Work/Personal overlap with git: Will it work?

I have been using obsidian for only a few days but have become a huge fan already. Now i need some help on a possible solution for the problem of managing work and personal notes.

Problem: I mostly use obsidian for work, but I also have a vault on my personal laptop. There is both strictly private and confidential work content which should not end up on the respectively wrong computer. However, about 75% is overlapping.

Solution idea:

  • Create a vault with the overlapping, non-confidential content inside a git repository and clone it at home and work.
  • Create subfolders “work_only” and “personal” on the respective computers, put them into .gitignore so that they stay purely local (use separate backup, git repos, whatever if it is necessary to back up those notes too)

What i am afraid of:

  • Links to the files which are “missing” on each computer will exist in the shared notes.
  • When i click those links on the wrong computer, empty files are created on the toplevel folder, but with the same name as in the subfolder.
  • When i git pull, i get duplicate files (even though in subfolders) and maybe my links get messed up. This will lead to inconsistency and impair usability over time, i will not find the correct files when i click on links, then i will believe that the file does not exist and needs to be created and suddenli have two different versions of the file

My question:

  • Is this even an issue, or will obsidian understand that the old link actually points into the subfolder? I am afraid that it is an issue, because with experimentation i learned that it is possible to discern between “file” and “folder/file”, but this only happens when both exist at the moment when i create the link. Thus i am afraid that an old link “file” will point to “./file” instead of “folder/file” even though it was initially inside “folder”.

  • Are there ideas for prevention?

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Okay, it turned out that this works mostly as planned. :grinning:

The concerns in my initial posts were correct, but I could solve the problems of accidental duplicates by

  • Changing “default link type” to “absolute”
  • Using the “obsidian link converter” plugin to also change my old links to absolute paths.

In this way, clicking a link to a file which only exists in the part “hidden” from the current computer will only create an empty file in the local (empty) copy of this folder. These can either be simply ignored or deleted easily, since they can be easily recognized by residing in a folder which should be empty on this computer. They are also included from git automatically and can not contaminate the real folder on the respectively other machine.

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Cool, I’m glad you found an approach that works.

For me, I have a similar situation in that I have work, personal, and shared notes, and I don’t want them to mix. My solution is to have three primary vaults:

  • A work vault, local to my work laptop, backed up daily to my work network. It is never synced anywhere. It has all my work-specific notes, reference, projects, tasks, etc.

  • A reference vault, on both my personal and work laptop, synced with Obsidian Sync, that contains non-confidential, non-personal reference notes. As a software engineer, most of my knowledge about programming, design, etc. lives here. My personal rule is that if I would have any concern about showing a note in my reference vault to a coworker, then it doesn’t belong in the Reference vault.

  • A personal vault, on my personal laptop and phone, that I sync using Obsidian Sync. It is not present on my work laptop. It contains my personal reference, journals, analysis, etc.

Juggling three vaults has a few drawbacks – for example, I can’t effectively link between notes in different vaults – but it gives me peace of mind that I’ll never accidentally mix notes.

Just my two cents; hope you find it useful.