On Creating a Tree of Knowledge

The Goal

Find a way to categorize, organize, and visualize all fields of knowledge.

The Reason

To easily relate information, and better

Table that shows “I don’t know what I don’t know”, “I don’t know what I know”, “I know what I know”, “I know what I don’t know”

The Source

The Wikipedia List of Academic Disciplines

The benefits:

  • Wikipedia is collaborative, so multiple experts and viewpoints went into creating the list
  • The list is updated regularly
  • The list is organized and hierarchical
  • Content for learning is connected to each discipline

The Drawbacks

  • Lack of interdisciplinary connections, so valuable connections across branches aren’t inherent in the structure
  • Academic disciplines are a narrow framework when working to encapsulate all knowledge. For example, jazz is on the list, but hip hop isn’t
  • The list focuses almost exclusively on domain or general knowledge

The Results

Obsidian.MD — A Knowledge Management Tool

I converted the Wikipedia Outline of Academic Disciplines into .md files ready to be moved to Obsidian.

Each file contains the following, which specifies the level of the discipline (type) and it’s parent discipline.

The levels are specified by Domain → Field → Category → Subcategory → Subject → Discipline

The visual created through Obsidian.MD’s Graph View gave this result:

A Sunburst Diagram in Excel

Your Access

Go here for a GitHub folder containing:

  • a folder with the Obsidian.md files
  • an Excel sheet containing a few sheets breaking down the academic disciplines and a sunburst diagram
  • 2 JSON files with the academic disciplines, one that contains the full path, and another that only contains the parent-child relationship


I found this site during my research for this project. It’s pretty cool:



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Kyle Scheer

I like writing about things that interest me. I’m hoping some of it may be interesting to you as well. Keep up with me and my projects at www.kylescheer.com