New Plugin: Journey - Find the story between your notes

Hey there, Alexis here! I’ve put together a new plugin I would like to share with you. Basically it helps me bootstrap the outline for a new text much faster.

Overall, I’ve noticed that my actual creative output hasn’t been as prolific as I would like it to be. I’ve created hundreds of atomic notes, connected them etc. And yet I felt really stuck and didn’t know how to extract a linear story from my ‘hairball’ vault.

To me, the – almost boring – upfront work of creating that outline is still really hard. Plus: I KNOW it’s in there (my vault)! I just want to get to a first draft faster! I want to feel excited about the story.

So that’s what this is about. Here’s a quick video with a demo if you’re interested:

Cheers and let me know what you think!

PS: If you want to get notified, please comment below with the "As a… I want to… So that… " madlib :slight_smile: Thank you!

43 Likes

As a technology reporter, I’ve around 1300 atomic notes on digitalization and society. The interconnections between them are getting harder to follow and use. But a tool like this could help me find interesting and unexpected connections between notes and thoughts.

I can see a few features from the navigator in my car that could be copied:

  • Fastest route
  • Travel via X
  • Avoid Y (perhaps a tag used for MOC and other structured notes so that only atomic notes are included in the journey)
  • Reroute (to calculate an alternative route)
9 Likes

Wow - this is an impressive idea! And YES - I would absolutely love to have this! :slightly_smiling_face: As a (both) teacher and social scientist, a huge part of my work is about showing up connections - and especially connections that are surprising and unexpected, means: everything is somehow connected to everything - but only if we succeed to leave behind the connections we know from our daily discourse and routines we will finally be able to really open our minds to the world surrounding us!

What would be really, really mindblowing: if we could tell the plugin to either follow the route by direct links or by tags! I have lots of atomic notes that are not necessarily connected by links, but by tags (I use tags for topics). A couple of months ago, I have described my working with tags (and the additional benefit of it) in this post - which somehow also shows the use case of your potential plugin for me!

So, great plugin idea anyway. If that would be feasible, some ideas/propositions for possible configuration options of the plugin:

  • as already mentioned: option to chose between searching for connections via links or tags;
  • another option to chose: “find direct/shortest way” or “find random way” - this would open up a couple of possibilities to find really surprising and unexpected connections!
  • option to chose between: “copy note titles to clipboard” and “copy notes to clipboard”

Just some ideas and propositions… :slightly_smiling_face:

How do you manage, btw, to still create new notes if you are writing plugins all day? :thinking: :laughing:

Edit: just to clarify what I mean by “connection via tags” - doesn’t of course mean connection between notes that share the same tag, but let’s say, for example, I have the following 4 notes with the respective tags:

  • Note 1 has the tags #tag1 and #tag2;
  • Note 2 has the tags #tag2 and #tag3;
  • Note 3 has the tags #tag3 and #tag4;
  • Note 4 has the tags #tag4 and #tag5.

Thus, there isn’t any obvious connection between Note 1 and Note 4 (they don’t share a common topic and most probably there is also no direct link between them); but there is a route from one to the other - you normally wouldn’t see this route, but it nonetheless exists! And it is actually these routes life is made of! :slightly_smiling_face: And discovering such routes makes you understand the world a bit better!

8 Likes

As a preschool teacher, I’m interested to see the … Billy Keane Map of my notes (Family Circus dotted lines all over town).
Knowing how I think helps improve my process and the meta actually can help me learn to teach young minds better. Giving me more insight into my pedagogy and development on the whole.

2 Likes

You are so creative, Alexis. First, your exploding highlights notes plugin. Now this journeys-through-the-dense-forest of notes plugin. They are unique among the plugins in that don’t just put stuff into your vault, they help you get it back out again. I am becoming a big fan. So…

As a researcher/writer (my field is emergence) with ~2300 notes collected over 10+ years, I know that there are connections and relationships that I am unaware of. When I write, I find I use about 20% of my notes, and roughly the same 20% each time. So, 80% of the notes I’ve created never get used after I’ve written them. Now, maybe that is the way it is supposed to be… most notes are not that useful, and the goods ones will surface…trust the system. Maybe, but before your plugin, what choice did we have? I want a way a to mine the 80% in a way that makes their relationships to what I am writing more explicit. @thoresson and @alltagsverstand have some good ideas for defining the “journey” through the notes. I’ll only add that the more configurable this is the better. I’ve got all kinds of mostly abandoned ways of note-tracking in my vault (e.g., colour codes, tags, categories, ToCs, MOCs, themes, idea strings, notes about notes that would be good to re-examine with your plugin. I see myself using a plugin like yours as much, if not more, than the search.

I also like your enthusiastic videos :slight_smile:

5 Likes

Wow, wonderful plugin Alexis! Thank you.
As a lifetime learner, I will definitely use this plugin for trying to gain some serendipitous connections. I really look foward to trying it!

2 Likes

Great how can I.download

1 Like

Alexis, this plugin is wonderful. I would love to be able to use it with Obsidian. Maybe it will help me find connections in my notes that I haven’t even thought of until now.
As a student of Political Science and Humanities in general it would be of great help to me in my research and essays.
I have been researching about Racism and its ontology in Ecuador; its continuities and ruptures within the modernity in which we live.

1 Like

You’re the man!

Thanks for all the cool stuff and excitement you bring to Obsidian and the forum.

As a 3D animator, I would like this plugin to help me create multi prong hierarchical paths between notes to help make sure I am not forgetting things when working on a certain thing in a certain context. I could use this with the options for number of paths cranked up to quickly reassure myself I am not forgetting something without having to go manually produce a curated comp note for specific purposes, which is and will continue to be a main part of my workflow. This will serve as a very powerful minimum requirement and supplement to reference docs before setting out on a design task within my animated short I am currently beginning to make.

When you first explained it, I was imaging that there would be more than one path between those two notes you picked, but perhaps your unfinished plugin, as of now, chooses the most direct. I was imagining it generating a foldable outline of paths between the start and end with the ability to flip the “from” and “to” note. These are just thoughts, I think what you already have is super cool.

Totally agree with this above:

I would also find it helpful to maybe have an adjustable Steps value to dial in the number of steps it can take to find its target. This may necessitate having a limiter value of how many of the best most connections to show if there are too many to the point of instability.

Keep it up!

Thanks.

1 Like

Hey Alexis - this plugin looks great! I will absolutely install it when it is available.

One little thing jumped out at me as I watched your video: when you pasted the output into a note.

Your reasoning for not automatically linking to the notes in The Journey makes sense, but as someone who thoroughly appreciates the “Page Preview” core plugin (or “Hover Preview” as I think of it) I feel like I would prefer to start with links so I can skim potentially less memorable intermediary notes, and then unlink all (or some, or none) of the notes later.

Saying this I’ve realised what I’m asking for is the functionality from the “Copy search results” button to be available, where you can choose the Link Style for what you want to copy to your clipboard (None, Wikilink, Markdown link).

I also second pretty much every idea mentioned so far as well, this plugin has so much potential!

Also also, another +1 for your excellent videos and contagious obsidian enthusiasm!

PS.

  • As an avid notetaker…
  • I want to muse over unexpected connections between notes…
  • So that I can tell novel stories to other people…
2 Likes

YES. YES. YES. I’m a researcher (humanities). I maintain an 4000+ page online garden for comparative mythology. This plugin wil help me find non-obvious connections between figures, symbols, narratives, texts, etc. For example: “What are the similarities between the Greek god Zeus, and the Germanic god Thor?”. I’ve needed a tool like this for a long time, I can’t express to you how happy I am to see someone has made it!

+1 to alltagsverstand’s idea: another option to chose: “find direct/shortest way” or “find random way” - this would open up a couple of possibilities to find really surprising and unexpected connections!

+1 to thoresson’s ideas: fastest route; travel via x; avoid y; reroute (to calculate an alternative route)

2 Likes

As far as I understood the video, there already existed an option to chose between “Links” and “plain text”…

Hi @thoresson, amazing and thank you for helping me understand what you’re really trying to accomplish. I can totally relate to this:

The interconnections between them are getting harder to follow and use.

To your ideas for further features: Good news: At the moment, the plugin looks for the fastest route. I do like the ‘travel-via’ and the ‘avoid Y’ ideas a lot.

How about this: I’ll make a list of all ideas in this thread and let everyone vote what should be added

3 Likes

Hi @alltagsverstand! Wow to you! I’m so happy to read your comment. You’re mentioning “connections that are surprising and unexpected” which is totally what I’ve discovered when using it. As much for writing as for personal insight. So yes, agreed!

To your idea about using Tags: I hadn’t even thought of that. That could definitely work. I’ll add it to the list of ideas and we’ll let everyone help vote on what should be built next!

And to your question about creating new notes while coding plugins. Good question! I’ve definitely written more code lately, but I feel with the Highlights plugin and this one I’ll have so much more fun to explore :crazy_face:

2 Likes

Hey @Thecookiemomma! Just checked out the maps and they’re really cute :slight_smile:

Can you elaborate how that would work or look in regards to finding the journey between two notes? Would it be a better visualization than the top-down list or show you the path in the graph view or a PDF to download?

What did come to my mind was actually Fiverr.com – You could probably hire a designer for few bucks to take a list of notes (created by the plugin) and send them a design example and have them do it custom for you! That’s what I would do anyways :slight_smile:

But yes, let me know what you envision here

@cestvrai Aw :slight_smile: Now I’m BLUSHING. Thank you.

As you’re saying “I KNOW that there are connections and relationships I’m not yet seeing” – That’s exactly how I feel.

I hadn’t considered how this can bubble up the “lost” 80% – That’s 1,800 of your notes!

Also, I’ve noted that ‘more configurable’ is better. One thing that I am still figuring out for myself is the configuration around ‘link-direction’

So basically, if the graph has links like this “A -> B -> C”, then, if I enforce “only follow forward links” I will of course get a path from A to C but NOT from C to A. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. I’m just learning as well. What do you think?

Thank you for your encouragment!

I love how “serendipitous connections” is coming up over and over again (also two other people used this word in the Youtube comments.)

I’ll keep you posted here when it’s available :slight_smile: Cheers!

1 Like

Hi @Danashafir! Still writing some code, will keep you updated in this thread when it’s ready for download.

Hi @EhuddRomero! Super interesting, once you’ve tested the plugin I’d love to hear if it actually helped you find those connections and if they helped you in your research and essays.

1 Like

@I-d-as YAH! :crazy_face:I think I understand what the “multi prong hierarchical paths” are but what are those curated comp notes you’re really trying (or have to) to create?

The plugin is currently finding the shortest path. Finding longer, more ‘scenic’ paths could probably also be done. Either by adding a ‘stop-over’ note or maybe even automatically.

The limit of steps you can practically already do by running it as-is and just delete every nth.

And regarding “journey by tags” – Noted!

Cheers!

1 Like