Markdown-based knowledge base

Tutorial – Obsidian

Article from Issue 247/2021
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Obsidian helps you think and work more effectively by giving you a tool to record, connect, and catalog your ideas and related notes.

Our minds work in mysterious ways. No matter how hard we try, we cannot always direct our thoughts in an ordered succession of steps, ignoring distractions. It can be equally hard to spot useful links between apparently unrelated pieces of data or to remember all the relevant information connected to a particular issue.

Software programs attempting to make these processes more efficient can take many forms, from desktop or personal "wikis," to "knowledge bases," or "mind mappers." But their general goal is the same: to help users document and connect their ideas as efficiently as possible. This tutorial describes one of these tools, the basic version of Obsidian [1], which runs on Linux and other platforms and is free of charge for personal and educational use.

Main Features

Obsidian, describes itself as a "knowledge base," a "second brain," and a "note multiplexer." It's an Electron application for making notes that makes it easier to catalog, connect, and even publish them. Each Obsidian note is a plain text file, formatted according to the Markdown syntax [2], which is very efficient for formatting text and recording ideas, and so straightforward to use it is almost self-explanatory. In the Obsidian interface, you can view and edit as many notes as your screen and eyesight allow, each in its own pane. Each separate collection of notes (text files) is stored in a "Vault," which is just a normal folder in your filesystem.

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