A starter vault for history students

Hi folks. I’m trying to get my undergraduate students to be mindful about how they’re taking notes from academic literature. I like atomic notes because when I start compiling things together, the paper, the article almost assembles itself. This experience I think would be useful for my students, because the terror of the blank page really harms their writing.

All that to say, I’ve put together a ‘starter vault’ for them that tries to keep things fairly simple (not using the language of ‘literature notes’ because that confuses the issue). Hypothesis-to-obsidian, zotero-to-obsidian, some project management with kanban boards.

Just started last night, but thought maybe folks’d find it interesting.



I’m following the Youtube channel History4Today of Dr. Dan Allosso (History4Today - Notes, Research, Writing - YouTube). He and his history students also work with Obsidian. Just in case you don’t know him yet. Lots of very good videos.

EDIT: read your starter vault. Thanks for explaining OCR in Obsidian.


You’re welcome!

The OCR template is quite neat too in that it shows a way of piping the results from external tools into Obsidian. I adapted it today to run a python tf-idf similarity script -details here- and I can imagine using it with something like trafilatura for webscraping-to-notes.

Really impressed with your work, this seems really helpful to get students into Obsidian.

I am thinking of building something similar, and of course your project would be a starting point - though I will do it in german.

How should I proceed if I use your set-up?

Would you mind that I do that? I would put your name in it as the original author and idea giver.

Looking forward playing around with that vault. Especially if i get the OCR templater script fixed for me.

Cheers for this project!

sure, just fork the repo and then have at it! Re the ocr script, someone left an issue in the repo about getting it working on a Linux box. I don’t have a Linux box to explore that issue with, but - in history at least - I’ve maybe only encountered one student in the last decade using Linux. Good luck!

New to using Obsidian in this way. Will this work on a Chromebook with ChromeOS? Seems like it should since Chrome is unix-based.

It seems like a great resource for history students. Even if they don’t use Obsidian, the templates provide great examples of how to do research and note-taking and the importance of linking related notes. Thanks for this!

you’re welcome! I don’t know if it’ll all work on a chromebook, as I don’t have one handy, but feel free to modify/adapt as appropriate.