16 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2023
    1. The ‘size’ of facts served a dream of information recombination, and was served bythe card form. Other advocates of Zettelkasten like Johann Jacob Moser (1701–1785)remarked that fairly small facts meant the mass of information was broken down to itsindividual components and thus could be constantly reshuffled in a ‘game of cards’(Krajewski, 2011: 53-5).

      suggestion of recombination of individual notes using cards to create something new

      (have I remarked on this in krajewski?) ᔥ Johann Jacob Moser commented on the ability to breakdown bodies of information into smaller pieces that might be reshuffled into new configurations as one might in a 'game of cards'.

    2. Moreover, card indexes give further form to Bruno Latour’s meditations on writing: ifLatour described writing as a kind of ‘flattening’ of knowledge, then card indexes, likevertical files, represent information in three dimensions, making ideas simultaneouslyimmutable and highly mobile, and the smallness of ideas and ‘facts’ forced to fit onpaper slips allowed for reordering (Latour, 1986: 19-20).
    3. However, the miniscule size of ‘facts’ did not neces-sarily reflect Deutsch’s adherence to any theory of information. Instead, it indicated hispersonal interest in distinctions of the smallest scale, vocalized by his motto ‘de minimiscurat historicus’, that history’s minutiae matter.

      Gotthard Deutsch didn't adhere to any particular theory of information when it came to the size of his notes. Instead Jason Lustig indicates that his perspective was influenced by his personal motto 'de minimis curat historicus' (history's minutiae matter), and as a result, he was interested in the smallest of distinctions of fact and evidence. ᔥ

    4. he spoke of the ‘historian’s credo’ that ‘the factscrubbed clean is more eternal than perfumed or rouged words’ (Marcus, 1957:466).17

      Jacob Marcus, ‘The Historian’s Credo’, 1958, AJA Marcus Nearprint File, Box 2.

  2. Sep 2023
  3. 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]].

  4. Feb 2023
    1. The core of the system is a collection of shorter notes with links between them.

      anecdotal definition/summary of zettelkasten.

      I like the "shorter notes" idea here which would have arisen before the "atomic notes" or "evergreen notes" ideas.

    1. In electronic Zettelkasten, no text limits for notes, however itis also recommended to keep notes short

      Note the recommendation to keep notes short without any stated reason why this should/ought to be done.

  5. Jan 2023
    1. Avoid both very long andvery short paragraphs: the length should usually vary from150 to 860 words. Attend carefully to the unity and correctstructure of the paragraph.

      His description of paragraphs from 150 to 350 words is interesting with respect to the amount of material that will fit on a 3x5" inch card during the note taking process.

  6. Nov 2022
  7. Sep 2022
    1. In writing my dissertation and working on my first book, I used an index card system, characterized by the "one fact, one card" maxim, made popular by Beatrice Webb.

      Manfred Keuhn indicates that Webb popularized the idea of "one fact, one card", (and perhaps she may have helped re-popularize the idea in the 20th century) but Konrad Gessner (Pandectarum sive Partitionum Universalium. Zurich: Christoph Froschauer, 1548) had already advised "A new line should be used for every idea." Since Gessner then says that each line was to be cut up into an individual slip, the ideas are equivalent.

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/uEboYlOwEeykkotYs594LA

    2. The Size of Thoughts of 1996.

      details that might be of interest with respect to atomic note definitions?

    3. I have found that the "size of a thought" is usually not much larger than 500 words. Nicholson Baker, who has written an essay on "The Size of Thoughts" thinks that "most are about three feet tall, with the level of complexity of a lawnmower engine, or a cigarette lighter, or those tubes of toothpaste that, by mingling several hidden pastes and gels, create a pleasantly striped product." Mine are a lot smaller. It takes between 50 and 500 words for me to express one thought or one idea (or perhaps better a fragment of a thought or an idea, because thoughts and ideas usually are compounds of such fragments). See also Steven Berlin Johnson on his experiences with an electronic outliner, called Devonthink: http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/movabletype/archives/000230.html.

      What is the size of a single thought?

      500 words is about the size of a typical blog post. It's also about the size of a minimum recommended post for SEO purposes.

      Nice to see his link to Steven Johnson here as I think this is where I've seen similar thoughts recently myself.