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  1. Last 7 days
  2. Nov 2022
    1. Origin of Robert Greene's (May 14, 1959 - ) note taking system using index cards:<br /> Greene didn't recall a specific origin of his practices, but did mention that his mom found some index cards at his house from a junior high school class. (Presuming a 12 year old 7th grader, this would be roughly from 1971.) Ultimately when he wrote 48 Laws of Power, he was worried about being overwhelmed with his notes and ideas in notebooks. He naturally navigated to note cards as a solution.

      Uses about 50 cards per chapter.

      His method starts by annotating his books as he reads them. A few weeks later, he revisits these books and notes to transfer his ideas to index cards. He places a theme on the top of each card along with a page number of the original reference.

      He has kept much the same system as he started with though it has changed a bit over time.

      You're either a prisoner of your material or a master of your material.

      This might not be the best system ever created, but it works for me.

      When looking through a corpus of cards for a project, Robert Greene is able to make note of the need to potentially reuse a card within a particular work if necessary. The fact that index cards are inherently mobile within his projects make them easy to move and reuse.

      I haven't heard in either Robert Greene or Ryan Holiday's practices evidence that they reuse notes or note cards from one specific project to the next. Based on all the evidence I've seen, they maintain individual collections for each book project for which they're developing.

      [...] like a chameleon [the index card system is] constantly changing colors or [like] something that's able to change its shape at will. This whole system can change its shape as I direct it.

    1. Being an English only speaker I love the mystery invoked by the German term "Zettelkasten".

      Example of someone who sees "mystery" in the idea of Zettelkasten, which becomes part of the draw into using it.

    1. Robert Greene’s notecards

      Looks kind of like Billy Oppenheimer's box choice is heavily influenced by Robert Greene's.

    2. Throughout this piece Oppenheimer provides examples of notes he wrote which eventually made it into his written output in their entirety.

      This has generally been uncommon in the literature, but is a great form of pedagogy. It's subtle, but it makes his examples and advice much stronger than others who write these sorts of essays.

    1. Can we all agree that Zettelkasten note-taking is probably WAY more complexity than we need as creators?<br><br>Here's how to take the best parts & leave the rest to the academics pic.twitter.com/LFnAeBkbpG

      — ⚡️ Ev Chapman 🚢 | Creative Entrepreneur (@evielync) February 21, 2022
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  3. Oct 2022
    1. Paxson wrote several unusually sharp reviews of books by Mc-Master, Rhodes, and Ellis P. Oberholtzer, historians whose methodshave been compared with his own

      Examples of other historians who likely had a zettelkasten method of work.

      Rhodes' method is tangentially mentioned by Earle Wilbur Dow as being "notebooks of the old type". https://hypothes.is/a/PuFGWCRMEe2bnavsYc44cg

    2. November 7, 1916: "I expect to vote for Woodrow Wilson

      I wonder if others use the sense making features of a note card system to think through their voting decisions? This seems an interesting and useful exercise which Paxson has done.

    1. Turner was never comfortable at Harvard; when he retired in 1922 he became a visiting scholar at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, where his note cards and files continued to accumulate, although few monographs got published. His The Frontier in American History (1920) was a collection of older essays.

      Where did Turner's note cards and files end up? Are they housed at the Huntington Library? What other evidence or indication is there that this was an extensive zettelkasten practice here?

    1. http://drummer.this.how/AndySylvester99/Andy_Zettelkasten.opml

      Andy Sylvester's experiment in building a digital zettelkasten using OPML and tagging. Curious to see how it grows and particularly whether or not it will scale with this sort of UI? On first blush, the first issue I see as a reader is a need for a stronger and immediate form of search.

      RSS feeds out should make for a more interesting UI for subscribing and watching the inputs though.

    1. TweetSee new TweetsConversationSamuele Onelia @SamueleOneliaI added a new note to my #Zettelkasten after a month of inactivity. It still remains my favorite kind of mental therapy.

      I added a new note to my #Zettelkasten after a month of inactivity.<br><br>It still remains my favorite kind of mental therapy. <br><br>BTW this is the note (from the book: Effortless) 👇 pic.twitter.com/QF2Uy3W3T6

      — Samuele Onelia 😺 (@SamueleOnelia) October 24, 2022
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    1. https://www.denizcemonduygu.com/philo/browse/

      History of Philosophy: Summarized & Visualized

      This could be thought of as a form of digital, single-project zettelkasten dedicated to philosophy. It's got people, sources, and ideas which are cross linked in a Luhmann-sense (without numbering) though not in a topical index-sense. Interestingly it has not only a spatial interface and shows spatial relationships between people and ideas over time using a timeline, but it also indicates—using colored links—the ideas of disagreement/contrast/refutation and agreement/similarity/expansion.

      What other (digital) tools of thought provide these sorts of visualization affordances?

    1. There is a box stored in the German Literature Archive in Marbach, thewooden box Hans Blumenberg kept in a fireproof steel cabinet, for it con-tained his collection of about thirty thousand typed and handwritten notecards.1

      Hans Blumenberg's zettelkasten of about thirty thousand typed and handwritten note cards is now kept at the German Literature Archive in Marbach. Blumenberg kept it in a wooden box which he kept in a fireproof steel cabinet.

    1. All materials available will be evaluated: Dictionaries, glossaries, and texts of a literary and non-literary nature. The slip box presently contains 1.5 million slips referring to 12 million references; the slips are supplemented by means of digital material.

      Dictionnaire étymologique de l’ancien français (DEAF) is a dictionary built out of a slip box containing 1.5 million slipswith over 12 million references.

    1. Klassische Editionen können nur schwer die komplexe Arbeitsweise von Jungius’ abbilden und niemals alle möglichen Querverbindungen aufzeigen. Insbesondere sind thematisch zusammengehörende Stellen oft weit voneinander entfernt abgelegt worden, so dass selbst der bis auf die Ebene der kleinsten Konvolute des Bestands („Manipel“ von durchschnittlich etwa 15 Blatt Umfang) hinunterreichende gedruckte Katalog von Christoph Meinel deren Auffinden nur wenig erleichtert. Ebenso wenig sind sie in der Lage, die Rolle von Zeichnungen und Tabellen oder gar die Informationen auf den Zettelrückseiten adäquat wiederzugeben. Aufgrund dieser Besonderheiten ist der Nachlass Joachim Jungius besonders attraktiv für eine Digitalisierung.

      machine translation (Google):

      Classic editions can hardly depict Jungius' complex way of working and can never show all possible cross-connections. In particular, passages that belong together thematically have often been filed far apart from each other, so that even the printed catalog by Christoph Meinel, which extends down to the level of the smallest bundles of the collection (“Maniples” averaging around 15 pages in size), makes finding them only slightly easier. Nor are they able to adequately reproduce the role of drawings and tables or even the information on the backs of notes. Due to these special features, the estate of Joachim Jungius is particularly attractive for digitization.

      It sounds here as if Christoph Meinel has collected and printed a catalog of Joachim Jungius' zettelkasten. (Where is this? Find a copy.) This seems particularly true as related cards could and would have been easily kept far apart from each other, and this could give us a hint as to the structural nature of his specific practice and uses of his notes.

      It sounds as if Stabi is making an effort to digitize Jungius' note collection.

    2. Sein Nachlass umfasst u. a. Notizen zu allen wichtigen naturphilosophischen Fragen seiner Zeit und Briefwechsel mit seinen Schülern, die sich an den verschiedenen Universitäten des protestantischen Deutschlands und der Niederlande aufhielten. Er schrieb Literaturauszüge, Beobachtungsmitschriften, Vorlesungsvorbereitungen und anderes mehr auf kleine Zettel, von denen heute noch knapp 42.000 in der Stabi erhalten sind.

      machine translation (Google):

      His estate includes i.a. Notes on all important natural-philosophical questions of his time and correspondence with his students who stayed at the various universities in Protestant Germany and the Netherlands. He wrote excerpts from literature, observation notes, lecture preparations and other things on small pieces of paper, of which almost 42,000 are still preserved in the Stabi today.

      Die Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky (Stabi) houses the almost 42,000 slips of paper from Joachim Jungius' lifetime collection of notes which include excerpts from his reading, observational notes, his lecture preparations, and other miscellaneous notes.

    1. Underlining Keyterms and Index Bloat .t3_y1akec._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      Hello u/sscheper,

      Let me start by thanking you for introducing me to Zettelkasten. I have been writing notes for a week now and it's great that I'm able to retain more info and relate pieces of knowledge better through this method.

      I recently came to notice that there is redundancy in my index entries.

      I have two entries for Number Line. I have two branches in my Math category that deals with arithmetic, and so far I have "Addition" and "Subtraction". In those two branches I talk about visualizing ways of doing that, and both of those make use of and underline the term Number Line. So now the two entries in my index are "Number Line (Under Addition)" and "Number Line (Under Subtraction)". In those notes I elaborate how exactly each operation is done on a number line and the insights that can be derived from it. If this continues, I will have Number Line entries for "Multiplication" and "Division". I will also have to point to these entries if I want to link a main note for "Number Line".

      Is this alright? Am I underlining appropriately? When do I not underline keyterms? I know that I do these to increase my chances of relating to those notes when I get to reach the concept of Number Lines as I go through the index but I feel like I'm overdoing it, and it's probably bloating it.

      I get "Communication (under Info. Theory): '4212/1'" in the beginning because that is one aspect of Communication itself. But for something like the number line, it's very closely associated with arithmetic operations, and maybe I need to rethink how I populate my index.

      Presuming, since you're here, that you're creating a more Luhmann-esque inspired zettelkasten as opposed to the commonplace book (and usually more heavily indexed) inspired version, here are some things to think about:<br /> - Aren't your various versions of number line card behind each other or at least very near each other within your system to begin with? (And if not, why not?) If they are, then you can get away with indexing only one and know that the others will automatically be nearby in the tree. <br /> - Rather than indexing each, why not cross-index the cards themselves (if they happen to be far away from each other) so that the link to Number Line (Subtraction) appears on Number Line (Addition) and vice-versa? As long as you can find one, you'll be able to find them all, if necessary.

      If you look at Luhmann's online example index, you'll see that each index term only has one or two cross references, in part because future/new ideas close to the first one will naturally be installed close to the first instance. You won't find thousands of index entries in his system for things like "sociology" or "systems theory" because there would be so many that the index term would be useless. Instead, over time, he built huge blocks of cards on these topics and was thus able to focus more on the narrow/niche topics, which is usually where you're going to be doing most of your direct (and interesting) work.

      Your case sounds, and I see it with many, is that your thinking process is going from the bottom up, but that you're attempting to wedge it into a top down process and create an artificial hierarchy based on it. Resist this urge. Approaching things after-the-fact, we might place information theory as a sub-category of mathematics with overlaps in physics, engineering, computer science, and even the humanities in areas like sociology, psychology, and anthropology, but where you put your work on it may depend on your approach. If you're a physicist, you'll center it within your physics work and then branch out from there. You'd then have some of the psychology related parts of information theory and communications branching off of your physics work, but who cares if it's there and not in a dramatically separate section with the top level labeled humanities? It's all interdisciplinary anyway, so don't worry and place things closest in your system to where you think they fit for you and your work. If you had five different people studying information theory who were respectively a physicist, a mathematician, a computer scientist, an engineer, and an anthropologist, they could ostensibly have all the same material on their cards, but the branching structures and locations of them all would be dramatically different and unique, if nothing else based on the time ordered way in which they came across all the distinct pieces. This is fine. You're building this for yourself, not for a mass public that will be using the Dewey Decimal System to track it all down—researchers and librarians can do that on behalf of your estate. (Of course, if you're a musician, it bears noting that you'd be totally fine building your information theory section within the area of "bands" as a subsection on "The Bandwagon". 😁)

      If you overthink things and attempt to keep them too separate in their own prefigured categorical bins, you might, for example, have "chocolate" filed historically under the Olmec and might have "peanut butter" filed with Marcellus Gilmore Edson under chemistry or pharmacy. If you're a professional pastry chef this could be devastating as it will be much harder for the true "foodie" in your zettelkasten to creatively and more serendipitously link the two together to make peanut butter cups, something which may have otherwise fallen out much more quickly and easily if you'd taken a multi-disciplinary (bottom up) and certainly more natural approach to begin with. (Apologies for the length and potential overreach on your context here, but my two line response expanded because of other lines of thought I've been working on, and it was just easier for me to continue on writing while I had the "muse". Rather than edit it back down, I'll leave it as it may be of potential use to others coming with no context at all. In other words, consider most of this response a selfish one for me and my own slip box than as responsive to the OP.)

    1. Examining the cards, it becomes clear that the index constitutes not a mythic totalhistory but a specific set of facts and data that piqued Deutsch’s interest and whichreflected his personal research priorities (see Figure 2).

      Zettelkasten, if nothing else, are a close reflection of the interests of the author who collected them.

      link: Ahrens mentions this

    2. Scholem’s, given their own reading room at the National Library of Israel.

      Hebrew University Jewish mysticism scholar Gershom Scholem's zettelkasten has its own reading room at the National Library of Israel.

      Gershom Scholem (1897-1982)

  4. Sep 2022
    1. More important is the fact that recently some publishershave started to publish suitable publications not as solid books, but as file card collections.An example would be the Deutscher Karteiverlag [German File Card Publishing Company]from Berlin, which published a “Kartei der praktischen Medizin” [File Card of PracticalMedicine], published unter the co-authorship of doctors like R.F. Weiß, 1st edition (1930ff.).Not to be forgotten here is also: Schuster, Curt: Iconum Botanicarum Index, 1st edition,Dresden: Heinrich 1926

      As many people used slip boxes in 1930s Germany, publishers sold texts, not as typical books, but as file card collections!

      Link to: Suggestion that Scott Scheper publish his book on zettelkasten as a zettelkasten.

    1. By the way, Luhmann's system is said to have had 35.000 cards. Jules Verne had 25.000. The sixteenth-century thinker Joachim Jungius is said to have had 150.000, and how many Leibniz had, we do not know, though we do know that he had one of the most ingenious piece of furniture for keeping his copious notes.

      Circa late 2011, he's positing Luhmann had 35,000 cards and not 90,000.

      Jules Verne used index cards. Joachim Jungius is said to have had 150,000 cards.

    1. So entstanden 98 Bände, hergestellt nach einem Zettelkasten-System (Verne hinterließ 25 000 Stichwort-Karten), zum größeren Teil geschrieben in dem Turm zu Amiens, den Verne innen wie ein Schiff ausgestattet hatte.


      Google translation:

      The result was 98 volumes, produced according to a Zettelkasten system (Verne left 25,000 keyword cards), mostly written in the tower at Amiens, the interior of which Verne had decorated like a ship.

      Jules Verne had a zettelkasten which he used to write 98 volumes.

      Given that he was French we should cross check his name with "fichier boîte".

    1. level 1mambocab · 2 days agoWhat a refreshing question! So many people (understandably, but annoyingly) think that a ZK is only for those kinds of notes.I manage my slip-box as markdown files in Obsidian. I organize my notes into folders named durable, and commonplace. My durable folder contains my ZK-like repository. commonplace is whatever else it'd be helpful to write. If helpful/interesting/atomic observations come out of writing in commonplace, then I extract them into durable.It's not a super-firm division; it's just a rough guide.


      Other than my own practice, this may be the first place I've seen someone mentioning that they maintain dual practices of both commonplacing and zettelkasten simultaneously.

      I do want to look more closely at Niklas Luhmann's ZKI and ZKII practices. I suspect that ZKI was a hybrid practice of the two and the second was more refined.

    1. The drawers are jammed with jokes typed on 4-by-6-inch cards — 52 drawers, stacked waist-high, like a card catalog of a certain comedian’s life’s work, a library of laughs.

      Joan Rivers had an index card catalog with 52 drawers of 4-by-6-inch index cards containing jokes she'd accumulated over her lifetime of work. She had 13 2 drawer stackable steel files that were common during the mid-1900s. Rather than using paper inserts with the label frames on the card catalogs, she used a tape-based label maker to designate her drawers.

      Scott Currie, who worked with Melissa Rivers on a book about her mother, Joan Rivers, at the comedian’s former Manhattan office. Many of her papers are stored there.Credit...Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

  5. Aug 2022
    1. Although there is more than one way to implement a Zettelkasten system, the essential elements are always the same: brief summaries on cards, organized into categories.


      She's basically describing a form of the original zettelkasten (a slip or index card-based commonplace book), but where did she get this from? If it was the blogosphere, which is highly likely these days, then she's either misread or heavily simplified the practice (Luhmann's practice) back down to it's original form.

      She seems to take for granted how to link physical cards.

    1. (see paragraph 28)

      an example within this essay of a cross reference from one note to another showing the potential linkages of individual notes within one's own slipbox.

    1. I've been using WP as visible part of my zettel, which I keep in Obsidian. The only inconvenience is that I don't know how to make visible backlinks on pages that has links to and from.You can look how it works for yourself. Half of my WP is in Russian the section with books is fully in English. Browse there to see how it all works. Post your thoughts what you think about it.

      I know that a few people have been using the Webmention and the Semantic Linkbacks plugins for WordPress together to show the backlinks in the "comments" section of their posts/pages. Perhaps this may work for your purposes?

      A recent example I've seen someone put together on WordPress that does something similar (though not using Slippy) is https://cyberzettel.com/.

      In a similar vein, though not with WordPress, Kevin Marks mocked up a UI for an incoming/outgoing links in the mode of a Memex that also leverages Webmentions for part of the functionality: https://www.kevinmarks.com/memex.html.

    1. Hit me up. Happy to show my zettel-based writing, and how my notes translate into published content, both short- and long-form.

      Thanks u/taurusnoises, your spectacular recent video "Using the Zettelkasten (and Obsidian) to Write an Essay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OUn2-h6oVc is about as close to the sort of public example of output creation I had been looking for!

      I'm sure that there are other methods and workflows out there which vary by person, method, and modality (analog/digital) and it would be interesting to see what those practices look like as examples for others to use, follow, and potentially improve upon.

      I particularly appreciate that your visual starting perspective of the graph view in Obsidian fairly closely mimics what an analog zettelkasten user might be doing and seeing within that modality.

      I'm still collecting extant examples and doing some related research, but perhaps I'll have some time later in the year to do some interviews with particular people about how they're actively doing this as you suggested.

      On a tangential note, I'm also piqued by some of the specific ideas you mention in your notes in the video as they relate to some work on orality and memory I've been exploring over the past several years. If you do finish that essay, I'd love to read the finished piece.

      Thanks again for this video!

  6. Jul 2022
    1. For a Luhmannian Zettelkasten (Antinet), and for its output, we can turn to Luhmann's books. Also, there's my writing pieces from my book (which I've shared here and there). Everything I've put out started as notes in my Antinet.I think a lot of people in this community are still in the early stages. Until very recently with the introduction of my YouTube videos, there weren't any good resources for building an analog Zettelkasten.Right now people are in the incipient stages of developing knowledge with it. I think it will take some time (another 8-12 months) before people can provide links to their output (their books).Heck even myself, I can't provide a link to the Antinet Book yet because it's still being edited. The draft was finished around May.Soon I think there will be less hand-waving and more examples of output (books/dissertations) using the Antinet.You're spot on in your main point: output is the goal. The Antinet Zettelkasten is the airplane, the destination is the output.Apart from this, this community has some fantastic practitioners. Each person seems to be applying the fundamental component and then innovating on top of that in their own way.

      Scott, I'm not looking for outputs themselves (there are many of these floating about, though they're infrequently seen or talked about in our spaces), but more the unseen work between having a deck of cards and how one pulls them out, potentially orders them around, and physically manufactures the text itself. I'm looking for the (likely) droll videos of the enthusiastic zettelmacher(in) crawling around on the floor moving cards about to actually form the content. Or photos or video of their living room covered with several hundred cards ordering them into the form of the ultimate output which they've already written down, but just need to put into a reasonable logical linear form. What do these look like in digital and analog form?

    1. https://x28newblog.wordpress.com/2022/07/13/pruning-for-output/

      In response to my call for zettelkasten output examples, Matthias Melcher comes up to the border of what I was looking for but doesn't cover the actual output portion.

      He focuses instead about some of the processing and the pruning portions, but not use for actual content creation. Is this because he doesn't actively use his notes for the creation portion? Or does he use his branching tree space as recollections of notes, perhaps to create outlines for creation?

      Note specifically that he doesn't mention any sort of surprise or serendipity with respect to linking ideas nor is there any mention of "inventio" portions of the process.

  7. Jun 2022
    1. I very much appreciate your commitment to growth and learning. I also think it's nice to have colorful posts here vs. a ghost town. My feedback would be to gear your posts towards how to use an Antinet to produce written output. Specifically what main note you created, with pictures of the main note, and then elaborate on what they actually mean, and share a written post about the idea. You've done several of these posts, and I'd say lean even more towards sharing the most powerful thought/the most powerful maincard you've developed all week. For frequency, I'd say one post a week on this would be great.My main point is this: the primary use of Luhmann's Antinet was written output. The thoughts he shared were deep and developed because of the Antinet process. We're not in the PKM space, we're in the AKD space. Analog Knowledge Development, focusing on written output. The paradox is, when changing your mindset to written output, you actually become more of a learning machine.

      One of the toughest parts about these systems is that while they're relatively easy to outline (evidence: the thousands of 500-1000 word blog posts about zettelkasten in the last 3 years), they're tougher to practice and many people have slight variations on the idea (from Eminem's "Stacking Ammo" to Luhmann's (still incomplete) digital collection). Far fewer people are sticking with it beyond a few weeks or doing it for crazy reasons (I call it #ProductivityPorn, while Scott has the colorful phrase "bubble graph boys").

      For those who visit here, seeing discrete cards and ideas, videos, or examples of how others have done this practice can be immensely helpful. While it can be boring to watch a video of someone reading and taking notes by hand, it can also be incredibly useful to see exactly what they're doing and how they're doing it (though God bless you for speeding them up 😅).

      This is also part of why I share examples of how others have practiced these techniques too. Seeing discrete examples to imitate is far easier than trying to innovate your way into these methods, particularly when it's difficult to see the acceleration effects of serendipity that comes several months or years into the process. Plus it's fun to see how Vladimir Nabokov, Anne Lamott, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Bob Hope, Michael Ende, Twyla Tharp, Roland Barthes, Kate Grenville, Marcel Mauss, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Joan Rivers, Umberto Eco, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Raymond, Llull, George Carlin, John Locke, and Eminem all did variations of this for themselves. (This last sentence has so much entropy in it, I'm certain that it's never been written before in the history of humanity.)

      And isn't everyone tired to death of Luhmann, Luhmann, Luhmann? You'd think that no one had ever thought to take note of anything before?!

      While my own approach is a hybrid of online and offline techniques, I've gotten long emails from people following my Hypothes.is feed of notes and annotations saying what a useful extended example it is. Of course they don't see the follow up that entails revision of the notes or additional linking, tagging, and indexing that may go on, but it's at least enough of an idea that they understand the start of the practice.

      (Incidentally, I wrote most of this using a few cards from my own system. 🗃️✂️🖋️)

    1. Ps) I am trying to post daily content like this on LinkedIn using my Slip-Box as the content generator (the same is posted on Twitter, but LinkedIn is easier to read), so if you want to see more like this, feel free to look me up on LinkedIn or Twitter.

      Explicit example of someone using a zettelkasten to develop ideas and create content for distribution online and within social media.


    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.

    2. Everyone hashis or her own organizational system. Mine is a box, the kind you can buy at OfficeDepot for transferring files.I start every dance with a box. I write the project name on the box, and as thepiece progresses I fill it up with every item that went into the making of the dance.This means notebooks, news clippings, CDs, videotapes of me working alone in mystudio, videos of the dancers rehearsing, books and photographs and pieces of artthat may have inspired me.

      While she keeps more than just slips of paper (or index cards) in it, Twyla Tharp definitely falls into the pattern of creative collection related to the zettelkasten tradition.

    1. This indicates that it's a list of public zettelkasten, but in reality more are blogs, websites, digital gardens, or articles about digital gardens.

      Potentially indicative of the confusion people have about what these practices look like online.

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Xennial</span> in The Rise of Digital Gardeners - Musings of a Xennial (<time class='dt-published'>06/14/2022 12:01:39</time>)</cite></small>

  8. danallosso.substack.com danallosso.substack.com
    1. https://danallosso.substack.com/p/note-cards?s=r

      Outline of one of Dan's experiments writing a handbook about reading, thinking, and writing. He's taking a zettelkasten-like approach, but doing it as a stand-alone project with little indexing and crosslinking of ideas or creating card addresses.

      This sounds more akin to the processes of Vladimir Nabokov and Ryan Holiday/Robert Greene.

    1. Mario Bunge (1919–2020) was an Argentine-Canadian philosopher and physicist. Here are some excerpts from his book Between Two Worlds: Memoirs of a Philosopher-Scientist (Springer-Verlag, 2016) about his use of card-boxes

      Mario Bunge had a card index note taking practice.

    1. My own copy of A Catalogue of Crime certainly fits that description, even though I generally disagree with many of its harsh judgments on modern crime fiction. Barzun and Taylor definitely prefer classic whodunits, especially those written with wit, panache, and, above all, cleverness. The Catalogue lists more than 5,000 novel-length mysteries, collections of detective stories, true-crime books, and assorted volumes celebrating the delights of detection. Every entry is annotated, and a succinct critical judgment given.

      While this excerpt doesn't indicate the index card origin of the published book, it does indicate that it has descriptions of more than 5,000 novel-length mysteries, detective stories, etc. which includes annotations and critical judgements of each.

      One can thus draw the conclusion that this shared index card collection of details was used to publish a subsequent book.

    1. Mortimer J. Adler's slip box collection (Photo of him holding a pipe in his left hand and mouth posing in front of dozens of boxes of index cards with topic headwords including "law", "love", "life", "sin", "art", "democracy", "citizen", "fate", etc.)

      Though if we roughly estimate this collection at 1000 cards per box with roughly 76 boxes potentially present, the 76,000 cards are still shy of Luhmann's collection. It'll take some hunting thigs down, but as Adler suggests that people write their notes in their books, which he would have likely done, then this collection isn't necessarily his own. I suspect, but don't yet have definitive proof, that it was created as a group effort for the 54-volume Great Books of the Western World and its two-volume index of great ideas, the Syntopicon.

    1. together with his friend Wendell Hertig Taylor, kept a running tally of every mystery book that came along. Their brief descriptions, scribbled on three-by-five-inch index cards, eventually coalesced into “A Catalogue of Crime,” one of the foremost reference works in the mystery/suspense genre.

      Jacques Barzun had a card index for cataloging mystery/suspense books which he maintained on 3x5" cards with his friend Wendell Hertig Taylor.

      Did he keep a card index for his ideas as well?

  9. May 2022
    1. Somewhere in Stuttgart, 1785: Still in high school, a fifteen-year-old reader begins towrite on loose sheets of paper with order, diligence, and discretion: “In his reading, heapproached works in the following way: everything that seemed noteworthy to him—and what didn’t!—he wrote on a single sheet, which he labeled above with the generalheading under which the particular content should be subsumed. In the middle of theupper edge, he then wrote the keyword of the article in large letters, frequently inFraktur. He organized the sheets themselves again according to the alphabet, and dueto this simple mechanism, he was always ready to use his excerpts at any moment.” 1With each of his alphabetized notes, the young reader established a new address thatwould henceforth constitute the site for the concepts upon which his future activitiesas philosopher and scholar would be based.

      Markus Krajewski indicates here that Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (27 August 1770 – 14 November 1831) kept a zettelkasten, though from the sound of it, his sheets, organized by head words have more of a ring of commonplace book.

    1. like when i was uh with um yeah like 12 years ago i started my telecast no it's wrong like 13 years ago i'm an old dude it was like around in 00:13:24 2014 or 15 that you started it ah no no i started my first uh i might sell custom when it was like half a year uh it was 20 00:13:37 2008 i think okay 2008 2009

      Sascha Fast started his zettelkasten in 2008 or 2009 and went to plain text around 2010.

    2. you saw the inevitable blog posts in the blogosphere and the youtubers picked it up and if you actually did it like cold adaption it was very easy to see who actually did 00:04:34 it themselves and then had some practical experience and some people like just researched it and like i think you you know it like when people say like the 12 best tips for x and y 00:04:47 yeah and um you have this kind of blog post that's obvious like easy grabs for content

      There are likely far more people talking about zettelkasten and writing short, simple blogposts and articles about it than those who are actually practicing it and seeing benefit from it.

      Finding public examples of people practicing and showing their work in the zettelkasten space are few and far between.

      This effect likely increases the availability bias of Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten which is frequently spoken of, but it also has the benefit of being online, even if it's primarily written in German.

    3. i think that there are many people presenting just the saddle custom method or what uh they think that zelda custom method is but you never see like uh 00:03:18 how they actually do their own work

      Sounds that like me, Sascha Fast thinks many are talking about zettelkasten, but not actually practicing it properly.

    1. ZK II: Zettel 9/8j 9/8j Im Zettelkasten ist ein Zettel, der dasArgument enthält, das die Behauptungenauf allen anderen Zetteln widerlegt. Aber dieser Zettel verschwindet, sobald manden Zettelkasten aufzieht. D.h. er nimmt eine andere Nummer an,verstellt sich und ist dann nicht zu finden. Ein Joker.

      9/8j In the slip box is a slip containing the argument that refutes the claims on all the other slips.

      But this slip disappears as soon as you open the slip box.

      Ie he assumes a different number, disguises himself and then cannot be found.

      A joker.

      An example of a jokerzettel.

      Link this to the Claude Shannon's useless machine (based on an idea of Marvin Minsky) of a useless machine whose only function is to switch itself off. see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useless_machine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNa9v8Z7Rac

    1. Does anyone know of someone's public Zettelkasten somewhere on the internet? I am trying to write literature notes and permanent notes, and am trying to refine my own system but do not really think I am doing things all too well. I have read a decent amount of content on how one should write literature and permanent notes, but I think I am at the point where reading through someone else's Zettelkasten to get inspiration for how I create my own would be useful. However, I cannot find a good specific Zettelkasten one. I saw on github a list of digital gardens but most did not seemed geared towards the Zettelkasten approach, and the only one I saw that fit the bill was in Spanish...

      There are lots of people writing/saying they've got a digital zettelkasten online, but few actually are in the mold you're actively looking for. Most are wikis, digital gardens, commonplace books, or simply webpages or more blog-like in form.

      This IndieWeb wiki page has some of the few useful digital examples I'm aware of: https://indieweb.org/Zettelk%C3%A4sten

      I've got the start of a potential online site with some sample cards, though they're not all properly interlinked, online at https://notes.boffosocko.com. My Hypothes.is account is relatively zettelkasten-like in many of the ways you might be considering, though individual notes aren't heavily interlinked in the way one would like, though they are reasonably well indexed with keywords: https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich. Many notes may be more fleeting in nature, so look for the journal articles/books that have 10 or more annotations versus documents with under 5. Generally these all get moved into a digital system where they're further refined and interlinked.

  10. Apr 2022
    1. http://ratfactor.com/cards/

      Dave Gauer has nascent digital zettelkasten on his website though he calls them a virtual box of cards "(as opposed to 'zettelkasten' or 'wiki' or 'notes')".

      Given it's limited extent, the collection presents in a more wiki like fashion with such limited functionality (on the front end) that it appears more like a loose collection of web pages.

      What are the generally accepted distinctions between all these forms?

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Wp6q5hUdtA

      Nice example of someone building their own paper-based zettelkasten an how they use it.

      Seemingly missing here is any sort of indexing system which means one is more reliant on the threads from one card to the next. Also missing are any other examples of links to other cards beyond the one this particular card is placed behind.

      Scott Scheper is using the word antinet, presumably to focus on non-digital versions of zettelkasten. Sounds more like a marketing word that essentially means paper zettelkasten or card index.

    1. “Adversaria” was an actor’s term for reading notes, which highlighted the factthat reading notes stood in relationship to another text (without any connota-tion of that relationship being adversarial).45

      Do all these sentences in this paragraph have any cohesion? The author seems to be rambling a bit to put all of these ideas together. Makes me wonder at what their note collection looks like and how they're using it. This paragraph is a particularly awkward stringing together of what might be disparate, but vaguely related zettels. ("You can see where one card ends and the next begins...)

  11. Mar 2022
    1. If you don't like Zettlekasten (I have my "own" version of Zettlekasten that I use so it's not 100% the original, but it's very heavily based on it - if you hate Zettlekasten this really isn't going to work). 


      Elizabeth Filips is running a validation cohort for a course (presumably called MUSE, the marketing name for her "system" as well) on how to take notes and build a zettelkasten (or a second brain—there's evidence that she's taken Tiago Forte's course). She's got some indications that she's using a zettelkasten-like method for creation, but her burgeoning empire also appears to be firmly centered in the productivity porn space. I'm curious how she views her Muse system being different from a zettelkasten?

      She's got an incredibly focused sales funnel web presence here.

    1. i knew that that this is that might be different but no i of course you you don't connect it 00:27:44 that much with your own book it's more about that you see the idea and the idea is lumens idea and you're trying to describe it as good as possible

      Even Sönke Ahrens has indirectly attributed the idea of the zettelkasten directly to Niklas Luhmann.


    1. Beyond the log, I’m still trying to find the best mix between a traditional personal "knowledge base" in the form of a text file wiki versus a zettelkasten (wikipedia.org) versus this website.

      Example of someone thinking about the differences between their wiki, a zettelkasten, and a website.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wiol2oJAh6c

      Nothing new here for me. She's at least a reasonably good example of what's going on here and is looking at things from a bottom up perspective rather than a top down.

      I like that she talks about structure instead of using the idea of MOC.

    1. it is called the zettelkasten method and this was originally used by nicholas lumen in the 1960s

      They don't say outright that Luhmann invented the zettelkasten, but it's implied with the words "originally used".

    1. I also maintain a public Zettelkasten (others use the similar terms digital garden or second brain), in which I keep thoughts about everything under the sun. You can visit it to virtually “pick my brain” about some topic without bothering me, or to explore what I’m currently working on.

      Soren Bjornstad has a public zettelkasten which is in the vein of a traditional one though he indicates that others might call it a digital garden or second brain. This shows the conflation of many of these terms.

      What truly differentiates digital gardens from wikis and zettelkasten?

    1. https://www.newsletter.rikagoldberg.com/p/40-we-need-quality

      This meanders a lot and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to get from it...

      Based on the original context:

      Hey all. I have a love/hate relationship with digital gardening/zettelkasten-ing, but I understand that it's normal. More recently, my work has become very knowledge heavy, as I've started to write full time about technical things, so I've decided to try my hand, again, at a Zettelkasten. I wrote up the reasoning behind my decision here. If this post resonates with you, I'd love to hear your thoughts. https://www.newsletter.rikagoldberg.com/p/40-we-need-quality

      I'm thinking she's conflating the ideas of wiki and zettelkasten, which I've seen lead many people into trouble.

  12. Feb 2022
    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. Ahren’s book and ideas are not his original creation, but based on the method of Niklas Luhman referred to as the Zettelkasten. I see various references to Luhman’s ideas lately and predict this will become “a thing” in education.

      Another example of how much we've forgotten of our commonplacing and note taking traditions in rhetoric, and this from someone who's actively used note cards in the past.

      Luhmann did not invent the zettelkasten. (I should make bumper stickers...)

      Oops: https://www.zazzle.com/niklas_luhmann_bumper_sticker-128462770354241554

  13. Jan 2022
    1. Any interaction with the card index is differently informative not simply because the query is different but also because the variety is recursively reproduced and dependent on the past.

      Somehow this sparked the realization:

      The tattoos on Leonard Shelby's body in the film Memento act in some way as a physical zettelkasten of information stored on skin rather than index cards. The information can be traversed in a number of ways for a short period of time by Leonard. He uses the information over time to solve a murder.

      Guy Pierce as Leonard Shelby featuring a number of text-based tattoos on his torso and arms



    1. Tiny Brain Fans

      What a great domain name and site name for a zettelkasten!

  14. Dec 2021
    1. In 1657, the fi rst practitioner of nonhierarchical indexing, Joachim Jungius (born 1585), dies in Hamburg after compiling approximately 150,000 slips of papers with accumulated knowledge, bound and sorted according to the most minute details and building blocks and without registers or indexes, let alone reference systems. 3
      1. On Jungius and his technique, see Meinel 1995.

      Joachim Jungius (1585-1657) compiled approximately 150,000 slips of paper with accumulated knowledge sorted and bound but without indices. Markus Krajewski considers him the "first practitioner of nonhierarchical indexing."



  15. Sep 2021
  16. Aug 2021
    1. The Zettelkasten methodology was developed by German Social Scientist Niklas Luhmann.

      Here again is another example indicating that Niklas Luhmann developed the idea instead of it having evolved over several hundred years from the commonplace book and becoming more specific with the wide adoption of index cards in society once mass manufacture was more easily available.

  17. Jul 2021