Organizing Different Types of Notes with File Names

Hey guys!

I have a question regarding the best way to organize different types of notes. This is very much an arbitrary way to manage notes, but I’d appreciate any input your may have.

Creating a New Directory For A New Year

I come from using vim and vimwiki for my notes system with markdown, what I’ve been doing there is creating a new directory every year where I start fresh with my notes. I’d love to know what would be the best way to organize things in this way with org-mode.

Keeping The Most Import Files

Of course when I create a new directory for example 2021, I don’t want to loose my progress on the most important notes that I took on 2020 the ones that still help the system grow.

In my case I have a few different types of notes.

The most important types of notes:

my zettelkasten notes

I describe this as

  • notes that have tags,
  • connections to other notes,
  • and more importantly they have to be short, concise and capture one single idea.

my resources notes

this are notes that relate to a particular source,

  • a book,
  • a blog-post
  • a podcast

This can be as long as needed and have multiple sub-heading as long as it’s related to the source, I can expand this in length as much as possible.

Moving Notes

When I start a new directory for a new year e.g 2021 I’d like to leave old projects I no longer need in directory 2020.

But of course I’d like to move my resource notes and my zettelkasten notes so that my system keeps growing so that I can make new connections.

I’d like to know if you have any takes on how to achieve this.

Some thoughts on how to solve it

Some thoughts I have would be to find a way to add a prefix to a certain type of notes.

For instance for zettelkasten notes something like

that way I can keep them all together in the directory, and identify them easily to move them to a new directory if needed.

How could this be done?

How could this be done? without having to manually rename every file? Is there some elips that could achieve something like this, or a property I could specify in the file when I create it.

if I where to add this to the #+title tag

it would look like this

It’s not terrible, I could then filter all files that contain -z
this z-20200808094301-note_title
would sort them all together which I think it’s a better solution.

Sub directories?

An alternative would be to have sub-directories,
this was discussed in How to organize notes in different structures at the same time I’m not sure how well that would work with org-roam or if it would be recommend. If this sounds like a better idea I’d love to know what would be the best way to achieve this.

Thank you for your time to read this, really appreciate any input or ideas.

Using subdirectories should be the easier way. In org-roam all subdirectories within org-roam-directory are included in the org-roam database. So you could have a structure like this:


In the new year, create a new directory:

Then move the 2020 out from my_roam_directory (I assume you will want to keep it in some archive folder), run org-roam-db-clear to clear the cache, and org-roam-db-build-cache to build it without the 2020 notes. And you are good to go.

Perfect thanks for the clear description, I really like that workflow, I’ll give it a try!
Thank you!

This will likely break links in the 2020 folder that go to files in your ‘zettlekasten’ or ‘resource’ directories because the links are stored with relative filenames.

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You are right. Links from and to the 2020 notes would break after moving the 2020 folder to some other place. I was under the impression that the 2020 notes were temporary notes that would link to the zettlekasten, and that the zettlekasten notes would not link to them. @santi-younger, is this correct?

In case you want to keep the 2020 links functional in 2021, you can always keep the 2020 folder under org-roam-directory. In org-roam, the names of the folders under org-roam-directory are recognized as tags. So you can use “2020” or “2021” as tags to filter the notes from the current year.

Got you! yeah I think it’s worth keeping 2020 as a sub-directory.
Regarding links between 2020 and zettelkasten. The important links are the ones done inside the zettelkasten itself, like you said notes from 2020 will link to zettelkasten, not sure if I would do it the other way around. That’s something that I’ll test to see if it’s needed, but keeping the 2020 as a sub-directory should keep things in place due to the relative links.

Thanks for the help!

What I struggled to figure out is how to direct org-roam-bibtex into my sub-directory “resources”
I created a new post about it here Org Roam Bibtex in a Sub Directory in case you have a chance to check it out!
I appreciate any help! Thank you