From Hypothesis Annotation to Obsidian Note

Obsidian is a really nice interface for keeping zettlekasten-style notes (in individual markdown files, in a folder or ‘vault’). Hypothesis is a really nice interface for annotation on the web. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to drop your annotations as unique files into your vault?

Well, this might work.

First, get ‘Hypexport’ from https://github.com/karlicoss/hypexport . Install it with

pip3 install --user git+https://github.com/karlicoss/hypexport

Then, create a new text file; call it secrets.py and put into it your Hypothesis username and your developer token (which is underneath your username when you have hypothesis open) like so:

username = "USERNAME"
token = "TOKEN"

Now, you can grab all of your annotations with:

python3 -m hypexport.export --secrets secrets.py > annotations.json

Now we need to turn that json into markdown. Incidentally, if you want to turn it into a csv, get jq and run something like this

jq -r '.annotations[] | [.text, .tags, .updated, .uri] | @csv' annotations.json > annotations.csv

So, here’s a json to markdown script: https://github.com/PolBaladas/torsimany . Pip install that, but then find where it’s located on your machine (search for torsimany.py) and change this line


data = f.read().decode('ascii', 'ignore')

to just

data = f.read()

and then run 

torsimany annotations.json

at the command prompt, and after a bit you’ll have a file called annotations.markdown.

Last thing – we want to split that up into separate markdown files, to drop into the obsidian vault. cpslit, split, awk, etc, all of those things will probably work; here’s some perl. Copy it into a text file, save with .pl, and if you’re on a mac, run

chmod +x split.pl

so you can run it. (Sourced from stackoverflow):

#!/usr/bin/perl

undef $/;
$_ = <>;
$n = 0;

for $match (split(/(?=### Title)/)) {
      open(O, '>temp' . ++$n);
      print O $match;
      close(O);
}

then run

./split.pl annotations.markdown

and you’ll have a whoooole lotta files you can drop into your obsidian vault. Ta da!

Now, you’ll have to add the .md file extension, which can be done as a batch with this one liner on a mac:

for file in *; do mv "$file" "${file%}.md"; done

It’d be nice to have the correct file extension done in my split script, but whatever. Above, a portion of one of my recent annotations, exported and then turned into markdown through the above process.

Now, hypothesis allows any user to annotate in the public stream; Here’s a Zotero-Hypothesis importer that works through your zotero library, and then checks whether there are any public annotations for a piece, and saves them to a zotero note: https://github.com/JD-P/hypothesis-zotero.

I haven’t tried it out, but if it works, and once your notes are in Zotero, you can use zotero-mdnotes to push ’em all into your Obsidian vault. Talk about distributed knowledge generation!