Obsidian - an external rhizomatic brain

Earlier this week I started using Obsidian, an offline tool similar to Roam that links and networks ideas.

Obsidian on a glossary of design terms page

I have used a variety of tools in the past for note-taking. I’ve used Standard Notes, Left, and plain notebooks to keep a record of knowledge and things that I need to remember. Without recording information in some form, I find that I am constantly forgetting things that I’ve learnt and that recall is very difficult.

Obsidian in graph mode, showing connections like a spider web

Enter Obsidian. Like Roam, it utilises the Zettelkasten method of note-taking. Notes and thoughts are structured laterally and making connections between things is actively encouraged. The way this operates is much like how HTML documents function, only there is also an added visual graph that allows for more of a rhizomatic navigation of ideas.

Obsidian files all stored locally as Markdown documents

I am currently using this tool to record and gather information on web development and design terminology. There are already links starting to open up between the two, and potential links that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of unless I’d seen the two ideas side-by-side. This is quite possibly the most creative form of information management that I’ve ever come across, one that I intend on using for my own projects.