Spaced repetition for Evergreen Notes

Hey all. I’ve seen a lot of discussion about using Obsidian (and other note graph management systems) for spaced repetition for memorization.

However I’ve been reading up on Evergreen Notes and think there’s a place for them in my life – including the “periodic revisiting” aspect.

Does anyone have tools they use or recommend for doing this?

Hi @mambocab. There isn’t a built-in option for spaced repetition systems in Obsidian, but there are a number of 3rd-part software tools that you could use that specialize in this type of learning.

  1. Anki (macOS/Windows: Free, iOS/Android: $24.99/Free)
  2. Neuracache (iOS/Android (Freemium—$1.99/month)

I’ve been using Anki in conjunction with this wonderful script to automatically generate cards from your notes if you have the proper syntax Obsidian to Anki v2.0. It may make your notes more cluttered, but you can always add new cards by hand.

I appreciate the links! But that’s not what I’m liking for, so let me clarify.

I don’t want to memorize anything. I want to, Andy-Matuschak-style, periodically revisit my own thoughts until they stabilize and form a solid base for developing further insights. For further thoughts on this technique you might start here in Andy’s notes but please be aware that they’re a web of notes, not really “blog posts”.

Anyway I’m hoping for some system that can help with spaced repetition for following lines of thought. Does that explain why card-studying apps are insufficient?

EDIT: Also to be clear, this does not have to be built into Obsidian at all. Something that operates over the Obsidian vault as files would be great too.

Sorry about that! Thanks for the links to Andy’s post. It’s a fascinating website and I haven’t seen these particular posts yet.

If I now understand correctly, you’re looking for a workflow that would:

  1. Automatically resurface a note at a future date
  2. Provide some way to toggle whether the note is 1) Stabilized and no longer need to be resurfaced or 2) Unstable and set to resurface again at a future date

If that’s the case, you can customize Anki to create a system (although it may create some weird stats).

  1. Create a separate deck where each card you add represents the title of the note you’re interested in periodically returning to.
  2. Create a specific options group for this deck and modify the steps to a single value that determines the time before the next resurface (e.g. 10800 for 7 days). This single value will represent the scheduling time when you hit the “Again” button
  3. Modify the Leech threshold (under the Lapses tab) to a larger number. This represents how many times you can hit “Again” before Anki tries to notify you the card is bad. While normally this means you should rewrite the card, this could also be seen as a limit before you determine your idea isn’t working in its current form.
  4. When reviewing cards, only use the “Again” button to resurface the card again after the set time.
  5. Suspend or delete the cards once you’ve determined you no longer need to resurface them. This is where the script I linked above might help: you can add/delete cards within your Obsidian note directly instead of maintaining two separate instances.

No worries about your read of my first post – I wasn’t clear.

And I see, that’s an interesting idea! I think I’d gotten into my head that there’d be some complex and annoying management work to do to take advantage of existing spaced repetition apps but with that explanation I might have a foothold. I’ll have to give that a go! Thanks much.

No problem! There’s probably some interesting tweaks to the standard scheduling system and step sizes that would make use of variable resurfacing schedules so that you can set certain notes to come back sooner or later than others.

@mambocab, perhaps you might be interested in a note-level SR plugin I wrote. It’s useful for highly descriptive notes that don’t fit the Q/A format. Check it out here.