A quick tour of my notes

I thought it would be interesting to give a quick tour of my Obsidian vault this week.

To start, here is the current graph of my vault:

My Obsidian graph

Red nodes are source notes, blue nodes are temporal notes, and purple nodes are quotes.

In my left sidebar, I have my habit tracker and PARA structure pinned (filled with dummy data for illustration and privacy purposes):

A redacted version of my Obsidian sidebar

Here, I rely heavily on the Dataview plugin and transclusion.

I show a week’s worth of habits to keep my eye on overall trends. I have a lot of work to do here, though, as there’s a lot of red going on. I’ve probably got too many habits on the go right now.

I like to have an annual note for each of my projects, areas, and resources (i.e. Habit tracker2022 Projects2022 Areas, and 2022 Resources are each notes that are transcluded in my ðŸ¡ Home note). This is useful for record-keeping and allows me to start from a blank state (and be super intentional) when the new year rolls around.

Here is an example of a source note for Building a Second Brain:

Source note for Building a Second Brain

As seen in the metadata section, I usually fill this data in on a just-in-time basis. I haven’t filled this out yet as I haven’t had a use for it; plus, it will be easier to grab it all at once after the course ends.

I also wanted to point out the tags in the metadata. I try to tag my source notes with a tag that correlates to one of my 12 favourite problems. I’m hoping this can help speed up project kick-offs in the future by allowing for the faster gathering of potentially related materials.

I struggle a lot with non-written materials. This has made note-taking from movies, podcasts, and audiobooks difficult for me. My current approach is very brute force–I try to find a written version of the material.

As seen in this source note, I have timestamps next to my notes. I quickly captured these in the transcript that accompanied the course recording. Similarly, I also can get these timestamps when using the transcript feature in Youtube videos.

Here’s an example of a source note for The Body Keeps the Score:

Source note for The Body Keeps the Score

I included this note in part because it illustrates some progressive summarization. I don’t bold or highlight nearly as much as I take original notes. I still have to work on tuning in to what resonates with me.

I also included this note because it better shows how I try to keep the structure of the source in my notes. As you can see in the various headers, the different parts, chapters, and section headings are all preserved in my notes.

I’ve been trying this ever since reading How to Read a Book. I’m not following all of the suggestions, but this is one that I found particularly useful.

Here’s a section of my source note for The Culture Map:

Source note for The Culture Map

I thought this illustrated the inclusion of figures in my source notes and my additions to these notes (in square brackets) to clarify things such as the name of who was speaking in the passage. (In this case, the author, Erin Meyer, was quoting Hirotake Tokunaga, and I thought it might be helpful to keep that clear in my notes.)

This is an example of a note I use to gather all my source notes of a specific type:

Map of source notes for courses

These notes are generated using the Dataview plugin, which parses the metadata fields you saw at the top of the source notes. I mostly use them as a quick reference when looking for specific materials.

Finally, here is an example of an atomic note:

An atomic note on the Zeigarnik effect

There’s a lot of experimenting going on in these notes right now.

I used to use footnotes to reference my source notes, but I’ve recently switched to using the callouts feature because I find they’re easier to parse and add a nice visual effect to the notes.

I’m using the drafted tag as an experiment to indicate that a note has been drafted sufficiently to be a potentially helpful atomic note. This allows me to identify notes that need further development quickly. I’m also planning to use it in some experiments with the graph view and an alternative approach to a zettelkasten implementation.

So lots of experimentation is happening and lots of change. But I’m still having lots of fun with my notes and looking forward to seeing what comes of them in the coming years. 🙂

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