Meeting notes for group meetings

Obsidian Workflow Obsidian-Plugins Dataview

In our university, we have regular meetings with all students plus staff and faculty, where we discuss the progress of each research project. For this, I have been taking notes, weekly, summarizing the progress of each project I am co-advising.

The way I do so has changed a couple of times over the time. I used to use paper handwritten notes, but then switched to digital handwritten notes when I bought my iPad.

Recently, since I moved most of my note-taking to Obsidian, I moved most meeting notes to Obsidian. In this article I will discuss how to automatically manage them with the help of some plugins like Dataview.

My current setup

I have one note for each weekly meeting, with the name 2021-09-24 XYZ Meeting. In this, I usually put headings for each presenter, then a link to their materials (Usually PDF of some Word or PowerPoint file) which I cross-link from DevonThink. Lastly, I summarize what we discuss during this meeting.

I will not show a "real" meeting note for privacy reasons, but it essentially looks like this:

- Mike A.
- Paul B.
- Frank C.
- Meeting

# 2021-09-24 XYZ Meeting

## Mike A.

Materials: [something.pdf](x-devonthink-item://AAAAAA-AAAAAAAAA-AAAAAA-AAAAA)

- Results of experiments looked good.
	- Better than results from [[2021-09-19 XYZ Meeting]]
- Try second idea next.

## Paul B.


## Frank C.


While I used to put direct project and student links into this (i.e., by writing headings as [[Mike A]]) I noticed that it basically just pollutes my graph and backlinks views with lots of unrelated linkage (the individual projects are not necessarily closely connected.)

Instead, I started to put the participanting student names into the file header, where I can access them from Obsidian Plugins such as Dataview. Recently I have further played with Dataview in order to build some overview pages for the meetings.

Single person overviews

On the Obsidian note for each student, I include a Dataview block which gives me all meeting notes where they presented something:

	file.cday AS "Date",
	summary AS "Summary"
FROM "Meetings"
WHERE contains(students,"Mike A.")    # <-- This needs to be modified for each person
SORT file.cday DESC

Which renders as something like this:

Thus, I can see when they presented and can use this page to quickly jump between, or look up, related meetings.

Overview of all persons, grouped by person

Further, for the Obsidian note for the research group (or a table of contents-kinda page for Meetings), I have put a group-by based dataview block, which groups by student. With this, I can quickly see which student presented on which weeks.

	link(students) AS Student, AS Meetings
FROM #Meeting 
FLATTEN students
SORT file.ctime DESC
GROUP BY students

Which renders as something like this:

Where the first column contains a student name, the second column contains a link to said student, and the third column contains all meetings this student has presented at.

Sometimes I still want to have links available to navigate to each student note or (previous) meeting notes, while I do not want them to pollute the graph- or backlink views.

My solution to this is creating them programmatically:

First, I added some prev and next parameters to the header which contain information about the previous and next meetings (e.g., prev = "2021-08-27'). This allows me creating a nice linked list to navigate between previous meetings.

Second, I create a list of all students and render them out as clickable links.

I render both through Dataview JS:

`$=dv.paragraph("Previous: [["+dv.current().prev.toString().substring(0,10)+" CS Meeting]]")` 
`$=dv.paragraph("Next: [["+dv.current().next.toString().substring(0,10)+" CS Meeting]]")` 

Today's Students
`$=dv.list(dv.current() => "[["+b+"]]"))`

Which, wrapped into another plugin called Admonition, creates these nice summary blocks:


Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission if you make a purchase.


About me


Dr. Marc A. Kastner

I am an assistant professor working on computer vision and multimodal understanding. I am interested in task- and knowledge management. In my free time, I blog on productivity workflows and apps.

For my professional portfolio, please visit:

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