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Every now and then there is a discussion on /g/ or /sci/ about note taking, second brain or knowledge management systems (KMS). Latest thread is the start of this page. This page is meant to collect useful information and make sure future discussion keep progressing rather than noodling around in small circles. People talk a lot about KMS but usually it is too abstract stuff and colourful presentations with fashionable drop shadows, and when everything has been said and done, too much has been sid and nothing has been done. That is why we are here.


KMS is simply about collecting information so that you can easily retrieve it and also share it with other people. This sounds simple, and yellow post-its abound. The problem comes when you want to retrieve information and yellow notes do not scale. Instead you end up with the "sunflower syndrome" - yellow paper bits surround your monitor until it looks like a deranged sunflower. To retrieve information you need keywords, title, abstract, categories, and complexities quickly increases.

Common Features

Most offer one or more features along

  • Simple markup such as Wiki or Markdown
  • Notes
  • Outliners
  • Todo-lists
  • Meta data
  • Searching


For now just a list of various KMS that were brought up in these discussions.


CherryTree describes itself as a hierarchical note taking application, featuring rich text and syntax highlighting, storing data in a single xml or sqlite file. It is open source.


Joplin is an open source note-taking app. Web pages can be saved as notes and notes can be shared via the cloud. It is crossplatform, with clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. Its internal database can be synced without external botnets using tools of your choosing.


Obsidian is a KMS bases on local files written in Markdown. There is also graphics to show how things are interrelated. Export is not completed yet.


Logseq describes itself as a privacy-first, open-source knowledge base, a joyful, open-source outliner that works on top of local plain-text Markdown and Org-mode files


Notion is a collaborative document/note taking system with a workflow. Data is in the cloud and people complain about reliability. When the cloud is gone the sun shines over your empty workspace.

Org Mode

Org mode for Emacs is a plain text major mode for keeping notes, to-do lists, and more. It provides for metadata such as title, author and date.


Orgzly is a free outliner for taking notes and managing to-do lists with specialised search functionality, where notebooks are written as plain text files in Org mode file format. This can be synched with many existing systems.


TiddlyWiki is a single page application (SPA) that implements a wiki on a file.


Typora is a minimal markdown editor. Files can be saved to Git.


VimWiki is a simple local wiki with a search engine.


Zettelkasten is a complete and complex system from reading and writing to management of knowledge. It takes the no-hierarchy approach to knowledge management.


Zettlr is another open source notebook with markdown

Specialised Systems

Hydrus Network

From the home page: "The hydrus network client is a desktop application written for Anonymous and other internet enthusiasts with large media collections. It organises your files into an internal database and browses them with tags instead of folders, a little like a booru on your desktop. Tags and files can be anonymously shared through custom servers that any user may run."


Shaarli is a personal bookmark manager written in PHP. It integrates into any modern browser using a JS bookmarklet and allows the user to apply thumbnails, tags and Markdown descriptions to bookmarks. It can also store tagged notes in Markdown, which are just bookmarks without a URL. It's private by default, but you can expose part of your bookmarks as public. Your friends can follow your public bookmark feed over the built-in RSS feed.


Knowledge can be illustrated by various tools such as Freeplane, Graphviz and more but quickly run into the problem of connecting lines piling up like mats.


This is a start. We need a lot more.