend following TFT Hacker (https://twitter.com/TfTHacker).
I lucked out and saw a post on Twitter seeking new beta testers for the Readwise Reader app while visiting family in Prague in mid-December and had the opportunity to be onboarded to test Reader the same day. Since then, it's quickly become an integral part of my daily reading workflow, but more about that later in this post!
Table of Contents
Summary: I attempt to capture all online text content (everything but videos or podcasts) directly to Readwise Reader and if that doesn't work, I send it to DevonThink. If it does work, I optionally may send another full-text copy to DevonThink if I believe I'll need the full text of the content later.
My workflow for capturing content I find online that I want to read later is working really well this month! After many iterations, I've settled on a flow that is simply working (despite the introduction of two new tools!) which is fantastic.
For some context, I capture the following types of content:
- Academic Articles (usually PDFs, sometimes web pages or other types of files like PowerPoint presentations if it's a conference presentation)
- Twitter threads
- Blog Posts
- Any other online text I want to read later
The diagram below (made in Whimsical) illustrates my December 2021 capture workflow for all textual content (i.e. not videos or podcasts).
1st: I find text online that I want to read later and (try to) save it to Reader.
If it's text I want to read later, I try to capture it into Reader (I'm currently beta testing this for Readwise). I do this in a few different ways:
- If I find the content on my laptop or desktop, I'm likely finding it in Chrome and then I use the Chrome extension to capture it to Reader.
- If I'm reading it on mobile (iOS on iPhone or iPad), then I use the share option from Chrome on iOS and share it to Reader.
2nd: Check to see if it worked, otherwise save to DevonThink directly.
Note: I don't need to do this every time now, because I generally know what Reader does and doesn't handle well at the moment. Presently, most web pages that don't require login are handled well by Reader.
The following types of content are not:
- Web pages that require (or could) require a login, like Inside Higher Ed or Chronicle (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Tweets, and
- PDFs (for me this means academic articles and eBooks)
For the content that isn't captured well by Reader, I save this directly to DevonThink to either my central inbox for later processing or to the appropriate group (folder) related to a particular topic or project.
3rd: Decide if I need a back-up copy of the full article/content.
At this stage, I also quickly decide whether or not I need a backup copy of the content, more about this in the "Reading" section of my workflow.
The general idea here is that if I think I will use the content I found later for any sort of extensive research, I will need the full text of the content, not just my highlights and notes from it, in which case I also save the content to DevonThink as a one page PDF (see screenshot below). Sometimes I save it as Clutter-Free which removes ads, extra banner images, etc... from the page, it depends on the website and how it's set up in terms of how well that works.
Summary: All content that I read and highlight/annotate within Readwise is added to DevonThink through the Readwise → Obsidian Integration to DevonThink via indexing my Obsidian folders.
I read content captured successfully to Reader within either the Reader app on my iPhone, iPad, or using the Reader web app from the Chrome browser on my laptop or desktop.
Readwise → Obsidian
Obsidian → DevonThink
Although Readwise doesn't have a direct integration to DevonThink, I can easily index any folder into DevonThink (see screenshot below). Indexing means that I make the folder and any files/folders within it, visible to DevonThink searching (and can tag and label files as well using DT),
but don't need to import or move the files. My Readwise folder shows up inline with the grouping (folder) I selected within DT (in my case, "Resources", because I use the BASB PARA Structure),
I then see sub-folders within this DT folder because I set up Readwise to group files into category folders (see screenshot below).
I can also add sub-folders within DT within the Readwise folder that I see in Obsidian as well. Note: I don't see any extra folders or files that I add within DT within Readwise because it's a one-way sync (Readwise → Obsidian) but that's fine with me because I use DT as my central hub for searching through all my content.
Since Reader doesn't work with PDFs (yet! I'm extremely looking forward to this addition), I save all PDFs to DevonThink. Most academic articles that I work with are PDFs, so I'm frequently saving PDFs from academic database searches, Google Scholar, and publisher websites.
It's extremely simple to save PDFs into DT on both laptops, desktops, and mobile.
On my MacBook laptops and desktop, I have the DT Inbox location saved as a Favorite in my Finder sidebar so when I find an academic article PDF online that I want to read, I save it to the Inbox location, and then it appears in my DT inbox for me to process.
When I find a PDF online from my mobile devices I simply choose share to (or "Open in" depending on the menu) to DevonThink and the PDF is loaded into DT in my Inbox (or another Database location if I pick it there).
When reading academic articles, I highlight and add notes with DevonThink. Once I've finished, I create a markdown file that summarizes the highlights (and notes) I made for the article.
I then merge the markdown file with the original article file so that the highlights and notes are first and the document is second using the Merge command in DevonThink. DT offers a number of ways to merge and shares more details about this here.
This month I started taking daily notes & journaling within the Craft Docs App. I've only used it for about a week so far, but I'm supremely impressed. It has a very easy to use interface (that happens to be beautifully designed as well!) and has some of the features of Roam and Obsidian that I liked (easily linking to other pages and back-linking, along with the ability to link to specific blocks within a document).
I started by first creating a very basic PARA structure. I'm not using this too much but have added a few basic MOC (map of content) pages that are serving as Table of Contents pages for topics that I'm interested in.
I've only had one