Fully transclude backlinks

While Obsidian cannot perfectly replicate Roam in these particular aspects (and I know that nobody is arguing for this), I do think that Obsidian can provide a very effective solution to this without it being complex to develop.

Essentially, the backlink pane does not need to be that big. It should be 1/4 of the size. 3/4 of the size should be the actual note that you select so that you see the entire context. B/c all of your files are stored locally, the selection appears instantaneously with full context.

  • So the 1/4 of the size (the current backlink pane that has the list of your links) is just there for you to see a list. And yes, you don’t get much context.
  • But the 3/4 of the size populates/updates automatically based on which backlink you select. This area shows you the full note, full context, etc.
  • The key is that the 1/4 of the sized pane (that has all of your listed links) should NOT be updated. It should be tethered to the main note that you are viewing. Currently, it gets updated if you select a link that is of another note.

For more details, check out the bug and feature request below. The bug was fixed, but this requires manual steps and the UI is not nearly as seamless as it is in Obsidian. The feature request actually brings it much closer to the point where I wouldn’t miss Roam for this particular aspect.

@HerbCaudill

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Honestly, I would prefer to have backlinks appear only as titles, and like text links, mousing over them would open a preview of the note. I love this about text links in Obsidian and it would be a much more consistent way of structuring things within the app.

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This is a neat idea. Mind making a feature request for this specifically?

I can start one!

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Just made it here: Mouseover preview for backlinks

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I also would looooove this feature. I was curious if it was planned to be on the roadmap yet or is still in the discussion phase?

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The idea of more context in backlinks (i.e. fully transcoding backlinks) is very powerful and I hope Obsidian pursues it or a plugin be developed that can make it happen.

Is it possible to have a plugin append / transclude “more context backlinks” under Headline 1 (#) sections to every note in Obsidian.

The two sections can be

  • linked mentions
  • unlinked mentions
    and can link to those other documents similar to the current backlink panel.

And this can be done at defined intervals or triggered when a new link is created. And those opting for this plugin can be made aware that their text notes may get modified each time this processing takes place.

Just discovered Obsidian and Roam. The idea of having offline markdown files is just so powerful. Thank you to the developers for developing it and in advance to the plugin developer who may develop this feature :).

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This is exactly the power of Roam research: getting the entire context of backlinks. This enables you to truly move between pages and follow the train of thoughts.

Please add this to obsidian as it would make is so much more powerfull.

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From the v0.9.4 release notes:

Backlinks! Turn it on to add the new backlink section at the end of each page.

Can we have this for regular notes as well?

Example: {{backlinks}}

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Or more generally, you can embed backlinks section, like ![[tag#backlinks]].

My use case for this is that I use “tag files” rather than #tag, so it would be great that backlinks become the content of a tag file. It would be even better if you can embed a file’s backlinks section in other files, such as a “index page” for all tags.

That would be awesome!

Yes, I would also like this. I would like to place “[[ ]]” around concepts and then not go populate the concept’s note, but have the note autogenerated via the backlinks.

i.e. In note A I have a link like [[concept 1]], and the “concept 1” note is auto-created and empty. In note B I have a link for [[concept 1]] too. I’d like to have an option so that when I go to the “concept 1” note the two backlinks (with a bit of context) to note A and B show up in the body of the “concept 1” note.

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@Alex2357 you don’t need to create the note for that to happen though. If/when you go check concept1, the file will be created and you’ll be able to see the backlinks from noteA and noteB.

At least as I understand it (but maybe I’m missing something), yes I can see the backlinks in the sidebar panel thing, but not in the rendered “concept 1” note itself.

The functionality is there with some extra clicking like you’re (@argentum) is saying, I’m basically just asking if we can render that backlinks sidebar panel (or something like it) right in the note, with a template maybe like @zettx was suggesting

(I’m writing this response without having read this merged thread yet to see what it’s about, I’ll flip through it.)

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I copy some obsdn help info to Roam to compare what are the different.
bcz I don’t want use my own info to show public.

I found 2 important points.

1

In Roam
display all backlink info , without switch page to check it.

but in obsdn
display a piece of backlink info, have to switch page to check it.

2

In Roam
Allow edit backlink info , without switch page .

but in obsdn

Can’t edit backlink info, have to switch page.

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Super convenient: plus plus!

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How serendipitous: more control over the context you can see in your backlinks is coming very soon!

Editable transclusions are in the cards, but I’m not sure if the devs have thought about editable backlinks. Thanks for the suggestion.

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I know that now we can see more context in the backlinks pane, but still we cannot see the complete sentence right now. Is this feature still in the works? Thanks

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+1. The problem with the backlinks panel hasn’t been resolved.

The backlinks pane is still one of Obsidian’s weakest points compared to Roam

Suppose there are some reading notes on a concept. Roam allows us to review at a glance all the mentions of a concept organized in an easily readable hierarchy. So we get the info organized around an idea for free, which seems like the main promise of backlinks.

Compared to that, Obsidian allows for some basic preview, but if we want to get a complete overview of the idea, it forces us to click on every mention, then search for the link in the newly opened pane, which is much more tedious.

Some thoughts on what needs to be done

  • I would imagine, editing here is much harder to implement than viewing, but in this case, viewing is 80% of the benefits for 20% of the effort
  • The backlinks panel should render every mention into pretty HTML. Raw text is hard to read, especially with no indentation and with sentences chopped off in the middle with ...
  • The context around each backlink should be structure-sensitive instead of length-sensitive. E.g.:
    • Visibility level 1: show the complete text block, however long
    • Visibility level 2: same as 1 + show the heading for the current block + show all the child list items if the link is inside a list
    • Visibility level 3: show all the heading (or file, if there are no headings) with its contents
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This problem with backlink visualization is the ~ONLY~ reason I didn’t move from Roam to Obsidian yet.

I hope that in the near future, we can have better backlink visualization that shows the entire block within the reference.

1 Like