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LogSeq for My Second Brain

Oct 14, 2020
539 words

Admitting something isn’t working for you is the first step, next is deciding on what to do next. Less than a month ago I posted how [Notion] was now the key part of my “Second Brain” and at that point I’d spent three weeks building my “LifeOS”, as its frequently called, in the application and integrating with my Getting Things Done workflow.

In comes LogSeq. LogSeq is an in-development, local-first, non-liner outliner notebook, much in the same thread as Roam Research, Obsidian, and several other tools that are available. The key difference is that LogSeq will (eventually) be open source. LogSeq is a web application first, and it runs reasonably well on desktop, iPad, and iPhone allowing for access in any location.

A screenshot of LogSeq

So, why did I chose LogSeq for my Second Brain?

As it turned out the fixed formal layout of Notion stifled how I like to browse information, while Notion does now support backlinks, I was essentially looking at a list of notes much like how I had them formatted in Evernote. For years the key tool keeping Evernote useable for me was the fully-featured search, deep inspection into PDFs and other file formats allowed for you to quickly pick the correct note for the job, Notion lacks this feature. LogSeq also lacks “deep searching” but the application itself dissuades you from just dumping files into it, instead you write concise notes which are empowered by backlinks and “unlinked reference” to discover new relevant information.

Notion and Evernote are fundamentally different tools than LogSeq and their ilk, but as it turns out I was always trying to make a non-liner notebook in a tool not designed for it. Once I started using it I realized what I had been missing and it allowed me to finally take notes in the form that I wanted while keeping them useful and searchable.

Of course, like any new application, it doesn’t come without its issues. LogSeq has a lot of quirks and issues which will be resolved over time, but for the moment they can be quite troubling.

  • You can’t have it open on multiple devices at the same time, as its essentially using Git under the hood it is very easy for it to get into a situation where a merge is required to save your data, which it doesn’t support at the moment.
  • Copy and paste in some information “crashes” the application, as its all browser-based JavaScript it does have a few issues with pasted data, thankfully a quick refresh resolves the issue.
  • While custom CSS is supported for theming, the base CSS for the site is very complicated and has a lot of overriding. I’ve started creating a set of base16 themes for LogSeq but its been quite a challenge.
  • Markdown isn’t parsed into the LogSeq format, pasting in a list of bullet points won’t create a list blocks, instead create a single block with a list of bullets within it.

These issues exist as of 2020-10-14, and mat have been resolved in the future.

It is still very early days for LogSeq, you can follow the development on GitHub and the Discord community. If you want a more feature-complete product right now I’d suggest using Roam Research.


Banner by Maksym Kaharlytskyi