When shall I prefer refs than links?

I read the manual and find that both links and refs could display nodes that links to or references the current node. However, links can be used to navigate between nodes while references cannot. Then, what is the purpose of using references? Can someone show me a use case when references are preferred rather than links?

Hope this helps. It is for V1 but the concept remains unchanged.

Thanks. I have read the thread before I post mine. It does not answer my question though. To clarify, I’ll emphasize my point here:

  1. Both links and refs to node A will be displayed in node A’s org-roam buffer.
  2. I can only navigate to node A using `C-c C-o’ on links to node A, but not refs to node A.

Thus, functionality of links is a super set to that of refs. Your examples demonstrated when I can use a ref, but I do not see why I prefer a ref than a link. The references used in both examples can be replaced by links without loss of features. On the other hand, replacing links with refs, will make the navigation from one node to another unavailable.

Currently, my understanding is that when linking (link is used with an abstract meaning here) to an internal source directly, that is a node in org-roam, links (concrete meaning here) is always preferred than refs. Only when linking (abstract again) to external sources, but you still want an indirect, or implicit, link to an org-roam node, refs are preferred. Also, the linking (abstract) to external sources is usually intended to be exported to other formats rather than viewed directly in org-mode.

For example, I have a node A which has a reference defined as “www.google.com”. Then in another node B I talked about “www.google.com”. This is an explicit reference to the website, but at the same time, it is an implicit reference to the node. I said it is implicit, because this reference does not provide any information about node A to node B. In node B’s point of view, node A does not exist. However, in node A’s point of view, it knows that it has been referenced by another node.

To summarize, links are bidirectional while references are unidirectional.

Thanks again, I have found out these thoughts when trying to clarify my question to you.

1 Like