By Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel
AS I RAMP UP teaching materials for a module I'm teaching about digital transformation, I've decided to migrate my Personal Knowledge Management process from Notion and Roam Research to Obsidian. I'm migrating because I believe I can teach principles of Zettelkasten and PKM with a series of hands-on tutorials that students complete with their own instances of Obsidian.
I like the cross-talk I've seen between Obsidian developers and the Obsidian community. Judging by the hundreds of community plug-ins, Obsidian has a user base that overlaps a demographic a student demographic. The MA students I have are mid-career professionals who need to know how to manage a flow of information that I will share with them as we develop a better understanding of the forces of digital transformation in the 2020s. I will have a password-protected Obsidian vault that contains all the essential materials connected with the academic module. My students will explore those learning materials and they will learn how to contribute to this shared collection of readings, images, video clips, and audio snipppets.
Owning Your Data
I think it's important to save material you've created and to store that material in places that your control. Obsidian sets up folders on my Microsoft Surface Book and through a set daily routine, I add actionable content to those folders. I discovered that everything I add to Obsidian automatically backs up on OneDrive. I've been able to open my Obsidian vault on another computer after copying its contents to another computer. Power users offer important tips about source file conflicts that I've taken on board. I'm very happy to be able to see part of my PKM system within 20 minutes of setting up my Obsidian vault on my laptop.
It's a website protected by a password that I will give to my students.
Connecting My Daily Routines
Obsidian has a variety of plug-ins that grab content from several services I have used for more than a decade.
- Readwise.io connects to my vault.
- Todoist shows upcoming tasks and completed tasks with links to support information.
- Pinboard.in syncs with my Obsidian vault.
- I can connect all or part of my Obsidian vault to the my Ghost site.
Now it's up to me to review all the links and content that drop into Obsidian from paid subscriptions I read inside Kindle, Feedly, Instapaper, Stoopinbox. I pay to get Washington Post, the Irish Times, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Each of those apps have Share Sheet options to Instapaper, Readwise, or directly to Obsidian. I plan to review the best way of going directly from my premium content sources to Obsidian where I can distill the content for review by students.
I grew accustomed to the dashboards I tweaked inside Roam Research and Notion. During the next week, I will create special dashboards for my use.
- Daily Dashboard
- Research Projects
Let me know if you're an Obsidian user. I'd like to discuss eureka moments that new Obsidian users acclaim. Those a-ha moments could help inspire my students as we ramp up to a shared PKM System.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative leadership on the Clonmel campus of the Technological University of the Shannon.]