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  1. Last 7 days
  2. Mar 2024
    1. Frequent re- arrangements are a distinct disadvantage,for with every change the filer loses much time in becoming familiaragain with the new positions.

      While Kaiser recommends against the need to re-arrange physical cards from one drawer to another, which creates the need to refamiliarize oneself with their new locations, the same idea applies to switching from one digital note taking application to another as a similar switch of user interface functionality may cause additional overhead and stress thereby preventing quick use of the system itself.

    2. As the functionof the caU number is separation, so the function of references isconcentration.

      Placing call numbers or location numbers on items to be filed allows them to be separated from other items while placing cross-references or links allows them to be brought back together again. These two affordances allow for divergence as well as convergence of items or ideas.

    3. Devising Once a proper system has been devised, it requiresCard Systems

      Devising Card Systems

      Many modern-day note takers and knowledge workers might take solace in the broad advice provided by J. Kaiser in 1908. In describing some of the broad categories of uses of card index filing systems for business use he says that each entity "has its individual character and individual requirements, and its individual character" (ie, everyone is different and has different needs), therefore everyone "must devise [their] system in accordance with [their] own requirements" and should "be the best judge as to what these requirements are." He continues on in the rest of the book to outline a variety of suggestions and methods which one might use or adopt, but he doesn't dictate specific methods and leaves those decisions up to the end user.

      When devising their own systems, one certainly ought to heed this advice when looking at a variety of alternative methods like Forte's P.A.R.A., Milo's LYT, or even in mimicking Luhmann's idiosyncratic Zettelkasten set up. Are these methods best for your particular use cases? Are they simple enough for what you want to do, or are they overly structured and complicated? The key is to be able to classify and file things quickly so that they can be easily accessed in the future, all the rest becomes additional details and overhead to support on an ongoing basis.

      (¶76)

  3. Jan 2024
    1. This note would live among others of the same topic, only to be called upon when the topic was explored.

      Not mentioned here is that with a top-down approach, if a card had related topics on it, then it would have to either be copied to those areas separately, or would need to be carefully cross-indexed to those areas to be able to be found again when needed.

      When the number of topics, n, begins to exceed 2 the amount of additional work and cards can grow quite a bit, though generally only linearly with respect to n. (Don't discount the work on the back side of searching for and finding these easily at later dates.)

    1. But, to rephrase my concern, I am not really interested in creating a set of broadly shared or minimum required characteristics by which to define a Zettelkasten in general, rather I would be interested in coming to agreement on what the essential characteristics of the specific Luhmann Zettelkasten are in particular. Then, would be able to compare those essential criteria against other kasten both analog and digital to discern the differences and deficiencies.

      reply to JasperMcFly at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/19282/#Comment_19282

      I've been working towards this goal for some time. The idea isn't simply delineating the characteristics of Luhmann's system and its comparison to others, but to discern what the broadest characteristics of all of these systems are and what sorts of affordances those pieces and forms provide as tools for organizing and thinking. This will allow a broader range of people with different needs and different abilities to pick and choose which characteristics and methods might work best for them to reach those particular goals. Too many are approaching zettelkasten with a surface level understanding and somehow hoping that it will magically solve all their problems. When it doesn't, "consequently," as Luhmann would say, "just like in porn movies, they leave disappointed." [ZK II note 9/8.3]

  4. Dec 2023
    1. White highlights the ability to easily shuffle and reshuffle cards in a variety of orders (alphabetical, by source type) and this is one of the benefits of using note cards. (p51)

    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.

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/hawkexpress/192480328/in/album-72157594200490122/

      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.

      (Edited 2022-10-13, 2023-12-27)

    1. I don't use private personal wikis, so my interpretation is: Zettelkasten is the private work space, personal wiki is a form of publication. Maybe not polished for publishing, but edited and redacted where needed, so I can trust that I can be stupid in my Zettelkasten without anyone noticing.

      reply to ctietze at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/15201/#Comment_15201

      I can be stupid in my [private] Zettelkasten without anyone noticing.

      I too have a private space exactly for this purpose. On the other hand, writing and publishing in public spaces forces me to do some additional thinking/polishing work that I might not otherwise, and that often provides some spectacular results as well as useful feedback for improvement over time.

  5. Nov 2023
    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. The same information could have been recordedin a notebook or on slips of paper and then heaped togetherhaphazardly, but this would not have accomplished the samething.

      I take issue with this statement from the translators. Do they come about it themselves or does it stem from Eco?

      The general affordances of many modalities are very similar, though the ease of use and speed in arrival at a destination may be slightly different. (That is, cards can be ordered more quickly perhaps, but a similar function can be done using notebooks or slips.)

    1. Do digital note taking tools extend the ranges of affordances versus their analog counterparts with respect to the SAMR model?

      On the augmentation front, they allow one to capture things faster, but may do so at the loss of understanding due to the lack of active learning (versus passive as the tool may be robbing them of the interaction with the material).

      There may be some workflow modification, but it's modest at best. Is it measurably better?

      I'm unaware of anyone talking about technological redefinition of digital note taking affordances, though some of the surface level AI-related things may emerge here.

      In some sense, I still think that the ease of remapping and rearranging/linking/relinking/outlining ideas in digital spaces doesn't exist, so digital note taking tools aren't doing very well even at the root substitution level.

      I suspect that some people weren't exposed to the general process of good note taking and their subsequent use for linking, developing, and then creating and as a result of learning this, they're attributing their advances to the digital nature of their tools rather than the original analog process which was always there and isn't necessarily improved measurably by the digital modality.

  6. Oct 2023
    1. What is it with index cards ? .t3_17ck5la._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } So I posted a while ago about my journey into the zettlekasten and I have to admit I still enjoy using this system for notes.I must say, I am an avid note taker for a long time. I write ideas, notes from books, novels, poems and so much more. I mainly used to use notebooks, struggle a while with note taking apps and now I mainly use two kind of things : index cards (A6) and an e-ink tablet (the supernote) for different purpose of course, the index cards for the zettelkasten and the e-ink tablet for organization and my work. To be honest I used to consider myself more a notebooks kind of person than an index cards one (and I am from France we don't use index cards but "fiche bristol" which are bigger than A6 notecards, closer to an A5 format)Still, there is something about index cards, I cannot tell what it is, but it feels something else to write on this, like my mind is at ease and I could write about ideas, life and so many stuff covering dozens of cards. I realize that after not touching my zettelkasten for a few week (lack of time) and coming back to it. It feels so much easier to write on notecards than on notebooks (or any other place) and I can't explain it.Anyone feeling the same thing ?

      reply to u/Sensitive-Binding at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/17ck5la/what_is_it_with_index_cards/

      Some of it may involve the difference in available space versus other forms of writing on larger pages of paper. Similarly, many find that there is less pressure to write something short on Twitter or similar social media platforms because there is less space in the user interface that your mind feels the need to fill up. One can become paralyzed by looking at the larger open space on a platform like WordPress with the need to feel like they should write more.

      With index cards you fill one up easily enough, and if there's more, you just grab another card and repeat.


      cross reference with Fermat's Last Theorem being easier to suggest in a margin than actually writing it out in full.

  7. Sep 2023
    1. ID's or Common names for Notes? .t3_16vgxy7._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/pakizh at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16vgxy7/ids_or_common_names_for_notes/

      Keyword search was definitely available in Luhmann's lifetime. Here's the link to the digitized version of Luhmann's keyword index: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/zettelkasten/zettel/ZK_2_SW1_001_V. Versions of this sort of indexing go back at least to John Locke's method for indexing commonplace books in 1685 (in French) and 1706 (in English). See: https://archive.org/details/13925922180LockeCommonplaceBook/mode/2up for the 1706 version. In a zettelkasten context, instead of indexing page numbers, one simply numbers their index cards and the method works exactly the same. (One could also think of it as creating a library card catalog for one's ideas instead of their books—again, using a personalized numbering system instead of the standardized Dewey Decimal System which is used for books.)

      In paper versions, the numbers serve two purposes:

      • Allowing the ideas to be indexed and searched for and found again. Full text search in digital contexts may be easier in some instances, but these sorts of searches may not scale well over thousands of notes and may return hundreds of results which need to be looked through to find the correct one. As a result, even good indexing in digital can pay off well in the long run.
      • Placing similar ideas next to each other (when filed using numbers) allows areas of interest to build up in one's note collection. This also creates what one might call "soft links" between ideas (versus more direct, hard links using [[WikiLinks]] or explicit links to specific numbered cards). These neighborhoods of ideas eventually build up to something interesting in aggregation. Without these sorts of (decimal or alpha-numeric) numbers, it's more difficult to create this affordance in digital applications (and one has to be more vigilant for orphaned notes). One can use tags or category names in Obsidian along with the graph view to approximate some of this affordance, but it requires more work on the part of the user. Prepending sortable numbers onto the titles of notes can allow these neighborhoods to be more visible in the sidebar folder view found in many digital tools.

      Some will suggest or use some sort of date/timestamp number as a unique identifier, but doing this generally has little or no value and most digital systems will automatically add date/time creation and modification timestamps to notes anyway if those are of interest or value.

      More details: https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/27/thoughts-on-zettelkasten-numbering-systems/

      Knowing these potential affordances, try things out for a while to see how they work for you and then decide to continue or change your practice to suit your own needs.

    1. "Using the Folgezettel to capture some connections and hope that their nature will reveal themselves later on is just another form of Collector’s Fallacy." I can tell you for a fact that, in my experience, the above quote is fundamentally false. I often find myself doing exactly what's expressed here—using the folgezettel to capture "some connections" in order to get the note-making process started—and am consistently rewarded having done so.

      Strong agree with Bob here.

      Quite often collecting can create huge value in slowly building a substrate for serendipity to do its work. Some of the key to overcoming this is in the affordances of one's system to find or discover these tidbits in one's collection.

    2. folgezettel pushes the note maker toward making at least one connection at the time of import.

      There is a difference between the sorts of links one might make when placing an idea into an (analog) zettelkasten. A folgezettel link is more valuable than a simple tag/category link because it places an idea into a more specific neighborhood than any handful of tags. This is one of the benefits of a Luhmann-artig ZK system over a more traditional commonplace one, particularly when the work is done up front instead of being punted to a later time.

      For those with a 1A2B3Z linking system (versus a pure decimal system), it may be more difficult to insert a card before other cards rather than after them because of the potential gymnastics of numbering and the natural tendency to put things into a continuing linear order.

      See also: - https://hypothes.is/a/ToqCPq1bEe2Q0b88j4whwQ - https://hyp.is/WtB2AqmlEe2wvCsB5ZyL5A/docdrop.org/download_annotation_doc/Introduction-to-Luhmanns-Zette---Ludecke-Daniel-h4nh8.pdf

    1. I’ve been flitting around loads of note taking platforms - each time, I bask in the glory of a new tool then about 3-4 weeks later I’m done.The one lasting tool is Roam, which I still like despite it being tossed aside by many for other tools. I use TickTick for my task management.I’ve recently returned to journaling or writing things down for that I’ve done and what I want to achieve. I still have an online and mobile task list but I really find writing useful for reflecting.Getting into Zettkekasten, I’m about to use a paper card based approach to do a spell of studying. Im looking forward to the analogue experience but almost feel like I’m being disloyal to the modern digital way. I’m looking forward to seeing if this method helps digest the learning and seeing where this takes me.

      reply to u/FilterGrad6 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16iwdep/newbie/

      Digital is just a tool. Why necessarily chose it over analog unless you can specifically identify affordances which dramatically improve your experience or output?

      As you've discovered, shiny object syndrome may prevent you from collecting enough into one place to be truly useful and valuable. Pick one that seems to work for you and build from there.

      If paper was good enough for the practices and outputs of Carl Linnaeus, Konrad Gessner, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz, John Locke, Hans Blumenberg, Roland Barthes, Beatrice Webb, Jacques Barzun, Niklas Luhmann, Gertrud Bauer, Marcel Mauss, Phyllis Diller, and so many others is there any reason it shouldn't work just as effectively for your work?

    1. Even though I commented earlier i have to side with Chris. A ZK is best suited for argumentative and essay like work, not creative one like poetry.Maybe this is something that we need to discuss as a community as hole: it’s seems that a lot of people try to fit their needs to a system that (in my opinion) it’s neither intended or works for those kinds of projects.

      reply to Efficient_Eart_8773 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16ad43u/comment/jzaas4l/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Though depending on your needs and desires, you can really do both to effectuate the outcomes you'd like to have. The secret is knowing which affordances, structures, and methods suit your desired outcomes. (Of course if you're going to dump your box out and do massive rearrangements or take large portions out and want to refile them for other needs, then you're going to have to give them numbers and do that re-filing work.)

      I've seen snippets of saved language in Thoreau's journal (commonplace) which were re-used in other parts of his journal which ultimately ended up in a published work. As he didn't seem to have a significant index, one can only guess that he used occasional browsing or random happenstance delving into it to have moved it from one place to another.

      As ever, what do you need and what will best get you there?


      Link to:<br /> What Got You Here Won't Get You There

    1. Anyone thriving with a paper based GTD system?

      I've been using a mixture of methods focused around 4 x 6" index cards for a while after having previously done a traditional bullet journal, Day-Timer, etc. and attempting to something similar in a variety of digital contexts including TiddlyWiki, Obsidian, Logseq, etc. (More details/discussion: https://www.reddit.com/r/bulletjournal/comments/15av66m/a_year_of_bullet_journaling_on_index_cards/) Somehow paper always seems to win out for the tactile nature and the decreased probability of things going lost (being out of sight and thus out of mind which happens for me in digital), or dealing with a never-ending list of overwhelming pop up reminders.

      I've written a bit about the history of some of these methods, which includes links to some of the bigger examples of each if it helps to see some variety about what each system suggests or photos of them at work. One of the oldest methods from which most of the rest seem to stem is the Memindex from circa 1903.

      My current go-to is a Memindex/bullet journal method adapted to index cards rather than a notebook. I've got a card every day for events and to do lists as well as cards for "Future", planned purchases/groceries, etc. I keep a top level card with short lists of what I want to read, watch, listen to, and learn. I also keep a sectioned Eisenhower matrix group of cards for the areas: crisis, productivity, distraction, and low priority. I also have a Projects section with descriptions and lists for each and based on priorities, I'll take individual steps from the project cards and place them onto my daily cards as I go.

      Some of the bigger projects may have a top level card followed by cards which breakdown or outline parts of larger processes. I can then lay them out on a table (Gantt chart style) to determine dependencies and create a pseudo schedule. When I'm done, I'll clip them all together in the most appropriate order and number them. As necessary, I'll take some of these cards out and "schedule" them for individual days by placing them behind or attaching them to the appropriate daily cards with a paper clip. (If you do this, make sure the project name and a potential order number designator is on them, so that you can refile them with the project as necessary.)

      The key is doing weekly and bigger monthly or quarterly reviews of all the major cards and moving/scheduling what you need to do from either old cards or project cards each week. Going through my entire collection of immediate cards is usually incredibly fast. When I'm done with cards, they get archived away in my card index for future consultation if necessary. I'm also usually making further notes on the cards as I go and cross indexing them, so that if I don't have the notes for a particular project in the project section, it's being written on the individual daily cards; at the end of the week I'll update the project cards and write down the dates of those notes into the project file so that if I need them later they're available (but importantly I don't have to copy over all the notes). After doing this it's usually pretty easy to work on planning the next steps for the coming week/month.

      For lower priority projects and to do items, if things sit around too long undone they slowly move down the priority list from crisis to low priority or they slowly move to the back of my projects section where they get reviewed less often.

      For those who prefer some visualization, here are two photos which may help in terms of the physical arrangement I'm using: - https://boffosocko.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/wp-1693596706707-scaled.jpg (alt text: Display of two columns of index cards with only the titles on each showing. Column one: Planning Daily, Planning Weekly, Weeks 31-35 August 2023, Sept 02 2023, September 03 2023, Crisis: Urgent/Important, Productivity: Not Urgent/Important, Low Priority: Not Urgent/Not Important, Distraction: Urgent/Not Important, Someday. The second column: Project Priorities Spring 2023, Reading Priorities, Writing Priorities, Learning Priorities, Listening Priorities, Watching Priorities, Purchases Planning, Groceries.) - https://boffosocko.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/wp-16935967219588251569559254031730-scaled.jpg (alt text: My card index for productivity featuring sections for an Eisenhower Matrix, Projects, and tabs for the upcoming 12 months and 31 days in the current month.)

      On a day-to-day basis, I keep most of it in an Acrimet card file on my desk, though the longer term storage is in a nearby Singer Card File Cabinet. (I'll often have a full drawer removed from the big cabinet on my desk while I'm working on a particular section.) While travelling about, I store the most important daily use cards in a King Jim Flatty Works case which is about the size of a small notebook or which fits easily into my shoulder bag. If you're all-in on index cards and you need ideas for storage, I've been compiling a relatively comprehensive list of index card storage options.

      Having done notebooks and other paper-based planners (Hobonichi) before, I appreciate that the cards are easily moveable and re-orderable, I don't waste any paper or space if I miss days, I'm not as precious about screwing up a new notebook, and I don't have to carry either multiple notebooks, or worry about recopying project pages from one notebook to the next when I'm done. I also don't have to worry about losing large parts of my planning if I lose a whole notebook. It's always easy to have today's card on me at all times or to take small sections on the road as needed. Additionally cards are very cheap. If you're of the sort of camp that having pre-laid out stationery with finer stock, perhaps try Notsu who pre-prints a variety of productivity cards, though only in 3 x 5 inch sizes. There are a few other smaller companies who still do this, but they tend toward the more expensive side.

      There are many ways to do variations on these, so take a look at some examples of how others use them and then attempt to evolve a practice which works for you. For example, if having an Eisenhower Matrix section doesn't make sense to you, then drop that part and adopt what does work instead.

      For those who are deep into this sort of rabbit hole, I'll also mention that I keep a separate zettelkasten "department" within my collection for notes related to reading/research. (I had to fill that massive Singer card index up with something besides extra wine storage.)

      Syndication link: https://www.reddit.com/r/gtd/comments/15pfz8o/comment/jypt023/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

  8. Aug 2023
    1. This is a way to make check lists that are more useful. You only fill the box when your all the way done with the task, when you are about half way done you fill the box half way. I learnedabout this from Adam Savage in his book, "Every Tool is a Hammer". He learned about it when he worked at Industrial Light & Magic.Does it have an official name? (screen shots from his book)

      Adam Savage's book Every Tool is a Hammer shows a checklist which has square bullets which can be partially filled in to show the level of completion. He learned the method when working at Industrial Light & Magic.

      via u/AZORIAN_K129 at https://www.reddit.com/r/NoteTaking/comments/15zgbvr/does_this_technique_have_a_name/

    1. Zettelkasten for Normies: What Normies Really Need to Know .t3_15sqiq2._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/SunghoYahng at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/15sqiq2/zettelkasten_for_normies_what_normies_really_need/

      u/SunghoYahng, some of your article sounds like a pared down digital version of a commonplace book which allows for links, so it fits into the older zettelkasten tradition, just not into the more Luhmann-artig version on which this subreddit is generally more focused. Perhaps yours is closer to a digital version of the analog commonplace using index cards that Billy Oppenheimer describes having learned from Ryan Holiday and Robert Greene?

      Often people focus too much on Luhmann's prodigious output and then immediately imply or say you should adopt his very specific system without describing what his system did or why it worked so well for him and his particular needs. Very few focus on what it is that they want to accomplish and how they might use his system or the thousands of variations on it throughout history to come to those goals as quickly and easily as they can.

      You commit a version of this sin in your opening lines:

      The content about Zettelkasten is mostly too long and practically useless. The purpose of this text is to write only what normies really need to know.

      Who are these so-called "normies" and what specifically are they trying to accomplish? You don't define either of them, and possibly worse do it in a negative framing. The system you're describing might be a great one, but for whom? What do you expect them to use it for? What will they get out of it?

      Many people talk about the "magic" of a zettelkasten and then wave their hands at some version of a workflow of what they think it is or what they think it should be. Perhaps what we all really need is a list of potential affordances that different methods allow and how one might leverage those affordances. How might they be mixed and matched? Then users can decide what outcomes they wish to have (writing, thinking, aggregation, bookmarking, collecting, creativity, artificial memory, serendipity, productivity, wiki, spaced repetition, learning, time wasting, etc., etc.) and which affordances are necessary within their workflow/system to effectuate those specific goals? Finally they can pick and choose a specific version of a methodology/workflow and either an analog substrate (index cards, notebooks, memory palace, etc.) or digital tool/application (Obsidian, Roam Research, The Archive, etc.) to save it all in. Of course once you've chosen that analog or digital tool, does it actually have the affordances you want or need in actual practice? Are they easy to use? Practical? Do they save you time? Are they simple or over-engineered? What happens when they scale to a year of regular use or even a lifetime?

      As a simple example, many writers would love a seriously good outliner functionality in their system to pull out the materials they want to work with and then appropriately order them for a potential final written output. In practice, index cards on a big table are fantastic for this process while most (all?) current digital tools are miserable at it. And of course once you've gotten the outline you like in an analog space you have to type it all out to print/publish in a final form, something which the digital affordance of cut and paste would make much simpler. Who wouldn't love a tool that could give you all of these affordances, presuming you needed them?

      While we're on outlining, very few talk about the ease-of-use that some professional outliners like Dave Winer's Drummer or Little Outliner have versus some of the more text-editing focused tools like Obsidian which are generally poor as outliners (if you could even call them that) in comparison.

      If you're interested in folgezettel and outlining, you might appreciate some subtleties in Bob's piece: https://writing.bobdoto.computer/folgezettel-is-not-an-outline-luhmanns-playful-appreciation-of-disfunction/

      cross reference https://hypothes.is/a/OhcWSjxyEe6V8DP9P6WNQQ

  9. Jul 2023
    1. Hello! I've recently encountered the Zettelkasten system and adore the emphasis on connecting ideas. However, I don't want to use the traditional index card way, seeing as I have a ring binder with 90 empty pages thus I don't want it to go to waste. I've researched a lot of methods using a notebook, where some organize their zettels by page number, while others write as usual and connect and index the ideas for every 30 pages or so. But considering that the loose-leaf paper can be in any order I chose, I think there can be a better workaround there. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

      reply to u/SnooPandas3432 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/158tzk7/zettelkasten_on_a_ring_binder_with_looseleaf_paper/

      She didn't specify a particular dimension, but I recall that Beatrice Webb used larger sheets of paper than traditional index-card sized slips in her practice and likely filed them into something akin to hanging files in a filing cabinet.

      For students, I might suggest using the larger sheets/3-ring binder to make Cornell notes for coursework and then later distilling down one or two of the best ideas from a lecture or related readings into index card form for filing away over time. You could then have a repository of bigger formatted literature notes from books/lectures with more space and still have all the benefits of a more traditional card-based zettelkasten for creativity and writing. You could then have the benefit of questions for spaced repetition for quizzes/tests, while still keeping bigger ideas for writing papers or future research needs.

    1. Overloaded with notes .t3_15218d5._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } A few years ago I moved from Evernote to Obsidian. Evernote had this cool web clipper feature that helped me gather literary quotes, tweets, Wikipedia facts, interview bits, and any kinds of texts all around the web. And now I have a vault with 10k notes.I am trying to review a few every time I open Obsidian (add tags, link it, or delete) but it is still too much.Did someone have the same experience? How did you manage to fix everything and move to a bit more controllable system (zettelkasten or any other)?Cus I feel like I am standing in front of a text tsunami

      reply to u/posh-and-repressed at https://www.reddit.com/r/ObsidianMD/comments/15218d5/overloaded_with_notes/

      Overwhelm of notes always reminds me of this note taking story from 1908: https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/24/death-by-zettelkasten/ If you've not sorted them, tagged/categorized them or other, then search is really your only recourse. One of the benefits of Luhmann's particular structure is that it nudged him to read and review through older cards as he worked and filed new ones. Those with commonplace books would have occasionally picked up their notebooks and paged through them from time to time. Digital methods like Obsidian don't always do a good job of allowing or even forcing this review work on the user, so you may want to look at synthetic means like one of the random note plugins. Otherwise don't worry too much. Fix your tagging/categorizing/indexing now so that things slowly improve in the future. (I'm sitting on a pile of over 50K notes without the worry of overwhelm, primarily as I've managed to figure out how to rely on my index and search.)

  10. May 2023
    1. It is unfortunate that the German word for a box of notes is the same as the methodology surrounding Luhmann.

      reply to dandennison84 at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/17921/#Comment_17921

      I've written a bit before on The Two Definitions of Zettelkasten, the latter of which has been emerging since roughly 2013 in English language contexts. Some of it is similar to or extends @dandennison84's framing along with some additional history.

      Because of the richness of prior annotation and note taking traditions, for those who might mean what we're jokingly calling ZK®, I typically refer to that practice specifically as a "Luhmann-esque zettelkasten", though it might be far more appropriate to name them a (Melvil) "Dewey Zettelkasten" because the underlying idea which makes Luhmann's specific zettelkasten unique is that he was numbering his ideas and filing them next to similar ideas. Luhmann was treating ideas on cards the way Dewey had treated and classified books about 76 years earlier. Luhmann fortunately didn't need to have a standardized set of numbers the way the Mundaneum had with the Universal Decimal Classification system, because his was personal/private and not shared.

      To be clear, I'm presently unaware that Dewey had or kept any specific sort of note taking system, card-based or otherwise. I would suspect, given his context, that if we were to dig into that history, we would find something closer to a Locke-inspired indexed commonplace book, though he may have switched later in life as his Library Bureau came to greater prominence and dominance.

      Some of the value of the Dewey-Luhmann note taking system stems from the same sorts of serendipity one discovers while flipping through ideas that one finds in searching for books on library shelves. You may find the specific book you were looking for, but you're also liable to find some interesting things to read on the shelves around that book or even on a shelf you pass on the way to find your book.

      Perhaps naming it and referring to it as the Dewey-Luhmann note taking system or the Dewey-Luhmann Zettelkasten may help to better ground and/or demystify the specific practices? Co-crediting them for the root idea and an early actual practice, respectively, provides a better framing and understanding, especially for native English speakers who don't have the linguistic context for understanding Zettelkästen on its own. Such a moniker would help to better delineate the expected practices and shape of a note taking practice which could be differentiated from other very similar ones which provide somewhat different affordances.

      Of course, as the history of naming scientific principles and mathematical theorems after people shows us, as soon as such a surname label might catch on, we'll assuredly discover someone earlier in the timeline who had mastered these principles long before (eg: the "Gessner Zettelkasten" anyone?) Caveat emptor.

    1. I get by when I work by accumulating notes—a bit about everything, ideas cap-tured on the fly, summaries of what I have read, references, quotations . . . Andwhen I want to start a project, I pull a packet of notes out of their pigeonhole anddeal them out like a deck of cards. This kind of operation, where chance plays arole, helps me revive my failing memory.16

      via: Didier Eribon, Conversations with Claude Lévi-Strauss (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), vii–viii; Claude Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology (New York: Basic Books, 1963), 129f.

    1. people are great at the collecting and categorizing pieces, but we're less good at going back in and connecting or expressing and this is where the value increases exponentially

    1. Note taking should serve a specific purpose; it should be a means to some end.

    2. Note taking can also be done to create a database (a la Beatrice Webb's scientific note taking).

    3. The few notes I did refer back to frequently where checklists, self-written instructions to complete regular tasks, lists (reading lists, watchlists, etc.) or recipes. Funnily enough the ROI on these notes was a lot higher than all the permanent/evergreen/zettel notes I had written.

      Notes can be used for different purposes.

      • productivity
      • Knowledge
        • basic sense-making
        • knowledge construction and dispersion

      The broad distinction is between productivity goals and knowledge. (Is there a broad range I'm missing here within the traditions?) You can take notes about projects that need to be taken care of, lists of things to do, reminders of what needs to be done. These all fall within productivity and doing and checking them off a list will help one get to a different place or location and this can be an excellent thing, particularly when the project was consciously decided upon and is a worthy goal.

      Notes for knowledge sake can be far more elusive for people. The value here generally comes with far more planning and foresight towards a particular goal. Are you writing a newsletter, article, book, or making a video or performance of some sort (play, movie, music, etc.)? Collecting small pieces of these things on a pathway is then important as you build your ideas and a structure toward some finished product.

      Often times, before getting to this construction phase, one needs to take notes to be able to scaffold their understanding of a particular topic. Once basically understood some of these notes may be useless and not need to be reviewed, or if they are reviewed, it is for the purpose of ensconcing ideas into long term memory. Once this is finished, then the notes may be broadly useless. (This is why it's simple to "hide them with one's references/literature notes.) Other notes are more seminal towards scaffolding ideas towards larger projects for summarization and dissemination to other audiences. If you're researching a topic, a fair number of your notes will be used to help you understand the basics while others will help you to compare/contrast and analyze. Notes you make built on these will help you shape new structures and new, original thoughts. (note taking for paradigm shifts). These then can be used (re-used) when you write your article, book, or other creative project.

  11. Mar 2023
    1. I do my thinking with pen on paper. Digital tools, even (or especially?) the note-taking ones, are just not for me. <br><br>They may be easy to access or carry around, but what’s the point if they constrain the output?

      — Julia Pappas (@JuliaPappasJoy) March 30, 2023
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      A common issue of many digital note taking apps is that while they may have ease for cutting and pasting data into them, moving data around, visualizing it in various forms, and exporting it into a final product may be much more difficult. At the opposite end of the spectrum, physical index cards are much easier to sort, resort, and place into an outline form to create output.

    1. Auch die Korrektur einer Textstelle ist in der Datenbank sofort global wirksam. Im Zettelarchiv dagegen ist es kaum zu leisten, alle alphabetisch einsortierten Kopien eines bestimmten Zettels zur Korrektur wieder aufzufinden.

      Correcting a text within a digital archive or database allows the change to propagate to all portions of the collection compared with a physical card index which has the hurdle of multiple storage and requires manual changes on all of the associated copies.

      This sort of affordance can be seen in more modern note taking tools like Obsidian which does this sort of work with global search and replace of double bracketed words which change everywhere in the collection.

    1. The date and time (YYYYMMDD hhmm) form a unique identifier for the note. As I get it using this unique identifier is a way to make the notes "anonymous" so that "surprise" connections between them can be found that we wouldn't otherwise have noticed. In other words, it removes us from getting in our own way and forcing the notes to connect in a certain way by how we name them. A great introduction to the system can be found at zettelkasten.de. The page is written in English. The origional numbering system is discussed in the article. The modern computerized system uses the date and time as the unique identifier. I hope this helps.

      reply to u/OldSkoolVFX at https://www.reddit.com/r/ObsidianMD/comments/11jiein/comment/jb6np3f/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      I've studied (and used) Luhmann and other related systems more closely than most, so I'm aware of zettelkasten.de and the variety of numbering systems available including how Luhmann's likely grew out of governmental conscription numbers in 1770s Vienna. As a result your answer comes close to a generic answer, but not to the level of specificity I was hoping for. (Others who use a timestamp should feel free to chime in here as well.)

      How specifically does the anonymity of the notes identified this way create surprise for you? Can you give me an example and how it worked for you? As an example in my own practice using unique titles in Obsidian, when I type [[ and begin typing a word, I'll often get a list of other notes which are often closely related. This provides a variety of potential links and additional context to which I can write the current note in light of. I also get this same sort of serendipity in the autocomplete functionality of my tagging system which has been incredibly useful and generative to me in the past. This helps me to resurface past notes I hadn't thought of recently and can provide new avenues of growth and expansion.

      I've tried the datetime stamp in the past, but without aliasing them all with other titles, things tend to get lost in a massive list of generally useless numbers in an Obsidian folder—i.e. looking at the list gives me absolutely no information without other actions. Further the aliasing to remedy this just becomes extra administrative work. I've also never experienced the sort of surprise you mention when using datetime stamps, or at least not as the result of the timestamps themselves. As a separate concrete example in this video https://share.tube/w/4ad929jjNYMLc6eRppVQmc?start=49s using Denote, there is a clever naming method which simultaneously uses timestamps, Luhmann IDs, titles, and tags. However in this scheme the timestamps is one of the least useful (other than for simply searching by creation date/time, as in "I remember doing this on my birthday last year", or "it was sometime in Winter 2015"...) compared with the Luhmann identifiers, the title, or the tag for search and discovery within the search functionality. Consequently, I'm looking for concrete reasons why people would use datetime stamps and affordances they provide other than to simply have an identifier.

  12. Feb 2023
    1. I don’t think it is the best choice to realize Luhmann’s principles. Yet it is the best application adapting his techniques I know so far.

      Sascha Fast appreciated Lüdecke's ZKN3 application as one of the best for adapting Luhmann's techniques to a digital space, but felt that it could have gone further in realizing Luhmann's principles.


      Some of the tension in this debate is that between the affordances of analog (paper) versus digital information storage and tagging.

      Paper lacks easy corpus text search while simultaneously requiring additional manual indexing to make up for it. Paper also doesn't have the discovery value of autocomplete. On the opposite end paper forces one to more regularly review physical associative trails through one's past work while digital allows one to skip over some of this review process.

    2. Folgezettel

      Do folgezettel in combination with an index help to prevent over-indexing behaviors? Or the scaling problem of categorization in a personal knowledge management space?

      Where do subject headings within a zettelkasten dovetail with the index? Where do they help relieve the idea of heavy indexing or tagging? How are the neighborhoods of ideas involved in keeping a sense of closeness while still allowing density of ideas and information?

      Having digital search views into small portions of neighborhoods like gxabbo suggested can be a fantastic affordance. see: https://hypothes.is/a/W2vqGLYxEe2qredYNyNu1A

      For example, consider an anthropology student who intends to spend a lifetime in the subject and its many sub-areas. If they begin smartly tagging things with anthropology as they start, eventually the value of the category, any tags, or ideas within their index will eventually grow without bound to the point that the meaning or value as a search affordance within their zettelkasten (digital or analog) will be utterly useless. Let's say they fix part of the issue by sub-categorizing pieces into cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, etc. This problem is fine while they're in undergraduate or graduate school for a bit, but eventually as they specialize, these areas too will become overwhelming in terms of search and the search results. This problem can continue ad-infinitum for areas and sub areas. So how can one solve it?

      Is a living and concatenating index the solution? The index can have anthropology with sub-areas listed with pointers to the beginnings of threads of thought in these areas which will eventually create neighborhoods of these related ideas.

      The solution is far easier when the ideas are done top-down after-the-fact like in the Dewey Decimal System when the broad areas are preknown and pre-delineated. But in a Luhmann-esque zettelkasten, things grow from the bottom up and thus present different difficulties from a scaling up perspective.

      How do we classify first, second, and third order effects which emerge out of the complexity of a zettelkasten? - Sparse indexing can be a useful long term affordance in the second or third order space. - Combinatorial creativity and ideas of serendipity emerge out of at least the third order. - Using ZK for writing is a second order affordance - Storage is a first order affordance - Memory is a first order affordance (related to storage) - Productivity is a second+ order (because solely spending the time to save and store ideas is a drag at the first order and doesn't show value until retrieval at a later date). - Poor organization can be non-affordance or deterrent which results in a scrap heap - lack of a reason why can be a non-affordance or deterrence as well - cross reference this list and continue on with other pieces and affordances

    1. Part 2: Search & Inspect. Denote as a Zettelkasten, 2023. https://share.tube/w/4ad929jjNYMLc6eRppVQmc.

      His file naming convention and search operation in this is really fantastic:

      20230226155400==51a3b--note-title__tag1_tag2.org

      This allows one to search the file by date/time, signature, title or tags, by using the =, - or _ along with text.

      Beyond this however, there's a fair amount of context to build to use this system including using regex search.

    1. level 2A_Dull_SignificanceOp · 2 hr. agoYes! When I run across a comment on a book I haven’t read yet but seems interesting I make a little card with the comment and book title2ReplyGive AwardShareReportSaveFollowlevel 2taurusnoises · 2 hr. agoObsidianSo, you keep the titles of books you want to read organized in folgezettel (you give them an alphanumeric ID?) among your ZK notes? That's really interesting!

      I've done something like this when I think a particular reference(s) can answer a question related to a train of thought. But I keep cards of unread sources at the front of my sources section so that it's easier to pull it out frequently to prioritize and decide what I should be reading or working on next. These will then have links to the open questions I've noted, so that I can go back to those sections either as I'm reading/writing or to add those ideas into the appropriate folgezettel. These sorts of small amounts of work documented briefly can add up quickly over time. Source cards with indications of multiple open questions that might be answered is sometimes a good measure of desire to read, though other factors can also be at play.

      That to-read pile of bibliographic source notes (a mini antilibrary) is akin to walking into a party and surveying a room. I may be aware of some of the people I haven't met yet and the conversations we might have, but if there are interesting questions I know I want to ask of specific ones or conversations I already know I want to have, it can be more productive to visit those first.

      This sort of practice has been particularly helpful for times when I want to double check someone's sources or an original context, but don't have the time to do it immediately, don't want to break another extended train of thought, have to wait on materials, or may have to make a trip to consult physical materials that are singular or rare. For quick consultative reading, this can be a boon when I know I don't want or need to read an entire work, but skimming a chapter or a few pages for a close reading of a particular passage. I'll often keep a pile of these sorts of sources at hand so that I can make a short trip to a library, pick them up, find what I need and move on without having to recreate large portions of context to get the thing done because I've already laid most of the groundwork.

    1. I started capturing everything directly in Obsidian but it has two major drawbacks. The first is that I will inevitably end up taking a lot of fleeting notes that I don't want to be included in the literature note. By taking the fleeting notes and highlights in Zotero, and then exporting a copy to Obsidian, I have the piece of mind that much raw material (that I might possibly need one day) is in Zotero, but that a more polished and reduced version is in my literature notes. The clutter stays in Zotero, in other words, while Obsidian is the home of the more processed notes.

      Keeping one's fleeting notes separate from their permanent notes can be useful for managing the idea of clutter.

      Luhmann generally did this by keeping things in different boxes. Modern academics may use different digital applications (Zotero/Obsidian, Hypothes.is/Zettlr, etc.as examples) for each as long as there is some reasonable dovetail between the two for data transfer when necessary.

    1. Döring, Tanja, and Steffi Beckhaus. “The Card Box at Hand: Exploring the Potentials of a Paper-Based Tangible Interface for Education and Research in Art History.” In Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction, 87–90. TEI ’07. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery, 2007. https://doi.org/10.1145/1226969.1226986.

      This looks fascinating with respect to note taking and subsequent arranging, outlining, and use of notes in human computer interaction space for creating usable user interfaces.

    1. Certainly, computerizationmight seem to resolve some of the limitations of systems like Deutsch’s, allowing forfull-text search or multiple tagging of individual data points, but an exchange of cardsfor bits only changes the method of recording, leaving behind the reality that one muststill determine what to catalogue, how to relate it to the whole, and the overarchingsystem.

      Despite the affordances of recording, searching, tagging made by computerized note taking systems, the problem still remains what to search for or collect and how to relate the smaller parts to the whole.


      customer relationship management vs. personal knowledge management (or perhaps more important knowledge relationship management, the relationship between individual facts to the overall whole) suggested by autocomplete on "knowl..."

    2. Deutsch’s close friendJoseph Stolz, writing of the Chicago rabbi Bernard Felsenthal (1822–1908) who hadpenned a history of that city’s Jews and was instrumental in the 1892 formation of theAmerican Jewish Historical Society, noted that Felsenthal ‘was not the systematic orga-nizer who worked with a stenographer and card-index’ (Stolz, 1922: 259).

      Great example of a historian implying the benefit of not only a card index, but of potentially how commonplace it was to not only have one, but to have stenographers or secretaries to help manage them.

      Link this to the reference in Heyde about historians and others who were pushed to employ stenographers or copyists to keep their card indexes in order.


      Given the cost of employing secretaries to manage our information, one of the affordances that computers might focus on as tools for thought is lowering the barrier for management and maintenance. If they can't make this easier/simpler, then what are they really doing beyond their shininess? Search is obviously important in this context.

      What was the reference to employing one person full time to manage every 11 or 12 filing cabinets' worth of documents? Perhaps Duguid in the paper piece?

    1. Some systems require a unique identifier, but the people who are using a datetime stamp or random number anywhere in their (Luhmann-esque) zettelkasten title (here's a good example) are leading you astray. Doubly so if it occurs at the beginning of the title. There are no affordances in this practice and it's more likely to cause problems at scale. Just say no! (Note this is not the same as using a Luhmann-esque identifier at the start of a title as a means of providing a sort order of one's notes held in an individual folder.)

      Are there any reasons for someone to do this?! - perhaps for file name conflicts when digitally inserting notes into a system using third party clients with titles which may cause conflicts (though these could/should be removed later for easier reading); - counterexample: https://hypothes.is/a/Jux0pq7yEe2Uqj9mFXS3nQ - Another potential issue is in shared or collaborative note taking spaces where collision is more likely because others don't have the shared context. - perhaps for forcing sort orders on daily notes or recurring meetings MeetingA YYYY-MM-DD, etc., though these are probably in a separate area of one's box and not in their zettelkasten section.

      The point of a zettelkasten is to provide one help in ordering and building their knowledge, not in ordering their notes by time created. This will rarely (sans database-related use cases perhaps) provide any insight and digital systems have other easier and better ways of doing this if you need it.

      Worse, some systems may not do autocompletion on words in the middle of titles, so starting a card with a datetime can hamper this functionality. One should check this against their particular system.

    1. Beginner question .t3_112wup1._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } I see that a lot of people have the main categories as natural sciences. Social sciences etcCan I switch it toReligionActivitiesFoodOrganizationMad weird thoughtsCommunication

      reply to u/Turbulent-Focus-1389 at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/112wup1/beginner_question/

      I'd recommend you do your best to stay away from rigid category-like classifications and see what develops. For specifics see: https://boffosocko.com/2023/01/19/on-the-interdisciplinarity-of-zettelkasten-card-numbering-topical-headings-and-indices/

      If it's easier to conceptualize, think of it all like a map which may have place names, but also has numerical coordinates. Sometimes a specific name like Richard Macksey's house is useful, but other times thinking about a specific coordinate and the general neighborhoods around them will be far more useful in your community development plan. A religion-only neighborhood without religious activities, religious food, religious organization or communication will be a a sad one indeed. If you segregate your communities, they're likely not to be very happy places for co-mingling of ideas and the potential resultant creativity you'll get out of them.

      Bob Doto also suggests a similar philosophy in some of his work, particularly with respect to folgezettel: https://writing.bobdoto.computer/zettelkasten/

      I'll note that this is an incredibly hard thing to do at the start, but it's one which you may very well wish you had done from the beginning.

    1. Things were changing quickly.Eco’s methods of organizing and filing information werestill effective, but word processors and the Internet werebeginning to offer exciting alternatives to long-establishedresearch and writing techniques.

      Esparmer is correct that research and writing did change with the advent of word processors and the internet in the 1990s and early 2000s (p xi), but these were primarily changes to the front and the back of the process. Esparmer and far too many others seem to miss the difference in which affordances were shifting here. The note taking and organization portions still remained the same, so Eco's advice is still tremendously important. Even if one were to do long form notes in notebook format or in digital documents, they would profitably advised to still properly cross-index their notes or have them in a form that allows them to rearrange them most simply with respect to the structuring and creative processes.

      Losing the ability to move ideas around easily, restructure them, link them together and outline them was a tremendous blow in going from the old methods to the new digital ones.

      Did we accidentally become enamored of the new technologies and forget that their affordances didn't completely replace those of the old methods?

    1. “multiple storage”

      Within the history of personal knowledge management, one was often faced with where to store their notes so that it would be easy to find and use them again. Often this was done using slip methods by means of "multiple storage" by making multiple copies and filing them under various headings. This copying process was onerous and breaks the modern database principle "don't repeat yourself" (DRY).

      Alternate means of doing this include storing it in one place and then linking that location to multiple subject headings in an index, though this may cause issues of remembering which subject heading when there are many appropriate potential synonyms.

      Modern digital methods allow one to store a note in one location and refer to it in multiple ways electronically as well as with aliases.

    1. Only then do I start writing. Compared with the labour of making, sorting and arranging notes, this is a relatively speedy business. But it is followed by a much more time-consuming task, that of travelling round the libraries to check the references in my footnotes, only too many of which, thanks to poor handwriting, carelessness and an innate tendency to ‘improve’ what I have read, turn out to be either slightly wrong or taken out of context.That one hit a little close to home. lol.

      We should also acknowledge that when revisiting some of our references again later, we're doing so with a dramatically increased knowledge and context of a particular problem which we may not have had when we first read a piece or took the notes.

      Not many here are writing or talking about these small sorts of insights into learning and writing or generating new work. Perhaps we should do more to acknowledge this hermeneutic cycle in our work?


      reply to u/stjeromeslibido at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/10wj6tv/comment/j7uexbk/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

    1. Rookie question: Part of my knowledge database is based on the Zettelkasten method, i.e. I have concept-oriented, atomic notes that are linked to each other. I don't, however, however use IDs and neither the Folgezettel method.

      Example of someone (u/HerrRey) who defines zettelkasten as "concept oriented, atomic notes that are linked to each other", but who doesn't use or exclude "IDs or the folgezettel method". Interestingly they feel like they're not getting the "big picture" of their work.

      Is there an affordance in these missing pieces that prevents them from seeing the big picture because of what they're missing? Is it just neurodiversity? Are they not creating outputs which connect the small to the big, and thus missing it that way?

    1. https://cathieleblanc.com/2023/02/05/choosing-learning-materials/

      Cathie notices that students skip materials about the theoretical "why" of assignments to get to the simpler assignments.

      This seems to be an issue with some in the personal knowledge management space who want to jump into the technology, the terminology, and moving things about without always understanding what they're doing or why. Many end up giving up as a result. Few books provide reasoning behind the terminologies or building blocks they describe to provide the theoretical why. As a result some may figure it out from long, fraught practice, but it's likely that more are not seeing the results they expect and thus giving up.

    1. Using an alphanumeric identification system for your notes is a workout. By having to situate new notes among previously imported ones, folgezettel forces at least one connection between ideas. It's mental calisthenics,8 acting as a check against capture bloat—that is, importing "all the things."

      Those who practice analog note taking have a high level of friction which prevents them from over-collecting (or "capture bloat", importing "all the things", or "collector's fallacy") ideas, which may not rise to a certain level of value. Beyond this, the requirement to find at least one other note to link each idea to provides a smaller hurdle against these hoarding practices.

    1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incremental_reading

      Incremental reading is spaced parallel reading of multiple sources with note taking and spaced repetition.


      It's not far from how I read and take notes myself, though I place less emphasis on the spaced repetition piece as I tend to run across things naturally within my note collection anyway.


      One of the major potential benefits of incremental reading (not mentioned in the Wikipedia article; is it in Wozniak's work?) is the increase of combinatorial creativity created by mixing a variety of topics simultaneously.

      There is also likely a useful diffuse thinking effect happening between reading sessions.

    1. Are there symbols for 'supported by' or 'contradicted by' etc. to show not quite formal logical relations in a short hand?

      reply to u/stjeromeslibido at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/10qw4l5/are_there_symbols_for_supported_by_or/

      In addition to the other excellent suggestions, I don't think you'll find anything specific that that was used historically for these, but there are certainly lots of old annotation symbols you might be able to co-opt for your personal use.

      Evina Steinova has a great free cheat sheet list of annotation symbols: The Most Common Annotation Symbols in Early Medieval Western Manuscripts (a cheat sheet).

      More of this rabbit hole:

      (Nota bene: most of my brief research here only extends to Western traditions, primarily in Latin and Greek. Obviously other languages and eras will have potential ideas as well.)

      Tironian shorthand may have something you could repurpose as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tironian_notes

      Some may find the auxiliary signs of the Universal Decimal Classification useful for some of these sorts of notations for conjoining ideas.


      Given the past history of these sorts of symbols and their uses, perhaps it might be useful for us all to aggregate a list of common ones we all use as a means of re-standardizing some of them in modern contexts? Which ones does everyone use?

      Here are some I commonly use:

      Often for quotations, citations, and provenance of ideas, I'll use Maria Popova and Tina Roth Eisenberg's Curator's Code:

      • ᔥ for "via" to denote a direct quotation/source— something found elsewhere and written with little or no modification or elaboration (reformulation notes)
      • ↬ for "hat tip" to stand for indirect discovery — something for which you got the idea at a source, but modified or elaborated on significantly (inspiration by a source, but which needn't be cited)

      Occasionally I'll use a few nanoformats, from the microblogging space, particularly

      • L: to indicate location

      For mathematical proofs, in addition to their usual meanings, I'll use two symbols to separate biconditionals (necessary/sufficient conditions)

      • (⇒) as a heading for the "if" portion of the proof
      • (⇐) for the "only if" portion

      Some historians may write 19c to indicate 19th Century, often I'll abbreviate using Roman numerals instead, so "XIX".

      Occasionally, I'll also throw drolleries or other symbols into my margins to indicate idiosyncratic things that may only mean something specifically to me. This follows in the medieval traditions of the ars memoria, some of which are suggested in Cornwell, Hilarie, and James Cornwell. Saints, Signs, and Symbols: The Symbolic Language of Christian Art 3rd Edition. Church Publishing, Inc., 2009. The modern day equivalent of this might be the use of emoji with slang meanings or 1337 (leet) speak.

  13. Jan 2023
    1. The Compass of Zettelkasten Thinking.

      The Brain in some of its views (see for eg: Jerry Michalski's default brain view) instantiates this sort of directional semantics for ideas.

      Note too, that The Brain makes it much easier to help create connections between multiple ideas as a basic functionality.

    1. http://richardcarter.com/sidelines/converting-my-notes-into-a-chapter/

      A great example of a breakthrough moment in this example.

    2. All that remained was the small matter of actually writing the chapter. I don’t do this in Obsidian: I think it would be asking for trouble to mix notes and their end-products in the same place.

      I've not seen this explicitly laid out as advice before though in most contexts people's note taking spaces have historically been divorced from their writing spaces for publication because slips and notes are usually kept physically separate from the working spaces or finished parts, but Richard Carter specifically separates the digital spaces in which he takes his notes and then uses them for creating end products. While he could both take notes in Obsidian, his tool of choice for notes, as well as write his finished pieces there, he actively changes contexts to use a different digital app to compose his notes into final pieces.

      What affordances does this context shift provide? <br /> - blank slate may encourage reworking and expansion of original notes - is there a blank slate effect and what would it entail? - potentially moves the piece into a longer format space or tool which provides additional writing, formatting or other affordances (which? there don't seem to be any in this case aside from a potential "distraction free mode" which may tend to force one to focus only on the piece at hand rather than the thousands of other pieces (notes) hiding within the app)

      What affordances does this remove?<br /> - He's forced to repeat himself (cut & paste / DRY violation)

      Is it easier or harder (from a time/effort perspective) to provide citations with such a workflow? Carter does indicate that for him:

      Having links to original sources in my outline makes the compilation of references for the chapter far easier than it used to be.

    1. Anybody using this approach to manage contacts? How?

      reply to IvanFerrero at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/1740/anybody-using-this-approach-to-manage-contacts-how#latest

      Many of the digital note taking tools that run off of text allow you to add metadata to your basic text files (as YAML headers, inline with a key:: value pair, or via #tags). Many of them have search functionality or use other programmatic means like query blocks, DataView, DataViewJS, etc. for doing queries on your files to get back lists, tables, charts, etc. of the data you're looking for.

      The DataView repository has some good examples of how this works with something like Obsidian. Fortunately if you're using simple text files you can usually put them into one or more platforms to get the data and affordances you want out of them individually.

      As an example, I have a script block in my daily note in Obsidian for birthdays in my notes that fall on today's date:

      ```dataview LIST birthday FROM "Lists/People" WHERE birthday.day = date(2023-01-18).day ```

      If I put the text birthday:: 1927-12-08 into a note about Niklas Luhmann, his name and birthday would appear in my daily note on his birthday. One can use similar functionality to create tables of books they read with titles, authors, ratings, dates read, etc. or a variety of other data input which parses through your plaintext files. Services like Obsidian, Logseq, et al. are getting better about allowing these types of programmatic searches for users without backgrounds in programming and various communities usually provide help for pre-made little snippets like the one above that one can cut and paste into their notes to get the outputs that they need. Another Obsidian based example that uses text files for tracking academic journal articles can be found at https://nataliekraneiss.com/your-academic-reading-list-in-obsidian/; I'm sure there are similar versions for other text-based platforms.

      In pre-digital times, for a manual version of a rolodex like this in paper, one could use different color cards as pseudo-tags (doctors are on yellow cards, family members on blue cards, friends on green cards, etc.) or adding edge notches or even tabs to represent different types of metadata. See for example the edge colored cards in Hawkexpress' Pile of Index Cards: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hawkexpress/albums/72157594200490122

    1. Hints for Preparing Documents Most documents go through several versions (always more than you expected) before they are finally finished. Accordingly, you should do whatever possible to make the job of changing them easy. First, when you do the purely mechanical operations of typing, type so subsequent editing will be easy. Start each sentence on a new line. Make lines short, and break lines at natural places, such as after commas and semicolons, rather than randomly. Since most people change documents by rewriting phrases and adding, deleting and rearranging sentences, these precautions simplify any editing you have to do later. — Brian W. Kernighan, 1974

      —Brian W. Kernighan, 1974 “UNIX for Beginners” [PDF] as Bell Labs Technical Memorandum 74-1273-18 on 29 October 1974.

      For easier editing and reuse of sentences, or even portions of lines of text, one can (and should) write sentences or sentence fragments on their own lines in digital contexts.

      This way future edits or the ability to more easily cut and paste will far easier in addition to keeping your version control files simpler and easier to read and visually track your changes. (That is in many version control systems, instead of a change appearing to affect an entire paragraph, it will only show on the single line that was changed thereby making the change easier to see.)

      This particular affordance may be a particularly useful one for note takers who expect to regularly reuse their notes in other contexts. Many forms of software (including Tex, LaTeX, and even markdown) will autowrap newlines so that a sentence broken up into clauses on multiple lines will properly wrap back into a proper looking single line when printed. Take care that in many Markdown versions adding two spaces at the end of a line will automatically create a newline in your text.

    1. Jan. 22. To set down such choice experiences that my own writingsmay inspire me and at last I may make wholes of parts. Certainly it isa distinct profession to rescue from oblivion and to fix the sentimentsand thoughts which visit all men more or less generally, that thecontemplation of the unfinished picture may suggest its harmoniouscompletion. Associate reverently and as much as you can with yourloftiest thoughts. Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is anest egg, by the side of which more will be laid. Thoughts accidentallythrown together become a frame in which more may be developedand exhibited. Perhaps this is the main value of a habit of writing, ofkeeping a journal,—that so we remember our best hours and stimulateourselves. My thoughts are my company. They have a certainindividuality and separate existence, aye, personality. Having bychance recorded a few disconnected thoughts and then brought theminto juxtaposition, they suggest a whole new field in which it waspossible to labor and to think. Thought begat thought.

      !!!!

      Henry David Thoreau from 1852

    1. But keeping a notebook with someone else is hard. The few times I’ve tried with people not married to me, the notebooks have degenerated into slums. People will usually build their own corners, afraid to mess with the words others have put in. And so the thoughts are not properly integrated, they just sprawl, and are not tended to with love. And if someone does try to integrate the collective thoughts, if someone edits other people’s notes when they are away—well, there are few things as frustrating as having someone mess up your structure of thought so it becomes less useful to you.

      Shared group note taking can be difficult as the notes one makes are often very personal and geared toward one's own particular path and needs.

      Group note taking may be easier within a marriage or a company or custom group (particularly as actors are closer to each other in a shared unit) as actors are striving to increase both their shared context as well as their shared priorities and goals.

    2. This priority list, which was added to deal with the mess the notes became after a few weeks, turned out to be important. It was a ratchet—whenever we happened on a good train of thought, the priority list ensured that we would not drift back down to a lower-quality conversation path. 

      Well made notes, revisited can act as a ratchet to elevate and expand a conversation rather than devolving back to the mundane.

    3. First, I mixed the conversational notes in with my other thoughts. But I’ve since found that keeping the conversational notes separate from other notes is better—it creates a stronger sense of place. Now, I enter the Torbjörn notes, and all past conversations flow up. Mixed in with the other notes, they were diluted.

      Like the affordances with respect to memory, giving notes a "place" can give them additional power.

  14. Dec 2022
    1. I’m not against progress; however, it becomes confusing when a new concept(i.e. digital notetaking apps with linking capabilities) ensconces itself in aterm used by an entirely different concept (i.e. Niklas Luhmann’sZettelkasten).

      I'm hoping he'll discuss and compare/contrast the affordances of each of these systems, but I suspect that he won't.

    2. the Antinet can serve both states. It can assist someone who’s in thegrowth state (without a clear end goal), and it can also assist someone who’sin the contribution state (with a clearly defined book or project).

      This could be clearer and "growth state" and "contribution state" feel like jargon which muddles:

      two of the broad benefits/affordances of having a zettelkasten: - learning and scaffolding knowledge (writing for understanding) - collecting and arranging material for general output

      see also: https://boffosocko.com/2022/04/01/the-zettelkasten-method-of-note-taking-mirrors-most-of-the-levels-of-blooms-taxonomy/

    1. But then life went on and nothing really happened.

      https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/zl2hwh/is_the_concept_of_personal_knowledge_management/

      This essay seems to be more about shiny object syndrome. The writer doesn't seem to realize any problems they've created. Way too much digging into tools and processes. Note the switching and trying out dozens of applications. (Dear god, why??!!) Also looks like a lot of collecting digitally for no clear goal. As a result of this sort of process it appears that many of the usual affordances were completely blocked, unrealized, and thus useless.

      No clear goal in mind for anything other than a nebulous being "better".

      One goal was to "retain what I read", but nothing was actively used toward this stated goal. Notes can help a little, but one would need mnemonic methods and possibly spaced repetition neither of which was mentioned.

      A list of specific building blocks within the methods and expected outcomes would have helped this person (and likely others), but to my knowledge this doesn't exist as a thing yet though bits and pieces are obviously floating around.<br /> TK: building blocks of note taking

      Evidence here for what we'll call the "perfect system fallacy", an illness which often goes hand in hand with "shiny object syndrome".

      Too many systems bound together will create so much immediate complexity that there isn't any chance for future complexity or emergence as the proximal system is doomed to failure. One should instead strive for immediate and excessive simplicity which might then build with time, use, and practice into something more rich and complex. This idea seems to be either completely missed or lost in the online literature and especially the blogosphere and social media.


      people had come up with solutions Sadly, despite thousands of variations on some patterns, people don't seem to be able to settle on either "one solution" or their "own solution" and in trying to do everything all at once they become lost, set adrift, and lose focus on any particular thing they've got as their own goal.

      In this particular instance, "retaining what they read" was totally ignored. Worse, they didn't seem to ever review over their notes of what they read.


      I was pondering about different note types, fleeting, permanent, different organisational systems, hierarchical, non-hierarchical, you know the deal.

      Why worry about all the types of notes?! This is the problem with these multi-various definitions and types. They end up confusing people without giving them clear cut use cases and methods by which to use them. They get lost in definitional overload and aren't connecting the names with actual use cases and affordances.


      I often felt lost about what to takes notes on and what not to take notes on.

      Why? Most sources seem to have reasonable guidance on this. Make notes on things that interest you, things which surprise you.

      They seem to have gotten lost in all the other moving pieces. Perhaps advice on this should come first, again in the middle, and a third time at the end of these processes.

      I'm curious how deeply they read sources and which sources they read to come to these conclusions? Did they read a lot of one page blog posts with summarizations or did they read book length works by Ahrens, Forte, Allosso, Scheper, et al? Or did they read all of these and watch lots of crazy videos as well. Doing it "all" will likely lead into the shiny object syndrome as well.

      This seems to outline a list of specifically what not to do and how not to approach these systems and "popular" blog posts that are an inch deep and a mile wide rather than some which have more depth.

      Worst of all, I spent so much time taking notes and figuring out a personal knowledge management system that I neglected the things I actually wanted to learn about. And even though I kind of always knew this, I kept falling into the same trap.

      Definitely a symptom of shiny object syndrome!

    2. IMO ZK has always been a tool for writers - who are writing complex things for other people to read - to gather and organize information for that expressed purpose. They could be book writers, essay writers, academic paper/thesis writers, speech writers, bloggers, etc, but they've gotta be output-focused.

      via an anecdotal reply from /deltadeep

      Many have frequently provided this advice, but they're missing a number of other affordances, one of the key one's being combinatorial creativity, and this often, because they're not consciously aware of it as a concept or a useful affordance or it's potential outcomes.

    1. ephemeral sources .t3_znbvw3._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/znbvw3/ephemeral_sources/

      If it makes you feel better, this is a long standing problem of document and source loss. As just a small historical example from a fellow, but very early, note taker and practitioner of the ars excerpendi (art of excerpting):

      Presumed to have been written in the fifth century Stobaeus compiled an extensive two volume manuscript commonly known as The Anthologies of excerpts containing 1,430 poetry and prose quotations of classical ancient works from Greece and Rome of which only 315 original sources are still extant in the 21st century.[1] Large portions of our knowledge of many famous classical texts and plays are the result of his notes. Perhaps your notes will one day serve as the only references to famous documents of our time?

      Often for digital copies of things, I'll use a browser bookmarklet to quickly save archive copies of pages to the Internet Archive as I'm excerpting or annotating them. See https://help.archive.org/help/save-pages-in-the-wayback-machine/ for some ways of doing this.


      [1] Moller, Violet. The Map of Knowledge: A Thousand-Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found. 1st ed. New York: Doubleday, 2019. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/546484/the-map-of-knowledge-by-violet-moller/.

    1. I also know that I have um effectively eclectomania in terms of I can click and capture stuff or clip it clip out stuff 01:26:48 faster than I can really as a minimum process it's such that oh that's an interesting link right I've read the abstract or I've read this 01:27:00 intro paragraph Yes I want that so I capture it with its URL as a minimum and I know I captured it today kleptomania that is great yeah

      Quote timestamp 01:26:36 from Obsidian Book Club checkin on 2022-12-04

      Context: talking about note taking methods; note that the autogenerated transcription actually misses the word as eclectoamania which is interesting in itself as a potential word.

      cliptomania<br /> definition: an excessive enthusiasm or desire to clip interesting material into one's notes. It often manifests itself in online settings where digital tools allow one to easily highlight and keep information including a URL or permalink to revisit that information in the future; a portmanteau of "clip" and "mania"

      Examples of tools that allow or encourage this collection of material include Evernote and Hypothes.is.

      a phenomenon which is related to the so-called "collector's fallacy"

    1. Después de esta historia superficialmente narrada por mí, usted se preguntará, "Y entonces, a cual debo seguir?" A ninguno. Hay un problema en nuestra sociedad, que también se extiende hasta el Zettelkasten: nos hemos fanatizado. Hemos hecho nuestras decisiones políticas, sociales, sexuales, etc., como la esencia de nuestra persona. Me gustaría expandir en ese tema en un futuro artículo, pero por ahora nos importa como eso se relaciona con la elección del zettelkasten: hay peleas y discusiones violentas entre los seguidores de Scheper, los de Ahrens, los digitales, etc. Hay una gran radicalización y tribalismo, evitando la discusión crítica y el discordar intelectual. Y no podemos ser así. Personalmente, el zettelkasten que uso actualmente es más basado en el de Scheper, pero aún así veo a los otros, leo a Ahrens, etc., todo para tener una visión completa y variada de lo que es el Zettelkasten.

      Facundo Macías notices, as have I, a semblance of internecine almost religious/fanatical war between various note taking camps.

      To get away from these we should instead on specific processes, their affordances, and their potential emergent outcomes in individual use. Most people begin these entrenched thoughts based on complete lack of knowledge. Few have practiced some of the broader methods for long enough to get to potential emergent properties.

    1. I’ve also got a vague sense in my head of how they should be organized — that is, what the structure of the book is going to be. This is generally when I write the formal book proposal. I know enough about the topic, now, that I have a good idea of what my central arguments are going to be and how I am going to organize the chapters.

      At what point in the process does one have a conceptualization for the overall outline of what they're writing?

      In cases where it's earlier than others, then heavy linking and organization may not be as necessary.

    2. As my research methods became more and more digital, the ease of pasting quotations and references in this way (instead of copying them by hand) has really speeded things up.

      Example of someone who felt that speeding up their note taking by using digital tools rather than analog ones.

  15. Nov 2022
    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.


      • [x] Revisit this for some pull quotes and fine details of his method. (Done on 2022-11-08)
    1. You cannot followrules you do not know. Nor can you acquire an artistic habitany craft or skill-without following rules. The art as something that can be taught consists of rules to be followed inoperation. The art as something learned and possessed consists of the habit that results from operating according to therules.

      This is why one has some broad general rules for keeping and maintaining a zettelkasten. It helps to have some rules to practice and make a habit.

      Unmentioned here is that true artists known all the rules and can then more profitably break those rules for expanding and improving upon their own practice. This is dramatically different from what is seen by some of those who want to have a commonplace or zettelkasten practice, but begin without any clear rules. They often begin breaking the rules to their detriment without having the benefit of long practice to see and know the affordances of such systems before going out of their way to break those rules.

      By breaking the rules before they've even practiced them, many get confused or lost and quit their practice before they see any of the benefits or affordances of them.

      Of course one should have some clear cut end reasons which answer the "why" question for having such practices, or else they'll also lose the motivation to stick with the practice, particularly when they don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. Pure hope may not be enough for most.

    1. And improving the quality and quantity of material available to your brain when you sit down to create something—that is why we implement The Notecard System.

      Increasing the quantity and quality of ideas and materials one has at their disposal when one desires to create something new is one of the reasons for having a note taking system.

      memory, learning, sense making, improving understanding, improved creativity, and others are also at play... any others? we should have a comprehensive list eventually.

    2. If you are like Lebron James or Paul Simon, if you were born with a gift for recall, you might not need a note-taking system.

      I would suggest that this is wholly wrong as both of the memories described are honed for specific situations and not broadly applicable.

      Even those with good natural memories as well as those with significant mnemonic practices can benefit from a structured note taking practice.

  16. Oct 2022
    1. McMaster's Stephen Girard(1918), he said, was a "series of anecdotes . . . without connection"and with little interpretation or analysis." In Rhodes's last twovolumes the facts rarely appeared "to have meaning or to be partsof a coherent structure." " "No simple theme, like that whichdominated his great work, is apparent here. Mr. Rhodes has notseen any constructive unity in the years he covers. Instead of mak-ing a synthesis that would of itself lead the reader to a clearerunderstanding of American history . . . , he has developed his topicsparagraph by paragraph, with often abrupt transition from themeto theme." 26 His failure in the final product followed,

      Paxson would have considered it a failure in note taking to have only compiled but not to have synthesized one's accumulated knowledge.

      Why take notes if one is not going to use them to some end, whether that be personally in one's life, or to extend and expand the depth and breadth of human knowledge by analyzing and synthesizing the ideas to create something new for others' benefit?

    2. On the whole, his efficiency probablyreduced the time required for taking and filing notes to the amountother historians spent in note-taking alone. What he wrote in hisnotes was brief, and yet specific enough so that he saved himself thejob of searching at length for what he had read. His mind was freeto reflect and appraise.

      Earl Pomeroy suggests that Paxson's note taking method freed his mind to better reflect and appraise his work. This allows a greater efficiency of work, particularly when it comes to easier search and recall as well as the overall process which becomes easier through practice.

    3. he kepthis note pads always in his pocket

      The small size and portability of index cards make them easy to have at hand at a moment's notice.

    4. Onesuspected that Paxson's love for his work may have tempted him tolabor too long, and that he established a schedule to protect him-self and the keenness of his mind, to keep himself from his deskinstead of at it, as is some men's purpose.

      Pomeroy suspects that Paxson may have kept to a strict work schedule to keep his mind sharp, but he doesn't propose or suspect that it may have been the case that Paxson's note taking practice was the thing which not only helped to keep his mind sharp, but which allowed him the freedom and flexibility to keep very regular work hours.

    5. The mass of Paxson's paper work may appear more clearly nowthan the zest with which he labored, but the essence of his methodwas in the spirit rather than in the product.

      Ahrens and others following him have argued that there is a sort of lightness imbued both in one's thinking processes and life by making and accumulating notes. The cognitive load is lessened by offloading one's thoughts onto pieces of paper that can be revised, compared, and juxtaposed as a means of building some written or creative endeavor, even if it's slowly over time.

      Frederic L. Paxson's mode of life made this seem to be the case for him. There is evidence that he was easier able to manage his daily life by his note taking system. He accumulated no work on his desk and carried none home and was able to more easily give his attention to others.

      Is this a result of breaking things down into tiny, bite sized chunks that were difficult to actually interrupt?

      Was it the system or his particular temperament? Are there other examples of this easier mode of life for note takers? Is there a pattern? What portions can be attributed to the system and one's ability to stick to it versus their particular temperaments?

      Other than small examples in my own life, this may be one of the first examples I've seen of this mode of work. Definitely worth looking at others.

    1. It is only too easy to misapply excerpted passages by taking them out of their original context. Ideally, I should have followed the technique, recommended as long ago as 1615 by the learned Jesuit Francesco Sacchini, of always making two sets of notes, one to be sliced up and filed, the other to be kept in its original form.

      Francesco Sacchini advised in 1615 that one should make two sets of notes: one to be cut up and filed, and the other kept in it's original form so as to keep the full context of the original author's context.


      This is broadly one of the values of note taking in Hypothes.is. One can take broader excerpts of an authors' works as well as maintain links for fuller context to reconsult, but still have the shorter excerpts as well as one's own notes.

    2. Periodically, I file them away in old envelopes, devoting a separate envelope to each topic.

      Filing notes away in envelopes, while keeping them safely collected together, puts them both out of site and out of mind. It may also take longer to retrieve them and make them less accessible to use and reuse.

    3. I have always been impressed by those academics who can sit impassively through a complex lecture by some visiting luminary without finding it necessary to make a single note, even a furtive one on the back of an envelope. They’d lose face, no doubt, if they were seen copying it all down, like a first-year undergraduate.

      In academia, the act of not taking notes can act as an external signal of superiority or even indifference.

    1. https://gabz.blog/2022/10/27/what-about-them.html

      Why do people not have strong note taking practices or desire to do so? - Some of it may come down to lack of a practice (or model) to follow - some don't have a clearly stated need for why they're doing it in the first place - some spread their notes out over many tools and applications which prevents a quorum of power building up in one place, thus defeating a lot of the purpose. (This is why having all of one's notes in one place is so important as a rule.) - This particular post is a good example of this cardinal sin. - Lack of easy search defeats the ability to extract value back out of having made the notes in the first place. - Note repositories aren't always all of the value proposition. Often the fact of the work that went into making a note to learn and understand ideas is all of the value for a reasonable portion of notes.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvxbl7Iwep4

      Lots of levels here to pull apart, but this should be particularly interesting to novices.

      Modes of note taking: * note taking for raw information * note taking (or writing) for understanding * note taking for relationships of and between knowledge * note taking for creating proficiency * note taking for productivity

      Sung takes the viewpoint that linear note taking isn't as effective as mind mapping and drawing out relationships; in part this is why handwriting is more effective means of note taking compared to typing, particularly as most note taking apps force one into a linear pathway that doesn't mirror the affordances available within handwriting.

      This video is definitely more about note taking than note making.

    1. I can't quite grasp this concept, although it seems interesting for my specific case. Isn't the index box supposed to be organized by alphabetical order? How can personal notes be placed right in such an order?

      los2pollos reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/y5un81/comment/it667sq/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      There are a wide variety of methods of organizing and sorting one's note cards including by topic (usually alphabetical), by date, by idea, by author, by title, etc.

      If you're using it as a diary, you'd probably keep that subsection in order by date written, and then potentially have it cross indexed by subject if those things were important to you.

      If you kept other information like mood, health, activities, exercise, glasses of water per day (for example) on them, you could resort and re-order them by those data as well if you liked. And naturally, this ability to resort/reorder one's notes has been one of the greatest features and affordances to these systems historically.

    1. Much like Umberto Eco (How to Write a Thesis), in the closing paragraphs of his essay, Goutor finally indicates that note cards can potentially be reused for multiple projects because each one "contains a piece of information which does not depend on a specific context for its value." While providing an example of how this might work, he goes even further by not only saying that "note-cards should never be discarded" but that they might be "recycled" by passing them on to "another interested party" while saying that their value and usefulness is dependent upon how well they may have adhered to some of the most basic note taking methods. (p35)

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/jqug2tNlEeyg2JfEczmepw

    2. Goutor recommends cross-referencing or linking ideas between cards "at the bottom of the note-card, as soon as the note itself is completed." Links shouldn't be trusted to memory and should be noted as soon as possible. Further he recommends periodically sorting through cards and adding adding additional cross references as one ruminates. While he indicates that cross-referencing may seem "cumbersome at first sight, experience will show that it enhances the usefulness of the card file when the time comes to retrieve the information it contains." (p32-33)

      Beyond this he doesn't indicate any additional benefits of creativity or serendipity that have been seen in similar treatises.

    3. Goutor mentions that the innovation of photocopying, while potentially useful in some cases, isn't a replacement for actual reading and proper note taking. (p30) These same sorts of affordances and problems might be similar in the newer digital/online realm for people who rely on either whole scale copy/pasting or highlight capturing of texts, but who don't do the actual work of reading, processing, and creating good notes.

      Some of the benefits like portability, ease of access, ability to work with delicate primary materials, better facsimiles of things like maps or tables, etc. are still true.

    4. The design of Goutor's note taking method is such that each note should have "a life of its own, so that it can stand independently of every other one in the file." (p28) This concept is broadly similar to the ideas of both atomic notes and evergreen notes in related contexts.

      Goutor says that a note's life stems from its identity by means of its bibliographic source, its unique content, and its ultimate purpose. Here he uses the singular "purpose" and doesn't explicitly use "purposes" thereby indicating that an individual note can have multiple potential lives in different places within one's lifetime of work. It seems most likely that he may not have thought of using ideas in multiple different locations, but again, his particular audience (see: https://hypothes.is/a/8jKcTkNPEe2sCntTfNWf2Q) may have also dictated this choice. One could argue that it would have been quite easy for him to have used the plural to suggest the idea simply and tangentially, but that his use of the singular here is specifically because the idea wasn't part of his note taking worldview.

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


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

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

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

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

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

    6. Having an easily repeatable, mechanical process of note taking can free up the cognitive space one might otherwise spend on making sure that it works for them in the long run.

      Simple and sometimes dull activities like always starting by writing down sources of material in full, can save one immeasurable amounts of time in tracking down these pieces at a later date when they will be needed, especially in relation to the miniscule time and effort doing so takes upfront. (p12)

    7. The goals of a note taking system or method should be that the resulting notes are clear, concise, complete, searchable, and easily manipulated for creating end-products.

      If these criteria aren't met, then the work involved in making them may be wasted or require additional (unnecessary) time and effort to make them manageable and useful.

      (p7)

    8. For physical note taking on index cards or visualizations provided by computer generated graphs, one can physically view a mass of notes and have a general feeling if there is a large enough corpus to begin writing an essay, chapter, or book or if one needs to do additional research on a topic, or perhaps pick a different topic on which to focus.

      (parts suggested by p7, though broadly obvious)

    9. The act of note taking acts as a filter between original sources of information and the potential outputs the individual note taker may have an interest in creating.

      (rephrasing from p4)

      me: This level of interest and filtering for potential outputs is part of what creates the individuality of each person's ultimate notes, and in part, is why attempts at creating some sort of universal excerpting project are doomed to failure in the end. No one can excerpt all the pieces from a text that future readers may find interesting, intriguing, or particularly useful, especially when future interests may not yet be delineated or even known at the time of excerpting.

    10. Note taking is a means of rendering large volumes of non-portable sources of information into a nearly infinitely portable source. This is particularly true when done in digital form.

      (p4, Why take notes?)

    11. Goutor's description is offered as an outline of a mechanical method which he hopes will provide a greater level of efficiency, but which might be adapted to each researcher's work and needs. He also specifically offers it as a method to be used for "constructing some sort of final product". He considers it as serving the functions of gathering, organizing, storing and retrieving information.

      (p3, Introduction)

    1. Posted byu/Kshkn16 hours agoRate my idea for a new product

      One might suggest that the freedom, flexibility, and customization of these systems is actually an unuseful time suck for many users which only encourages shiny object syndrome. From a design perspective, try starting out building a system that works for you before beginning on design for others. Research and looking at the user interfaces offered by the competition will helpful as well. Which are the most popular? fun to use? Why? What actual affordances do those interfaces and functionalities allow? are they truly productive?

      Possibly more productive, what sorts of standards can you leverage to make people's pre-existing notes more useful? Can you take pre-existing stores of .txt or .md files and provide different views or perspectives on them? This will allow people to pick and choose which applications might work with their stores of data to provide different views or perspectives on them. Why reinvent a text editor or tools like Logseq or Obsidian when you can leverage the local stores of data to provide the sorts of services you're not seeing in the broader space? For example, on the "social media" side, there are existing solutions for taking your locally stored notes, putting them into the cloud and displaying them on the web, but the various steps are highly technical and require a relatively large amount of work and admin tax to maintain. A service that allows one to point at their local store of data and automatically host it on a website and keep it synced would be a major boon for the non-technical user.

      Separately, Matuschak did not invent evergreen notes. The first clear cut instantiation I've seen in the literature is from Konrad Gessner in 1548, and honestly even his idea really stems from a longstanding tradition of working with commonplace sententiae preceding his work. (see https://hypothes.is/a/uEboYlOwEeykkotYs594LA) Matuschak simply applied the definition/idea of "evergreen" (meaning easily reusable) articles or content from journalism to describe his notes which could be reused in various contexts. (Example: Why rewrite an article on how to decorate and entertain for the holidays, when you can reuse the same article you've been publishing for years, perhaps along with some updated photos?) "Atomic" notes is another variation on this same theme, but is one which underlies the ability to re-use notes in combination with one or more other notes to generate new ideas.

    1. Eventually, as the cards fall into groups accordingto subject or person or chronological sequence, the pattern of mystory will emerge.

      For creating narrative, Barbara Tuchman apparently relied on grouping her note cards by subject, person, or chronological sequence.

    1. This search for order pushes one to seek out under-lying patterns and trends, to find relations that may betypical and causal.

      Finding order and relations (and their particular types), is a form of linking ideas found in some of the more complex zettelkasten and knowledge management spaces. It's not as explicit here and he doesn't seem to be focusing on stating or writing explicit links within his notes. He does, however, place some focus on the quality and types of links he's making (or at least thinking about), something which isn't frequently seen in the current PKM space. For example, no one is creating user interfaces that show links between ideas which are opposite (or in opposition or antonym relation) to each other.

    2. examine my entire file, not only thoseparts of it which obviously bore on the topic, but alsomany others which seemed to have no relevance whatso-ever. For imagination and " t h e structuring of an i d e a " areoften exercised by putting together hitherto isolated items,by finding unsuspected connections. 1 made new units inthe file for this particular range of problems, which, o fcourse, led to a new arrangement of other parts of the file.

      What a lot to unpack here.

      He's actively looking through all parts of his files to find potential links and connections between ideas. He brings up the idea of "unsuspected connections" which touches on Luhmann's idea of serendipity, Llull's combinatorial arts, or what one might call combinatorial creativity.

    3. nd the way in which these cate-gories changed, some being dropped out and others beingadded, was an index of my own intellectual progress andbreadth. Eventually, the file came to be arranged accord-ing to several larger projects, having many subprojects,which changed from year to year.

      In his section on "Arrangement of File", C. Wright Mills describes some of the evolution of his "file". Knowing that the form and function of one's notes may change over time (Luhmann's certainly changed over time too, a fact which is underlined by his having created a separate ZK II) one should take some comfort and solace that theirs certainly will as well.

      The system designer might also consider the variety of shapes and forms to potentially create a better long term design of their (or others') system(s) for their ultimate needs and use cases. How can one avoid constant change, constant rearrangement, which takes work? How can one minimize the amount of work that goes into creating their system?

      The individual knowledge worker or researcher should have some idea about the various user interfaces and potential arrangements that are available to them before choosing a tool or system for maintaining their work. What are the affordances they might be looking for? What will minimize their overall work, particularly on a lifetime project?

    4. And yet that is not " r e a l l y " how the project arose.What really happened is that the idea and the plan cameout o f my files; for all projects with me begin and end withthem, and books are simply organized releases from thecontinuous work that goes into them.

      Surely by "files" he means his written notes and ideas which he has filed away?

      Thus articles and books are agglomerations of ideas within notes (or perhaps one's retained memory, as best as that might be done) which are then broken off from them and released to a wider readership.

  17. Sep 2022
    1. 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?

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    1. 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


    1. 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.

  18. Aug 2022
    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. 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. 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...

    1. freelyextendableor changeableatanypoint;so thatthewaywillalwaysbeclearforgrowth,onanymatter.

      clear for growth on any matter

    Tags

    Annotators

    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 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?)

    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.