Quote Notes: How to label, an exploration - 40 notes downloadable

Here’s a digital playground of 40 or so quotes. Check out graph view.

Here’s the link to download: https://discord.com/channels/686053708261228577/710585052769157141/714903925140226168

I do not have any definitive feelings about how to best organize quotes. Any thoughts?

Areas of conversation:

  1. Pros/Cons of note names like this: Quote - Albert Einstein - onThinking
  2. Pros/Cons of each person getting their own [[Name Page]]
  3. Pros/Cons of #tagging by topic like onThinking and onAttitude
  4. Pros/Cons of using [[tag-pages]] instead of normal #tags

Thanks for this, as its again helpful to think through these questions.

I can see virtues in each of those and could see how’d more likely bump into quotes using some combination. I started playing with these, and then wondered about the advantage of the [[on-tagtopic- pages]] over [[Topic MOC pages]]? Would including [[Topic MOC page]] at bottom of quote have same backlink effect as the [[on-tagTopic page]], even if you didn’t write up anything on the page about the quote? You’d still have the backlink.

Hope that makes senses.

1 Like

Man, this topic is SO huge for me. Thanks for sharing this question/post. I also do not have definitive feelings, concepts or methodologies. But here’s how I’ve thought for me so far:

  1. I think important people, books, articles and websites/companies as entities and they deserve to exist with the brackets. I give them a different {} at the main name mainly for org reasons (ex: articles are {a}, books are {b}, evernotes are {e}). I still enjoy them at the correct folders (articles, books, videos) than hashtags, but I believe that has to do anything with my studies on library sciences.
  2. I mainly use tags for aggregating “themes”, “call-to-actions” and “statuses” - ex: some meta-articles have a tag I’ve named #StudyGod. This helps me remember common concepts, what do they serve me for in my study/life strategy and also for having the grouped in a weekly note called “Atomic Ideas”;
  3. Instead of creating one note for each Quote or important text I’ve found, I prefer aggregating them at “Evernotes”. For instance, yesterday I’ve read an article in which some paragraphs serve me for a mental note called “Blogging is the best way to study something”. Then I saw a video today with the same theme… I mainly link those two entities (video and article) to ONE Evernote, but with backlinks to the direct quotes and citations (mainly directly to headers);

Those strategies give me less of a fell of an archive (which I’d be a specialist at finding quotes everywhere), make me focus on my study strategies/questions I’m answering each week, and to, every weekend, make the ideas come together by reviewing and linking them.

So answering briefly:

  1. Pros - gives a sense of organizing and practicality in names or pastes / Cons - need to be clean and just to organize (ex: Albert Einstein I’d prefer to link with the quote rather than leave it at the name. We have powerful search strategies which don’t require the linked text or concepts to be explicit);
  2. Pros - give an existence and relation in the graph view, even if you’re not filling/writing anything. I enjoy this visual representation, but that’s because I don’t read/follow too many authors/people / Cons - may overpopulate the database with no reason. I mean, why are we linking to an author after all? Only to see it at the graph view or to really fill some info at the notes?
  3. Pros - gives me a reason, a call-to-action in each text/document/video I take action on / Cons - can’t be way too many… they have to be aggregate themes or else I’ll have “On(…)” for everything"! Do I actually need it? I question myself on this constantly.
  4. This one is rough for me. But for all said above, I believe [[tag-pages]] are better for things that actually exist or need to be seen at graph view (ex: I use [[26-05-2020]] for today, just for linking with everythng I’ve done). And tags for basically reason 3.

Hope I contribute this way and looking forward to hear critics/new strategies on this!

edit: @nickmilo - there’s also this recent post on forums (Tags vs page/link). Are we aggregating discussions in some manner? How does it work here? Should they be [[]] or #? hahaha Thanks!

1 Like

@nickmilo I’m curious what is your imagined use case for this on the retrieval side? Looking for a piece of advice or quote for a problem you are facing? Or?

Also do you imagine adding hyperlinks for keywords? Say the quote “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream…” (T.E. Lawrence). Dream would hyperlink to a “Dream” note, which then would have backlinks and unmentioned backlinks to all the other quotes that mention dream?

For tags I would include keywords that aren’t part of those quote but implied. example #goals or #inspiration

1 Like

@bbain Interesting! In the head to head between [on-tagtopic- pages]] and [[Topic MOC pages]], I think there could be some advantages to [[Topic MOC pages]]. That is of course if you have enough stuff to populate each one. Obviously my example quotes don’t meet that threshold, but it’s been a good thinking exercise.

@vunelo Your pros and cons are well thought out.

Quick Sidenote: The impetus to do this exercise was because of the updated graph view. I wanted to see how something like this would look. To get it to work though, I had to create [[tag-pages]]. I hope we can agree that we shouldn’t drastically change our notes just to meet the software. But it was a fun exercise.

Here’s where I’m at as of today.

  1. I’m keeping the filename convention: Quote - Albert Einstein - onThinking The explanation is actually quite long and probably boring. Keywords are proximity and nearness.
  2. Only people I care enough about get their own [[Name Page]]. Out of the 40, I think it became 4.
  3. I’m sticking with tags like onThinking etc. Sure it’s not clean, but it’s frictionless.
  4. I’m not using [[tag-pages]] for quotes. It’s overkill for my purposes and I don’t like the clutter.

My personal takeaway: I’m stingy with [[blank new pages]] and liberal with #tags

@lizardmenfromspace I like the use of implied keywords like you mention.

At the heart of it all, this was done just because it was fun and thought-provoking (at least for me). So my actual use case was the joy from the process itself.

But it’s also been helpful for figuring out the retrieval purposes of quotes. Obviously a quote or anything added to a digital library should have some sort of reason…maybe it’s immediately needed for a project. That’s the easiest to justify. But what if it isn’t? What if it resonated in such a way that you just want to keep it handy. But isn’t that just a case of the Collector’s Fallacy?

Not necessarily for me. In practice I find quotes are slightly unique in that they can provide quick jolts of inspiration and flavor to my thinking and actions for the next cycle of time. So even when a quote is orphaned, even if I don’t quote the quote, I still derive value from its presence.

I’m still unsure about [[tag-pages]], but I think your ‘dream’ example is a strong one because it serves the purpose of connecting notes so well.

1 Like

I too am more liberal with tags (or I want to be at least). Which is why I added this request:

Something else to consider to is that in the future we may have more options with how the graph displays things & filters. So perhaps the file name is long, but maybe we can have the graph not display text after “|” or a 2nd “-” in the file name. There’s all kinds of ways we may be able to pull/view our notes in there, so you’re on the right path. Keep your data conventions to what works for you & as long as there’s a point of connection/discovery then you can find a software config to display what you want eventually.

Btw, I’m going through your IMF now Nick, great job on things and thanks so much for sharing.

1 Like

Yes, exactly this. Don’t bend to the software. You do you, and eventually the software will catch up—especially with exceptional devs like Obsidian has!

@nickmilo thanks for posting this. I am, right now, revisiting my tagging/linking strategy.
Here’s what I think about, when I read your areas of conversation:

  1. I would #Quote [[Albert Einstein]] and potentially go either #Thinking or [[Thinking]]
  • #Quote because it’s a ‘thing’ and potentially refers to many unrelated instances - 1000s of quotes and none of them inter-relate - so a node (page) in the graph may not be appropriate. Interestingly, if you come across 2 or more quotes that do relate to each other, then deciding what that relation is will inform the inter-relating node in the graph - I don’t know, say two quotes on [[sustainable energy]] - but I would suggest it’s not that they are simply both quotes.
  1. I can see how [[Albert Einstein]] could potentially link to quotes, theories, other prominent minds, etc. - so a node (page) in the graph would be appropriate
  2. From what I’ve read on this forum, I would guess that the choice of whether to #Thinking, or [[Thinking]] would depend on your interest in developing ideas/thoughts/arguments related to ‘Thinking’ - like, if you want to link all the quotes that are about thinking then I would guess [[Thinking]] is appropriate and it can be further linked to, say [[Creative Thinking]], [[Cognitive Thinking]], [[Critical Thinking]], which in turn link to other stuff.
  3. The more I think about it - because I’m trying to solve this for myself - is that #tags lend themselves to generic groupings where there is no intrinsically useful link - e.g. #quote, #book, #idea, #review, #todo. You might want to view all instances, so you can locate one instance, but there’s nothing in the tag that would link the subjects together.


I just came up with a mixed use-case: Todos.
According to my reasoning, I should be using #todo rather than [[TODO]]. But, darn it, I just prefer the way [[TODO]]s appear in the Backlinks panel - neat and tidy - vs the way #todo searches appear in the left panel - messy, very messy.


This is very interesting. I am thinking about quotes as a use-case as well.

One key question … what functionality do I need that I don’t get from a google sheet (or Notion)?

Google sheet

  • I can filter by Attributes I give: Category (learning, kindness), Author, Rating, etc.
  • Aka, a spreadsheet or database gives fields which can be used to sort, filter, etc. and display contents.


  • linking means that I could embed quotes (but why not just copy/paste the full quote? They’ll never change … )
  • To get the “benefits” of obsidian (in this context), each quote needs to be its own page, which is a pain
  • Formatting for the quotes can be prettier than google sheets

I’m a believer in Obsidian, but it seems like Quotes are a poor use case.

I suspect that Book notes would be a much more interesting comparison, where the benefits of something like Notion would be quite nice (filter by author, category, etc. The ability to do some preview) but would lose to Obsidian’s ability to help grow and link knowledge.

Your thoughts?


I’m playing around with this at the moment. I personally think people fetishize quotes a bit. A bit of the collectors fallacy going. I try to only collect a quote if it meets the criteria for an “Evergreen Quote”.

An evergreen quote speaks to one or more notes that I have written OR it sparks a new note idea. I’ll then add a representative sentence from the quote as the note title with the Authors name appended.

Example: [[Abstraction… an idea taken from a particular thing becomes a general representative of all of the same kind… - William James]]

Then in the note I tag it as an evergreen quote and add the full quote with any required context.

Example: “So words are used to stand as outward marks of our internal ideas, which are taken from particular things; but if every particular idea that we take in had its own special name, there would be no end to names. To prevent this, the mind makes particular ideas received from particular things become general; which it does by considering them as they are in the mind—mental appearances—separate from all other existences, and from the circumstances of real existence, such as time, place, and so on. This procedure is called abstraction. In it, an idea taken from a particular thing becomes a general representative of all of the same kind, and its name becomes a general name that is applicable to any existing thing that fits that abstract idea.”

The will paraphrase the quote and “densely link” with my own evergreen notes.

1 Like

I think you’re 100% onto something with this.

Since providing this quote pack here, I’ve found I barely ever encounter those quotes again, because they haven’t gone through me, like they would in the evergreen note-making process you show above.

I take a lot of literature notes in Obsidian, and some of them (if not all) contain some quotes. I tend not to separate these quotes from their lit. note, although that can happen sometimes if the quote is so “quote-worthy” (I have a separate ‘#quotable’ tag for that; but most of the time, I just quote because something is better put than I could paraphrase).

I do use [[Name]] page for “primary authors” in my field (history of philosophy – basically, anyone “dead” is a “primary author”. I know it sounds silly).
I like it because on the [[Name]] page I can note down a few details about the person, and then have an embedded query with the [[Name]], which will list all the quotes/notes about that author. (Basically, they are MOC’s, except they are about people and are auto-generated, sort of.) On the same page, I also have an embedded query for #Name, which gives me a list of all the secondary literature on the same person (so basically, I use [[xxx]] for authors and #xxx for topics). This has worked well for me; for every author, I get an automatically updating “mini-encycopedia” page that requires basically no manual maintenance.

Anyway, all this may only be useful in the field I am in. But I think “author pages” could be useful for anyone who collects information about people/authors.
I don’t currently have #tag pages except for a couple of them that are in my central research. But that may be an interesting idea too.

One general advice – always list the source. There’s nothing more annoying than having to find a quote in a book (even digitally) and not knowing where to look. So I mark all my lit notes with the citekey for that specific article/book, and similarly for standalone quotes – citekey+page number.