21 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2023
    1. At once intended as a foundationfor a systematic history of the Jews, it was deeply unsystematic; meant to be a means ofproductivity, in the end Deutsch was essentially unproductive.

      An example of a zettelkasten, meant for productivity in most settings, being called unproductive in Gotthard Deutsch's case.

      Of course this calls to mind the definition of productivity and from who's perspective. From Deutsch's written output perspective it may have been exceptionally low in comparison to the outputs of others like Niklas Luhmann, S.D. Goitein, or Roland Barthes. But when viewed from the perspective of a teaching instrument and influence on his students, perhaps it was monumentally productive?

  2. Jan 2023
    1. Then two things happened. Goitein had bequeathed his “geniza lab” of 26,000 index cards and thousands of transcriptions, translations and photocopies of fragments to the National Library of Israel (then the Jewish National and University Library). But Mark R. Cohen(link is external) and A. L. Udovitch(link is external) arranged for copies to be made and kept in Princeton. That was the birth of the Princeton Geniza Lab. 


      Mark R. Cohen and A. L. Udovitch made the arrangements for copies of S.D. Goitein's card index, transcriptions and photocopies of fragments to be made and kept at Princeton before the originals were sent to the National Library of Israel. This repository was the birth of the Princeton Geniza Lab.

    1. Zinger, Oded. “Finding a Fragment in a Pile of Geniza: A Practical Guide to Collections, Editions, and Resources.” Jewish History 32, no. 2 (December 1, 2019): 279–309. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10835-019-09314-6.

      Read on 2023-01-09

      An overview of sources and repositories for fragments from the Cairo Geniza with useful bibliographies for the start of Geniza studies. Of particular interest to me here is the general work of Shelomo Dov Goitein and his 27,000+ card zettelkasten containing his research work on it. There's some great basic description of his collection in general as well as some small specifics on what it entails and some reasonable guide as to how to search it and digital versions at the Princeton Geniza Lab.

    2. offers a breakdown of the most useful index cards of the second type.

      Oded Zinger provides a two page chart breakdown overview of the smaller portion of Goitein's 7,000 cards relating to his study of the Geniza with a list of the subjects, subdivisions, microfilm rolls and slide numbers, and the actual card drawer numbers and card numbers. These cards were in drawers 1-15, 17, and 20-22.

    3. Many of the topic cards served as the skeleton for Mediterranean Society and can be usedto study how Goitein constructed his magnum opus. To give just one example, in roll 26 wehave the index cards for Mediterranean Society, chap. 3, B, 1, “Friendship” and “InformalCooperation” (slides 375–99, drawer 24 [7D], 431–51), B, 2, “Partnership and Commenda”(slides 400–451, cards 452–83), and so forth.

      Cards from the topically arranged index cards in Goitein's sub-collection of 20,000 served as the skeleton of his magnum opus Mediterranean Society.

    4. Goitein’s index cards can be divided into two general types: those thatfocus on a specific topic (children, clothing, family, food, weather, etc.) andthose that serve as research tools for the study of the Geniza. 48
    5. It is, however, important to keep in mind that, reflecting the trajectory ofGoitein’s study of the Geniza, there are often two sets of cards for a givensubject, one general and one related to the India Book.44

      Goitein, “Involvement in Geniza Research,” 144.

      Goitein's cards are segmented into two sets: one for subjects and one related to the India Book.

    6. About twenty thousand of those cards are 3 × 5 inches and seven thousand 5 × 8 inches.

      Goitein's zettelkasten is comprised of about 20,000 3 x 5" index cards and 7,000 5 x 8" index cards.

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/TEiQ5H1rEe2_Amfzi4XXmg

      While not directly confirmed (yet), due to the seeming correspondence of the number of cards and their corpus descriptions, it's likely that the 20,000 3 x 5" cards were his notes covering individual topics while the 7,000 5 x 8" cards were his notes and descriptions of a single fragment from the Cairo Geniza.

    7. Before they were sent, however, the contents of itstwenty-six drawers were photographed in Princeton, resulting in thirty mi-crofilm rolls. Recently, digital pdf copies of these microfilm rolls have been

      circulating among scholars of the documentary Geniza.

      Prior to being shipped to the National Library of Israel, Goitein's index card collection was photographed in Princeton and transferred to thirty microfilm rolls from which digital copies in .pdf format have been circulating among scholars of the documentary Geniza.

      Link to other examples of digitized note collections: - Niklas Luhmann - W. Ross Ashby - Jonathan Edwards

      Are there collections by Charles Darwin and Linnaeus as well?

    8. Before they were sent, however, the contents of itstwenty-six drawers were photographed in Princeton, resulting in thirty mi-crofilm rolls.

      Goitein's zettelkasten consisted of twenty-six drawers of material.

    9. When Goitein died in 1985, his paperswere sent to the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, where his laboratorycan be accessed today.

      Following his death in 1985, S.D. Goitein's papers, including his zettelkasten, were sent to the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem where they can still be accessed.

    10. In some cases, not unlike his Geniza subjects, Goitein wrotehis notes on pieces of paper that were lying around. To give but one example, a small noterecords the location of the index cards for “India Book: Names of Persons” from ‘ayn to tav:“in red \\ or Gray \\ box of geographical names etc. second (from above) drawer to the left ofmy desk 1980 in the left right steelcabinet in the small room 1972” is written on the back ofa December 17, 1971, note thanking Goitein for a box of chocolate (roll 11, slide 503, drawer13 [2.1.1], 1191v).

      In addition to writing on cards, Goitein also wrote notes on pieces of paper that he happened to have lying around.

    11. The number is even more impressive when one realizes that both sides of many of the cardshave been written on.

      Goitein broke the frequent admonishment of many note takers to "write only on one side" of his cards.

      Oded Zinger doesn't mention how many of his 27,000 index cards are double-sided, but one might presume that it is a large proportion.

      How many were written on both sides?

    12. Until the development of new digital tools, Goitein’s index cards providedthe most extensive database for the study of the documentary Geniza.

      Goitein's index cards provided a database not only for his own work, but for those who studied documentary Geniza after him.

    13. Recently, images ofGoitein’s index cards and transcriptions have been attached to existing tran-scriptions or to shelf marks without transcription, thus increasing the numberof records to over eighty-three hundred (as of May 2018).

      S.D. Goitein's index cards have been imaged and transcribed and added to the Princeton Geniza Lab as of May 2018. Digital search and an index are also available.

  3. Dec 2022
    1. Goitein accumulated more than 27,000 index cards in his research work over the span of 35 years. (Approximately 2.1 cards per day.)

      His collection can broadly be broken up into two broad categories: 1. Approximately 20,000 cards are notes covering individual topics generally making of the form of a commonplace book using index cards rather than books or notebooks. 2. Over 7,000 cards which contain descriptions of a single fragment from the Cairo Geniza.

      A large number of cards in the commonplace book section were used in the production of his magnum opus, a six volume series about aspects of Jewish life in the Middle Ages, which were published as A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza (1967–1993).

    2. https://genizalab.princeton.edu/resources/goiteins-index-cards

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>u/Didactico</span> in Goitein's Index Cards : antinet (<time class='dt-published'>12/15/2022 23:12:33</time>)</cite></small>