Zettelkasten Forum


Zetteldeft: What is a backlink

I am new to Zettelkasten-method and work with zetteldeft (currently 5 real zettel in it).

I do not understand the concept of backlinks. What is it and how to use it?
It makes no difference if I create a "normal" link or a backlink in a zettel. Both links are pointing to the same zettel.

From the meaning of the word I would assume that a "backlink" would create a 1to1 relation by default.
Let's assume I have opened zettel "A".
I insert a backlink to zettel "B".
"A" now has the link to "B".
But in "B" is a new and automatic created link (back) to "A", too.
But this does not happen also.

So what is backlinking about?

Comments

  • I'm not familiar with Zetteldeft, but use The Archive. Say one creates a zettel "A". It is natural to want to connect it to some related zettels. I have another zettel "B", so I create a link to it. That is a forward link, in my way of thinking - only because it was the first link established.

    The Archive does not automatically create another link in "B" that leads back to "A", i.e., a back link. If you want a link from B to A, you have to create another one.

    In some programs, when you create a link from A to B, a backlink from B to A is also created in zettel B.

  • edited September 19

    Notes are many-to-many. You could see backlinks as a list of notes, then there is no difference for back and normal. You create links by connecting notes (manually). This then leads to the following question: which other notes exist that link to the current note in focus? This list of notes are backlinks. This can be useful, at times, for a multitude of things.

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • I understand what you wrote about but I think it does not answer my question.
    I assume we understand "backlink" as the same.

    But this does not explain what a "backlink" is in zetteldeft.

  • Not sure how Zetteldeft works, or how backlinks function in ZD, but in Notion a backlink is created every time you forward link from one note to another. The backlink is what appears in the note you forward-linked to to show you what's being said about that note in other places, so to speak.

    At first I didn't understand the use of a backlink, but I do now. A backlink is useful because we don't always enter the ZK in the same way every time. We don't always begin our explorations with the same notes. So, if I begin down a path that is different than before, I will see that other notes have been referring to my notes in this new path I am on, and those links may prove helpful in expanding my thought process and concepts.

  • edited September 20

    @buhtz said:
    I understand what you wrote about but I think it does not answer my question.
    I assume we understand "backlink" as the same.

    But this does not explain what a "backlink" is in zetteldeft.

    I find it interesting that one way to see a link from A to B, is to say "while elaborating A, some notion of B was relevant". By physically including the link in A (which doesn't physically reside in the text of B ) we actively "pull-back content" from B, into A.

    However, In the case of B, we may have many inbound pointers (links) pulling back content, but rarely do we elaborate in B what it was might inspire the link to A -- because the link was from A to B.

    The set of all those notes {A1,A2,...} , "pulling back" content from B to themselves. The set of notes doing this {A1,A2,...} are the backlinks of B.

  • edited September 26

    Hi, Zetteldeft author here. Glad you're checking out the package.

    There is nothing automated about 'backlinks' in Zetteldeft, and they are not different from 'plain' links -- so there's nothing that distinguishes them in a technical sense.

    I use the term 'backlink' to refer to a type of link that's present at the top of a note, and that links to notes with 'overarching' or 'parent' themes. Notes can also have multiple backlinks.

    So all in all, they are simply meant to create structure within a note.

    For example, I'll be writing about how one author conceives of 'privacy'. That specific note might have two backlinks: one to a note on the author, and one to my structure note on privacy.

    EDIT: To elaborate on what @bradfordfournier wrote

    However, In the case of B, we may have many inbound pointers (links) pulling back content, but rarely do we elaborate in B what it was might inspire the link to A -- because the link was from A to B.

    That's more or less the practical reason that lead me to introduce backlinks (even though they are just normal links). When writing and thinking about B, you want a way to get 'back' to A -- to the more general topic or note.

  • @EFLS said:
    There is nothing automated about 'backlinks' in Zetteldeft, and they are not different from 'plain' links -- so there's nothing that distinguishes them in a technical sense.

    I use the term 'backlink' to refer to a type of link that's present at the top of a note, and that links to notes with 'overarching' or 'parent' themes. Notes can also have multiple backlinks.

    So all in all, they are simply meant to create structure within a note.

    Thank you for this clear and concise definition of the term 'backlink.' I'll quit referring to 'backlinks' as if it had some metaphysical underpinning.

    Links are just links. Positioning them in different places can signify a little about their context. I have tended to place 'overarching' or 'parent' links at the bottom of the note. I've migrated to positioning them at the top of the note. Search now places me at the top of a note, not at the bottom.

    I use other positions to identify some of the contexts and help the search function present the exact location referred to by the link.

    1. between paragraphs
    2. interstitially mid-sentence - usually just the UUID as in the following example.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a futzing, second-guessing, backtracking, compulsive oversharing, ZK-maniac, in other words, your typical zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing, Cognitive Workload, Python, Data Science
    kestrelcreek.com

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