96 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2022
    1. Inevitably, I read and highlight more articles than I have time to fully process in Obsidian. There are currently 483 files in the Readwise/Articles folder and 527 files marked as needing to be processed. I have, depending on how you count, between 3 and 5 jobs right now. I am not going to neatly format all of those files. I am going to focus on the important ones, when I have time.

      I suspect that this example of Eleanor Konik's is incredibly common among note takers. They may have vast repositories of collected material which they can reference or use, but typically don't.

      In digital contexts it's probably much more common that one will have a larger commonplace book-style collection of notes (either in folders or with tags), and a smaller subsection of more highly processed notes (a la Luhmann's practice perhaps) which are more tightly worked and interlinked.

      To a great extent this mirrors much of my own practice as well.

    1. Carlin’s bags of categorized ideas, from the archives of George Carlin

      George Carlin kept his slips (miscellaneous scraps of collected paper with notes) sorted by topic name in Ziploc bags (literally that specific brand given the photo's blue/purple signature on the bag locks).

      This is similar to others, including historian Keith Thomas, who kept his in labeled envelopes.

  2. Oct 2022
    1. When I go to libraries or archives, I make notes in a continuous form on sheets of paper, entering the page number and abbreviated title of the source opposite each excerpted passage. When I get home, I copy the bibliographical details of the works I have consulted into an alphabeticised index book, so that I can cite them in my footnotes. I then cut up each sheet with a pair of scissors. The resulting fragments are of varying size, depending on the length of the passage transcribed. These sliced-up pieces of paper pile up on the floor. Periodically, I file them away in old envelopes, devoting a separate envelope to each topic. Along with them go newspaper cuttings, lists of relevant books and articles yet to be read, and notes on anything else which might be helpful when it comes to thinking about the topic more analytically. If the notes on a particular topic are especially voluminous, I put them in a box file or a cardboard container or a drawer in a desk. I also keep an index of the topics on which I have an envelope or a file. The envelopes run into thousands.

      Historian Keith Thomas describes his note taking method which is similar to older zettelkasten methods, though he uses larger sheets of paper rather than index cards and files them away in topic-based envelopes.

    2. In his splendid recent autobiography, History of a History Man, Patrick Collinson reveals that when as a young man he was asked by the medievalist Geoffrey Barraclough at a job interview what his research method was, all he could say was that he tried to look at everything which was remotely relevant to his subject: ‘I had no “method”, only an omnium gatherum of materials culled from more or less everywhere.’

      How does a medievalist reference "omnium gatherum" without an explicit mention of even florilegia which generally translates as "gatherings of flowers" as their method?!

    1. Il y a un point, en particulier, qui me frappe chaque jour davantage : ce que l’archive du chercheur d’hier peut apprendre au chercheur d’aujourd’hui, sur le plan de la méthodologie.

      Translation:

      There is one point in particular that strikes me more every day: what the archive of yesterday's researcher can teach today's researcher, in terms of methodology.

      With the rarer exceptions of writers like Erasmus, Melanchthon, Agricola, U. Eco, and G. Weinberg who wrote manuals or others like John Locke (on Indices), E. Bernheim, Langlois/Seignobos, and B. Webb who tucked reasonable advice on research and note taking methods in their texts or appendices one of the benefits of of researcher archives is not just the historical record of the researcher's evolving thought, but to actually show specific types of methodology and changes through time.

    1. ...the usefulness of a note-taking system has an ultimate limit beyond which it becomes self-defeating. [...] After all, the ultimate purpose of the exercise is not to produce beautiful notes displaying the researcher's technical prowess, but rather usable notes to build the mosaic.<br /> —Jacques Goutor (p33)

    2. Goutor breaks down the post-processing of notes into two phases: "coding" (tagging or categorization) and "cross-referencing". (p31).

    3. There is a difference between various modes of note taking and their ultimate outcomes. Some is done for learning about an area and absorbing it into one's own source of general knowledge. Others are done to collect and generate new sorts of knowledge. But some may be done for raw data collection and analysis. Beatrice Webb called this "scientific note taking".

      Historian Jacques Goutor talks about research preparation for this sort of data collecting and analysis though he doesn't give it a particular name. He recommends reading papers in related areas to prepare for the sort of data acquisition one may likely require so that one can plan out some of one's needs in advance. This will allow the researcher, especially in areas like history or sociology, the ability to preplan some of the sorts of data and notes they'll need to take from their historical sources or subjects in order to carry out their planned goals. (p8)

      C. Wright Mills mentions (On Intellectual Craftsmanship, 1952) similar research planning whereby he writes out potential longer research methods even when he is not able to spend the time, effort, energy, or other (financial) resources to carry out such plans. He felt that just the thought experiments and exercise of doing such unfulfilled research often bore fruit in his other sociological endeavors.

    4. 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)

  3. Sep 2022
    1. Heyde, Johannes Erich. Technik des wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens. (Sektion 1.2 Die Kartei) Junker und Dünnhaupt, 1931.

      (Unknown translation from German into English. v1 TK)

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

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

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

    2. Thesheets must always be of equal size, or at least of equal height in order not to get stuck or beoverlooked when manually searching for sheets or adding them.
    1. Andy 10:31AM Flag Thanks for sharing all this. In a Twitter response, @taurusnoises said: "we are all participating in an evolving dynamic history of zettelkasten methods (plural)". I imagine the plurality of methods is even more diverse than indicated by @chrisaldrich, who seems to be keen to trace everything through a single historical tradition back to commonplace books. But if you consider that every scholar who ever worked must have had some kind of note-taking method, and that many of them probably used paper slips or cards, and that they may have invented methods relatively independently and tailored those methods to diverse needs, then we are looking at a much more interesting plurality of methods indeed.

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

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

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

  4. Aug 2022
    1. https://occidental.substack.com/p/the-adlernet-guide-part-ii?sd=pf

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

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

    1. 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!!!

    2. In the mercantile world, the energy- and time consuming note book process has been replacedwith a file card system because competition forces them to save time and energy.

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

      What was his experience within accounting and these traditions?

    3. The sheet box

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Gibbon for instance made all his notes

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

    2. Dow, Earle Wilbur. Principles of a Note-System for Historical Studies. Century Company, 1924.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  5. Jul 2022
    1. The industrious apprentice will find in the Appendix (C) a short memorandumon the method of analytic note-taking, which we have found most convenient inthe use of documents and contemporaneous literature, as well as in the recording ofinterviews and personal observations.

      method of analytic note-taking from Beatrice Webb

    2. in a later chapter I call it syntheticnote-taking, in order to distinguish it from the analytic note¬taking upon which historical work is based.

      Webb distinguishes synthetic note taking from analytic note taking.

    3. THE ART OF NOTE-TAKING

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

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

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

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

    1. I'm trying to get info OUT of my note-taking system. It's not as easy as I'd like it to be.

      This is one of the biggest problems with any of the systems digital or analog. The workflows for this are all generally not great.

      I'm actually trying some advice from Konrad Gessner from the 1500s today. I've printed out some of my digital notes about Tiago Forte's new book to arrange and organize them in an attempt to reuse all my writing and thinking about it into a review of the book. It'll probably take a bit as I've left them for a week or two, but I'm curious to see what the manual process looks like here in an effort to help make the digital portion potentially easier.

    1. Beyond the cards mentioned above, you should also capture any hard-to-classify thoughts, questions, and areas for further inquiry on separate cards. Regularly go through these to make sure that you are covering everything and that you don’t forget something.I consider these insurance cards because they won’t get lost in some notebook or scrap of paper, or email to oneself.

      Julius Reizen in reviewing over Umberto Eco's index card system in How to Write a Thesis, defines his own "insurance card" as one which contains "hard-to-classify thoughts, questions, and areas for further inquiry". These he would keep together so that they don't otherwise get lost in the variety of other locations one might keep them

      These might be akin to Ahrens' "fleeting notes" but are ones which may not easily or even immediately be converted in to "permanent notes" for one's zettelkasten. However, given their mission critical importance, they may be some of the most important cards in one's repository.

      link this to - idea of centralizing one's note taking practice to a single location

      Is this idea in Eco's book and Reizen is the one that gives it a name since some of the other categories have names? (examples: bibliographic index cards, reading index cards (aka literature notes), cards for themes, author index cards, quote index cards, idea index cards, connection cards). Were these "officially" named and categorized by Eco?

      May be worthwhile to create a grid of these naming systems and uses amongst some of the broader note taking methods. Where are they similar, where do they differ?


      Multi-search tools that have full access to multiple trusted data stores (ostensibly personal ones across notebooks, hard drives, social media services, etc.) could potentially solve the problem of needing to remember where you noted something.

      Currently, in the social media space especially, this is not a realized service.

  6. Jun 2022
    1. There is no single right way to build a Second Brain. Your systemcan look like chaos to others, but if it brings you progress anddelight, then it’s the right one.

      All this description and prescription, then say this?!

      I'll agree that each person's system should be their own and work for them, but it would have been more helpful to have this upfront and then to have looked at a broad array of practices and models for imitation to let people pick and choose from a variety of practices instead of presenting just one dish on the menu: P.A.R.A. with a side of C.O.D.E.

    2. There is one more layer we can add, though

      This four layer processing thing is painful and I suspect few are going to spend this much time on so many potential ideas.

      Ahren's framing of fleeting notes and permanent notes is quicker and easier.

      Also missing is any sort of inherent link to any other ideas or even to a broader index to make it somewhat easier to find/use. Simply filing it into a folder, even an "important" one seems fairly useless and make-work.

    3. Our notes are things to use,not just things to collect.

      Many people take notes, they just don't know where they're taking them to. It's having a concrete use for them after you've written them down that makes all the difference. At this point, most would say that they do read back over them, but this generally creates a false sense of learning through familiarity. Better would be turning them into spaced repetition flashcards, or linking them to ideas and thoughts already in our field of knowledge to see if and where they fit into our worldview.

      link to - research on false feeling of knowledge by re-reading notes in Ahrens

    4. Instead of organizing ideas according to where they come from, Irecommend organizing them according to where they are going

      This is a useful distinction.

    1. I know one magazine editor who hoardsnewspaper and magazine clippings.

      Twyla Tharp tells the story of a colleague who is a magazine editor. They keep a pile of clippings of phots, illustrations, and stories in their desk and mine it, often with others, for something that will create story ideas for new work.

      This method is highly similar to that of Eminem's "Stacking Ammo" method.

    1. Sönke Ahrens’ How to Take Smart Notes changed so much.Now everyone is condemning note-takers (those collecting knowledge in heaps, e.g. via the good old Evernote) and praising note makers (those selecting their notes and linking them to other knowledge and producing their own thinking through them, e.g. via newish tools such as Obsidian)

      In the framing here, I don't think it was so much Ahren's book, but the florescence of note taking tools (many of them very technical and appealing to the male/techbro crowd mentioned earlier in the piece). Though perhaps some of this tech crowd were influenced by Ahrens to make these tools which simply accelerated the space.

    1. The four principles Niklas Luhmann used to build his notebox system are: Analog Numeric-alpha Tree Index The first letters of those four principles (A, N, T, I) are what comprise an Antinet. An Antinet Zettelkasten is a network of these four principles.

      The four principles Niklas Luhmann used to build his notebox system are:

      1. Analog
      2. Numeric-alpha
      3. Tree
      4. Index

      The first letters of those four principles (A, N, T, I) are what comprise an Antinet. An Antinet Zettelkasten is a network of these four principles.

  7. May 2022
    1. The last element in his file system was an index, from which hewould refer to one or two notes that would serve as a kind of entrypoint into a line of thought or topic.

      Indices are certainly an old construct. One of the oldest structured examples in the note taking space is that of John Locke who detailed it in Méthode nouvelle de dresser des recueils (1685), later translated into English as A New Method of Organizing Common Place Books (1706).

      Previously commonplace books had been structured with headwords done alphabetically. This meant starting with a preconceived structure and leaving blank or empty space ahead of time without prior knowledge of what would fill it or how long that might take. By turning that system on its head, one could fill a notebook from front to back with a specific index of the headwords at the end. Then one didn't need to do the same amount of pre-planning or gymnastics over time with respect to where to put their notes.

      This idea combined with that of Konrad Gessner's design for being able to re-arrange slips of paper (which later became index cards based on an idea by Carl Linnaeus), gives us an awful lot of freedom and flexibility in almost any note taking system.


      Building blocks of the note taking system

      • atomic ideas
      • written on (re-arrangeable) slips, cards, or hypertext spaces
      • cross linked with each other
      • cross linked with an index
      • cross linked with references

      are there others? should they be broken up differently?


      Godfathers of Notetaking

      • Aristotle, Cicero (commonplaces)
      • Seneca the Younger (collecting and reusing)
      • Raymond Llull (combinatorial rearrangements)
      • Konrad Gessner (storage for re-arrangeable slips)
      • John Locke (indices)
      • Carl Linnaeus (index cards)
    1. For Eco on using something like a ZK, see his short book How to Write an Essay. Basically, he writes about making something that we could say is like a ZK, but one card system for each writing assignment.

      Umberto Eco's book How to Write a Thesis (MIT Press, 2015, #) can broadly be thought of as a zettelkasten system, but it advises a separate system for each project or writing assignment. This is generally good advice, and potentially excellent for students on a one-time basis, but it prevents one from benefitting from the work over multiple projects or even a lifetime.

      In some sense, a more traditional approach, and one seen used in Niklas Luhmann's example is to keep different sections separated by broad topics.

      Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten #1 had 108 broad topics (along with a bibliography and a subject index), and zettelkasten #2 had 11 broad topics. (Cross reference: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/zettelkasten/inhaltsuebersicht)

      The zettelkasten structure allowed a familiar "folder" like top level structure, but the bibliographic and subject indices allowed them to interlink ideas from one space to the next for longer term work on multiple projects simultaneously.

    1. the lessons you will find within thesepages are built on timeless and unchanging principles

      The ideas behind knowledge management are largely timeless, but they are far from unchanging. They have evolved slowly over 2000+ years until we broadly threw many of them away in the early 20th century.

      One only need read a few pages of Ann M. Blair's Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age to see some of the changes and shifts within the space from the 1400s on.

    1. $L(#&$'&$+-41,[*$4'2'+18$081**)--C*Y$*+=4#&+*$=*#$+"#*#$+--8*$+-$8#1)&$"-H$+-$H)'+#Y$4)1HY$1&4$0180=81+#$-&$*"##+*$-.$919#)$+"1+Y$H"#&$08'99#4Y$*+198#4Y$-)$28=#4$+-2#+"#)Y$7#0-C#$1$&-+#7--@V

      What are the differences in the affordances of handwritten notes versus digital notes? Worth making a complete list.

  8. Apr 2022
    1. Theories of note-taking can tell us about how memory and writingwere understood, and practices of note-taking, about the tools that proved mostuseful in managing textual information in early modern Europe.

      Historical note taking practices can tell us many things aside from just the ways in which textual information was managed. They can also tell us about how people lived, how they thought, how they used memory and writing and how these things were understood culturally.

      We do however need to be careful in how we interpret these documents historically. We need to attempt to view them exegetically and not eisegetically. We also need to be careful to look at them from a "large world" perspective and not presume that small things had large and heavy influence on things to come in the future.

    2. Francis Bacon explained succinctlythat notes could be made either “by epitome or abridgement” (that is, by sum-marizing the source) or “by heads or commonplaces” (that is, by copying a pas-sage verbatim or nearly so and storing it in a notebook under a commonplaceheading for later retrieval and use). Bacon considered the latter method “of farmore profit and use,” and most note-taking advice focused on this practice of ex-cerpting.46

      This quote is worth looking up and checking its context. Particularly I'm interested to know if the purpose of summarizing the source is to check one's understanding of the ideas as is done in the Feynman technique, or if the purpose is a reminder summary of the piece itself?


      Link to Ahrens mentions of this technique for checking understanding. (Did he use the phrase Feynman in his text?)

    3. The Jesuit Francesco Sac-chini, in contrast, commended the interruption in reading that resulted fromstopping to copy a passage into one’s notebook: it slowed down reading and aidedretention.44
    4. Pedagogues considered marginal annotations as the first, optional step towardthe ultimate goal of forming a free-standing collection of excerpts from one’sreading. In practice, of course, readers could annotate their books without takingthe further step of copying excerpts into notebooks.

      Annotations or notes are definitely the first step towards having a collection of excerpts from one's reading. Where to put them can be a useful question though. Should they be in the margins for ease of creation or should they go into a notebook. Both of these methods may require later rewriting/revision or even moving into a more convenient permanent place. The idea "don't repeat yourself" (DRY) in programming can be useful to keep in mind, but the repetition of the ideas in writing and revision can help to quicken the memory as well as potentially surface additional ideas that hadn't occurred upon the notes' original capture.

    5. An eighteenth- century manual of bookkeeping listed three stages ofrecords a merchant should keep: waste book, journal (arranged in systematicorder), and ledger (featuring an index to access all people, places, and merchan-dise)
    6. Early modern scholars referred most often to merchants as exemplars for theirhabit of keeping two notebooks: a daybook (or journal) to record transactionsin the order in which they occurred and a ledger in which these transactionswere sorted into categories, as in double- entry bookkeeping
    7. During the same period zibaldone designated notebooks kept bywriters, artists, and merchants to record a wide variety of information: outgoingletters, copies of documents, indexes to books, lists of paintings, and excerptscopied from all kinds of texts, including poetry, prose, merchants’ manuals, legalsources, and tables of weights and measures.27
    8. Italian merchants of the fourteenth and fifteenthcenturies are known for keeping ricordanze that combined personal and practicalinformation.

      Compare this with the waste book tradition in accounting.

    9. But it is more difficult in a world of manuscriptsthan in the era of printing to evaluate what constitutes a note—that is, a piece ofwriting not meant for circulation but for private use, say, as preparatory toward afinished work

      Based on this definition of a "note", one must wonder if my public notes here on Hypothes.is are then not notes as they are tacitly circulated publicly from the first use. However they are still specifically and distinctly preparatory towards some future finished work, I just haven't yet decided which ultimate work in which they'll appear.

    10. Pliny’s abundant reading and note-taking in one of his nephew’s letters (which I discuss in more detail below).
    11. Discardingand forgetting are crucial to effective information management.
    12. Wax tablets were the standard erasable surfacefrom antiquity to the Renaissance: one or more boards, often bound togetherin a codex form, were coated in wax to be inscribed with a stylus then erased forreuse.7 In early modern England one could also purchase pocket-sized writingtablets featuring paper that had been treated so as to offer a rigid writing surfaceon which markings made with the accompanying metal stylus could be erasedwith a little moisture.8 The slate blackboard is also attested in Europe in musicinstruction in the sixteenth century, sized either for group or for personal use(as is still the case today), and was used at least by the eighteenth century in theteaching of astronomy. The sand tray, a board or slab spread with a fine layer ofsand that one inscribed with a stick and could easily erase, was another long-lived medium: used in ancient Babylon and medieval Islam for calculations andin Europe principally for children and artists learning to write or sketch down tothe Victorian period.9 None of these temporary notes have left any traces, exceptthrough extant higher- order notes made from them.
    1. one cannot help but wish that Blair had discussed her ownmethod at greater length, especially given that many of the authors she citesbelieved the sources of one’s achievement should be made public.

      I too had hoped that Ann Blair would discuss her own methods of note taking, compiling, and analysis.

      Perhaps we should interview her for the details?

    1. 2. What influence does annotating with an audience have on how you annotate? My annotations and notes generally are fragile things, tentative formulations, or shortened formulations that have meaning because of what they point to (in my network of notes and thoughts), not so much because of their wording. Likewise my notes and notions read differently than my blog posts. Because my blog posts have an audience, my notes/notions are half of the internal dialogue with myself. Were I to annotate in the knowledge that it would be public, I would write very differently, it would be more a performance, less probing forwards in my thoughts. I remember that publicly shared bookmarks with notes in Delicious already had that effect for me. Do you annotate differently in public view, self censoring or self editing?

      To a great extent, Hypothes.is has such a small footprint of users (in comparison to massive platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that it's never been a performative platform for me. As a design choice they have specifically kept their social media functionalities very sparse, so one also doesn't generally encounter the toxic elements that are rampant in other locations. This helps immensely. I might likely change my tune if it were ever to hit larger scales or experienced the Eternal September effect.

      Beyond this, I mostly endeavor to write things for later re-use. As a result I'm trying to write as clearly as possible in full sentences and explain things as best I can so that my future self doesn't need to do heavy work or lifting to recreate the context or do heavy editing. Writing notes in public and knowing that others might read these ideas does hold my feet to the fire in this respect. Half-formed thoughts are often shaky and unclear both to me and to others and really do no one any good. In personal experience they also tend not to be revisited and revised or revised as well as I would have done the first time around (in public or otherwise).

      Occasionally I'll be in a rush reading something and not have time for more detailed notes in which case I'll do my best to get the broad gist knowing that later in the day or at least within the week, I'll revisit the notes in my own spaces and heavily elaborate on them. I've been endeavoring to stay away from this bad habit though as it's just kicking the can down the road and not getting the work done that I ultimately want to have. Usually when I'm being fast/lazy, my notes will revert to highlighting and tagging sections of material that are straightforward facts that I'll only be reframing into my own words at a later date for reuse. If it's an original though or comment or link to something important, I'll go all in and put in the actual work right now. Doing it later has generally been a recipe for disaster in my experience.

      There have been a few instances where a half-formed thought does get seen and called out. Or it's a thought which I have significantly more personal context for and that is only reflected in the body of my other notes, but isn't apparent in the public version. Usually these provide some additional insight which I hadn't had that makes the overall enterprise more interesting. Here's a recent example, albeit on a private document, but which I think still has enough context to be reasonably clear: https://hypothes.is/a/vmmw4KPmEeyvf7NWphRiMw

      There may also be infrequent articles online which are heavily annotated and which I'm excerpting ideas to be reused later. In these cases I may highlight and rewrite them in my own words for later use in a piece, but I'll make them private or put them in a private group as they don't add any value to the original article or potential conversation though they do add significant value to my collection as "literature notes" for immediate reuse somewhere in the future. On broadly unannotated documents, I'll leave these literature notes public as a means of modeling the practice for others, though without the suggestion of how they would be (re-)used for.

      All this being said, I will very rarely annotate things privately or in a private group if they're of a very sensitive cultural nature or personal in manner. My current set up with Hypothesidian still allows me to import these notes into Obsidian with my API key. In practice these tend to be incredibly rare for me and may only occur a handful of times in a year.

      Generally my intention is that ultimately all of my notes get published in something in a final form somewhere, so I'm really only frontloading the work into the notes now to make the writing/editing process easier later.

    2. How do you get your annotations into the rest of your workflow for notes and learning? How do you prevent that your social annotation tool is yet another separate place where one keeps stuff, cutting off the connections to the rest of one’s work and learning that would make it valuable?

      Where

      My annotations broadly flow into two spaces:

      Obsidian

      My private Obsidian-based vault is where I collect the notes and actively work on, modify, edit, and expand them if and when necessary. This is also the space where I'm broadly attempting to densely interlink them together for future use and publication in other venues. If I could, I would publish these all on the web, but I've yet to find a set up with a low enough admin tax that I can publish them inexpensively in a way I'd like them to appear (primarily with properly linked [[WikiLinks]]) while still owning them in my own space.

      I've been experimenting around with using Blot.im as a solution to display them here https://notes.boffosocko.com/, but at present it's a very limited selection of my extant notes and doesn't include Webmention or other niceties I'd like to add. As it's a very alpha stage experiment I don't recommend anyone follow or use it and it may disappear altogether in the coming months.

      WordPress

      My main website uses WordPress. To a great extent, this is (now) primarily a back up location and the majority of the annotations are unpublished to the public, but are searchable to me on the back end.

      I do, however, use it occasionally for quickly publishing and syndicating select annotations which I think others may find interesting or upon which I'm looking for comments/feedback and don't expect that the audience I'd like these from will find them natively on Hypothes.is' platform. An example of this might be a paper I was reading this weekend on Roland Barthes which discusses his reasonably well documented zettelkasten-like note taking practice. The article can be found here: https://culturemachine.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/373-604-1-PB.pdf with the annotations seen here: https://docdrop.org/pdf/The-Card-Index-as-Creativity-Ma---Wilken-Rowan-upq8g.pdf/. To tip off others in the space, I made a post on my site with a bit of a puzzle and syndicated it to Twitter. A few hours later I posted a follow up with some additional details and links to my notes on hypothesis which got some useful feedback from Matthias Melcher on the Barthes paper as well as on a related paper I mentioned by Luhmann, particularly about German translation, with which I have little facility.

      Another recent illustrative example was this annotation on the Library of Congress website about Vladimir Nabokov which was picked up by my website (though unpublished/not public) but which I syndicated to Twitter primarily to be able to send a notification to Eleanor Konik who I know is interested in the idea of World Building using historical facts and uses Obsidian in her work. (The @mention in the tweet is hiding in the image of the index card so that I could save text space in the main tweet.) Several others interested in note taking and zettelkasten for writing also noticed it and "liked" it. Not being on Hypothes.is to my knowledge much less following me there, neither Eleanor nor the others would have seen it without the Tweet.

      Nabokov used index cards for his research & writing. In one index card for Lolita, he creates a "weight-heigh-age table for girls of school age" to be able to specify Lolita's measurements. He also researched the Colt catalog of 1940. #WorldBuildinghttps://t.co/i16Yc7CbJ8 pic.twitter.com/JSjXV50L3M

      — Chris Aldrich (@ChrisAldrich) April 10, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      How

      Obsidian

      Getting annotations from Hypothes.is to Obsidian is a short two-step process which is reasonably well automated so that I don't spend a lot of time cutting/pasting/formatting.

      I start with an IFTTT recipe that takes the RSS output of Hypothes.is and creates text files directly into my Obsidian vault. The results are quite rudimentary and only include the title of the document, the permalink of the Hypothes.is post, the highlighted text, and my annotation. It doesn't include the tags as RSS doesn't have a specification for these.

      Second, I've set up Hypothesidian which has a much higher fidelity dovetail with the Hypothes.is API to get all the data and even the formatting set up I'm looking for. A reasonably well laid out set of instructions with a low/no code approach for it can be found at https://forum.obsidian.md/t/retrieve-annotations-for-hypothes-is-via-templater-plugin-hypothes-idian/17225. It allows importing annotations by a variety of methods including by date and by document URL. I've also made a small modification to it so that tags on Hypothes.is are turned into [[wikilinks]] in Obsidian instead of #tags which I only use sparingly.

      All the IFTTT annotations will be ported individually into a specific Obsidian folder where I'll process them. I can then quickly use Hypothesidian to import the properly laid out version (using templates) of the notes with just a few keystrokes and then focus my time on revising my notes if necessary and then linking them to the appropriate notes already in my system. Finally I'll move them into the appropriate folder based on their content—typically one of the following: zettelkasten, wiki, commonplace, dictionary, or sources (for bibliographic use). Careful watchers will notice that I often use Hypothes.is' "page notes" functionality to create a bookmark-like annotation into which I will frequently post the URL of the page and occasionally a summary of a piece, these are imported into my system and are used as source/bibliographic information. I also have some dovetailing with Zotero as a bibliographic set up which feeds into this data as well.

      This version which I've cobbled together works well for me so that I'm not missing anything, but there are definitely other similar processes available out there both for Obsidian (with plugins or scripts) as well as for other platforms. If I'm not mistaken, I think Readwise (a paid solution) has a set up for note transfer and formatting.

      WordPress

      As there isn't an extant Micropub client for Hypothes.is I initially used RSS as a transport layer to get my notes from Hypothes.is into WordPress. The fidelity isn't great in part because RSS doesn't include any tags. To get some slightly better presentation I set up a workflow using RSS output from Hypothes.is as input into an IFTTT workflow which outputs to a webhook that stands in as a Micropub client targeting my websites Micropub server. Some of the display on my site is assisted by using the Post Kinds plugin, which I know you've been working around yourself. The details may be above some, but I've outlined most of the broad strokes of how this is done in a tutorial at https://boffosocko.com/2020/01/21/using-ifttt-to-syndicate-pesos-content-from-social-services-to-wordpress-using-micropub/. In that example, I use the service Pocket as an example, but Hypothes.is specific information could easily be swapped out on a 1-1 basis.

      A custom stand-alone or even an integrated micropub client for Hypothes.is would be a fantastic project if someone wanted to dig into the details and dovetail it with the Hypothes.is API.

      Why

      Ideally, I'm hoping that small pieces loosely joined and IndieWeb building blocks will allow me to use the tools and have the patterns I'm looking for, without a lot of work, so that I can easily make annotations with Hypothes.is but have and share (POSSE) my content on my own site in a way that works much the way many IndieWeb sites dovetail with Twitter or Mastodon.

      I'm doing some portions of it manually at present, without a lot of overhead, but it would be fun to see someone add micropub and webmention capabilities to Hypothes.is or other IndieWeb building blocks. (I suspect it won't be Hypothes.is themselves as their team is very small and they're already spread thin on multiple other mission critical projects.)

      In the end, I'm using Hypothes.is as a well designed and convenient tool for quickly making notes on digital documents. All the data is flowing to one of two other locations where I'm actually making use of it. While there is some social layer there, I'm getting email notifications through the Hypothes.is settings and the data from my responses just gets rolled back into my spaces which I try to keep open and IndieWeb friendly by default. At the same time, for those who want or need it, Hypothes.is' interface is a great way of reading, searching, sorting, and interacting with my notes in public, particularly until I get something specific and user friendly up to do it on my own domain.

    1. The filing cards or slipsthat Barthes inserted into his index-card system adhered to a ‘strictformat’: they had to be precisely one quarter the size of his usualsheet of writing paper. Barthes (1991: 180) records that this systemchanged when standards were readjusted as part of moves towardsEuropean unification. Within the collection there was considerable‘interior mobility’ (Hollier, 2005: 40), with cards constantlyreordered. There were also multiple layerings of text on each card,with original text frequently annotated and altered.

      Barthes kept his system to a 'strict format' of cards which were one quarter the size of his usual sheet of writing paper, though he did adjust the size over time as paper sizes standardized within Europe. Hollier indicates that the collection had considerable 'interior mobility' and the cards were constantly reordered with use. Barthes also apparently frequently annotated and altered his notes on cards, so they were also changing with use over time.


      Did he make his own cards or purchase them? The sizing of his paper with respect to his cards might indicate that he made his own as it would have been relatively easy to fold his own paper in half twice and cut it up.

      Were his cards numbered or marked so as to be able to put them into some sort of standard order? There's a mention of 'interior mobility' and if this was the case were they just floating around internally or were they somehow indexed and tethered (linked) together?

      The fact that they were regularly used, revise, and easily reordered means that they could definitely have been used to elicit creativity in the same manner as Raymond Llull's combinatorial art, though done externally rather than within one's own mind.

    2. I am speaking here of what appear to be Barthes’ fichier boîte or indexcard boxes which are visible on the shelf above and behind his head.

      First time I've run across the French term fichier boîte (literally 'file box') for index card boxes or files.


      As someone looking into note taking practices and aware of the idea of the zettelkasten, the suspense is building for me. I'm hoping this paper will have the payoff I'm looking for: a description of Roland Barthes' note taking methods!

    1. Surprised no one mentioned window notes as a strategy. You fold the paper into 4 squares entitled Facts, Feelings, Questions, and Ideas.

      Window notes are a note taking method in which one folds a piece of paper into four squares and titles them "facts", "feelings", "questions", and "ideas" to be filled in by the note taker.


      Surprised no one mentioned window notes as a strategy. You fold the paper into 4 squares entitled Facts, Feelings, Questions, and Ideas. I also like the idea of using Popplet or Evernote as a digital or collaborative note taking method as well to include drawings and videos.

      — Valerie Lewis (@iamvlewis) October 7, 2018
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
  9. Mar 2022
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnFHwl2Dbr0

      • System should be as frictionless as possible.
      • Capture in one location. (She says as few as possible, but this is too wishy-washy: she's got a "Readwise page" and a "Links page".)
      • There needs to be levels of processing.
        • Split out based on future value.
      • Everything has resources. How to capture metadata and be able to cite it?

      Everything needs to have a "Why"? What is the context for capturing? What is the reason? How will it be used in the future? Why was it interesting?

      She also describes how she collects notes in various formats (books, online articles, Kindle, Twitter, etc.) It primarily involves using Notion along with a variety of other sub-applications including Instapaper for sharing to Notion.

      Dramatically missing from this presentation is the answer to the question "why" collect all this stuff? How is she using it in the future? What is the overall value? She touches on writing the why for herself as she's taking notes, but I get the impression that she's not actively practicing what she preaches, and I suspect that many don't. This leaves me with the impression that she's collecting with no end goal, which for many may be fine.

      She's got a gaping hole in the processing section which likely needs a video unto itself and which would probably go a long way toward answer the "why" question above.

      In looking at her other videos, I see she's using the phrase "second brain" and words like productivity. There seems to be a high level of disconnect between those using "second brain" and the "why do this?" question other than the simple idea of "productivity" which seems to be a false trap that gets people into the mindset of being a collector for collections' sake.


      Almost hilariously she's got videos with titles like: - "I'm a productivity guru and I hate it." - "Productivity YouTube is brainwashing you"


      She's titled the final portion of the video "Outro" which is actually displayed on the video UI. This might be useful for production purposes but should be changed or omitted for actual consumption.


      The title "How I Remember Everything I Read" is pure clickbait here. It's more aptly titled, "How I Take and Save Notes". Where's the how I use this after? or how I review over it all to actually remember it/memorize it? There's nothing here to support this end of things which is the promise given in the title.

    1. nicholas lerman is a sample of one 01:09:54 and if the zerocarton is a tool for thinking there are all these other thinkers out there who are thinking um and do we know how they're thinking how their 01:10:07 how you know what note systems are they using i'd like to i'd like to be able to place lerman yeah amongst all these others and and sort of in the zerocast and 01:10:23 see what others are doing as well and yeah i mean if there was one project i would have loved to do is going around 01:10:36 asking everyone i whose work i admire how do you do it how do you do it exactly what do you do in the morning how do you sit down how do you digest the books you're reading 01:10:48 um i was obsessed with the idea and it's just because i'm too shy to follow up on that

      Some discussion of doing research on zettelkasten methods and workflows.


      What do note taking methods and processes look like for individual people?


      What questions would one ask for this sort of research in an interview setting (compared to how one would look at extant physical examples in document-based research)? #openquestions


      Link this to the work of Earle Havens on commonplace books through portions of history.

    1. They get harder to read the longer I wait to transcribe them.

      He's using his Field Notes notebooks as waste books and transcribing the important pieces into other places as necessary.

      He also indicates that he's taking brief, reminder notes (or fleeting notes) contemporaneously and then expanding upon them later as necessary.

    1. A simple request to “move your handsas you explain that” may be all it takes. For children in elementary school, forexample, encouraging them to gesture as they work on math problems leadsthem to discover new problem-solving strategies—expressed first in their handmovements—and to learn more successfully the mathematical concept understudy.

      Given the benefits of gesturing, teachers can improve their pedagogy simply by encouraging their students to move their hands while explaining things or working on problems.

      Studies with elementary school children have shown that if they gesture while solving math problems led them to discover and understand new concepts and problem solving strategies.

      link this with prior idea of handwriting out annotations/notes as well as drawing and sketchnoting ideas from lectures

      Students reviewing over Cornell notes also be encouraged to use their hands while answering their written review questions.

    1. Nice to see someone speaking so joyously about annotations. :) Looks like you've got a heavier analog version of the digital version of what I'm doing. I often use Kindle hightlights/annotations and then import them to Obsidian. Alternately I use Hypothes.is on online .pdf copies and then use Hypothesidian (https://forum.obsidian.md/t/retrieve-annotations-for-hypothes-is-via-templater-plugin-hypothes-idian/17225) to import all my digital notes into Obsidian. I love being able to keep the original context of the text close for either creating literature notes or expanding fleeting notes into permanent ones. When I am in a more analog mode (who doesn't love the feel of a nice fountain pen on paper?) I have a method for doing optical character recognition on my handwritten notes to save the time of typing them out again: https://boffosocko.com/2021/12/20/55799844/

  10. Feb 2022
    1. Public digital gardens are overrated. They are very hard to navigate. Time and time again, I get lost in the jungle of mystical links, in the check-ins drowned in the bookmarks and the quotes. Fancy IndieWeb sites that boast 5 separate RSS feeds to “help” navigate the labyrinth do not make it better. I’ve tried following multiple interesting people that pump loads and loads of seemingly cool looking stuff into their site. It always ends in confusion. Yes, sometimes I discover a link to another published article (external to the garden, by the way!) that is interesting. As admiring as the garden is, the things they grow there are almost always puzzling.

      Wouter Groeneveld here is mixing up a digital garden and a blog with social media enhancements. I personally wouldn't expect a digital garden to necessarily have features like checkins, bookmarks, etc. Ideally it would be a mix of of a zettelkasten with atomic ideas and notes and a wiki structure with somewhat longer articles and ideas strung together.

      From this definition, my personal website definitely isn't a "digital garden" but a blog with a variety of social media features built in. Looking at some smaller subsets of my website, one might consider it to be a digital garden.

      An additional piece of digital gardening also has to do with actually tending the garden, which I generally don't do in my website the way I do in my Obsidian vault. My vault is more like a digital garden which has many streams of data coming into it and being regularly tended.

      This is another example of the broader space of these ideas being mixed together in a hodgepodge without clear definitions of what each are.

    1. Trying to find research on sketchnoting during presentations. Research directly comparing sketchnoting and more traditional notetaking does not seem to exist. References to dual coding theory do not count. Why is this popular?
    1. In the early chapters Ahrens outlines the general form and method for taking notes for a zettelkasten, though he's not overly descriptive of the method and provides no direct examples.

      In the middle chapters he talks broadly about learning research and how the zettelkasten method dovetails with these methods.

      He does this almost as if he's a good teacher showing the student an outline of what to do and why, but leaving it up to them to actually do the work and experimentation to come up with their own specific methods of use to best suit their purposes. This allows them to do the work themselves so that they have a better chance of following a simple, but easy set of rules, but in a way that will allow them to potentially more quickly become an expert at the practice.

      “The one who does the work does the learning,” writes Doyle (2008, 63) [Section 10.5]

      In some sense, he's actively practicing what he preaches as a teaching device within his own book!

      I think that this point may be actively missed by those readers who aren't actively engaging with and converting his ideas into their own and doing the work which he's actively suggesting.

    2. he best-researched and mostsuccessful learning method is elaboration. It is very similar to whatwe do when we take smart notes and combine them with others,which is the opposite of mere re-viewing (Stein et al. 1984)Elaboration means nothing other than really thinking about themeaning of what we read, how it could inform different questions andtopics and how it could be combined with other knowledge

      Elaboration is thinking deeply about the meaning of what we've read, how it could inform or answer different questions, and how it can be linked or combined with other knowledge. It is one of the best-researched and most successful learning methods. While it seems to have some subtle differences, it sounds broadly similar to the Feynman technique and is related to the idea of writing questions based on one's notes in the Cornell note taking method.

    3. While it is obvious that familiarity is not understanding, we have nochance of knowing whether we understand something or just believewe understand something until we test ourselves in some form.

      The Cornell notes practice of writing questions in the empty left column as a means of testing knowledge can be an effective tool after taking notes to ensure that one has actually learned and understood the broad concepts. They can also be used for spaced repetition purposes as well.

      Valuable though they may be as teaching and learning tools, they don't figure directly into the idea of permanent notes from a zettelkasten perspective.

    4. Taking smart notes is the deliberate practice ofthese skills. Mere reading, underlining sentences and hoping toremember the content is not.

      Some of the lighter and more passive (and common) forms of reading, highlighting, underlining sentences and hoping to understand or even remember the content and contexts is far less valuable than active reading, progressive summarization, comparing and contrasting, and extracting smart or permanent notes from one's texts.

    5. Different independent studies indicate that writing byhand facilitates understanding. In a small but fascinating study, twopsychologists tried to find out if it made a difference if students in alecture took notes by hand or by typing them into their laptops(Mueller and Oppenheimer 2014). They were not able to find anydifference in terms of the number of facts the students were able toremember. But in terms of understanding the content of the lecture,the students who took their notes by hand came out much, muchbetter. After a week, this difference in understanding was still clearlymeasurable.

      Mueller and Oppenheimer 2014 indicate that students that took lecture notes (rather than typing them on a laptop) were able to understand the content of a lecture better and that this effect extended the span of a week. It did not show a difference in the number of facts they were able to remember.

    6. no underlinedsentence will ever present itself when you need it in the developmentof an argument.
    7. Just collecting unprocessedfleeting notes inevitably leads to chaos.

      Collecting fleeting notes and not processing them into something more useful and permanent will eventually end in abject failure.

      An example can be seen in the note taking of Joachim Jungius in 1657. He compiled approximately 150,000 slips (also known as scraps) with excerpts and ideas without any sort of order, arrangement, index or reference system. Following his death his students and heirs could make nothing of the massive "scrap heap". As a result, Vincent Placcius in De Arte Excerpendi (1689) specifically warns against this practice (p. 72).

      (cross reference from : https://hypothes.is/a/SyenKlO2Eeys0esqwOgjUw)

    8. In hindsight, we know why they failed: The ship owners tried tointegrate the container into their usual way of working withoutchanging the infrastructure and their routines. They tried to benefitfrom the obvious simplicity of loading containers onto ships withoutletting go of what they were used to.

      Ahrens makes a useful analogy: the reason that early attempts at shipping containers failed was because their users tried to fit them into their own way of doing business instead of reorganizing their businesses to accommodate the shipping container. Similarly one needs to consider how one's note taking method fits into their work in a more integrative way. Without properly integrating it into one's workflow seamlessly the system will fail.

    9. You can look up for yourself some ofhis notes on their website.[12] Soon, you will be able to access thewhole digitalised slip-box online.

      For those interested in looking at a system in English but with a slightly different form, but ostensibly similar, try W. Ross Ashby's digitized note collection: http://www.rossashby.info/

      Perhaps not coincidentally, Ashby was a research colleague of Luhmann's.

    10. Academic writing in itself is not a complicated process thatrequires a variety of complicated tools, but is in constant danger ofbeing clogged with unnecessary distractions. Unfortunately, moststudents collect and embrace over time a variety of learning andnote-taking techniques, each promising to make something easier,but combined have the opposite effect.

      Not highlighted in this context but it bears thinking about, Ahrens is looking at writing in particular while many note taking techniques (Cornell notes, SQ3R, SQ4R, etc.) and methods geared at students are specific to capturing basic facts which may need to be learned, by which I mean memorized or at least highly familiar, so that they can later be used in future analysis.

      Many of these note taking concepts are geared toward basic factual acquisition, repetition, and memorization and not future generative thought or writing applications.

      It's important to separate these ideas so that one can focus on one or the other. Perhaps there are contexts within which both may be valuable, but typically they're not. Within the zettelkasten context the difference between the two may be subtly seen in the conception of "literature notes" and "permanent notes".

      Literature notes are progressive summarizations which one may use to strengthen and aid in understanding and later recall. These may include basic facts which one might wish to create question/answer pairs for use in spaced repetition programs.

      Permanent notes have a higher level of importance, particularly for generative writing. These are the primary substance one wants to work with while the literature notes may be the "packing peanuts" or filler that can be used to provide background context to support one's more permanent notes.

      Compare this with: https://boffosocko.com/2021/12/22/different-types-of-notes-and-use-cases/

    11. And if you stumble upon one idea and think that it might connect toanother idea, what do you do when you employ all these differenttechniques? Go through all your books to find the right underlinedsentence? Reread all your journals and excerpts? And what do youdo then? Write an excerpt about it? Where do you save it and howdoes this help to make new connections? Every little step suddenly

      turns into its own project without bringing the whole much further forward. Adding another promising technique to it, then, would make things only worse.

      Keeping one's notes across multiple modalities, in different locations, different apps is a massive problem portending imminent and assured failure. Regardless of the system employed (paper, digital, app), one of the most important features of any note taking system is having them all centralized in one location.

    12. As the only way to find outif something is worth reading is by reading it (even just bits of it), itmakes sense to use the time spent in the best possible way. Weconstantly encounter interesting ideas along the way and only afraction of them are useful for the particular paper we started readingit for. Why let them go to waste? Make a note and add it to your slip-box. It improves it. Every idea adds to what can become a criticalmass that turns a mere collection of ideas into an idea-generator.

      Even if the paper or book you're reading doesn't answer the particular question you're researching, you're bound to come across other novel ideas and potential questions. Don't let these go to waste, but instead note them down and save them into your note taking system. They may be useful in the future, particularly if you found them interesting or intriguing.

      It turns out "waste not, want not" is applicable to ideas as well.


      I can't help but also thinking "waste note, want note" as an interesting turn of expression.

    13. Notes build up while you think, read, understand and generateideas, because you have to have a pen in your hand if you want tothink, read, understand and generate ideas properly anyway

      An active reader is always thinking, writing, and annotating. The notes from this process can and could easily be used to facilitate writing and generating new material showing new contexts and new modes of thought.

    14. cut out paper as Luhmann hadto.

      On the back of his notes, you will find not only manuscript drafts, but also old bills or drawings by his children. [footnote]

      While it's possible that Luhmann may have cut some of his own paper, by the time he was creating his notes the mass manufacture of index cards of various sizes was ubiquitous enough that he should never have had to cut his own. He certainly wasn't forced to manufacture them the way Carl Linnaeus had to.

    1. qbatten annotates on Jan 11, 2022:

      Why note-taking is bad. Why you shouldn't take notes. Taking notes shouldn't be the end in itself!

      I'll agree that "taking notes shouldn't be the end in itself", but they've drawn the completely wrong conclusion about note taking being bad or that this flimsy argument indicates that one shouldn't take notes.

      Not everyone who wields a hammer is going to be a master craftsman and it's even less likely that someone who tinkers with one for a few months or even a few years will get there without some significant help. There's no evidence here of anything but desire for methods to work. Where was the deep practice, research into these systems described?

      From the start, the featured image in the original article of a crazy person's conception of a massive collection of piles of paper to represent the process is highly illustrative of so many misconceptions.

    1. It should be recognized that these basic note types are very different than the digital garden framing of 📤 (seedbox), 🌱 (seedling), 🪴 (sapling), 🌲 (evergreen), etc. which are another measure of the growth and expansion of not just one particular idea but potentially multiple ideas over time. These are a project management sort of tool for focusing on the growth of ideas. Within some tools, one might also use graph views and interconnectedness as means of charting this same sort of growth.

      Sönke Ahrens' framing of fleeting note, literature note, and permanent note are a value assignation to the types of each of these notes with respect to generating new ideas and writing.

  11. Jan 2022
    1. https://words.jamoe.org/handwritten-hqa-notes/

      Mostly a review of the prior article with little new.

    2. Its design allows you to jump between moving fast and slow through your notes and has the benefits of active recall built-in, making your memories stickier.

      This method also presupposes that one is taking notes solely for memorizing facts and helping to support basic understanding.

      What about for analysis, comparison, synthesis, generation of entirely new ideas?

    1. If shallow depth is your priority, our Jump Note technique will be a better fit. This technique is for when we're thinking fast like if we're exploring a new topic or slowing down to take more thoughtful notes isn't preferable or practical.

      They say that HQ&A is for when narrow depth is a priority and Jump Notes for when shallow depth is a priority? What's the difference here? Aren't narrow and shallow really synonyms? This should be clearer.

      They sound mostly like they're talking about highlighting facts and then doing progressive summarization.

    1. As Luhmann noted,19 this concept goes back to the general structure

      of the brain modeled by W.R. Ashby:20 the capacity of the brain does not derive from a huge number of point-to-point-accesses but on the relations between the nodes (i.e. notes).

      Evidence that Niklas Luhmann was aware of W. Ross Ashby. The secondary question to be asked here: did they each know of each others' note taking methods and systems which are highly similar?

      Index card no. 9/8b of the second collection. (Niklas Luhmann)

    1. The spider web system was, in fact, a work in progress; the resulting hypertext was designed to be open-ended.

      One's lifetime of notes could be thought of as a hypertext work in progress that is designed to be open-ended.

    2. That is why Francis Bacon was rather skeptical about the possibility that excerpts might be shared among scholars. His opinion was that ‘in general, one man’s Notes will little profit another, because one man’s Conceit doth so much differ from another’s; and because the bare Note itself is nothing so much worth, as the suggestion it gives the Reader’.47

      See Bacon’s letter to Greville examined by Vernon Snow, ‘Francis Bacon’s Advice to Fulke Greville on Research Techniques’, Huntington Library Quarterly 23 (1960), 369–78, at 374

      This is similar in tone but for slightly differing reasons to Mortimer J. Adler recommending against loaning one's annotated books to other users. (see: https://hypothes.is/a/6x75DnXBEeyUyEOjgj_zKg)

  12. Nov 2021
    1. According to your catalog, if you have made one, in which every division or subdivision bears a serial letter or number, you can put your slips in order. When they are once arranged, you will find them again without any trouble at the moment of work.

      So here we have in print (we may need to double check the original French from 1921) an indicator of a note taker recommending using serial numbers on slips before Niklas Luhmann's birth.

  13. Oct 2021
    1. How are notes to be classified? Famous men have adopted different systems. The best, in the long run, is the system that one has tried, tested by one’s own needs and intellectual habits, and established by long practice.

      This is still solid advice today; advice I have dispensed to others without having seen it written before by others.

    Tags

    Annotators