Backlinking and linking PDFs to PDFs - Roam-and-Obsidian style connections

I want to up my document linking game. :slight_smile: Until now I have mainly organised my notes and documents via tags.

But I think the idea of connected documents in Roam-and-Obsidian style is a powerful one. I realise tags as I use them somewhat create “knowledge connections” as well (via their grouping aspect), but I think direct links between documents are another level of connectedness.

So Roam or Obsedian ias the way to go? I would like to stay in DEVONthink for my new “connected documents” approach. There are two features I deem important for me:: back-links and links between PDFs. So my questions are:

  1. Is automatic back-linking possible in DEVONthink? ( E.g. I have a Markdown file linking wiki-style to a second Markdown file and in the second file I can see that the first file links to it.) - Even an add-on solution which maybe once a day creates the back-link in the background would be fine.

  2. Is there a way in DEVONthink to link from a PDF to a PDF? (Maybe wiki links in the comment field)?

Thanks for suggestions! DEVONthink is so helpful for me - I don’t want use an additional tool if I can avoid it…

See Tools > Inspectors > Document > Links

One possibility is to use rich text custom metadata and to add the links. Another one to directly add links to the PDF document (see Link tool of editing bar).

My approach is adding a Markdown annotation file to all the PDFs I have in my Resources database (mostly things like reports and captured webpages). I’ve got a series a Smart Rules that keep annotation files and PDFs in sync (e.g. when renaming or tagging; also to create automatic annotation links to files). Because each annotation file is just a Markdown document I can link between annotation files of documents, add excerpts, comment etc - including links to other document or other files in my Obsidian or DEVONthink database.

Here’s an example annotation file:

date: 2021-12-31 08:01
title: Github - devonthink-hacks-Auto convert web page to PDF.applescript at main · mhucka-devonthink-hacks
pdfurl: x-devonthink-item://19DA142C-5C9A-4C53-84A0-1DE960905CA9
annotationurl: x-devonthink-item://3D6FCC52-845A-4C62-8F6B-B630AA64E1A5
tags: []

2021-12-31 08:01 | [URL]( | [DT PDF](x-devonthink-item://19DA142C-5C9A-4C53-84A0-1DE960905CA9) | [DT annotation](x-devonthink-item://3D6FCC52-845A-4C62-8F6B-B630AA64E1A5) | [Obsidian annotation](obsidian://open?vault=Notes&
# Github - devonthink-hacks-Auto convert web page to PDF.applescript at main · mhucka-devonthink-hacks

> Excerpt:: Script for DEVONthink to convert a webpage to PDF

Part of a series of interesting DEVONthink scripts by @mhucka, also active on the DEVONthink forums.

May I ask why you’re using the YAML headers when you are just repeating the data below it?


Frontmatter can be used for things like DataView in Obsidian, but most Markdown renders don’t show it (e.g. DT doesn’t). Therefore I show it in a nice, dense format on top so I can always reach / click it. There is an option with double colons (::) like I’m using with Excerpt to also use Dataview attributes with inline text. I could have also used that but it wouldn’t look as nice. But as these annotation files are automatically created and updates on things like importing, tagging, renaming etc. it’s no problem to duplicate that content (apart from the extra CPU cycles :wink: )

This is cool! (I had searched the manual for “Back-links”. You call it “Incoming Links” which makes totally sense in its own right.)

DT3 rocks!

Hey @mdbraber ! Sounds like you use Obsidian in conjunction with DEVONthink. That’s very interesting! – Do you use Obsidianon operating on the same data as DEVONthink?

Yes, I’m indexing my Notes vault in DEVONthink, as well as I’m symlinking my Annotations folder from DT to Obsidian

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Thanks. That would be then an option then for me too.

Just another tool to work with. (Sigh…) I will think about it.

You don’t have to. You could use DT for writing Markdown as well (and even linking). It’s just that I prefer Obsidian for writing notes / text.