Gisteravond was de 6e meet-up van Nederlandstalige Obsidian gebruikers. Net als de editie van afgelopen december vond deze meet-up plaats onder de vlag van de Digitale Fitheid community en de KNVI (Koninklijke Nederlandse Vereniging van Informatieprofessionals).
De vorige keer was ik een van de facilitators, dit keer was de begeleiding in handen van Martijn Aslander en Lykle de Vries. Dat gaf mij gelegenheid meer inhoudelijk mee te doen, en dat was prettig.

Het recept was hetzelfde als wat Marieke van Vliet en ik de vorige keer improviseerden: aanwezigen droegen aan het begin een onderwerp aan, en vervolgens mocht iemand telkens iets kiezen uit de lijst (maar niet het eigen onderwerp). Zo komt een divers lijstje onderwerpen tot stand, en zorg je ervoor dat een bredere groep aan het woord komt.

Iemand vroeg of je Obsidian ook op een USB stick kunt draaien. Dat je je vault op een stick hebt, en dan op systemen waar Obsidian staat die kunt openen inclusief alle plugins etc. Ik stelde voor dat ter plekke te proberen, en het antwoord lijkt ja te zijn. Deed me denken aan de wiki-on-a-stick experimenten die ik lang geleden deed rondom het ‘patchwork portal‘, waarbij wiki’s met een lokale kleine webserver op een stick werden uitgedeeld waar anno 2005 nog geen of heel weinig internet verbinding was.

Ik was zelf benieuwd of mensen n.a.v. de PKM Summit in maart meer zijn gaan doen met de visuele technieken die Zsolt Viczián met zijn Excalidraw plugin toen liet zien. Met name was ik geïnteresseerd in of mensen bestanden tegelijkertijd als tekst en als visueel element gebruiken (hier uitgelegd door Nicole van der Hoeven). Twee deelnemers lieten het e.e.a. zien. Zelf heb ik een sneltoets voor het schakelen tussen tekst en visueel ingesteld, maar dat zag ik hen niet doen. Dat zegt me dat ze die switch weinig maken. Ik zal er zelf eens iets over schrijven in meer detail, met twee recente voorbeelden hoe dat waardevol voor me was en heel prettig en wrijvingsloos voelde.

Maarten den Braber was een van de aanwezigen die liet zien hoe hij bepaalde zaken in zijn workflow automatiseert, vanuit hetzelfde principe dat ik hanteer: geen dingen doen die uniek zijn voor Obsidian, je moet altijd ook met je platte tekst bestanden uit de voeten kunnen. Hij liet de PDF++ plugin zien, en die moet ik zeker eens onderzoeken en vergelijken met hoe ik momenteel Zotero gebruik.

Muhammed Kilic liet zien hoe hij over meerdere apps heen dezelfde tags, links en indexes gebruikt. Hij noemde daarbij hoe ik dat ook doe in mijn hypothes.is annotaties (links naar bestaande notes, taken, tags opnemen waardoor het in Obsidian meteen in context staat), maar liet zien dat hij dat ook in Zotero doet. Dat doe ik niet in mijn annotaties daar, en toen hij het liet zien vroeg ik me af waarom eigenlijk. Ik link wel vanuit Obsidian naar Zotero, maar in mijn annotaties verweef ik in Zotero mijn notes en tags veel minder. Eens over nadenken, en uitproberen.

Tot slot merkte ik dat het in een groepsgesprek als dit lastig is om min of meer standaard ook te laten zien wat je beschrijft. Je moet je dan maar voorstellen wat iemand daadwerkelijk doet, ipv het te zien. Voelen we ons kwetsbaar in het tonen van onze tools en werkwijzen? Het aantal malen dat ‘tell’ ook met ‘show’ werd ondersteund was daardoor beperkt, en dat is jammer vind ik. Voor een volgende keer zou het ook leuk zijn om in plaats van over aspecten te praten eens iets van ieders gehele implementatie te zien, en daar vragen over te stellen.

Had a good workshop from TNO this morning about data space connectors, but what also stood out was how well the flow was working in Obsidian for me during the session.

I started making notes as usual in Obsidian, and then the facilitator started building a visual map of how different elements of a data space set-up work together.

I quickly turned my note into a note that is also an Excalidraw drawing (I could also have started from the note/excalidraw template I have, but only belatedly realised I hadn’t done that). I drew my own diagram alongside the presentation.


A note that is also an excalidraw image at the same time

Then we started working hands-on with some software which had a web interface. Following the links I added in my notes, I opened that web interface inside Obsidian itself using the Surf plugin.
This allowed me to very quickly alternate between visual and text as well as online material, taking and adding screenshots etc, all without ever leaving my note really.


Browsing a software tool inside Obsidian

As this emerged I realised how smooth it felt.

From now on I will aim to prepare for such sessions as this morning in a similar way.

Bookmarked Why te database version and how it’s going (by Tienson Qin)

Long time blog buddy Jörg Kantel, aka der Schockwellenreiter, points to the discussion above, on how Logseq is moving away from running on top of you file system towards a database tool. I understand how that may help solve the issues they indicate w.r.t. collaboration and synchronisation, but like Jörg I don’t like it when my stuff is locked away in some database structure I don’t have ready acces to from inside other apps and scripts. It’s why e.g. Joplin is out of bounds for me. For Jörg it’s even more key I think, as he seems to be blogging directly from his markdown files. (I write my blogposts in markdown in Obsidian, but have a micropub script to push it one time / one-way to my website.)

There’s an intriguing remark further down that page that they will maintain both the markdown files and add a database on top, to provide other tools access. I wonder how that will work in practice, and how it impacts the things they intend to solve with the database. I use the closed source Obsidian, and it too has some data stored outside the files that keeps track of graphs etc., and I wonder if this is what they mean or not.

Jörg is looking at Foam as a result. When I started using Obsidian a few months after its launch in March 2020, Foam was more like an idea on top of VS Code editor than an application. I could be tempted to look at Foam again, but using VS Code as its base is something that doesn’t appeal to me.

We’ll continue to support both file-based and database-based graphs, with a long-term goal of achieving seamless two-way sync between the database and markdown files. This will allow you to leverage the benefits of the database version while still being able to use other tools

Tienson Qin

In reply to It is bigger than a tiny little textbox by Dave Winer

What is biggger than a tiny little textbox, like the ones we get on social platforms, and a full blown CMS, like the editing back-end of my WordPress site? Asks Dave Winer. My current answer to that is: where I’m writing this reply now.

Mid 2022 Dave Winer talked about two-way RSS, which morphed into textcasting by the end of 2023. Now he’s looking at an editor that would work like that.

In my personal feed reader I added a form to post responses. You see Dave Winer’s posting that I’m responding to, and the response form.

The editor I am writing this in, is a simple webform underneath an entry in my feed reader. See the image above. Allowing me to respond while I’m reading feeds, and then move on to reading the next bit.

The editor allows me to set a title, keep the the title of the thing I’m responding to, or have no title. It can cater to different types of response (bookmark, favourite, reply). It can send to several WordPress sites (my blog, my company’s, the Dutch IndieWeb community site, and my company’s internal team site. As a post or a page.

Me writing this post in the response form in my feedreader.

But not just post to a website. It can post an online annotation to my Hypothes.is (the ‘H.’ response option at the top), and it can post to my local Obsidian markdown notes (the ‘obs’ site option underneath the edit boxes).

It accepts categories and tags as the same thing. The receiving site or location determines if one of the key-words is a category locally and treats the rest as tags.

It doesn’t use RSS except as source of the item I respond to, it uses the Micropub standard to talk to websites. It could use RSS or OPML. It accepts HTML and posts as Markdown to my notes. I just started tinkering with my feed reader and response form again, so I can take Dave’s question into account while doing that.

Now, the question: What’s between a tiny little text box and a full-blown content management system?
The question we intend to answer.
That’s what textcasting is for, to identity the essential features. This editor supports them.

Dave Winer

I have been interested in personal knowledge management (pkm) for a very long time. I have been an avid notes maker ever since I learned to write. Digital tools from the late 1980s onwards have been extremely useful. And a source of nerdy fascination, I confess. I am certain personal knowledge management (pkm) is of tremendous value for anyone who wants to keep learning and make sense of the world around them.

On March 22 and 23 the European PKM Summit is taking place in Utrecht, Netherlands. I have helped invite speakers and workshop hosts for this event. I am donating a ticket for a student in the Netherlands to attend this two day event.

Are you a student in the Netherlands with a strong interest in personal knowledge management (pkm)?
Is your interest in pkm to strengthen your personal learning and deepen your interests, rather than increasing (perceived) productivity?
Would you like to go to the PKM Summit on 22nd and 23 of March in Utrecht, but as a student can’t afford the 200 Euro ticket price?

Then I have one (1) conference ticket available! Let me know who you are and what fascinates you in pkm or attracts you to the event. If there are several people interested I will choose one. I will donate the ticket by March 8, so state your interest before then.

The single condition is that you attend the event on both days and participate actively. There is a session on the program that may be of interest, focused on pkm for students and teachers for learning and research contexts. It would be great if you would share some of your impressions of the event afterwards, especially if that is something you’d normally do anyway.

Interested? Email or DM me (in Dutch or English)!

On 22 and 23 March, roughly in a month, the first European personal knowledge management (pkm) summit will take place in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Over two days a varied line-up of PKM practitioners will present, show and discuss how they shqpe their personal learning and information strategies.

Personal knowledge management is enjoying a wave of renewed attention due to a new group of note making tools that has emerged in the past few years (such Roam, Logseq, Obsidian, Notion et al). But personal knowledge management is way older. People generally notice things around them, and strive to make sense of the world they live in, wether on a highly practical level or a more abstract one. The urge behind PKM therefore is deeply human. The methods and availability of tools have changed over time, as has the perspective on what constitutes personal knowledge.

Over two days a long list of well known and less well known practitioners of personal knowledge management is lined up. I had the pleasure of finding and approaching people to participate as speaker or as workshop host. This includes experienced voices like Harold Jarche. Next to invited speakers and hosts, there will be ample time on the schedule to do your own impromptu session, unconference style. The program will be shaped and finalised in the coming week or so.

The event is organised by the Dutch community ‘Digital Fitness’, and a non-profit effort. There is space for at most 200 people, and there are still tickets available. Tickets are 200 Euro for the two day event. The venue is a short walk from Utrecht Central Station, at Seats2Meet.

I hope to see you there!