Stuck at fork in road re: metadata/tags/yaml/etc as a beginner

Hi, I’m brand new to Obsidian (this week), and I have to say, I’m wild about it! The app, the community, the creative workflow potential, all of it!

Apologies, because I’m sure this has been discussed 100 times, but I couldn’t figure out a search that addressed this dilemma:

I’ve seen a lot of content encouraging newcomers to avoid the temptation to over-organize, and just dive into creating stuff. As time goes on, the organization techniques will present themselves naturally, etc.

My confusion is: a lot of the organization seems to be related to tags and other metadata people add in their notes. Do people build up a bunch of material, and THEN at a later date, when the time is finally right, go back through a hundred or more notes, one at a time, tediously adding these organizational bits? Or am I misunderstanding something?

I’d imagine its ideal to get in the habit of adding this stuff whenever you make a new note, but does that mean knowing which way will work best? I’m trying to get a better grasp on “YAML vs inline vs other” as my method of adding metadata to notes, and being stuck at that fork has me a tad hesitant to make a bunch of stuff yet. I’m guessing this comes up a lot, but I don’t know how to find this conundrum in a search result.

EDIT: i hope “Help” is an ok place to ask this. I meant to put this in the “Knowledge Management” forum.

1 Like

One way to start is to manage your expectations. A good way to do this might be to start with a couple tags that correspond to the status of your notes. That seems to be a technique that many people find useful. But, by starting slowly and observing how, when, why, and where these tags help out, you can begin to expand upon the method and utilize more advanced tactics like embedded searches, regex, dataview, and many many more if you want.

A lot of people also seem to get a lot of mileage out of creating MOC notes to act as hubs of thought that can interlink with each other. One thing that you seem to have picked up on is that it is likely best to not wait too long to experiment, while also avoiding diving in too deep before putting the pieces to use first. Good luck! You are definitely not alone.

1 Like

thanks! Yeah that MOC idea sounds powerful! So, if i start by just adding a couple tags to notes (no YAML, no double-colon inline bits, etc), by the time i start really using dataview or other methods later on, will those notes be compatible with the advanced organizing, or will i have to go back and edit all those early notes?

1 Like

I use inline tags, wikilinks and occasional MOCs.

I don’t use YAML or any plugin that uses it (I don’t like seeing metadata when I read my written notes, and not all the editors I use will hide it).

The big advantages of YAML, dataview etc are in automated processing. If you believe that you will need that, it’s worth understanding the options as you go. If you don’t expect to need it, don’t worry about it unless/until you do.

PS I do have saved (ie instantly repeatable) searches outside Obsidian, but these cover a wide range of filetypes, not just markdown. This could be seen as a form of automation, but doesn’t involve metadata.


thank you for adding a little bit of perspective for me to consider. This is a really newbie question, but what is a wikilink?



Both can be used to link to other notes. It’s a key concept in PKM.
Links and backlinks (showing notes that link to that note)

1 Like

thanks :+1:

(Moved to Knowledge Management for you.)

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.