Using Obsidian as an Academic

Hi All,

I’m a new person in the Obsidian Family.
The main aim of using Obsidian is to organise and build a knowledge bank of the literature I read in an easy and connected way, which I will then use to write academic papers.

As I’m still new and navigating my way in Obsidian. I would appreciate it If you could guide me to some resources (youtube videos, etc.) to help me learn about Obsidian, especially its use in academia. Also, I would like to know if there are any other tools I should use with Obsidian to make its use for this purpose easy.

Many thanks :blush:

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A big part of my Obsidian vault is centered around the literature, reading papers, identifying key concepts, etc. Consequently, I recommend checking out Zotero and the Zotero Integration plugin. It takes a little time to set up, but it gives you a lot of options to make very durable notes.

The way I use these tools is as follows. I have one note in Obsidian for every paper/video/talk. The note contains the abstract and the bibliographical reference, as well as my summary of the paper. Then, when I’m working in a new file, I can refer to the paper by making a link to that note. For instance, I could have a sentence like:

The [[MOS]] algorithm was introduced in [[GlahnUseModel1972]].

The backlinks of the note give me a list of everywhere I refered to that paper in my other notes, which is nice.

For video resources, I like Nicole van der Hoeven’s channel: Nicole van der Hoeven - YouTube

Bryan Jenks also has a lot of good stuff. His videos are quite long but he goes into a lot of detail. I got started with the workflow I introduced here thanks to this video by him, but I modified it a bit, so it’s not a perfect reference anymore. Notably, don’t use that pipeline to import Zotero references into Obsidian. Zotero Integration makes that easier in my opinion.


Second both Bryan and Nicola for these ideas…

However much - as with Obsidian’s development - with both of them are things like browser like environments, bookmarks and newer plugs, etc., it is very easy to say - pick a ‘last year’ vid only to find a newer better way to deal with the ‘task’.

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I do recommend LYT and their Obsidian for Beginners series.

Also, @nickmilo has a great course on using Obsidian, which is also not specific to academia, but that’s also a good option (although a paid one).

Anyway, there are tons of resources, and I personally spent months swimming in them.

I can recommend three things

  1. Take advantage of search Ctrl+Shift+F → find your notes by keywords.
    For this it’s also helpful to link notes together.
  2. Then you don’t need to stick to any particular folder structure - so choose the one that feels more natural to you.
  3. Visualize your knowledge using graph view, as well as tables. For the latter you can use dataview plugin.

For example this code below (wrapped in code-block) will show all my files with tag #read

TABLE file.mtime
FROM #read 
SORT file.mtime desc
  • Depends on several variables, mostly subjective
  • How you onboard new information and sift thru old
  • Categorizing notes and linking concepts
  • When I bring new literature content into my vault, I sometimes assign high level tags and nested tags, in YAML, for the content in the entire note; this changes over time as well. Tags like #craft/antecedent, #style, #voice, #pov/first-person, #process, #prompt, and #examples.
  • For sections and blocks I use in line links that are specific to that selection. Links like [[great sentence]], [[direct object]], [[second-person]], [[checkov]]
  • Using search you can find tags, links, and keywords - you can save searches as bookmarks.
  • The core plugin, Canvas, is great for tossing ideas onto and pondering.
  • As you use your vault, keep refining by adding or deleting tags and links.
  • Best wishes and let us know how use Obsidian, this forum and discord are a gleaners paradise.