#Tags and the Size of My Ideas

Tags vs. Empty Pages.

I've been adding some tags to my Obsidian graph, and I've been enjoying how they provide focal points that tie together sometimes disparate elements of my work. It will help me, for example, to be able to find all the book reviews I've done of Environmental History monographs or articles. It will help me to find all the times I've mentioned Capitalism or Socialism.

But wait, you say! Capitalism and Socialism, and even EnvHist must be PAGES in the graph already, since they're topics I'm very interested in? Actually, as it turns out, I've made a page for Capitalism, but only as a brief description to use with my students, and not at all yet for the two others. And this may be a point worth considering. As I'm gathering information from varieties of sources on topics that interest me, but haven't gotten to the point of writing something that really relates to my fully (or even partially) formed ideas on the topic, I still need a way to be able to visualize the connections. This will actually help me determine how interested I am in a topic, I think.

And as I said, it turns out that the page I've written on Capitalism is actually just a short description of the term in the context of my Modern World History class. So although it includes the seeds, probably, of what I'll want to say about #Capitalism in history, it isn't by any means a final expression of my thoughts on the topic.

So I'm thinking I'll begin using tags to a much greater degree than I had been planning. The additional advantage, of course, is that tags are a different color on the graph! This i snot at all trivial. I'm beginning to look at my graph with the "empty" nodes shut off (that is, "Existing Files Only" set on in the Filters). I haven't been as diligent as I'd like to be, filling in those nodes with info that makes then more central to my graph. I also haven't been doing as much as I'd like, to review the notes I've already made.

I've started doing that review. One of the things I'm noticing that I had not thought of before, as I'm revisiting and reviewing Daily Notes and Morning Pages I had input in Roam Research and migrated over to Obsidian, is that I had made a LOT of links to names like Luhmann in Roam, because every paragraph was a block. I basically got in the habit of double-bracketing keywords EVERY TIME I typed them, because every paragraph was going to be a new block and I wanted them all to be linked. This created WAY TOO MANY links that aren't really useful.

The point seems to be, how much is a complete thought? I think for me it's probably closer to a page than to a paragraph. Weirdly, I think the Daily Notes I wrote in Roam were too long and rambling. I was aware that each of those paragraphs were a complete thought, so I could just jump from one to the next. As I look at them, I feel like I need to move some things to their own pages.

This, for example, is about 600 words, which I think is a reasonable page-length in a screen-based writing app. It corresponds, I suppose, to about two typed pages in the old-fashioned world of hard copy essay-writing. Seems like I need to say things in 500 words or so.