Obsidian - Start Here

This was a page I designed to broadly introduce students to Obsidian and how we would use it in my course, Writing in Digital Environments.

Context: This was a page I designed to broadly introduce students to Obsidian and how we would use it in my course, Writing in Digital Environments.

Opening Notes

Welcome to our class Wiki, hosted on Obsidian!

Obsidian is a writing platform designed to foster a Knowledge Base, a form of networked thinking. While Obsidian itself is a bit of a niche technology, it is exemplary of many of the affordances of digital technology that we will discuss in this class--moreso than any writing platform that I've used. (And I've used a lot...)

A couple quick points:

  1. Obsidian has two main views: the editing view and the reading view. Hopefully you followed the instructions on Canvas to avoid turning on the recommended "Live Preview Mode": this will let you see the differences between these two views more clearly. To switch between these views, you have two options: you can either click the icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen (it will be either a set of glasses or a pencil, depending on your current view), or you can use an Obsidian hotkey. In this case, you will use either Cmd-E (Mac) or Ctrl-E (Windows).
  2. Obsidian documents exist in what is called a Vault. Vaults are essentially the "root level" folder for all the documents we will include here.
  3. To write in Obsidian, you will need to practice a writing-oriented markup language called Markdown. This will be unfamiliar at first, but is extremely easy. You'll get the swing of it quickly. You can look at the [[Markdown Information]] page, right here in our Vault, for some useful links about the language.

The Rules of the Road

Finally, I'll close this page with two very important "rules of the road" as we use Obsidian collaboratively as a class.

  1. Please stay out of the settings. Obsidian, as a basic file system, should be more than able to function collaboratively for our purposes. That being said, it was designed for a single user, which means that any global settings you change will affect all of our experiences in Obsidian. Therefore, please, stay out of the settings. (Though please reach out if you read about an interesting feature in Obsidian that you'd like for us to explore.)
  2. In general, you should always create notes of your own, and you should avoid editing the notes of others. You can (and will be required to) draw linked connections between your own notes and those of others only by editing notes of your own, as detailed on the [[Networking Notes]] page. Additionally, make sure to include appropriate metadata, including your name and your note's date of creation at the top of each note. See the [[Sample Concept Note]] for more a model that you can copy.
  • Markdown Information: This was a page I also included in our Vault linking to a variety of resources on Markdown, the markup language used by Obsidian.
  • Networking Notes: This page was included in our Vault to explain the practice of bi-directional linking in Obsidian.

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