Personal Knowledge Management with linked notes 🔗

I am an extensive note-taker.

Today, I began writing a new note in my note-taking app of choice, Bear. This note is of a new kind. It Is metadata or context for existing information in my repository in order to adopt a new approach to organise the knowledge I have accumulated over the years. While my notes are already quite organised, filed under tags and nested sub-tags for convenient access, there is a need for improvement. As the number of notes increase over time, I realise that using tags as the sole form of organisation is neither efficient nor sufficient.

While I have come across the the concept of Personal Knowledge Management earlier, the real trigger for me today to revisit the existing structure was coming across a new note-taking app known as Obsidian. It is a thing of beauty.

Why is it so good?

Well, to begin with it is free for personal use, treats links across notes as a central feature, uses plain text markdown format files and stores everything locally on your computer. This is absolutely perfect. It competes with Roam Research and punches way above its weight for an app that was made just now during the quarantine, is released as a public beta with v1 still awaited.

Obsidian is as of now only for desktop operating systems. I take a lot of notes on my iPad and hence need a solution which can work across my laptop, iPad and my phone. I will eagerly await the release of their mobile version to give it a spin.

Coming back to Personal Knowledge Management, what I observed about my own note-taking method was that I did capture quite a bit of information and file it away under various tags. However, I never leveraged the potential of linked notes to have a zoomed out or birds-eye view of my notes allowing me to plan and think with greater structure.

Bear has supported links for a long time now and today I have finally begun exploring this capability and its benefits. As Bear is present across all my devices, supports markdown and uses plain text, I greatly prefer to use this as my default note-taking app for personal knowledge management and will continue to work on this app as long as it fits the purpose.

Using links to extensively reference existing notes across clusters of related topics, I can thread together a view of the available information in a way which is context aware and continually additive in nature. Navigating this structure feels like using your own personal wiki to effortlessly discover and access all your knowledge, even if you had captured it a long time ago, for a specific purpose today. I will continue to use this method over the coming weeks to make my notes easier to navigate and hence inherently more useful to me over time.

The next big feature, which I do hope one day comes to Bear, is a graph visualisation of all links across notes in the database. Guess what — even this is already a feature in Obsidian, all while it still remains in beta.

Impressive indeed.

#productivity #notes

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