I think this could be achieved with nested vaults, but I think it’d be great if it could be achieved otherwise as well: I’d like to be able to link to notes from different vaults.
For that I think it’d be cool if I could:
Add external folders to a vault/link them to a vault.
That way I’d be able to put notes that I want to share between vaults inside of it and then reference/edit it from mutliple vaults.
For Example my personal and uni Vault, or another vault which I collaborate on with other people.
Another huge reason for nested vaults, is for times you want to only allow “downlinking” (basically allow linking to nested directories).
Here’s a few of reasons why you may want this:
You want to implement some strict rules for parts of your system
You want to create a exportable/stand alone part of your system (this is a huge feature for Obsidian Publish. For instance, I may want to make my programming knowledge or my folder of checklists available to my team, but I still want it accessible in my main “second brain”)
Now that it so easy to link to notes outside of a vault, I thought it might be cool if Obsidian would be able to intelligently update note names and paths within multiple vaults in cases where you are linking to a file within another vault.
This idea probably should be a separate request, but is very relevant in this discussion so I started here.
If this were to be supported then perhaps nested vaults should be made a first-class feature in the app.
For example, clicking a button in the file browser (New vault alongside New folder with a globe icon or safe icon perhaps) to create a new named vault, then creating files and folders underneath it. Notes inside a vault can only reference notes within the same vault, while notes in a parent vault can reference down to notes in a child vault. It creates a sense of direction in links. Encryption could be added as a feature on a per-vault basis, so you can right-click the vault name in the sidebar and configure it. Etc.
Vaults then become essentially “named groups of folders” from the app view.
And it keeps app configurations (themes, CSS, plugins, etc) consistent across sets of notes. (although I am currently finding a benefit in having a vault for zettelkasten and one for project management, with the same themes/CSS but different plugins to meet the needs of each – so perhaps workspaces can help out here?)
I will confess to being conflicted on this though. Right now I’m in the process of setting up a second vault, separate from my main notes/zettelkasten, specifically to track daily work activities, projects etc. These are two very different concerns and are resulting in not only different layouts but different plugins active in each vault.
For example, in my zettelkasten I have no use for daily notes and am extremely spare in how I use tags. Meanwhile in my projects vault I expect to use tags and backlinks quite heavily.
My projects vault is a knowledge management system where I need to mostly reference and strategize and plan. Meanwhile, my zettelkasten is a knowledge development system where I need to zone in and think deeply without being distracted.
Two different concerns. Two different needs. Perhaps it is correct to keep them as completely standalone independently-configurable instances, so I’m not wrestling with the app configuration each time I switch contexts?
Hey @davecan I agree with @Dor Nested vaults (and potential implementation of features to facilitate it) wouldn’t remove the ability to create separate unlined vaults. It’s an additional process rather than a replacement of how things already are
My point is that there is a tradeoff. Remember my point was that if this is to be officially supported then perhaps nested vaults should be made a first class feature, with a section in the sidebar showing the “tree” of nested vaults as a superset of the folder browser. You could expand/collapse vaults from the parent, and (for example) double click a vault to “zoom in” so it appears to be the only open vault. (with presumably a “back” button to “zoom out” back to the parent)
Assume you have one parent vault P and two child vaults C1 and C2. Assume there is a component in the sidebar that allows you to switch views between P, C1, and C2. When in P you can see all content for C1 and C2, but when “zoomed in” to C1 you can only see C1, and same for C2.
When you are in P and install a plugin, is it installed in only P, or is it installed in C1 and C2 also? If it is in P only and then you “zoom in” on either C1 or C2 (e.g. by double-clicking one of them in the sidebar) then you lose access to that plugin because it isn’t installed in C1 or C2. This creates inconsistent behavior – imagine the UX complaints if you have different themes and “I double clicked a vault and Obsidian lost all my colors!” etc.
But if it is also installed in C1 or C2 then you lose the ability to operate them independently as I described before, because every plugin you install in P is forcibly installed in both C1 and C2.
The whole principle of vaults is that they are shut off from each other. And those barriers produce much of the value of nesting, otherwise they may as well simply be folders. Having nesting allows access with different settings without changing settings.
sometimes it is cool to have different settings for different vaults
sometimes it is cool to be able “switch off” some folders or zoom in some folders.
I think the solution is outside the nested vaults feature.
The first problem can be solved by making profiles of settings. Probably profiles idea can be unified with workspaces.
The second problem is about isolation of the area with which I am currently working on. And it can be solved by idea about folder settings from here:
The only thing remaining is to understand how to make it convenient for user to switch between different profiles / workspaces / modes etc.
My current suggestion is to let user make profiles, which contain preferences:
probably plugin settings
appearance of folders settings etc
And let user switch between profiles with hotkeys like cmd+1, cmd+2, cmd+3.
thus if I want to zoom in specific folder, I user profile 2 (in which only specified folders appear everywhere: in link suggestions, quick open dialog, graph view etc.) and isolate it. If I want to see whole picture, I switch to profile 1 (all folders appear everywhere).
So you work in the only vault and do not have problems of nested vaults.
Bumping this request because I would benefit greatly from a less risky way of partitioning my vault. I currently have all my notes in one vault. Personal notes, all kinds of studies and then a great part of them are directly related to my work. At home, I synchronize all my notes between a laptop and a stationary via Nextcloud and it works relatively well.
Now, at my workplace I have a work computer. I often need to access information from my knowledge base and add to it, but I don’t want to synchronize my whole vault with that computer. Only part of it is relevant to my work and I don’t want to risk the rest of my second brain leaking into an office computer, or even worse, the office cloud server. I only want to synchronize notes relevant to work.
The solution I’m trying now is to make a sub-folder in my vault with all work related notes. Then at work, I synchronize that folder only via Nextcloud (sharing the folder with a second user I’ve made specifically for this). Then I point Obsidian to use that subfolder as a vault, effectively nesting a vault inside a vault from the perspective of my home computer / main vault. I understand there are inherent risks to this and I would if it was less risky. I wish I could offer some constructive ideas, but think those are probably outside my competence, so I just offer this as a concrete use example.