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  1. May 2023
    1. I'm not actually setting a productivity goal, I'm just tracking metadata because it's related to my research. Of which the ZettelKasten is one subject.That being said, in your other post you point to "Quality over Quantity" what, in your opinion, is a quality note?Size? Number of Links? Subjective "goodness"?

      reply to u/jordynfly at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/13b0b5c/comment/jjcu3cn/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      I'm curious what your area of research is? What are you studying with respect to Zettelkasten?

      Caveat notetarius. Note collections are highly idiosyncratic to the user or intended audience, thus quality will vary dramatically on the creator's needs and future desires and potential uses. Contemporaneous, very simple notes can be valuable for their initial sensemaking and quite often in actual practice stop there.

      Ultimately, only the user can determine perceived quality and long term value for themselves. Future generations of historians, anthropologists, scholars, and readers, might also find value in notes and note collections, but it seems rare that the initial creators have written them with future readers and audiences in mind. Often they're less useful as the external reader is missing large swaths of context.

      For my own personal notes, I consider high quality notes to be well-sourced, highly reusable, easily findable, and reasonably tagged/linked. My favorite, highest quality notes are those that are new ideas which stem from the combination of two high quality notes. With respect to subjectivity, some of my philosophy is summarized by one of my favorite meta-zettels (alt text also available) from zettelmeister Umberto Eco.

      Anecdotally, 95% of my notes are done digitally and in public, but I've only got scant personal evidence that anyone is reading or interacting with them. I never write them with any perceived public consumption in mind (beyond the readers of the finished pieces that ultimately make use of them), but it is often very useful to get comments and reactions to them. I'm only aware of a small handful of people publishing their otherwise personal note collections (usually subsets) to the web (outside of social media presences which generally have a different function and intent).

      Intellectual historians have looked at and documented external use cases of shared note collections, commonplace books, annotated volumes, and even diaries. There are even examples of published (usually posthumously) commonplace books, waste books, etc., but these are often for influential public and intellectual figures. Here Ludwig Wittgenstein's Zettel, Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project, Vladimir Nabokov's The Original of Laura, Roland Barthes' Mourning Diary, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg's Waste Books, Ralph Waldo Emmerson, Ronald Reagan's card index commonplace, Stobaeus' Anthology, W. H. Auden's A Certain World, and Robert Southey’s Common-Place Book come quickly to mind not to mention digitized scholarly collections of Niklas Luhmann, W. Ross Ashby, S.D. Goitein, Jonathan Edwards' Miscellanies, and Aby Warburg's notes. Some of these latter will give you an idea of what they may have thought quality notes to have been for them, but often they mean little if nothing to the unstudied reader because they lack broader context or indication of linkages.