I have a very useful workflow where I create rather long filenames. The reason is that I use Obsidian academically, and the notes build on each other in very precise ways. I use the filenames as a precise summaries of what the notes themselves state, which creates an extremely useful “interface” to the core ideas of the notes that forces me to carefully consider how they can (or cannot) be used to support an idea that builds on-top of them.
Here is an example of what I mean. In the note itself I make a reference to the source, and I summarize the statement that I find important from the reference. Then I make the filename reflect the statement as carefully as possible. If I don’t, then I will be much less able to detect subtleties in the note that may make it unsuitable for being used in another note. Having the citation in the title also makes it clear that it is a literature note that drastically simplifies further citations in notes that relies on the given note.
START OF NOTE
‘Minimum optimorum’ level of basic need-satisfaction as “the minimum quantity of intermediate need-satisfaction required to produce the optimum level of basic need-satisfaction measured in terms of the physical health and autonomy of individuals” (p.162-163, Doyal and Gough, 1991)
Doyal and Gough define the minimum optimorum level of basic need-satisfaction as “the minimum quantity of intermediate need-satisfaction required to produce the optimum level of basic need-satisfaction measured in terms of the physical health and autonomy of individuals.” (p.162-163, Doyal and Gough, 1991)
Thus the crucial task in constructing indicators of need-satisfaction is to ascertain the minimum quantity of intermediate need-satisfaction required to produce the optimum level of basic need-satisfaction measured in terms of the physical health and autonomy of individuals. In the spirit of Rawls, we could call this level the minimum optimorum.
Source: pages 162-163 in [[Reference - A Theory of Human Need (Doyal and Gough, 1991)]].
END OF NOTE
I was happy with this workflow, until realized that I cannot copy (and hence backup) hundreds of my note-files since their filenames are too long. Somehow Obsidian is able to create files with too long filenames. The problem then appears when I try to copy those files somewhere else to back them up - doing so doesn’t work.
I see at least two possible “solutions” to the problem.
- Ignore it and continue as is. The files are anyhow on a cloud system and perhaps don’t need further backing up. This means that my work is less secure.
- Manually go through hundreds of notes and make their filenames shorter so that they can be backed up. This sacrifices the clarity and workflow I have created to which I have no obvious replacement.
Neither of these “solutions” seems optimal.
- Does the forum have any ideas on what I can do? Is anyone else in a similar situation and has found a solution?
- How can one make precise references to the core ideas of notes without relying on the filenames (in the way I’ve described)?
- How can I easily find the notes I’m looking for in the search results without relying on filenames (in the way I’ve described)?
- How (if possible) can I change the filename size limit in Linux (Ubuntu)?
- How can I limit the filename sizes in Obsidian so that files cannot be created with too long filenames?
I hope the query is not too vague. I don’t know how to describe it more accurately. Hopefully it makes sense enough for someone to provide some feedback.
- Placing a large amount of text into the filename is a poor use of a technical tool which is meant to merely denote the identity of the note. Use short filenames and put the former long filename at the beginning of your note as an abstract. Or: make a note which serves as a TOC for the entire vault with one entry for each abstract, followed by a link to the rest of the note. I would do the former, i.e. start each note with the abstract.
- Place the precise references to the core ideas into the abstracts as outlined in (1)
- Use the very powerful full text function provided by Obsidian.
- You can’t and you shouldn’t.
- I haven’t the foggiest and you shouldn’t, as this is not at the core of your problem.
Obsidian is a very powerful tool. With very little additional work, you can cross-reference or summarize parts or the whole of your collection of notes.
Many thanks for the reply.
I think I will do according to your first suggestion. I will keep the summary as a headline and then link to the headline so that it is visible in the notes where I refer to it. E.g. [name of file#Long summary].
For my interest - what is a “TOC”? I interpret the idea as having a separate note that simply keeps track of headlines of notes that enable the headlines of the notes to be searchable when one does []. Please fill in (or overthrow) the gaps in my understanding.
A remaining inconvenience is how to identify the correct notes when I search for them. I get your point that I can simply search for them, but I would like to be able to identify the correct note without opening and reading it. If the notes are similar (which they sometimes are) then it is hard to identify the exact note. I hope this is an illusory problem that will be “solved” by getting used to the new way of working. I’m not sure how to best name the notes however.
- Do you by any chance have an idea how to mitigate this inconvenience? How would you for example name the note I used as an example*?
*name of the note: ‘Minimum optimorum’ level of basic need-satisfaction as “the minimum quantity of intermediate need-satisfaction required to produce the optimum level of basic need-satisfaction measured in terms of the physical health and autonomy of individuals” (p.162-163, Doyal and Gough, 1991)
Allow me to elaborate on the inconvenience I see. I could for example name the note
- Minimum optimorum’ level of basic need-satisfaction (p.162-163, Doyal and Gough, 1991)
and then refer to the full summary through the headline.
Here’s where that could be a problem. Say that there are other authors (except for Doyal and Doyal) that define the same concept, or that I define the concept myself in a note, such that we have other notes named
- Minimum optimorum’ level of basic need-satisfaction (Adam and Eve, 0000)
- Minimum optimorum’ level of basic need-satisfaction (Adam and Steve, 0000)
- Minimum optimorum’ level of basic need-satisfaction
The definitions of the concepts could be drastically different, but this would not be visible when seeing the notes in the search results. The only way to understand which note to use would be to enter the notes and read them.
This may seem like a small inconvenience, but it is quite severe when one searching for ideas or reviewing one’s notes on topics one no longer remembers. The way I do so today is by looking at the names of the notes in the search result. If I had to read each note, the flow of the exercise would be greatly reduced.
Sorry: a TOC is merely a Table Of Contents. I could have written Directory, but this would lead to much confusion in the context of filenames and operating systems.
alias in yaml could help your case. i’ve posted in your other help post here
There are many options.
One that hasn’t been mentioned is to keep names as they are but simply make them Headers in a much bigger note. Bigger notes are easier to handle in many ways and all links etc work.
Organisationally, it would give you the option to have some notes as # Headers, others as ## Headers etc. this giving a hierarchy.
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