- Jan 2023
When did the switch in commonplace book framing did the idea of "second brain" hit? (This may be the first time I've seen it personally. Does it appear in other places?) Sift through r/commonplace books to see if there are mentions there.
By keeping one's commonplace in an analog form, it forces a greater level of intentionality because it's harder to excerpt material by hand. Doing this requires greater work than arbitrarily excerpting almost everything digitally. Manual provides a higher bar of value and edits out the lower value material.
- Jul 2022
I love that you're adding links to the responses back and forth for future reference. I remember doing this manually several years back, but its a practice I rarely see. Both Stephen and I are using the Webmention spec to do this for our selves in an automatic fashion. (Mine display on my site in the comments, though I don't think Stephen does presently.) On wordpress.com you'd likely need to have a higher paid tier to add the plugins to enable this for WordPress, though depending on how often you do this it may be worth it?
I'm trying to get info OUT of my note-taking system. It's not as easy as I'd like it to be.
This is one of the biggest problems with any of the systems digital or analog. The workflows for this are all generally not great.
I'm actually trying some advice from Konrad Gessner from the 1500s today. I've printed out some of my digital notes about Tiago Forte's new book to arrange and organize them in an attempt to reuse all my writing and thinking about it into a review of the book. It'll probably take a bit as I've left them for a week or two, but I'm curious to see what the manual process looks like here in an effort to help make the digital portion potentially easier.
- Apr 2022
How do you get your annotations into the rest of your workflow for notes and learning? How do you prevent that your social annotation tool is yet another separate place where one keeps stuff, cutting off the connections to the rest of one’s work and learning that would make it valuable?
My annotations broadly flow into two spaces:
My private Obsidian-based vault is where I collect the notes and actively work on, modify, edit, and expand them if and when necessary. This is also the space where I'm broadly attempting to densely interlink them together for future use and publication in other venues. If I could, I would publish these all on the web, but I've yet to find a set up with a low enough admin tax that I can publish them inexpensively in a way I'd like them to appear (primarily with properly linked [[WikiLinks]]) while still owning them in my own space.
I've been experimenting around with using Blot.im as a solution to display them here https://notes.boffosocko.com/, but at present it's a very limited selection of my extant notes and doesn't include Webmention or other niceties I'd like to add. As it's a very alpha stage experiment I don't recommend anyone follow or use it and it may disappear altogether in the coming months.
My main website uses WordPress. To a great extent, this is (now) primarily a back up location and the majority of the annotations are unpublished to the public, but are searchable to me on the back end.
I do, however, use it occasionally for quickly publishing and syndicating select annotations which I think others may find interesting or upon which I'm looking for comments/feedback and don't expect that the audience I'd like these from will find them natively on Hypothes.is' platform. An example of this might be a paper I was reading this weekend on Roland Barthes which discusses his reasonably well documented zettelkasten-like note taking practice. The article can be found here: https://culturemachine.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/373-604-1-PB.pdf with the annotations seen here: https://docdrop.org/pdf/The-Card-Index-as-Creativity-Ma---Wilken-Rowan-upq8g.pdf/. To tip off others in the space, I made a post on my site with a bit of a puzzle and syndicated it to Twitter. A few hours later I posted a follow up with some additional details and links to my notes on hypothesis which got some useful feedback from Matthias Melcher on the Barthes paper as well as on a related paper I mentioned by Luhmann, particularly about German translation, with which I have little facility.
Another recent illustrative example was this annotation on the Library of Congress website about Vladimir Nabokov which was picked up by my website (though unpublished/not public) but which I syndicated to Twitter primarily to be able to send a notification to Eleanor Konik who I know is interested in the idea of World Building using historical facts and uses Obsidian in her work. (The @mention in the tweet is hiding in the image of the index card so that I could save text space in the main tweet.) Several others interested in note taking and zettelkasten for writing also noticed it and "liked" it. Not being on Hypothes.is to my knowledge much less following me there, neither Eleanor nor the others would have seen it without the Tweet.
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Nabokov used index cards for his research & writing. In one index card for Lolita, he creates a "weight-heigh-age table for girls of school age" to be able to specify Lolita's measurements. He also researched the Colt catalog of 1940. #WorldBuildinghttps://t.co/i16Yc7CbJ8 pic.twitter.com/JSjXV50L3M— Chris Aldrich (@ChrisAldrich) April 10, 2022
Getting annotations from Hypothes.is to Obsidian is a short two-step process which is reasonably well automated so that I don't spend a lot of time cutting/pasting/formatting.
I start with an IFTTT recipe that takes the RSS output of Hypothes.is and creates text files directly into my Obsidian vault. The results are quite rudimentary and only include the title of the document, the permalink of the Hypothes.is post, the highlighted text, and my annotation. It doesn't include the tags as RSS doesn't have a specification for these.
Second, I've set up Hypothesidian which has a much higher fidelity dovetail with the Hypothes.is API to get all the data and even the formatting set up I'm looking for. A reasonably well laid out set of instructions with a low/no code approach for it can be found at https://forum.obsidian.md/t/retrieve-annotations-for-hypothes-is-via-templater-plugin-hypothes-idian/17225. It allows importing annotations by a variety of methods including by date and by document URL. I've also made a small modification to it so that tags on Hypothes.is are turned into [[wikilinks]] in Obsidian instead of #tags which I only use sparingly.
All the IFTTT annotations will be ported individually into a specific Obsidian folder where I'll process them. I can then quickly use Hypothesidian to import the properly laid out version (using templates) of the notes with just a few keystrokes and then focus my time on revising my notes if necessary and then linking them to the appropriate notes already in my system. Finally I'll move them into the appropriate folder based on their content—typically one of the following: zettelkasten, wiki, commonplace, dictionary, or sources (for bibliographic use). Careful watchers will notice that I often use Hypothes.is' "page notes" functionality to create a bookmark-like annotation into which I will frequently post the URL of the page and occasionally a summary of a piece, these are imported into my system and are used as source/bibliographic information. I also have some dovetailing with Zotero as a bibliographic set up which feeds into this data as well.
This version which I've cobbled together works well for me so that I'm not missing anything, but there are definitely other similar processes available out there both for Obsidian (with plugins or scripts) as well as for other platforms. If I'm not mistaken, I think Readwise (a paid solution) has a set up for note transfer and formatting.
As there isn't an extant Micropub client for Hypothes.is I initially used RSS as a transport layer to get my notes from Hypothes.is into WordPress. The fidelity isn't great in part because RSS doesn't include any tags. To get some slightly better presentation I set up a workflow using RSS output from Hypothes.is as input into an IFTTT workflow which outputs to a webhook that stands in as a Micropub client targeting my websites Micropub server. Some of the display on my site is assisted by using the Post Kinds plugin, which I know you've been working around yourself. The details may be above some, but I've outlined most of the broad strokes of how this is done in a tutorial at https://boffosocko.com/2020/01/21/using-ifttt-to-syndicate-pesos-content-from-social-services-to-wordpress-using-micropub/. In that example, I use the service Pocket as an example, but Hypothes.is specific information could easily be swapped out on a 1-1 basis.
A custom stand-alone or even an integrated micropub client for Hypothes.is would be a fantastic project if someone wanted to dig into the details and dovetail it with the Hypothes.is API.
Ideally, I'm hoping that small pieces loosely joined and IndieWeb building blocks will allow me to use the tools and have the patterns I'm looking for, without a lot of work, so that I can easily make annotations with Hypothes.is but have and share (POSSE) my content on my own site in a way that works much the way many IndieWeb sites dovetail with Twitter or Mastodon.
I'm doing some portions of it manually at present, without a lot of overhead, but it would be fun to see someone add micropub and webmention capabilities to Hypothes.is or other IndieWeb building blocks. (I suspect it won't be Hypothes.is themselves as their team is very small and they're already spread thin on multiple other mission critical projects.)
In the end, I'm using Hypothes.is as a well designed and convenient tool for quickly making notes on digital documents. All the data is flowing to one of two other locations where I'm actually making use of it. While there is some social layer there, I'm getting email notifications through the Hypothes.is settings and the data from my responses just gets rolled back into my spaces which I try to keep open and IndieWeb friendly by default. At the same time, for those who want or need it, Hypothes.is' interface is a great way of reading, searching, sorting, and interacting with my notes in public, particularly until I get something specific and user friendly up to do it on my own domain.
- Nov 2020
While there have always been server listings on joinmastodon.org, this is a break from our previous practice of listing servers. Before the Server Covenant we pulled a list of servers from a 3rd party provider called instances.social. However, instances.social was a 3rd party and automated service. The one thing that it could not do was any kind of quality control as it simply listed every instance submitted–regardless of stability or their code of conduct. As Mastodon has grown it has become increasingly clear that simply listing every possible server was not in our interest as a project, nor was it in the interest in the majority of the communities running Mastodon.
To some level as an IndieWeb participant I'm doing this more manually by reading and individually adding people and their sites to my personal network one at a time. No one has yet moderated this process and to some extent it's sort of nice to have a more natural discovery process for protecting my own personal network.