As I’m digging further into the Obsidian tool, I’ve also been taking a closer look at how I assemble my notes. I came across a fantastic article from Nick Seitz that dug into a lot of the first steps one might take with Obsidian, and it included the push to use “propositional titles”.
In short, he’s advising that you title your notes as a claim for what is expressed in the note, rather than vague thoughts about it. He offers three examples:
- “Relationship between art and truth” becomes “Art is a means of disclosing reliable, true knowledge.”
- “Literacy of Puritans in late 18th century America” becomes “American Puritans of the late 18th century were highly literate.”
- “Learning through linking” becomes “Linking ideas together helps us remember ideas and use them.”
The reasoning behind this is essentially two-fold.
First, it makes it easier to see connections between two notes. If it’s super clear what the content of the note really is, you may be more apt to recognize that when trying to find more material. Rather than seeing a suggestive title, you’ll see a specific claim and you can quickly process the meaning of it.
Second, it will help you focus your writing. If you title it with a clear claim, you know exactly where your thoughts on that subject should begin and end.
Andy Matuschak offers another option and says that leaving note titles as questions can work too “because that position creates pressure to make the question get to the core of the matter“.
In any case, this is something I’m continuing to work on. While I do a pretty good job of tying notes together as needed, the titles are often an afterthought. As I work to tighten them up in the future, it should serve me well.