After a lot of research, discord chats and reddit browsing I have finally begun to take my first steps with Obsidian. I have a few doubts that I can’t seem to figure out by myself at this point so I have turned to the community.
Firstly, the approach. I use Obsidian for my studies purely. I am going about my notes in the following way:
- Each of my courses has a folder.
- Within each folder, the table of contents of my course is the main note. With all topics and sub topics of all hierarchy mentioned
- E.g. Animals is a folder. Within Animals, there are mammals, reptiles, etc. And under Mammals, there are apes, cats, etc. Under apes, there are… You get the point. Full hierarchy. All links.
- After I have laid out the table of contents, I click on each link and make its its own note. If it is a topic with sub topics inside it, I repeat the table of contents links of only that part of the topic. E.g. mammals - apes, cats, etc. apes - … etc.
- I keep going under I reach the most atomic of the info about each topic.
- In the meantime, I also form side links. Like mammals will have specific habitats, birds another. So, while writing about the habitat in each of the topic notes, I link habitat and make it into its own note. In habitat, I write a summary about all the habitats of all the groups of animals, based on my learning.
This is as far as I have gotten with my process so far. I know there is no right or wrong way. But I would appreciate any insights or knowledge from my fellow obsidian users.
Some other questions that come to mind:
Obsidian is leading me to make atomistic notes. While I have the content safe and sound on my own hard disk, if tomorrow obsidian is non existent, how would I make sense of these numerous, very atomistic notes in no proper order with their links and backlinks? Surely, some of my fellow users have wondered the same and made a plan perhaps?
Right now, I feel like I risk losing the forest in the trees because of my approach. Is that a legitimate concern?
I am sorry if I have made the post long and the questions numerous. I study 10 hours a day and if I am going to be depending on Obsidian, I just need to be sure.
It shouldn’t. Obsidian is fine with short and long notes. Atomic notes a a feature of many systems including zettelkasten, but Obsidian itself can cover any method of note writing.
I don’t feel in a position to advise. We all have our own best ways of working. For me, your multi-folder system would produce too much friction - others believe that’s exactly what is needed. I don’t use MOCs - others depend on them.
You will always have search and many programs will work with markdown files. At the moment, you are depending on links (which will probably be fine in the future, but they’re relatively new as a major feature), folders (which will still be there), MOCs (links may need reformatting, but should still work), and the links. You could add tags; they should work in future with other programs (again, may need reformatting) and definitely with search.
Probably worth learning regex because, once learned, that will always be your friend.
The Core Plug-ins help a bit with things like “Page Preview” and you may want to give some thought on either using “Markdown” for your links or “Wikilinks” (need to set toggle in settings>Files & Links).
- Markdown is more a “standard” but I find the Wikilinks work a bit nicer with header linking like “[[NoteName#Header1|Note Header Name]]” vs “[Note Header Name](NoteFile.md^blockref1234)”
- The larger notes with header references have a bit more utility but if you use Markdown you may want to break them out into separate notes and make some linked lists/directories tying them together embedding with “!”.
You may want to look at the Zettelkasten methods if you want to be utterly future-proof.
I had given much thought on this after I am into my 700 odd notes
Thank you for your thoughts.
You are right, I looked into using wiki links vs markdown links and found that the devs are looking to make an export plug in that will convert wiki links to MD, which is really nice.
Besides, their focus on longevity and future proofed software is reassuring. So even if, one day, obsidian is not developed anymore, our notes wont be left high and dry.
Considering that we see more and more apps using commonmark formats these days, I am hopeful.
I am at 638 notes as of now as well and have developed a system of my own that will let me make sense of my notes even if I had only a basic MD editor.
Either way, I am convinced that a bunch of MD files in local folders, synced to cloud and accessed via softwares like obsidian is the best system we could hope for.