I try to locate two types of papers: (i) the seminal papers that everyone cites and (ii) the most recent review papers (written by the experts) that overview the field well. From the former, we can search for the papers that cite this seminal paper. From the latter, we can read the review and identify key papers to follow next. This makes use of both directions of citations. So one can call “sandwich method”.
Using YYiki/Obsidian, I make pages for relevant papers in the following format:
Paper/Lastname2020titlefirstword. I try to write a quick take-away from my own words in the paper page, as well as creating links from/to relevant pages so that the paper is linked and discoverable. This is similar to Niklas Luhmann‘s Zettelkasten.