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    1. Jerry Michalski says that The Brain provides him with a "neighborhood perspective" of ideas when he reduces the external link number for his graph down to 1.

      This is similar to Nicholas Luhmann's zettelkasten which provided neighborhoods of related notes based on distance from any particular note.

      Also similar to oral cultures who relied on movement through their environment for encoding memories and later remembering them. [I'll use the tag "environmental memory" to track this until a better name comes along.]

    1. Is the idea that you force yourself to find the link between a new idea and the existing cards? I didn't understand it that way.Example of the 4 cards I have nowone how there's a continuum between music that's easy digestable for the listener, where the creator does a lot of effort, and music that asks a lot from the listener, because the creator makes idiosyncratic music.the concept of "false consensus" in psychologylinked with that: "naive realism"one about (marching band) parades, how in some cultures/for some people it's more about choosing to enjoy and dance then about the musicians who are responsible for that. (I see a link with the first, but that's not what interests me in this one)

      reply to u/JonasanOniem at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16ss0yu/comment/k2buxsc/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      In digital contexts it is much easier and very common to create orphaned notes that aren't connected to anything. In a paper zettelkasten, you are forced to file your note somewhere and give it a number (only to be able to find it again—it's difficult, but try not to make the mistake of conflating your number with the idea of category). The physical act of placing it in your slipbox creates an implicit link to the things around it. As a result, your four notes would all initially seem to be directly related because they're nearby, but over time, they will naturally drift apart as you intersperse new notes between and among them. Though if they're truly directly interrelated, you can write down explicit links from notes at one end of your thought space to notes which seem distant.

      In your example, you may see some sort of loose link between your first and fourth notes relating to music. While it may be a distant one, given what you have, putting marching band "next to" digestible music is really the only place to put it. Over time, you'll certainly find other notes that come between them which will tend to split them apart and separate them by physical distance, but for now, if it's what you've got, then place them into the same neighborhood by giving them addresses (numbers) to suggest they live nearby. (Some note applications like Obsidian make this much harder to do, and as a result orphaned notes will eventually become a problem.)

      This physical process is part of the ultimate value of building knowledge from the bottom up. Like most people, you've probably been heavily trained to want to create a hierarchy from the top down (folder-based systems on computers of the late 20th century are a big factor here) which is exactly why you're going to have problems like this at the start. You'll want to place that music note somewhere else, or worse, orphan it. For some people who may not be able to immediately trust the process, it can be easier to create a few dozen or a hundred notes and then come back to them later to file and arrange them. This will allow you to seed some ground from which to continually build and help to bridge the gap between the desire to move top-down in a system designed to move from bottom-up.

      Depending on one's zettelkasten application (Obsidian, Zettlr, Logseq, The Archive, et al.) some do a better job of allowing the creation of "soft links" versus the more explicit hard or direct links (usually using [[WikiLinks]]). The soft links are usually best done by providing a number that places one note into proximity with another, but not all systems work this way. As a result, it's much easier to build a traditional commonplace book with Obsidian than it is to build a Luhmann-artig zettelkasten (see: https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/22/the-two-definitions-of-zettelkasten/). The concept of tags/categories in many systems is another form of soft link that can hold ideas together, so use this affordance if your application offers it as well. But also keep in mind that if sociology is your life's work, you'll eventually amass such a huge number of digital notes tagged with "sociology" that this affordance will become useless as it won't scale well for discovery and creating links.

    2. Hi, I just started to use Zettlr for my thoughts, in stead of just individual txt-files. I find it easy to add tags to notes. But if you read manuals how to use ZettelKasten, most seem to advice to link your notes in a meaningful way (and describe the link). Maybe it's because I just really started, but I don't find immediate links when I have a sudden thought. Sometimes I have 2 ideas in the same line, but they're more like siblings, so tagging with the same keyword is more evident. How do most people do this?

      reply to u/JonasanOniem at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16ss0yu/linking_new_notes/

      This sort of practice is harder when you start out in most digital apps because there is usually no sense of "closeness" of ideas in digital the way that is implied by physical proximity (or "neighborhood") found in physical cards sitting right next to or around each other. As a result, you have to create more explicit links or rely on using tags (or indexing) when you start. I've not gotten deep into the UI of Zettlr, but some applications allow the numbering (and the way numbered ideas are sorted in the user interface) to allow this affordance by creating a visual sense of proximity for you. As you accumulate more notes, it becomes easier and you can rely less on tags and more on direct links. Eventually you may come to dislike broad categories/tags and prefer direct links from one idea to another as the most explicit tag you could give a note . If you're following a more strict Luhmann-artig practice, you'll find yourself indexing a lot at the beginning, but as you link new ideas to old, you don't need to index (tag) things as heavily because the index points to a card which is directly linked to something in the neighborhood of where you're looking. Over time and through use, you'll come to recognize your neighborhoods and the individual "houses" where the ideas you're working with all live. As an example, Luhmann spent his life working in sociology, but you'll only find a few links from his keyword register/subject index to "sociology" (and this is a good thing, otherwise he'd have had 90,000+ listings there and the index entry for sociology would have been utterly useless.)

      Still, given all this, perhaps as taurusnoises suggests, concrete examples may help more, particularly if you're having any issues with the terminology/concepts or how the specific application affordances are being presented.

    1. The simple Zettelkasten Method:<br /> 1. Buy index cards 2. Buy a box 3. ??? 4. Profit

    2. Why did the chicken cross the road?

      To get to his zettelkasten on the other side!

      But when he got there, he realized he had forgotten the slip of paper with his perfect evergreen note. So the chicken crossed the road once again to retrieve it. But almost as if it were a jokerzettel, on the way back, a gust of wind blew the slip right out of the chicken's beak!

      The chicken tried to catch the runaway slip, but it kept evading him. He chased that slip all over the farm--through the pig sty, over fences, around the grain silo.

      Finally, exhausted but triumphant, the chicken caught the slip and carefully filed it away.

      Moral of the story: Don't count your slips before they're indexed!

    3. A priest, a rabbi, and Nicholas Luhmann walk into a bar. They sit down, and the priest says, "Let's all share ideas from our florilegia." The rabbi responds by pulling out his own annotation of a gloss on the commentary of Rashi which comments on the Mishnah and the Gamara. To this Luhmann replies, "You're not practicing the one true note taking religion unless you're using alpha-numeric identifiers and have appropriately cross indexed at sheet 031-R with a link branching off of note 100(1) in ZK I.

    4. Q: Why did the zettelkasten cross the road?

      A: It didn't because Barbara Tuchman, Nicholas Luhmann, Jacques Goutor, Johannes Erich Heyde, and Keith Thomas all recommend only writing on one side.

    1. Pulling this back on topic by querying my own zettelkasten...

      I've got versions of most of @Will's excellent list in my notes as well, but here are a few other metaphors (and analogies) which I don't think have been mentioned:

    1. t may be that in using his system hedeveloped his mind and his knowledge of history to the point wherehe expected his readers to draw more inferences from the facts heselected than most modern readers are accustomed to doing, in thisday of the predigested book.

      It's possible that the process of note taking and excerpting may impose levels of analysis and synthesis on their users such that when writing and synthesizing their works that they more subtly expect their readers to do the same thing when their audiences may require more handholding and explanation.

      Here, both the authors' experiences and that of the cultures in which they're writing will determine the relationship.

      There's lots of analogies between thinking and digesting (rumination, consumption, etc), in reading and understanding contexts.

      Source: https://hypothes.is/a/hhCGsljeEe2QlccJUQ55fA

    1. https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/16ilfgj/my_antinet_zettelkasten_setup/

      A great walkthrough of the physical pieces that a zettelkasten user is using.

      It almost borders on some of the productivity porn that is seen in the planner/productivity space.

      Not seen before: some pre-made templates for placing data on physical cards.

    1. Merchants and traders have a waste book (Sudelbuch, Klitterbuch in GermanI believe) in which they enter daily everything they purchase and sell,messily, without order. From this, it is transferred to their journal, whereeverything appears more systematic, and finally to a ledger, in double entryafter the Italian manner of bookkeeping, where one settles accounts witheach man, once as debtor and then as creditor. This deserves to be imitatedby scholars. First it should be entered in a book in which I record everythingas I see it or as it is given to me in my thoughts; then it may be enteredin another book in which the material is more separated and ordered, andthe ledger might then contain, in an ordered expression, the connectionsand explanations of the material that flow from it. [46]

      —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Notebook E, #46, 1775–1776

      In this single paragraph quote Lichtenberg, using the model of Italian bookkeepers of the 18th century, broadly outlines almost all of the note taking technique suggested by Sönke Ahrens in How to Take Smart Notes. He's got writing down and keeping fleeting notes as well as literature notes. (Keeping academic references would have been commonplace by this time.) He follows up with rewriting and expanding on the original note to create additional "explanations" and even "connections" (links) to create what Ahrens describes as permanent notes or which some would call evergreen notes.

      Lichtenberg's version calls for the permanent notes to be "separated and ordered" and while he may have kept them in book format himself, it's easy to see from Konrad Gessner's suggestion at the use of slips centuries before, that one could easily put their permanent notes on index cards ("separated") and then number and index or categorize them ("ordered"). The only serious missing piece of Luhmann's version of a zettelkasten then are the ideas of placing related ideas nearby each other, though the idea of creating connections between notes is immediately adjacent to this, and his numbering system, which was broadly based on the popularity of Melvil Dewey's decimal system.

      It may bear noticing that John Locke's indexing system for commonplace books was suggested, originally in French in 1685, and later in English in 1706. Given it's popularity, it's not unlikely that Lichtenberg would have been aware of it.

      Given Lichtenberg's very popular waste books were known to have influenced Leo Tolstoy, Albert Einstein, Andre Breton, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. (Reference: Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph (2000). The Waste Books. New York: New York Review Books Classics. ISBN 978-0940322509.) It would not be hard to imagine that Niklas Luhmann would have also been aware of them.

      Open questions: <br /> - did Lichtenberg number the entries in his own waste books? This would be early evidence toward the practice of numbering notes for future reference. Based on this text, it's obvious that the editor numbered the translated notes for this edition, were they Lichtenberg's numbering? - Is there evidence that Lichtenberg knew of Locke's indexing system? Did his waste books have an index?

    1. I wonder what you think of a distinction between the more traditional 'scholar's box', and the proto-databases that were used to write dictionaries and then for projects such as the Mundaneum. I can't help feeling there's a significant difference between a collection of notes meant for a single person, and a collection meant to be used collaboratively. But not sure exactly how to characterize this difference. Seems to me that there's a tradition that ended up with the word processor, and another one that ended up with the database. I feel that the word processor, unlike the database, was a dead end.

      reply to u/atomicnotes at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16njtfx/comment/k1tuc9c/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      u/atomicnotes, this is an excellent question. (Though I'd still like to come to terms with people who don't think it acts as a knowledge management system, there's obviously something I'm missing.)

      Some of your distinction comes down to how one is using their zettelkasten and what sorts of questions are being asked of it. One of the earliest descriptions I've seen that begins to get at the difference is the description by Beatrice Webb of her notes (appendix C) in My Apprenticeship. As she describes what she's doing, I get the feeling that she's taking the same broad sort of notes we're all used to, but it's obvious from her discussion that she's also using her slips as a traditional database, but is lacking modern vocabulary to describe it as such.

      Early efforts like the OED, TLL, the Wb, and even Gertrud Bauer's Coptic linguistic zettelkasten of the late 1970s were narrow enough in scope and data collected to make them almost dead simple to define, organize and use as databases on paper. Of course how they were used to compile their ultimate reference books was a bit more complex in form than the basic data from which they stemmed.

      The Mundaneum had a much more complex flavor because it required a standardized system for everyone to work in concert against much more freeform as well as more complex forms of collected data and still be able to search for the answers to specific questions. While still somewhat database flavored, it was dramatically different from the others because of it scope and the much broader sorts of questions one could ask of it. I think that if you ask yourself what sorts of affordances you get from the two different groups (databases and word processors (or even their typewriter precursors) you find even more answers.

      Typewriters and word processors allowed one to get words down on paper quicker by a magnitude of order or two faster, and in combination with reproduction equipment, made it easier to spin off copies of the document for small scale and local mass distribution a lot easier. They do allow a few affordances like higher readability (compared with less standardized and slower handwriting), quick search (at least in the digital era), and moving pieces of text around (also in digital). Much beyond this, they aren't tremendously helpful as a composition tool. As a thinking tool, typewriters and word processors aren't significantly better than their analog predecessors, so you don't gain a huge amount of leverage by using them.

      On the other hand, databases and their spreadsheet brethren offer a lot more, particularly in digital realms. Data collection and collation become much easier. One can also form a massive variety of queries on such collected data, not to mention making calculations on those data or subjecting them to statistical analyses. Searching, sorting, and making direct comparisons also become far easier and quicker to do once you've amassed the data you need. Here again, Beatrice Webb's early experience and descriptions are very helpful as are Hollerinth's early work with punch cards and census data and the speed with which the results could be used.

      Now if you compare the affordances by each of these in the digital era and plot their shifts against increasing computer processing power, you'll see that the value of the word processor stays relatively flat while the database shows much more significant movement.

      Surely there is a lot more at play, particularly at scale and when taking network effects into account, but perhaps this quick sketch may explain to you a bit of the difference you've described.

      Another difference you may be seeing/feeling is that of contextualization. Databases usually have much smaller and more discrete amounts of data cross-indexed (for example: a subject's name versus weight with a value in pounds or kilograms.) As a result the amount of context required to use them is dramatically lower compared to the sorts of data you might keep in an average atomic/evergreen note, which may need to be more heavily recontextualized for you when you need to use it in conjunction with other similar notes which may also need you to recontextualize them and then use them against or with one another.

      Some of this is why the cards in the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae are easier to use and understand out of the box (presuming you know Latin) than those you might find in the Mundaneum. They'll also be far easier to use than a stranger's notes which will require even larger contextualization for you, especially when you haven't spent the time scaffolding the related and often unstated knowledge around them. This is why others' zettelkasten will be more difficult (but not wholly impossible) for a stranger to use. You might apply the analogy of context gaps between children and adults for a typical Disney animated movie to the situation. If you're using someone else's zettelkasten, you'll potentially be able to follow a base level story the way a child would view a Disney cartoon. Compare this to the zettelkasten's creator who will not only see that same story, but will have a much higher level of associative memory at play to see and understand a huge level of in-jokes, cultural references, and other associations that an adult watching the Disney movie will understand that the child would completely miss.

      I'm curious to hear your thoughts on how this all plays out for your way of conceptualizing it.

    2. I mean, just what I said. If you adapt the zettelkasten to meet knowledge management needs, that’s great. But it does need adapting (as your examples, none of which are conversation-partner zettelkästen but, as syntopicon implies, a collection of information gathered into categories) and is not the best way to do it. (Edit: Ryan Holiday’s system is, by his own admission, not a zettelkästen despite being a bunch of cards with notes on them categorized in a box). Even the source you use about Goitein admits that he was more in the commonplace book tradition, and that other people’s use of his cards is not common to the point of being remarked on here. He doesn’t even call it a zettelkästen, and shouldn’t. There’s not even links or reference numbers, which are integral to the ZK system.It’s not an argument. But as with everything ymmv.(For what it’s worth, my ZK is extremely specific to my individual projects and readings. But I imagine that yes, with time and heavy adaptations, you can make it into little more than a record of my knowledge into broad topics. That you can use it that way does not mean that’s what it is for.)

      reply to u/glugolly at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16njtfx/comment/k1l8lyk/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      How is it that you're defining knowledge management or knowledge management system?

      I would argue that any zettelkasten of any stripe is taking knowledge/ideas from either content or one's own brain and transferring them into some sort of media by which they are managed or structured in some way for later linking, combination, or other reuse. By base definition this is clearly knowledge management. I don't know how one defines it otherwise except by pure denial.

      Your view of zettelkasten seems remarkably narrow. As a small sample the original Maschinen der Phantasie Marbach exhibition in 2013, which broadly prefigured the popularization of zettelkasten (and in particular the launch of zettelkasten.de) which we see today featured six zettelkasten of which Luhmann's was the only one with reference numbers or what we might now consider explicit HTML-like links. Most of the others contained either explicit groupings or implied links, but that doesn't diminish the value they held for their creators for creating a conversation of ideas for them. Incidentally most of the zettelkasten featured there prefigured Luhmann's and only two were roughly contemporaneous with his.

      If you look more closely at Adler, et al. you'll notice that the entire purpose of their enterprise was to create and nurture a conversation between themselves and their readers with texts and authors spanning over 2,500 years, a point which is underlined by the introductory volume which preceded the two volumes of the Syntopicon. Not coincidentally, that first volume of the 54 book series was entitled "The Great Conversation."

      Specifically from Adler's "How to Read a Book", the first edition of which predated the Great Books of the Western World:

      Reading a book should be a conversation between you and the author.

      This is a process which is effectuated by

      Marking a book is literally an expression of your differences or your agreements with the author. It is the highest respect you can pay him.

      and later,

      That is to make notes about the shape of the discussion-the discussion that is engaged in by all of the authors, even if unbeknownst to them. For reasons that will become clear in Part Four, we prefer to call such notes dialectical.

      (As an aside, why aren't more people talking about the nature of dialectical notes, which seem far more important and useful than either fleeting notes and permanent notes?)

      In your link to Holiday, he doesn't say his system isn't a zettelkasten, a word which an English speaker was highly unlikely to have used in 2013 in any case, even when referencing Manfred Kuehn from 2007. It simply indicates that "[Luhmann's] discipline seems to exceed mine because I am a lot less ordered".

      The Goitein source (which I wrote) may use commonplace book as a descriptor but that doesn't mitigate the fact that the entirety of the zettelkasten tradition arises from it (the primary difference being things written (usually) on bound pages versus slips of paper). Before these there was the closely related idea of florilegia stemming from the earlier locus communis (Latin) and tópos koinós (Greek).

    3. Well one obvious drawback is that zettelkästen is not a knowledge management system.

      reply to u/glugolly at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16njtfx/comment/k1fn8w4/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3 and

      Well, Zettelkasten is not a knowledge management system. [...] Update: I mean digital ZK. Shoe-box ZK is a combination of knowledge management system of that time and "thought system" of Niklas Luhmann. u/Aponogetone at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16njtfx/comment/k1f23nj/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      I'm curious to see some evidence for why both you and u/Aponogetone say that a slip box (analog, digital or otherwise) is not a knowledge management system? Perhaps you don't think of it that way or use it solely to that end, but I find it difficult to see in light of the way I use mine and others have in the past. I suspect that if I had access to either of yours I could use it as a knowledge management system and it would tell me a lot about your interests and what you know and with a bit of work I could continue using it as one.

      Even an argument against the more encompassing group nature versus personal or individual knowledge management systems is blunted by the use of a Zettelkasten by Adler, Hutchins, et al. to create the Syntopicon, the group uses by the Mundaneum effort (which went to great lengths to standardize information to be findable), the Oxford English Dictionary compilation, Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (TLL), Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache, or even the academics who still use photocopies or microfilm versions of S.D. Goitein's zettelkasten.

      What are the rest of us missing in your argument?

    4. But I’m increasingly inclined to the view that the genius of ZK is the simple fact that it forces its user to continually interact with, and create connections among their thoughts and the thoughts of others.To the extent that’s correct, the work that ZK demands is not a drawback at all. It is in fact ZKs primary benefit; it’s a serious feature and not at all a bug.

      reply to u/TeeMcBee and u/taurusnoises at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16njtfx/comment/k1ic0ot/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      And two more big yeses.

      There is a growing amount of literature in the educational social annotation space in which teachers/professors are using it specifically to encourage their students to interact with class material and readings. The mechanics on the front end are exactly the same as in most ZK set ups, the difference is what happens with the annotations one makes.

      An entry point into some of this research:

    1. There are no privileged places in the note-card system, every card is as important as every other card, and no hierarchy is super-imposed on the system. The significance of each card depends on its relation to other cards (or the relation of other cards to it). It is a network; it is not "arboretic." Accordingly, it in some ways anticipates hypertext and the internet.

      Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten system doesn't impose a heirarchy upon it's contents and in some ways its structure anticipates the ideas of hypertext and the internet's structure.

      Also similar to the idea from Umberto Eco: https://hypothes.is/a/jqug2tNlEeyg2JfEczmepw

    1. It looks like the system is also very similar to Luhmann’s Zettelkasten. Though again, his discipline seems to exceed mine because I am a lot less ordered.

      Fascinating to see Ryan Holiday referencing Manfred Kuehn blogposts from 2007 here.

      Specifically it was a link to http://takingnotenow.blogspot.com/2007/12/luhmanns-zettelkasten.html

      Given the popularity of this original Thought Catalog post and the alternate which appeared on Holiday's site, this reference would likely have helped to push the popularity of Luhmann and his Zettelkasten in English speaking territories after 2013-12-23.

    1. The colors represent categories, you are correct. So, for instance, with the War book, blue cards would be about politics, yellow strictly war, green the arts and entertainment, pink cards on strategy, etc. I could use this in several ways. I could glance at the cards for one chapter and see no blue or green cards and realize a problem. I could also take out all the cards of one color to see which story I liked best, etc. It also made the shoebox look pretty cool.

      Robert Greene used a color code for his index cards which also helped him to realize gaps in certain areas. He also liked them because "It also made the shoebox look pretty cool."

    2. -It looks like the system is also very similar to Luhmann’s Zettelkasten

      Ryan Holiday's system puts some of the work farther from the note taking origin compared with Nicholas Luhmann's system which places more of it up front.

      How, if at all, do the payoffs from doing each of these vary for the end user of the system?

  2. Sep 2023
    1. For note makers who find themselves creating an unwieldy amount of so-called "orphan notes," the folgezettel sounds the alarm. When faced with a sea of parents without children (9A 9B 9C 9D 9E, etc) it makes these "empty nesters" all the more apparent as the note gets added to the stack.

      There's an interesting dichotomy which seems to be arising here. It's almost as if he's defining a folgezettel note in opposition to orphaned notes, most often seen in digital settings when importing lots of "stuff" but which Doto indicates can happen in analog systems as well.

      Orphaned notes in an analog space, however are still linked by proximity even though they're not as densely linked (even from a mathematical topology perspective.)

    2. folgezettel pushes the note maker toward making at least one connection at the time of import.

      There is a difference between the sorts of links one might make when placing an idea into an (analog) zettelkasten. A folgezettel link is more valuable than a simple tag/category link because it places an idea into a more specific neighborhood than any handful of tags. This is one of the benefits of a Luhmann-artig ZK system over a more traditional commonplace one, particularly when the work is done up front instead of being punted to a later time.

      For those with a 1A2B3Z linking system (versus a pure decimal system), it may be more difficult to insert a card before other cards rather than after them because of the potential gymnastics of numbering and the natural tendency to put things into a continuing linear order.

      See also: - https://hypothes.is/a/ToqCPq1bEe2Q0b88j4whwQ - https://hyp.is/WtB2AqmlEe2wvCsB5ZyL5A/docdrop.org/download_annotation_doc/Introduction-to-Luhmanns-Zette---Ludecke-Daniel-h4nh8.pdf

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

      Scott Sheper demonstrates one of the lowest forms of zettelkasten: simply indexing an idea from a book into one's index. This includes skipping the step of excerpting the idea into it's own card.

      He describes it as zettelkasten knowledge building for busy people. It's definitely a hard turn from his all-in Luhmann-esque method.

      In the end it comes down to where one puts in the work. Saving the work of having done some reading for a small idea one may tangentially reference later is most of the distance, but he's still going to have to do more work later to use the idea.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40MTSRdQZPs

      For when your analog Zettelkasten grows too big for just a few filing cabinets and you're ready to automate some of your slip finding work!

    1. op line: title, author, publisher, year published, and number of pages Second line: Reading level, recommended age (which isn’t always the same as the RL), and my rankings of the book’s overall value, its artistic value, and its worldview or moral value.* For a novel, I list principal characters down the left side of the card, along with the age of the protagonist and possibly one or two more.  (Age is important in children’s literature, because kids tend to read novels about characters who are their age or a little older.) Cautions: Usually there’s a little room under the bottom line.  I use that space to note cautions according to our categories of Language, Worldview, Sensuality, Violence, Vulgarity, Dark/Depressing, Character Issues, or Supernatural elements. Flipping the card over, I turn it upside-down and copy anywhere from 1-5 of those quotes I flagged, if I still think they’re worth noting.  I print very small, so there’s room for at least 3 of these, even on a lengthy review. Then, a brief summary on the front of the card. I write it as a book reviewer would, giving a general outline of the plot without revealing spoilers or resolutions—unless it’s a plot point that parents really need to know.  Because I’ve already made a character list, I can refer to characters by initials only, which saves a little time.

      Zajímavý, jednoduchý způsob jak psát kartičky s poznámkami z četby.

    1. (1:20.00-1:40.00) What he describes is the following: Most of his notes originate from the digital using hypothes.is, where he reads material online and can annotate, highlight, and tag to help future him find the material by tag or bulk digital search. He calls his hypothes.is a commonplace book that is somewhat pre-organized.

      Aldrich continues by explaining that in his commonplace hypothes.is his notes are not interlinked in a Luhmannian Zettelkasten sense, but he "sucks the data" right into Obsidian where he plays around with the content and does some of that interlinking and massage it.

      Then, the best of the best material, or that which he is most interested in working with, writing about, etc., converted into a more Luhmannesque type Zettelkasten where it is much more densely interlinked. He emphasizes that his Luhmann zettelkasten is mostly consisting of his own thoughts and is very well-developed, to the point where he can "take a string of 20 cards and ostensibly it's its own essay and then publish it as a blog post or article."

    1. Does anyone use zettelkasten method for their university notes? .t3_16h0k5n._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/PumpkinPines at tk

      Your 1chapter1note idea is essentially what Ahrens called a "literature note" for your lecture. Many of the things you write down you'll either absorb or remember over time as you learn and you won't think twice about them. However there may be one or two interesting snippets you put into your lecture notes that are really intriguing to you and those you'll want to excerpt and expand on as more fleshed out "permanent notes" which will be the zettels in your zettelkasten. Over time these may grow into projects, papers, articles, a book, or other more explicit content.

      For more on this idea, try these recent discussions * https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/yf1e8j/help_a_newbie_difference_between_literature_notes/ * https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/162os2q/how_can_i_use_zettelkasten_as_a_high_school/

      A common make-work mistake is that everyone seems to think that they need to take each scrap they write down into some sort of "perfect" permanent note. Don't do this. You'll only exhaust yourself and die by zettelkasten.

    1. A Zettelkasten is a system of notes that fit the criteria of being a system.

      Zettelkasten as a system of notes that carry certain affordances

    1. The functional equivalent, which is – however – more powerful and allows multiple storage, is the keyword register, which defines certain notes as thematic „entrance“ into the Zettelkasten.

      Love the framing of the index as a "thematic entrance" into the Zettekasten

    1. Mortimer]. Adler

      Searching for "commonplace" and "card" in the text doesn't reveal anything positive.

      re: https://hypothes.is/a/NiMaVO_iEeuNF7N35U9BpA

      It would seem that Adler considered the method a simple bit of memory storage and not as a thinking tool or processing tool.

      Is there anything we can find that is dispositive to this?

    1. My main purpose for using note-cards is to form lines of poetry into actual poems. Currently it's specifically erotic poetry that I'm writing, so it seems like there is a limited number of categories that I keep coming back to in regards to content: beauty, fashion, movement, relationship, etc, which I've put on the top of my index cards. This is based off of Ryan Holiday and Robert Greene's index card systems. I've also added subcategories: for example, beauty and myth, beauty and plant associations, etc. Going deeper, I might write B-P-F in the corner for Beauty-Plant-Flower, and then have BPF-1, 2, etc. If I organize these alphabetically with tabs, it seems like it would be easy to find the subject I'm looking for at a glance. One problem might be if I want to start making additional notes about which cards stand out for their structure: rhyme, alliteration, etc. Have various ideas for this.My questions are: what is the benefit of having an alphanumeric indexing system where you label subjects with 1, 2, 3, and then going deeper with 1a, 1a1, etc. when it seems like it would be harder to remember that science is #1 and philosophy is #2 vs. just putting science under S and philosophy under P? Is the Zettelkasten (alphanumeric) method better for creating a wide-ranging general knowledge database in a way I'm not realizing? Would there be any benefit for my narrower writing purpose? Any responses are appreciated.

      reply to u/DunesNSwoon at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16ad43u/zettelkasten_alphanumeric_method_vs_alphabetical/

      Allow me an iconoclastic view for this subreddit: Given what you've got and your creative use case, I'll recommend you do not do any numbering or ordering at all!

      Instead follow the path of philosopher Raymond Llull and create what is sometimes referred to as a Llullian memory wheel. Search for one of his diagrams from the 11th century. Then sift through your cards for interesting ones and place one of your cards at each of the many letters, numbers, words, images, or "things" on the wheels, which were designed to move around a central axis much like a child's cryptographic decoder wheel based on the Caesar cipher. Then move things about combinatorically until you find interesting patterns, rhymes, rhythms, etc. to compose the poetry you're after.

      Juxtaposing ideas in random (but structured) ways may help accelerate and amplify your creativity in ways you might not expect.

      They meant them to be used on a slower timescale, but Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt's Oblique Strategies are not too dissimilar in their effect. You might find them useful when you're creatively "stuck". As a poet you might also create a mini deck of cards with forms on them (sonnet, rhymed couplets, villanelle, limerick, etc.) to draw from at random and attempt to compose something to fit it. Odd constraints can often be helpful creative tools.

    1. Which note taking app for a Luhmann Zettlekasten

      I've not tried it myself or seen an example, but given the structure, it would seem like Reveal.js might give you the the sort of functionality you're looking for while having many other affordances one might look for in a digital and/or online zettelkasten.

      inspired by question by u/Plastic-Lettuce-7150 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/168cmca/which_note_taking_app_for_a_luhmann_zettlekasten/

    2. I am working on an experimental version of a Zettelkasten that displays as a mind map within the Mandelbrot set. It is open source and free/self hosted. I think you might be interested.https://github.com/satellitecomponent/Neurite
  3. Aug 2023
    1. Old web demo I made of sociologist Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten with automatic reference and back reference indices (don't visit on mobile data, it's a data-heavy app 16MiB) .t3_16562do._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      via u/epilys at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16562do/old_web_demo_i_made_of_sociologist_niklas/


      I wrote this one as a weekend project for fun back in 2021. It was supposed to be a demo for this article that gives a way to use a database software (called sqlite) to create a Zettelkasten:


    1. Question: fiction and non-fiction .t3_164ob1y._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      For those that do both fiction and non-fiction work in their zettelkasten, do you consider the portion dedicated to fiction a "department" or a "compartment" within it? or perhaps something altogether different?

    1. For context, I don't use a traditional Zettelkasten system. It's more of a commonplace book/notecard system similar to Ryan HolidayI recently transitioned to a digital system and have been using Logseq, which I enjoy. It's made organizing my notes and ideas much easier, but I've noticed that I spend a lot of time on organizing my notesSince most of my reading is on Kindle, my process involves reading and highlighting as I read, then exporting those highlights to Markdown and making a page in Logseq. Then I tag every individual highlightThis usually isn't too bad if a book/research article has 20-30 highlights, but, for example, I recently had a book with over 150 highlights, and I spent about half an hour tagging each oneI started wondering if it's overkill to tag each highlight since it can be so time consuming. The advantage is that if I'm looking for passages about a certain idea/topic, I can find it specifically rather than having to go through the whole bookI was also thinking I could just have a set of tags for each book/article that capture what contexts I'd want to find the information in. This would save time, but I'd spend a little more time digging through each document looking for specificsCurious to hear your thoughts, appreciate any suggestions

      reply to m_t_rv_s__n/ at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/164n6qg/is_this_overkill/

      First, your system is historically far more traditional than Luhmann's more specific practice. See: https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/22/the-two-definitions-of-zettelkasten/

      If you're taking all the notes/highlights from a particular book and keeping them in a single file, then it may be far quicker and more productive to do some high level tagging on the entire book/file itself and then relying on and using basic text search to find particular passages you might use at a later date.

      Spending time reviewing over all of your notes and tagging/indexing them individually may be beneficial for some basic review work. But this should be balanced out with your long term needs. If your area is "sociology", for example, and you tag every single idea related to the topic of sociology with #sociology, then it will cease to have any value you to you when you search for it and find thousands of disconnected notes you will need to sift through. Compare this with Luhmann's ZK which only had a few index entries under "sociology". A better long term productive practice, and one which Luhmann used, is indexing one or two key words when he started in a new area and then "tagging" each new idea in that branch or train of though with links to other neighboring ideas. If you forget a particular note, you can search your index for a keyword and know you'll find that idea you need somewhere nearby. Scanning through the neighborhood of notes you find will provide a useful reminder of what you'd been working on and allow you to continue your work in that space or link new things as appropriate.

      If it helps to reframe the long term scaling problem of over-tagging, think of a link from one idea to another as the most specific tag you can put on an idea. To put this important idea into context, if you do a Google search for "tagging" you'll find 240,000,000 results! If you do a search for the entirety of the first sentence in this paragraph, you'll likely only find one very good and very specific result, and the things which are linked to it are going to have tremendous specific value to you by comparison.

      Perhaps the better portions of your time while reviewing notes would be taking the 150 highlights and finding the three to five most important, useful, and (importantly) reusable ones to write out in your own words and begin expanding upon and linking? These are the excerpts you'll want to spend more time on and tag/index for future use rather than the other hundreds. Over time, you may eventually realize that the hundreds are far less useful than the handful (in management spaces this philosophy is known as the Pareto principle), so spending a lot of make work time on them is less beneficial for whatever end goals you may have. (The make work portions are often the number one reason I see people abandoning these practices because they feel overwhelmed working on raw administrivia instead of building something useful and interesting to themselves.) Naturally though, you'll still have those hundreds sitting around in a file if you need to search, review, or use them. You won't have lost them by not working on them, but more importantly you'll have gained loads of extra time to work on the more important pieces. You should notice that the time you save and the value you create will compound over time.

      And as ever, play around with these to see if they work for you and your specific needs. Some may be good and others bad—it will depend on your needs and your goals. Practice, experiment, have fun.

      Meme image from Office Space featuring a crowd of office employees standing in front of a banner on the wall that reads: Is this Good for the Zettelkasten?

    1. Comedian Phyllis Diller had “gag file,” which is now housed at The Smithsonian: Phyllis Diller’s groundbreaking career as a stand-up comic spanned almost 50 years. Throughout her career she used a gag file to organize her material. Diller’s gag file consists of a steel cabinet with 48 drawers (along with a 3 drawer expansion) containing over 52,000 3-by-5 inch index cards, each holding a typewritten joke or gag.

      A Zettelkasten for jokes!

    1. other jokes did not land because I did not know the movie star or celebrity referenced.
    2. The main thing I learned while reading through Phyllis Diller's jokes is that comedy has changed a lot since she started her career in the mid-1950s. Her comedy is focused on short one-liners that get laughs in quick succession, while today's comedy is more story-driven. Although a lot of her jokes are very time-bound due to their content, it was interesting to get a glimpse of what was happening at the time a joke was written. Each joke card has a date on it, and the cards span the 1960s to the 1990s. The topic of the jokes told a lot about what people were worried about or focused on at the time the joke was written, whether it was the inflation or student protests of the 1970s, a celebrity's many marriages, or gossip about the president at the time. While, like any comedian, some of her jokes fall flat, I appreciated Diller's hard work in meticulously recording, testing, and filing each joke in the gag file, along with her ability to make a joke about almost any topic.

      evidence of comedy shift from 50s/60s of one liners to more story-based comedy of the 2000s onward. Some of this may come about through idea links or story links as seen in some of Diller's paperclipped cards (see https://hypothes.is/a/W9Wz-EXsEe6nZxew_8BUCg).

    3. I started my project by writing a small number, in pencil, on the back of each card. The numbers are used to keep track of the original drawer in which the card was located, as well as the card's position within that drawer. For example, the card numbered 15-0837 would be the 837th card in Drawer 15.

      The numbers which appear in pencil on the verso of Phyllis Diller's index cards were those added by archivist Hanna BredenbeckCorp prior to scanning them for transcription.

    1. https://collections.si.edu/search/record/edanmdm:nmah_1218385

      Phyllis Diller's gag file appears to have been made of 16 standard three-drawer beige Steelmaster (Art Steel Company, Inc.) index card files which were stacked in two columns and enclosed in a matching beige external frame which was mounted on casters. Having overflowed the 48 available drawers, there was an additional 3-drawer file added on top as an expansion.

      The Smithsonian dates the files from 1962 to 1994, but perhaps the digitized version can be searched by date to determine the actual earliest and latest dates on included cards as most had at least a month and a year.

    1. Diesen organizistischen Überlegungen über das ge-schichtliche Werden, das einem »verborgenen Plan«(Menke-Glückert) folgt, ordnete Warburg einen weiterenZettel zu, auf dem er sich eine Stelle aus Ernst Bern-heims Lehrbuch der Historischen Methode notiert, inder auf Wilhelm Wundt verwiesen wird, der darlegt, soexzerpiert Warburg, »daß historische AllgemeinvorgängeAnwendungen allgemeiner psychologischer Prinzipiensind, wie z. B. die Reaktion eine Anwendung des Principsder Kontrastverstärkung« ist.362

      Warburg definitely read Bernheim's Lehrbuch!!! He excerpted it! Though based on the footnote in the text, it may appear that his quotation was from the 1908 edition of Bernheim.

      Machine translation of the German:

      Warburg assigned another piece of paper to these organicistic considerations about historical development, which follows a »hidden plan« (Menke-Glückert), on which he noted a passage from Ernst Bernheim’s Lehrbuch der Historischen Method in which Wilhelm Wundt is referred to, who explains, as Warburg excerpts, »that historical general processes are applications of general psychological principles, such as e.g. B. the reaction is an application of the principle of "contrast enhancement".

      362 Z. 0 02/0 0 0411. Warburg zitier t Wundt, Logik. Eine Untersuchung der Principien der Erkenntnis und der Methode wissenschaf tlicher Forschung, Stuttgar t 1895, Bd. II/2, S. 413, aus Ernst Bernheim, Lehrbuch der Historischen Methode und der Geschichtsphilosophie. Mit Nachweis der wichtigsten Quellen und Hilfsmit tel zum Studium der Geschichte, Leipzig 1908, S. 60 f.

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/Th2g4kVoEe6OSV9qNo31rQ

    2. Steiner, Benjamin. “Aby Warburgs Zettelkasten Nr. 2 ‘Geschichtsauffassung.’” In Zettelkästen. Maschinen der Phantasie, edited by Heike Gfrereis and Ellen Strittmatter, 154–61. Marbacher Kataloge 66. Marbach am Neckar, 2013. https://www.academia.edu/8637204/Aby_Warburgs_Zettelkasten_Nr_2_Geschichtsauffassung_.

    3. Z E T T E L K A S T E N N R . 2

      example photos of some of Aby Warburg's zettels, kasten, and a photo of his desk space at home with zettelkasten to one side.

    4. Wer Warburgs Zettelkasten folgt, folgt ihm bei seinenGedankengängen; vom Bankenwesen in Florenz, der mit-telalterlichen Handelsgesellschaft, dem Herausbilden vonIndividualität, der rastlosen Berufsarbeit der Calvinistenund der reformierten Form der Askese bis zu Warburgseigener Herkunft aus alter jüdischer Bankiersfamilie.378Der Zettelkasten ist Warburgs Ariadnefaden durch seinelabyrinthische Bibliothek wie sein labyrinthisches Denken:vom Werwolf zur Geschichtsauffassung. Ein Gedanke,eine Idee oder ein neuer Begriff entstehen nicht in einergeradlinigen Progression, sondern in einem Prozess desHin- und Herbewegens von Idee-Einheiten und Querver-weisen, der so lange andauert, bis sich neue Schnittstel-len und Knotenpunkte gebildet haben.

      machine translation:

      Anyone who follows Warburg's list of notes is following his train of thought; from the banking system in Florence, medieval commercial society, the development of individuality, the restless professional work of the Calvinists and the reformed form of asceticism to Warburg's own origins in an old Jewish banking family. 378 The Zettelkasten is Warburg's Ariadne thread through his labyrinthine library and his labyrinthine thinking: from werewolf to history. A thought, an idea or a new concept does not emerge in a linear progression, but in a process of moving idea units and cross-references back and forth, which lasts until new interfaces and nodes have formed.

    5. Methodenstreit mischten sich zahlreichenamhafte Historiker und andere Geisteswissenschaftlerein. Warburg leistete keinen direkten publizistischen Bei-trag, nahm jedoch, wie der Zettelkasten belegt, als passi-ver Beobachter intensiv an der Debatte teil.359

      Karl Lamprecht was one of Warburg's first teachers in Bonn and Warburg had a section in his zettelkasten dedicated to him. While Warburg wasn't part of the broader public debate on Lamprecht's Methodenstreit (methodological dispute), his notes indicate that he took an active stance on thinking about it.

      Consult footnote for more:

      59 Vgl. Roger Chickering, »The Lamprecht Controversy«, in: Historiker- kontroversen, hrsg. von Hartmut Lehmann, Göttingen 20 0 0, S. 15 – 29

    6. Ernst Bernheim,

      Aby Warburg's (1866-1929) zettelkasten had references to Ernst Bernheim (1850-1942). Likelihood of his having read Lehrbuch der historischen Methode (1889) as potential inspiration for his own zettelkasten?

      When did Warburg start his zettelkasten?

      According to Wikipedia, Warburg began his study of art history, history and archaeology in Bonn in 1886. He finished his thesis in 1892, so he may have had access to Bernheim's work on historical method. I'll note that Bernheim taught history at the University of Göttingen and at the University of Bonn after 1875, so they may have overlapped and even known each other. We'll need more direct evidence to establish this connection and a specific passing of zettelkasten tradition, though it may well have been in the "air" at that time.

    7. »Werwolf«

      Warburg had an incongruous seeming section of his zettelkasten relating to the idea of "Werewolf" which was tied into a variety of other ideas.

    8. Wichtiger jedochist die Ordnung, in der die Zettel innerhalb des Kastenszueinander stehen. Man kann davon ausgehen, dass diesenie unverändert blieb, sondern dass Warburg diese Ord-nung ständiger Revision und Veränderung unterzog.348 DieRegisterkarten verliehen so der flüssigen Beweglichkeitdes Sammelsuriums einen gewissen Halt.

      Steiner considers the order and position of Warburg's notes within his boxes and assumes that they were not meant to be static, but would have been easily reordered, revised, and changed according to Warburg's needs. He describes them as a hodgepodge with a liquid mobility which are granted some form of stability afforded by the internal tabs.

    9. Auf manchen Zet-teln hat er einzelne Gedanken festgehalten oder Stich-wörter, Exzerpte aus Büchern und kurze kritische Bemer-kungen gesammelt, ebenso diagrammatische Schematagezeichnet, die ihm zur Übersicht eines kategorialen oderbegrifflichen Zusammenhangs dienen.

      Warburgs slips hold not only his own thoughts along with collections of keywords, but excerpts from books, critical remarks, and diagrams that provide overviews of ideas and their connections.

    10. Die Bücher waren undsind noch heute zum Teil nach seinem Prinzip der »gutenNachbarschaft« geordnet und folgten ausdrücklich seinensubjektiven Forschungsinteressen.

      Warburg's zettelkasten does not appear to be a simple bibliographic classification system according to Steiner. He indicates that the books in Warburg's library are arranged according to Warburg's idea of »guten Nachbarschaft« or "good neighborliness" whereby they followed his subjective interests an ordering that is reflected in the labels of his note boxes and various tabs which subsection notes within them.

    11. In seinem Privathaus in derHamburger Heilwigstraße 114, direkt neben der 1926eröffneten K.B.W. standen die Zettelkästen auch immerdort, wo Warburg sie gerade brauchte. Eine Fotografieseines Schreibtisches zeigt einige der Kästen auf demdrehbaren Büchergestell, wo sie rechter Hand griffbereitzur Verfügung standen; eine andere Aufnahme zeigteinige Kästen aufgereiht auf einer Fensterbank linkerHand vom Schreibtisch.

      Warburg kept zettelkasten both at his library as well as at his private home. A photograph from his home shows boxes ready to hand on the right side side of his desk and another shows boxes lined up on the left hand side.

    12. Für seine Arbeit wichtige Zettelsamm

      Warburg had note cases especially designed for travelling with him around Europe as he did research and lectured.

    13. ine Reihe von schießlich über hundertmit buntem Japanpapier überzogene Zettelkästen.

      Warburg's zettelkasten consisted of more than 100 boxes decorated in colorful Japanese paper.

    1. I'm not convinced that a Luhmann-style ZK is the right note-making method for school notes. Though, I'd be fine having my mind changed.

      reply to u/taurusnoises and u/Leander_znsnsj at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/162os2q/how_can_i_use_zettelkasten_as_a_high_school/

      I'm generally in the same boat as u/taurusnoises and don't think that a Luhmann-artig ZK is necessarily the right way to go—particularly at the lower levels.

      I would suggest that if interested students look closely at the overall set up, they'll find that the literature note portion is almost identical to that of the Cornell note-taking method. The primary differences between them are placing more emphasis on follow-up and review, forcing yourself to answer questions, and doing spaced repetition. (Of course, naturally, there's nothing wrong with doing all your Cornell Notes on index cards despite every version I've ever seen recommending sheets of paper!)

      If you do ultimately choose to go with the expanded zettelkasten workflow, I would recommend you spend more time focusing on your own thoughts on the facts and ideas as they relate to the the Cornell portion. Focus more on the area of your major (or particular interests if you're still unsure of your major) in which you're most likely to need to create writing or other particular outputs. One or two good main cards a day with a full class load is a solid start.

      Keep in mind that as you enter new areas, you will likely make lots of basic, factual, low level notes while you're learning. Don't worry about this (and don't ignore it either) as working with these ideas will help you to scaffold your knowledge and understand it better. You may not have lots of high quality main notes which will usually come as you get deeper into the nuances of your subject. You should still expect to find and generate insights though and these may be highly valuable as you need to execute projects or write papers.

      Good luck!

    1. Other comedians have maintained their material in joke files, among them Bob Hope, whose file is in the collections at the Library of Congress.
    2. Although Diller generated a lot of her own material, she elicited some gags from other writers. One of her top contributors was Mary MacBride, a Wisconsin housewife with five children. A joke obtained from another writer includes the contributor’s name on the index card with the gag.

      Not all of the jokes in Phyllis Diller's collection were written by her. Many include comic strips she collected as well as jokes written by others and sent in to her.

      One of the biggest contributors to her collection of jokes was Wisconsin housewife Mary MacBride, the mother of five children. Jokes contributed by others include their names on the individual cards.

    1. Numbers on Cards The curatorial and collections teams are trying to learn more about the appearance of "No. #" on cards. Please transcribe this number on a separate line underneath the Date line, above the Joke line.

      Some of the cards in Phyllis Diller's gag file were numbered, but the curatorial and collections team at the Smithsonian didn't have enough data to determine what these were or what they meant at the time of transcription.

    1. After all, Luhmann himself didn’t have automatic backlinking. He had to manually add the cross-references to his analog notecards, and yet the system allowed him to write dozens of books and papers. Indeed, as Christian from Zettelkasten.de has said, automation might actually be an impediment to the cogitation and deep understanding the method seeks to engender.
    1. Indigenous cultures can "see" dark constellations (example: the Australian emu in the sky) which are defined empty spaces which are explicitly visible.

      Using this concept, one could think of or use blank index cards in a zettelkasten or even the empty (negative) spaces between cards as "dark ideas" (potential ideas which need to be thought of and filled in).

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/FlqusEN1Ee6XEr_9StPUlA

    2. Here’s a child node. It could be a comment on the thought -- an aside, a critique, whatever. It could be something which goes under the heading.

      Lone child nodes cry out for siblings.

      When I was in middle school a teacher told me only to put a sub-bullet point in an outline only if it wasn't an orphan (if you had one sub-point it should have at least one sibling, otherwise don't include it). This was miserable advice because it ended trains of thought which might otherwise grow into something.

      On the other hand it could be better framed that if you have only one child, you should brainstorm to come up with others.

    3. I could continue a thread anywhere, rather than always picking it up at the end. I could sketch out where I expected things to go, with an outline, rather than keeping all the points I wanted to hit in my head as I wrote. If I got stuck on something, I could write about how I was stuck nested underneath whatever paragraph I was currently writing, but then collapse the meta-thoughts to be invisible later -- so the overall narrative doesn’t feel interrupted.

      Notes about what you don't know (open questions), empty outline slots, red links as [[wikilinks]], and other "holes" in tools for thought provide a bookmark for where one may have quit exploring, but are an explicit breadcrumb for picking up that line of thought and continuing it at a future time.

      Linear writing in one's notebooks, books they're reading, and other places doesn't always provide an explicit space which invites the reader or writer to fill them in. One has to train themselves to annotate in the margins to have a conversation with the text. Until one sees these empty spaces as inviting spaces they can be invisible to the eye.

    4. I mentioned that I knew I liked Zettelkasten within the first 30 minutes. I think it might be important that when I sat down to try it, I had an idea I was excited to work on. It wasn’t a nice solid mathematical idea -- it was a fuzzy idea, one which had been burning in the back of my brain for a week or so, waiting to be born. It filled the fractal branches of a zettelkasten nicely, expanding in every direction.

      abramdemski suggests starting with an idea you're interested in working on and fleshing out when you start your zettelkasten. This harkens back to Montessori teaching philosophies.

    5. I use the Staples index-cards-on-a-ring which put all the cards on a single ring, and protect them with plastic covers.

      Rather than using card index boxes, abramdemski prefers using book rings to hold his cards together in batches.

    6. one early reader of this write-up decided to use half 3x5 cards, so that they’d fit in mtg deck boxes.

      First reference I've seen for someone suggesting using half size 3 x 5" index cards so that they could use commercially available Magic: The Gathering (MTG) boxes.

      Oxford and possibly other manufacturers already make 1/2 size 3 x 5" index cards.

    7. others have reported large productivity boosts from the technique as well.

      Which others? where?

      To my knowledge there weren't many (any?) examples floating around in 2019.

    8. However, I strongly recommend trying out Zettelkasten on actual note-cards, even if you end up implementing it on a computer. There’s something good about the note-card version that I don’t fully understand.

      Another advising to use the analog method for learning even if one is going to switch to a digital zettelkasten.

      He uses the word "good" here while others may have potentially used the word "magic", but writing in a space that values critical thinking, he would have been taken to task for having done so. In any case he's not able to put his finger on the inherent value of analog over digital.

    9. However, I honestly didn’t think Zettelkasten sounded like a good idea before I tried it. It only took me about 30 minutes of working with the cards to decide that it was really good.

      I've seen people describing how many cards they think they need before the method is useful, but this is the first time I've seen someone use a timeframe to describe useful effects.

    10. Early this year, Conor White-Sullivan introduced me to the Zettelkasten method of note-taking.

      This article was likely a big boost to the general idea of zettelkasten in the modern zeitgeist.

      Note the use of the phrase "Zettelkasten method of note-taking" which would have helped to distinguish it from other methods and thus helping the phrase Zettelkasten method stick where previously it had a more generic non-name.

    11. https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/NfdHG6oHBJ8Qxc26s/the-zettelkasten-method-1

      A somewhat early, comprehensive one page description of the zettelkasten method from September 2019.

    1. The slip box needs a number of years in order to reach critical mass. Until then, it functions as a mere container from which we can retrieve what we put in. This changes with its growth in size and complexity.

      Niklas Luhmann indicates that it may take a number of years to reach critical mass. This may be different for everyone based on the number of ideas they place into it and the amount of work they do in creating connections.

      Ward Cunningham, the creator of the wiki, has indicated that he thinks it takes roughly 500 pages in a wiki for the value to begin emerging.†

      How many notes and what level of links/complexity is a good minimal threshold for one to be able to see interesting and useful results?

      † Quote in FedWiki session on 2021-12-29

    1. Zettelkasten in one or several language(s)? .t3_15wo3f2._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      As long as you know and understand what you're writing, use as many languages as you or your zettelkasten wants or needs.

      I'm often working with ideas from other languages and cultures which have no direct translations into English, so I use those native words interspersed with English. Sometimes I don't have words in any language and make up a shorthand phrase in English until I can come up with a better word. Often I'll collect examples of the same "foreign" words in multiple contexts to tease out their contextual meanings as was comprehensively done with large group zettelkasten like the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae and the Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache. I also frequently use mathematical symbols, equations, and other scientific notations, graphs, drawings, color, etc. to make my meanings clear.

      I've also worked with historical figures who have had names in multiple languages over the centuries and cross index them in a variety of different languages based on context. As an example, I've got at least 11 different variations of names for Ramon Llull in almost as many languages and variations of transliterations. I try to keep each one in its original context, but link them in my index.

      There are certainly zettelkasten out there written in four and more languages as suited the needs of their users. S.D. Goitein certainly used Hebrew, English, German, Arabic, Aramaic in his and may have likely had other languages (Yiddish, Coptic, Egyptian?) interspersed to lesser extents. Adolph Erman certainly used Egyptian hieroglyphs along with German in his. It can easily be argued that their zettelkasten and work required multiple languages.

      https://web.archive.org/web/20180627163317im_/https://aaew.bbaw.de/wbhome/Broschuere/abb08.jpg A example zettelkasten slip showing a passage of text from the victory stele of Sesostris III at the Nubian fortress of Semna. The handwriting is that of Adolf Erman, who had "already struggled with the text as a high school student".

      At the end of the day, they're your notes, so write them as you like.

    1. Thanks Sascha for an excellent primer on the internal machinations of our favorite machines beyond the usual focus on the storage/memory and indexing portions of the process.

      Said another way, a zettelkasten is part of a formal logic machine/process. Or alternately, as Markus Krajewski aptly demonstrates in Paper Machines (MIT Press, 2011), they are early analog storage devices in which the thinking and logic operations are done cerebrally (by way of direct analogy to brain and hand:manually) and subsequently noted down which thereby makes them computers.

      Just as mathematicians try to break down and define discrete primitives or building blocks upon which they can then perform operations to come up with new results, one tries to find and develop the most interesting "atomic notes" from various sources which they can place into their zettelkasten in hopes of operating on them (usually by juxtaposition, negation, union, etc.) to derive, find, and prove new insights. If done well, these newly discovered ideas can be put back into the machine as inputs to create additional newer and more complex outputs continuously. While the complexity of Lie Algebras is glorious and seems magical, it obviously helps to first understand the base level logic before one builds up to it. The same holds true of zettelkasten.

      Now if I could only get the printf portion to work the way I want...

    2. category theory + zettelkasten... hmmm... feels a bit like Leibniz chasing a universal language

      what is a zettelkasten monad?

    1. I want to start studying zettelkasten, advise books, video, courses, articles, web pages, please!

      Zettelkasten advice:

      1. Have a goal in mind
      2. Really... have a goal. Write it down.
      3. Practice at it, a lot
      4. When stuck, read some of the bits below
      5. Practice, practice, practice.

      Here are a list of some of the strongest books which focus on the topic or cover things from various interesting perspectives: - Ahrens, Sönke. How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers. Create Space, 2017. - Allosso, Dan, and S. F. Allosso. How to Make Notes and Write. Minnesota State Pressbooks, 2022. https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/. (Specifically the first half of the book.) - Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. The Modern Researcher. New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1957. http://archive.org/details/modernreseracher0000unse. - Bernstein, Mark. Tinderbox: The Tinderbox Way. 3rd ed. Watertown, MA: Eastgate Systems, Inc., 2017. http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/TinderboxWay/index.html. - Eco, Umberto. How to Write a Thesis. Translated by Caterina Mongiat Farina and Geoff Farina. 1977. Reprint, Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2015. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/how-write-thesis. - Goutor, Jacques. The Card-File System of Note-Taking. Approaching Ontario’s Past 3. Toronto: Ontario Historical Society, 1980. http://archive.org/details/cardfilesystemof0000gout. - Mills, C. Wright. “On Intellectual Craftsmanship (1952).” Society 17, no. 2 (January 1, 1980): 63–70. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02700062. - Sertillanges, Antonin Gilbert, and Mary Ryan. The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods. First English Edition, Fifth printing. 1921. Reprint, Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1960. http://archive.org/details/a.d.sertillangestheintellectuallife. (Especially chapter seven). - Weinberg, Gerald M. Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method. New York, N.Y: Dorset House, 2005.

      Read one (or two) and then dive in and actually practice (and practice and practice some more) things for a while.

      For some of the smaller subtleties which aren't covered in books, try one of the two following collections for individual bits of advice and insight: - https://writing.bobdoto.computer/zettelkasten/ - https://zettelkasten.de/posts/ - https://boffosocko.com/research/zettelkasten-commonplace-books-and-note-taking-collection/

    1. BookmarkZettelkasten for historical research?

      @pgrhowarth @MartinBB @tevka and other historians (and sociologists, anthropologists, humanists, etc.) who want to delve into some of the ideas of historical method, zettelkasten, note taking, intellectual craftsmanship outside of Luhmann's version, I've compiled a list of various primary sources who have written on a variety of related methods throughout the past few hundred years: https://www.zotero.org/chrisaldrich/tags/note%20taking%20methods/items/KTZXN3EV/item-list

      Historians in particular have used indexing their notes as a means of creating analog databases for individual facts outside of their other writing/compiling practices. Thus a mixture of methods may suit your working needs.

      To help frame it one might also consult the following: * Thomas, Keith. “Diary: Working Methods.” London Review of Books, June 10, 2010. https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v32/n11/keith-thomas/diary. * Blair, Ann M. Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age. Yale University Press, 2010. https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300165395/too-much-know.

      I've got a relatively short overview of some of these methods and examples of users at https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/22/the-two-definitions-of-zettelkasten/.

    1. 75000 Zettel,


      Damit hatte der 84-jährige Mommsen ein Projekt initiiert, an dem Profanwie Kirchenhistoriker in Deutschland auch noch lange nach seinem Tode arbeiteten und das gute Fortschritte machte: Al s Jülicher, der nach dem Tode Seecks 1921 die alleinige Leitung übernahm, auf Grund seines Augenleidens 1929 von seinen Verpflichtungen entbunden wurde, Ubergab er der Kommission etwa 75000 Zettel, deren Systematisierung allerdings nicht zum Abschluß kam74. Von einer Veröffentlichung des Materials sah man ab, da «weder der Zustand des Manuskripts noch die inzwischen völlig veränderte wissenschaftliche Lage es gestatteten, die Prosopographie zum Druck zubringen75».

      Nachdem nur einige Zettelkästen im Zweiten Weltkrieg verloren gegangen waren, wurde 1951 ein Teil der Materialien leihweise dem von A.H.M. Jones, John Morris und H.-I. Marrou in Cambridge und Paris begründeten Unternehmen, das sich zum Ziel gesetzt hatte, eine weltliche und eine kirchliche Prosopographie der Spätantike zu erarbeiten, zur Verfügung gestellt76. Während wir heute aus technischen und organisatorischen Gründen mit zweiverschiedenen Prosopographien -einer weltlichen und einer kirchlichen- zu arbeiten haben, die beide noch nicht abgeschlossen sind, hatte Mommsen die Nützlichkeit, ja die Notwendigkeit einer spätantiken Prosopographie erkannt, die weltliche und kirchliche Würdenträger gemeinsam erschließt und aufführt.

      1. Ibid.: Schreiben H. LlETZMANNs vom 6.10.1936.
      2. Weder die Prosopography oflhe Later Roman Empire (= PLRE) noch die Prosopographie chretienne du Bas-Empire erwähnen diesen Sachverhalt; während in PLRE I (hrsg. v. A.H.M. JONES, J.R. MARTINDALE, J. MORRIS), Cambridge 1971, V zu lesen ist: «The project of a prosopographical dictionary of the Later Roman Empire was originated by Theodor Mommsen but... it failed of fruition, largely through the Intervention of the two World Wars. The bulky archives representing the work of many German seholars lay in Berlin during the second war when they were damaged and in part destroyed, together with essential records, during an Allied bombing raid. Consequently when the prqject was taken up in England after the war, the work had to be restarted from the very beginning. The present volume therefore represents the first stage of fulfilment of Mommsen's original project», heißt es im ersten Band der Prosopographie chretienne: A. MANDOUZE (Hrsg.), Prosopographie de l'Afrique chretienne (303-533), Paris 1982, 7: «On sait qu'ä la fin du siecle dernier, sur l'initiative de Th. Mommsen et d'Ad. Harnack, l'Academie des Sciences de Berlin avait commence' ä preparer un vaste dictionnaire prosopographique du Bas-Empire. Sans doute concu de facon trop ambitieuse, victime aussi des sequelles de la Premiere Guerre mondiale, ce projet fut definitivement abandonne" en 1933»; cf. hierzu auch H. CHANTRAINE, Ein neues Hilfsmittel zur Erforschung der Spätantike: Die Prosopographie chretienne du Bas-Empire, in: Francia 11, 1984,697ff., v.a. 697f.

      Machine translation:

      The 84-year-old Mommsen had thus initiated a project on which both profane and church historians in Germany continued to work long after his death and which made good progress: Al s Jülicher, who took over the sole management after Seeck's death in 1921 due to his eye problems in 1929 was relieved of his obligations, he handed over around 75,000 slips of paper to the Commission, the systematisation of which, however, was not completed ^74. The material was not published because "neither the condition of the manuscript nor the scientific situation, which had meanwhile completely changed, allowed the prosopography to be printed^75".

      After only a few card boxes had been lost in World War II, some of the materials were loaned to A.H.M. Jones, John Morris and H.-I. Marrou in Cambridge and Paris, which had set itself the goal of developing a secular and an ecclesiastical prosopography of late antiquity. While today, for technical and organizational reasons, we have to work with two different prosopographies - one secular and one ecclesiastical - both of which have not yet been completed, Mommsen recognized the usefulness, indeed the necessity, of a late antique prosopography that explores secular and ecclesiastical dignitaries together and performs.

      1. Ibid.: Letter from H. LlETZMANN dated October 6, 1936.
      2. Neither the Prosopography oflhe Later Roman Empire (= PLRE) nor the Prosopographie chretienne du Bas-Empire mention this fact; while in PLRE I (ed. by A.H.M. JONES, J.R. MARTINDALE, J. MORRIS), Cambridge 1971, V one can read: «The project of a prosopographical dictionary of the Later Roman Empire was originated by Theodor Mommsen but... it failed of fruition, largely through the Intervention of the two World Wars. The bulky archives representing the work of many German scholars lay in Berlin during the second war when they were damaged and in part destroyed, together with essential records, during an Allied bombing raid. Consequently when the project was taken up in England after the war, the work had to be restarted from the very beginning. The present volume therefore represents the first stage of fulfillment of Mommsen's original project," says the first volume of the Prosopographie chretienne: A. MANDOUZE (ed.), Prosopographie de l'Afrique chretienne (303-533), Paris 1982, 7: "On said qu'a la fin du siecle dernier, sur l'initiative de Th. Mommsen et d'Ad. Harnack, l'Academie des Sciences de Berlin avait commence' a preparer un vaste dictionnaire prosopographique du Bas-Empire. Sans doute concu de facon trop ambitieuse, victime aussi des sequelles de la Premiere Guerre mondiale, ce projet fut definitivement abandonne" en 1933"; cf. on this also H. CHANTRAINE, A new tool for researching the Late antiquity: The prosopography chretienne du Bas-Empire, in: Francia 11, 1984, 697ff., especially 697f.

      This would seem to indicate that Theodor Mommsen potentially had a zettelkasten which he was using to compile his work, but there is some ambiguity here that the slips and boxes may have been those of scholars who came after him and were working on his notes and systematizing them for future publication. Perhaps they were Mommsen's and others were arranging them for potential publication as they only had subject heading orderings, which would have been the most likely mode of the day (versus a more Luhmann-artig ordering.)

      syndication link: https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/2649/theodor-mommsens-zettelkasten/

    2. Rebenich, Stefan. “Theodor Mommsen and the Relationship of Age History and Patristic (Theodor Mommsen und das Verhältnis von Alter Geschichte und Patristik).” In Patristique et antiquité tardive en Allemagne et en France de 1870 à 1930 : Influences et échanges: Actes du colloque franco-allemand de Chantilly (25-27 octobre 1991), edited by Jacques Fontaine, R. Herzog, and Karla Pollmann, 131–54. Paris: Brepols, 1993. https://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/46/1/Rebenich_Mommsen_1993.pdf.

    1. Zettelkasten for Normies: What Normies Really Need to Know .t3_15sqiq2._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/SunghoYahng at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/15sqiq2/zettelkasten_for_normies_what_normies_really_need/

      u/SunghoYahng, some of your article sounds like a pared down digital version of a commonplace book which allows for links, so it fits into the older zettelkasten tradition, just not into the more Luhmann-artig version on which this subreddit is generally more focused. Perhaps yours is closer to a digital version of the analog commonplace using index cards that Billy Oppenheimer describes having learned from Ryan Holiday and Robert Greene?

      Often people focus too much on Luhmann's prodigious output and then immediately imply or say you should adopt his very specific system without describing what his system did or why it worked so well for him and his particular needs. Very few focus on what it is that they want to accomplish and how they might use his system or the thousands of variations on it throughout history to come to those goals as quickly and easily as they can.

      You commit a version of this sin in your opening lines:

      The content about Zettelkasten is mostly too long and practically useless. The purpose of this text is to write only what normies really need to know.

      Who are these so-called "normies" and what specifically are they trying to accomplish? You don't define either of them, and possibly worse do it in a negative framing. The system you're describing might be a great one, but for whom? What do you expect them to use it for? What will they get out of it?

      Many people talk about the "magic" of a zettelkasten and then wave their hands at some version of a workflow of what they think it is or what they think it should be. Perhaps what we all really need is a list of potential affordances that different methods allow and how one might leverage those affordances. How might they be mixed and matched? Then users can decide what outcomes they wish to have (writing, thinking, aggregation, bookmarking, collecting, creativity, artificial memory, serendipity, productivity, wiki, spaced repetition, learning, time wasting, etc., etc.) and which affordances are necessary within their workflow/system to effectuate those specific goals? Finally they can pick and choose a specific version of a methodology/workflow and either an analog substrate (index cards, notebooks, memory palace, etc.) or digital tool/application (Obsidian, Roam Research, The Archive, etc.) to save it all in. Of course once you've chosen that analog or digital tool, does it actually have the affordances you want or need in actual practice? Are they easy to use? Practical? Do they save you time? Are they simple or over-engineered? What happens when they scale to a year of regular use or even a lifetime?

      As a simple example, many writers would love a seriously good outliner functionality in their system to pull out the materials they want to work with and then appropriately order them for a potential final written output. In practice, index cards on a big table are fantastic for this process while most (all?) current digital tools are miserable at it. And of course once you've gotten the outline you like in an analog space you have to type it all out to print/publish in a final form, something which the digital affordance of cut and paste would make much simpler. Who wouldn't love a tool that could give you all of these affordances, presuming you needed them?

      While we're on outlining, very few talk about the ease-of-use that some professional outliners like Dave Winer's Drummer or Little Outliner have versus some of the more text-editing focused tools like Obsidian which are generally poor as outliners (if you could even call them that) in comparison.

      If you're interested in folgezettel and outlining, you might appreciate some subtleties in Bob's piece: https://writing.bobdoto.computer/folgezettel-is-not-an-outline-luhmanns-playful-appreciation-of-disfunction/

      cross reference https://hypothes.is/a/OhcWSjxyEe6V8DP9P6WNQQ

    1. This method is interesting, I like the aesthetics of such commonplace books. However, in terms of functionality, it is nearly fully replaced with the Antinet Zettelkasten method. Perhaps I could use some of this to improve my journals though? In addition, this does inspire me to create progressive summarization pages of my ideas and concepts, contained in Sage Scientia, in Notion or Obsidian.

      A method such as this, or Zettelkasten, can help create theoretical expertship... It might not be the MOST EFFICIENT, but it is highly effective.

    1. Does anyone has it’s Zettelkasten in Google Docs, Microsoft Word or Plain Tex (without a hood app like obsidian or The Archive)? .t3_15fjb97._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/Efficient_Earth_8773 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/15fjb97/does_anyone_has_its_zettelkasten_in_google_docs/

      Experimenting can be interesting. I've tried using spreadsheet software like Google Sheets or Excel which can be simple and useful methods that don't lose significant functionality. I did separate sheets for zettels, sources, and the index. Each zettel had it's own row with with a number, title, contents, and a link to a source as well as the index.

      Google Docs might be reasonably doable, but the linking portion may be one of the more difficult affordances to accomplish easily or in a very user-centric fashion. It is doable though: https://support.google.com/docs/answer/45893?hl=en&co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop, and one might even mix Google Docs with Google Sheets? I could see Sheets being useful for creating an index and or sources while Docs could be used for individual notes as well. It's all about affordances and ease of use. Text is a major portion of having and maintaining a zettelkasten, so by this logic anything that will allow that could potentially be used as a zettelkasten. However, it helps to think about how one will use it in practice on a day-to-day basis. How hard will it be to create links? Search it? How hard will it be when you've got thousands of "slips"? How much time will these things take as it scales up in size?

      A paper-based example: One of the reasons that many pen and paper users only write on one side of their index cards is that it saves the time of needing to take cards out and check if they do or don't have writing on the back or remembering where something is when it was written on the back of a card. It's a lot easier to tip through your collection if they're written only on the front. If you use an alternate application/software what will all these daily functions look like compounded over time? Does the software make things simpler and easier or will it make them be more difficult or take more time? And is that difficulty and time useful or not to your particular practice? Historian and author David McCullough prefers a manual typewriter over computers with keyboards specifically because it forces him to slow down and take his time. Another affordance to consider is how much or little work one may need to put into using it from a linking (or not) perspective. Using paper forces one to create a minimum of at least one link (made by the simple fact of filing it next to another) while other methods like Obsidian allow you to too easily take notes and place them into an infinitely growing pile of orphaned notes. Is it then more work to create discrete links later when you've lost the context and threads of potential arguments you might make? Will your specific method help you to regularly review through old notes? How hard will it be to mix things up for creativity's sake? How easy/difficult will it be to use your notes for writing/creating new material, if you intend to use it for that?

      Think about how and why you'd want to use it and which affordances you really want/need. Then the only way to tell is to try it out for a bit and see how one likes/doesn't like a particular method and whether or not it helps to motivate you in your work. If you don't like the look of an application and it makes you not want to use it regularly, that obviously is a deal breaker. One might also think about how difficult/easy import/export might be if they intend to hop from one application to another. Finally, switching applications every few months can be self-defeating, so beware of this potential downfall as you make what will eventually need to be your ultimate choice. Beware of shiny object syndrome or software that ceases updating in just a few years without easy export.

    1. A Fred-box could be very useful. This contains cards with useful snippets of thought, very small usually, that don't need a particular ordering or connection of thought but are worth it to be reminded of every now and then, a shuffle if it were.

      If need be used in connective thought as well, the content could be copied over into an Antinet entry as well.

  4. Jul 2023
    1. https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/zettelkasten/

      I'd found this page through general search and then a few days later someone from Metivier's "team" (an SEO hire likely) emailed me to link to it from a random zk page on my own site (not a great one).

      Metivier seems to have come to ZK from the PKM space (via a podcast I listened to perhaps?). This page isn't horrible, but seems to benefit greatly from details I've added to the Wikipedia page over the past few years.

    1. Isn’t it too much time and energy consuming? I’m not provoking, I’m genuine.

      reply to IvanCyb at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/1587onp/comment/jt8zbu4/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3 Asking broadly about indexing methods in zettelkasten

      When you begin you'll find yourself creating lots of index entries to start, in part because you have none, but you'll find with time that you need to do less and less because index entries already exist for most of what you would add. More importantly most of the entries you might consider duplicating are likely to be very near cards that already have those index entries.

      As an example if you have twenty cards on cultural anthropology, the first one will be indexed with "cultural anthropology" to give you a pointer of where to start. Then when you need to add a new card to that section, you'll look up "cultural anthropology" and skim through what you've got to find the closest related card and place it. You likely won't need to create a new index entry for it at all.

      But for argument's sake, let's say you intend to do some work at the intersection of "cultural anthropology" and "writing" and this card is also about "writing". Then you might want to add an index entry for "writing" from which you'll branch off in the future. This will tend to keep your index very sparse. As an example you can look at Niklas Luhmann's digitized collection to notice that he spent his career in the area of "sociology" but there are only just a few pointers from his index into his collection under that keyword. If he had tagged every single card related to "sociology" as "sociology" in his index, the index entry for it would have been wholly unusable in just a few months. Broadly speaking his entire zettelkasten is about sociology, so you need to delve a few layers in and see which subtopics, sub-subtopics, sub-sub-subtopics, etc. exist. As you go deeper into specific topics you'll notice that you branch down and out into more specific subareas as you begin to cover all the bases within that topic. If you like, for fun, you can see this happening in my digital zettelkasten on the topic of "zettelkasten" at https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=tag%3A%22zettelkasten%22. The tool only shows the top 50 tags for that subject in the side bar, but you can slowly dig down into subtopics to see what they look like and a bit of how they begin to overlap.

      Incidentally, this is one of the problems with those who tag everything with top level topic headings in digital contexts—you do a search for something important and find so much that it becomes a useless task to try to sift through it all. As a result, users need better tools to give them the ability to do more fine-grained searching, filtering, and methods of discovery.

    1. Hello! I've recently encountered the Zettelkasten system and adore the emphasis on connecting ideas. However, I don't want to use the traditional index card way, seeing as I have a ring binder with 90 empty pages thus I don't want it to go to waste. I've researched a lot of methods using a notebook, where some organize their zettels by page number, while others write as usual and connect and index the ideas for every 30 pages or so. But considering that the loose-leaf paper can be in any order I chose, I think there can be a better workaround there. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

      reply to u/SnooPandas3432 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/158tzk7/zettelkasten_on_a_ring_binder_with_looseleaf_paper/

      She didn't specify a particular dimension, but I recall that Beatrice Webb used larger sheets of paper than traditional index-card sized slips in her practice and likely filed them into something akin to hanging files in a filing cabinet.

      For students, I might suggest using the larger sheets/3-ring binder to make Cornell notes for coursework and then later distilling down one or two of the best ideas from a lecture or related readings into index card form for filing away over time. You could then have a repository of bigger formatted literature notes from books/lectures with more space and still have all the benefits of a more traditional card-based zettelkasten for creativity and writing. You could then have the benefit of questions for spaced repetition for quizzes/tests, while still keeping bigger ideas for writing papers or future research needs.

    1. Robert Hutchins, former dean of Yale Law School (1927–1929), president (1929–1945) and chancellor (1945–1951) of the University of Chicago, closes his preface to his grand project with Mortimer J. Adler by giving pride of place to Adler's Syntopicon. It touches on the unreasonable value of building and maintaining a zettelkasten:

      But I would do less than justice to Mr. Adler's achievement if I left the matter there. The Syntopicon is, in addition to all this, and in addition to being a monument to the industry, devotion, and intelligence of Mr. Adler and his staff, a step forward in the thought of the West. It indicates where we are: where the agreements and disagreements lie; where the problems are; where the work has to be done. It thus helps to keep us from wasting our time through misunderstanding and points to the issues that must be attacked. When the history of the intellectual life of this century is written, the Syntopicon will be regarded as one of the landmarks in it. —Robert M. Hutchins, p xxvi The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education. 1952.

      Adler's Syntopicon has been briefly discussed in the forum.zettelkasten.de space before. However it isn't just an index compiled into two books which were volumes 2 and 3 of The Great Books of the Western World, it's physically a topically indexed card index or a grand zettelkasten surveying Western culture. Its value to readers and users is immeasurable and it stands as a fascinating example of what a well-constructed card index might allow one to do even when they don't have their own yet. For those who have only seen the Syntopicon in book form, you might better appreciate pictures of it in slipbox form prior to being published as two books covering 2,428 pages:

      Two page spread of Life Magazine article with the title "The 102 Great Ideas" featuring a photo of 26 people behind 102 card index boxes with categorized topical labels from "Angel" to "Will".

      Mortimer J. Adler 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.

      Adler spoke of practicing syntopical reading, but anyone who compiles their own card index (in either analog or digital form) will realize the ultimate value in creating their own syntopical writing or what Robert Hutchins calls participating in "The Great Conversation" across twenty-five centuries of documented human communication. Adler's version may not have had the internal structure of Luhmann's zettelkasten, but it definitely served similar sorts of purposes for those who worked on it and published from it.


      syndication link: https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/2623/mortimer-j-adlers-syntopicon-a-topically-arranged-collaborative-slipbox/

    1. But I would do less than justice to Mr. Adler's achieve-ment if I left the matter there. The Syntopicon is, in additionto all this, and in addition to being a monument to the indus-try, devotion, and intelligence of Mr. Adler and his staff, astep forward in the thought of the West. It indicates wherewe are: where the agreements and disagreements lie; wherethe problems are; where the work has to be done. It thushelps to keep us from wasting our time through misunder-standing and points to the issues that must be attacked.When the history of the intellectual life of this century iswritten, the Syntopicon will be regarded as one of the land-marks in it.

      p xxvi

      Hutchins closes his preface to his grand project with Mortimer J. Adler by giving pride of place to Adler's Syntopicon.

      Adler's Syntopicon isn't just an index compiled into two books which were volumes 2 and 3 of The Great Books of the Western World, it's physically a topically indexed card index of data (a grand zettelkasten surveying Western culture if you will). It's value to readers and users is immeasurable and it stands as a fascinating example of what a well-constructed card index might allow one to do even when they don't have their own yet.

      Adler spoke of practicing syntopical reading, but anyone who compiles their own card index (in either analog or digital form) will realize the ultimate value in creating their own syntopical writing or what Robert Hutchins calls participating in "The Great Conversation" across twenty-five centuries of documented human communication.

      See also: https://hypothes.is/a/WF4THtUNEe2dZTdlQCbmXw

      The way Hutchins presents the idea of "Adler's achievement" here seems to indicate that Hutchins didn't have a direct hand in compiling or working on it directly.

    1. https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/622/syntopicon

      Some in the ZK space have looked at the Syntopicon, but they primarily see the finished book product and don't seem to be aware of the slip-based portion of the project.

    1. Converting Commonplace Books? .t3_14v2ohz._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/ihaveascone at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/14v2ohz/converting_commonplace_books/

      Don't convert unless you absolutely need to, it will be a lot of soul-crushing make work. Since some of your practice already looks like Ross Ashby's system, why not just continue what you've been doing all along and start a physical index card-based index for your commonplaces? (As opposed to a more classical Lockian index.) As you browse your commonplaces create index cards for topics you find and write down the associated book/page numbers. Over time you'll more quickly make your commonplace books more valuable while still continuing on as you always have without skipping much a beat or attempting to convert over your entire system. Alternately you could do a paper notebook with a digital index too. I came across https://www.indxd.ink, a digital, web-based index tool for your analog notebooks. Ostensibly allows one to digitally index their paper notebooks (page numbers optional). It emails you weekly text updates, so you've got a back up of your data if the site/service disappears. This could potentially be used by those who have analog commonplace/zettelkasten practices, but want the digital search and some back up of their system.

    1. A zettelkasten if used properly by the practitioner, can also have these elements of GRINDE integrated (though it is more textual than visual): - you group knowledge by linking (making a initial connection with folgezettel) - reflective: what you write reflects your own ideas in relation to what you read or are learning (and it is very non-linear) - with a ZK, you can make more distant connections to other notes, and bring them together in hubs - in these hubs, you can create a flow of notes, deciding which are stronger/better, in order (which allows you to emphasise what is better etc.)

      note: a ZK is for long term, while a mind map is limited in scope (though probably better for the short term)

    1. Inserting a maincards with lack of memory .t3_14ot4na._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } Lihmann's system of inserting a maincard is fundamentally based on a person's ability to remember there are other maincards already inserted that would be related to the card you want to insert.What if you have very poor memory like many people do, what is your process of inserting maincards?In my Antinet I handled it in an enhanced method from what I did in my 27 yrs of research notebooks which is very different then Lihmann's method.

      reply to u/drogers8 at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/14ot4na/inserting_a_maincards_with_lack_of_memory/

      I would submit that your first sentence is wildly false.

      What topic(s) cover your newly made cards? Look those up in your index and find where those potentially related cards are (whether you remember them or not). Go to that top level card listed in your index and see what's there or in the section of cards that come after it. Find the best card in that branch and file your new card(s) as appropriate. If necessary, cross-index them with sub-topics in your index to make them more findable in the future. If you don't find one or more of those topics in your index, then create a new branch and start an index entry for one or more of those terms. (You'll find yourself making lots of index entries to start, but it will eventually slow down—though it shouldn't stop—as your collection grows.)

      Ideally, with regular use, you'll likely remember more and more, especially for active areas you're really interested in. However, take comfort that the system is designed to let you forget everything! This forgetting will actually help create future surprise as well as serendipity that will actually be beneficial for potentially generating new ideas as you use (and review) your notes.

      And if you don't believe me, consider that Alberto Cevolini edited an entire book, broadly about these techniques—including an entire chapter on Luhmann—, which he aptly named Forgetting Machines!

    1. "I keep a dated diary of sorts on index cards, though they rarely go past one card a day."This is something I haven't heard of before. So, you journal/diary on index cards, one per day?

      reply to u/taurusnoises (Bob Doto) at tk

      Yep, for almost a full year now on 4x6" index cards. (Receipts for the kids: https://boffosocko.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/wp-1688411021709-scaled.jpg)

      Previously I'd used a Hobonichi Cousin (page per day) journal for this. (Perhaps I should have stayed with the A6 size instead of the larger A5 for consistency?) Decades ago (around 1988ish?) I had started using a 2 page per day DayTimer pocket planners (essentially pre-printed/timed index cards spiral bound into monthly booklets which they actually shipped in index card-like plastic boxes for storage/archival purposes). Technically I've been doing a version of this for a really long time in one form or another.

      It generally includes a schedule, to do lists (bullet journal style), and various fleeting notes/journaling similar to the older Memindex format, just done on larger cards for extra space. I generally either fold them in half for pocket storage for the day or carry about in groups for the coming week(s) when I'm away from my desk for extended periods (also with custom blank index card notebooks/pads).

      I won't go into the fact that in the 90's I had a 5,000+ person rolodex... or an index card (in the entertainment they called them buck slips) with the phone numbers and names of \~100 people I dealt with regularly when early brick cell phones didn't have great (or any) storage/functionality.

    2. reply to Bob Doto at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/14lcb4z/using_diaries_and_journals_as_source_material_for/

      Ross Ashby kept his notes in notebooks/journals but he did cross-index them by topic using index cards. Rather than reference them by notebook (name/title/date) and page number, he kept a set of handwritten running page numbers across the entirety of his notebooks, so instead of Notebook 15 page 55, 1952 he'd simply write "3786" for page 3786. This can be seen on his index card for the indexed word "determinate" as an example.

      For other examples, see: http://www.rossashby.info/journal/index/index.html

      My own notebooks are usually titled by year and date spans along with page numbers, so I'll use those roughly as Bob describes. This has made it much easier to not need to move all my older notes into a card-based system, but still make them useable and referenceable.

      For those with more explicit journaling, diary, or other writing habits, Ralph Waldo Emmerson makes an interesting example of practice as he maintained at least two commonplace books (a poetry-specific one and a general one) as well as a large set of writing journals where he experimented with writing before later publishing his work. Since there are extant (digitized and published copies) and large bodies of scholarship around them, they make an interesting case study of how his process worked and how others might imitate it.

      On the diary front, of the historical examples I've seen floating around, only Roland Barthes had a significant practice of keeping his "diary" in index card form, a portion of which was published on October 12, 2010. Mourning Diary is a collection published for the first time from Roland Barthes' 330 index cards focusing on his mourning following the death of his mother in 1977.

      Not as extensive, Vladimir Nabokov recorded a "diary" of sixty-four dreams on 118 index cards beginning on October 14, 1964 as an experiment. He was following the instructions of John Dunne, a British philosopher, in An Experiment with Time. The results were published by Princeton University Press in Insomniac Dreams: Experiments with Time by Vladimir Nabokov which was edited by Gennady Barabtarlo.

      Presumably if one keeps a diary or journal in index card form in chronological order, they can simply reference it by date and either time or card X of Y, if there are multiple card entries for a single day. I keep a dated diary of sorts on index cards, though they rarely go past one card a day.

    1. https://writing.bobdoto.computer/using-diaries-and-journals-as-source-material-for-zettelkasten-notes/

      Additional commentary at r/Zettelkasten - Using diaries and journals as source material for zettelkasten notes by Bob Doto

      Bob lays out some basic ideas for citing one's personal journal, diaries, notebooks, and other non-published writing for use in a Luhmann-artig zettelkasten. While he focuses on the scale of the mechanics of citation of one's own notes in other forms, what he's really doing is giving people explicit permission to overlap traditions to more easily use their work from other places in their zettelkasten.

      Compare this with Scott Scheper's related article on 2023-05-24 at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/13qzgjs/connecting_a_zettelkasten_to_a_commonplace_book/ (and the related YouTube video in which he talks about giving things an "address".

      Unmentioned is that in many citation managers, one would likely use a "manuscript" format for citations here. Upon checking it looks like Zotero doesn't have data fields for page number, paragraph, or line numbers for their manuscript type.

    2. All source material is handled more or less the same way when working with a Luhmann-style zettelkasten.

      I like the fact that Bob Doto is explicitly carving out the space of a Luhmann-style zettelkasten versus all the other flavors.