One of the things that I know has been holding me back is my organisation and process for capturing, storing, accessing, and assimilating information. I’ve been all over the place, digital and paper-based, trying different apps and systems (evernote, roam research, one note, obsidian, logseq), but I think I have found my solution.
And the proof is – I’ve been reading and capturing and making notes this last two days and it feels good.
I’ve been hovering between Obsidian and Logseq (pronounced log-seek for logical sequence) but after trying both for a while and watching YouTube ‘how-to’ videos I have settled on Logseq + Readwise. Why? Well, let me tell you.
I discovered that Logseq has a function where I can import an ‘asset’ (pdf for example) and open in a left-hand pane while I type notes on it in the right-hand one. But it doesn’t stop there … I can also highlight text within the pdf and copy the reference over to my notes. This reference is clickable, which means I can easily find it later if I want to read the context around it. I have already made notes on two papers and it is soooo easy and useful. For me anyway.
Logseq has many other great things I like –
- it is written in markdown so transferable out of the Logseq garden
- it is stored locally on my machine so no nefarious cloud transfers or proprietary storage
- it has a great community and lots of helpful resources.
Being written locally can cause problems for multiple devices, however I store my folder in OneDrive (approved by my institution so OK for sensitive stuff) and there is a sync process being developed by the people at Logseq for the future.
What about the other app I sneaked in – Readwise?
I’d heard about Readwise kinda peripherally but not properly looked into it until I saw that it synced with Logseq. I was curious so went to discover more. I realised I could import pdfs into Readwise, annotate and highlight, and they would be pulled into Logseq automatically. Excellent. This got around being away from my laptop and reading on my Boox e-reader (saves my eyes). I can read articles etc in Readwise on Boox and any notes and highlights will be transferred to Loqseq. Readwise also works on other platforms such as Kindle and Google Books.
As a side note, Readwise also takes care of email newsletters I am subscribed to, which will stop my inbox being clogged up. Plus it can save Tweets and do many other useful things. You can even save and watch YouTube videos within Readwise and annotate alongside them – though I haven’t tried this yet.
Bonus – there’s a special student discount which makes in vastly more affordable.
I can’t write an essay within Logseq, well I can but it doesn’t transfer to word cleanly (yet), but I can take notes, organise my thoughts, and use the graph feature to see connections. There’s a whiteboard space for diagrams, and a ‘cards’ system for testing your knowledge (I’m going to use this for my Italian learning). It’s currently totally free, with a lot of community plugins to add functionality. I’m sure there will be premium versions later, including the sync feature for instance, but the basics will always be free, open-sourced, and useful.