I have been using Obsidian for quite a while now, and I am reaching out for the first time with a question that has troubled me for many months. My current goal is to engage in conversations with people on various topics of interest, ranging from current events to historical facts and science, depending on the situation. Being in marketing, I regularly meet people, each with their unique interests.
What I aim to do is acquire a basic knowledge of several fields, particularly through anecdotes. Currently, my approach involves capturing numerous stories, definitions, news, quotations, and historical facts that capture my interest. However, my notes mainly consist of plain copy-pasting, though I occasionally rephrase in my own words.
My challenge lies in organizing this wealth of knowledge into coherent topics and concepts. I struggle to determine the appropriate concept for a given topic. I am seeking guidance on how to efficiently break down and organize the daily influx of information. In short, my objective is to have meaningful conversations with people by sharing stories, facts, arguments, anecdotes, etc.
Can anyone provide assistance on how to go about organizing and categorizing the knowledge I consume daily?
How you organize material depends on how you plan to use it. What way of arranging things make it easiest to access the stuff you want, and to use it the way you want to?
You could set up folders for broad interest groups that you can easily take in.
Then you add tags (more specific than folders) to anything clipped or what you remarked on.
Structure is always a changing thing (‘panta rhei’) but I think it’s worthwhile to set up templates with Templater and with that YAML frontmatter that you can query with DataView (or forthcoming similar plugins).
- I’m seeing just now you’re not new with Obsidian but these may be interesting for you anyhow.
My objective is similar but I don’t like talking. The number one thing is to write. Making connections comes through the writing process as you think back ‘this topic has come up recently’. The app doesn’t or shouldn’t take over this natural process. It just makes possible ways to relate bits of information to another.
Number one thing (for me) is query. Find easily what I already touched on. Good queries need some expertise (regular expressions, etc.) and again, time, effort. The forum is a good repository of information.
Thanks a lot for the reply, appreciate it.
I’m currently grappling with the task of categorizing information into specific concepts within broad topics. I’ve created folders for general subjects such as
[[Food and Cuisine]]
[[Health and Wellness]]
[[Hobbies and Interests]]
[[Reflection on Life]]
[[Science, Technology and Nature]]
[[Social Issues and Culture]]
[[Work and Career]]
[[Family and Relationships]]
[[Finance and Money]]
These basically encompass whole life.
However, I’m struggling to pinpoint the exact concept for each piece of information. Additionally, I’m looking for a method to better remember and organize the contents within these folders. While I’ve categorized my notes, I’m uncertain about the most efficient way to ensure that I can recall and utilize the information effectively.
I’m not sure about those categories being folders or notes (with links)?
As I said, queries are important:
- built-in search modal;
Regex search for context: input in search field:
- The slash tells Obsidian we search with regex; second slash in Obsidian search modal is optional.
- Searchterm1 and 2 can be any word stem (
dog is found even if it’s
dogs in text) and spaces in between strings are allowed as well.
.*? means any number of characters including zero characters between searchterm1 and searchterm2.
- For example:
/Gree.*?god/ will find any lines with Greece or Greek and god/gods/goddess etc. on the same line or even a sentence like ‘Greedy people rarely say Godspeed’.
- If you want to look for (possibly related) information spanning multiple paragraphs, the query is:
Pretty much the only two regex constructions most people will ever need in their lives…
If you are looking for a title of a note (use descriptive titles and as many aliases as you want – aliases and tags are extra work for the user but you can only take out what you’ve put in, right), use the Quick Switcher.
It’s really up to you how you organize your data and how many backlinks you create, etc. And well, you need to remember to pop the pill to help you remember that is make (creating) queries a habit.
As I said, the number one thing is to write and repetition (which is how we learn) is better than omission of a (potentially) important topic.
You’re better off learning what you write about than wanting Obsidian to present it to you ‘with some magic you didn’t know about’. The above queries are helpful in that regard. The Help section deals with hundreds of DV queries.
@param, I like your using the device of anecdote. It is a useful conversation (and essay, chapter, dialogue) starter.
Depending on your need, several ideas come to mind:
In your daily practice of nabbing content into your vault, devote a portion to writing about what you just captured, in anecdote fashion. For example, imagine you are face to face with someone and they mention a topic that is related to something you just copied and pasted into your vault. If nothing else, establishing this routine gives your writing / speaking chops some exercise.
You may not need to categorize as much as you think. For example, I just created a new note in my vault called anecdote. Low and behold, at the bottom of the note is a list of all the linked and unlinked mentions of the word.
For me, I must tell myself to change gears in my daily knowledge workflow - from the capture of stuff to the creation of stuff.
Instead of categorizing everything and then writing, start with your next session. Assign some properties in your frontmatter; high level properties about what the newly captured stuff is, but also your initial thoughts. Learn how to use search or dataview (@gino_m is a genius at it).
Maybe have a note called “daily anecdotes” where you just write them as a journal tool.
Let us know how you proceed and what works; toss us an anecdote or two…
Thanks a lot taking time to reply. Really appreciate your viewpoint on the matter.
Thanks for providing clarity on the issue. It is very helpful and will carry it forward. Thanks again.