How to Build a Knowledge Base in Notion

A tutorial that walks you through how to build a knowledge base for students and companies. You'll learn how to connect databases with relations and make the connections work better for you.
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Tutorial overview

I. Introduction (0:00)

  • Brief overview of the video, introducing the knowledge base system and its features.

II. Connecting Databases (0:59)

  • Explanation of how to connect different databases to the knowledge base system, including topics and flashcards.
  • Demonstrating how to navigate and organize the different databases within the system.

III. Adding Information (5:14)

  • Description of the process for adding information to the knowledge base, including how to add new cards, tags, and themes.
  • Examples of different types of information that can be added, such as causes, effects, and correlations.

IV. Connecting Information (12:38)

  • Discussion of how to connect different pieces of information within the knowledge base, linking related cards and tags.
  • Demonstrating how the connected information is displayed and can be accessed.

V. Making Flashcards (16:25)

  • Overview of how to create flashcards within the knowledge base, including how to reveal and test oneself on a flashcard.
  • How to drag flashcards around the pipeline, archive recall and how to recall information that one knows quite well

VI. Utilizing Web Clipper (18:05)

  • Explanation of how to use the web clipper extension to save and organize web clippings within the knowledge base.
  • Tips for using the web clipper effectively and efficiently.

VII. Connect To Daily Pages (23:01)

  • Discussion of how to connect the knowledge base to daily pages, including options for viewing and reviewing information by date.
  • Examples of how this can help with recalling information and keeping track of progress.

VIII. Review Information (26:44)

  • Review of different ways to review and recall information within the knowledge base, including checklist views and different database views.
  • Discussion of how load limit can affect the system and how it affects different computers

IX. Outro (32:48)

  • Summary of the key takeaways from the video, and encourages viewers to try out the knowledge base system for themselves.
  • Thank you for viewing, and information on where to find more resources.


Today, I'm going to share with you a notion template I created. You can duplicate the template down in the description below. This template is for knowledge management and can be very useful for both students and casual learners.

The one thing I really wanted to focus on in this template is how to easily and effectively connect notes to each other and give these connections context. What these connections will do using the relation property is help the user learn a new concept or better understand them. In addition to making these connections in the template, I also have a section for memorization or flashcards. There will be a bit of task management but it won't really be the focus here. I provide a minimal to-do list for daily pages in a master Notion calendar.

So, without further ado, let's just get right into how to use this knowledge base inside of notion. We have a few different database pages, so we have four different sections under these toggles. All of these are databases and in databases, we can collect a series of pages. For example, in quick notes, this is just in a basic table style database. And if I were to create a new row in this table, a new page, and click through open as page, I'll be able to see it as its own page and add information either at the top. Here you can add a new property or click on the header to edit an existing one.

So, what I'm doing is just essentially collecting information inside of these databases but in addition to collecting information, I'm also connecting that information to each other. Following these toggles, this is just kind of how I would use it. I would add information either through the master calendar or common topics. Common topics are essentially the topics that your information is describing. So we have two different databases here, we have one for topics and one for info. This is the topics database that is connected to in managed knowledge the common info database. So this is how it looks like filled out.

I go to common info here my mockup, you'll see a bunch of pages that have quite a lot of text. So each page is describing for instance just sort of a piece of information. That piece of information like this here in this case the topic which is a relation property Introduction to the new world. So, I had an old textbook in my room that I used as these mock-up notes for American history. And inside of the textbook, if you're using this to write textbook notes, the section in the textbook was called Introduction to the new world. And this was a piece of information inside of that section.

So if I were to click through to this page it would be inside can open it up as a page. The common topics database. So this is connected and so this is a topic. And inside the body of the page, I am adding editing and managing all of the information inside of that topic. And then down at the bottom, I'm creating flash cards to help with memorization, to help learn about this topic better. And each one of these cards acts like a traditional flash card like this card here what two groups primarily occupied the middle colonies of the thirteen colonies. I can click this checkbox for reveal and it will show me the backside of the flashcard or the answer. And then I can also hide it. And you'll see that I can also drag each of these cards as I reveal them into certain understanding tags. So we do have the ability to break down topics which is great. So the ability to break down topics.

Inside of the body of the page, the content is done with a database template, which we'll go into. So, if I just show all of my properties for these topics, you'll see that there is a relation called "information." This is relating back to the common info database. So, if I click on the title here, I can see a nice preview window that explains this connection.

Common topics is a database that is connected to common info. The Notion relation property is called "information," which you'll see up here and back in common info. Every information has a relation property called "topic," which we saw. So, I go back here to this piece of information and the topic is that relation again back to this topic. So, that's how that connection works.

Let's go back to the template and go to common topics and let's put in some information. So, if I wanted to create my first topic page, I would just go to the topic list database view and click new. Let's open this up and let's call this "peopling the Americas."

Um, so if I were to have this be the topic, I'd then want to select a subject area. So, if you are writing notes from a textbook or a book in general, the subject area for something like this could be American history, Northern American history, Southern American history, something more broad that explains this topic. Where that can be sort of an umbrella subject if you're a student, it could also be the class you're in, the title of the textbook, the title of the chapter, however you want to break down information.

What I do suggest for each one of these topics though is that you don't choose topics with a ton of information. Try to really break it all down. I like to keep it between 5 and 15 information pages per topic, so "Founding of America's" will be the subject area. The other properties here describing topic pages are "Index," "Created," and "Information." I'm going to hide the three properties here that I don't really need to see, and the reason I don't need to see them is because I don't need to fill them out.

What I do want to fill out is maybe "Index," which is just tags. So, for "People in the Americas," a tag might be "Sea levels," "Glaciers," "Climate," "Native Americans" can be one as well. Now, what I like to do with Index is if it's a little bit too broad of a tag and I want to make it more precise, like not just "Native Americans" are being talked about in this topic, but "Native Americans" who happen to be "Aztek," I will put in lowercase, comma "Aztec," so it's giving it more of a precise tag. Then, I could do another one for "Native Americans" but specifically "Inca." I'll have my tags here which I can keep adding to as I add information.

But let's take a look if I click through to maybe this one here, "Aztec," I can actually navigate right to the page, and if I go up here to the parent page, "Comment Index," you'll see at the top, I can now see all of my index tags categorized in alphabetical order, and you'll see a few different database views.

One feature is a tool that shows all the tags in gallery cards, A through E. This means that the user is only seeing tags A through E. They can also quickly navigate to the topics associated with these tags, as well as to all their web clippings that have these tags.

On the home page, there is a link that goes back to the parent page of the common index, which is under "manage knowledge." The user is also able to navigate to common topics.

On the topic page for "people in the Americas," the user has created a new topic that is now in their topic list and in the "all topics" section. Inside the toggle for "founding of Americas," which is the subject matter, there is a card called "people in the Americas."

The user is planning to create a relation page that illustrates the day that this topic was created. On June 25th, 2022, the user added this topic. The user is providing instructions on how to create a new page called 625 2022 in "master calendar." When you click through, you'll see that inside of the "master calendar daily" page, not only is there a data as the title, but also as the date. When the user opens this up as a page and goes to its parent page, now as "master calendar," you'll see that on June 25th there is a daily page. There's also a formula showing called "zero tasks due." The user plans to demonstrate how to add tasks to a certain daily page.

The user has now returned to discussing the topics. They have their created date and have selected the "new topic template." This template gives a full width page and the ability to start adding information to this topic. As an example, the user is providing a piece of information, "great ice age exposed a land bridge from Eurasia to North America." They add a theme for this information of "geography" and "migration." The user points out that all themes depend on what one is studying, but they like having this for each piece of information because it gives them the ability to identify knowledge in their hub in two ways: one by general themes, and another by more specific tags in their index.

The user then added another piece of information, "people traveling across this land bridge for 250 centuries." The theme for this would be "migration." The user points out that they have created two different pieces of information with the theme "migration" but at the top, it's keeping track of only one. The user explains that if they were to edit this roll-up, it would give them the total number of tags they're using, including two "migration" tags. The user chooses to calculate and show unique values so that doesn't occur. They refer to this as a "roll-up property" and explain that when the user clicks on the heading, the user can edit the property. A roll-up needs a relation so it's grabbing from the relation information. They show two other hidden properties and explain that this roll-up is selecting the relation information and grabbing like a window these themes and then calculating by showing just the unique values.

The next thing that I would do is create a connection between two unique values of those select properties. The effect of this land bridge being exposed is that people are crossing. So, what I'm going to do is go to either cause or effect.

Let's just go to effect and say the great ice age exposed a land bridge. I'm going to click through effect and then select my other piece of information, which is that for 250 centuries, people crossed over. Now there's a connection made and if I were to go through the page here, the great ice age exposed land bridge, I can see in effect that this piece of information is connected. If I were to go to this other piece of information, the people crossing the land bridge, I can see in cause that the great ice age exposed the land bridge.

Let's say there's another piece of information. I'm going to go back to info and add it to the list. The theme here is that the sea level rose about 10,000 years ago leaving the Americas disconnected from the rest of the world. I would give this the theme of geography. And what I can do with this is make a connection again. I can say that this piece of information correlates with the great ice age exposing a land bridge. Because it's not directly an effect of the land bridge existing, it just happens to correlate with that piece of information or relate. So I'm going to go to correlate and I'm going to click inside of the cell directly next to my latest piece of information and search for this page here, the great ice age exposed a land bridge. So, I can type it in and search and select.

Now that I've made that relation, you'll see up here that the first page now correlates with our new piece of information as well automatically, which is nice because I don't have to physically go up to this first page and make the correlation back.

The next piece of information is going to be the empires that existed inside of these Americas. So again, this is under the umbrella of peopling the Americas, so this is appropriate for this page. I'm going to add a new page, and the themes for this is going to be geography and maybe culture.

So you'll notice up here again, I've added a new select property, which means in themes for this topic, we're adding that new select property in the topic. So with this piece of information, I can then describe it. Maybe I want to describe what these cultures did. So, what I'll do is add another piece of information that may do that. Describe, you can say that the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas were mathematicians that had strikingly accurate astronomical observations. So for the themes here, I could say technology and culture. Again, technology will show up up here. So if this piece of information is describing the one above, I can go to the descriptor or describe. So I can say that this piece of information describes the three advanced empires in the western hemisphere. So, I'll go to describe and I'll make sure in this cell I'm looking for the three advanced empires page, and I can click through, and it will populate. And if I go to descriptor, I can then see that the three advanced empires has a descriptor, the peoples of these empires.

Or mathematicians with strikingly accurate astronomical observations so those are all of my relations. That's how I connect information together.

Now the next step I would do after getting all of this information down is I would go to the card database view. This is where you're going to create your flashcards. I'll click through the cell next to it and I will type in the question or the front of the flash card. And I'm going to create a new page. So that's going to be the front of the flashcard. You'll notice if I just go down here that flashcard is now showing at the bottom of the page because now this flashcard is directly correlating to this topic page.

What I can do is not only create flashcards, I can edit the flashcards and even use them down here at the bottom. So when I click reveal, right now there's no answer on the back of the card. I'm going to do that over in edit card and we have our flashcard here. And I'm going to put in the answer in description. And now when I select reveal, it will show the answer in the card.

Let's say I didn't really know the answer all that well. I only knew part of the answer. I would drag it to fragmented. I only had a fragmented understanding. You can also view it in like a checklist view where you have all of your flashcards in a table. And you can select reveal and reveal the answer and then choose an understanding.

Now let's take a look at how you can connect your web clipper to each one of your information pages. So what we have here is another database view where you can connect things from the web. So let's go actually to that from web database via the home page. From web I'm going to select a new page an empty page just to show you what the properties look like. So we have index, we can add index tags or select ones that already exist. Information that is connected to this particular web clipping the source link and the date added to add to our master calendar.

What we can also do is when we found an article to save, is use an extension on chrome called save to notion. Now, if you are familiar with my channel, you know that I use this extension a lot for web clipping. There is a native app that notion has but I do like this one better because we can actually work with relations within the chrome extension.

So here's what I mean, here's the article that I want to save to notion to my web clipper database. Not only do I want to save the link but I want to save the entire contents of the page. So after downloading save to notion, you'll have this little send to icon in your toolbar. I can then sign into notion and start creating a form. I'm going to select my workspace and then the database I want to connect to. In this case, it's called from web in my knowledge base. Great, I am then going to select clip page content. The title is going to be the page title. Show three more fields. The source so that's our source property here will be filled out as the page url. I don't want the page icon to be filled out but I can keep the content image. I'm going to select add new field and here I can select all of those properties in.

This text describes a process for saving an article to a database using a web clipper extension. The speaker explains how to add fields for the article's index and date and how to auto-populate the source link and content image. They also mention that it is possible to edit the article's information and remove the cover image. The speaker also references a "topics" database and a "master calendar" portal where additional information can be added. They mention that the calendar displays the number of tasks due for a given day and includes a template for creating new pages.

The following text describes a system for generating dates and managing tasks and notes. The syntax for creating a date must be two digits, followed by some kind of character, two digits, and some kind of character. Once a date is created, it can be filled out as a clickable link on a calendar. Users can select the template "new day" for their pages, and add quick notes and to-dos for that day. The system also allows for minimal task management, with the ability to check off tasks on the calendar, and for adding information through a master calendar. All of the quick notes, to-dos, and flashcards are collected on the home page, and users can filter by "done" or "not done" tasks, and can also add more properties to the filter if desired.

The text describes a system that allows the user to generate a date by using a specific syntax. The syntax is made up of two digits, followed by some kind of character, two digits, and some kind of character. Once a date is created, it will appear as a clickable link on the calendar.

The user also has the option to select a template called "new day" for their pages. They can then add quick notes and tasks for that specific day. The system includes minimal task management features, allowing the user to check off tasks on the calendar and see the number of completed tasks for that day. Additionally, the user can add information through the master calendar.

All of the quick notes, tasks, and flashcards are collected on the home page. The user can filter their tasks by "done" or "not done" and has the option to add more properties to the filter as desired. And it also mentioned that if to-do list is checked off it will go to archive, but if unchecked it will return to all tasks.

Giving each card an understanding tag by dragging it, either through this page or through your topics page, will update the card's understanding. There might be a point where you very much have an automatic understanding of a piece of information from a flashcard and you have an automatic understanding for repeated sessions, so you want to put it in the archive. It disappeared because it disappeared to the archive recall database view.

Now, let's say when you do recall that information, you're not quite as knowledgeable about it as you were before and you're like, "well, I actually more have a fragmented understanding of this now." It disappeared again because when you go back to flashcards, it will return to your active flashcards, prompting you to review this more often.

The next is the common index and we've gone through the common index where all of the tags are being collected. If I were to go to climate in this database view, I'll also be able to see it in a table view which can be easier to navigate than clicking through the page. I can just navigate to the topic it's connected to or the multiple topics and see all the information in that topic page.

So we have common topics here where we have all our topics and then comment info is all that information that describes those topics. If I go to all, you'll notice that it is grouped by the date. So today, we added all of this information and I can also view this information in different ways. I can view it by their themes. Remember we gave each piece of information a theme. I can also view information by causes so just information that has a cause attached to it or an effect or a correlation or a descriptor or it describes something or it has a web clipping attached to it. You can even add a new view looking at recalling or reviewing your information and you can also delete database views as well.

And then of course, the last one which is the web clipping database from web where all of your web clippings will show up. This is also fairly stripped back and you can also add more properties to this and more ways to view them as well. And like I said, I like using the web clipper extension saved in ocean which will be linked down in the description below.

So that's pretty much it. Let me show you sort of a filled out version of how all this looks. So maybe in flashcards you might start getting a lot of flashcards collecting may look something like this and you can go through each column, reveal each card, test yourself and drag that card around the pipeline, archive recall where you can recall information that you know quite well.

You can also use a checklist view to review information in a table also a more filled out information database looks like this and with a lot of this information, I like looking at it in dark mode which is just command shift l on your keyboard and have a few different database views here again the theme, causes, effects, correlations, again, descriptors, describes and from the web.

It is still fairly fast even with a lot of information. What I suggest to do is if you go to your database menu, there is an option for load limit. So this is the amount of pages it will load upon entering the page. If you don't have as powerful of a computer like maybe just a little laptop, I would suggest 25 that's what I use on my laptop reveal 25 pages at a time, 50 or 100. 100 pages is what I use on this computer that I'm filming on right now because it is quite powerful.

This is an example of the topics database and then from the web will populate in a gallery view like this.