I would be negligent in starting this exploration, without first acknowledging the inherent paradox of using a personal computer to manage personal information. Without doubt, nothing is more effective for managing personal information than a modern computer. This is even more true when adding in the associated, and ever present, handheld devices and the mysterious cloud that keeps them all in sync, or at least keeps them all in sync some of the time. But, it is precisely these computing devices themselves which generate the lion’s share of information that we then have to manage.
In ancient times, when we managed information on paper, we did not have to deal with url’s, logins and passwords, email addresses, software serial numbers, saved webarchives and a myriad of PDF software manuals. In fact, when I look through my most used DEVONthink databases, I find the vast majority of the webarchives, PDF’s and outlined notes relate to operating the very software I use to manage personal information, including DEVONthink itself.
So there, I have acknowledged the paradox. Given that it is no longer practical to live in the world without a computer, I guess I just have to live with the paradox. So now, I can move on.