14 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2023
    1. Why is the index card half full?

      reply to u/ManuelRodriguez331 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/15ehcy5/why_is_the_index_card_half_full/

      There has been debate about the length of notes on slips since the invention of slips and it shows no signs of coming to broad consensus other than everyone will have their personal opinion.

      If you feel that A6 is is too big then go down a step in size to A7. One of the benefits of the DIN A standard is that you can take the next larger card size and fold it exactly in half to have the next size smaller. This makes it easier to scale up the size of your cards if you prefer most of them to be smaller to save space, just take care not to allow larger folded cards to "taco" smaller cards in a way they're likely to get lost. If you really needed more space, you could easily use an A1 or A2 and fold it down to fit inside of your collection! (Sadly 4x6 and 3x5 cards don't have this affordance.)

      Fortunately there are a variety of available sizes, so you can choose what works best for yourself. Historically some chose large 5x8", 6x9", or even larger "slips". Some have also used different sizes for different functions. For example some use 3x5 for bibliographic cards and 4x6 for day-to-day ideas. I've seen stacked wooden card catalog furniture that had space for 3x5, 4x6, and 8.5x11 in separate drawers within the same cabinet. Some manufacturers even made their furniture modular to make this sort of mixed use even easier.

      One of the broadly used pieces of advice that does go back centuries is to use "cards of the same size" (within a particular use case). This consensus is arrived at to help users from losing smaller cards between larger/taller cards. Cards of varying sizes, even small ones, are also much more difficult to sort through. Slight of hand magicians will be aware of the fact that shaving small fractions of length off of playing cards is an easy way of not only marking them, but of executing a variety of clever shuffling illusions as well as finding some of them very quickly by feel behind the back. Analog zettelkasten users will only discover that smaller, shorter cards are nearly guaranteed to become lost among the taller cards. It's for this reason that I would never recommend one to mix 4x6, A6, or even the very closely cut Exacompta Bristol cards, which are neither 4x6 nor A6!

      I once took digital notes and printed them on paper and then cut them up to fit the size of the individual notes to save on space and paper. I can report that doing this was a painfully miserable experience and positively would NOT recommend doing this for smaller projects much less lifelong ones. Perhaps this could be the sort of chaos someone out there might actually manage to thrive within, but I suspect it would be a very rare individual.

      As for digital spacing, you may win out a bit here for "saving" paper space, but you're also still spending on storage costs in electronic formatting which historically doesn't have the longevity of physical formats. Digital also doesn't offer the ease of use of laying cards out on a desktop and very quickly reordering them for subsequent uses.

      There are always tradeoffs, one just need be aware of them to guide choices for either how they want to work or how they might work best.

      Personally, I use 4x6" cards because I often write longer paragraphs on them. Through experimentation I found that I would end up using two or more 3x5 cards more often than I would have had mostly blank 4x6 cards and used that to help drive my choice. I also find myself revisiting old cards and adding to them (short follow ups, links to other cards, or other metadata) and 3x5 wouldn't allow that as easily.

      As ever, YMMV...

      See also: [[note lengths]] and/or [[note size]].

  2. Apr 2023
    1. Catalog cards were 2 by 5 inches (5 cm × 13 cm); the Harvard College size.

      Early library card catalogs used cards that were 2 x 5" cards, the Harvard College size, before the standardization of 3 x 5" index cards.

  3. Mar 2023
    1. Yes, you can definitely use a card index for note-taking. In fact, many people find card indexes to be a useful and convenient tool for organizing and storing notes. Here are some tips for using a card index for note-taking:Choose a system: Decide on a system for organizing your cards. You could organize them alphabetically, by topic, by date, or by any other method that works for you.Choose the size of cards: Choose the size of cards that works best for your needs. Common sizes include 3" x 5", 4" x 6", and 5" x 8".Use one card per idea: Write one idea or piece of information on each card. This will help keep your notes organized and easy to reference.Include keywords: Include keywords on each card to make it easier to find relevant information later.Use dividers: Use dividers to separate different topics or sections in your card index. This will help keep your notes organized and easy to navigate.Carry it with you: A card index is a portable tool, so you can take it with you wherever you go. This makes it easy to take notes on the go and to refer to your notes when you need them.Overall, a card index can be a useful and efficient tool for note-taking, especially if you prefer a physical, tangible way of organizing and storing information.

      Q: Can I use a card index for note taking?

      ChatGPT does a reasonable bit of advice on how one would use a card index for note taking.

  4. Oct 2022
    1. Sincecopying is a chore and a bore, use of the cards, the smaller thebetter, forces one to extract the strictly relevant, to distill from thevery beginning, to pass the material through the grinder of one’s ownmind, so to speak.

      Barbara Tuchman recommended using the smallest sized index cards possible to force one only to "extract the strictly relevant" because copying by hand can be both "a chore and a bore".

      In the same address in 1963, she encourages "distill[ing] from the very beginning, to pass the material through the grinder of one's own mind, so to speak." This practice is similar to modern day pedagogues who encourage this practice, but with the benefit of psychology research to back up the practice.

      This advice is two-fold in terms of filtering out the useless material for an author, but the grinder metaphor indicates placing multiple types of material in to to a processor to see what new combinations of products come out the other end. This touches more subtly on the idea of combinatorial creativity encouraged by Raymond Llull, Matt Ridley, et al. or the serendipity described by Niklas Luhmann and others.

      When did the writing for understanding idea begin within the tradition? Was it through experience in part and then underlined with psychology research? Visit Ahrens' references on this for particular papers to read.

      Link to modality shift research.

    1. For the second time Goutor mentions using different size cards for different note types, but doesn't specifically advise for it or provide a reason. Perhaps his advice for consistency and card size applies only to cards of particular types? (p28)

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/XPphjkNZEe2s3i9VV4qt1g

      Incidentally he also specifically mentions 7x9" cards here too. How frequently used were these as a standard?

    2. While he previously recommended using note cards of the same size, the examples in Goutor (1980) have 3x5" cards for bibliographic notes and 5x7" or larger cards for content notes. (p19, 21)

      Is there a reason stated anywhere here for this discrepancy or change? One would ostensibly keep them in different places/sections of one's card index, but does the size difference help to differentiate the two to aid in sorting? Is the larger card intended to hold more long form writing?

      Goutor is in Canada, so were 5x7" cards more common or standardized there in the late 1970s and early 80s?

      A5 measures 148 × 210 millimeters or 5.83 × 8.27 inches, so is a bit larger than 5x7".

      5x7" is a more standard photo size, so was this chosen as the result of storage options from the photography space?

      5x7" is scantly available in America in 2022, but only from Hamilco. A few others make cardstock in that size but not specifically as index cards.

  5. Sep 2022
    1. Posted byu/jackbaty4 hours agoCard sizes .t3_xib133._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } I've been on-again/off-again with paper for PKM, but one thing remains consistent each time: I don't enjoy using 4x6 index cards. I much prefer 3x5-inch cards. I realize that it's irrational, but there it is.My question is if I dive into building an antinet, will I regret using 3x5 cards? I already have hundreds of them. I have dividers, holders, and storage boxes for them. I just prefer how they _feel_, as weird as that sounds.I'd like to hear if people are using 3x5 cards successfully or if you've come to regret it.

      While it may be slightly more difficult to find larger metal/wood cases for the 4x6 or 5x8 cards, it's a minor nuisance and anyone who wants them will eventually find the right thing for them. Beyond this, choose the card size that feels right to you.

      If you don't have an idea of what you need or like, try things out for 10-20 cards and see how it works for you, your handwriting size, and general needs. People have been using 3x5, 4x6, and even larger for hundreds of years without complaining about any major issues. If Carl Linnaeus managed to be okay with 3x5, which he hand cut by the way, I suspect you'll manage too.

      Of course I won't mention to the Americans the cleverness of the A6, A5, A4 paper standards which allows you to fold the larger sizes in half to get the exact next smaller size down. Then you might get the benefit of the smaller size as well as the larger which could be folded into your collection of smaller cards, you just have to watch out for accidentally wrapping ("taco-ing") a smaller card inside of a larger one and losing it. I suppose you could hand cut your own 5" x 6" larger cards to do this if you found that you occasionally needed them.

      For the pocketbook conscious, 3x5 does have the benefit of lower cost as well as many more options and flexibility than larger sizes.

      At least commercial card sizes are now largely standardized, so you don't have deal with changing sizes the way Roland Barthes did over his lifetime.

      My personal experience and a long history of so many manuals on the topic saying "cards of the same size" indicates that you assuredly won't have fun mixing different sized slips together. I personally use 3x5" cards in a waste book sense, but my main/permanent collection is in 4x6" format. Sometimes I think I should have done 3 x 5, but it's more like jealousy than regret, particularly when it comes to the potential of a restored fine furniture card catalog. But then again...

    1. I’m not sure how to explain the photograph — that might be a cardfile, not a shoebox. The number of blue lines per card in the Pale Fire passage suggests that John Shade used 6 x 4 cards. It looks like Nabokov in the car has 6 x 4s too.

      What size index cards did Vladimir Nabokov use?

      See also: series of Nabokov photos of him and index cards.

  6. Aug 2022
    1. Summary

      Dow is definitely across the spectrum on note paper sizes and leaves the choice up to the writer based on their particular needs.

    2. for example, having occasion to make thousandsof brief records of such small matters as the spelling or pronunciation of a word, might well prefera slip no larger than 2x4. On the other hand, anyperson writing a coarse or heavy hand wouldprobably not care for a very small slip, whateverhis interests.

      I haven't seen 2 x 4" slips suggested before!

      Dow suggests the possibility of various small sizes based on the individual researchers' needs. Linguists might have very little and benefit from a 2 x 4" slip. Though once chosen, he does caution consistency of that size for easy manipulation.

    3. The slips should usually be small ; but still, howsmall ? Of just what size ?

      Like many, Dow questions the appropriate size for one's slips.

    1. The sheet box

      Interesting choice of translation for "Die Kartei" by the translator. Some may have preferred the more direct "file".

      Historically for this specific time period, while index cards were becoming more ubiquitous, most of the prior century researchers had been using larger sheets and frequently called them either slips or sheets based on their relative size.

      Beatrice Webb in 1926 (in English) described her method and variously used the words “cards”, “slips”, “quarto”, and “sheets” to describe notes. Her preference was for quarto pages which were larger pages which were likely closer to our current 8.5 x 11” standard than they were to even larger index cards (like 4 x 6".

      While I have some dissonance, this translation makes a lot of sense for the specific time period. I also tend to translate the contemporaneous French word “fiches” of that era as “sheets”.

      See also: https://hypothes.is/a/OnCHRAexEe2MotOW5cjfwg https://hypothes.is/a/fb-5Ngn4Ee2uKUOwWugMGQ