By nickjstevens but feel free to duplicate, tweak, experiment and propagate as you wish. https://nickjstevens.com

Notes Database

Notes

References Database

References

Summary

I’ve taken what I liked about a Roam workflow and applied it to Notion. I have a single Notes database with a self-relation which I’ve called Links and Backlinks. Yes I have to manually add these, but the intentionality helps me make meaningful and thoughtful connections. I then liberally use @ references in the main content. This gives me a nice web of interconnected thoughts a la Roam, but with all the rich benefits that Notion brings (web clipper, math equations, embeds, etc.).

I also have a separate relation to a References database, a bit like the Zettelkasten method with a Zettel slip box (my Notes) and sources slip box (my References).

This is heavily informed by Andy Matuschak’s evergreen notes (https://notes.andymatuschak.org/Evergreen_notes) which is absolutely excellent.

Distinction between links and backlinks

If I’m writing a note page, then anything I want to link TO is a Link. Just like a link (hyperlink) on any website. Backlinks however are not normally known on any given website. If I went to a Wikipedia page I wouldn’t know a list of all the pages that link here, the incoming links. That is the power of backlinks (when auto generated), and backlinks could also be called backlinks “incoming links” or “inbound links”.

Example: If I’m writing a note on Stoicism I might link TO a note on Marcus Aurelius, an outbound link. Now, when I go to my note on Marcus Aurelius I can see automatically see inbound links, or what links here. In this case I know that a note called Stoicism is a backlink. Backlinks tell me WHAT LINKS HERE.

I never populate Backlinks myself, I just let these get auto created when I link TO pages. Backlinks are a powerful addition because they are not normally known. Including them (automatically) means you can find related notes much more easily and can see clusters of knowledge forming at heavily referenced notes.

Screenshots of my actual implementation

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/secure.notion-static.com/a9a8770d-cac2-4e2a-903a-7c83b343cb8c/4C05F5F0-671A-4CF1-AEAD-63D290056F3F.png

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/secure.notion-static.com/ef94611a-e0c1-4bc7-8bbc-411c7cd737fc/4D6EDA68-BD9B-485C-AE3E-988866AF166A.png