What is your take on digital or paper note taking?

I never had success on note-taking and I’ve been changing note apps over the years (bear, notion, evernote, apple notes, etc…). The best so far is Obsidian. But then I got into the thinking of, is digital note-taking really better than paper notes?
I’ve been searching about this topic for a while and lots of studies say that paper is better, but some also state that there is no difference.

What is your opinion on this? I know that I’m at the Obsidian forum and I may not get a unbias answer but I’m really want to know what you folks think about it.

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I think it’s important to my note taking that it’s transformative in some way to sink in. I’m a huge fan of paper notes and digital methods. When I do sketch notes it’s performing a transformation from one or more mediums to another. When I take digital notes it’s harder to meet those conditions, and also easier to copy and paste things together.

Writing digital notes to myself rarely have as compelling results unless there’s been some sort of work done collecting and organizing them, which is transformative. Obsidian does well at collecting and organizing my notes.


For me, I know digital note taking is inferior to handwritten notes. And there are some studies that show that is broadly the case. Probably the same ones you saw.

However, digital note making, I find, is vastly superior in a digital format. This includes the process of combining, organizing, and rearranging information. Essentially, making better notes from lesser notes.

As a result, I capture much of my thinking by writing it on paper, but I always transfer it into my digital Seedbox for further reference as usage. I also find this transference is, itself, valuable, as it creates an opportunity to reassess what I wrote. I find those multiple points of contact very helpful for remembering information. :slight_smile:


Some time ago I did a lot of research on this and I got the same impression from all of you. At that time, paper surpassed digital annotations. But it becomes impractical in today’s world because of the amount of notes to be carried out, restricting notes only to paper. Obsidian and similar programs have evolved significantly in the form of organizing notes and establishing bonds that are far superior to paper. Paper has and maybe always will be used, but I try to transfer everything to this second brain structure proposed by Obsidian. It’s worth remembering that more than the annotation tool itself, it’s how we challenge our brains to learn new ideas and links to past ideas. You must have an active annotation, whether on paper or on the computer. Avoid passive reads and the famous “crtl + c, crtl V”.

I pretty much agree with you. I see note writing as a way to remember the note. I rarely go back to the note itself but I can recall what a sketch note looks like and track it down if necessary. It’s about creating memories around the note, not writing a note that I’ll read at all later.

With digital notes I think the concept is wholly different. Digital I’m creating a reference system, a card catalog perhaps. Code snippets or other technical bits I won’t remember, hyperlinks that are handy, etc. They’re almost totally different concepts for me.

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