Glossary for New Users

Greetings, All,

I’m brand new to Obsidian, PKM, and the whole Zettelkasten world. I’m excited by the concepts I’m reading about, but the learning is a bit slow going because the language is unfamiliar. Is there a glossary of terms (basic to advanced: IMF, Evergreen, IMC, )? I’ve searched for one in the forum and on Google and haven’t had any luck.

Thanks in advance!

I have not seen a glossary. It might be tough to develop a static one, as there’s new terms popping up all of the time (and I’d argue that the definitions of some existing ones have changed)!

It would be nice to see someone maintain a generic knowledge base about knowledge management tools, heh.

Anyway, searching this forum for each of the terms you’ve mentioned could probably give you the answers you’re looking for. (I realize this would be tedious.)

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I agree with Ryan. It’s growing and changing quickly.

Are there any specific ones you’d like some context around? I or others might be happy to answer a few.

  • IMF was an old acronym for LYT = Linking Your Thinking, which were ideas that Nick Milo developed about how to organize and develop your topics of interest.

  • Evergreen - depends on the context, but it basically means long-term. Resources or notes that you (or your readers) can refer back to over and over, over long periods of time.

  • IMC - Yours is the only instance of that acronym that I can find on this forum. :slight_smile:

That said, until you have a significant body of notes, or specific research or workflow requirements, just have fun and take notes. I believe that it’s easier to start with a mess - a rough draft - a scattered pile of noise and debris - and then refine and sort from there.

Let me pull a quote from my messy, unorganized vault. I found this quote easily with Obsidian’s search:

Being overly systemic is a problem. Some books we need to work carefully through. Some books should be reduced to a single sentence or keywords. Using rigid, formal note formulas like SQ3R or SQ4R we treat every text the same, and this is a mistake!

Ultimately, the only important step is taking your notes and taking the permanent notes that will add value to the actual slipbox.

  • How to Take Smart Notes

Aldous Huxley wrote in “Island” how manipulators of symbols can become addicted to symbol manipulation and lose touch with concrete reality. Having a good system can be invaluable, but switching from system to system might mean that you are addicted to organization instead of completion. (I’m not writing that to you. That’s an evergreen note I wrote to myself, and forget every single time I start researching a new PKM system!!! Welcome, and enjoy your new rabbit hole!)


I guess I have another book to read!

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@rigmarole / @ryanjamurphy, thank you both for your kind and generous replies! Very appreciated. I did come across a glossary in Nick Milo’s LYT kit, which was very helpful.

Chris, thanks so much for offering some clarity on some of the terms. Following up on IMF - what is that an acronym for? I’ve searched the forum but can’t find any info.

I also really appreciate your encouragement to just embrace the mess and start working, and then organize later. I’ve been drawn to others’ encouragements to “let the structure emerge”. Your note about the potential danger of spending more time organizing work than on the work itself is a very helpful reminder.

Thanks again to you both!


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