C-Command Software Forum

One Library or Multiple Libraries

I have just started using EagleFiler and am trying to make some decisions about how to structure my data.

In particular, I am trying to decide whether it makes more sense to use one large library or multiple smaller libraries. Are there any particular advantages or disadvantages to one approach or the other?



Some of the basic issues are:

  1. Is there a natural way to partition your files? If not, you’ll probably want to use a single library.
  2. Each library has its own tags. If most of your tags are not relevant to most of your files, that may be a sign that it makes sense to use separate libraries.
  3. Having everything in one library makes it easier to search everything at once and a bit harder to search particular subsets of it. Depending on how you work, this could be a good or bad thing.
  4. Libraries with a very large number of files will be somewhat slower. If you don’t need to view or search everything at once, you can speed things up by using separate libraries.
  5. Encryption: EagleFiler encrypts at the library level, and you may want certain of your files encrypted (possibly with different passphrases) or unencrypted.
  6. Storage: Using multiple libraries lets you store your files in different places (internal vs. external drives, Dropbox, etc.).

Please note that you don’t have to decide up-front. You can always drag and drop files between libraries later, either to consolidate or split them.

You also may find these threads helpful:

Very helpful.

In particular knowing that there is only the cost of a bit of time to change my mind later.

Much thanks,


This thread just gave me the idea to have a dedicated library just to organize my Dropbox. As of right now it’s very unorganized and hard to search. Thanks!

single or multiple libraries
This is entirely a matter of personal preference. I find it useful to have unique libraries for certain discrete purposes: a mail archive, a general archive, large self-contained research projects.

I use one large library for most of my day-to-day work and personal affairs, however–balancing the convenience of a single, searchable library with the reality that a library can grow so big that it becomes unwieldy to use. (Not in terms of Eaglefiler functionality, just in terms of the number of folders I’m looking at, and so on.)

I migrated 1==>4
I started with one library, for research documents. I’m now up to 4+

  1. Research documents for all my research projects. This one is large and unwieldy - interesting material sometimes gets “forgotten” because it’s tucked away in a folder I created years ago. So I do a lot of fulltext searches.

  2. Each major outside consulting project gets one. This allows me to encrypt them with separate keys, and leave them invisible except when I’m actually working on the project. It also helps to keep straight who provided me with documents - no danger of using A’s documents on a project for B, unless I make a deliberate decision that they are not confidential.

  3. Personal documents e.g. financial records, instruction manuals for devices I own, and hobbies. Hit that F1 key on every relevant web page! (Not literally - I usually store as PDFs rather than web archives.)

  4. I’ve just started one for teaching material. This overlaps with research, but it’s much smaller, so I can scan through it fast to remind myself of old material that might be relevant to my next class.

The basic value of this approach is that it’s faster to search and scan for relevant material. Also remember that it’s much easier to COMBINE DBs, than it is to split one in half. Breaking things up this way has some drawbacks, notably that I sometimes have to check more than one. (Since, obviously, the specific topics have some overlap.) But when I decide a document is going to be used in several ways, I just copy it into the other database.

One other trend: I use EF more and more for files that used to be handled in the Finder. Hope this helps. I also asked this question when getting started, and I’ve “evolved” into this solution.

Thank you. I see that to make the most effective use of Eaglefiler I will need a deliberate strategy to figure out what to keep and where to keep it.


I think it’s interesting to hear how others are using EagleFiler. I started with two libraries and am now up to 1 (or should I say, down to 1). I found that I kept missing files when I searched for something because I was searching the wrong library. It was much better to have everything in one library in order to find things easier.

It would be nice if there were some way to issue a command to search all libraries but there isn’t.

Plus, it’s far easier to have one library open all the time instead of many libraries open. After all, if you’re using the libraries all the time, then they need to be open in order to access them.

@ajoyce, agreed. I have been considering merging all my libraries to one or at least to just a few. For my semester related files, I have two libraries. One is for this semester, the other for all the past semesters combined. SL

Since my post above I have actually moved back up to 2 libraries. Why? Well it’s a little like sooinlee1 in that is a library for past semesters.

I want to keep all my “current” files where they can be searched! The new library that I just made was an archive library for my email. . . but only my “sent” email. I had over 8000 files in my sent mail folder. I didn’t want to delete those files because I will often go back to get a file that I had sent to someone - a file that I had thrown away because I wouldn’t “need” it anymore because I had sent it to someone. But it actually existed in my sent mail. Just the other day someone asked me for a copy of a file I had sent because they had lost the one I sent somehow. It was nice to be able to go into my eagleFiler and search for the email and have it pop right up to me. Then it was a simple procedure to extract the file and send it again.

The more I use EagleFiler, the more I appreciate it! I still want all my regular files in one library. But those files I’ve archived can safely rest in another library, and I know just where to look should there be a need.