Zettelkasten Forum


Reverse Links

Question from a new user and apologies if this has topic has been addressed before. However, is there some reason why The Archiver couldn't implement a "reverse link" option? It might work automatically, so that when you make a link in Note A to take you to Note B, at the same time a reverse link to Note A is created in Note B.

I understand if you are in Note A and click on the link to Note B, you can immediately go back to Note A. But if you are in Note B, you don't see any link to Note A, even though you thought the connection was important. It seems silly to have to create a second link in Note B for that purpose.

Comments

  • Since links are supposed to express an intentional connection, and since bi-directional links don't always make sense in terms of providing meaningful "next steps" when you traverse the web of notes -- what's your ultimate motivation there? Do you really always want to add bi-directional links? Or is this just to navigate via "backlinks"? (Take Wikipedia for example: it would diminish the use of an article a lot if it had to account for all incoming links somehow.)

    With regard to listing incoming links, or "backlinks", we've got something planned for later.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • @ctietze said:
    Since links are supposed to express an intentional connection, and since bi-directional links don't always make sense in terms of providing meaningful "next steps" when you traverse the web of notes -- what's your ultimate motivation there? Do you really always want to add bi-directional links? Or is this just to navigate via "backlinks"?

    I can see that always having reverse links would be cumbersome and sometimes not helpful. However, I suspect that often a reverse link would be helpful, in which case it would be nice for a screen to pop up asking if a reverse link is desired, once the main link had been entered. That would save having to separately generate a reverse link.

    If you have a series or network of linked notes, you don't always want to traverse the network in one direction. It would be nice to start anywhere and then traverse in a reverse direction - maybe that would get your creative juices flowing in a different way.

  • With regard to listing incoming links, or "backlinks", we've got something planned for later.

    Great! While I agree on the higher value in manually created links, having a backlink feature can help discovering connections worth that manual work.

    Could you hint a little bit more on how you plan to implement this - and when? :)

  • The Archive can do this now, no need to wait. One way is to place on the Omni Bar the note's UID. Another way is by creating and selecting the ordinating notes self-referential link. I create a self-referential link as part of my note template but you don't have to use a template. If the note is titled 202001101606 Marketed Into Exploitation then make a link like [[202001101606 Marketed Into Exploitation]] or '[[202001101606]] whichever according to your workflow. Selecting the link will populate the Note List with all the noted 'backlinked' to the originating note.

    Here is an example. The self-referential link is highlighted at the bottom is selected and the Note List shows backlinked notes. There are three backlinks to this note. I like this system because it is not in my face all the time and I can quickly review this list when appropriate.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Rationalism, Zen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • Ah - very helpful. Thank you, @Will .

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