Backlinks as the backbone of note-taking

All good note-taking apps let you link from one note to another, but not all of them provide backlinks - that is, a list of other notes that link to the note you're currently looking at. I always thought this would be a game-changer, and when I finally got the feature via a Joplin plugin, that turned out to be true. It completely changed how I structure my notes. It also makes creating useful notes easier.

How do I do it?

So, step one is making a habit of linking any new notes to at least one other note, if possible. Notes that are not linked to (or from) will of course show up in search, but you'll never stumble upon them by accident; that increases the chance you'll forget about the note and never see it again, rendering it useless. (It's important to use an app where you can insert a link quickly and easily. If it's a hassle, you won't do it.)

I add a "See also" section to most of my notes. There I can put info such as "This falls under <link to concept X>, also falls under <link to Y>, these topics also discussed in <link to book Z>".

Sometimes the section is not needed, perhaps because the note is short and all relevant links are already included in its text. And sometimes I include the section anyway and duplicate links, because I've grown used to finding everything there.

That's about it.

What do I get out of it?

One benefit is more context, created more easily. Seeing what a note refers to, and what refers to it, is really helpful. Yes, you can emulate the same thing without backlinks; but then, instead of just adding a link to the new note you're writing, you also need to remember (and bother) to go to all the notes it references, and add a link manually. Ain't nobody got time for that.

But perhaps most importantly, it lets me find information in a style closer to the way I think: via associations. When I'm looking for something, or can't quite remember what I'm looking for, it's much easier and more natural to open the first related note I can think of, start following relevant links, and soon enough I find what I'm looking for.

This is much easier than coming up with search queries: the problem with keywords, tags and just words in general is that you don't always come up with the same ones when describing a thing. If you're searching for "books", but just happened to mark the sought-after note as "literature" that one day, you're out of luck.

On the other hand, imagine you start with "I don't know what the movie was called, but it was something to do with Jane Austen and zombies". So you open your Jane Austen note. You see links to various notes on her books. You click Pride & Prejudice, because it's the most well known, look and backlinks - and there it is. You've linked to it from a note called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. D'oh!

Actually, it often feels quicker and more pleasant to move between notes this way even when I know where I'm going. I click through three links instead of searchint for the note, even when I do know the name.

Another benefit is that it lends easy new plasticity to your note heterarchy. If I come up with a new topic - say "movies I've never seen but did reference in a blog post" - all I need to do is to create a new note, and add links to all the films that fit the description. I need not touch any other note - but the link will show up next to the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies note the next time I look at it.
[Incidentally, the concept of such notes is used in multiple note-taking methodologies, under names such as hubs, index notes, etc. I'm not saying this is new; just highlighting how much better it is with backlinks.]

This approach also has the benefit of not breaking my flow, because I can simply link to something in the middle of a sentence and continue writing. I don't have to stop and context-switch to editing the other note to add a link manually. (And if I didn't do it right away, I'd just forget. If it's a hassle, you won't do it.)

What about you? Do you use some completely different approach? How do you handle the "aaargh, I can't quite remember enough to find what I need" problem (also known as the AICQRETFWINP, I assume)?