09-Oct-21: Logseq 0.4.3 (Pre)Release, Left Sidebar, Block vs Page, Zettelkasten and Export

This week the devs took a well deserved week off for National Day and Golden Week in China. Even with the team being out of the office, we have had several new additions and discussion points.

Releases

0.4.3 (Pre-Release)

  • The magical left sidebar makes an appearance. This feels so much more intuitive to me.
  • We can now rename a page by clicking its title instead of having to click the three dots and rename.
  • Improvements to editing notes through keyboard shortcuts and more intuitive actions
  • Can now copy multiple block references
  • DWIM (do what I mean) for Enter key when editing. Context-awareness of Enter key makes editing easier.
  • Fix to the case sensitive titles.
How the new Logseq looks with the left sidebar

Please note that the above is a Pre Release issued to test out a major UX/UI change (the magical left sidebar). An official release that irons out a few quirks will be available soon.

Workflows

Block vs Page

  • @Eric1979 opened with a question that I believe many people have when taking notes from meetings with different people. “What I like is the possibility to see on a Project page (or a Person page) all the notes and tasks I had noted in relation to it (to her/him).” The complication comes as “I do not know if I should take meeting notes directly in my daily journal:
  • Or, create a page for every meeting and put a link from the daily journal:
  • Although Option 1 seems much simpler, I am afraid daily journal entries get huge.”
  • In response to this question, it seems that the consensus of users would opt for option 1 due to its simplicity and @Bailey Jennings mentions that “no matter how big a page gets, you can always zoom into the block tree you are focusing on, and that becomes the ‘page.'”.
  • I am more of an option 2 type. I like this approach as it allows me to see from a high level what I did on a particular day with the possibility of going deeper where required. The beauty of it all is that it is a matter of preference and whatever works to make you take productive notes that you can actively recall.

Zettelkasten

  • @Mispille is interested in the Zettelkasten flow and the use of keywords and tags. “On 1 hand, it seems widely accepted that they should be about how we want to retrieve this atomic idea/note, and not generic ideas. And OTOH, on nearly all examples, you see like 18 totally generic tags dumped on a note. And then I also got totally confused on indexes/tag indexes/MOC as they seem to be nearly the same things, but some examples make the distinctions very clever regarding the author’s work. In the end, doesn’t using keywords and Indexes/MOC serves the same purpose and is 2x the same work?”
  • @qwxlea provided an excellent response with their workflow here. Copy included below as it is too good to pass up:

The “original” Zettelkasten had no tags, just links to other related notes. There are many ways how to organize notes, and there is no “correct” way, but I use the following, which is Zettelkasten-adjacent.

Kinds of notes

  • tech notes: stuff copied from the net, how do I this thing in python, bash, git etc (not part of zettelkasten)
  • reference note: notes & highlights based on: articles, videos, books etc
  • literary notes: notes, in my own words, based on reference notes and my own views
  • permanent notes: atomic key ideas, sourced from my literary notes. These are my ideas, not quotes or highlights. These are the zettels from zettelkasten. Also called evergreen notes.
  • index notes: collection notes, with links to literary and permanent notes in a specific realm / subject.

Tags, keywords and links

On Logseq they’re all the same, you can either use [[something]] or #something, they’re virtually interchangable.

If your tags are too general and not focused enough you end up with wikipedia. That’s not bad, but it does not help “growing knowledge”, You’ll have too many unimportant tags. You’ll get used to ignore your tags.

Better are tags/keywords that are short phrases that help you think. An example of an evergreen / permanent note: https://notes.andymatuschak.org/z4SDCZQeRo4xFEQ8H4qrSqd68ucpgE6LU155C
His links are (mine are in [[]]):

  • Evergreen notes should be [[atomic]]
  • Evergreen notes should be [[concept-oriented]]
  • Evergreen notes should be [[densely linked]]
  • Prefer [[associative ontologies]] to [[hierarchical taxonomies]]
  • [[Write notes for yourself]] by default, [[disregarding audience]] -> alias [[disregard audience]]

But many people, me included, use Logseq for more then just zettelkasten, so I also use short, one word, tags that help me find tasks tasks / meetings etc.

Note taking workflow:

  1. Read/watch something interesting -> turn it into a reference note: collect highlights, and the best ideas (I often do this on my daily page under its own heading)
  2. Go over those notes again, but now find the best ideas, and rewrite them into one or more literary notes. Use your own words, use descriptive tags so that the note links to past and future notes in the same realm.
  3. Make a link to your new literary note(s) to one of your index notes
  4. Go over a specific index card, look at the (new) literary notes and try to find one separate idea you have not written about yet. From those create one (or more) permanent notes.
  5. Links your permanent note to other permanent notes (and indexes). These notes form the backbone of your knowledge base.
  • This is their system and everybody has their ideas about what works best. Suggest starting small and using the system to set your flow. Definitely avoid spending all your time perfecting it beforehand.

Export Pages

  • We should soon have significantly more usability of our notes outside of Logseq as the devs are working on adding Pandoc for pdf and other format exporting. Looking forward to this as it should make sharing or printing notes a lot simpler.

All Pages View

  • I feel like all pages should remove / segregate the journal pages (maybe through a folder in all pages called journals), especially as it is now much more prominent. I have about 600 journal pages and it makes the all pages cumbersome as I have to keep scrolling down (when sorted on page name) before I reach proper pages.
  • This also might improve the speed of loading the all pages in the future as each day that passes a page is added and this might cause issues in n years.
  • Hopefully a few changes and inclusion of requested additions will make this area of Logseq a lot more usable.

Mobile App

  • We should hopefully have some news on the Mobile app (some preparations behind the scene are being made)

Logseq vs Roam

  • A few posts this week asked about the differences between Logseq and Roam (is this maybe because of the “Great Reddit Purge” on the Roam subreddit?). Anyway, that comical episode aside, although the tools are relatively similar, there are a few differences which have been summarised perfectly by @Luhmann:
    • Logseq stores its files in plain text on your computer. This means that you can always read and access your data even if you don’t have Logseq. (Obsidian does too. Roam does not.)
    • Logseq has task management built in. I need this a lot and had to install all kinds of third party plugins to Roam to get it to do basic task management. Having it built in means it is better supported.
    • Logseq doesn’t care if a page is titled [apple] or [Apple]. I need this too, because I often write the same thing differently. In Roam I ended up with multiple pages with slightly different names.
    • Related is the support for aliases in Logseq, which allow you to easily give a completely different name to the same page and have it still link to the same place.
    • I personally feel the Logseq developers are more responsive and more responsible. The Roam developer wrote a long diatribe about how it is wrong/impossible to have a roadmap, while Logseq has a very public roadmap, which they are following up on as promised.
  • Hopefully this post does not get deleted to have the audacity to compare Roam to something else.

Other Topics

  • @CatoMinor made an excellent poll on Twitter asking ex-Roam Researchers which tool they moved on to. What surprised me the most was the percentage of people that moved from an outliner style tool to the full form experience of Obsidian.