10 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2023
  2. Feb 2023
    1. Simultaneously, it showcases how little actually has changed with therise of digital platforms, where some scholars have sought to build software edifices toemulate card index systems or speak of ‘paper-based tangible interfaces’ for research(Do ̈ring and Beckhaus, 2007; Lu ̈decke, 2015).

      Döring, T. and Beckhaus, S. (2007) ‘The Card Box at Hand: Exploring the Potentials of a Paper-Based Tangible Interface for Education and Research in Art History’. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, February 15-17, 2007. New York, ACM, pp. 87–90.

      Did they have a working system the way Ludeke did?

    2. Fred Morrow Flingwrote effusively of the ‘manifest advantages’ of the ‘card system of note taking’

      from<br /> Fling, F. M. (1920) The Writing of History: An Introduction to Historical Method. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    3. Deutsch’s close friendJoseph Stolz, writing of the Chicago rabbi Bernard Felsenthal (1822–1908) who hadpenned a history of that city’s Jews and was instrumental in the 1892 formation of theAmerican Jewish Historical Society, noted that Felsenthal ‘was not the systematic orga-nizer who worked with a stenographer and card-index’ (Stolz, 1922: 259).

      Great example of a historian implying the benefit of not only a card index, but of potentially how commonplace it was to not only have one, but to have stenographers or secretaries to help manage them.

      Link this to the reference in Heyde about historians and others who were pushed to employ stenographers or copyists to keep their card indexes in order.

      Given the cost of employing secretaries to manage our information, one of the affordances that computers might focus on as tools for thought is lowering the barrier for management and maintenance. If they can't make this easier/simpler, then what are they really doing beyond their shininess? Search is obviously important in this context.

      What was the reference to employing one person full time to manage every 11 or 12 filing cabinets' worth of documents? Perhaps Duguid in the paper piece?

  3. Jan 2023
    1. How do you maintain the interdisciplinarity of your zettlekasten? .t3_10f9tnk._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      As humans we're good at separating things based on categories. The Dewey Decimal System systematically separates mathematics and history into disparate locations, but your zettelkasten shouldn't force this by overthinking categories. Perhaps the overlap of math and history is exactly the interdisciplinary topic you're working toward? If this is the case, just put cards into the slip box closest to their nearest related intellectual neighbor—and by this I mean nearest related to you, not to Melvil Dewey or anyone else. Over time, through growth and branching, ideas will fill in the interstitial spaces and neighboring ideas will slowly percolate and intermix. Your interests will slowly emerge into various bunches of cards in your box. Things you may have thought were important can separate away and end up on sparse branches while other areas flourish.

      If you make the (false) choice to separate math and history into different "sections" it will be much harder for them to grow and intertwine in an organic and truly disciplinary way. Universities have done this sort of separation for hundreds of years and as a result, their engineering faculty can be buildings or even entire campuses away from their medical faculty who now want to work together in new interdisciplinary ways. This creates a physical barrier to more efficient and productive innovation and creativity. It's your zettelkasten, so put those ideas right next to each other from the start so they can do the work of serendipity and surprise for you. Do not artificially separate your favorite ideas. Let them mix and mingle and see what comes out of them.

      If you feel the need to categorize and separate them in such a surgical fashion, then let your index be the place where this happens. This is what indices are for! Put the locations into the index to create the semantic separation. Math related material gets indexed under "M" and history under "H". Now those ideas can be mixed up in your box, but they're still findable. DO NOT USE OR CONSIDER YOUR NUMBERS AS TOPICAL HEADINGS!!! Don't make the fatal mistake of thinking this. The numbers are just that, numbers. They are there solely for you to be able to easily find the geographic location of individual cards quickly or perhaps recreate an order if you remove and mix a bunch for fun or (heaven forfend) accidentally tip your box out onto the floor. Each part has of the system has its job: the numbers allow you to find things where you expect them to be and the index does the work of tracking and separating topics if you need that.

      The broader zettelkasten, tools for thought, and creativity community does a terrible job of explaining the "why" portion of what is going on here with respect to Luhmann's set up. Your zettelkasten is a crucible of ideas placed in juxtaposition with each other. Traversing through them and allowing them to collide in interesting and random ways is part of what will create a pre-programmed serendipity, surprise, and combinatorial creativity for your ideas. They help you to become more fruitful, inventive, and creative.

      Broadly the same thing is happening with respect to the structure of commonplace books. There one needs to do more work of randomly reading through and revisiting portions to cause the work or serendipity and admixture, but the end results are roughly the same. With the zettelkasten, it's a bit easier for your favorite ideas to accumulate into one place (or neighborhood) for easier growth because you can move them around and juxtapose them as you add them rather than traversing from page 57 in one notebook to page 532 in another.

      If you use your numbers as topical or category headings you'll artificially create dreadful neighborhoods for your ideas to live in. You want a diversity of ideas mixing together to create new ideas. To get a sense of this visually, play the game Parable of the Polygons in which one categorizes and separates (or doesn't) triangles and squares. The game created by Vi Hart and Nicky Case based on the research of Thomas Schelling provides a solid example of the sort of statistical mechanics going on with ideas in your zettelkasten when they're categorized rigidly. If you rigidly categorize ideas and separate them, you'll drastically minimize the chance of creating the sort of useful serendipity of intermixed and innovative ideas.

      It's much harder to know what happens when you mix anthropology with complexity theory if they're in separate parts of your mental library, but if those are the things that get you going, then definitely put them right next to each other in your slip box. See what happens. If they're interesting and useful, they've got explicit numerical locators and are cross referenced in your index, so they're unlikely to get lost. Be experimental occasionally. Don't put that card on Henry David Thoreau in the section on writers, nature, or Concord, Massachusetts if those aren't interesting to you. Besides everyone has already done that. Instead put him next to your work on innovation and pencils because it's much easier to become a writer, philosopher, and intellectual when your family's successful pencil manufacturing business can pay for you to attend Harvard and your house is always full of writing instruments from a young age. Now you've got something interesting and creative. (And if you must, you can always link the card numerically to the other transcendentalists across the way.)

      In case they didn't hear it in the back, I'll shout it again: ACTIVELY WORK AGAINST YOUR NATURAL URGE TO USE YOUR ZETTELKASTEN NUMBERS AS TOPICAL HEADINGS!!!

  4. Sep 2022
    1. Live-Roaming: Using Roam to teach students in college

      I'd listened to this whole episode sometime since 2022-04-05, but didn't put it in my notes.

      Mark Robertson delineates how he actively models the use of his note taking practice (using Roam Research) while teaching/lecturing in the classroom. This sort of modeling can be useful for showing students how academics read, gather, and actively use their knowledge. It does miss the portion about using the knowledge to create papers, articles, books, etc., but the use of this mode of reading and notes within a discussion setting isn't terribly different.

      Use of the system for conversation/discussion with the authors of various texts as you read, with your (past) self as you consult your own notes, or your students in classroom lectures/discussion sections is close to creating your own discussion for new audiences (by way of the work your write yourself.)


  5. Apr 2022
    1. Much of Barthes’ intellectual and pedagogical work was producedusing his cards, not just his published texts. For example, Barthes’Collège de France seminar on the topic of the Neutral, thepenultimate course he would take prior to his death, consisted offour bundles of about 800 cards on which was recorded everythingfrom ‘bibliographic indications, some summaries, notes, andprojects on abandoned figures’ (Clerc, 2005: xxi-xxii).

      In addition to using his card index for producing his published works, Barthes also used his note taking system for teaching as well. His final course on the topic of the Neutral, which he taught as a seminar at Collège de France, was contained in four bundles consisting of 800 cards which contained everything from notes, summaries, figures, and bibliographic entries.

      Given this and the easy portability of index cards, should we instead of recommending notebooks, laptops, or systems like Cornell notes, recommend students take notes directly on their note cards and revise them from there? The physicality of the medium may also have other benefits in terms of touch, smell, use of colors on them, etc. for memory and easy regular use. They could also be used physically for spaced repetition relatively quickly.

      Teachers using their index cards of notes physically in class or in discussions has the benefit of modeling the sort of note taking behaviors we might ask of our students. Imagine a classroom that has access to a teacher's public notes (electronic perhaps) which could be searched and cross linked by the students in real-time. This would also allow students to go beyond the immediate topic at hand, but see how that topic may dovetail with the teachers' other research work and interests. This also gives greater meaning to introductory coursework to allow students to see how it underpins other related and advanced intellectual endeavors and invites the student into those spaces as well. This sort of practice could bring to bear the full weight of the literacy space which we center in Western culture, for compare this with the primarily oral interactions that most teachers have with students. It's only in a small subset of suggested or required readings that students can use for leveraging the knowledge of their teachers while all the remainder of the interactions focus on conversation with the instructor and questions that they might put to them. With access to a teacher's card index, they would have so much more as they might also query that separately without making demands of time and attention to their professors. Even if answers aren't immediately forthcoming from the file, then there might at least be bibliographic entries that could be useful.

      I recently had the experience of asking a colleague for some basic references about the history and culture of the ancient Near East. Knowing that he had some significant expertise in the space, it would have been easier to query his proverbial card index for the lived experience and references than to bother him with the burden of doing work to pull them up.

      What sorts of digital systems could help to center these practices? Hypothes.is quickly comes to mind, though many teachers and even students will prefer to keep their notes private and not public where they're searchable.

      Another potential pathway here are systems like FedWiki or anagora.org which provide shared and interlinked note spaces. Have any educators attempted to use these for coursework? The closest I've seen recently are public groups using shared Roam Research or Obsidian-based collections for book clubs.