Personal Knowledge Management

My most important rule regarding this: Keep it simple. There are tons of sources out there; PARA, L Y T, ROAM, Bear etcetcetc. But in the end it boils down to this: no system of PKM can replace practice, it can only help structuring your practice.

So, just start writing and see to it that you keep on doing it. You can start organising along the way.


Write atomized and interlinked. Every Zettel cares about one thing only and has a unique identifier (the filename or alpha-numerical ID). The identifier is used to link between the notes.

Zettlr1 or Obsidian2 are built like that, on top of a an archive of markdown text-files. Which I personally prefer for practical as well as ideological reasons. Obsidian has the advantage that it automatically updates the links when you change a filename. Since I prefer human-readable links, I prefer Obsidian for the management of the notes, but Zettlr for it’s integration of an academic writing workflow (referencing and export). That might change when Obsidian is able to handle my Zotero reference database.

There are different kind of notes3

How I organise my Zettel

They are all in one folder. Exceptions are transitory notes and journal notes. The transitory notes are more like scribbles on a paper that could be thrown away without anybody be hurt. Journal notes are kept in a separate folder because their filename looks ugly and they are many!

I use tags to mark formats or states.

Format Tags

Format tags are used to decline the output channels. These are for example essay, research-log or talk. I add #website to notes that I’ll put on my website.

State Tags

I use tags to know if I should expand a note or just include it.

Structure of a note



  2. https://obsidian.html↩︎