I really enjoyed nickmilo’s post: The Ultimate Folder System: A quixotic journey to ACE. It got me thinking I’d like to share my own folder system, which is designed to be simple (even if there are a high number of folders). This isn’t a challenge to ACE or PARA or other systems, just my own way of doing things.
So I’ll start by sharing the folder structure, and then I’ll describe how I got there and how it works for me.
- Vault Resources Attachments Templates -- Inbox Academic Activities Books Classes, Talks, Workshops Dreams Expressions Feedback Folks Goals Grey Literature Instructions Letters and Notes Lists Lyrics and Poetry Moments Opportunities Organizations Places Plans and Routines Plays and Scripts Podcasts Projects Quotes Recipes Speeches Stories Topics Videos and Movies Visual Art
As you can see, there are a lot of folders here. The reason for this is simple: there is one folder for each type of file/note I have in my vault, so it is a one-to-one relationship. This helps me to know exactly where to look for what I need. It also represents what I like to take notes about, i.e., the activities in my life which are of interest. Some things are missing of course, such as sheet music for playing instruments, but I don’t use Obsidian for that (yet).
So, about this structure.
- Vault Resources Attachments Templates
This is simply where Obsidian resources are kept: attachments and templates. Simple as that. It includes a single
- because I want it to appear on top without the use of numbers, which I find visually unappealing.
Next up is
-- Inbox. This is where I capture random thoughts about something; I encourage myself to decide in the moment whether this random thought is a question or an idea (i.e., an idea for a blog post, academic paper, or some such). Another word for the notes in this folder could be “Fleeting Notes” but I don’t really follow that workflow so I avoid that language. Sometimes the notes in this folder are deleted, other times they become a topic note (the word I use to describe my version of an evergreen note), and sometimes they become a full on draft of something. I use
-- to sort it above the rest of my folders and below
- Vault Resources.
The remaining folders are a mix of personal journal entries (dreams, moments, etc.); functional notes (lists, recipes, etc.) and “building” notes (academic, books, etc.) They aren’t sorted accordingly because I don’t want to bury them in a hierarchy: I want to see all my folders.
The way I distinguish between a draft of my own creation, i.e., an academic paper that I read and took notes about or one that I myself wrote is by giving a tag
#creation if it’s my own work and
#source. Folders I don’t want to see when writing creatively or academically are filtered out using Obsidian’s built-in feature for this. For example, recipes, lists, and health are not really part of my “knowledge-building” activities, so they are filtered out.
Topic notes I take on academic articles are stored in my academic folder, alongside of my academic drafts and notes about a source. Notes in my
Topics folder can be thought of as a mix of synthesis notes/MOCs/index notes, which draw from topic notes in other folders. I actually don’t use this folder very much, but it’s there for quick capture.
Topical keywords, people, and places are
[[linked]] inline rather than stored in metadata, which I reserve for tags and dates or other information that isn’t important to me to see in search results (using the core search feature).
That’s probably enough for now. Would love to hear what you’re doing differently and why or if you think this is a neat structure