- Apr 2023
Worried about self-plagiarizing in the future? Others like Hans Blumenberg have struck through used cards with red pencil. This could also be done with metadata or other searchable means in the digital realm as well. (See: https://hypothes.is/a/mT8Twk2cEe2bvj8lq2Lgpw)
General problems she faces: 1. Notetaking vs. writing voice (shifting between one and another and not just copy/pasting) 2. discovery during writing (put new ideas into ZK as you go or just keep writing on the page when the muse strikes) 3. Linearity of output: books are linear and ZK is not
Using transclusion may help in the initial draft/zero draft?<br /> ie: ![[example]] (This was mentioned in the comments as well.)
directional vs. indirectional notes - see Sascha Fast's article
Borrowing from the telecom/cable industry, one might call this the zettelkasten "last mile problem". I've also referred to it in the past as the zettelkasten output problem. (See also the description and comments at https://boffosocko.com/2022/07/12/call-for-model-examples-of-zettelkasten-output-processes/ as well as some of the examples linked at https://boffosocko.com/research/zettelkasten-commonplace-books-and-note-taking-collection/)
Many journal articles that review books (written in English) in the last half of the 20th century which include the word zettelkasten have a negative connotation with respect to ZK and frequently mention the problem that researchers/book writers have of "tipping out their ZKs" without the outlining and argument building/editing work to make their texts more comprehensible or understandable.
Ward Cunningham has spoken in the past about the idea of a Markov Monkey who can traverse one's atomic notes in a variety of paths (like a Choose Your Own Adventure, but the monkey knows all the potential paths). The thesis in some sense is the author choosing a potential "best" path (a form of "travelling salesperson problem), for a specific audience, who presumably may have some context of the general area.
Many mention Sonke Ahrens' book, but fail to notice Umberto Eco's How to Write a Thesis (MIT, 2015) and Gerald Weinberg's "The Fieldstone Method (Dorset House, 2005) which touch a bit on these composition problems.
I'm not exactly sure of the particulars and perhaps there isn't enough historical data to prove one direction or another, but Wittgenstein left behind a zettelkasten which his intellectual heirs published as a book. In it they posit (in the introduction) that rather than it being a notetaking store which he used to compose longer works, that the seeming similarities between the ideas in his zettelkasten and some of his typescripts were the result of him taking his typescripts and cutting them up to put into his zettelkasten. It may be difficult to know which direction was which, but my working hypothesis is that the only way it could have been ideas from typescripts into his zettelkasten would have been if he was a "pantser", to use your terminology, and he was chopping up ideas from his discovery writing to place into contexts within his zettelkasten for later use. Perhaps access to the original physical materials may be helpful in determining which way he was moving. Cross reference: https://hypothes.is/a/BptoKsRPEe2zuW8MRUY1hw
- Dec 2022
But then life went on and nothing really happened.
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!
- perfect system fallacy
- types of notes
- shiny object syndrome
- note taking building blocks
- note taking affordances
- note taking problems
- building blocks
- perfection is the enemy of progress
- anecdotal evidence