Zettelkasten Forum

someone use obsidian?

how do you work with zk in obsidian? how do you classify the notes?


  • edited March 28

    Here I am :-)

    It's a very broad question, anyway

    I don't have an experience of many tools used for knowledge management or simply notetaking. Obsidian is the first tool I've met that is powerful enough and usable yet to reach a very good result in that context.

    The most powerful feature I think Obsidian has is how enable you making links, above all its capability of automatic updating links when there is a change of a note title.
    This feature, not present in other tools I've used in the past, has oriented me how I create and manage notes. They are very dynamic, I refactor them without fear of reference loss.

    Every aspect of the following description would require an entire discussion about :-)

    About structure and classification

    I use a single vault, for private life and work

    In the same vault, I do zettelkasten, "project management", "asset management", "reference management" and "journaling"

    I don't use tags for subject classification. The only tags I use are for status and operational.
    For subject classification I use linking.

    For example, "Street photography" for me is not a tag, but a note that:

    • notes about street photograpy link (mainly using up::[[Street Photography]] after the frontmatter if there is a parent/child relationship, subject::[...] otherwise)
    • a note that has in his body an outline or many groups of links to the different notes that describes the aspects of street photography.

    I could use backlinking for the second function, but I don't like it, for me it's bad for this use case. Very long story :-). The outline is handmade, so I can decide how to make it.

    Street Photograpy represent, in the same time:

    • a "subject note" (you can consider it the reference, the entry point for the cluster of all street photograpy notes)
    • a "structure note" or "MOC" (contains an outline or a set of links to street photography notes)
    • a "concept note" (it has also a content that provides a small introduction to street photography and a little of context for the subject).

    The parent of Street Photograpy is Photograpy Note, of course

    For the Zettelkasten area

    I don't use many folders. I have a few only for legacy habit, if I could restart today a totally new system, I could use one single folder for the entire zettelkasten.
    Now I'm using very generic folders, like "Photography", "Developing", "KMS" and so on. I don't separate fleeting, literature, zettel notes in different folders, it is more useful for me using a "type:..." metadata in the YAML frontmatter.

    I don't adopt a coding in the note title (folgezettel or timestamping). The file name is the same of title of the note and it must be as descriptive of the note as possible. I adopt the principle "the title is the best summary of the note".

    For every type of note I've a specific template made with templater.
    I don't use a conventional taxonomy of note types, anyway.
    I've maintained the fleeting note term for fleeting notes.
    I prefer and I use "source note" instead of "literature note".
    I don't use "permanent note", it's confusing for me. I prefer use"green note" (according to gardening metaphor) but I don't have a "green note" type, it is rather an abstract umbrella definition that embraces all kinds of notes in the zettelkasten that aren't fleeting or sources notes. The real note types are "concept", "principle", and so on.
    Note type templates help me to standardize the structure of the notes, but if need I can overwrite the structure in a specific case.

    For a concept or principle note, for example, the template has three main section (in italian) after the frontmatter and the up:: attribute:

    • "In breve" (the equivalent of TLDR in english)
    • "Dettaglio" (a more detailed development of the content, if necessary)
    • "Riferimenti" (reference section of the note)

    Just after "In breve" section title, when I find a catchy quote I put it in a quote callout

    The frontmatter, instead, contains some metadata, but not so much. Mainly:

    • domain (for example photography)
    • type (source, concept,...)
    • creation date
    • tags
    • aliases
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