Obsidian for thinking and knowledge management

Here’s a video Justin did on using 1Writer (on iPadOS/iOS) and Drafts with Obsidian documents.
It’s very helpful in getting started and using 1Writer until Obsidian’s mobile app is released.
The same for using Drafts for capture, then moving into 1Writer (and thus Obsidian).

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@justindirose Need to give a tip of the hat to the content that you are putting up on YouTube. You have a great speaking voice.

All should go check out Justin’s informative videos under the Effective Remote Work channel.

Effective Remote Work

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Thanks for the kind words @D_Rehak. I’m open to any suggestions on what content you’d like to see on Obsidian, note-taking, productivity, and the like :slight_smile:

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@justindirose Actually I am using Obsidian for some very specific focused functionality as I use other apps for many of my other processes.

IMHO Obsidian’s key feature is the visualization graphic, but I am waiting for both a search function and filtering capability (I put my request in their Forum among others)

I like the idea of the daily notes function and have created a template in MD to serve as note to document my consumption of content.

The other option I am waiting for is the ability to create a template in addition to the daily note. I have a project to create a Personal CRM. I want to see a graphical view of all the people that I meet and have relationships within the network type of diagram.

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@anon41602260 Sadly those search features don’t extend to filtering/querying the graph view (yet).

@D_Rehak You might want to consider creating your templates in a text expander—Text Expander, Alfred, Keyboard Maestro, etc.

Obsidian is working really well for me. I think it’s going to stick.

I started out doing what seems to be the way most people do things, they create a Daily Note, then write wiki links for new notes, click and fill out the note. That’s probably okay for lots of people, but I found when I looked at the graph view, there were a couple of problems:

  • connections everywhere!
  • meaningless connections

E.g. my [[left parietal]] note would be connected to my [[left premotor]] note by July 12th, which was also connected to an unrelated journal article that I read that day, and some meeting notes that were actually in that Daily Note.

I’ve since gone in and deleted all my Daily Notes. In theory, every note should still be linked to at least one other note, so there shouldn’t be a problem of widowed/orphaned notes.

And all the stuff that used to sporadically go into Daily Notes is now handled by my Life Operating System in Notion.

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Graph filtering will eventually help with this. But yes, we can’t be too arbitrary about connection creation!

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Why “should”? Individual standalone notes – seems to be plenty of valid use cases for those.

Yeah, probably so.

I was thinking about my own use. I might have an atomic note for some concept, which would be linked to the context(s) where it was defined and used, and/or to where I use that concept in my own thoughts.

There could also be scenarios where that doesn’t apply, in which case I would probably create a table of contents note that collects and links to related concepts.

For me, the idea is to emulate the way we store our own thoughts so that there is a scaffold for easy retrieval and the potential for discovering relationships that weren’t apparent.

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I’ve been intrigued by Obsidian and have played with it for a total of about an hour over several days. I had difficulty figuring out how it organizes information and how it might fit into my workflow.

I played around with Obsidian a little more last night during what is becoming prime time for playing with Mac software (just before bedtime, when I’m waiting for the dog to finish doing her business in the backyard).

I had a light-bulb moment. Obsidian is a very nice markdown editor that works in the native file and folder system, and with added wiki linking features! I could definitely use that as a lightweight complement to DevonThink, which is currently my primary KM and document management system.

Then I tried it out on some meeting notes this morning and said “bleah,” and went running back to DT.

Obsidian may fall into the category of software I love but have not found a use for, a category which also includes Bear.

One of the main things I love about DevonThink is the ease with which it swallows and manages any document that the Mac can use. That’s not true for Obsidian. In particular, Obsidian can’t see Microsoft Office documents – essential for my work.

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Something like Obsidian could be pretty useful for a project I began a few weeks ago, but it’s too late to consider migrating to it, nor would I want to jump into beta software anyway. (I’ve been burned too many times in the past with unique apps that went nowhere, like Gingko.)

It does seem like adding backlinks in apps is a new vein in the productivity gold rush, displacing kanban (although Roam implemented instant kanban views for subtopics, which is neato), and I expect to see more integration of the backlink feature in some existing writing apps into 2021.

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But there is a paradox as I see it

The developer emphasizes to the moon how important links are - and I agree. Yet it is basically a walled garden with much difficulty linking it to other applications or other sources of information.

Not angry

More like hoping they add more of a focus on linking bidirectionally to other sources of information

It’s a beta - so they are seeking input.

I think the rest of the app is stunning in execution. It would really be a shame for such a great piece of software to be missing a key feature.

Obsidian to me right now is like a browser which does an amazing job at viewing local .html files but is unable to to connect to the web in order to view .html from the rest of the world.

I’m not angry either.

I’m not sure Obsidian is for me. If they supported Office files — even to the limited extent DevonThink does — I’d be more likely to use it. And even there, I’m still not sure. Wiki-izing my documents may be one of those things that seems great in theory but is not so useful in reality.

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When I went looking for what I call a “thought processor,” I ended up with two options: Roam and Obsidian.

I really, really, really wanted Obsidian to win.

For me, though, two things tipped the scales:

  • I didn’t like using iAWriter or 1Writer to edit notes when on my iPad. More than once, I had issues where a note I’d been editing in Obsidian could be opened and edited, but not saved in iAWriter.

  • I believe that Roam’s focus on blocks (bullets) as the smallest linkable unit of thought (versus Obsidian’s emphasis on linking pages) offers real advantages in terms of finding useful, meaningful connections between ideas.

(Obsidian has recently incorporated the ability to link to headers within a page, which is close, but not quite the same.)

There’s an extended comparison on my personal site, if you’re interested. For now, I’ll just say I loved the spirit and friendliness of the Obsidian user group … but Roam had the features and universal access I needed.

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FYI @times_reader just posted a nice writeup about Obsidian here. It’s in German, but you can read an English translation here.

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Hey thank you! :sweat_smile: Just out of curiosity… how were you able to find it so quickly after publishing?

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Information was stored in Obsidian :joy::joy::joy:

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Your RSS feed!

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I see, thank you very much for subscribing! :relaxed: