School dilemma on topics that appear multiple times

Hello! I am a new Obsidian user, mainly filling it with school material. It truly helps my studying workflow.

I have however found a couple of “methodological” issues in my path:

  • Let’s say that the topic “Medieval Ages” is studied once in highschool, and I take notes inside of Obsidian.
  • later on in life I need to study it again - say, in university. Obviously this kind of studying is probably going to be different: it might be more in-depth, it might have slightly different views on events depending on the teacher.
  • I at this point would hit a wall: should I make a new “Medieval Ages” page? Or would you continuously update your existing page?

I guess this sort of doubt could come up in similar ways even in the same schoolyear: what if I am studying a certain topic which comes up in two different classes?

One solution I can imagine is structuring content through .md filenames. So for example * Medieval Ages of highschool in year five, studied in history class, could become HS5 HIS - Medieval Ages.
One could then do the same for university, something along the lines of UN2 HIS - Medieval Ages.

The doubt persists - would you do it this way? If not, why?

I am much open to any kind of input. Thank you in advance!

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I think the backlink feature of Obsidian (other software have backlinks too) could help you a lot with this.
I would suggest the following:

  • Write down your down your notes in a file related to where you collected it. I would probably have one note per session, and then maybe a folder or a tag for each class.
  • Inside your notes for a session, make sure you mark all the topics you think you might want to retrieve later with [[Links]]. In your example you would use [[Medieval Ages]]. You could place that link at the top of each course note where that topic came up in that course. Personally, I like to mark them in natural text, for instance “Agriculture in the [[Medieval Ages]] was …”.
  • To retrieve all your notes about the Medieval Ages, in any class you’ve had in the past, you simply go to the [[Medieval Ages]] note and look at the backlinks.

In that setup, your Medieval Ages page will be empty or mostly empty: the meat of the content will lie in your course notes. But that’s ok, because you can retrieve them easily through backlinks. You can use the main Medieval Ages note for synthesis or summaries. The details live in your course notes.

In your question you suggest to use a systematic approach by class as in UN2 HIS - Medieval Ages. This is fine at first, but like you already mentioned, this could break down if classes have multiple topics. The way I suggest to solve this is to have one file per class and use links to mark the relevant subjects.

Hope this helps


These suggestions are extremely useful, thank you so much. I never thought about using backlinks that way - but it is indeed very similar to what I am looking for.

I guess the only issue I find with such method is that sometimes, professors repeat what they’ve already explained. I wouldn’t want my notes to start being redundant on the content side, expecially for when I need to study. But again, this method is very worth trying out.