Lovin it, but it's frazzling my brain

Hi All, I’m loving this new way of note-taking, but boy is it frazzling my brain.
I come from a background of years of taking notes in OneNote 2007, where everythig is laid out in nicely presented foldes and sub-folders (I stuck with the older version because it wasn’t cloud-integrated).
This new way of note-taking, writing everything out in the daily journal and deciding afterwards where it goes, or where it connects to, is mind-blowingly powerful compared to the old way of taking notes, but boy is it tricky to get started.
I’m currently studying the Functional Medicine view of the body, everything from inflammation, neurotransmitters, the microbiome, to stool transplants.
It is all inteconnected, which is why this type of note-taking makes so much sense and is infinately better that the old folder mechanism, but boy, what a learning curve! Everything in the body is pretty much interconnected with everything else, as I’m writing I find I need a new page for every term, and then interlinking all the newly created pages, or whether it could be a block ref or embed (and where does Daily Journaling fit in with all that), mind-boggling. I guess I could have chosen an easier subject to get started with lol :crazy_face:

So this isn’t really a question at all, however any links to articles helping a beginner understand the transition from folders to links and blocks would be gratefully received.

Edit: curently I’ve marked my #tags with the prefix tag/, so I can differentiate my tags from my pages, I’m so used to having tags solely as tags, don’t quite get the logic of having them the same as pages?

I guess it’s just a matter of struggling on till it all becomes crystal clear lol :slightly_smiling_face:

Many thanks, Smithy :upside_down_face:


I’m sure there are more complete references, videos, and articles, but I hope this might help you. And sorry if what I describe is already familiar to you!

I’m assuming that you’re coming from a page management system that uses discrete pages, and/or files to organize information.

In a system like that, you have several means for organization and information retrieval:

  • page titles

  • page content

  • Folder hierarchy (usually)

  • Search function

You might also have the following, depending on the app:

  • Tags

  • [[Wiki-style-links]] (a.k.a internal links, in Logseq)

With just page titles, page content, folder hierarchy, and search; you can find anything you want by:

  • Searching for title or content

  • Navigating the folder hierarchy

With just these means at your disposal, it’s important to have a folder hierarchy that makes sense. It’s also important to have discrete pages that have a specific scope. These pages should be in the proper folder, and their titles/filenames should ideally represent what they’re about. This is why, I think, you feel like you want to make sure your pages remain discrete from the tags and internal links. They have been important as discrete chunks of information organization up til now.

With apps that include tags (including Logseq), you can still use search to find title and content of any page. You also can find any page that includes a given tag, irrespective of folder hierarchy. That being said, hierarchical organization still is important, and with a flat tag system, folder hierarchy is the way to do that.

In Logseq, however, you can have namespaces, which (to my understanding), means hierarchical tags. So your tags could include, for example, #system/nervous, system/musculoskeletal, #system/circulatory and so on. /nervous, musculoskeletal, and circulatory in that case are namespaces within #system. You could go on to #system/circulatory/venous, #system/circulatory/arterial, and so on. This is one aspect of hierarchical organization that can allow you to separate from folder hierarchy.

In Logseq, as you already discovered, #tags automatically create their own page. When you click a the hyperlink for that specific tag, you’re taken to that page. Rather than thinking of this as clutter, consider this as an automatic table of contents generation for that particular topic. You can add #system/circulatory to all of your existing pages on that topic, and when you click the internal link generated, you’ll see them all listed as backlinks. This is a substitute for opening a folder in a folder hierarchy, but with more flexibility, including that you can also add content directly to the system/circulatory.md page.

As described so far, this is perhaps a less visually obvious form of hierachical organization than folder hierarchy, but far more flexible. On its own, that wouldn’t be enough to convert me. But everything described in the previous two paragraphs as applying to individual pages/files, also applies to individual blocks within each page. Logseq is an outliner, and blocks are individual bullets in the outline.

Any block can be assigned a tag, therefore that individual block can be referenced by that “parent” tag page. And every child block of that one will also be included, because tags (and other properties) are inherited by the block’s children

- Red blood cells look like little red berets #system/circulatory
    - It's pretty funny
    - They are generated in the bone marrow

The above block will appear in the page system/circulatory.md.

Bone marrow has to do with the muscuoloskeletal system. So why not tag that line.

- Red blood cells look like little red berets #system/circulatory
    - It's pretty funny
    - They are generated in the bone marrow #system/musculoskeletal

Now that last bullet point (and only it) will appear in system/musculoskeletal.md. If you find it there one day, and wonder what it was a part of, Logseq shows you a link to the block that it was a part of, and if you click that, you’ll visit the block about red blood cells looking like little red berets.

So now you have a system that gives you two types of hierarchical and relational organization: outline hierarchy and namespace hierarchy. You can use either one as much or as little as you want.

Another important point in reference to being less attached to discrete pages: With block hierarchy, any parent block is able to perform functions of both a discrete page, as well as a discrete folder. To think about this, look at a normal folder with text files in it. If you re-imagine that folder as a parent block, and ever file in it as a child block, and if there happen to be subfolders, they too become children, with child-blocks of their own. This is what blocks allow you to do in Logseq. And blocks can be large-document length, of course, but they’re perhaps most useful as bite-sized pieces.

I came from Obsidian, and never really got the appeal of doing daily pages there. But with block-level tagging and hierarchical tag inheritance in block children, I can assign a flow of items and ideas to various places without ever having to navigate anywhere. I just adjust outline hierarchy and apply tags, and everything magically shows up in the appropriate place. I can do more organization later if I want to.

I’ve been speaking of tags in the sense of hierarchy. Additionally, you have [[internal links]] that can connect one page to another, one block to another, etc. And as you probably noticed, internal links and tags are nearly identical.

There is still plenty of use for discrete pages. It’s just that what requires a discrete page is completely different in Logseq. Longer content is still probably better organized as discrete pages. Within discrete pages, all of the possiblities of tags (at the page level, and within that, at the block level), internal links, and queries embellish what a page can do.

So my advice would be to experiment with some dummy pages and tag them, add blocks with tags and internal links and child-blocks within them, getting to know how all of this stuff actually works. Once you have a sense of it, make sure all of your real pages have at least one tag, even if it’s something like #to-sort. Then remove the tag prefix from the tags you created, and start getting to know how to view your pages from the perspective of that tag metadata that connects them.

I’m still new at all this. If reading long screeds like this isn’t how you learn best, check out some videos or wait for others to chime in. Good luck!