- Mar 2023
The date and time (YYYYMMDD hhmm) form a unique identifier for the note. As I get it using this unique identifier is a way to make the notes "anonymous" so that "surprise" connections between them can be found that we wouldn't otherwise have noticed. In other words, it removes us from getting in our own way and forcing the notes to connect in a certain way by how we name them. A great introduction to the system can be found at zettelkasten.de. The page is written in English. The origional numbering system is discussed in the article. The modern computerized system uses the date and time as the unique identifier. I hope this helps.
I've studied (and used) Luhmann and other related systems more closely than most, so I'm aware of zettelkasten.de and the variety of numbering systems available including how Luhmann's likely grew out of governmental conscription numbers in 1770s Vienna. As a result your answer comes close to a generic answer, but not to the level of specificity I was hoping for. (Others who use a timestamp should feel free to chime in here as well.)
How specifically does the anonymity of the notes identified this way create surprise for you? Can you give me an example and how it worked for you? As an example in my own practice using unique titles in Obsidian, when I type
[[and begin typing a word, I'll often get a list of other notes which are often closely related. This provides a variety of potential links and additional context to which I can write the current note in light of. I also get this same sort of serendipity in the autocomplete functionality of my tagging system which has been incredibly useful and generative to me in the past. This helps me to resurface past notes I hadn't thought of recently and can provide new avenues of growth and expansion.
I've tried the datetime stamp in the past, but without aliasing them all with other titles, things tend to get lost in a massive list of generally useless numbers in an Obsidian folder—i.e. looking at the list gives me absolutely no information without other actions. Further the aliasing to remedy this just becomes extra administrative work. I've also never experienced the sort of surprise you mention when using datetime stamps, or at least not as the result of the timestamps themselves. As a separate concrete example in this video https://share.tube/w/4ad929jjNYMLc6eRppVQmc?start=49s using Denote, there is a clever naming method which simultaneously uses timestamps, Luhmann IDs, titles, and tags. However in this scheme the timestamps is one of the least useful (other than for simply searching by creation date/time, as in "I remember doing this on my birthday last year", or "it was sometime in Winter 2015"...) compared with the Luhmann identifiers, the title, or the tag for search and discovery within the search functionality. Consequently, I'm looking for concrete reasons why people would use datetime stamps and affordances they provide other than to simply have an identifier.
All my final notes are in one folder. They are named using the zettelkasten method (YYYYMMDDhhmm). I also have an MOC (Map Of Content) folder.
I'm curious what benefit, if any, you get out of the YYYYMMDDhhmm title format other than a simple date ordered listing of files?