Obsidian is a knowledge base system that allow you to write notes in Markdown. Behind this sentence there is much more as the notes can be interconnected creating a real second brain.
This software can be customized with different plugins and features that allow you to extend its potential. For me, starting to use Obsidian was a life changing event: it not only allowed me to take the best notes ever, but also changed my way of thinking.
Knowledge management software
The concept of knowledge management is based on a range of practices used by an individual or a business to identify, create, represent and redistribute information for a range of purposes. Typically this software includes different features such as:
- Aggregation of content from both internal and external sources
- Classification of content using taxonomies
- Expertise location
- Views and dashboards
However, there is no precise definition of what a knowledge management system is. In my opinion, it can be described as having an intentional and conscious way of organizing and managing all the information you have to deal with during the day.
How does Obsidian work?
Although obsidian is often described as note-taking software it is actually so much more. Notes could be written with Markdown syntax which allow you to easily create different header with just different sequences of hashtag, from
# for the main Header H1 to
##### for the H5 header. This allow you to compact several sections of text.
Additional functionalities can be added through different plugins, both proprietary and developed by the community. There is an optionz to live preview for the Markdown formatted text. It is also possibile to integrate Latex and code snippets.
Furthermore, it is also possibile to create standard template and integrate notes with calendar or task manager. I also use a citation plugin that allow me to integrate my notes with my digital library on Zotero.
The most powerful feature is the interconnectivity. Obsidian allows you to link different notes together with the graph view, backlink and outgoing link.
By using the
[[ link ]] syntax you can connect the actual note with the “link” one. This can be extremely useful in finding information. Let me give you an example. The following animation shows how I can search for the word “atherosclerosis”.
In the following video you can see how starting from the research I found all the notes (including literature) where it is cited. I then moved on to open the note “atherosclerosis” where I could see the definition that I have personally reported.
I then went to check the connections. I can see both the actual links (with
[[link]]) and the text where the searched string appears. At the end I opened the local chart of the note I could jump first to the note [[ Daily notes for thesis ]] and then to the note [[ FEM ]]. Everything is connected.
As you can have seen from the previous video there are files with a name similar to a date. These files are nothing more than daily notes.
Every day I use Obsidian I can create this file with a specific template that allow me to log daily events and also to remembers some task. I also use a task manager with deadline and reminder. I also connect everything with the scientific literature that I find myself reading by integrating the citations directly with Zotero’s database.
More information on how to structure the daily notes can be found at the following link: Obsidian daily note template.