"Fuzzy" or truncated aliases with placeholders (otherwise linking is basically neutralized...)

Use case or problem

I have a note on the key concept “History”. To link notes with the words
"historical", "historiography", "historians", "historicized" etc.,
I have to type in every single inflection manually, TWICE with lower and upper case.

This gets much more complicated with German, where every single adjective and verb can have upwards of 8 (!) different inflections depending on the temporal tense and gender of the sentence subject (masc./fem./neutr.)… which also multiply with each other btw.

The effort of manually typing in aliases basically neutralizes Obsidian’s linking funtionality!!

Proposed solution

Allow placeholders for aliases, so
aliases: histor**
will let me easily link all the inflections to my key concepts note!

And please make aliases non-case sensitive or allow that option? Maybe with curvy brackets, so aliases: {h}istor** might find everything?

Current workaround (optional)

Sorry, my “workaround” of using the search for “histor” and manually copying all the found inflections over to the alias-section doesn’t seem to be one after a couple of weeks… it’s exhausting and distracting from actually working with the notes. But without it, notes will inevitably get “lost” in the vault.

PLEASE let me know if I am missing something obvious.


With great thanks to Eleanor Konik, I have now learned that YAML does not support placeholders, hence the silence here I guess :slight_smile:

Alternative request/idea:

The possibility to “automatically” create an alias in the YAML of a note I want to link to.


Highlight a word in a text.
Open a menu “Set as alias for…” and then search for the note that I want to add this word as an alias to.
An alias is automatically created in the YAML.

Would this be a possibility? Otherwise the unlinked mentions are basically useless if I have to manually add 8-10 aliases for every verb, adjective and especially composite noun.

Even if German might be a “specific” use case, I’m wondering if this is not also a fundamental problem worthy of attention?

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P.S.: I see this has been requested at least since August 2020: Add aliases to frontmatter by right click on a link with alias

And also here: Automatically insert aliases into frontmatter from newly created aliases

It is really hard to overstate how liberating this would be for the use of Obsidian in other languages than English. Funny how the software-supported Zettelkasten is apparently impossible in German :slight_smile:


Sounds like a great idea for a plugin.

I’m not sure that I really understand what you are asking for. A link is setup to be a link between specific Note 1 and specific Note 2.

You seem to be wanting links to key concepts with fuzzy aliases. Should the key concepts not be tags? That mightn’t solve your request for fuzzyness, but you can simply apply it in all instances.

If you want it to show in graphs, you could have a Key Concept Note, and have all others link with that. (Don’t use graphs, so I might have this wrong.)

Thank you for asking!

I have since come to realize that maybe the Unlinked Mentions are only meant to be useful for names and proper nouns?

It’s hard to find an example that makes sense in English. Let’s say I am writing a paper about how some fictional novels deal with concepts from the philosophy of history.

My process would be to have three major notes “Fiction”, “Philosophy” and “History” that I want to collect mentions in secondary literature into. I keep collecting literature notes from many authors that might combine these terms in any number of ways, hoping to generate some insight into how they relate to each other.

In the English note “Philosophy”, the aliases “philosophical” and “philosophically” would suffice to show me all the Unlinked Mentions in the literature notes related to “philosophical fiction” or “history has philosophically been…” (multiplied by 2 for case sensitivity, but still manageable).

In German, combinations of these terms can all be single synthesized words that each have five (!) different adjectives, so I would have to add quite a few aliases, manually lemmatizing the words:

“history of philosophy” =
philosophiegeschichtlich (stem)
philosophiegeschichtlicher (masculine)
philosophiegeschichtliche (feminine)
philosophiegeschichtliches (neutral)
philosophiegeschichtlichen (plural)
(x 2 for case sensitivity)

And the terms can be freely combined with each other, so I might have to repeat the process for “Geschichtsphilosophie” (philosophy of history), “Literaturgeschichte” (history of (fictional) literature), etc…

These quickly multiply with each other since German can stick any two or three words together :slight_smile: …making them undetectable in the Unlinked Mentions, so many literature notes I took will not show up although they are related to the topic.

All the work just “disappears” into the vault.

Tagging everything would force me to duplicate all the terms? And the advantage of “emergent insight” completely dissappears if I cannot depend on Unlinked Mentions at all but have to deliberately link everything after I have used the fuzzy Search function to find “histor”.

Solution 1 would be to enable fuzzy aliases (which seems impossible in YAML?).
Solution 2, being able to “automatically” create an alias in the target note when I find a synonym, would at least remove some friction from the process of aliasing (going to the target note, typing the alias, going back to the current note and then linking the alias).
(A solution of having some kind of lemmatized linking seems far too huge and also unnecessary to me…)

Does this explain it a little better? This seems very specific to German (and other languages), but I think it might have some relevance to English too…



Inline, term-level, disambiguation for the win!

Big +1 for this! The ability to add aliases was one of the reasons I switched to Obsidian.

Something like wildcards would be great to see. To take up the example from above:

Instead of

  • aliases: [“Philosophiegeschichte”, “philosophiegeschichtlich”, “philosophiegeschichtlicher”, “philosophiegeschichtliche”, “philosophiegeschichtliches”, “philosophiegeschichtlichen”]

I would prefer having a wildcard in-place

  • aliases: [“philosophiegeschicht*”]
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German language might be an extreme Example for this, but this kind of composit-words and inflections do exist in many languages. So using placeholders would reduce having to add lots of aliases.

Even if yaml does not support placeholders by design, the interpretation of these aliases with wildcards in its index is totally up to Obsidian, isn’t it? And maybe this is even a valid addition to the yaml code.

so two thumbs up for wildcard-aliases!