Curated Resource ( ? )

How I Use Obsidian at Work | Nicole van der Hoeven

How I Use Obsidian at Work | Nicole van der Hoeven

my notes ( ? )

NvdH's complete overview of her usage of Obsidian. My first step in transitioning from Roam is to Hub this with my thoughts (PS she has a video):

Setup

  • multiple Obsidian vaults, each version-controlled Git repository on GitHub.
  • plus main Obsidian vault in a Dropbox for extra version control and backup
  • "Just for overkill" Obsidian Sync as another backup + easy access via iPad & Android
  • Obsidian Publish to create her wonderful Fork My Brain site, "an experiment in learning in public that’s gone pretty well so far"
  • Cost: ~$16/m

FWIW: I'll use Onedrive for backup, which I pay for anyway, and am experimenting with massive.wiki to publish a site based on selected Obsidian notes as a pilot of the future MyHub.ai described in my upcoming PKGBook chapter.

The question I have is this: why multiple vaults? Surely the idea is to link things together? Why put them in silos?

Inputs to Obsidian

She uses multiple tools to curate content, but like many people they all lead back to using Readwise" to sort through these notes, which are then imported into Obsidian "using a process I describe in more detail here.... Here’s an example of my notes during a presentation ... [on] chaos engineering. "

FWIW: everyone uses readwise, it's a great tool. But I curate stuff into my PKM using myhub.ai, currently bypassing my private Library (Roam, Obsidian...). I guess I'll have to choose from the outset whether I'll annotate a resource straight to my public Hub or into Obsidian, and figure out how to get it onto MyHub later. Either way it's not ideal: stuff I Hub (like this) won't actually be in my private Library in Obsidian.

The obvious solution is to build an "Obsidian to MyHub" importer, or even as a temporary measure figure out how to import into Obsidian via my hub's RSS feeds???

Synthesising knowledge

Synthesising knowledge is what she calls "process[ing] notes iteratively, first restating things into my own words and then creating my own notes about concepts I’ve learned... I try to identify key concepts and create backlinks for them... [eg] typing [[Chaos engineering]]... click on that new link, it creates a page for it. Over time, I end up with a page like this one on Chaos Engineering that is a consolidation of what I’ve learned."

FWIW: that page is essentially a zettelkasten index ("Overview" in future myhub.ai, currently Service pages). She glosses over the work involved in turning a simple automatically generated menu of resources tagged [[Chaos engineering]] into an actual synthesis, of course: it doesn't happen by magic. But that work means you learn. How useful is the page to visitors? Obviously, less useful than it is to its author, but much more useful than simply a list of resources or even myhub cards.

Beyond creating these Overview pages, she "think about where this new piece of knowledge fits ... putting it somewhere on my personal map of interests so that I’m more likely to use that knowledge later... chaos engineering fit into my page on Nonfunctional testing."

Unlike Roam, Obsidian's graph view actually looks like it could be useful: "I can assign colors to nodes based on the directory they’re in, their tags, words they can contain, and a lot of other criteria... easy to see clusters in things I’ve thought or written about."

Publishing

Finally, the paid Publish service simply provides a module allowing her "to click the Publish icon, selecting the notes to add, delete, or modify, and then selecting Publish", as well as a default host (publish.obsidian.md). She however publishes to her own domain using Higo, one of many static site generators which use markdown files. Using a GitHub repo as the basis for a site is thus a way around Obsidian's Publish service, as the Obsidian-GitHub plugin is free.

That's why she manages her employer's product documentation, stored in markdown in GitHub, using Obsidian for the "plugins, like Advanced Tables ... templates to standardize the format of notes you make often, see[ing] an outline of what you’re writing based on Markdown headings". Search is better, and she "can choose an Obsidian theme that matches the theme of the published site... so I can see what it will actually look like for users".

Also useful: "every note ... has an Obsidian URI... opens up a note within a specified vault... [including it in] internal documentation means I can switch easily from browsing on GitHub to modifying the same page in Obsidian on my local machine".

FWIW: harder to get that working in multiplayer, though - the site would have to provide each user with his/her personalised URI per page. Still worth looking into.

Moreover, you can embed stuff using iframes: the Obsidian desktop app acts just like a normal browser".

Productivity tricks

Templates for meetings (and more?)

"meeting notes help me focus on the meeting... Templates let you define the format of a note... insert templates into notes with a keyboard shortcut" and share by sending a PDF export? Perhaps in the future you'd share the notes with the participants group, giving edit, comment or read access.

Presentations

Turn note into presentation "by adding --- between paragraphs of text to delineate slides". This is cool as your notes and your presentation of it are the same doc, viewed differently: "click Options > Start presentation".

For more sophisticated presentations: "publish the slides in presentation format ... while still keeping my slides as Markdown files in my vault. Here’s a whole post on how to do that" using slides.com.

Tasks

This is something I don't use properly in Roam. On the one hand I love the idea of just turning a bullet into a ToDo with a simple click, and being able to see at a glance all my ToDos for any particular tag(s). But I use Asana for my client teams, and so use it also for myself. And noone needs 2 task management systems.

Roam has Kanbans, but it always seemed to be too much work to set up given my clients couldn't use it anyway. Apparently Obsidian's ToDos and "Kanban plugin turns Markdown task lists into full-on Kanban boards" - ie, each note can be its own Kanban board, analogous to presentations. Each task can have due dates and tags. I don't yet see if you can grab all tasks related to tag(s), put them on a board and move them around.

Calendar, Weekly & Daily notes, time mgt

"The Calendar plugin is Obsidian’s most popular plugin... lets me add a calendar on the sidebar". But again, I already have one?

It nevertheless integrates with the "weekly notes option... clicking on the W column in the calendar takes me to a note that is automatically created for that week" and of course the "clicking on a date ... takes me to the" daily note, as long as you've enabled the Daily Notes core plugin.

She uses daily notes to log the day and - via timestamped headings - as "a loose way to do time management".

Dataview

"The Dataview plugin ... brings something akin to SQL... lets you query your notes based on some file-related metadata as well as parameters you set in your frontmatter."

I imagine templates which preload frontmatter must help.

Collaborate

This is probably relevant to massive.wiki: Obsidian can open any folder of .md files as a vault, so just "add the .obsidian directory to the .gitignore file" and use Obsidian to edit a repo - noone else will actually know.

Alternatively: put a shared vault on Dropbox, which "let us edit notes and see each other’s edits in real time", rather than Git's version control approach. This can get complex "if the Dropbox vault is also a Git repository... checking out a different branch will also change the contents of the directory for the other person".

Read the Full Post

The above notes were curated from the full post nicolevanderhoeven.com/blog/20210518-how-i-use-obsidian-at-work/?utm_source=pocket_mylist.

Related reading

More Stuff I Like

More Stuff tagged knowledge management , myhub , roamresearch , zettelkasten , obsidian , pkm , massive.wiki

See also: Digital Transformation , Thinking tools (Overview) , Zettelkasten (Overview)

Cookies disclaimer

MyHub.ai saves very few cookies onto your device: we need some to monitor site traffic using Google Analytics, while another protects you from a cross-site request forgeries. Nevertheless, you can disable the usage of cookies by changing the settings of your browser. By browsing our website without changing the browser settings, you grant us permission to store that information on your device. More details in our Privacy Policy.

I agree