My Vault is an Orphanage

Have you ever accumulated a large number of orphan notes (notes with no links or backlinks to other notes)? How did you go about placing them with a family of related ideas?

Of the 500 notes in my vault (not counting things I’ve clipped from the web), 150 of those are orphans. I’m not inclined to panic and jump ship for another app or methodology. They are more easily searchable than the cryptically named Word documents and manila folders of no-longer-decipherable bullet points on paper that I had been using prior to discovering Obsidian!

Still, I’ve made enough use of links and Maps of Content to know what I’m missing. I just couldn’t get into a habit of processing notes to perfection in a timely fashion. As Andy Matuschak says, “Inboxes only work if you trust how they are drained.”

Using the dataview script below, I can get a list of the orphans but will need a plan of attack for dealing with them.

from "Folder"
where length(file.inlinks) =0 and length(file.outlinks) = 0
sort DESC
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500 notes is not a lot of notes if your interests are diversified. Maybe you can narrow an little the scope of your studies for a week or two to see what would happen ? I am quite sure that the proportion of orphan notes would be lesser among the newest notes than the anciant. I had observed on myself that I tend to link a lot of notes when I work on the same field of research with a goal in mind. As I squeeze my brain around a topic, all the juice falls and new droplets begin new notes that are related by nature.

I can read that you seem to really care about the quality of your notes, and I think this is the most important point here. The quality is here, so they will bring value over time. Just let them take maturity as good vins.

I would not being worried about your case :slight_smile:

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I’d see trying to round up orphans to force links on them as a form of makework.
Orphans are still findable, so they ought to surface naturally when you are working on something. That’s the point to add links if they’re relevant (or delete if the note no longer seems to have any value).

You could put them in a folder to assess at your leisure (possibly with the help of Smart Random Note). I did this with many of my pre-Obsidian notes which need various kinds of attention.

Whether you really need to link them up depends on what they’re for (and your preferences). I link things when I see the chance, but I have a bunch of notes that are just info I want to remember (how to do a thing on the computer, for example), and many of them are unlinked. I’ll find them by search if I need them; to ease my mind I usually add a couple of tags and file it in one of a few folders. Things like writing projects are a bit more linked up.