I have used Tinderbox and DEVONthink together for most of their respective lifetimes. I definitely would never put files into Tinderbox.
Let’s break the problem down. You have 30 years of source files and you want (a) a place to store them, (b) a method to “organize” them,
(c) an approach to extract sense from the collection, (d) a tool to develop notes or annotations about your source files, so that (e) you can evolve those notes / annotations into material for publication.
DEVONthink is used by many authors to do (a) store, (b) organize,
(c) classify and relate, (d) make notes, (e) create new work. Tinderbox (in my opinion) excels at
(c) classify and relate, (d) make notes, and especially (e) create new work. Tinderbox 7 works very well with DEVONthink to do (d) make notes in DEVONthink and transfer to Tinderbox, and (e) create new work.
In other words (and very tersely without explaining how to):
A few cautions:
- Get a trial of Tinderbox and a trial of DEVONthink Pro Office. Both trials are very generous and both developers will work with you to help you succeed. Both forums can be very helpful with specific questions.
- You can start and fail and reassess and start again in both softwares, and that is perfectly ok and normal. You are working with an emerging understanding of your library. It took 30 years to get here and might take a substantial fraction of that for the lightbulb to flicker on.
- Use DEVONthink’s See Also & Classify and auto-classify features extensively. This is not the place to explain how to do that – go over there and read and talk to folks, or read Joe Kissell’s books on using DEVONthink. Just remember, you need some ideas on how to start with the classification of your files otherwise DEVONthink will do it’s own thing which might miss the mark.
- Start your work with theories about what themes you might discover in your library. You will change your mind as your understanding evolves, but if you don’t have a starting point to seed the exploration you probably won’t find much sense in your library. You don’t walk into the Library of Congress thinking “I want to write a book. Let’s see what this place might suggest to me.”
- Tinderbox is not good for classifying source files on its own – don’t bother to try.
(Personally, I don’t like the “everything bucket” term at all. It’s very 80’s and doesn’t do justice to what DEVONthink and Tinderbox can do for you, and how software should be used. After all, you already have a bucket or lots of buckets and they are not serving you well. If you want a place to dump stuff in a bucket, buy a thumb drive. )