Logseq: A privacy-first, open-source knowledge base

This looks like an interesting note taking application. Some observations:

  • stores files locally in Markdown, which is important people who want to own their content.
  • stores images and files you add to notes along with your markdown files (that is very nice!)
  • outline note system like workflowy or Roam. However, things are still organized by pages, instead of an open ended hiearchy like Workflowy.
  • can open PDFs in the app, and you can highlight sections and store a list of these annotations
  • uses linking extensively to organize information in a graph
  • written in Clojure
  • most of the authors are Chinese

Overall, I’m fairly impressed.

Here is a short video:

Spent a little more time with this – looks like a really nice tool. Some things that stand out:

  • can easily embed code snippets
  • can add properties to any block that can be queried
  • powerful query language, so you can build content out of queries. This gives you the ability to have dynamic content.

As an example, you could log billable time and add an hours property to each entry. Then you could write a query that would sum up, report hours, etc. This is more than a notes tool, it’s a full blown database, stored in Markdown files.

I’m also learning a lot about how to use notes systems like this. Logseq people advocate working mostly in your journal. You make entries that have links/tags to other topics. When you view these other topics, all the entries with links/tags show up. Workflowy also does this, but it’s not quite a slick as Logseq.

With Logseq, you can have multiple “graphs”, which are different local directories of Logseq data. You can also open multiple windows and have different graphs open at the same time:

This is not as powerful as sharing nodes in Workflowy, but would still allow you to have different graphs – perhaps one for personal, and then another for a project/company.

Logseq seems to detect file changes pretty well – if I do a git pull in my logseq dir which pulls in changes, the content in the Logseq app seems to update. Not sure what happens yet when you get a git conflict …

A post was split to a new topic: Notion (productivity software)

Logseq supports plugins and there are a lot of them.

Adding a plugin is done by opening a pull request.

You can browse and add plugins from the Logseq app. I’ve not tried any yet as they are still working on the security model, but seems like a promising ecosystem.

Here is a good video to give a sense for how people are using Logseq, but I think the concepts are also helpful for any note-taking system:

Some interesting experiences with logseq shared below, I wonder if its ready for primetime or not yet.


Encryption is probably a much harder problem to solve – at least with un-encrypted files, you could always manually fix them up if something went wrong – especially if you use Git as the store as you can always see what changed, revert, etc.

If I used Logseq, I’d probably not encrypt my notes so I could store them in Git. And as I use my own private Git server, things are fairly private. One person mentioned encrypting hard drive – that might be the best way to do security on personal computers and servers. However, this gets back to the trade-off – if you encrypt/lock down things are you in more danger of:

  1. an unauthorized person gaining access to data and doing theft/damage/harm?
  2. you loosing encryption keys, etc and locking yourself out?

In general, I think we personally and as organizations tend to have an inflated view of how important our data/ideas are (at least for those of us who are not celebrities). No one cares. In the information age, as the supply increases, information (and ideas) are increasingly of less value (supply and demand), and connecting ideas/people/organizations, and the ability to execute is what matters. Discipline and connections (in an individual or company) is hard to steal.

The only attraction to my notes might be if someone could steal something (money, identity, ransomware, etc). The blessings of obscurity :slight_smile:.

The value of connections is also why tools like Obsidian, Roam, Notion, LogSeq, Workflowy are interesting – they help you to connect information. What I’ve learned about LogSeq had changed how I use Workflowy – I do a lot more [[ … ]] links.

Someone who publishes their LogSeq graph: https://briansunter.com/graph

If you want lots of opinions on the subject, here is a good source:

Here is a Gem:

Don’t confuse complexity with familiarity.


That is a quote for the collection …

Logseq uses Datalog as a query language.

Looks like they deprecated the on-disk encryption feature:

They sync feature does e2e encryption.

Bravo – there are times when you do need to throw things out and keep it simple.