Is there a cost to integrating Zettelkasten in an 'everything' vault?

I’m pretty new with both Obsidian and Zettelkasten.
To me the real promise of Obsidian is in the ideas generation that Zettelkasten is about.
But my inclindation is to use One Vault for Everything - essentially a general PKM/B.
So far as I can see this should work so long as its easy for me to filter the content that knowledge and ideas, rather than also information and reference (eg, default tag). If I had just one intellectual project, one vault on that would make sense, but the edges of multiple projects across research, writing and teaching (and even some aspects of leadership) mean the costs of siloing into vaults will be potentially great. In going for one integrated vault, am I missing somethng?

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Give @nickmilo’s LYT kit a try. I think you’ll see that you’re able to make it work.

I do this - I maintain one vault for all my interests and endeavors, which are pretty varied. I decided on a single vault with some namespacing (ie, folders) for some areas. Most things are still just loose notes in the root directory, but for some projects, I’ve found it useful to create a separate folder to avoid ambiguity (for example, “axe” is both a tool in accessibility testing and a weapon in a role playing game).

I also have separate folders for other people’s work. I use the “Show Current File Path” plugin so that I can see at a glance that a note is a source, not my own writing. I always add authors’ names and use blockquotes liberally because I never want to inadvertently plagiarize something.

It works out really well for me, and I’m glad I don’t have multiple vaults to manage.


Thanks @KevinR - I’ve got it downloaded and look forward to having a play

That’s good to hear, thanks @nvanderhoeven

Yes there is a cost if you don’t separate your concerns somehow.

Similar to others I also use the One Vault For Everything pattern with a Zettelkasten approach.

We should give it an acronym OVFE. :slight_smile:

I have evergreen notes in the root, but source notes and lit notes in subfolders with designators in the filename so I can easily see the difference between source note, lit note, and evergreen note.

I also have a folder for project-related notes. Currently these are notes regarding specific work projects not writing projects (as commonly described) - so these are “outside” the ZK structure in a sense but still useful to have in the vault.

Additionally I use the daily notes with calendar plugin. My daily notes almost 100% revolve around work commitments – meeting notes, action items, etc.

All of this is in one vault, two largely separate concerns in the same space but only very occasionally do they touch.

This is because I have only one brain. :slight_smile:

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Thanks - yes I’m trying to evolve the best practicable means for separation in my developing OVFE.
After days of developing the vault while keeping on top of work noise with nothing but project pages and meetings notes, yesterday was the first time I sat with a reading and proliferated a heap of well linked zettelkasten and it’s exciting to seeing the vault start to do what I think it will do best for me.

I feel your pain, as I’m in much the same position re: work noise vs interests. :slight_smile:

Also yesterday I too was able to do the same, which felt great. Stick with it, adapt the techniques that work for you, and if it isn’t adding value drop it.

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I would advise just starting with a single vault and don’t worry about whether or not that’s the best idea in the long run. Keeping things together reduces friction in finding connections / relationships between notes. If, later on, you decide that you want certain notes in a separate vault, you can separate them. A simple way in Obsidian is to use the search feature (read up on all the abilities) and you can tailor a search to identify the notes that need to be moved to another vault. From there you can copy the note names (file names) and externally (external to Obsidian) move them to a new vault. This is straightforward in Windows or Mac or Linux, but I don’t know the method on Windows, so I’ll show the Mac/Linux method. Assume existing vault name is Vault and new vault name is NewVault. I’m also going to assume that both Vault and NewVault are in the same parent folder. Open a command-line terminal window. cd to the parent folder and create a temporary file, say, a.txt and use your favorite editor to paste the list of note/file names into that file. Then do this on a command line in the terminal window:

while read rec; do mv Vault/“$rec” NewVault/.; done < a.txt

And you have a new vault.

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