Electronics > Open Source Hardware

Anyone using a homelab tool as a "reader" for technical manuals?

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I have a body of manuals strewn across network folders for computers stuff, EE spec sheets and audio gear.  My wife has cooking magazines. Its all PDF. Its always a hassle to look stuff up.

Is anyone using a tool to reference these files across your network (via browser)?  I see tools specific to comic books like Komga, but nothing a bit more generic.

I think the most important feature is some form of auto indexing.  Its not useful if you have to update it with every document that gets added.  I'm willing to spend some time reformatting my stuff like file or folder organizing, but nothing absurd.

From the past experiences, relying on a tool is the worst idea.  Tools gets discontinued, operating systems change and make old programs useless, and so on.  Best is to rely on the filename and the directories structure, by case.

For example, I keep all the datasheets in a single folder, flat, no structure, no database, with the part number included in the filename, often keep the manufacturer or a very brief 2-3 words function description also in the filename.  Any search is done by whatever tools are in the operating system (I use mostly Linux, with a KDE Plasma desktop).

For the parts in stock, I keep a spreadsheet with links to the local datasheet for each part, one CTRL+click away to open.

- the default file browser (Dolphin) has a filter included, so by typing only a few characters will instantly show only those files containing the typed text
- the file browser has file-search, too, in case of a wildcard search is needed
- in KDE (Linux), there is a default indexing tool called 'baloo', which indexes all files by name and also by content if you want, so by hitting the 'super' key then start typing a few chars will instantly show all files that includes those chars/words, with best matches and most frequently opened at the top, so it's usually hit 'super' continue typing 3-4 letters and press enter to open, or arrow down then open if it's not the first in the search result, this works for programs, too, which is great
- in Linux there is yet another included tool, 'locate' which can be used from the command line for fast searching (has a local database, good for searching in remote and offline storage places, too) though this does not indexes the content like 'baloo', 'locate' only the filenames and paths
- keep shortcuts in file browser to datasheets folder, to books, etc. that makes the most used only one click away

To search, it's usually hit the 'super' key and start typing a name or part of it.  This almost eliminates completly any file browser navigation.  If I have to use the file browser, hit 'super'+'E' to open the file explorer, then single click to the wanted shortcut.

For books, projects, magazines and such, I have folders by categories or topics, it depends.

With all these, often an online search might be faster than searching inside the local desktop.

on macos, the content of pdf files is automatically indexed, as are also the network volumes each time they are mounted.
you can also add tags to every document, and categorize your stuff with it.
so when I do a search in the finder operating system tool called "spotlight", every term inside a pdf, or any tag are found this way.
I have gigs of pdf I can easyly search on the title or inside this way.
I don't know how other operating systems handle this situation.
also as everything is indexed, the search is very fast.
this has been for many years and many system versions like that.

Calibre is good for books and magazines (pdf, epub etc). All other kinds of files I've organized in folders.

belt and suspenders : a sane folder hierarchy (I like being able to view related parts sometimes, where a single-folder mess would be completely useless), and https://www.lesbonscomptes.com/recoll/pages/index-recoll.html for indexing.
For the "accross the network" part, I use 2 approaches - a local fileserver , and https://syncthing.net/ when working remotely.


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