Daniel Prindii | My Omnivore and Obsidian Read it later system

My Omnivore and Obsidian Read it later system

A guideline on how I’m using Omnivore with Obsidian to read and save articles.

When I started working with Omnivore as their Fractional Head of Community and Marketing, I was already what you’d call an information hoarder (the 1000+ books in my apartment and 3 apps on my phone are big Clues for anyone looking).

I ended up creating this system for processing all the articles, newsletters, feeds and whatnots I’ve been following in Omnivore as I was testing the app, and saving the interesting stuff for forever in Obsidian.

Here it is for you to discover it, in the hope that it will help you manage all the information sources we all need to keep up with on an average day. Just maybe, we’ll reach that summit of inbox zero.

How I’m using Omnivore as by default Read-it later app

Omnivore is a Read-it Later app, where you can save pretty much everything on the web. Things like:

  • web articles

  • X posts (former Twitter)

  • Mastodon posts

  • YouTube videos

  • newsletter subscriptions

  • RSS feeds, which is currently in beta

Oh, and the best part: you have highlighting and annotation capabilities.

It’s free, open-source and has integrations with the Logseq and Obsidian apps.
Getting started with Omnivore is easy and fast, and you can use it on mobile (iOS and Android) and web. Furthermore, a browser extension is available for the main browser systems. Find out more from their official Docs.

How I’m adding information to Omnivore

Saving to Omnivore is straightforward, similar to other similar apps, like Pocket. When I’m surfing the web and find something that catches my interest, I just click on the browser extension (when I’m on my desktop) or I use the share option from my Android phone. The app saves the whole content from the article or post, so I don’t need to go back to the source.

I’m using my dedicated email alias from the app to subscribe to different newsletters. The emails that request a subscription confirmation will be sent to your email associated with the Omnivore account, where you can take the necessary actions. After you subscribe, every newsletter gets into the app, in the Subscription section with the Newsletter tag.
For example, I’m using the same Omnivore email in my paid New York Times account, and I’m receiving all the subscriber-only newsletters.

I have a lot of RSS feeds that I follow, so when they launched the beta RSS option, I was more than happy to test it.

After you add a few RSS feeds, they will appear in your app Inbox with the RSS tag.
While I was transferring my RSS feeds to Omnivore I decided to sort and clean them, see what was still active, and what was still of interest to me.

Having a review process on what you follow will help you keep your Omnivore inbox in good shape and light. Looking back, for example, you will not need to follow all major news agencies to stay informed. Except if you are a journalist.
Doing regular cleaning helps me with the quantity of information dumped into Omnivore and the effort put into processing everything.

How I’m consuming information in Omnivore

Let’s look at what Omnivore is offering for digital consumption because here is where the magic happens. With Omnivore, I can read without distractions, and I can go a step forward by highlighting it or making notes related to the content.
If I want to keep and reread a piece of saved content, it will get the tag saved. What is not of interest will be archived or deleted.

A few words about Obsidian

Obsidian is a blank slate. This is its curse and blessing.

Obsidian is a note-taking and personal knowledge management tool that you can set up however you want.
It’s free for personal use, local-first(a.k.a it is running and saving on your computer), and privacy-first.
It can support a lot of use cases, its capabilities can be extended with the community plugins, and can be adaptable to different workflows.
It uses an open, non-proprietary plain-text language, called Markdown, to edit and format your text.
Also, it offers readability and interoperability with other plain-text editors.
Where Obsidian is different from other note-taking apps, like Evernote, Google Keep or Apple Notes, is the fact that it pushes you to think about how to structure your notes, how they relate, and how to organise them inside the app.
You can organise your notes in folders and subfolders: one for work, and one for fun. Also, you can ditch the folder completely (they will be in the root folder- the main app folder) and connect the notes via tags and bi-directional links.
It’s true, in the beginning, all these endless possibilities can overwhelm you, but don’t despair. Start small, use Obsidian for a few days, see what works, edit what doesn’t work and keep going.

How I’m syncing to Obsidian

The final step is syncing to Obsidian for the stuff I intend to keep for a long time, or I wish to revisit at some point.

With Omnivore, you can save content based on a tag. I’m using the same tag mentioned earlier, so only the articles with that tag are synced in Obsidian. Inside Obsidian, the files are sorted in folders based on the save date.

Another option is to save everything from Omnivore, but I do not recommend it because you can get flooded with a lot of content that needs to be organised (folders, tags, etc.) and maybe you would rather not have them all in Obsidian.
In both scenarios, you can sync all the actual content, the highlights, notes, or selectively.

Here’s the standard Article template for importing highlights, notes and content from Omnivore.

# {{{title}}}
#Omnivore

[Read on Omnivore]({{{omnivoreUrl}}})
[Read Original]({{{originalUrl}}})

{{#highlights.length}}
## Highlights

{{#highlights}}
> {{{text}}} [⤴️]({{{highlightUrl}}}) {{#labels}} #{{name}} {{/labels}}
{{#note}}

{{{note}}}
{{/note}}

{{/highlights}}
{{/highlights.length}}

{{{content}}}

You can check the Omnivore docs for an in-depth guide on the integration process with Obsidian.

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Takeaway

The move to Omnivore pushed me to reevaluate my digital consumption and to save time by having everything in one place.
No more Twitter bookmarks, saved links in chat apps, and no more filtering and sorting in my email inbox. And no more bookmarks in the browser’s list. By having everything in one place, I no longer save an article twice or ask myself if this or that was already saved.

I closed my Inoreader account, which I was using for RSS feeds, and I eliminated two web clippers used for saving to Markdown and then, manually, moving the files into Obsidian.

It can be daunting to have everything in one place, to see all saved links and dream of a zero inbox. My advice is to have dedicated time for reading and processing. There can be a morning routine, or an evening one. Maybe you can set apart a few hours on the weekends.

And don’t be shy to delete. In fact, I encourage you to be very critical of what you keep in your feed.



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Daniel Prindii

Community Designer. Marketing Strategist.

Art Historian. Photographer.

Cluj, Romania/ Vicenza, Italy

danielprindii [at] pm.me

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