Op 20 november a.s. vanaf 20:00 vindt de derde Nederlandstalige Obsidian meet-up plaats! Dit keer geïnitieerd door @CABenstein in het Nederlandstalige kanaal op de Obsidian Discord. Je kunt je aanmelden op Eventbrite, of anders laat even van je horen op Discord.

Tijdens de sessie is er alle tijd om tips en tricks uit te wisselen over het werken met Obsidian. Zelf ben ik altijd erg geïnteresseerd hoe het persoonlijk kennismanagementproces (pkm posts op dit blog) van mensen is georganiseerd, en hoe ze dat in hun tools vormgeven. Over de eerste meet-up schreef ik een impressie, en dat deden Wouter en Frank ook.

Schuif aan!

Yesterday I had a conversation with Andy Sylvester about the tools I use for my personal process for taking in information, learning and working. He posted our conversation today, as episode 8 in his ‘thinking about tools for thought‘ podcast series. In the ‘show notes’ he links to my series on how I use Obsidian that I wrote a year ago. This is still a good overview of how I use mark down files for pkm and work, even if some details have changed in the year since I wrote it. I also mentioned Respec, which is how I directly publish a client website on a series of EU laws from my notes through GitHub. And not in Andy’s show notes but definitely worth a mention is Eastgate’s Tinderbox.

In reply to Indexing, filing systems, and the art of finding what you havee by Austin Kleon

What I have started doing last April, following a tip by Wouter Groeneveld during the first Dutch language Obsidian meet-up, is scanning notebooks (I use a camera above the notebook activated with a foot button, so you can quickly flip through it). Those scans are available as a folder in my notes app (obsidian.md), where I work through them to create an index first, and to turn them into notes within my digital system later when it becomes useful / of interest.

A writer has to have a system for going back through old work and finding ideas….

But I have a ton of material that never makes it online, and I need to get it out of my notebooks and into an indexed and fully searchable system. I think this will be easiest if I do it as I go, and keep it simple: the minute I finish a notebook, go back and type the whole thing into a .txt file and save it. (And back it up.)

I suspect that rather than being totally dreary, this transcribing step can also be a creative step, and I will see patterns of thought, generate new ideas…

Austin Kleon

Ever since I was a child in primary school, my mental image of a year has been that of a circle, with January and December at the bottom, and July and August at the top (you’ll notice that this means the months aren’t evenly spaced around the circle in my mental image, spring takes up less of the circle than the fall. It’s a mental image, not a precise graph, likely influenced by my childhood sense of the endlessness of summers, and the long period of darkening days of fall and winter).

My mental image of a year ever since childhood

This Monday I completed a full circle around that image: I’ve been reading my own blog posts from previous years on each day, to see which of those I can take an idea or notion from to convert into a note in my digital garden (named ‘Garden of the Forking Paths‘). Peter has been going around the circle with me I read today (which in turn prompted me to write this), starting from my posting about it last year. He’s been reading his old blogposts every day, not just to reread but also to repair links, bring home images to self-host, clean up lay-out etc. I’m sure I am and have been my own blog’s most avid reader ever since I started writing in this space 19 years ago, and like Peter had been using my ‘on this day’ widget to repair old blog posts since I added the widget in early 2019.

Now I’ve come full circle on reading those blogposts for a year to mine them for their ideas and notions. The next cycle until the summer of 2022 I am adding a layer.

I will of course be making another round through my own blogposts like I did before. Because sometimes I missed a day, I haven’t repaired all of them each day, and I may take new meaning from them the next time I read them.
The layer I’m adding is also reviewing the personal notes I made on this day last year. This concerns the daily notes I make (a habit I started in April 2020), the other notes I’ve created on a certain date (work notes, ideas, travel etc), and indeed the blog posts I converted to notes dated on this day last year.

I see Frank has also picked up on Peter’s posting, and is embarking on a year of reading his own daily postings as well. Like Frank, I have never blogged on this day of the year since this blog started. And like for his blog, that has now changed.

Going in circles… I suspect life is circles, not turtles, all the way down. At least when you get a bit older that is.

I have changed the way I add date tags to my PKM notes. It used to be in the form of #2021- #2021-02-26. This as my main viewer on these notes, Obsidian, only supports search on full tag names, so searching on #2021- does not surface #2021-02 as tag. In December Obsidian introduced nested tags, which you can do by adding a / in between, like in #maintag/subtag/subsubtag etc. Normally I am adverse to sorting tags into hierarchies, tags are not categories after all. But for dates a nested hierarchy is useful: now I can add #2021/02/26 as tag, but in search that will return results for #2021/ and for #2021/02 too. It took a bit of time, but I’ve now replaced all my old date related tags with the new nested tags. An added benefit is that it cleans up my taglist enormously, as all tags related to a year are collapsed into one.