Using tags in Obsidian

In a tool like Obsidian, direct, manually created links are the best way to connect your thinking across notes. This is the default behaviour of the Zettelkasten, and I appreciate the emphasis it's given by the folks at Zettelkasten.de. However, I'm also not against using other forms of linking notes together. There's value to being able to see connections across topics, and for that use case, tags work well. But I was a little surprised with how tags worked in Obsidian after coming from Roam. The Roam approach Roam treats a tag just like any other note (or page…

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How to get started with tools like Obsidian

How to get started with tools like Obsidian

As the year has rolled along and the days are starting to get a little longer up here in the north, I've been enjoying my use of Obsidian more and more. As I mentioned in the past about Roam, these tools are additive. The more you use them, the more valuable they feel. This isn't by accident — you have to make meaningful connections between your notes (as I mentioned here). But as you make those connections,you experience the feeling of building. Your base of knowledge matures a little more. Obsidian illustrates this in lovely fashion with its graph view.…

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Re-reading goals

For the last several years, I've taken part in the Goodreads reading challenge. I tend to come up 3–5 books short each year, but I'm happy overall with how much I've been reading. However, I'm not crazy about what I've done with the books I've read. Often, I've done very little beyond reading the words on the page. I made highlights and perhaps a short blurb somewhere in my notes. But as this was all before I had delved into the world of smart note-taking and making the most of what I read, so most of the books I…

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Roam vs. Obsidian

Roam vs. Obsidian

In a recent post, I made an offhand mention that Obsidian might be a better fit for some people than Roam Research. What was that all about? Well, for one, I believe both are good tools. If you're looking to use Roam as a Zettelkasten tool, Obsidian offers many of the same benefits. I've been keeping my eye on its development all the months that I've cautiously used Roam. It's super easy to try out with these few steps: Export your Roam content (I did that regularly and added it to a Git repo on my computer)I would open…

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Making sense of Roam Research

Just over a month ago, I gave an intro tour of Roam Research to the Wildbit team. We have a call of this type on the first Friday of each month, and I'd wanted to do this for a while as a few people on the team started to use it. But each person seems to come away from the first few log-ins to Roam with this same question: How do I use this thing? The truth is, after months of using it, I still didn't have a firm sense of how I wanted to use Roam myself. Ever since…

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How Andy Matuschak's notes compare to a Zettel

I mentioned Andy in the last issue. If you spend any time in the Roam community, you've heard of this fellow. And it's due in large part to his own "Digital garden" and his public notes. How and where he stores those notes aside, I spent a lot of time going over this note, plus all its offshoots. My practice of writing Evergreen notes is heavily inspired by Niklas Luhmann’s Zettelkasten practice and its contemporary advocates. I use a different term both because there are some distinctions and because I want to give myself space to explore ideas in…

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The Roam cult

Well, that escalated quickly. I went from disinterested when I first heard about Roam from Drew Coffman, to mildly curious when I saw a lot of chatter about it, to pretty sold on the idea. I’ve been using it consistently for a little over two weeks and I can see it’s likely a better tool for creating a Zettelkasten than any other product I've explored. But one aspect that has caught my attention is the community using the tool. It reminds me a little of the hype of Slack in its early days, or more recently, the hype…

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Roam: why I love it and how I use it

I continue to hear a lot of positive feedback about Roam Research. And although I'm hesitant to embrace new web apps that are VC funded, the number of people saying good things about this one has me intrigued (but it would have to be a life-changing tool to get me to invest my time and energy in a funded team that is not charging for their product). Here are a few related items: Roam: Why I Love It and How I Use It by Nat EliasonHow to Take Smart Notes: A Step-by-Step Guide also by NatWhat's to great about Roam…

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