J.D Organized and Launched!

I completed the workbook and found it thorough and the whole process it encouraged very rewarding. It allowed me to organize areas of my life where I’ve been collecting stuff for years as well as several new endeavors I’m just beginning. Besides organizing, it made me think through “how” I wanted to do things. To me, that alone was very rewarding.

An earlier post I made was about my questions on the index and whether the file system couldn’t just be my index. I came to the realization (especially after going through the workbook) that it’s at the heart of the system. I’m totally onboard with it now.

In building my index (which I call the ‘card catalog’), I chose two of the alternatives suggested - creating a separate file for each JD entry and a lightweight “database” by using Obsidian and the Dataview plugin. I’m not doing a lot of work to do so and think I’m getting the best of both options. Plus it’s not in the cloud.

I create a ‘card’ for each JD entry from an Obsidian template that has two properties ready to hold entries for a Summary sentence and Location(s) per the JD locations. It also has a card tag and a couple of Dataview tables to pull in information from other cards or any other Obsidian file (like my zettelkasten I’m creating) based on whether that file is ever given a Category property of the same one as the card (or a special tag if desired). From that template I simply give the JD filename, summary sentence, locations and then any text I want to write in the note itself. I really think that additional info is an easily overlooked benefit from the JD system.

The whole thing builds very easily. Anytime I add or modify a JD ‘card’, the dynamic nature of Obsidian and the links automatically incorporate the changes. I even have cards for the Categories and Areas so that everything rolls up. By using markdown formatting in the Summary, I can even get styled headers in that rollup.

In fact now that I’m trying to build up my JD habit of using the index as integral to my workflow, it’s a constantly improving process. I find I’m starting to use those Area and Category ‘cards’ rather than the whole file structure as an even quicker way to reference the individual JD numbers and links to the individual card. Which now that I write this, the summary ‘00 Card Catalog’ of everything is really a dynamically built full index which was the other single-file alternative mentioned. I even have both an alphabetic sort and a recent sort version of the entire list. So I guess I really have all 3 simultaneously! Loving it so far.

Super cool! Really happy it’s working out for you.

I’m not an Obsidian user, I’d love a screenshot of some of these cards if you could? It sounds neat.

Sure! I only started using Obsidian recently trying to build a Zettelkasten. When I designed my personal J.D system, I decided to make 00-09 have all my Obsidian stuff. 00 is the Card Catalog and the rest of what I had set up fit pretty neatly. I had one folder for “permanent notes” already for the ZK. Also have reference notes which I use to process detailed notes from various sources.


  • Card-catalog-template - shows what I apply to a new note as a starting point. You can see the dataview query which will also search my ZK for any entry that has a has that card as a category. I have a few where I also modified to search for tags that I had already in notes.
  • 16.06 Dog - is a card for our Dog. You can see how it follows your set up and also lists notes in the ZK that have it as a category.
  • dog-sense-priorities-nose-eyes-ears - a note within my ZK where I’ve assigned it the Category of 16.06 Dog.
  • 10-19 Life - the card for our personal family life which basically rolls up all the cards that start with a “1” in the card catalog. You can see the individual categories get their own card and I just control the color by the markdown syntax as to which header level I use.

I can basically just scroll up down very quickly to find a card, tap on that link and I’m immediately viewing or editing the card details. Oh, and one of the really nice things about Obsidian is if you change the name of a file, all the links wherever they are embedded are updated automatically. So I’m not too concerned about link breakage.


This is very nice, I am saving this for later.

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This is fantastic!
I have started and stalled implementing JD in Obsidian relying on backlinks as I’m not really knowledgeable about the dataview module.
This is so impressive…
Getting my hands on the book finally allowed me the mental space to build my system framework…
Great job!

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Thanks! You can still use Obsidian for you index even if you don’t use Dataview! I only added that later on to help me try to integrate the ZK in and realized what it might offer.

Good luck!

Yes, and I plan to use Obsidian as my Index and non document notes… but it won’t be as spot on as yours!

I love this name. Great idea.

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This is very interesting and gives me some ideas to revamp my own JD index in Obsidian. The only difference is that I have a separate vault for my index altogether from my PKM.

Btw, I don’t know if it was intentional, but if you are adhering to the semantics of JD, 16 is your category. 16.06 would be an item.

Ah, yes thanks, I did debate a bit on the name. When I first went to create a Property in Obsidian to test this out, I saw “Category” already listed there as an optional name and I ended up sticking with it. I’m already calling the Index the “Card Catalog” too so I guess I’m not exactly pure in my nomenclature use. Finally, if I was being consistent with what I do call that number in my thinking, I’d title the Property as “Call Number”. I guess I’ve got the whole library analogy going in my head with the J.D system!

So here’s what I’ve ended up doing for now. I’ve created templates for my areas, categories and item notes as below:

The dataview queries emulate what you did in your queries but in a more generic way so I don’t have to manually tinker with them for every note.

Going to try this out for a while and see how it works out.

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Oh, I like the more generic method! Let me know how it goes.

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