Recently a friend and colleague told me about Obsidian, a “knowledge-base” application that uses markdown files and plain text to connect all your notes and thoughts and whatever else you create in there. There is a slight learning curve for mastering all of its features (I know I’m not there yet), but it can be as simple or robust as you want.
Since starting with Obsidian, I now use it for almost all of my individual professional work (it’s easier to stay in Microsoft for any shared docs). That includes class ideas, writing, notes, this blog. The Zotero-Obsidian connection is, quite frankly, beyond amazing. I can highlight and annotate my PDFs in Zotero, and then with a couple community plugins, collect all those annotations into Obsidian.
And there are so many community plugins that can do almost anything. Want to collect all your notes with the same tag? Plugin for that. Want to make nice tables? Plugin for that. Want to automate initiative and dice rolls in your TTRPG? Plugin for that.
And speaking of TTRPG, I have a separate vault (think separate notebook) with all the 5e D&D rules and am setting up more information so I can use Obsidian to DM my next campaign. There are many websites, examples, videos of folks that use Obsidian in this way, and they are great resources.
I think many people get into Obsidian for its map of the mind or zettelkasten capabilities. With its backlinking capabilities, it connects notes and creates a graphical representation of how your ideas connect. The big idea here is that this model helps people discover connections they hadn’t considered. Honestly, I haven’t really made it this far in my Obsidian journey yet, but I look forward to getting there!
I recommend that people should check out this free and brilliant app!