Deciding workflow for my case

Hello guys,

This post is kind of long, please bear with me :) (late night!).

TL;DR: I am new; new subject; long answer type exam; fixed, but long syllabus; various sources with frequent updation.

  • About my level and type of requirement:
    • First of all, I am not shy of accepting that I am very new to the digital note taking. I haven’t used any app for taking notes, but mostly relied on handwritten or no notes at all (college presentations, pdf etc.).
    • Currently, I am preparing for an exam and I feel the need to have a growing repository for the knowledge collected from various sources.
    • My area of interest is Anthropology. I am new to that as well. So, I figured I will start putting up notes as I read.
  • What I have learned and applied so far:
    • I watched a few videos for Zetterkastel and tried to implement it for the part of a topic that I had covered. I was following the UID system, and later realized they just make it more complicated for me since Obsidian doesn’t allow non-unique titles anyway.
      • So, I got rid of all those names and converted back to simple title.
    • The work flow was complex at first and with some basic understanding I kept on changing the flow according to my needs.
      • Workflow:
        - Syllabus: has the whole syllabus for the subject (Anthro in my case)
        - Individual (Main) Bullet Heads to be converted to a pages.
        - Earlier, I was using tags to all the subtopics to the main Bullets.
        - Then, the graph seemed too clumsy. Too Central. So, I separated the title into a new page and embedded it there itself.

Please mind that, if I am linking a syllabus, then almost each word is potential topic. with some interlinking as well.

The graph till now looks like this. Its too early to say, but still.


  1. Which paradigm/MOC should I choose? (Zettlekastel/IMF(dont know)/ etc??)
    1. The exam has a long answer type questions. Also, answers generally follow Intro-Body-Conclusion format.
    2. I will be having topics/data/current news related to this topic to be added as well. for the next 1.5 years.
    3. I need to keep revising these as well. If possible, data to ANKI can be a bit helpful.
  2. For each topic/page what format should I follow? I mean, Cornell System type thingy for each page or something else.
  3. The whole thing feels too big to manage, how can we simplify the approach.
  4. Also, I wanted to know if I can have data at both the places?
    1. I mean, if I make a link(page) with a bit of info about Culture, say a 'definition of culture" by “Ruth” and another by say “Mead”.

    2. I wanted to have a single page where the “Culture” definitions by all “Ruth”/“Mead”. Is there a way I can have that page automatically?

    3. The “Culture” page should display all the data linked as culture inline (not embedded).

    4. OR, should I use tag? backlinking shows the links, but only if I could create an automatic page of all the links. The whole window of Links as a page which keeps updating automatically.

    5. I am just confused with so any terms around, learning all of them is not feasible at this point. It would be great if you could have some time out and help me choose one way.

THANKS :slight_smile:
Any help would be really appreciated.

PS. Sorry for such a long post.

1 Like

I think that you’re trying to impose structures way too early. Perhaps It would be better if you just compose atomic notes on topics that you are interested in (and only coincidentally taking the tests on), and then later move to a MOC when such a map emerges naturally.

For example, when you know enough about anthropological theories, then your MOC can be an overview of how different schools of thoughts emerge throughout time, the conflicts between them and how such conflicts give rise to new schools of thoughts, etc. Those are the sort of things I observe then I try to put many theories together in a chronological and comprehensive manner.

I said it somewhere already, but I feel like a MOC that just lists things are a bit wasteful, however others may offer alternative views about this.

From your graph, it’s not obvious to see you’re writing atomic notes, because the titles don’t reflect atomic ideas. Words like Neo-Evolution and Culture are too broad to be useful in systems that allow insights to emerge. And that’s another thing, Zettelkasten and its derivatives were invented as means to assist producing insights, not to help you ace your tests (thought that’d be a nice side-effect).

I am not saying you shouldn’t seek systems and methods to help you study, but tackling all of the Zettel, IMF, etc things head-on doesn’t seem to be beneficial. Instead, take regular notes, then try to make atomic notes, then you’d see atomic notes form around your topics of interests, at which you point you’d feel the need to systemize these atomic notes, then you can move to a MOC.

Hope it helps !


You are right about imposing structure too early, however I find myself in the same situation when I have to fill out a paper for PhD and for the first time I see that my notes (taken a few years ago) are not as atomic as I want now to be and I have to split them (ex: Malinowski’s Functionalism can be divided in: The structure of Society according to Malinowski, Empiricism as a solution to determine the nature of myth in Malinowski’s theory, Relation between Trobriand Islands geography and myth according to Malinowski, Relation between Trobriand Islands geography and structure of tribe according to Malinowski a.s.o). But since I’m pressed by that paper that I have to send I created a MOC where I put all my notes about myth, functionalism, Malinowski, Levi-Strauss etc. just to have them in front of my eyes and be able to write that essay.

For long term I have to revise all my 1000 notes and probably half of them I have to split them.

1 Like

Sounds reasonable ! I think an MOC is suitable for an outline of a PhD paper. I just feel that keeping an MOC as a list for a long time seems wasteful. Starting it out as a list and then adding a layer of semantics over the ideas is what I also do with my notes.