Opening Up My Notes Garden

I made a site to browse and link to my highlights and notes from around the web. Feel free to browse around.

Opening Up My Notes Garden

Screenshot of notes site

Recently I’ve been trying to recall and interrogate more of what I read and watch - both online and offline. I used to collect snippets and notes to myself in my daily journal, but that medium does a poor job at resurfacing ideas to me outside of re-reading every note. So, for the past couple months I’ve been using Readwise to highlight articles and books.

I started by backing up those Readwise highlights into my journal, but I wanted something more browseable. The Readwise app does a good job at trying to help you memorize key ideas, but I find it’s been more useful to me to draw connections between them.

To that end, I’ve started aggressively tagging my Readwise highlights to make those connections explicit, and I just needed a way to browse them. I built a new website to make that possible: It has a shareable URL to heach highlight, each grouped by tag/topic and date, and its own RSS feed. You can read about how I made the site at its open-source repository.

I use it by searching for topics or keywords when I’m noodling on a problem at work or when I’m trying to write things. I’ll let it serve me a random note when I’m bored or about to go for a walk to jostle new thinking.


I call this aggregation and store of notes a ‘garden’ because it needs constant but relaxed attention and grooming - maintenance. Pruning old notes I no longer believe, tying new notes together with new tags, promoting old ones that are newly important, etc.

I maintain the notes by adding tags when I see a highlight that is missing tags. I also add notes to highlights as I have new thoughts on things (usually upon a re-read). I do this by adding tags and notes to the highlight in the Readwise dashboard (linked on each note). Already, it contains somewhere around 500 notes and highlights today, growing maybe by 200 or so each month. So we’ll see how it goes maintaining that volume of input. I’ll be updating it a couple times a week (whenever I’m at home).

The intention is to use this notes site as working memory and condense ideas and more stable thoughts into posts on this main site. Reading the notes site will be a bit like crawling my brain or books on my kitchen table: things are more ephemeral and experimental - conviction level is highly variable. If I’m the only person who ever visits it, that’ll be perfectly fine.

Want an entry path to the garden? Recent topics include:

I’m not the first person to open up their highlights and notes for public browsing, and I highly recommend browsing other people’s note gardens: you will certainly find new ideas, research, or random interesting rabbit holes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Fox helped build the notes garden.