- Aug 2022
als deren Meister sich sein Zeitgenosse Johann Jacob Moser (1701-1785) erwies. Die Verzettelungstechnik des schwäbischen Juristen und Schriftstellers ist ein nachdrücklicher Beleg dafür, wie man allein durch Umadressierung aus den Exzerpten alter Bücher neue machen kann. Seine auf über 500 Titel veranschlagte Publikationsliste hätte Moser nach eigenem Bekunden ohne das von ihm geschaffene Hilfsmittel nicht bewerkstelligen können. Moser war auch einer der ersten Theoretiker des Zettelkastens. Unter der Überschrift "Meine Art, Materialien zu künfftigen Schrifften zu sammlen" hat er selbst die Algorithmen beschrieben, mit deren Hilfe er seine "Zettelkästgen" füllte.
the master of which his contemporary Johann Jacob Moser (1701-1785) proved to be. The technique used by the Swabian lawyer and writer to scramble is emphatic evidence of how you can turn excerpts from old books into new ones just by re-addressing them. According to his own admission, Moser would not have been able to manage his publication list, which is estimated at over 500 titles, without the aid he had created. Moser was also one of the first theorists of the card box. Under the heading "My way of collecting materials for future writings", he himself described the algorithms with which he filled his "card boxes".
Johann Jacob Moser was a commonplace book keeper who referenced his system as a means of inventio. He wrote about how he collected material for future writing and described the ways in which he filled his "card boxes".
I'm curious what his exact method was and if it could be called an early precursor of the zettelkasten?
ManuelRodriguez331 · 8 hr. agotaurusnoises wrote on Aug 20, 2022: Technik des Wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens by Johannes Erich HeydeThe idea of grouping similar notes together with the help of index cards was mainstream knowledge in the 1920'er. Melvil Dewey has invented the decimal classification in 1876 and it was applied to libraries and personal note taking as well.quote: “because for every note there is a systematically related one in the immediate vicinity. [...] A good, scholarly book can grow out of the mere collection of notes — not an ingenious one, indeed" The single cause why it wasn't applied more frequently was because of the limitation of the printing press. In the year 1900 only 100 scholarly journals were available in the world. There was no need to write more manuscripts and teach the art of Scientific Writing to a larger audience. Kuntze, Friedrich: Die Technik der geistigen Arbeit, 1922
Index card systems were insanely popular in the early 1900's for note taking and uses of all other sorts (business administration, libraries, etc.). The note taking tradition of the slip box goes back even further in intellectual history with precedents including miscellanies, commonplace books, and florilegia. Konrad Gessner may have been one of the first to have created a method using slips of rearrangeable paper in the 1500s, but this general pattern of excerpting, note taking and writing goes back to antiquity with the concept of locus communis (Latin) and tópos koinós (Greek).
What some intellectual historians are hoping for evidence of in this particular source is a possible origin of the idea of the increased complexity of direct links from one card to another as well as the juxtaposition of ideas which build on each other. Did Luhmann innovate this himself or was this something he read or was in general practice which he picked up? Most examples of zettelkasten outside of Luhmann's until those in the present, could be described reasonably accurately as commonplace books on index cards usually arranged by topic/subject heading/head word (with or without internal indices).
Perhaps it was Luhmann's familiarity with Aktenzeichen (German administrative "file numbers") prior to his academic work which inspired the dramatically different form his index card-based commonplace took? See: https://hyp.is/CqGhGvchEey6heekrEJ9WA/www.wikiwand.com/de/Aktenzeichen_(Deutschland)
Is it possible that he was influenced by Beatrice Webb's ideas on note taking from Appendix C of My Apprenticeship (1924) which was widely influential in the humanities and particularly sociology and anthropology? Would he have been aware of the work of historians Ernst Bernheim followed by Charles Victor Langlois and Charles Seignobos? (see: https://hypothes.is/a/DLP52hqFEe2nrIMdrd4U7g) Did Luhmann's law studies expose him to the work of jurist Johann Jacob Moser (1701-1785) who wrote about his practice in his autobiography and subsequently influenced generations of practitioners including Jean Paul and potentially Hegel?
There are obviously lots of unanswered questions...
- open questions
- Johannes Erich Heyde
- locus communis
- Beatrice Webb
- Ernst Bernheim
- tópos koinós
- intellectual history
- Johann Jacob Moser
- card index
- Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten
Moser, Johann Jacob . 1773. Vortheile vor Canzleyverwandte und Gelehrte in Absicht aufAkten-Verzeichnisse, Auszü ge und Register, desgleichen auf Sammlungen zu kü nfftigenSchrifften und wü rckliche Ausarbeitung derer Schrifften. T ü bingen: Heerbrandt.
Heavily quoted in chapter 4 with respect to his own zettelkasten/excerpting practice.
Is there an extant English translation of this?