43 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2024
    1. Created over a 50-year span from 1939 to 1989, that catalog grew to about 4 million cards in 65 cabinets with 4,000 drawers.

      This is roughly 65 cabinets of 60 drawers each.

      4 million cards over 50 years is approximately 220 cards per day. This isn't directly analogous to my general statistics on number of notes per day for individual people's excerpting practice, but it does give an interesting benchmark for a larger institution and their acquisitions over 50 years. (Be sure to divide by 3 for duplication over author/title/subject overlap, which would be closer to 73 per day)

      Shifted from analog cards to digital version in 1989.

    1. On 3 June 1912 Edward Peacock wrote inshaky handwriting to James Murray from his deathbed: ‘I have been so longill – more than a year and a half, and do not expect ever to recover, that Ihave made up my mind to discontinue The Oxford English Dictionary for thefuture.’ He added in a postscript, ‘I am upwards of eighty years of age.’ Bythen Peacock had been a volunteer for the Dictionary for fifty-four years,making him one of the longest-serving contributors. He had submitted24,806 slips and had given great service to Murray not only as a Reader butas a Subeditor and Specialist too.

      One of the longest serving OED contributors, Edward Peacock wrote 24,806 slips over 54 years which comes to approximately 1.25 notes per day.

    2. The Dictionary’s coverage of the leading transcendentalist, HenryDavid Thoreau, is largely due to the monumental efforts of a single woman,Miss Alice Byington of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, who sent in 5,000 slipsfrom books that included several by Thoreau:

      over how long a period?

    3. The American who sent in the most slips was a clergyman in Ionia,Michigan, Job Pierson. A Presbyterian minister, book collector, and librarian,Pierson had the largest private library in Michigan (which included a bookpublished in the earliest days of printing, from Vienna in 1476). Over elevenyears, from 1879 to 1890, Pierson, who had studied at Williams College andattended Auburn Theological Seminary, sent in 43,055 slips from poetry,drama, and religion. His correspondence with Murray shows the breadth ofhis reading, from Chaucer (10,000 slips) to books on anatomy (5,000 slips),and lumbering (1,000 slips).

      Job Pierson 43,055 slips over 11 years<br /> 10.7 notes per day

    4. Stephen kept sending slips toMurray for twelve years, until 1891

      What was his slip total to give a notes per day calculation?

      (obviously not taking into account his other work...)

    5. Murray received a poignant letter in 1906 fromthe wife of William Sykes of South Devon who had been a one-timeassistant, and faithful Reader and Specialist for twenty-two years, sending in atotal of 16,048 slips: ‘My dear husband died last Friday, the day he receivedyour letter, he was able to read it, and wrote your name in one of the books Iam going to send you eight hours before he died. It took him an hour to writeit, but he made up his mind to do it, and did. The last words he ever wrotewere to you.’ A poignant last line from the impoverished widow reads, ‘I shallsend the books when the probate duty has been paid.’

      William Sykes 16,048 slips over 22 years<br /> (approximately 2 notes per day)

    6. the outright winner was a mysterious character called Thomas Austin Jnr whosent Dr Murray an incredible total of 165,061 over the span of a decade.Second place goes to William Douglas of Primrose Hill who sent in 151,982slips over twenty-two years; third place to Dr Thomas Nadauld Brushfield ofDevon, with 70,277 over twenty-eight years; with Dr William Chester Minorof Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum coming in fourth place with 62,720slips.

      Top slip contributors to OED: 1. Thomas Austin Jnr. 165,061 slips over 10 years (45.22 notes per day) 2. William Douglas 151,982 over 22 years (18.92 notes per day) 3. Thomas Nadauld Brushfield 70,277 over 28 years (1.98 notes per day) 4. William Chester Minor 62,720 slips over 23 years (to 1906) (7.5 notes per day)

  2. Aug 2023
    1. In the end, I numbered and scanned 52,569 individual note cards from the Phyllis Diller gag file.

      Hanna BredenbeckCorp numbered and scanned 52,569 index cards from Phyllis Diller's gag file. Prior to this archival effort most estimates for the numbers of cards were in the 40-50,000 range.

      Spanning the 1960s to the 1990s roughly. The index was donated in 2003, so there were certainly no

      Exact dating on the cards may give a better range, particularly if the text can be searched or if there's a database that can be sorted by date.

      Via https://hypothes.is/a/UbW8nERrEe6xjEseEEEy1w we can use the rough dates: 1955-2002 which are the bookends of her career.

      This gives us a rough estimate of:<br /> 2002-1955 = 48 years (inclusive) or 17,520 days (at 365 days per year ignoring leap years)

      52,569/17520 days gives 3.000513698630137 or almost exactly 3 cards (jokes) per day.

      Going further if she was getting 12 laughs (jokes) per minute (her record, see: https://hypothes.is/a/MTLukkRpEe635oPT5lr7qg), then if continuously told, it would have taken her 52,569 jokes/12 jokes/minute = 4,380.75 minutes = 73.0125 hours or 3.0421875 days to tell every joke in her file.

  3. May 2023
    1. How big is your ZettelKasten? .t3_13b0b5c._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/jordynfly at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/13b0b5c/how_big_is_your_zettelkasten/

      The idea of notes per day comes up occasionally, here's some discussion on the last go-round: https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/11z08fq/comment/jdbnchv/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Many people, especially when getting started, get wrapped up in the idea of doing this for "increased productivity" or the goal of being as prolific as Niklas Luhmann. I would submit (and think others would back me up anecdotally) that there's far more to the practice than raw (or measurable) productivity as the single, driving value. Perhaps approach it as a way to sharpen and improve your thinking instead? If you're seeing life-like behavior already, that's a good sign of appreciating some of the hidden benefits which are difficult to describe and which are likely more valuable than the "productivity" goals many may have.

      I've noted before that S.D. Goitein had 1/3 less index cards than Luhmann over an equivalent research lifetime, but produced a 1/3 more written output (in terms of books and journal articles). Others like Aby Warburg and Gotthard Deutsch (70,000 notes) had significant practices, but their writing output was marginal at best, though their impact and influence were outsized, in part, I would suggest as a result of their zettelkasten work.

      Others like Roland Barthes (generally low card output of \~12,500) and Deutsch also used their fichier boîte/card index/zettelkasten as teaching tools, so while their written outputs may have varied considerably, their teaching practices were incredibly influential for the students and generations they encountered afterwards.

      This being said, I'll share my current easily countable lower bound dating roughly from 2016 as:

      • 15,200 notes
      • 32,000+ links
      • 2.1M words

      (Having a zk in digital form makes it reasonably easy to do these sorts of counts versus analog methods of note making.)

      Some additional pathways to learning and practicing, including my own, can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/11ay28d/how_did_you_teach_yourself_zettelkasten/

    2. Why are folks so obsessed with notes per day? Perhaps a proxy for toxic capitalism and productivity issues? Is the number of notes the best measure or the things they allow one to do after having made them? What is the best measure? Especially when there are those who use them for other purposes like lecturing, general growth, knowledge acquisition, or even happiness?

    1. I don't show my entire "ZK Stats" all the time. But you might be interested in this little snippet. It helps me keep on top of where the level of my zettelkasting moves. The 10-day and the 100-day workflow give me a trend that I can quickly compare with the "since day zero" to objectively feel my place in the world. This may sound grand, but from the current ZK Stats, I feel my ZK involvement is low because of class. This has been my experience of the periods where my coursework overwhelms my zettelkasting. Maybe overwhelm is too strong a word. I have created 63 notes tagged ENGL501 in the last 12 weeks. I watch this and expect it to rebound in a few weeks. Last year, on this day, I was at 20 notes in 10 days, 204 in 100 days, and 2.12 per day. Today I'm at 13 notes in the last ten days, 152 notes in 100 days, and I've dropped to 2.03 per day. This all can't be blamed on class pressures. Some of it concerns my growing disinterest in the mechanics of zettelkasting and just doing it.

      example of Will's notes output

      931447 total word count<br /> 16190 total link count<br /> 3279 total zettel count

      11 new zettel in the last 10 days<br /> 156 new zettel in the last 100 days<br /> 2.03 zettel created on average since day zero.

  4. Apr 2023
    1. The Zettelkasten needs a couple of years to reach critical mass.

      I find that this is not the case. Even a few hundred cards is more than enough to create something interesting.

      Though what does he mean specifically by "critical mass"?

  5. Mar 2023
    1. What type of note did Niklas Luhmann average 6 times a day? .t3_11z08fq._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/dotphrasealpha at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/11z08fq/what_type_of_note_did_niklas_luhmann_average_6/

      The true insight you're looking for here is: Forget the numbers and just aim for quality followed very closely by consistency!

      Of course most will ignore my insight and experience and be more interested in the numbers, so let's query a the 30+ notes I've got on this topic in my own zettelkasten to answer the distal question.

      Over the 45 years from 1952 to 1997 Luhmann produced approximately 90,000 slips which averages out to:

      • 45 years * 365 days/year = 16,425 days
      • 90,000 slips / 16,425 days = 5.47 slips per day

      In a video, Ahrens indicates that Luhmann didn't make notes on weekends, and if true, this would revise the count to 7.69 slips per day.

      260 working days a year (on average, not accounting for leap years or potential governmental holidays)

      • 45 years x 260 work days/year = 11,700 days
      • 90,000 slips / 11,700 days = 7.69 slips per day

      Compare these closer numbers to Ahrens' stated and often quoted 6 notes per day in How to Take Smart Notes.

      I've counted from the start of '52 through all of '97 to get 45 years, but the true amount of time was a bit shorter than this in reality, so the number of days should be slightly smaller.

      Keep in mind that Luhmann worked at this roughly full time for decades, so don't try to measure yourself against him. (He also published in a different era and broadly without the hurdle of peer review.) Again: Aim for quality over quantity! If it helps, S.D. Goitein created a zettelkasten of 27,000 notes which he used to publish almost a third more papers and books than Luhmann. Wittgenstein left far fewer notes and only published one book during his lifetime, but published a lot posthumously and was massively influential. Similarly Roland Barthes had only about 12,500 slips and loads of influential work.

      I keep notes on various historical practitioners' notes/day output over several decades using these sorts of practices. Most are in the 1-2 notes per day range. A sampling of them can be found here: https://boffosocko.com/2023/01/14/s-d-goiteins-card-index-or-zettelkasten/#Notes%20per%20day.

      Anecdotally, I've found that most of the more serious people here and on the zettelkasten.de forum are in the 4-10 slips per week range.


    1. Übersicht über die Auszüge des Zettelkastens Der Zettelkasten Niklas Luhmanns besteht aus insgesamt 27 Auszügen mit jeweils 2500 bis 3500 Zetteln. Diese verteilen sich auf zwei getrennte Zettelsammlungen: Zettelkasten I: 7 Auszüge mit Notizen aus dem Zeitraum von ca. 1952 bis 1961, insgesamt ca. 23.000 Zettel Zettelkasten II: 20 Auszüge mit Notizen aus dem Zeitraum von 1961 bis Anfang 1997, insgesamt ca. 67.000 Zettel. In den Auszügen 15-17 des ZK II, die Teil des hölzernen Zettelkastens sind, sowie den Auszügen 18-20, die außerhalb dieses Kastens in einzelnen Schubern gelagert waren, befinden sich die bibliographischen Abteilungen des ZK II. Teil des Auszugs 17 sind zudem mehrere Schlagwortregister und ein Personenregister des ZK II sowie einige weitere Spezialabteilungen, außerdem das Schlagwortregister sowie die bibliographische Abteilung und eine Themenübersicht des ZK I.

      Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten consists of a total of 27 sections/drawers each containing from 2,500 to 3,500 slips.

      • ZK1 comprises 7 sections with about 23,000 notes written from about 1952 to 1961
      • ZKII comprises 20 sections with approximately 67,000 slips written between 1961 to early 1997.

      Sections 15, 16, 17 were part of the beechwood zettelkasten and along with sections 18, 19, and 20 which were stored outside of the main boxes in individual slipcases contain the bibliographic portions of ZKII

      Part of section 17 contains some of the index as well as an index of people for ZKII in addition to some other special portions along with the index of keywords, bibliographical slips, and an overview of topics from ZKI.

      The primary wooden boxes frequently pictured as "Luhmann's zettelkasten" is comprised of six wooden four-drawer card index filing cabinets which were supplemented by three individual slipcases.

      One would suspect the individual slipcases were like the one pictured on his desk here: Luhmann zuhause am Zettelkasten (vermutlich Ende der 1970er/Anfang 1980er Jahre)<br /> Copyright Michael Wiegert-Wegener<br /> via Niklas Luhmann Online: die Erschließung seines Nachlasses - Geistes- & Sozialwissenschaften

      The Luhmann archive has a photo of the beechwood portion with 24 drawers and one of the additional slipboxes on top of it:

      (via https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/nachlass/zettelkasten)

      Most of the photos from the museum exhibition and elsewhere only focus on or include the main wooden portion of six cabinets with the 24 drawers.

      See also: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/nachlass/zettelkasten

      Over the 45 years from 1952 to 1997 this production of approximately 90,000 slips averages out to

      45 years * 365 days/year = 16,425 days 90,000 slips / 16,425 days = 5.47 slips per day.

      260 working days a year (on average, not accounting for leap years or potential governmental holidays) 45 years x 260 work days/year = 11,700 90,000 slips / 11,700 days = 7.69 slips per day

      In a video, Ahrens indicates that Luhmann didn't make notes on weekends, and if true this would revise the count to 7.69 slips per day.

      Compare these closer numbers to Ahrens' stated 6 notes per day in How to Take Smart Notes. <br /> See: https://hypothes.is/a/iwrV8hkwEe2vMSdjnwKHXw

      I've counted from the start of '52 through all of '97 to get 45 years, but the true amount of time was a bit shorter than this in reality, so the number of days should be slightly smaller.

    1. partir de 78 79 mais plutôt 79 et 81 donc dans les derniers dans les deux dernières années de sa vie l'avant veille de son accident l'a dit les prises de notes sont alors beaucoup moins espacées dans le temps et bar peut écrire jusqu'à une quinzaine de fiches par jour voire plus on voit ici sur ce diagramme l'année 1979 avec véritablement un bon mois à l'été 79 ou [00:29:35]

      In 1978/79 Roland Barthes was making up to 15 cards per day. ᔥ

    2. Histogram of Roland Barthes fiches between 1968 and 1980 from [29:28]

  6. Feb 2023
    1. Am I taking too long to finish notes? .t3_11bxjms._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/m_t_rv_s__n at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/11bxjms/am_i_taking_too_long_to_finish_notes/

      Some of it depends on what you're reading for and what you're trying to get out of the reading. On a recent 26 page journal article, I spent several hours over a couple of days (months apart) reading and taking notes in a relatively thorough fashion. I spent another hour or so refining them further and filing them and another 15 minutes noting out references for follow up. It was in an area I'm generally very familiar with, so it wasn't difficult or dense, but has lots of material I specifically know I'll be using in the near future for some very specific writing. Because I know it's something of specific interest to me and several overlapping projects, I had a much deeper "conversation with the text" than I otherwise might have.

      Because it was done digitally, you can see the actual highlights and annotations and even check the timestamps if you like (you'll have to click through individual notes to get these timestamps): https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=url%3Aurn%3Ax-pdf%3A6053dd751da0fa870cad9a71a28882ba Some of it is basic data I'll use for a variety of purposes on several already well-defined projects. A few are for more slowly developing projects further out on the horizon. It's relatively easy to see the 10 or 15 permanent notes that I'll pull out of this group of about 74 notes. Since writing them, I've already referenced two of the more fleeting notes/highlights by searching for related tags on other reading which look like they may actually develop further.

      Had this been something less targeted to my specific area, say for a master's level course of general interest, I'd probably have spent far less time on it and likely not gone over about 15 or so notes. Sometimes for these, I'll just read the abstract and conclusions and scan the references. Reading lots of these in your area of interest gives you some idea of the space and types of questions you might be asking. As you hone in on a thesis, you'll begin asking more and more questions and delve more deeply into material, and if something you read in the past becomes more specific to your project then you'll likely go back to re-read it at a deeper level, but you'll still have your prior work at your fingertips as a potential guide.

      Once you know what your particular thesis is going to be your reading becomes more dense and targeted. Some things you'll read several times and go through with fine-toothed combs while others you'll skim to get the gist/context and only excerpt small specific pieces which you need and then move on.

      (If you need it, remember that you only need one or two good permanent notes per day to make some serious progress.)

    1. if you break it down it's just six notes a day 00:11:11 and that doesn't include Saturdays and Sundays

      Ahrens' 6 notes per day calculation doesn't include Saturdays or Sundays

    1. in 1917 he celebrated his fifty-thousandth card with an article titled ‘Siyum’, referencing the celebration upon conclud-ing study of a tractate of Talmud (Deutsch, 1917b).

      Did he write about his zettelkasten in this article?! Deutsch, G. (1917b) ‘Siyum’, American Israelite, 8 March, 15 March.

      Gotthard Deutsch celebrated his fifty thousandth card in 1917. ᔥ

    1. How long do you spend in a single note-taking session? .t3_112k929._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } questionBasically, just curious how much time people spend writing down notes in a typical session, as well as how many notecards you usually finish. If you can give me an idea of how long a single lit/permanent note takes you to write, even better

      reply to u/m_t_rv_s__n at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/112k929/how_long_do_you_spend_in_a_single_notetaking/

      Quite often my sessions can be in small 5-10 minute blocks doing one or more individual tasks that compose reading, writing, or filing/linking things together. Usually I don't go over a couple of hours without at least a small break or two.

      Like Luhmann “I only do what is easy. I only write when I immediately know how to do it. If I falter for a moment, I put the matter aside and do something else.” Incidentally by "easy" here, I think Luhmann also includes the ideas of fun, interesting, pleasurable, and (Csikszentmihalyi's) flow.

      For my lowest level reading I'll only quickly log what I've read along with a few index terms and a short note or two, if at all. For deeper analytical reading (as defined by Adler & van Doren) those sessions are more intense and I aim to have a direct "conversation with the text". Notes made there can sometimes be 2 - 10 minutes in length. I can often average about 50 annotations in a given day of which maybe 2 or 3 will be longer, fileable zettels. Most of my notes start as digital public annotations which one can view at https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich if they like. On the topic of notes per day, I have a collection for that, some of which is given as a synopsis with some caveats here: https://boffosocko.com/2023/01/14/s-d-goiteins-card-index-or-zettelkasten/#Notes%20per%20day%20comparison.

    1. I started analog 08/09, went digital 09/10, went software-agnostic 11. All dates within 6month margin of error.
    2. Current count: 12.258


      u/FastSascha reported 12,258 notes ("cards" on 2022-08-13), which presuming a start around 2013 (the beginning of zettelkasten.de) gives him 3.73 notes per day.

      Update:<br /> Sascha reports starting analog notes around 08/09 then he went digital 09/10, and software-agnostic in 11.

      This gives him 12,258 notes over 14 years (5,110 days) or 2.4 notes per day.

  7. Jan 2023
    1. I accumulated altogether between 5.000 and 6.000 note cards from 1974 to 1985, most of which I still keep for sentimental reasons and sometimes actually still consult.

      Manfred Kuehn's index card commonplace from 1974 - 1985

      At 5 - 6,000 cards in 11 years from 1974 to 1985, Kuehn would have made somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.25 - 1.49 note per day.

    1. Sonia Sotomayor asked herself what new thing did she learn at the end of every day. If she couldn't think of something then she remedied the issue by reading something. (Meltzer2018)

      While it's not known if she wrote notes about what she learned, doing so may have allowed her to accumulate a heck of a zettelkasten practice. Many people mistakenly think that they need to be creating dozens of perfect permanent notes for their zettelkasten every day, but in reality, most historical practitioners only made one or two each day. It's the accumulation and links between them that turn them into a more valuable collection over time.

      Meltzer, Brad. I Am Sonia Sotomayor. Illustrated edition. New York: Dial Books, 2018.

  8. Dec 2022
    1. Goitein accumulated more than 27,000 index cards in his research work over the span of 35 years. (Approximately 2.1 cards per day.)

      His collection can broadly be broken up into two broad categories: 1. Approximately 20,000 cards are notes covering individual topics generally making of the form of a commonplace book using index cards rather than books or notebooks. 2. Over 7,000 cards which contain descriptions of a single fragment from the Cairo Geniza.

      A large number of cards in the commonplace book section were used in the production of his magnum opus, a six volume series about aspects of Jewish life in the Middle Ages, which were published as A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza (1967–1993).

    1. Today my Zettelkasten is 8 month old. When I started note-taking in March 2022, I didn‘t expect a number of nearly 1000 notes in such a short time.


  9. Oct 2022
    1. Blumenberg's Zettelkasten - 30,000 entries in 55 years, i.e. almost 550 per year, which is not that much - obviously served the material management for books that he had planned and the collection of documents for theses that he had in mind, without that the reading work for it was completed.

      Blumenberg's Zettelkasten had 30,000 notes which he collected over 55 years averages out to 545 notes per year or roughly (presuming he worked every day) 1.5 notes per day.

    1. If in 1908 itcontained 10,000 cards, by 1917 it had ballooned in size to 50,000 items, reaching60,000 in 1919 and nearly 70,000 at the time of Deutsch’s death in 1921 (Deutsch,1908b, 1917b; Brown, 1919: 69). It seems that Deutsch consistently produced 5,000cards per year (about 20 per workday) for the final 13 years of his life.

      Look up these references to confirm scope of numbers.

  10. Aug 2022
    1. “500 and 1000 cards” is a long way before perceiving some benefit. Maybe this is necessary because “mine is more textual and less visual than his [Michalsky’s]”. For me, benefit is visible after approx. 40 new notes, dropped on the canvas of my tool, rearranged and connected.

      Thanks for this additional piece of Data Matthias! I have a feeling that some of the benefit will also come down to the level of quality of the notes and how well interlinked they may be. Those doing massive dumps of raw, unelaborated, and unlinked data using services like Readwise into their collections will certainly take longer than those who have more refined ideas well linked. My number is presuming something closer to the former while something along the lines of a tenth of that (an order of magnitude) would seem to fall in line with my current working model. It would be nice to have a larger body of data to work with though.

      syndication link

    2. https://boffosocko.com/2022/07/03/55806862/

      https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich<br /> Joined: January 18, 2012<br /> First annotation: 2018-11-29

      Annotations: 10,099 (public and private as of 2022-07-03)

      Date of publication: 2022-07-03<br /> Duration: 3 years, 6 months, 5 days or 1312 days<br /> Average of: ~10099/1,312 = 7.69 annotations per day

      compare: https://hypothes.is/a/26pRxBpQEe2VXK8kiyXtKQ

      I suspect that earlier years were more sparse with higher number of fleeting notes. The past year or two output and quality increased dramatically with more valuable literature notes and more actual near-permanent or actual permanent notes.

    1. https://web.hypothes.is/blog/100000-annotations/

      https://hypothes.is/users/heatherstaines<br /> Joined: November 11, 2016<br /> Annotations: 1,063 (public as of 2022-08-12)

      Date of publication: 2020-02-07<br /> Duration: 3 yr 3 mo or 1,183 days<br /> Average of: ~100,000/1,183 = 84.53 annotations per day

      These would be closer to the idea of fleeting notes per day and not a more zettelkasten-like permanent note. It does provide at least a magnitude of order level of measurement on practice however.

      Note that it's possible that as a part of the company she has multiple accounts including one with an earlier born by date which would tend to dilute the average.

      The publication is dated 2020-02-07 (which matches publication meta data) and somehow Heather makes an annotation on the post itself (dated 2020-02-02) saying she's already at 105,000 annotations. This could have given a smaller window on a few week's worth of annotations, except for the improbably mismatch in dates.

    1. How many cards (both analog and digital) have you created yet? .t3_wjzjaz._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } question.71 votes2129.6%0=zero, I haven't started yet but I'm interested to learn4462.0%1..1000, some cards, I take it easy57.0%1k..10k, I like to imitate Roland Barthes with 12k cards11.4%10k..100k, my idol is Niklas Luhmann with 90k cards

      I'm curious who are the 6 that have been at this and honestly have over 10,000 cards? What timeframe did it take you to produce them? Roland Barthes worked for 37 years to produce his ~12,000.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Luhmann’s slip-box contains about 90,000 notes, which sounds like an incrediblylarge number. But it only means that he wrote six notes a day fromthe day he started to work with his slip-box until he died.

      Should check the dates of start and finish and do the direct math myself, but ostensibly Luhmann averaged six notes a day for the duration of keeping his zettelkasten.

    1. I also mentioned Zettelkasten many times in this post, but I don’t do that anymore—I just did a 1-month dry run and it felt tiring. Pen and paper just gives me the bare essentials. I can get straight to work and not worry if something is a literature note or a permanent note.

      What is it that was tiring about the practice? Did they do it properly, or was the focus placed on tremendous output driving the feeling of a need for commensurate tremendous input on a daily basis? Most lifetime productive users only made a few cards a day, but I get the feeling that many who start, think they should be creating 20 cards a day and that is definitely a road to burn out. This feeling is compounded by digital tools that make it easier to quickly capture ideas by quoting or cut and pasting, but which don't really facilitate the ownership of ideas (internalization) by the note taker. The work of writing helps to facilitate this. Apparently the framing of literature note vs. permanent note also was a hurdle in the collection of ideas moving toward the filtering down and refining of one's ideas. These naming ideas seem to be a general hurdle for many people, particularly if they're working without particular goals in mind.

      Only practicing zettelkasten for a month is certainly no way to build real insight or to truly begin developing anything useful. Even at two cards a day and a minimum of 500-1000 total cards to see some serendipity and creativity emerge, one would need to be practicing for just over a year to begin seeing interesting results.

  11. Jul 2022
    1. Over the course of his intellectual life, from about 1943 until hissudden death in 1980, Barthes built a card index consisting of morethan 12,250 note cards – the full extent of this collection was notknown until access to it was granted to the manuscript researchers ofthe Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC) inFrance (Krapp, 2006: 363).3

      Roland Barthes accumulated a card index of more than 12,250 note cards beginning in 1943 which were held after his death in 1980 at the Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC) in France.

      Barthes' dates 12 November 1915 – 26 March 1980 age 64

      He started his card index at roughly age 28 and at around the same time which he began producing written work. (Did he have any significant writing work or publications prior to this?)

      His card collection spanned about 37 years and at 12,250 cards means that was producing on average 0.907 cards per day. If we don't include weekends, then he produced 1.27 cards per day on average. Compare this with Ahrens' estimate of 6 cards a day for Niklas Luhmann.

      With this note I'm starting the use of a subject heading (in English) of "card index" as a generic collection of notes which are often kept in one or more boxes. This is to distinguish it from the more modern idea of zettelkasten in the Luhmann framing which also connotes a dense set of links between the cards themselves, though this may not have been the case historically. Card index is also specifically separate from 'index card' which is an individual instance of an item that might be found in a card index. At present, I'm unaware of a specific word in English which defines the broader note taking context or portions thereof relating to index cards in the same way that a zettelkasten implies. This may be the result of the broad use of index cards for so many varying uses in the early 20th century. For these other varying uses I'll try to differentiate them henceforth with the generic 'index card files' which might also be used to describe the containers in which cards might be found.

    1. I tried using Roam for about two weeks once. I used Roam and only Roam, diligently. After only two weeks, my knowledge graph was utterly unintelligible and distressing.

      While one can take a lot of notes in two weeks, even just six quality notes a day (Niklas Lumann's pace was six per day while Roland Barthes was closer to 1 and change per day) only provides about 84 cards or zettels. This isn't enough to make anything distressing or unintelligible. It's also incredibly far short of creating any useful links to create anything. He should have trimmed things down and continued for about 24 weeks to see any significant results. (Of course this also begs the question: what was his purpose in pursuing such a system in the first place?)

    1. The presenter in the video has 70 notes across 3 months which is drastically lower than what I have.

      Somewhere I think I read that Luhmann only added about 6 cards a day to his zettelkasten. (I suspect they averaged his 90K output over the span of years he said he used it....)

      My fleeting note output right now is potentially too much, and I certainly should be spending more time refining and building on my (note-based) thoughts.

      It's not how many thoughts one has, but their quality and even more importantly, what one does with them.


    1. I have compiled, at latest reckoning, 35,669 posts - my version of a Zettelkasten.

      Stephen, to get a general grip on note taking practices, I've been collecting rough numbers of notes per day over spans of time from people. You mention 35,669 posts here. Over what span of time (years/days) does that currently represent?

  12. Jun 2022
    1. On average I capture just twonotes per day

      Tiago Forte self-reports that he captures two notes a day.

      Link to other's notes per day including Barthes, Luhmann, et al.