50 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2022
    1. Many know from their own experience how uncontrollable and irretrievable the oftenvaluable notes and chains of thought are in note books and in the cabinets they are stored in

      Heyde indicates how "valuable notes and chains of thought are" but also points out "how uncontrollable and irretrievable" they are.

      This statement is strong evidence along with others in this chapter which may have inspired Niklas Luhmann to invent his iteration of the zettelkasten method of excerpting and making notes.

      (link to: Clemens /Heyde and Luhmann timeline: https://hypothes.is/a/4wxHdDqeEe2OKGMHXDKezA)

      Presumably he may have either heard or seen others talking about or using these general methods either during his undergraduate or law school experiences. Even with some scant experience, this line may have struck him significantly as an organization barrier of earlier methods.

      Why have notes strewn about in a box or notebook as Heyde says? Why spend the time indexing everything and then needing to search for it later? Why not take the time to actively place new ideas into one's box as close as possibly to ideas they directly relate to?

      But how do we manage this in a findable way? Since we can't index ideas based on tabs in a notebook or even notebook page numbers, we need to have some sort of handle on where ideas are in slips within our box. The development of European card catalog systems had started in the late 1700s, and further refinements of Melvil Dewey as well as standardization had come about by the early to mid 1900s. One could have used the Dewey Decimal System to index their notes using smaller decimals to infinitely intersperse cards on a growing basis.

      But Niklas Luhmann had gone to law school and spent time in civil administration. He would have been aware of aktenzeichen file numbers used in German law/court settings and public administration. He seems to have used a simplified version of this sort of filing system as the base of his numbering system. And why not? He would have likely been intimately familiar with its use and application, so why not adopt it or a simplified version of it for his use? Because it's extensible in a a branching tree fashion, one can add an infinite number of cards or files into the midst of a preexisting collection. And isn't this just the function aktenzeichen file numbers served within the German court system? Incidentally these file numbers began use around 1932, but were likely heavily influenced by the Austrian conscription numbers and house numbers of the late 1770s which also influenced library card cataloging numbers, so the whole system comes right back around. (Ref Krajewski here).

      (Cross reference/ see: https://hypothes.is/a/CqGhGvchEey6heekrEJ9WA

      Other pieces he may have been attempting to get around include the excessive work of additional copying involved in this piece as well as a lot of the additional work of indexing.

      One will note that Luhmann's index was much more sparse than without his methods. Often in books, a reader will find a reference or two in an index and then go right to the spot they need and read around it. Luhmann did exactly this in his sequence of cards. An index entry or two would send him to the general local and sifting through a handful of cards would place him in the correct vicinity. This results in a slight increase in time for some searches, but it pays off in massive savings of time of not needing to cross index everything onto cards as one goes, and it also dramatically increases the probability that one will serendipitously review over related cards and potentially generate new insights and links for new ideas going into one's slip box.

    1. Here it is probably necessary to explain that lots of things were once typed — on machines called typewriters — during a period of human history after stone tablets and before laptops and cellphones. It is probably also necessary to explain that reference to a card catalog in the first paragraph. A card catalog was an inventory of what was in a library before all the holdings were listed, and maybe available, online.

      A bit tongue-in-cheek, the New York Times describes for the technically inadept what a typewriter and a card catalog are.

    1. Bibliographical Index Card File

      Note that here in the index, Eco differentiates the index card file with the descriptor "bibliographical" as there is another card file that will play a part.

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  2. Aug 2022
    1. Fickert, Kevin-Steven. “Die Geschichte des Zettelkatalogs : eine historisch-kritische Betrachtung eines Verzeichnismediums und seiner Regelwerke.” Fachhochschule Stuttgart Hochschule der Medien, 2003. https://hdms.bsz-bw.de/frontdoor/index/index/docId/141

      via Ton Zijlstra

    1. war der Schweizer Humanist Conrad Gesner. Gesners Bibliotheca Universalis, die zwischen 1545 und 1548 in zwei Foliobänden mit jeweils über 1000 Seiten erschien, sollte alle Bücher verzeichnen, die seit Gutenberg erschienen waren.

      Swiss humanist Conrad Gesner. Gesner's Bibliotheca Universalis, which appeared between 1545 and 1548 in two folio volumes with over 1000 pages each, was supposed to list all the books that had appeared since Gutenberg.

      In Bibliotheca Universalis, Conrad Gesner collected a list that was supposed to list all the books which had appeared since Gutenberg's moveable type.

    1. Local libraries must be full of index card cabinets. Everything going digital, they might be willing to give them away or sell.

      reply to TurnipMonkey

      They're not as easy to come by as you might think, though they pop up from time to time. Given shipping costs, you're definitely better off finding something locally if you can.

      OCLC started digital shared cataloging in 1971. The peak for pre-printed library catalog cards was in 1985, and they quit printing cards in bulk in 2015 after shipping more than 1.9 billion cards during that time.<sup>[1]</sup>

    1. "OCLC Prints Last Library Catalog Cards.” OCLC, October 1, 2015. 44280170. OCLC News Releases 2015 - US. https://cdm15003.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15003coll6/id/386.

    2. OCLC began automated catalog card production in 1971, when the shared cataloging system first went online. Cardproduction increased to its peak in 1985, when OCLC printed 131 million. At peak production, OCLC routinelyshipped 8 tons of cards each week, or some 4,000 packages. Card production steadily decreased since then asmore and more libraries began replacing their printed cards with electronic catalogs. OCLC has printed more than1.9 billion catalog cards since 1971.
    3. OCLC built the world's first online shared cataloging system in 1971
    4. DUBLIN, Ohio, October 1, 2015 —OCLC printed its last library catalog cards today, officially closing the book onwhat was once a familiar resource for generations of information seekers who now use computer catalogs andonline search engines to access library collections around the world.
    1. in 1971, the Ohio College Library Center began printing the text onto the index cards for them.

      Librarians either handwrote or typed up their own library card catalog cards until the Ohio College Library Center (OCLC) began printing cards for libraries as a service.

    1. One year ago this month, the final order of library catalog cards was printed by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in Dublin, Ohio. On October 2, 2015, The Columbus Dispatch wrote, “Shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday, an era ended. About a dozen people gathered in a basement workroom to watch as a machine printed the final sheets of library catalog cards to be made …”
  3. Apr 2022
  4. Feb 2022
    1. Chapter 3: The First Card Index?

      Markus Krajewski outlines some of the history of the creation of the first library card catalog and structures it in such a way as to create parallels between its structure and that of the structure of a modern day computer.

      He covers the creation of catalogs at the court of Vienna, the Vienna University Library, an an attempted but failed national cataloging effort in France called the Bureau de Bibliographie at the Louvre. By 1974 the French effort had at least 1.2 million cards for 3 million volumes.

    2. In preparing these instructions, Gaspard-Michel LeBlond, one of their authors, urges the use of uniform media for registering titles, suggesting that “ catalog materials are not diffi cult to assemble; it is suffi cient to use playing cards [. . .] Whether one writes lengthwise or across the backs of cards, one should pick one way and stick with it to preserve uniformity. ” 110 Presumably LeBlond was familiar with the work of Abb é Rozier fi fteen years earlier; it is unknown whether precisely cut cards had been used before Rozier. The activity of cutting up pages is often mentioned in prior descrip-tions.

      In published instructions issued on May 8, 1791 in France, Gaspard-Michel LeBlond by way of standardization for library catalogs suggests using playing cards either vertically or horizontally but admonishing catalogers to pick one orientation and stick with it. He was likely familiar with the use of playing cards for this purpose by Abbé Rozier fifteen years earlier.

    3. 4. What follows is the compilation of the basic catalog; that is, all book titles are copied on a piece of paper (whose pagina aversa must remain blank) according to a specifi c order, so that together with the title of every book and the name of the author, the place, year, and format of the printing, the volume, and the place of the same in the library is marked.

      Benedictine abbot Franz Stephan Rautenstrauch (1734 – 1785) in creating the Catalogo Topographico for the Vienna University Library created a nine point instruction set for cataloging, describing, and ordering books which included using paper slips.


      Interesting to note that the admonishment to leave the backs of the slips (pagina aversa), in the 1780's seems to make its way into 20th century practice by Luhmann and others.

    4. Indeed, the Jose-phinian card index owes its continued use to the failure to achieve a bound

      catalog, until a successor card catalog comes along in 1848. Only the<br /> absence of a bound repertory allows the paper slip aggregate to answer all inquiries about a book ’ s whereabouts after 1781. Thus, a failed undertaking tacitly turns into a success story.

      The Josephinian card index was created, in part on the ideas of Konrad Gessner's slip method, by accumulating slips which could be rearranged and then copied down permanently. While there was the chance that the original cards could be disordered, the fact that the approximately 300,000 cards in 205 small boxes were estimated to fill 50 to 60 folio volumes with time and expense to print it dissuaded the creation of a long desired compiled book of books. These problems along with the fact that new books being added later was sure to only compound problems of having a single reference. This failure to have a bound catalog of books unwittingly resulted in the success of the index card catalog.

    5. The undertaking that begins on May 22, 1780, later to be called the Jose-phinian catalog , is extant in “ 205 small boxes ” in an airtight locker in the

      Austrian National Library; it is widely, and often proudly, considered the first card catalog in library history.

      The first card catalogue in library history, later known as the Josephinian catalog, began on May 22, 1780 in the Austrian National Library.

    6. Rozier chances upon the labor-saving idea of producing catalogs according to Gessner ’ s procedures — that is, transferring titles onto one side of a piece of paper before copying them into tabular form. Yet he optimizes this process by dint of a small refi nement, with regard to the paper itself: instead of copying data onto specially cut octavo sheets, he uses uniformly and precisely cut paper whose ordinary purpose obeys the contingent pleasure of being shuffl ed, ordered, and exchanged: “ cartes à jouer. ” 35 In sticking strictly to the playing card sizes available in prerevolutionary France (either 83 × 43 mm or 70 × 43 mm), Rozier cast his bibliographical specifi cations into a standardized and therefore easily handled format.

      Abbé François Rozier cleverly transferred book titles onto the blank side of French playing cards instead of cut octavo sheets as a means of indexing after being appointed in 1775 to index the holdings of the Académie des Sciences in Paris.

  5. Jan 2022
    1. the card index functions as an en-gine of variety rather than as an engine of redundancy.
    2. Samuel Hartlib was well aware of this improvement. While extolling the clever invention of Harrison, Hartlib noted that combinations and links con-stituted the ‘argumentative part’ of the card index.60

      Hartlib Papers 30/4/47A, Ephemerides 1640, Part 2.

      In extolling the Ark of Studies created by Thomas Harrison, Samuel Hartlib indicated that the combinations of information and the potential links between them created the "argumentative part" of the system. In some sense this seems to be analogous to the the processing power of an information system if not specifically creating its consciousness.

    3. Christoph Meinel, ‘Enzyklopädie der Welt und Verzettelung des Wissens: Aporien der Empirie bei Joachim Jungius’, in Enzyklopädien der frühen Neuzeit. Beiträge zu ihrer Er-forschung, ed. Franz M. Eybl (Tübingen, 1995), 162–87; Richard Yeo, ‘Loose Notes and Ca-pacious Memory: Robert Boyle’s Note-Taking and its Rationale’, Intellectual History Review 20 (2010), 335–54; Alberto Cevolini, ‘The Art of trascegliere e notare in Early Modern Ital-ian Culture’, Intellectual History Review 29 (2019), forthcoming.
    1. The essay is most famous for its description of a hypothetical information-retrieval system, the Memex, a kind of mechanical Evernote, in which a person's every "book, record, or communication" was microfilmed and cataloged.

      It really kills me that there's so much hero worship of all this, particularly given the information processing power of index card systems at the time. I don't really think it took such a leap to image automating such a system given the technological bent of the time.

      Of course actually doing it is another thing, but conceptualizing the idea at the time would have be de rigueur.

  6. Dec 2021
    1. Through an inner structure of recursive links and semantic pointers, a card index achieves a proper autonomy; it behaves as a ‘communication partner’ who can recommend unexpected associations among different ideas. I suggest that in this respect pre-adaptive advances took root in early modern Europe, and that this basic requisite for information pro-cessing machines was formulated largely by the keyword ‘order’.

      aliases for "topical headings": headwords keywords tags categories

    1. From 1676 onward, he follows an excerpting practice that directly refers to Jungius (via one of his students). Regarding Leibniz ’ s Excerpt Cabinet He wrote on slips of paper whatever occurred to him — in part when perusing books, in part during meditation or travel or out on walks — yet he did not let the paper slips (particularly the excerpts) cover each other in a mess; it was his habit to sort through them every now and then.

      According to one of his students, Leibniz used his note cabinet both for excerpts that he took from his reading as well as notes an ideas he came up separately from his reading.

      Most of the commonplace book tradition consisted of excerpting, but when did note taking practice begin to aggregate de novo notes with commonplaces?

    2. Leibniz ’ s propos-als for an indispensable library guide that mark the beginning of his activity in Wolfenb ü ttel in December 1690 include ideas on the form of cataloging: “ paper slips of all books, sorted pro materia et autoribus. ” 57 The plan antici-pates registering every book merely once, precisely on a slip of paper, so that the slip only has to be placed in the right order for any catalog organized alphabetically, by subject, or in any other way. Theoretically, this procedure could have successfully made numerous catalogs with the same data set. However, the plan is never carried out. In fact, the librarians supervised by Leibniz manage merely to assemble an alphabetical catalog; all the other plans fail for lack of employees and funding

      Leibnitz created a plan for creating a library card catalog for Wolfenbüttel in December 1690, which would have been similar in form to 20th century card catalogs, but the idea was never carried out for lack of employees and funding.

    3. Hugo Blotius, whose term in offi ce in the dusty halls of the Vienna court library lasted from 1575 to 1608.

      Hugo Blotius was a librarian at the Vienna court library from 1575 to 1608.

    4. The processing of excerpts follows the simplest algorithm: 1. When reading, everything of importance and whatever appears useful should be copied onto a good sheet of paper. 2. A new line should be used for every idea. 3. “ Finally, cut out everything you have copied with a pair of scissors; arrange the slips as you desire, fi rst into larger clusters which can then be subdivided again as often as necessary. ” 21 4. As soon as the desired order is produced, arranged, and sorted on tables or in small boxes, it should be fi xed or copied directly. 22

      This algorithm described in Gessner, 1548 fol. 19-20 is precisely that of a zettelkasten, though effectuated with slips of paper either glued or held by thread rails into a book.

      The last point number 4, even takes it so far as to arrange the individual notes into a logical order and copy them into something fixed, which one could readily view as an article.

      Gessner, Konrad. 1548. Pandectarum sive Partitionum Universalium. Zurich: Christoph Froschauer.

    5. list-sorted management on an index card basis is coupled with the organizational discourse of scientifi c management, which discovers the card index as an economic optimization tool and develops it into an instrument of rationalization.
    6. the United States has its own home-grown technique. In 1817, William Croswell ’ s

      unfortunate project of devising a comprehensive catalog for the Harvard College Library marks the birth of the American card index—out of a spirit of sloth.

      William Croswell's work at creating a comprehensive catalog for the Harvard College Library results in the first card index in America.

    7. the box of paper slips reaches the East Coast of the United States through librarians who study in Europe and then apply the practice to the cataloging of their growing collections in the course of the nineteenth century.

      In the 19th century, the box of paper slips (zettelkasten) as a technology reaches the east coast of the United states by way of librarians who study in Europe and then apply the practice of cataloguing their own collections.

    8. the fi rst card catalog in library history in Vienna around 1780.

      The first card catalogue dates to Vienna around 1780.

    9. Here, I also briefl y digress and examine two coinciding addressing logics: In the same decade and in the same town, the origin of the card index cooccurs with the invention of the house number. This establishes the possibility of abstract representation of (and controlled access to) both texts and inhabitants.

      Curiously, and possibly coincidently, the idea of the index card and the invention of the house number co-occur in the same decade and the same town. This creates the potential of abstracting the representation of information and people into numbers for easier access and linking.

    10. This comparison is not to claim that the index catalog is already a Turing machine. Comparisons, transfers, and analogies are not that simple. If the elements of a universal discrete machine are present, they still lack the computational logic of an operating system, the development of which constitutes Turing ’ s foundational achievement. What is described here is merely the fact that the card catalog is liter-ally a paper machine, similar to a nontrivial Turing machine only in having similar components — no more, no less.

      I felt some of this missing piece and so included the idea of human interaction as part of the process to make up the balance.

    11. What differs here from other data storage (as in the medium of the codex book) is a simple and obvious principle: information is available on separate, uniform, and mobile carriers and can be further arranged and processed according to strict systems of order.

      The primary value of the card catalogue and index cards as tools for thought is that it is a self-contained, uniform and mobile carrier that can be arranged and processed based on strict systems of order. Books have many of these properties, but the information isn't as atomic or as easily re-ordered.

    12. s Alan Turing proved only years later, these machines merely need (1) a (theoretically infi nite) partitioned paper tape, (2) a writing and reading head, and (3) an exact

      procedure for the writing and reading head to move over the paper segments. This book seeks to map the three basic logical components of every computer onto the card catalog as a “ paper machine,” analyzing its data processing and interfaces that may justify the claim, “Card catalogs can do anything!”

      Purpose of the book.

      A card catalog of index cards used by a human meets all the basic criteria of a Turing machine, or abstract computer, as defined by Alan Turing.

    13. “ Card catalogs can do anything ” — this is the slogan Fortschritt GmbH

      What a great quote to start off a book like this!

  7. Nov 2021
    1. on advocate for the index card in the early twentieth century called for animitation of “accountants of the modern schoolY”1

      Paul Chavigny, Organisation du travail intellectuel: Recettes pratiques a` l’usage des e ́tudiants de toutes les faculte ́s et de tous les travailleurs (Paris, 1920)

      Chavigny was an advocate for the index card in note taking in imitation of "accountants of the modern school". We know that the rise of the index card was hastened by the innovation of Melvil Dewey's company using index cards as part of their internal accounting system, which they actively exported to other companies as a product.

  8. Sep 2021
    1. There are endless ways of organizing your notes—by book, by author, by topic, by the time of reading. It doesn’t matter which system you use as long as you will be able to find the notes in the future.

      Or by all of the above... Library card catalogues did all three, but most digital systems will effectuate all of them as well.

  9. Aug 2021
    1. Up to 1200 the contents list of a monastic library was usually merely an inventory: it marked the presence of a book, but not its location. The later Middle Ages saw a surge of real catalogues, listing books and their location. Some of these catalogues were written out in books (as we will see in a moment), while others were pasted to the wall in the library.
    1. Figure 10. ‘Pharmacopoea”, frontispiece in Carolus Linnaeus, Materia Medica(1749). Wellcome Library,London.

      Note the similarity of this filing cabinet system to the similar ideas of library card catalogs.

      Where does this fit into the timeline with respect to the publication date of 1749 on Pharmacopoea and Linnaeus' use of it?

  10. Jul 2021
    1. Der Josephinische Katalog enthielt am Ende inklusive eines ausgefeilten Verweissystems ca. 300.000 Zettel. Dass er aber als erster Zettelkatalog Bibliotheksgeschichte schrieb, lag eher an einem Fehler im Programm. Eigentlich hätten nämlich nach van Swietens Vorstellungen am Ende des Vorgangs alle bibliographischen Angaben von den Zetteln in einen Bandkatalog übertragen werden sollen. Der Grund für diesen Programmierfehler bestand in ökonomischem Kalkül: Der geplante Katalog hätte gut und gerne 50 bis 60 Folio-Bände umfasst und wäre doch kurz nach Fertigstellung schon wieder veraltet gewesen. Darum wurden die Wiener Zettelkästen zur ersten relationalen Suchmaschine mit Erweiterungsfunktion.

      At the end of the Josephine catalog, including a sophisticated system of references, it contained around 300,000 pieces of paper. The fact that he was the first card catalog to write library history was more due to a bug in the program. Actually, according to [Gottfried Freiherr] van Swieten's ideas, at the end of the process all bibliographical information should have been transferred from the slips of paper to a volume catalog. The reason for this programming error was an economic calculation: the planned catalog would have easily comprised 50 to 60 folio volumes and would have been out of date shortly after completion. That is why the Vienna Zettelkästen became the first relational search engine with an expansion function.

      Description of the invention of the first library card catalog?

  11. May 2021
    1. Media theorist Markus Krajewski has devoted a book specifically to the paper machinery of cards and catalogs. He traces the origins of this machinery back to sixteenth-century attempts at indexing books, and through the twists and turns of library technology in Europe and the U.S. over the following centuries.