14 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2022
    1. Les murs du cabinet de travail, le plancher, le plafond même portaient des liasses débordantes, des cartons démesurément gonflés, des boîtes où se pressait une multitude innombrable de fiches, et je contemplai avec une admiration mêlée de terreur les cataractes de l'érudition prêtes à se rompre. —Maître, fis-je d'une voix émue, j'ai recours à votre bonté et à votre savoir, tous deux inépuisables. Ne consentiriez-vous pas à me guider dans mes recherches ardues sur les origines de l'art pingouin? —Monsieur, me répondit le maître, je possède tout l'art, vous m'entendez, tout l'art sur fiches classées alphabétiquement et par ordre de matières. Je me fais un devoir de mettre à votre disposition ce qui s'y rapporte aux Pingouins. Montez à cette échelle et tirez cette boîte que vous voyez là-haut. Vous y trouverez tout ce dont vous avez besoin. J'obéis en tremblant. Mais à peine avais-je ouvert la fatale boîte que des fiches bleues s'en échappèrent et, glissant entre mes doigts, commencèrent à pleuvoir. Presque aussitôt, par sympathie, les boîtes voisines s'ouvrirent et il en coula des ruisseaux de fiches roses, vertes et blanches, et de proche en proche, de toutes les boîtes les fiches diversement colorées se répandirent en murmurant comme, en avril, les cascades sur le flanc des montagnes. En une minute elles couvrirent le plancher d'une couche épaisse de papier. Jaillissant de leurs inépuisables réservoirs avec un mugissement sans cesse grossi, elles précipitaient de seconde en seconde leur chute torrentielle. Baigné jusqu'aux genoux, Fulgence Tapir, d'un nez attentif, observait le cataclysme; il en reconnut la cause et pâlit d'épouvante. —Que d'art! s'écria-t-il. Je l'appelai, je me penchai pour l'aider à gravir l'échelle qui pliait sous l'averse. Il était trop tard. Maintenant, accablé, désespéré, lamentable, ayant perdu sa calotte de velours et ses lunettes d'or, il opposait en vain ses bras courts au flot qui lui montait jusqu'aux aisselles. Soudain une trombe effroyable de fiches s'éleva, l'enveloppant d'un tourbillon gigantesque. Je vis durant l'espace d'une seconde dans le gouffre le crâne poli du savant et ses petites mains grasses, puis l'abîme se referma, et le déluge se répandit sur le silence et l'immobilité. Menacé moi-même d'être englouti avec mon échelle, je m'enfuis à travers le plus haut carreau de la croisée.

      France, Anatole. L’Île Des Pingouins. Project Gutenberg 8524. 1908. Reprint, Project Gutenberg, 2005. https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/8524/pg8524.html

      Death by Zettelkasten!!

      (Coming soon to a theater near you...)

      In the preface to the novel Penguin Island (L'Île des Pingouins. Calmann-Lévy, 1908) by Nobel prize laureate Anatole France, a scholar is drowned by an avalanche of index cards which formed a gigantic whirlpool streaming out of his card index (Zettelkasten).

      Link to: Historian Keith Thomas has indicated that he finds it hard to take using index cards for excerpting and research seriously as a result of reading this passage in the satire Penguin Island.<br /> https://hypothes.is/a/rKAvtlQCEe2jtzP3LmPlsA


      Translation via: France, Anatole. Penguin Island. Translated by Arthur William Evans. 8th ed. 1908. Reprint, New York, NY, USA: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1922. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Penguin_Island/6UpWAvkPQaEC?hl=en&gbpv=0

      Small changes in the translation by me, comprising only adding the word "index" in front of the occurrences of card to better represent the historical idea of fiches used by scholars in the late 1800s and early 1900s, are indicated in brackets.

      The walls of the study, the floor, and even the ceiling were loaded with overflowing bundles, paste board boxes swollen beyond measure, boxes in which were compressed an innumerable multitude of small [index] cards covered with writing. I beheld in admiration mingled with terror the cataracts of erudition that threatened to burst forth.

      “Master,” said I in feeling tones, “I throw myself upon your kindness and your knowledge, both of which are inexhaustible. Would you consent to guide me in my arduous researches into the origins of Penguin art?"

      “Sir," answered the Master, “I possess all art, you understand me, all art, on [index] cards classed alphabetically and in order of subjects. I consider it my duty to place at your disposal all that relates to the Penguins. Get on that ladder and take out that box you see above. You will find in it everything you require.”

      I tremblingly obeyed. But scarcely had I opened the fatal box than some blue [index] cards escaped from it, and slipping through my fingers, began to rain down.

      Almost immediately, acting in sympathy, the neighbouring boxes opened, and there flowed streams of pink, green, and white [index] cards, and by degrees, from all the boxes, differently coloured [index] cards were poured out murmuring like a waterfall on a mountain-side in April. In a minute they covered the floor with a thick layer of paper. Issuing from their in exhaustible reservoirs with a roar that continually grew in force, each second increased the vehemence of their torrential fall. Swamped up to the knees in cards, Fulgence Tapir observed the cataclysm with attentive nose. He recognised its cause and grew pale with fright.

      “ What a mass of art! ” he exclaimed.

      I called to him and leaned forward to help him mount the ladder which bent under the shower. It was too late. Overwhelmed, desperate, pitiable, his velvet smoking-cap and his gold-mounted spectacles having fallen from him, he vainly opposed his short arms to the flood which had now mounted to his arm-pits . Suddenly a terrible spurt of [index] cards arose and enveloped him in a gigantic whirlpool. During the space of a second I could see in the gulf the shining skull and little fat hands of the scholar; then it closed up and the deluge kept on pouring over what was silence and immobility. In dread lest I in my turn should be swallowed up ladder and all I made my escape through the topmost pane of the window.

    1. Here is the description of the ‘Fichier vert’, which derives itsname from the fact that the titles of the rubrics are written ingreen ink. BNF, NAF 28630: ‘Fichier vert 1: Books, selectedpassages’, 363 index cards; ‘Fichier vert 2: Fragments completed’,501 cards; ‘Fichier vert 3: Fragments completed (continued)’, 300cards; ‘Fichier vert 4: Cards not used’, 325 cards; ‘Fichier vert 5:Discarded and/or for revision’, 300 cards; ‘Fichier vert 6:Discarded and/or for revision (continued to end), 300 cards.There is also a fichier on photography and a fichier entitled ‘Noteswithout a date’, some 200 cards that are ‘incidents’ and notesdrawn from the Urt diary in the summer of 1973 or the ‘harvestdiary’ kept by Barthes throughout the time he was writing thebook, in Paris, from autumn 1973 to spring 1974.
    2. the Fonds Roland Barthesis called the ‘Grand fichier’

      The Fonds Roland Barthes (English: The Roland Barthes Fund) at the Bibliothèque National De France refers to his card index or fichier boîte written from 1968-1980 as the 'Grand fichier'.

      See also: https://archivesetmanuscrits.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cc78608x/cN77017

    3. These index cards,which Barthes began as a student, using them as a bibliographicaland then lexicographical resource, gradually became the place wherehe recorded a great deal of his life. In them, he assembled things hehad seen and heard, travel impressions, phrases that he liked, ideasand plans.

      Roland Barthes used his card index as more than the traditional bibliographical, excerpting, and note taking tool that many had before him. He also used it to accumulate notes on what he had seen and heard in his daily life, phrases he liked, and plans. It came to serve the function, particularly in the last two years of his life, of a diary or what biographer Tiphaine Samoyault came to call his fichierjournal or index-card diary.


      Are there examples of this practice before this time? Certainly in the commonplace book tradition, the ideas of journal, diary, and commonplace had been mixed before.

    4. Bouttes contributedfrequently to Barthes’s seminar and gave an unusual paper at thecolloque de Cerisy called ‘Le diamantfoudre’ (‘The diamond-lightning’). He was darkly dazzling, strange, sombre, unexpected.Barthes thought he had something of Des Esseintes about him,witness an anecdote noted in his card index diary: ‘J.L.: in a phasewhere, in the restaurant, he deconstructs the menus, greatlyshocking the waiters. The other evening, at Prunier’s, oysters andoyster gratin, yesterday, at Le Balzar, oeuf en gelée and oysters,coffee ice cream and ice cream.’59
      1. BNF, NAF 28630, ‘Grand fichier’, 3 January 1975.

      Roland Barthes' biographer Tiphaine Samoyault quotes portions of what he calls Barthes' card index diary.

      This can also be seen in the published cards which comprise Barthes' Mourning Diary about the period following his mother's death.

      Are there other people who've used their card index as a diary the way that some use it for productivity?

      syndication link

    1. Thesis to bear out (only tangentially related to this particular text):

      Part of the reason that index card files didn't catch on, especially in America, was that they didn't have a solid/concrete name by which they went. The generic term card index subsumed so much in relation to library card catalogues or rolodexes which had very specific functions and individualized names. Other cultures had more descriptive names like zettelkasten or fichier boîte which, while potentially bland within their languages, had more specific names for what they were.

    1. level 1tristanjuricek · 4 hr. agoI’m not sure I see these products as anything more than a way for middle management to put some structure behind meetings, presentations, etc in a novel format. I’m not really sure this is what I’d consider a zettlecasten because there’s really no “net” here; no linking of information between cards. Just some different exercises.If you actually look at some of the cards, they read more like little cues to drive various processes forward: https://pipdecks.com/products/workshop-tactics?variant=39770920321113I’m pretty sure if you had 10 other people read those books and analyze them, they’d come up with 10 different observations on these topics of team management, presentation building, etc.

      Historically the vast majority of zettelkasten didn't have the sort of structure and design of Luhmann's, though with indexing they certainly create a network of notes and excerpts. These examples are just subsets or excerpts of someone's reading of these books and surely anyone else reading any book is going to have a unique set of notes on them. These sets were specifically honed and curated for a particular purpose.

      The interesting pattern here is that someone is selling a subset of their work/notes as a set of cards rather than as a book. Doing this allows different sorts of reading and uses than a "traditional" book would.

      I'm curious what other sort of experimental things people might come up with? The "novel" Cain's Jawbone, for example, could be considered a "Zettelkasten mystery" or "Zettelkasten puzzle". There's also the subset of cards from Roland Barthes' fichier boîte (French for zettelkasten), which was published posthumously as Mourning Diary.

  2. Sep 2022
    1. So entstanden 98 Bände, hergestellt nach einem Zettelkasten-System (Verne hinterließ 25 000 Stichwort-Karten), zum größeren Teil geschrieben in dem Turm zu Amiens, den Verne innen wie ein Schiff ausgestattet hatte.

      https://www.spiegel.de/kultur/zukunft-im-zettelkasten-a-75d23643-0002-0001-0000-000046407320?context=issue

      Google translation:

      The result was 98 volumes, produced according to a Zettelkasten system (Verne left 25,000 keyword cards), mostly written in the tower at Amiens, the interior of which Verne had decorated like a ship.

      Jules Verne had a zettelkasten which he used to write 98 volumes.

      Given that he was French we should cross check his name with "fichier boîte".

  3. Jul 2022
    1. the making of notes, or whatthe French call “ fiches ’O

      French notes:<br /> fiches - generally notes, specifically translates as "sheets"<br /> fichier - translates as "file"<br /> fichier boîte - translates as "file box" (aka zettelkasten in German)

    Tags

    Annotators

  4. Apr 2022
    1. French theorist, philosopher, and writer Roland Barthes (1915 – 1980) kept a fichier boîte or card index file beginning in 1943 until his death. Curator Nathalie Léger has indicated that there are 12,250 slips in Roland Barthes' bequest at the Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC).[16][17] Louis-Jean Calvet explains that in writing Michelet, Barthes used his notes on index cards to try out various combinations of cards to both organize them as well as "to find correspondences between them."[18][19] 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.[18] In his autobiographical Roland Barthes par (by) Roland Barthes, Barthes reproduces three of his index cards in facsimile.[20] Published posthumously in 2010, Barthes' Mourning Diary was created from a collection of 330 of his index cards focusing on his mourning following the death of his mother. The book jacket of the book prominently features one of his index cards from the collection.[21] In a well known photo of Barthes in his office taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1963, the author is pictured with his card indexes on the shelf behind him.[22][16]

      French theorist, philosopher, and writer [[Roland Barthes]] (1915 – 1980) kept a ''fichier boîte'' or card index file beginning in 1943 until his death. Curator Nathalie Léger has indicated that there are 12,250 slips in Roland Barthes' bequest at the [[Institute for Contemporary Publishing Archives|Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC)]].<ref name="Hollier">{{cite journal |last1=Hollier |first1=Denis |title=Notes (On the Index Card). |journal=October |date=2005 |volume=112 |issue=Spring |pages=35–44 |url=https://www.jstor.org/stable/3397642 |access-date=23 April 2022}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Krapp |first1=Peter |editor1-last=Chun |editor1-first=W. H. K. |editor2-last=Keenan |editor2-first=T |title=New Media, Old Theory: A History and Theory Reader |date=2006 |publisher=Routledge |location=New York |pages=359-373 |chapter=Hypertext Avant La Lettre}}</ref> [[Louis-Jean Calvet]] explains that in writing ''Michelet'', Barthes used his notes on index cards to try out various combinations of cards to both organize them as well as "to find correspondences between them."<ref name="Rowan">{{cite journal |last1=Wilken |first1=Rowan |title=The card index as creativity machine |journal=Culture Machine |date=2010 |volume=11 |pages=7–30 |url=https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-card-index-as-creativity-machine-Wilken/ffeae0931cc269da047d0844a6bef7e1c7424b46 |access-date=23 April 2022}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Calvet |first1=Louis-Jean |title=Roland Barthes: A Biography |date=1994 |publisher=Indiana University Press |location=Bloomington, IN}}</ref> 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.<ref name="Rowan"></ref> In his autobiographical ''Roland Barthes par (by) Roland Barthes'', Barthes reproduces three of his index cards in facsimile.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Barthes |first1=Roland |title=Roland Barthes |date=1977 |publisher=Macmillan |isbn=978-1-349-03520-5 |page=75}}</ref> Published posthumously in 2010, Barthes' ''Mourning Diary'' was created from a collection of 330 of his index cards focusing on his mourning following the death of his mother. The book jacket of the book prominently features one of his index cards from the collection.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Barthes |first1=Roland |title=Mourning Diary |date=2010 |publisher=Macmillan |url=https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374533113/mourningdiary}}</ref> In a well known photo of Barthes in his office taken by [[Henri Cartier-Bresson]] in 1963, the author is pictured with his card indexes on the shelf behind him.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Yacavone |first1=Kathrin |title=Interdisciplinary Barthes |date=2020 |publisher=Oxford University Press |isbn=978-0-19-726667-0 |pages=97–117 |url=https://doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197266670.003.0007 |chapter=Picturing Barthes: The Photographic Construction of Authorship}}</ref><ref name="Hollier"></ref>

    1. I am speaking here of what appear to be Barthes’ fichier boîte or indexcard boxes which are visible on the shelf above and behind his head.

      First time I've run across the French term fichier boîte (literally 'file box') for index card boxes or files.


      As someone looking into note taking practices and aware of the idea of the zettelkasten, the suspense is building for me. I'm hoping this paper will have the payoff I'm looking for: a description of Roland Barthes' note taking methods!