38 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2022
    1. How do you make sure you don’t lose track of cards? I don’t make sure I don’t lose track of cards. As I said above and as some of the people below talk about, one of the joys of the system is when you surprise yourself, when you rediscover, when you find the perfect card while you were looking for something else.

      Oppenheimer doesn't keep track of specific cards (he didn't discuss how he files them, other than loosely together, potentially for specific projects) and finds that this creates a greater amount of surprise for him when searching for ideas within his system.

      Missing here is any sort of topic or subject headings.... double check this as it's a key to most systems.

  2. Oct 2022
    1. He had a separate bibliographical file,kept in six scantily filled drawers in his coat closet, and it is obvious

      that he used it little in later years. His author-title entries usually went into the main file, after the appropriate subject index cards.

      This is a curious pattern and not often seen. Apparently it was Paxson's practice to place his author-title entries into his main file following the related subject index cards instead of in a completely separate bibliographical file. He did apparently have one comprised of six scantily filled drawers which he kept in his coat closet, but it was little used in his later years.

      What benefits might this relay? It certainly more directly relates the sources closer in physical proximity within one's collection to the notes to which they relate. This might be of particular beneficial use in a topical system where all of one's notes relating to a particular subject are close physically rather than being linked or cross referenced as they were in Luhmann's example.

      A particular color of cards may help in this regard to more easily find these sources.

      Also keep in mind that Paxson's system was topical-chronological, so there may also be reasons for doing this that fit into his chronological scheme. Was he filing them in sections so that the publication dates of the sources fit into this scheme as well? This may take direct review to better known and understand his practice.

    2. he three-by-five inch slipsof thin paper eventually filled about eighty wooden file drawers.And he classified the notes day by day, under topical-chronologicalheadings that eventually extended from 4639 B.C. to 1949, theyear after his death.

      Frederic L. Paxson kept a collection of 3 x 5 " slips of thin paper that filled eighty wooden file drawers which he organized using topical-chronologic headings spanning 4639 BCE to 1949.

    1. Further, Deutsch triedto instill a certain chronological, geographical and thematic method of organization. Butthis arrangement is also a stumbling block to anyone who might want to use it, includingDeutsch. ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE JEWS (489 cards), for instance, presents an array ofevents organized not by date but in a surprisingly unsystematic alphabetical order. Insteadof indicating when such accusations were more or less prevalent, which could only beindicated by reorganizing cards chronologically, the default alphabetical sorting, whichshows instances in disparate locations like London (in May, 1921) alongside Sziget,Hungary (from 1867), gives the impression that such anti-Jewish events were everywhere.And even this organization was chaotic. The card on Sziget is actually listed under‘Marmaros’, the publication with which the card’s text began, and an immediately pre-ceding card is ordered based on its opening ‘A long list of accusations . . . ’, not thereference to its source: Goethe’s Das Jahrmarketsfest zu Plundersweilern.

      Lustig provides a description of some of the order of Gotthard Deutsch's zettelkasten. Most of it seemed to have been organized by chronological, geographical and thematic means, but often there was chaos. This could be indicative of many things including broad organization levels, but through active use, he may have sorted and resorted cards as needs required. Upon replacing cards he may not have defaulted to some specific order relying on the broad levels and knowing what state he had left things last. Though regular use, this wouldn't concern an individual the way it might concern outsiders who may not understand the basic orderings (as did Lustig) or be able to discern and find things as quickly as he may have been able to.

  3. Sep 2022
    1. For instance, particular insights related to the sun or the moon may be filed under the(foreign) keyword “Astronomie” [Astronomy] or under the (German) keyword “Sternkunde”[Science of the Stars]. This can happen even more easily when using just one language, e.g.when notes related to the sociological term “Bund” [Association] are not just filed under“Bund” but also under “Gemeinschaft” [Community] or “Gesellschaft” [Society]. Againstthis one can protect by using dictionaries of synonyms and then create enough referencesheets (e.g. Astronomy: cf. Science of the Stars)

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

      On the Spectrum of Topic Headings in note making

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Tagsare simple yet powerful forms of categorizing used in social mediathat further organize categorical information according to user needsand preferences (Shimic, 2008). Tags help people find and situateideas, providing a mode of peripheral social collaborativeparticipation (Lave & Wenger, 2012). Tags also create flexiblesearch tools, not available with traditional annotation tools, thatsupport reading-for-writing by making the process of retrieval fasterand more straightforward.

      This discussion seems to miss the broader intellectual historical background of tags in prior generations. There's not even a nod to commonplaces, topic headings, subject headings, indices, etc.

    1. But Ms. Rivers did do some arranging. She arranged the 52 drawers alphabetically by subject, from “Annoying habits” to “Zoo.” In the T’s, one drawer starts with “Elizabeth Taylor” and goes as far as “teenagers.” The next drawer picks up with “teeth” and runs to “trains.” A drawer in the G’s begins with “growing older” and ends with “guns.” It takes the next drawer to hold all the cards filed under “guys I dated.” Inevitably — this was Joan Rivers, after all — there are categories with the word “sex,” including “My sex life,” “No sex life,” “No sex appeal.”AdvertisementContinue reading the main storyImage
    1. Here wehave the four categories of time, place, species, andform ; by superposing, then, we obtain divisions ofsmaller extent. We may undertake, for example, tomake a group of all the documents having a givenform, of a given country, and lying between twogiven dates (French royal charters of the reignof Phihp Augustus) ; or of all the documents of agiven form (Latin inscriptions) ; or of a given species(Latin hymns) ; of a given epoch (antiquity, themiddle ages).



  4. Aug 2022
    1. For the sheets that are filled with content on one side however, the most most importantaspect is its actual “address”, which at the same time gives it its title by which it can alwaysbe found among its comrades: the keyword belongs to the upper row of the sheet

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

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

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

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

  5. Jul 2022
    1. Thefirst is tagging eachnote with a keywordthat identifies what the idea described in the note is about.

      What are the potential different affordances allowed by giving cards titles versus giving them topic keywords or other taxonomic links?

      Card titles may be useful in analog settings, but they can be even more valuable in digital settings where one can transclude "cards" (read: ideas) into outlines.

      Both of these two patterns have some similarities. Is Allosso differentiating between them? As his notes don't seem to have titles otherwise, one would presume that he's solely referring to topic categories.

  6. Jun 2022
    1. Tags can overcomethis limitation by infusing your Second Brain with connections,making it easier to see cross-disciplinary themes and patterns thatdefy simple categorization.

      Forte frames things primarily from a digital perspective so he talks about folders and tags, but seems to wholly forget the grand power of having an subject index. While they're broadly the same, it's as if he's forgoing two thousand years of rhetorical tradition to have something that seems new and innovative, but which are paths that are incredibly well travelled.

  7. May 2022
    1. The biggest mistake—and one I’ve made myself—is linking with categories. In other words, it’s adding links like we would with tags. When we link this way we’re more focused on grouping rather than connecting. As a result, we have notes that contain many connections with little to no relevance. Additionally, we add clutter to our links which makes it difficult to find useful links when adding links. That being said, there are times when we might want to group some things. In these cases, use tags or folders.

      Most people born since the advent of the filing cabinet and the computer have spent a lifetime using a hierarchical folder-based mental model for their knowledge. For greater value and efficiency one needs to get away from this model and move toward linking individual ideas together in ways that they can more easily be re-used.

      To accomplish this many people use an index-based method that uses topical or subject headings which can be useful. However after even a few years of utilizing a generic tag (science for example) it may become overwhelmed and generally useless in a broad search. Even switching to narrower sub-headings (physics, biology, chemistry) may show the same effect. As a result one will increasingly need to spend time and effort to maintain and work at this sort of taxonomical system.

      The better option is to directly link related ideas to each other. Each atomic idea will have a much more limited set of links to other ideas which will create a much more valuable set of interlinks for later use. Limiting your links at this level will be incredibly more useful over time.

      One of the biggest benefits of the physical system used by Niklas Luhmann was that each card was required to be placed next to at least one card in a branching tree of knowledge (or a whole new branch had to be created.) Though he often noted links to other atomic ideas there was at least a minimum link of one on every idea in the system.

      For those who have difficulty deciding where to place a new idea within their system, it can certainly be helpful to add a few broad keywords of the type one might put into an index. This may help you in linking your individual ideas as you can do a search of one or more of your keywords to narrow down the existing ones within your collection. This may help you link your new idea to one or more of those already in your system. This method may be even more useful and helpful for those who are starting out and have fewer than 500-1000 notes in their system and have even less to link their new atomic ideas to.

      For those who have graphical systems, it may be helpful to look for one or two individual "tags" in a graph structure to visually see the number of first degree notes that link to them as a means of creating links between atomic ideas.

      To have a better idea of a hierarchy of value within these ideas, it may help to have some names and delineate this hierarchy of potential links. Perhaps we might borrow some well ideas from library and information science to guide us? There's a system in library science that uses a hierarchical set up using the phrases: "broader terms", "narrower terms", "related terms", and "used for" (think alias or also known as) for cataloging books and related materials.

      We might try using tags or index-like links in each of these levels to become more specific, but let's append "connected atomic ideas" to the bottom of the list.

      Here's an example:

      • broader terms (BT): [[physics]]
      • narrower terms (NT): [[mechanics]], [[dynamics]]
      • related terms (RT): [[acceleration]], [[velocity]]
      • used for (UF) or aliases:
      • connected atomic ideas: [[force = mass * acceleration]], [[$$v^2=v_0^2​+2aΔx$$]]

      Chances are that within a particular text, one's notes may connect and interrelate to each other quite easily, but it's important to also link those ideas to other ideas that are already in your pre-existing body of knowledge.

      See also: Thesaurus for Graphic Materials I: Subject Terms (TGM I) https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/tgm1/ic.html

  8. Apr 2022
    1. Amie Fairs, who studies language at Aix-Marseille University in France, is a self-proclaimed Open Knowledge Maps enthusiast. “One particularly nice thing about Open Knowledge Maps is that you can search very broad topics, like ‘language production’, and it can group papers into themes you may not have considered,” Fairs says. For example, when she searched for ‘phonological brain regions’ — the areas of the brain that process sound and meaning — Open Knowledge Maps suggested a subfield of research about age-related differences in processing. “I hadn’t considered looking in the ageing literature for information about this before, but now I will,” she says.
    2. Another visual-mapping tool is Open Knowledge Maps, a service offered by a Vienna-based not-for-profit organization of the same name. It was founded in 2015 by Peter Kraker, a former scholarly-communication researcher at Graz University of Technology in Austria.


      Open Knowledge maps is a visual literature search tool that is based on keywords rather than on a paper's title, author, or DOI. The service was founded in 2015 by Peter Kraker, a former scholarly communication researcher at Graz University of Technology.

    1. Although humanists like Guarino da Verona(1370–1460), Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536), and Juan Luis Vives (1492–1540)explained the principles of the commonplace book that collected phrases worthyof imitation under topical headings, they did not offer detailed practical advice

      in print.33

      1. Moss (1996), 54–55. For Guarino’s methods, see the treatise by his son Battista in Guarino (2002); Erasmus discusses commonplacing in De copia and De ratione studii (Basel, 1512), in Erasmus (1978), 605–6, 636–38, 672; Vives does so in De tradendis disciplinis (1531), in Vives (1971), 108, 133

      Double check what Erasmus has to say as it would seem that Earle Havens contradicts this in Commonplace Books (Yale University Press, 2001). Perhaps its a difference of degree? I seem to recall that he indicated that Erasmus helped to popularize commonplacing practice.

    2. But modern note-taking is more idiosyncratic to each note-taker and no longer follows a set of subject headings that pedagogical practicesand printed reference works helped to standardize.

      Early modern reference works, handbooks, and pedagogical practices created a sort of standardized set of subject headings amongst note takers.

      A similar sort of effort could have been seen in the blogosphere of the early 2000s in which Technorati and their search functionality may have helped to standardize some of these same sorts of taxonomic issues within their product which was widely used at the time.

    1. In the 1740s, Thomas Harrison invented a wooden filing cabinet in which the file cards could be hooked on little tin plates. On each of these plates was written the name of the entry (i.e., the re-spective subject heading), and the plates were arranged in strictly alphabeti-cal order.22

      Thomas Harrison, a TK, invented a wooden filing cabinet in the 1740's for storing slips of paper. Each slip could be hooked onto tin plates which contained the topical or subject headings that were arranged in alphabetical order.

      Harrison's description was anonymously published with corrections and improvements by Vincent Placcius in De arte excerpendi. Vom gelehrten Buchhalten liber singularis (Stockholm/Hamburg, 1689), 124–59, in his hand-book on excerpting systems.

  9. Mar 2022
    1. Topic A topic was once a spot not a subjecttopic. to ̆p’ı ̆k. n. 1. The subject of a speech, essay, thesis, or discourse. 2. A subject of discussion or con-versation. 3. A subdivision of a theme, thesis, or outline.*With no teleprompter, index cards, or even sheets of paper at their disposal, ancient Greek and Roman orators often had to rely on their memories for holding a great deal of information. Given the limi-tations of memory, the points they chose to make had to be clustered in some meaningful way. A popular and quite reliable method for remembering information was known as loci (see Chapter 9), where loci was Latin for “place.” It involved picking a house you knew well, imagining it in your mind’s eye, and then associating the facts you wanted to recall with specifi c places inside of that house. Using this method, a skillful orator could mentally fi ll up numerous houses with the ideas he needed to recall and then simply “visit” them whenever he spoke about a particular subject. The clusters of informa-tion that speakers used routinely came to be known as commonplaces, loci communes in Latin and koinos topos in Greek. The great Greek philosopher Aristotle referred to them simply as topos, meaning “places.” And that’s how we came to use topic to refer to subject or grouping of information.**

      Even in the western tradition, the earliest methods of mnemonics tied ideas to locations, from whence we get the ideas of loci communes (in Latin) and thence commonplaces and commonplace books. The idea of loci communes was koinos topos in Greek from whence we have derived the word 'topic'.

      Was this a carryover from other local oral traditions or a new innovation? Given the prevalence of very similar Indigenous methods around the world, it was assuredly not an innovation. Perhaps it was a rediscovery after the loss of some of these traditions locally in societies that were less reliant on orality and moving towards more reliance on literacy for their memories.

  10. Feb 2022
    1. A zettelkasten is an accumulation of notes in which each successive note is given a number, rather than being placed in a category or topic.

      An example here of a misconception. The zettle may be given a number, but it is also given a topic tied into an index. Because it isn't put into a "folder" or "hierarchy" isn't the same thing as not giving it a topic.

    1. Make permanent notes.

      The important part of permanent notes are generating your own ideas and connecting (linking them densely) into your note system. The linking part is important and can be the part that most using digital systems forget to do. In paper zettelkasten, one was forced to create the first link by placing the note into the system for the first time. This can specifically be seen in Niklas Luhmann's example where a note became a new area of its own or, far more likely, it was linked to prior ideas.

      By linking the idea to others within the system, it becomes more likely that the idea can have additional multiple contexts where it might be used and improve the fact that context shifts will prove more insight in the future.

      Additional links to subject headings, tags, categories, or other forms of taxonomy will also help to make sure the note isn't lost completely into the system. Links to the bibliographical references within the system are helpful as well, especially for later citation. Keep in mind that these categories and reference links aren't nearly as valuable as the other primary idea links.

      One can surely collect ideas and facts into their system, but these aren't as important or as interesting as one's own ideas and the things that are sparked and generated by them.

      Asking questions in permanent notes can be valuable as they can become the context for new research, projects, and writing. Open questions can be incredibly valuable for one's thinking and explorations.

  11. Jan 2022
    1. Drexel recommended pondering the choices of the correct subject-term (caput rei), because it is hard to foresee in the ‘present’ which ‘past’ one might search for in the ‘future’.

      Drexel, Aurifodina, 135

      The question of the correct taxonomies isn't an easy one and certainly isn't new.

    2. Placcius recommended considering the first, the second, and the third letters in the words listed in the subject index in order to avoid spending too much time in searching for an entry;

      Placcius, De arte excerpendi, 84–5;

    1. But this is not the main reason. The other three programs try to achieve the connection or linking between different topics or cards (mainly) by assigning keywords. But this is not what Luhmann's approach recommended. While he did have a register of keywords, this was certainly not the most important way of interconnecting his slips. He linked them by direct references (Verweisungen). Any slip could refer directly to the physical and unchanging location of any other slip.

      Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten had three different forms of links.

      • The traditional keyword index/link from the commonplace book tradition
      • A parent/child link upon first placing the idea into the system (except when starting a new top level parent)
      • A direct link (Verweisungen) to one or more ideas already in the index card catalog.

      Many note taking systems are relying on the older commonplace book taxonomies and neglect or forego both of the other two sorts of links. While the second can be safely subsumed as a custom, one-time version of the third, the third version is the sort of link which helps to create a lot of direct value within a note taking system as the generic links between broader topic heading names can be washed out over time as the system grows.

      Was this last link type included in Konrad Gessner's version? If not, at what point in time did this more specific direct link evolve?

  12. Dec 2021
    1. Usually it is more fruitful to look for formulations of problems that relate heterogeneous things with each other.

      A great quote, but this is likely a nebulous statement to those with out the experience of practice. Definitely worth expanding on this idea to give it more detail.

    2. Considering the absence of a systematic order, we must regulate the process of rediscovery of notes, for we cannot rely on our memory of numbers. (The alternation of numbers and alphabetic characters in numbering the slips helps memory and is an optical aid when we search for them, but it is insufficient. Therefore we need a register of keywords that we constantly update.

      Luhmann indicated that one must keep a register of keywords to assist in the rediscovery of notes. This had been the standard within the commonplacing tradition for centuries before him. The potential subtle difference is that he seems to place more value on the placement links between cards as well as other specific links between cards over these subject headings.

      Is it possible to tell from his system which sets of links were more valuable to him? Were there more of these topical heading links than other non-topical heading links between individual cards?

    1. Through an inner structure of recursive links and semantic pointers, a card index achieves a proper autonomy; it behaves as a ‘communication partner’ who can recommend unexpected associations among different ideas. I suggest that in this respect pre-adaptive advances took root in early modern Europe, and that this basic requisite for information pro-cessing machines was formulated largely by the keyword ‘order’.

      aliases for "topical headings": headwords keywords tags categories

  13. Nov 2021
    1. trancis pacon outlined the two principal methods ofnote taking in a letter of advice to tulke urevilleW who was seeking to hireone or more research assistants in qambridge around ]cggh “ve that shallout of his own ”eading gather [notes] for the use of anotherW must Sas wthinkT do it by spitomeW or obridgmentW or under veads and qommonfllacesY spitomes may also be of ‘ sortsh of any one ortW or part of ynowledgeout of many pooksi or of one pook by itselfY”

      Quoted in Vernon F Snow “Ftrancis Bacon's Advice to Fulke Greville on Research Techniques," Huntington Library Quarterly 23, no.4 (1960): 370.

  14. Oct 2021
    1. Holiday’s is project-based, or bucket-based.

      Ryan Holiday's system is a more traditional commonplace book approach with broad headings which can feel project-based or bucket-based and thus not as flexible or useful to some users.

  15. Aug 2021
    1. Although it is difficult at present to know the precise impact of such filing systems, it is clear thatLinnaeus’s design mirrored the ways in which he arranged heads in his notes and books. The inte-rior space of his cabinet was divided into two open-faced columns, which meant that it was a phys-ical instantiation of a bilateral table.

      The design of Carl Linnaeus' specimen cabinets mirrored that of the bilateral tables and the ways he arranged his heads in his notes and books.

    2. Like the spatial hierarchies presented in the Philosophia botanica, he wanted asimple form of linear order that allowed him to access his sheets quickly. Such a desire led himto reject the spatial divisions featured in many contemporary curiosity and medical cabinets, thatis, closed drawers that were stacked in multiple columns. This rejection was probably linked tothe fact that he had already seen a better way forward in the form of filing systems that werephysical instantiations of commonplace divisions used so often in books.

      Linnaeus used the logic of topical headings in commonplace books as an intellectual framework for designing a better filing system for his physical plant specimens. This was in marked contrast to the sorts of contemporary curiosity and medical cabinets that others were using at the time.

    3. In contrast to the sheets used by other contemporary natural-ists, he refrained from binding his into a proper book and this allowed him to stack them in abespoke cabinet (arca) in a manner that allowed him to insert, remove and reorder them as he sawfit (Figure 9).64 It was for this reason that the Philosophia botanica gave explicit instructions onhow to build the cabinet and how to organize the specimen sheets within it. He recommended thatthe internal space be split into two columns with shelves that were collectively divided intotwenty-four sections, each of which was assigned a numerical head that represented a class withinhis system.65Each class section was filled with select specimen sheets divided by bands intogenera. In his words: If the folding doors are marked with the numbers and names of the genera, with the space on the shelvescorresponding exactly, and linden bands are kept between the spaces, enclosing the same genera andthemselves marked with the number of the genera, then any plant can be pulled out and produced with-out delay.66

      Note here the idea of being able to file things away, reorder them, and find them quickly. Search was a likely motivator.

      He's essentially created an early form of zettelkasten, but for plants.

    4. Ong maintains that this type of spatialization of aphorisms into heads started in the Renaissance. See Ong, Ramus, 315
    5. Since he was writing in Latin, he could arrange the narra-tive of each aphorism so that it began with a head that cued the reader to the content of the subse-quent narrative.

      Oh the times I wish this were easier to do in English without the gymnastics.

    6. In other words, the chapter titles of the Fundamenta botanicawere effectively titularheads which were transferable from one book to another and which served as labels for textualunits that could be moved through the space of the page in a manner that split books into chap-ters and chapters into books.

      In much the way one might move around portions of ideas under heads in a commonplace book, Carl Linnaeus was moving around bigger ideas/chapters within books and moving from one book to another.

    7. when he laid out the early form of his classification method in a pamphletentitled Methodus(1736), he used heads to order the text.16

      Carl Linnaeus' classification method in Systema Naturae, his famous nomenclature system, was informed by the traditional topical headings of commonplace books.

      [16] The content of Methodus and the nature of the heads is addressed in S. Müller-Wille, ‘Introduction’, in C.Linnaeus, Musa Cliffortiana: Clifford’s Banana Plant, translated by S. Freer (Liechtenstein: A.R.G. Gantner VerlagK.G., 2007), 33