765 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. Heyde, Johannes Erich. Technik des wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens. (Sektion 1.2 Die Kartei) Junker und Dünnhaupt, 1931.

      (Unknown translation from German into English. v1 TK)

      The overall title of the work (in English: Technique of Scientific Work) calls immediately to mind the tradition of note taking growing out of the scientific historical methods work of Bernheim and Langlois/Seignobos and even more specifically the description of note taking by Beatrice Webb (1926) who explicitly used the phrase "recipe for scientific note-taking".

      see: https://hypothes.is/a/BFWG2Ae1Ee2W1HM7oNTlYg

      first reading: 2022-08-23 second reading: 2022-09-22

    2. For instance, particular insights related to the sun or the moon may be filed under the(foreign) keyword “Astronomie” [Astronomy] or under the (German) keyword “Sternkunde”[Science of the Stars]. This can happen even more easily when using just one language, e.g.when notes related to the sociological term “Bund” [Association] are not just filed under“Bund” but also under “Gemeinschaft” [Community] or “Gesellschaft” [Society]. Againstthis one can protect by using dictionaries of synonyms and then create enough referencesheets (e.g. Astronomy: cf. Science of the Stars)

      related, but not drawn from as I've been thinking about the continuum of taxonomies and subject headings for a while...

      On the Spectrum of Topic Headings in note making

      Any reasonable note one may take will likely have a hierarchical chain of tags/subject headings/keywords going from the broad to the very specific. One might start out with something broad like "humanities" (as opposed to science), and proceed into "history", "anthropology", "biological anthropology", "evolution", and even more specific. At the bottom of the chain is the specific atomic idea on the card itself. Each of the subject headings helps to situate the idea and provide the context in which it sits, but how useful within a note taking system is having one or more of these tags on it? What about overlaps with other broader subjects (one will note that "evolution" might also sit under "science" / "biology" as well), but that note may have a different tone and perspective than the prior one.

      This becomes an interesting problem or issue as one explores ideas in a pre-designed note taking system. As a student just beginning to explore anthropology, one may tag hundreds of notes with anthropology to the point that the meaning of the tag is so diluted that a search of the index becomes useless as there's too much to sort through underneath it. But as one continues their studies in the topic further branches and sub headings will appear to better differentiate the ideas. This process will continue as the space further differentiates. Of course one may continue their research into areas that don't have a specific subject heading until they accumulate enough ideas within that space. (Take for example Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky's work which is now known under the heading of Behavioral Economics, a subject which broadly didn't exist before their work.) The note taker might also leverage this idea as they tag their own work as specifically as they might so as not to pollute their system as it grows without bound (or at least to the end of their lifetime).

      The design of one's note taking system should take these eventualities into account and more easily allow the user to start out broad, but slowly hone in on direct specificity.

      Some of this principle of atomicity of ideas and the growth from broad to specific can be seen in Luhmann's zettelkasten (especially ZK II) which starts out fairly broad and branches into the more specific. The index reflects this as well and each index heading ideally points to the most specific sub-card which begins the discussion of that particular topic.

      Perhaps it was this narrowing of specificity which encouraged Luhmann to start ZKII after years of building ZKII which had a broader variety of topics?

    3. Who can say whether I will actually be searchingfor e.g. the note on the relation between freedom of will and responsibility by looking at itunder the keyword “Verantwortlichkeit” [Responsibility]? What if, as is only natural, I willbe unable to remember the keyword and instead search for “Willensfreiheit” [Freedom ofWill] or “Freiheit” [Freedom], hoping to find the entry? This seems to be the biggestcomplaint about the entire system of the sheet box and its merit.

      Heyde specifically highlights that planning for one's future search efforts by choosing the right keyword or even multiple keywords "seems to be the biggest complaint about the entire system of the slip box and its merit."

      Niklas Luhmann apparently spent some time thinking about this, or perhaps even practicing it, before changing his system so that the issue was no longer a problem. As a result, Luhmann's system is much simpler to use and maintain.

      Given his primary use of his slip box for academic research and writing, perhaps his solution was in part motivated by putting the notes and ideas exactly where he would both be able to easily find them, but also exactly where he would need them for creating final products in journal articles and books.

    4. need to be united in one single place

      often repeated advice, especially in the modern period.

    5. Thesheets must always be of equal size, or at least of equal height in order not to get stuck or beoverlooked when manually searching for sheets or adding them.
    6. The rigidness and immobility of the note book pages, based on the papern stamp andimmobility of the individual notes, prevents quick and time-saving retrieval and applicationof the content and therefore proves the note book process to be inappropriate. The only tworeasons that this process is still commonly found in the studies of many is that firstly they donot know any better, and that secondly a total immersion into a very specialized field ofscientific research often makes information retrieval easier if not unnecessary.

      Just like Heyde indicated about the slip box note taking system with respect to traditional notebook based systems in 1931, one of the reasons we still aren't broadly using Heyde's system is that we "do not know any better". This is compounded with the fact that the computer revolution makes information retrieval much easier than it had been before. However there is such an information glut and limitations to search, particularly if it's stored in multiple places, that it may be advisable to go back to some of these older, well-tried methods.

      Link to ideas of "single source" of notes as opposed to multiple storage locations as is seen in social media spaces in the 2010-2020s.

    7. Oftentimes they even refered to one another.

      An explicit reference in 1931 in a section on note taking to cross links between entries in accounting ledgers. This linking process is a a precursor to larger database processes seen in digital computing.

      Were there other earlier references that are this explicit within either note making or accounting contexts? Surely... (See also: Beatrice Webb's scientific note taking)


      Just the word "digital" computing defines that there must have been an "analog' computing which preceded it. However we think of digital computing in much broader terms than we may have of the analog process.

      Human thinking is heavily influenced by associative links, so it's only natural that we should want to link our notes together on paper as we've done for tens of thousands of years (at least.)

  2. Sep 2022
    1. • Daily writing prevents writer’s block.• Daily writing demystifies the writing process.• Daily writing keeps your research always at the top of your mind.• Daily writing generates new ideas.• Daily writing stimulates creativity• Daily writing adds up incrementally.• Daily writing helps you figure out what you want to say.

      What specifically does she define "writing" to be? What exactly is she writing, and how much? What does her process look like?

      One might also consider the idea of active reading and writing notes. I may not "write" daily in the way she means, but my note writing, is cumulative and beneficial in the ways she describes in her list. I might further posit that the amount of work/effort it takes me to do my writing is far more fruitful and productive than her writing.

      When I say writing, I mean focused note taking (either excerpting, rephrasing, or original small ideas which can be stitched together later). I don't think this is her same definition.

      I'm curious how her process of writing generates new ideas and creativity specifically?


      One might analogize the idea of active reading with a pen in hand as a sort of Einsteinian space-time. Many view reading and writing as to separate and distinct practices. What if they're melded together the way Einstein reconceptualized the space time continuum? The writing advice provided by those who write about commonplace books, zettelkasten, and general note taking combines an active reading practice with a focused writing practice that moves one toward not only more output, but higher quality output without the deleterious effects seen in other methods.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ueMHkGljK0

      Robert Greene's method goes back to junior high school when he was practicing something similar. He doesn't say he invented it, and it may be likely that teachers modeled some of the system for him. He revised the system over time to make it work for himself.


      Revisit this for some pull quotes and fine details of his method.

    1. @BenjaminVanDyneReplying to @ChrisAldrichI wish I had a good answer! The book I use when I teach is Joseph Harris’s “rewriting” which is technically a writing book but teaches well as a book about how to read in a writerly way.

      Thanks for this! I like the framing and general concept of the book.

      It seems like its a good follow on to Dan Allosso's OER text How to Make Notes and Write https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/ or Sönke Ahrens' How to Take Smart Notes https://amzn.to/3DwJVMz which includes some useful psychology and mental health perspective.

      Other similar examples are Umberto Eco's How to Write a Thesis (MIT, 2015) or Gerald Weinberg's The Fieldstone Method https://amzn.to/3DCf6GA These may be some of what we're all missing.

      I'm reminded of Mark Robertson's (@calhistorian) discussion of modeling his note taking practice and output in his classroom using Roam Research. https://hyp.is/QuB5NDa0Ee28hUP7ExvFuw/thatsthenorm.com/mark-robertson-history-socratic-dialogue/ Perhaps we need more of this?

      Early examples of this sort of note taking can also be seen in the religious studies space with Melanchthon's handbook on commonplaces or Jonathan Edwards' Miscellanies, though missing are the process from notes to writings. https://www.logos.com/grow/jonathan-edwards-organizational-genius/

      Other examples of these practices in the wild include @andy_matuschak's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGcs4tyey18 and TheNonPoet's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sdp0jo2Fe4 Though it may be better for students to see this in areas in which they're interested.

      Hypothes.is as a potential means of modeling and allowing students to directly "see" this sort of work as it progresses using public/semi-public annotations may be helpful. Then one can separately model re-arranging them and writing a paper. https://web.hypothes.is/

      Reply to: https://twitter.com/BenjaminVanDyne/status/1571171086171095042

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2HegcwDRnU

      Makes the argument that note taking is an information system, and if it is, then we can use the research from the corpus of information system (IS) theory to examine how to take better notes.

      He looks at the Wang and Wang 2006 research and applies their framework of "complete, meaningful, unambiguous, and correct" dimensions of data quality to example note areas of study notes, project management notes (or to do lists) and recipes.

      Looks at dimensions of data quality from Mahanti, 2019.


      What is the difference between notes and annotations?

    1. Courtney, Jennifer Pooler. “A Review of Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts.” The Journal of Effective Teaching 7, no. 1 (2007): 74–77.

      Review of: Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How To Do Things With Texts. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2006. https://muse.jhu.edu/book/9248.

    2. “you need to push beyond the sorts of bipolar oppositions that framemost of the arguments found on editorial pages and TV talk shows” (p. 26)

      Some of the popular note taking space is a bit too dogmatic in how the work should be done. Some espouse a handwriting mode only, while others prefer digital methods. We need more space for all of the above.

    1. Live-Roaming: Using Roam to teach students in college

      I'd listened to this whole episode sometime since 2022-04-05, but didn't put it in my notes.

      Mark Robertson delineates how he actively models the use of his note taking practice (using Roam Research) while teaching/lecturing in the classroom. This sort of modeling can be useful for showing students how academics read, gather, and actively use their knowledge. It does miss the portion about using the knowledge to create papers, articles, books, etc., but the use of this mode of reading and notes within a discussion setting isn't terribly different.

      Use of the system for conversation/discussion with the authors of various texts as you read, with your (past) self as you consult your own notes, or your students in classroom lectures/discussion sections is close to creating your own discussion for new audiences (by way of the work your write yourself.)

      https://www.buzzsprout.com/1194506/4875515-mark-robertson-history-socratic-dialogue-live-roaming.mp3

    1. Capture Cards (red) 4.00 Beautifully Useful 3″ x 5″ Index Cards (Pack of 100)I created my Capture Cards to help make it easier for me to capture ideas, make notes, and record tasks as they happen. Good tools have a way of removing frustration and stress from a workflow, and for me, these cards do just that.Just enough structure to help you capture, but not enough to get in the way.They’re printed full-bleed on 70lb (heavy and durable) premium smooth white cover stock, and you get 100 2-sided cards in each pack. They feel great in your hand, yet hold up well in your pocket.

      https://web.archive.org/web/20140707053048/http://www.getfrictionless.com/products/capture-cards-red

      Simple index cards, but sold with a purpose in mind: capturing notes!

      One is reminded here of waste books and fleeting notes.

      Image:<br /> Graph ruled index cards with two colored title areas-grey and red-on the top front and a grey footer with a red band at the header of the back

    1. This post is a classic example of phenomenon that occurs universally. One person devises something that works perfectly for them, be it a mouse trap design, a method of teaching reading or … an organisation system. Other people see it in action and ask for the instructions. They try to copy it and … fail. We are all individuals, and what works for one does not work for all. Some people reading this post go “wow, cool!” Others go “What…???” One size does not fit all. Celebrate the difference! The trick is to keep looking for the method that works for you, not give up because someone else’s system makes your eyeballs spin!

      all this, AND...

      some comes down to the explanations given and the reasons. In this case, they're scant and the original is in middling English and large chunks of Japanese without any of the "why".

    2. I’m with Iris (and Jane) about the PoIC system — I don’t understand how the system works once it is set up. It’s a shame as it might be very useful. Ideally, I’d like to set it up with notebooks in Evernote instead of actual index cards and boxes (the last thing I need in my life is more paper clutter). That way it would be easily searchable, too).

      As is apparently often in describing new organizing systems (commonplace books, zettelkasten, PoIC, etc.), not everyone is going to understand it the first time, or even understand what is going on or why one would want to use it.

      This post by Susan is such an example.

      Susan does almost immediately grasp that this might be something one could transfer into a digital system however, particularly for the search functionality.

    1. How to link between Cards The "date" and "time" stamp of a cards define their "absolute name". This is why the time stamp must be unique, but not necessary to be accurate. In addition, it is easy to find a specific card, according to the stamp, if all cards are kept in chronological order. This technique was first introduced on the 2-channel.

      The PoIC system allows linking of cards using date/timestamps for indexing/finding. Interestingly they were all kept in chronological order rather than in idea order as in Luhmann's zettelkasten.

      What are the pros/cons of this?<br /> - more searching and hunting through cards certainly is a drawback for lack of "threaded" ideas - others...

      hawkexpress apparently learned this technique on the 2-channel.

    1. 4. Cite Card Icon : Hat (something above you)Tag : 5th block Quotation, cooking recipe from book, web, tv, anything about someone else’s idea is classified into this class. Important here is distinguishing “your idea (Discovery Card)” and “someone else’s idea (Cite Card)”. Source of the information must be included in the Cite Card. A book, for example, author, year, page(s) are recorded for later use.

      Despite being used primarily as a productivity tool the PoIC system also included some features of personal knowledge management with "discovery cards" and "citation cards". Discovery cards were things which contained one's own ideas while the citation cards were the ideas of others and included bibliographic information. Citation cards were tagged on the 5th block as an indicator within the system.

      Question: How was the information material managed? Was it separate from the date-based system? On first blush it would appear not, nor was there a subject index which would have made it more difficult for one to find data within the system.

    1. The Field Notes journal serves as RAM, the index cards as HDD, metaphorically speaking...(brain is CPU).

      Den analogizes their note taking system to computing on 2010-11-11 8:43 PM.

    1. Comparison of Software Applications’ Functions for Managing Categorical Reading Notes

      I'd love to see a broader selection of more modern tools included here including Obsidian, Roam Research, Logseq, et al. Also missing are several writing specific apps which have been commonplace in academia for these purposes in the past including Tinderbox (Eastgate Systems, Watertown, MA) and DEVONthink (DEVONtechnologies, Coeur d’Alene, ID).

      Google Suite includes several sub-applications that could appear here as stand alone options.

      A good list can be found here: https://hyp.is/km4ZItbCEeyQtvfpTb-0Xg/www.buildingasecondbrain.com/resources

    2. no

      Saying that Microsoft Word doesn't have export seems disingenuous as the program defaults to file ownership from the start.

    3. Google Forms and Sheets allow users toannotate using customizable tools. Google Forms offers a graphicorganizer that can prompt student-determined categorical input andthen feeds the information into a Sheets database. Sheetsdatabases are taggable, shareable, and exportable to other software,such as Overleaf (London, UK) for writing and Python for coding.The result is a flexible, dynamic knowledge base with many learningapplications for individual and group work

      Who is using these forms in practice? I'd love to see some examples.

      This sort of set up could be used with some outlining functionality to streamline the content creation end of common note taking practices.


      Is anyone using a spreadsheet program (Excel, Google Sheets) as the basis for their zettelkasten?

      Link to examples of zettelkasten as database (Webb, Seignobos suggestions)

      syndication link


    4. Even with interactive features,highlighting does not require active engagement with the text, suchas paraphrasing or summarizing, which help to consolidate learning(Brown et al., 2014)

      What results do Brown et al show exactly? How do they dovetail with the citations and material in Ahrens2017 on these topics?

      Brown, P. C., Roediger, H. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014). Make it stick: The science of successful learning. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/jhu/detail.action?docID=3301452

      Ahrens, doesn't provide a full citation of Brown, but does quote it for the same broad purpose (see: https://hypothes.is/a/8ewTno3pEeydaHscXVaIzw) specifically with respect to the idea that highlighting doesn't help in the learning process, yet students still actively do it.

    1. Andy 10:31AM Flag Thanks for sharing all this. In a Twitter response, @taurusnoises said: "we are all participating in an evolving dynamic history of zettelkasten methods (plural)". I imagine the plurality of methods is even more diverse than indicated by @chrisaldrich, who seems to be keen to trace everything through a single historical tradition back to commonplace books. But if you consider that every scholar who ever worked must have had some kind of note-taking method, and that many of them probably used paper slips or cards, and that they may have invented methods relatively independently and tailored those methods to diverse needs, then we are looking at a much more interesting plurality of methods indeed.

      Andy, I take that much broader view you're describing. I definitely wouldn't say I'm keen to trace things through one (or even more) historical traditions, and to be sure there have been very many. I'm curious about a broad variety of traditions and variations on them; giving broad categorization to them can be helpful. I study both the written instructions through time, but also look at specific examples people have left behind of how they actually practiced those instructions. The vast majority of people are not likely to invent and evolve a practice alone, but are more likely likely to imitate the broad instructions read from a manual or taught by teachers and then pick and choose what they feel works for them and their particular needs. It's ultimately here that general laziness is likely to fall down to a least common denominator.

      Between the 8th and 13th Centuries florilegium flouished, likely passed from user to user through a religious network, primarily facilitated by the Catholic Church and mendicant orders of the time period. In the late 1400s to 1500s, there were incredibly popular handbooks outlining the commonplace book by Erasmus, Agricola, and Melancthon that influenced generations of both teachers and students to come. These traditions ebbed and flowed over time and bent to the technologies of their times (index cards, card catalogs, carbon copy paper, computers, internet, desktop/mobile/browser applications, and others.) Naturally now we see a new crop of writers and "influencers" like Kuehn, Ahrens, Allosso, Holiday, Forte, Milo, and even zettelkasten.de prescribing methods which are variously followed (or not), understood, misunderstood, modified, and changed by readers looking for something they can easily follow, maintain, and which hopefully has both short term and long term value to them.

      Everyone is taking what they want from what they read on these techniques, but often they're not presented with the broadest array of methods or told what the benefits and affordances of each of the methods may be. Most manuals on these topics are pretty prescriptive and few offer or suggest flexibility. If you read Tiago Forte but don't need a system for work or project-based productivity but rather need a more Luhmann-like system for academic writing, you'll have missed something or will only have a tool that gets you part of what you may have needed. Similarly if you don't need the affordances of a Luhmannesque system, but you've only read Ahrens, you might not find the value of simplified but similar systems and may get lost in terminology you don't understand or may not use. The worst sin, in my opinion, is when these writers offer their advice, based only on their own experiences which are contingent on their own work processes, and say this is "the way" or I've developed "this method" over the past decade of grueling, hard-fought experience and it's the "secret" to the "magic of note taking". These ideas have a long and deep history with lots of exploration and (usually very little) innovation, but an average person isn't able to take advantage of this because they're only seeing a tiny slice of these broader practices. They're being given a hammer instead of a whole toolbox of useful tools from which they might choose. Almost none are asking the user "What is the problem you're trying to solve?" and then making suggestions about what may or may not have worked for similar problems in the past as a means of arriving at a solution. More often they're being thrown in the deep end and covered in four letter acronyms, jargon, and theory which ultimately have no value to them. In other cases they're being sold on the magic of productivity and creativity while the work involved is downplayed and they don't get far enough into the work to see any of the promised productivity and creativity.

    1. Robert King Merton

      Mario Bunge indicated that he was directly influenced by American Sociologist Robert Merton.

      What particular areas did this include? Serendipity? Note taking practices? Creativity? Systems theory?

    1. arranged according to their subject-matter ;" that" epigraphic monuments belonging to the sameterritory mutually explain each other when placedside by side ;" and, lastly, that " while it is all butimpossible to range in order of subject-matter ahundred thousand inscriptions nearly all of whichbelong to several categories ; on the other hand,each monument has but one place, and a verydefinite place, in the geographical order."

      Similar to the examples provided by Beatrice Webb in My Apprenticeship, the authors here are talking about a sort of scientific note taking method that is ostensibly similar to that of the use of a modern day computer database or spreadsheet function, but which had to be effected in index card form to do the sorting and compiling and analysis.

      Do the authors here use the specific phrase scientific note taking? It appears that they do not.

    2. The systematic order, or arrangement by sub-jects, is not to be recommended for the compilationof a Corpus or of regesta.
    3. The notes from each document are entered upon aloose leaf furnished with the precisest possible in-dications of origin. The advantages of this artificeare obvious : the detachability of the slips enablesus to group them at will in a host of different com-binations ; if necessary, to change their places : it iseasy to bring texts of the same kind together, andto incorporate additions, as they are acquired, in theinterior of the groups to which they belong. As fordocuments which are interesting from several pointsof view, and which ought to appear in several groups,it is sufficient to enter them several times over ondifferent slips ; or they may be represented, as oftenas may be required, on reference-slips.

      Notice that at the bottom of the quote that they indicate that in addition to including multiple copies of a card in various places, a plan which may be inefficient, they indicate that one can add reference-slips in their place.

      This is closely similar to, but a small jump away from having explicit written links on the particular cards themselves, but at least mitigates the tedious copying work while actively creating links or cross references within one's note taking system.

    4. There is a still more barbarous method, whichneed not receive more than passing mention. Thisis simply to register documents in the memorywithout taking written notes. This method hasbeen used. Historians endowed with excellentmemories, and lazy to boot, have indulged thiswhim, with the result that their quotations andreferences are mostly inexact. The human memoryis a delicate piece of registering apparatus, but it isso little an instrument of precision that such pre-sumption is inexcusable.
    5. The materials collected must be classifiedsooner or later
    6. Thefirst impulse of most men who have to utilise anumber of texts is to make notes from them, oneafter another, in the order in which they studythem. Many of the early scholars (whose paperswe possess) worked on this system, and so do mostbeginners who are not warned beforehand ; the latterkeep, as the former kept, notebooks, which thgy fillcontinuously and progressively with notes on thetexts they are interested in. This method is utterlywrong.

      A warning that linear note taking is "utterly wrong."

    1. https://danmackinlay.name/about.html

      Dan MacKinlay provides indicators of his uncertainty, usefulness, "roughness", and "novelty" about things he writes about on his website to give readers some additional context about what he's writing about.

    1. https://lu.ma/x7zlzv95

      NoMa Method (note making method)<br /> JOMO mindset (Joy of Missing Out)<br /> MIMO - Mindfully In, Magically Out

      Nick Milo's got WAY too many buzzwords and acronyms. Are we creating a new cult with in groups and out groups using language?

      "Notice when you do" --- the root word of notice and note are related...

    2. Nick Milo: Using the NoMa Method during The Idea Exchange

      Dear god, do we really need another acronym: NoMa?

      Apparently it's just NOteMAking... as distinct from note taking

    1. That stage when you're pretty sure you've finished reading + taking notes, and you're ready to start porting everything over into thematic sections on Scrivener. One of the many stages of writing before The Writing actually begins. T-minus 14 hours

      https://twitter.com/shannonmattern/status/1512134425785610255

      That stage when you're pretty sure you've finished reading + taking notes, and you're ready to start porting everything over into thematic sections on Scrivener. One of the many stages of writing before The Writing actually begins. T-minus 14 hours 😰

      — Shannon Mattern (@shannonmattern) April 7, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. Shannon Mattern@shannonmattern·Apr 16Replying to @shannonmattern"I do not take notes as I read. I dog-ear—verso-top, recto-bottom—and underline sentences + paragraphs. I create a document and type out every underlined sentence and paragraph, sorted by book. Then I create a second document + sort the sentences + paragraphs by subject...."2117Shannon Mattern@shannonmattern·Apr 16"... The process of doing this usually gets me to a preliminary articulation of the argument I want to make, its beginning and its end, its arc, and its subclaims." How affirming - this is my process, too! // All of this is from a lovely @nybooks email interview with @mervatim

      Merve Emre's note taking process: dog earing and highlighting followed by typing out sentences and sorting into a rough draft.

      Similar to Shannon Mattern's as noted.


      "I do not take notes as I read. I dog-ear—verso-top, recto-bottom—and underline sentences + paragraphs. I create a document and type out every underlined sentence and paragraph, sorted by book. Then I create a second document + sort the sentences + paragraphs by subject...."

      — Shannon Mattern (@shannonmattern) April 16, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      "... The process of doing this usually gets me to a preliminary articulation of the argument I want to make, its beginning and its end, its arc, and its subclaims." How affirming - this is my process, too! // All of this is from a lovely @nybooks email interview with @mervatim pic.twitter.com/iAF82mo5MI

      — Shannon Mattern (@shannonmattern) April 16, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. chapter 4 includes repro-ductions of index cards with handwritten corrections andadditions. As unfamiliar as this way of taking notes may beto today’s students, it evokes nostalgic memories for thoseof us who attended college before the 1990s.

      In 2015, when considering Umberto Eco's use of index cards in his classic book How to Write a Thesis, Francesco Erspamer comments that taking notes using index cards was more common and even nostalgic for those who attended college prior to 1990

  3. Aug 2022
    1. At the time he was selling, Jay-Z was also coming up with rhymes. He normally wrote down his material in a green notebook he carried around with him — but he never took the notebook with him on the streets, he says. "I would run into the corner store, the bodega, and just grab a paper bag or buy juice — anything just to get a paper bag," he says. "And I'd write the words on the paper bag and stuff these ideas in my pocket until I got back. Then I would transfer them into the notebook. As I got further and further away from home and my notebook, I had to memorize these rhymes — longer and longer and longer. ... By the time I got to record my first album, I was 26, I didn't need pen or paper — my memory had been trained just to listen to a song, think of the words, and lay them to tape." Since his first album, he says, he's never written down any of his lyrics. "I've lost plenty of material," he says. "It's not the best way. I wouldn't advise it to anyone. I've lost a couple albums' worth of great material. ... Think about when you can't remember a word and it drives you crazy. So imagine forgetting an entire rhyme. 'What's that? I said I was the greatest something?' "

      In his youth, while selling drugs on the side, Jay-Z would write down material for lyrics into a green notebook. He never took the notebook around with him on the streets, but instead would buy anything at a corner store just for the paper bags as writing material. He would write the words onto these paper bags and stuff them into his pockets (wearable Zettelkasten anyone? or maybe Zetteltasche?) When he got home, in long standing waste book tradition, he would transfer the words to his notebook.

      Jay-Z has said he hasn't written down any lyrics since his first album, but warns, "I've lost plenty of material. It's not the best way. I wouldn't advise it to anyone. I've lost a couple albums' worth of great material."

      https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/fa/2010/11/20101116_fa_01.mp3

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/T3Z38uDUEeuFcPu2U_w_zA (Jonathan Edwards' zettelmantle)

    1. Should I always create a Bib-note? .t3_x2f4hn._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/x2f4hn/should_i_always_create_a_bibnote/

      If you want to be lazy you could just create the one card with the quote and full source and save a full bibliographical note. Your future self will likely be pleasantly surprised if you do create a full bib note (filed separately) which allows for a greater level of future findability and potential serendipity, It may happen when you've run across that possibly obscure author multiple times and it may spur you to read other material by them or cross reference other related authors. It's these small, but seemingly "useless", practices in the present that generate creativity and serendipity over longer periods of time that really bring out the compounding value of ZK.

      More and more I find that the randomly referenced and obscure writer or historical figure I noted weeks/months/years ago pops up and becomes a key player in research I'm doing now, but that I otherwise would have long forgotten and thus not able to connect or inform my current pursuits. These golden moments are too frequently not written about or highlighted properly in much of the literature about these practices.

      Naturally, however, everyone's practices may differ. You want to save the source at the very least, even if it's just on that slip with the quote. If you're pressed for time now, save the step and do it later when you install the card.

      Often is the time that I don't think of anything useful contemporaneously but then a week or two later I'll think of something relevant and go back and write another note or two, or I'll want to recommend it to someone and then at least it's findable to recommend.

      Frequently I find that the rule "If it's worth reading, then it's worth writing down the author, title, publisher and date at a minimum" saves me from reading a lot of useless material. Of course if you're researching and writing about the broader idea of "listicles" then perhaps you have other priorities?

    1. https://occidental.substack.com/p/the-adlernet-guide-part-ii?sd=pf

      Description of a note taking method for reading the Great Books: part commonplace, part zettelkasten.

      I'm curious where she's ultimately placing the cards to know if the color coding means anything in the end other than simply differentiating the card "types" up front? (i.e. does it help to distinguish cards once potentially mixed up?)

    1. In discussing the various ways Luhmann referenced his notes, Schmidt discusses specific notes created by Luhmann that appeared to produce "larger structural outline[s]."8 It seems, when beginning a major line of thought, Luhmann created a note that resembled "the outline of an article or table of contents of a book."9 Today, many call these outline notes "structure notes," a term which has come to prominence through its usage on the zettelkasten.de forum.
    2. At first glance, Luhmann's alphanumeric system—sometimes referred to as "folgezettel"1—appears to be a way of structuring an outline of specific arguments within one's stack of notes.

      Luhmann's folgezettel (sequence of notes) may not quite be an outline, but I'm begining to suspect that Luhmann used the idea of an outline or a table of contents to structure his note making practice.

      While he may have gotten it elsewhere, we know he read Heyde's instructions as (at least one of his) source(s). Heyde's table of contents (the 1970's version at least, we'll need to double check the 1930's versions) is highly suggestive, both in form, structure, and even numbering of the same set up in Luhmann's zettelkasten.

      It's likely that Luhmann was attempting to get around all the additional copying and filing work suggested in Heyde.

    1. Underlining won’t help you remember; marks are there to aid understanding in a later phase of reading.

      One shouldn't use highlighting in books/texts as a means of remembering things. They are the lowest form of fleeting note and should be used as an indicator or finding device for portions of text one wants to excerpt or reframe more fully for their note collection.

    1. Each type of index card should have a dif-ferent color, and should include in the top right corner abbre-viations that cross-reference one series of cards to another,and to the general plan. The result is something majestic.

      Finally a concrete statement about actively cross-linking ideas on note cards together!

    1. Depending on the scope of the notes that need to be taken, one uses either the A6format, or the next bigger one, which is A5 (21 x 14.8 cm), or the double sized A4 (29.6 x 21cm). After filling them with words, sheets of A5 size will be folded once, A4 size twice, sothat they return to our basic A6 size.

      This is the first time I've seen in the literature the suggestion to write notes on larger sheets and then fold them up. This is largely only recommended here because of the standardization of the paper sizes in such a way that folding an A4 makes an A5 and folding an A5 gives an A6 and so on...

    2. German publishers send out so-called book cards to book shops along with their newreleases. On them, bibliographic information is printed. Those book cards are also in postcardsize, i.e. A6, and their textual structure allows for them to be included in the reference filebox.

      Automatic reference cards!

      When did they stop doing this!!!

    3. Newspaper clippings were usually placed in boxes or file storages dependingon their scientific or otherwise valuable content. This procedure is inadequate as it means thatone forgets about the clipping when it might have been useful, or, if one does not forget aboutthe clipping, it is nowhere to be found in the ever growing pile of collection folders (or canonly be found after hours of searching for it).

      the scrap heap problem

    4. one can protect by using dictionaries of synonyms and then create enough referencesheets (e.g. Astronomy: cf. Science of the Stars). The only premise for this is that one knowsbeforehand the one location where the sheet belongs in the box.

      use of theausaurus to limit subject headings...

    5. After theactual note is written and the blueprints are removed, on each of the three cards one keywordis underlined with a pencil or a red pen so that each card can be placed inside the box basedon its underlined keyword

      This works, but I'm a bit disappointed at this advice/revelation...

    6. carbon paper process

      I wasn't expecting advice for creating multiple copies of cards with carbon paper...

    7. The most suitable location is at the bottom right of thenote sheet for reasons that will become obvious later.
    8. For the sheets that are filled with content on one side however, the most most importantaspect is its actual “address”, which at the same time gives it its title by which it can alwaysbe found among its comrades: the keyword belongs to the upper row of the sheet

      following the commonplace tradition, the keyword gets pride of place...

      Watch here the word "address" and double check the original German word in translation. What was it originally? Seems a tad odd to hear "address" applied to a keyword which is likely to be just one of many. How to keep them all straight?

    9. it has proven useful only to write on one side of them.

      the traditional advice

    10. another advantage to the small size: A6 (14.8 x 10.5 cm) has exactly the samemeasurements as the official German Reich postcard does, which is also the maximum sizepermitted for private post cards. What follows from this is the fact that one can easily addpost cards with scientific or non-scientific content into the sequence of sheets without havingto copy them.
    11. In the mercantile world, the energy- and time consuming note book process has been replacedwith a file card system because competition forces them to save time and energy.

      note the evolution here based on competition from practices in another field (accounting)

      What was his experience within accounting and these traditions?

    12. scientists as well asstudents of science carefully put the diverse results of their reading and thinking process intoone or a few note books that are separated by topic.

      A specific reference to the commonplace book tradition and in particular the practice of segmenting note books into pre-defined segments with particular topic headings. This practice described here also ignores the practice of keeping an index (either in a separate notebook or in the front/back of the notebook as was more common after John Locke's treatise)

    13. 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

    1. Allosso, Dan, and S. F. Allosso. How to Make Notes and Write. Minnesota State Pressbooks, 2022. https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/.

      Annotatable .pdf copy for Hypothes.is: https://docdrop.org/pdf/How-to-Make-Notes-and-Write---Allosso-Dan-jzdq8.pdf/

      Nota Bene:

      These annotations are of a an early pre-release draft of the text. One ought to download the most recent revised/final/official draft at https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/.

    2. I like to imagine all the thoughts and ideas I’vecollected in my system of notes as a forest. I imagine itas three-dimensional, because the trains of thought I’vebeen working on for some time look like trees, withbranches of argument, point, and counterpoint andleaves of source-based evidence. Actually, the forest isfour-dimensional, because it changes over time, growingas I add more to it. A piece of output I make using thisforest of thoughts is like a path through the woods. It’sa one-dimensional narrative or interpretation that startsat one point, moves in a line or an arc (sometimes azig-zag) through the woods, touching some but not allof the trees and leaves. I like this imagery, because itsuggests there are many ways to move through the forest.
    1. Aworkershouldalways befullyconscious,as.hemakesnoteofsomething,whichheisdoing;shouldknowwithouttheslightestdoubtwhetherheisrepresenting himself,orsomeoneorotherselse

      I've seen references to the attribution problem in the 2020s, but I haven't seen references in older literature about the difference of representing one's own thoughts versus that of others in their notes.

    2. But adoption of some particular size and strictadherence thereto are not absolutely incumbent.

      After suggesting consistency on slip size, Dow waffles on the use of multiple sizes. He does indicate that one might want to use the size as an indicator of the type of note, though he doesn't give a specific example

    3. James FordRhodes used notebooks of the old type.
    4. Gibbon for instance made all his notes

      Historian Edward Gibbon made all of his notes "in books of fast-bound leaves".

    5. freelyextendableor changeableatanypoint;so thatthewaywillalwaysbeclearforgrowth,onanymatter.

      clear for growth on any matter

    6. akenofitsrangesocially,itsclienteleasitwere.Thoseconcernedare ofcourseallwhowould workinthehumanfieldas professionalspecialists,inhistory,orpoliticalscience,oreconomics,orsociology,withthe object ofinvestigation,orof teaching,orof writing for the public
    7. For in fact a note -system at its bestmust be very largely an individual thing.
    8. Dow, Earle Wilbur. Principles of a Note-System for Historical Studies. Century Company, 1924.

    1. Annotate Books has added a 1.8-inch ruled margin on every page. The ample space lets you to write your thoughts, expanding your understanding of the text. This edition brings an end to does convoluted, parallel notes, made on minute spaces. Never again fail to understand your brilliant ideas, when you go back and review the text.

      This is what we want to see!! The publishing company Annotate Books is republishing classic texts with a roomier 1.8" ruled margin on every page to make it easier to annotate texts.

      It reminds me about the idea of having print-on-demand interleaved books. Why not have print-on-demand books which have wider than usual margins either with or without lines/grids/dots for easier note taking and marginalia?

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/C5WcYFhsEeyLyFeV9leIzw

    1. the task maybe undertaken by any instructor who finds that good notesare necessary for successful work in his course.

      Just as physics and engineering professors don't always rely on the mathematics department to teach all the mathematics that students should know, neither should any department rely on the English department to teach students how to take notes.

    2. Seward, Samuel Swayze. Note-Taking. Boston, Allyn and Bacon, 1910. http://archive.org/details/cu31924012997627

    1. Devices for note-taking. In taking notes of reading,use slips of paper the size of the standard library card(8 x 6 in.). For more extended notes and for typewrittennotes, the standard half-sheet (6% x 8% in.) is usually themost satisfactory sire. For special purposes still larger sheetsare sometimes essential. In any extended investi ation theuse of different colored sli s or different coloref inks forcertain classes of notes w i g often prove a convenient andtime-savin device. It is especially desirable, thus, to dis-tinguish bifliogra hical data from subject matter. Each slipshould contain onyy a single note. Put a topical heading atthe top of each slip of subject notes and a reference to thevolume and page of the authority quoted.

      The transcription on this from .pdf via Hypothesis is dreadful! In particular for the card sizes. The actual text reads as:

      1. Devices for note-taking. In taking notes of reading, use slips of paper the size of the standard library card (3 x5 in.). For more extended notes and for typewritten notes, the standard half-sheet (5 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.) is usually the most satisfactory size. For special purposes still larger sheets are sometimes essential. In any extended investigation the use of different colored slips or different colored inks for certain classes of notes will often prove a convenient and time-saving device. It is especially desirable, thus, to distinguish bibliographical data from subject matter. Each slip should contain only a single note. Put a topical heading at the top of each slip of subject notes and a reference to the volume and page of the authority quoted.
    2. Dutcher, George Matthew. “Directions and Suggestions for the Writing of Essays or Theses in History.” Historical Outlook 22, no. 7 (November 1, 1931): 329–38. https://doi.org/10.1080/21552983.1931.10114595

    3. Useful suggestions in regard tonote-taking will be found in Samuel S . Seward, Note-taking,Boston, 1910; and, especially for more advanced students, inEarle W. DOW, Principles of a note-system for hirton’calstudies, New York, 1924

      He's read Langlois/Seignobos and Bernheim, but doesn't recommend/reference them for note taking, but points to Seward and Dow instead.

      What are the differences between the four methods?

      Note that this advice is in 1931, a few years after Beatrice Webb's My Apprentice which has a section on note taking that prefers the first two without mention of the latter two.


      It would appear that Seward is the brother of William Henry Seward. see: https://hypothes.is/a/MwspfCBOEe2YCpesAgwiGQ

    4. The instructor may require the submission of the notesas an evidence of pro ress before the writing of the essayis begun, or he may as! for their presentation with the com-pleted essay.

      It's nice to have some evidence of progress, but I know very few students who appreciated this sort of grading practice. I know I hated it as a kid, so it's particularly pernicious and almost triggering to see it in print going back to 1908, 1911, and subsequently up to 1931.

    5. These Directions and suggestions were first cornpiled in1908, and the first edition was printed in 1911 for use in theauthor‘s own classes. The present edition is the result ofthorough revision and is planned for general use.

      This will be much more interesting given that he'd first written about this topic in 1908 and has accumulated more experience since then.

      Look for suggestions about the potential change in practice over the ensuing years.

      Is the original version extant in his papers?

    6. (see paragraph 28)

      an example within this essay of a cross reference from one note to another showing the potential linkages of individual notes within one's own slipbox.

    7. 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.

    8. One can't help but notice that Dutcher's essay, laid out like it is in a numbered fashion with one or two paragraphs each may stem from the fact of his using his own note taking method.

      Each section seems to have it's own headword followed by pre-written notes in much the same way he indicates one should take notes in part 18.

      It could be illustrative to count the number of paragraphs in each numbered section. Skimming, most are just a paragraph or two at most while a few do go as high as 5 or 6 though these are rarer. A preponderance of shorter one or two paragraphs that fill a single 3x5" card would tend to more directly support the claim. Though it is also the case that one could have multiple attached cards on a single idea. In Dutcher's case it's possible that these were paperclipped or stapled together (does he mention using one side of the slip only, which is somewhat common in this area of literature on note making?). It seems reasonably obvious that he's not doing more complex numbering or ordering the way Luhmann did, but he does seem to be actively using it to create and guide his output directly in a way (and even publishing it as such) that supports his method.

      Is this then evidence for his own practice? He does actively mention in several places links to section numbers where he also cross references ideas in one card to ideas in another, thereby creating a network of related ideas even within the subject heading of his overall essay title.

      Here it would be very valuable to see his note collection directly or be able to compare this 1927 version to an earlier 1908 version which he mentions.

    9. n composition d o not be a slave tothe notes and books: they only furnish the materials fromwhich the essay is t o be constructed.
    10. the slips by the topicalheadings. Guide cards are useful to gdicate the several head-ings and subheadings. Under each heading classif the slipsin writing, discarding any that may not prove useful andmaking cross references for notes which may be needed foruse in more than one lace. This classification will reveal,almost automatically, wiere there are deficiencies in the ma-terials collected which should be remedied. The completedand classified collection of notes then becomes the basis ofcomposition.

      missing some textual context here for full quote...

      Dutcher is recommending arranging notes and cards by topical headings in a commonplace sort of method. He does recommend a sub-arrangement of placing them in logical order for one's writing however. He goes even further and indicates one may "make cross references for notes which may be needed for use in more than one place." Which provides an early indication of linking or cross linking cards to multiple places within in one's card index. (Has this cross referencing (linking) idea appeared in the literature specifically before, or is this an early instantiation of this idea?)

    11. Symbols might conveniently have been used for woids ofsuch frequent occurrence as: for, in, of, with, as, to, the,bill, statute, footnote.
    12. works inEnglish are convenient introductions to the prohems andmethods of historical research: Charles V. Langlois andCharles Seignobos, Introduction to the rludy of history, NewYork, 1898; John M. Vincent, Historical research, an outlineof theory and practice, New York, 1911; and, to a morelimited extent, Fred M. Fling, Writing of history, an intro-duction to historical method, New Haven, 1920. The studentwho is specializing in history should early familiarize him-self with these volumes and then acquaint himself with otherworks in the field, notably Ernst Bernheim, hehrbuch derhistorwehen Methode und der Beschichtsplrilosophie, 6th ed.,Leipzig, 1908

      I'm curious, what, if any, detail Fling (1920) and Vincent (1911) provide on note taking processes?

    1. Technik des wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens by Johannes Erich Heyde( Book )29 editions published between 1931 and 1970 in 3 languages and held by 197 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
    2. Technik des Wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens. Eine anleitung, besonders für Studierende, mit Ausführlichem Schriftenverzeichnis by Johannes Erich Heyde( Book )25 editions published between 1933 and 1951 in German and Undetermined and held by 114 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
    3. Technik des wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens; eine Anleitung, besonders für Studierende by Johannes Erich Heyde( Book )32 editions published between 1931 and 1951 in German and held by 179 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
    1. https://scottscheper.com/letter/36/

      Clemens Luhmann, Niklas' son, has a copy of a book written in German in 1932 and given to his father by Friedrich Rudolf Hohl which ostensibly is where Luhmann learned his zettelkasten technique. It contains a 34 page chapter titled Die Kartei (the Card Index) which has the details.

    1. Heyde, Johannes Erich. 1931. Technik des wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens. Zeitgemässe Mittelund Verfahrensweisen: Eine Anleitung, besonders für Studierende, 3rd ed. Berlin: Junkerund Dünhaupt.

      A manual on note taking practice that Blair quotes along with Paul Chavigny as being influential in the early 21st century.

    1. Malachy Walsh23 hr agoI'm 75 years old. Unfortunately I rejected the notecard method when it was taught in high school, instead choosing cumbersome notebooks all the way through graduate school...until Richard McKeon at University of Chicago recommended using notecards not only as a record of my reading and other experiences but also as a source of creative and rhetorical invention. This was a mind opening, life changing perspective. His only rule: each card or slip should pose and answer a single question. He recommended organizing all journal entries by one of the following topics: 1. By the so called great ideas in the Syntopticon. 2. By work or business projects, activities and events(I spent my life as an advertising man, juggling many assignments over 30 years, from Frosted Flakes to The Marines to Ford). 3. By great books worthy of Adler's analytical readings. 4. By everyday living topics like family, friends, health, wealth, politics, business, car, house, occasions, etc. This way of working has served me well. I believe a proper book case is half full of books and half full of boxes of notes about those books. Notice that McKeon's advice is not limited to writing and reflecting about the books we read. McKeown also encourages reflection on all areas of experience that are important to us. I guess I have an Aristotelian view that our lives consist of thinking, doing, making, and interacting and that writing offers us a way of connecting our thinking with these other activities. So, the nature, scope, and shape our "note system" should be designed to help us engage successfully in our day to day activities and long term enterprises. How should follow What and Why, connect with Who, and fit with When and Where. Any success I have had in business or personal life I attribute to McKeon's advice.

      Richard McKeon's advice, as relayed by a student, on how to take notes using an index card based practice.

      Does he have a written handbook or advice on his particular method?

    1. I see connections between ideas more easily following this approach. Plus, the combinations of ideas lead to even more new ideas. It’s great!

      Like many others, the idea of combinatorial creativity and serendipity stemming from the slip box is undersold.

    2. It’s recommended that you summarize the information you want to store in your own words, instead of directly copying the information like you would in a commonplace book.

      recommended by whom? for what purpose?

      Too many of these posts skip the important "why?" question

    1. The network of trails functions as a shared external memory for the ant colony.

      Just as a trail of pheromones serves the function of a shared external memory for an ant colony, annotations can create a set of associative trails which serve as an external memory for a broader human collective memory. Further songlines and other orality based memory methods form a shared, but individually stored internal collective memory for those who use and practice them.

      Vestiges of this human practice can be seen in modern society with the use and spread of cultural memes. People are incredibly good at seeing and recognizing memes and what they communicate and spreading them because they've evolved to function this way since the dawn of humanity.

    1. I have it in Kindle version. The book is not bad, but for me there wasn't anything new. Probably because I have already read too much about notetaking and "thinking on paper" -- I have read too much, to be honest, it's becoming an obsession.Also, the book is meant for college students as a handbook on writing. I read only the first 7 chapters on notetaking, the rest of the book was about writing well.Little bit disappointed that the book doesn't have a reference/bibliography section at the end, even though he mentions in the book how important it is to reference your sources.

      I too wished for more sources, especially on some of the great quotes.

      Admittedly, for those who're already eyeball deep in note taking practice, there may not be much new, but for some who are confused or confounded by some of Ahrens' descriptions and presentation, this cuts through some of the details and gets more quickly to the point.

    1. Mortimer Adler (another independent scholar). “My train of thought greiout of my life just the way a leaf or a branch grows our of a tree.” His thinking and writing occurred as a regular part of his life. In one of his book;Thinking and Working on the Waterfront, he wrote:My writing is'done in railroad yards while waiting for a freight, in the fieldswhile waiting for a truck, and at noon after lunch. Now and then I take aday off to “put myself in order." I go through the notes, pick and discard.The residue is usually a few paragraphs. My mind must always have somethingto chew on. I think on man, America, and the world. It is not as pretentiousas it sounds.
    2. “I do all my own research,” she said, “though reviewers have speculatedthat I must have a band of hirelings. I like to be led by a footnote ontosomething I never thought of. I rarely photocopy research materials because, for me, note-taking is learning, distilling. That’s the whole essence ofthe business. In taking notes, you have to discard what you don’t need. If you[photocopy] it, you haven’t chewed it.”
    1. Furthermore, thisdisparagement and neglect were surely unnecessary. P

      note taking too...

    2. Contemporary scholarship is not in a position to give a definitive assessmentof the achievements of philosophical grammar. The ground-work has not beenlaid for such an assessment, the original work is all but unknown in itself, andmuch of it is almost unobtainable. For example, I have been unable to locate asingle copy, in the United States, of the only critical edition of the Port-RoyalGrammar, produced over a century ago; and although the French original isnow once again available, 3 the one English translation of this important workis apparently to be found only in the British Museum. It is a pity that this workshould have been so totally disregarded, since what little is known about it isintriguing and quite illuminating.

      He's railing against the loss of theory for use over time and translation.

      similar to me and note taking...

    1. https://www.napkin.one/

      Yet another collection app that belies the work of taking, making, and connecting notes.

      Looks pretty and makes a promise, but how does it actually deliver? How much work and curation is involved? What are the outputs at the other end?

    1. I'm working on my zettelkasten—creating literature notes and permanent notes—for 90 min a day from Monday to Friday but I struggle with my permanent note output. Namely, I manage to complete no more than 3-4 permanent notes per week. By complete I mean notes that are atomic (limited to 1 idea), autonomous (make sense on their own), connected (link to at least 3 other notes), and brief (no more than 300 words).That said, I have two questions:How many permanent notes do you complete per week on average?What are your tips to increase your output?

      reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/wjigq6/how_do_you_increase_your_permanent_note_output

      In addition to all the other good advice from others, it might be worth taking a look at others' production and output from a historical perspective. Luhmann working at his project full time managed to average about 6 cards a day.1 Roland Barthes who had a similar practice for 37 years averaged about 1.3 cards a day.2 Tiago Forte has self-reported that he makes two notes a day, though obviously his isn't the same sort of practice nor has he done it consistently for as long.3 As you request, it would be useful to have some better data about the output of people with long term, consistent use.

      Given even these few, but reasonably solid, data points at just 90 minutes a day, one might think you're maybe too "productive"! I suspect that unless one is an academic working at something consistently nearly full time, most are more likely to be in the 1-3 notes a day average output at best. On a per hour basis Luhmann was close to 0.75 cards while you're at 0.53 cards. Knowing this, perhaps the best advice is to slow down a bit and focus on quality over quantity. This combined with continued consistency will probably serve your enterprise much better in the long run than in focusing on card per hour or card per day productivity.

      Internal idea generation/creation productivity will naturally compound over time as your collection grows and you continue to work with it. This may be a better sort of productivity to focus on in the long term compared with short term raw inputs.

      Another useful tidbit that some neglect is the level of quality and diversity of the reading (or other) inputs you're using. The better the journal articles and books you're reading, the more value and insight you're likely to find and generate more quickly over time.

    1. Analog tools also allow me to express my intention freely. For example, when using a blank notebook, I can write anywhere: begin from the bottom, on the margins, or intersperse it with quick diagrams or illustrations. On the other hand, note-taking apps usually force me to think line by line. It’s not bad, but it misses out on several affordances that pen and paper provides.

      affordance of location on a page in analog pen/paper versus digital line by line in note taking


      I did sort of like the idea of creating information anywhere on the page within OneNote, but it didn't make things easy to draw or link pieces on the same page in interesting ways (or at least I don't remember that as a thing.)

    1. For the sake of simplicity, go to Graph Analysis Settings and disable everything but Co-Citations, Jaccard, Adamic Adar, and Label Propogation. I won't spend my time explaining each because you can find those in the net, but these are essentially algorithms that find connections for you. Co-Citations, for example, uses second order links or links of links, which could generate ideas or help you create indexes. It essentially automates looking through the backlinks and local graphs as it generates possible relations for you.
    1. https://cyberzettel.com/chris-aldrich-and-his-research-on-digital-public-zettelkasten/

      This looks exciting!

      You've also nudged me to convert my burgeoning broader top level tag of "note taking" into a full fledged category (https://boffosocko.com/category/note-taking/) which shortly will contain not only the material on zettelkasten but commonplace books and other related areas.

      Usually once a tag has more than a couple hundred entries, it's time to convert it to a category. This one was long overdue.

    1. Don’t let it pile up. A lot of people mark down passages or fold pages of stuff they like. Then they put of doing anything with it. I’ll tell you, nothing will make your procrastinate like seeing a giant pile of books you have to go through and take notes on it. You can avoid this by not letting it pile up. Don’t go months or weeks without going through the ritual. You have to stay on top of it.
    2. I use 4×6 ruled index cards, which Robert Greene introduced me to. I write the information on the card, and the theme/category on the top right corner. As he figured out, being able to shuffle and move the cards into different groups is crucial to getting the most out of them.

      Ryan Holiday keeps a commonplace book on 4x6 inch ruled index cards with a theme or category written in the top right corner. He learned his system from Robert Greene.

      Of crucial importance to him was the ability to shuffle the cards and move them around.

    3. A commonplace book is a way to keep our learning priorities in order. It motivates us to look for and keep only the things we can use.
    4. And if you still need a why–I’ll let this quote from Seneca answer it (which I got from my own reading and notes): “We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application–not far far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech–and learn them so well that words become works.”
    1. I know a lot of people use Evernote for this but I think physical is better. You want to be able to move the stuff around.

      Holiday prefers physical index cards over digital systems like Evernote because he wants to have the ability to "move the stuff around."

    2. It's several thousand 4x6 notecards—based on a system taught to by my mentor Robert Greene when I was his research assistant—that have ideas, notes on books I liked, quotes that caught my attention, research for projects or phrases I am kicking around.

      Ryan Holiday learned his index card-based commonplace book system from writer Robert Greene for whom he worked as an assistant.

    1. There's also a good chance the DNP encourages people to spend non-significant amounts of time journaling and writing notes they never look back on.

      While writing notes into a daily note page may be useful to give them a quick place to live, a note that isn't revisited is likely one that shouldn't have been made at all.

      Tools for thought need to do a better job of staging ideas for follow and additional work. Leaving notes orphaned on a daily notes page may help in the quick capture process, but one needs reminders about them, means of finding them, and potential means of improving them.

      If they're swept away continuously, then they only serve the sort of functionality of cleaning out of ideas that morning pages do. It's bad enough to have a massive scrap heap that looks and feels like work, but it's even worse to have it spread out among hundreds or thousands of separate files.

      Does digital search fix this issue entirely? Or does it just push off the work to later when it won't be done either.

    2. Half the time I begin typing something, I'm not even sure what I'm writing yet. Writing it out is an essential part of thinking it out. Once I've captured it, re-read it, and probably rewritten it, I can then worry about what to label it, what it connects to, and where it should 'live' in my system.

      One of my favorite things about Hypothes.is is that with a quick click, I've got a space to write and type and my thinking is off to the races.

      Sometimes it's tacitly (linked) attached to another idea I've just read (as it is in this case), while other times it's not. Either way, it's coming out and has at least a temporary place to live.

      Later on, my note is transported (via API) from Hypothes.is to my system where I can figure out how to modify it or attach it to something else.

      This one click facility is dramatically important in reducing the friction of the work for me. I hate systems which require me to leave what I'm doing and opening up another app, tool, or interface to begin.

    1. Fiona McPherson has some good suggestions/tips in her book on Effective Notetaking. In general it revolves around using relevant icons for your illustrations and limiting your supporting text of the diagrams. (I.e. Have a good icon that explains the process and only 2-4 words paired with the icon).

      I haven't delved into McPherson's work yet, but it's in my pile. She's one of the few people who've written about both note taking and memory, so I'm intrigued. I take it you like her perspective? Does she delve into any science-backed methods or is she coming from a more experiential perspective?

  4. Jul 2022
    1. https://danallosso.substack.com/p/thoughts-prior-to-publishing

      <iframe title="vimeo-player" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/735211043?h=68a6bdd022" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

      I love the pointed focus @danallosso puts on output here. I think he's right that the "conversation between the writer, the text, and their notes" (in my framing combinatorial creativity) is where the real value is to be had.

      His explanation of the "evergreen note" is highly valuable here. One should really do as much work upfront to make it as evergreen as possible. Too many people (especially in the digital gardens space) put the emphasis on working on these evergreen notes over time to slowly improve and evolve them and that's probably the wrong framing to take. Write it once, write it well, then reuse it.

    1. For those curious about the idea of what students might do with the notes and annotations they're making in the margins of their texts using Hypothes.is, I would submit that Dan Allosso's OER handbook How to Make Notes and Write (Minnesota State Pressbooks, 2022) may be a very useful place to turn. https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/

      It provides some concrete advice on the topic of once you've highlighted and annotated various texts for a course, how might you then turn your new understanding, ideas, and extant thinking work into a blogpost, essay, term paper or thesis.

      For a similar, but alternative take, the book How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking by Sönke Ahrens (Create Space, 2017) may also be helpful as well. This text however requires purchase via Amazon and doesn't carry the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike (by-nc-sa 4.0) license that Dr. Allosso's does.

      In addition to the online copy of the book, there's an annotatable .pdf copy available here: http://docdrop.org/pdf/How-to-Make-Notes-and-Write---Allosso-Dan-jzdq8.pdf/ though one can download .epub and .pdf copies directly from the Pressbooks site.

    1. I think claims of magical moments of “emergentcomplexity” where the note system reaches some sortof critical mass and begins spitting out answers like anoracle are probably a bit exaggerated. They sound a bittoo much like the Singularity. But it’s also true, I suspect,that by reviewing our notes regularly, comparing SourceNotes and making Point Notes out of them, anddiligently connecting new ideas into the train of thoughtthey emerged from, we’ll create a tree that will have morebranches and leaves in some places than in others. Thosebranches will be where the action is; where we can expectto find a lot of material we can turn into output.
    2. As I was reviewing these I wrote thePoint Note pictured, continuing the train of thought thatadvocates of the zettelkasten system often claim it “shows”you what some people call “hot nodes”, which can tell you(sometimes surprising) things about the topic you arepursuing.

      "hot nodes"? I've not come across this as a thing... source?

    3. Imagine that when you reading The Odyssey in a WorldLiterature class, you found you were interested in

      Or maybe you were interested in color the way former British Prime Minister William Gladstone was? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_on_Homer_and_the_Homeric_Age

      Or you noticed a lot of epithets (rosy fingered dawn, wine dark sea, etc.) and began tallying them all up the way Milman Parry did? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milman_Parry

      How might your notes dramatically change how we view the world?


      Aside: In the Guy Ritchie film Sherlock Holmes (2009), Watson's dog's name was Gladstone, likely a cheeky nod to William Gladstone who was active during the setting of the movie's timeline.

    4. This might be all you need, if your notes are directedtoward a small, immediate goa

      I like that there are a variety of potential contexts here which students might find themselves within (short term versus long term / big projects versus small). The broad advice can be useful to more people because they can pick and choose for their own needs.

      This is similar to Umberto Eco's advice which is geared toward a longer thesis, though he mentions that one might continue on their system across additional topics or even an entire career.

    5. An Index is something you must physically create asyou add cards in a physical note system.

      Watch closely to see how Allosso's description of an index comes to the advice of John Locke versus the practice of Niklas Luhmann.

      Alternately, is it closer to a commonplace indexing system or a shallowly linked, but still complex zettelkasten indexing system?

      In shared digital systems, I still suspect that densely indexed notes will have more communal value.

      Link to: - https://hypothes.is/a/nrk0vgoCEe2y3CedssHnVA

    6. You should read with a pen in your hand andenter...short hints of what you feel...may be useful; forthis be the best method of imprinting [them] in yourmemory. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

      original source?

    7. Thewhole point of this note-making process is not only toprovide ourselves with ideas we want to pursue, but toactually show us which ideas we are most interested in.
    8. Thetechniques and tools we’re going to discuss in this sectionon note-making are focused mostly on texts, but they canbe applied to ideas that come to you from discussion,listening to lectures, experiment, or life experience.

      This might also include other forms of art including song and dance.

      Link this to: - choreography notation (@remikalir's sister in ballet) - Caleb Deschanel's cinematography notation which he likened to musical notation

    9. “Taking Notes” rather than what I typically say, MakingNotes.

      I love the distinction here between "taking notes" and "making notes". Too many focus on the "taking notes" portion and never get to the making part of the equation.

    10. ven if that reader is just future-you –and this is one of the benefits of making notes your futureself can read!
    11. interacting with other ideas and remaining part of ourtrain of thought.

      Within our own notes, connections allow the ideas we developing to survive by

      There are several levels of "evolutionary" development of one's notes. One can compare and contrast two different notes to help determine the truth or falsity of each, but groups of linked notes may also evolve and survive against other groups by competing both for attention as well as their potential truth or falsity.

    12. “Comparing notes” is a metaphor for talking throughideas for good reason

      What is the origin of this metaphor?

      One might suspect the 1500s or during the Scientific Revolution?

    13. Far more important than what these notes are calledis what they do in helping you make the transition fromacquiring information from others to making it yourown.

      This welcome point is not often seen in the broader literature on this subject! Thanks Dan!

    14. many others

      A longer list I've been sporadically maintaining: - https://indieweb.org/commonplace_book#Platforms

      Tiago Forte has a curated/downloadable list here: https://www.buildingasecondbrain.com/resources

    1. https://developassion.gumroad.com/l/obsidian-starter-kit

      Sébastien Dubois selling an Obsidian Starter Kit for €19.99 on Gumroad.

      Looks like it's got lots of support and description of many of the big buzz words in the personal knowledge management space. Not sure how it would work with everything and the kitchen sink thrown in.

      found via https://www.reddit.com/r/PersonalKnowledgeMgmt/comments/w8dw94/obsidian_starter_kit/

    1. Synthesis notes are a strategy for taking and using reading notes that bring together—synthesize—what we read with our thoughts about our topic in a way that lets us integrate our notes seamlessly into the process of writing a first draft. Six steps will take us from reading sources to a first draft.

      Similar to Beatrice Webb's definition of synthetic notes in My Apprentice (1926), thought this also includes movement into actually drafting writing.

      What year was this written?

      The idea here seems to be less discrete in the steps of the writing process and subsumes multiple things instead of breaking them into discrete conceptual parts. Has this been some of what has caused issues in the note taking to creation process in the last century?

    1. The industrious apprentice will find in the Appendix (C) a short memorandumon the method of analytic note-taking, which we have found most convenient inthe use of documents and contemporaneous literature, as well as in the recording ofinterviews and personal observations.

      method of analytic note-taking from Beatrice Webb

    2. And whilst I could plan out an admirable system ofnote-taking, the actual execution of the plan was, owing toan inveterate tendency to paraphrase extracts which I in¬tended to copy, not to mention an irredeemably illegible hand¬writing, a wearisome irritation to me.
    3. in a later chapter I call it syntheticnote-taking, in order to distinguish it from the analytic note¬taking upon which historical work is based.

      Webb distinguishes synthetic note taking from analytic note taking.

    4. CHAPTER ICHARACTER AND CIRCUMSTANCEIn the following pages I describe the craft of a social in¬vestigator as I have practised it. I give some account of myearly and crude observation and clumsy attempts at reason¬ing, and then of the more elaborated technique of note¬taking, of listening to and recording the spoken word and ofobserving and even experimenting in the life of existinginstitutions.

      While she leaves note taking specifically to Appendix C, Beatrice Webb mentions her "more elaborated technique of note-taking" in the second sentence of the book.

    5. Struggling with the Co-op. News and enduring all the miseries ofwant of training in methods of work [I write some weeks later].Midway I discover that my notes are slovenly, and under wrong head¬ings, and I have to go through some ten weeks’ work again! Up at6.30 and working 5 hours a day, sometimes 6. Weary but not dis¬couraged. [MS. diary, July 26, 1889.]

      Indication that in July 1889, Beatrice Webb was developing her note taking methods and had a setback.

    6. It wasnot until we had completely re-sorted all our innumerable sheets ofpaper according to subjects, thus bringing together all the facts relatingto each, whatever the trade concerned, or the place or the date—andhad shuffled and reshuffled these sheets according to various tentativehypotheses—that a clear, comprehensive and verifiable theory of theworking and results of Trade Unionism emerged in our minds; tobe embodied, after further researches by way of verification, in ourIndustrial Democracy (1897).

      Beatrice Webb was using her custom note taking system in the lead up to the research that resulted in the publication of Industrial Democracy (1897).

      Is there evidence that she was practicing this note taking/database practice earlier than this?

    7. The centre of the sheet will be occupied by the text of the note, that is,the main statement or description of the fact recorded, whether it bea personal observation of your own, an extract from a document, aquotation from some literary source, an answer given in evidence, or astatistical calculation or table of figures.

      Beatrice Webb's list of the types of notes one might include on their sheets.

    8. THE ART OF NOTE-TAKING

      Beatrice Webb's suggestions: - Use sheets of paper and not notebooks, specifically so one can re-arrange, shuffle, and resort one's notes - She uses quarto pages as most convenient (quarto sizes have varied over time, but presumably hers were in the range of 8.5 x 11" sheets of paper, and thus rather large compared to index cards

      It takes some careful attention, but her description of her method and how she used it in a pre-computer era is highly indicative of the fact that Beatrice Webb was actively creating a paper database system which she could then later query to compile data to either elicit insight or to prove answers to particular questions.

      She specifically advises that one keep one and only one sort of particular types of data on each card whether that be dates, locations, subjects, or categories of facts. This is directly equivalent to the modern database design of only keeping one value in a particular field. As a result, each sheet within her notes might be equivalent to a row of related data which might contain a variety of different types of individual data. By not mixing data on individual sheets one can sort and resort their tables and effectively search through them without confusing data types.

      Her work and examples here would have been in the period of 1890 and 1910 (she specifically cites that this method was used for her research on the "principles of 1834" which was subsequently published as English Poor Law Policy in 1910) at a time after Basile Bouchon and Joseph Marie Jacquard and contemporaneously with Herman Hollerith who were using punched cards for some of this sort of work.

    9. 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)

    10. An instance may be given of the necessity of the “ separate sheet ” system.Among the many sources of information from which we constructed our bookThe Manor and the Borough were the hundreds of reports on particular boroughsmade by the Municipal Corporation Commissioners in 1835 .These four hugevolumes are well arranged and very fully indexed; they were in our own possession;we had read them through more than once; and we had repeatedly consulted themon particular points. We had, in fact, used them as if they had been our own boundnotebooks, thinking that this would suffice. But, in the end, we found ourselvesquite unable to digest and utilise this material until we had written out every oneof the innumerable facts on a separate sheet of paper, so as to allow of the mechanicalabsorption of these sheets among our other notes; of their complete assortment bysubjects; and of their being shuffled and reshuffled to test hypotheses as to suggestedco-existences and sequences.

      Webb's use case here sounds like she's got the mass data, but that what she really desired was a database which she could more easily query to do her work and research. As a result, she took the flat file data and made it into a manually sortable and searchable database.

    11. By the method of note-taking that I have described, it was practicableto sort out all our thousands of separate pieces of paper according toany, or successively according to all, of these categories or combinationof categories

      The broad description of Beatrice Webb's note taking system sounds almost eerily like the idea behind edge notched cards, however in her case she was writing note in particular locations on cards in an effort to help her cause rather than putting physical punch holes into them.