1,971 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. I read an early draft in April and know it’s excellent. If knowledge management, zettelkasten, or writing are of interest to you, this is one of the best books on these topics. If you’re just getting into these areas, it’s required reading and will advance your practice more quickly than any four other books you’ll find.

      [[Chris Aldrich]] is enthousiast over [[A System for Writing by Bob Doto]] bij publicatie want hij las een preprint versie.

      Quick glance at Amazon shows Doto adds in illustrations of his processes, might be interesting.

    1. This also means that one cannot think without making allowances for differences.

      9/8g The card index technique is based on the experience that one cannot think without writing – at least not in demanding, selectively accessing memory-based contexts.

      This also means that one cannot think without making allowances for differences.

      I like this slightly more differentiated instantiation for thinking better than Ahren's assertion that one can't think without writing. Luhmann qualifies it over and above Ahrens who elides meaning if this was the source he may have been tangentially referencing. (Was it an explicit reference? check...)

  2. Jun 2024
    1. Despite – or perhaps because of – all this activity, Samuel only published one sole-authored book in his lifetime, Theatres of Memory (1994), an account of the popular historical imagination in late 20th-century Britain told via case studies, from Laura Ashley fabrics to the touristification of Ironbridge. Since his death from cancer in 1996, however, Samuel has been prolific. A second volume of Theatres of Memory, titled Island Stories: Unravelling Britain, came out in 1998, followed in 2006 by The Lost World of British Communism, a volume of essays combining research and recollections.

      Theatres of Memory (1994) sounds like it's taking lots of examples from a zettelkasten and tying them together.

      It's also interesting to note that he published several books posthumously. Was this accomplished in part due to his zettelkasten notes the way others like Ludwig Wittgenstein?

    2. Raphael Samuel​ adopted his notetaking method from Beatrice and Sidney Webb

      Historian Raphael Samuel used a zettelkasten-like note taking method which he adopted from Beatrice and Sidney Webb.

    1. Platforms like Hypothes.is, which afford social and collaborative web annotation, demonstrate the ease with which authors and their audience can create a sociotechnical milieu to share thinking in progress, voice wonder, and rehearse informal dispositions in service of publication.

      Comment by chrisaldrich: I personally identify with this since I'm porting my annotations and thoughts to a notebook as part of a process for active thinking, revision, writing, and eventual publication.

    1. https://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/nabokov.jpeg via https://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/typers.html

      This photo, similar to others in the Carl Mydans series for LIFE Magazine is surely from his September 1958 photo series, though I couldn't find an original from the LIFE archive.

      Nabokov, reading off of index cards in his zettelkasten, dictates to his wife Vera who is typing on what appears to be a 1949 or 1950 Henry Dreyfuss Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriter.

      Notice metal strip on the back of the typewriter with small rectangular blocks. This is the Royal's tabulator set up which distinguishes the Quiet De Luxe model from the Arrow model.

      The body styling of this typewriter changed in 1950 from Dreyfuss' original 1948 design. Because it's light gray it has to be from '49 or '50 as the '48 original was a black body with dark gray highlights and didn't have chrome across the front as this one does in an alternate angle.

    1. Luhmann uses his joker card as an example of the fact that every autonomous system must contain its own negation. (This may be a reference to Hegel's dialectic, where the developmemt of thought is based on the negation within the system.) So we have a German professor who has built a disciplined note taking system in which each card has its precise address. Except for the joker, which negates all other notecards, moves freely within the system and cannot be found.

      I've always wondered if Luhmann's jokerzettel was inspired by Claude Shannon's Ultimate Machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5rJJgt_5mg

      Luhmann couldn't have worked in systems theory and information for so long without being intimately familiar with Shannon's work. There's direct evidence that he read at least his seminal work: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/literatur/item/shannon_weaver_1949_communication

      While we're on about the "Cargo Cult of Zettelkasten" and Claude Shannon, his short essay "The Bandwagon" is an infamous article he wrote about the cargo cult of information theory applications in 1956.

      Shannon, Claude Elwood. “The Bandwagon.” IEEE Transactions on Information Theory 2, no. 1 (March 1956): 3. https://doi.org/10.1109/TIT.1956.1056774. .pdf copy at https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=1056774

      Finally, too many Zettelkasten adherents of the Luhmann-artig sort seem to want to forget that Luhmann's system was far from new and that thousands upon thousands had used similar systems for several hundreds of years before him. Many thousands of them also wrote huge amounts of material, many of them producing work far more consequential than anything Luhman wrote.

      reply to u/taurusnoises and u/Filion_Alexandrian at I've always wondered if Luhmann's jokerzettel was inspired by Claude Shannon's Ultimate Machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5rJJgt_5mg

      Luhmann couldn't have worked in systems theory and information for so long without being intimately familiar with Shannon's work. There's direct evidence that he read at least his seminal work: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/literatur/item/shannon_weaver_1949_communication

      While we're on about the "Cargo Cult of Zettelkasten" and Claude Shannon, his short essay "The Bandwagon" is an infamous article he wrote about the cargo cult of information theory applications in 1956.

      Shannon, Claude Elwood. “The Bandwagon.” IEEE Transactions on Information Theory 2, no. 1 (March 1956): 3. https://doi.org/10.1109/TIT.1956.1056774. .pdf copy at https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=1056774

      Finally, too many Zettelkasten adherents of the Luhmann-artig sort seem to want to forget that Luhmann's system was far from new and that thousands upon thousands had used similar systems for several hundreds of years before him. Many thousands of them also wrote huge amounts of material, many of them producing work far more consequential than anything Luhman wrote.

  3. www.reddit.com www.reddit.com
    1. This might be a weird question, but does anyone keep memes in your ZK? I'm realizing I download a lot of memes that I particularly appreciate -- but then I usually can't fnd them again if I want them. Anyone have a method for this?

      I only have a few very specific memes indexed in my box: https://boffosocko.com/tag/zettelkasten-memes/ and a few more at https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=zettelkasten+meme

      Historically, Aby Warburg had a large image-based zettelkasten for his work on art which predated Richard Dawkins' conception of meme, but I think qualifies. See: https://boffosocko.com/tag/aby-warburg/ or his Bilderatlas Mnemosyne project: https://warburg.sas.ac.uk/archive/bilderatlas-mnemosyne

      It's digital in nature, but Shawn Gilmore has a large collection of images of string walls, Anacapa charts, walls and floors littered with paperwork by obsessives, etc. for his cultural research. It also includes some popular memes. https://www.vaultofculture.com/nst


      replyy to u/a2jc4life at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1ddhn9n/memes/

    1. Success histories? 4 years into Zettelkasten and not being fruitful

      Let's turn your question around: What exactly are you hoping to get out of it for yourself? Do you have specific goals for your own use?

      You may like the idea of having and using a hammer, but if you don't have a project that requires a hammer, then owning and trying to hammer on random things in an unfocused way is probably not the right tool for your needs.

      reply to u/arealnamestakenreal at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1dko10r/success_histories_4_years_into_zettelkasten_and/

    1. I don't see the relevance of @chrisaldrich's mention of how "people are slowly adding small atomic pieces of information" to Wikipedia: that is about text editing, not about text structure and purpose. People do the same with any document in Google Docs, for example!

      @Andy

      Perhaps Wikipedia's underlying zettelkasten nature is hiding in the more narrative nature of the ultimate pages, but it's definitely there. The "standard" web user interface view of Wikipedia pages makes it less obvious that the added pieces are atomic in nature, and that Wikipedia in fact is a group zettelkasten being built in the public/commons. However, if you've customized your own specific view of Wikipedia; are using an Atom Subscription (and yes, it's actually called this!); watching recent changes; or are using the history functionality (example: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Zettelkasten&action=history), then you're getting closer to the sorts of views of atomic additions I was speaking of. Some of this is also the reason that there is a checkbox for "minor edits" to take account of typos and minutiae which are sub-atomic and filters out or cleans up the stream of the updates one could receive.

      Viewed from this perspective, Wikipedia is a distributed zettelkasten of the highest order. Intellectually all this traces back to the original zettelkasten of Konrad Gessner, who uncoincidentally is one of the most famous and prolific encyclopedists in history.

      One could easily take small notes made in their own zettelkasten and add them on a 1-1 corresponding basis (including the note, the references, and even a unique identifier chosen and applied by Wikipedia; here's an example with the identifier 1118181304 as a demonstration) to a variety of Wikipedia articles. For certain topics I'm interested in watching, this can be a great boon to my own zettelkasten as I can reverse this process and subscribe to/watch additions at the smallest level and not only excerpt them directly into my zettelkasten, but I can usually locate the original source and excerpt directly from it as a means of verification/fact checking. As a result this zettelkasten being built in the commons on a daily basis can be imminently more useful to me. (Sadly, I don't think that many others are using it the same way or if they are, they're not doing so at the rate/speed/facility that I am.)

      A similar example can be seen in the topically arranged group zettelkasten created for The Great Books of the Western World which was lightly edited into the book form of The Syntopicon (volumes 2 and 3 of the 54 book series). One could certainly try to argue that The Syntopicon isn't a zettelkasten because it is in edited book form, but in fact, it's just an easier published and more portable form for me to have a copy of Adler and Company's physical zettelkasten as the end product is a 1-1 version of their card index with some introductory material added for readability and direction. The sad part here is that Adler's zettelkasten has ceased updating in 1952 while Wikipedia continues apace.

      For the "fans", one might say Wikipedia is even more closely related to Luhmann's variation of a zettelkasten as the user adding a particular idea doesn't need to add explicit links to other external ideas (though they certainly could), but by placing it on a particular page in a particular paragraph, they're juxtaposing it to a specific location that closely relates it to nearby ideas which already exist in that particular page (train of though/folgezettel).

      Certainly Wikipedia has a hypertextual nature as well as a text and document editing capabilities and dozens of other interesting and useful affordances, but at it's core, it's true soul is that of a (digital) zettelkasten.

      Reply to @andy at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/20462/#Comment_20462

    1. Alice Schreyer started me on the right track withthe Mortimer J. Adler Papers (149 total record boxes!)

      Contact Schreyer about existence of archived version of Syntopicon...

    2. By prioritiz-ing a full longitudinal approach to Adler’s life, his intellectual cir-cle, and iterations of the great books idea, one can the see humanweaknesses of great books advocates even while acknowledging theirdreams, goals, and motivations.

      the word "dreams" here along with great books and classical education reminds me of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s education on the classics as seen in his zettelkasten.

      Surely his cultural up brining along with his religious training and his great books education empowered him to critically eye and change the culture around him.

  4. May 2024
    1. (~6:30)

      I think the major point here is that Adler points out our minds, and thus our thinking, changes over time. Therefore, when a book is read at a later point in time, our notes are different.

      Perhaps his argument to "think again as to make the thought more current" is antithetical to Luhmann's Zettelkasten, which principles upon continuing previous lines of thought, even decades later.

      (future note, about half an hour later)... I think in the Zettelkasten the problem is dealt with adequately, since you actually can make new notes expressing why your thought changes... So in this sense it is even more expanded upon the point that Adler makes even though at first sight it seems the complete opposite.

    1. Blank tabbed 4x6 cards (self.Zettelkasten)submitted 1 day ago by SpacePatricianTrust me when I say this query is Zettelkasten-related. I've adopted the Voroscope method of organizing as per the Encyclopedia Propaedia, but it involves creating a lot of tab cards. I could make things go faster if I had white, blank, unruled tabbed index cards that I could set up a printer template for, but there don't seem to be any on the market in bulk. Any ideas of where I could find them off the beaten path?

      I've looked and looked for such a template and printer method to no avail myself. Your best bet here is probably either Avery Multi-use labels (maybe 5418 or 5428 depending on your card tabs) which have templates you can print a sheet at a time, or buying a labeler like the Brother P-touch which has a variety of different colored labels available. A third method is to line up multiple tabbed cards in your typewriter and do 3-4 at a time.

      Tabbed cards are significantly more expensive than standard index cards, so if you're all in on this, I'd recommend contacting one of the manufacturers directly and buying in bulk to drive the price down. Alibaba can also be your friend here for a bulk order too. Last year I got a bulk order of 15,000 4x6" index cards for well under $0.005 per card, while the current going rate on Amazon or most office supply stores is $0.02 - $0.03/card.

      Let me know if you find someone manufacturing inexpensive tabbed dividers in 1/5, 1/6, 1/7, or even 1/8 cut tabs. I'd love to buy a couple thousand of these in bulk as well.

      Knowing the extra work involved in this method, I HIGHLY recommend you try it out by hand for a bit to see if it's something you'll do for more than a few months before going all-in. I've read some of Joseph Voros' work, which I understood to be theoretical only. Did he ever fully implement it himself? Before you try, you might want to read up on others' earlier work like that of Paul Otlet, Mortimer J. Adler, et al. Many here will lionize Luhmann's method, but recall that S. D. Goitein managed to take a 1/3 of the notes that Luhmann did while creating a published output a 1/3 larger than Luhmann all while using a method similar to that of Adler and company which is also very close to the method recommended by almost all academics from Jacques Barzun to Umberto Eco.

      Definitely think about what you're hoping to accomplish before going straight down the rabbit hole too far.

      If you do go all-in, then buying a big storage box upfront can save you a lot of time and expense, try https://boffosocko.com/2022/12/26/the-ultimate-guide-to-zettelkasten-index-card-storage/ for some ideas. My daily driver now is a 60,000+ card index from Steelcase that I picked up on the used market for $125.


      LIFE. “The 102 Great Ideas: Scholars Complete a Monumental Catalog.” January 26, 1948.

      Eco, Umberto. How to Write a Thesis. Translated by Caterina Mongiat Farina and Geoff Farina. 1977. Reprint, Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2015.

      Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. The Modern Researcher. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2004.


      Reply to u/SpacePatrician at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1ctsu78/blank_tabbed_4x6_cards/

    1. I use the end-pa-pers at the back of the book to make a personal index of the author's points in the order of their appearance.

      I will start doing this too, but on the associated bib-card.

    2. 1. Underlining: of major points, of important or forceful statements. 2. Vertical lines at the margin: to emphasize a statement already under-lined. 3. Star, asterisk, or other doo-dad at the margin: to be used sparingly, to emphasize the ten or twenty most important statements in the book. (You may want to fold the bottom cor-ner of each page on which you use such marks. It won't hurt the sturdy paper on which most modern books are printed, and you will be able to take the book off the shelf at any time and, by opening it at the folded-corner page, refresh your recollection of the book.) 4. Numbers in the margin: to indi-cate the sequence of points the author makes in developing a single argu-ment. 5. Numbers of other pages in the margin: to indicate where else in the book the author made points relevant to the point marked; to tie up the ideas in a book, which, though they may be separated by many pages, be-long together. 6. Circling of hey words or phrases. 7. Writing in the margin, or at the top or bottom of the page, for the sake of: recording questions (and perhaps answers) which a passage raised in your mind; reducing a complicated dis-cussion to a simple statement; record-

      I might actually use a system similar to this myself to aid with the dissection of a book in its fullest; to keep track of arguments and points, I am in need of this. Combine the bib-card with the Marginalia to enhance my reading process.

    3. ment, doubt, and inquiry. It's like re-suming an interrupted conversation with the advantage of being able to pick up where you left off. And that is exactly what reading a book should be: a conversation be-tween you and the author. Presumably he knows more about the subject than you do; naturally, you'll have the prop-er humility as you approach him.

      This is the entire point of an Antinet or Zettelkasten, and it is far more advanced/useful for this purpose than just Marginalia. Sorry Adler, but you should have spoken to Luhmann in this regard. Both of you are heroes of mine, but in this round, Luhmann takes the crown.

    4. To set down your reaction to important words and sen-tences you have read, and the ques-tions they have raised in your mind, is to preserve those reactions and sharp-en those questions.

      I need to do this more often myself. Too often, at least when reading physical books, I am doing the thinking in my head instead of writing on my bib-card what I actually think.

    5. conscious; I mean wide awake.) In the second place, reading, if it is active, is tliinking, and thinking tends to ex-press itself in words, spoken or writ-ten. The marked book is usually the thought-through book. Finally, writ-ing helps you remember the thoughts you had, or the thoughts the author expressed. Let me develop these three points.

      I agree on these three points, which I usually do through the bib-card method or annotating on hypothes.is if I read digitally. I keep the physical book mostly clean.

      However, I am looking for a way to keep track of points and arguments in works, and I hypothesize that marginalia are the way to do this the best.

    6. There are two ways in which one can own a book. The first is the prop-erty right you establish by paying for it, just as you pay for clothes and fur-niture. But this act of purchase is only the prelude to possession. Full owner-ship comes only when you have made it a part of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it is by writing in it.

      Apparently, the real ownership of a book, to make it a part of oneself, you need to mark it up. To make use of marginalia, according to Adler that is.

      I personally don't like Marginalia, as I want to keep my books clean, which is why I use Luhmann's bibliography card method, but perhaps Adler can convince me of the opposite. We shall see.

    7. Confusion about what it means to own a book leads people to a false reverence for paper, binding, and type —a respect for the physical thing—the craft of the printer rather than the genius of the author. They forget that it is possible for a man to acquire the idea, to possess the beauty, which a great book contains, without staking his claim by pasting his bookplate in-side the cover. Having a fine library doesn't prove that its owner has a mind enriched by books; it proves nothing more than that he, his father, or his wife, was rich enough to buy them.

      Adler makes a valid point here, books in its own have no worth. Owning a book, or even having "read" it don't serve any purpose. One must read properly in order to this, analytically or syntopically as Adler would call it.

      What he is wrong at, in my opinion, that Marginalia are the key to doing this... Yes, they might be helpful, but other techniques, such as Luhmann's bib-card method and learning methodologies like GRINDEmapping could perhaps be even more useful for this purpose.

    1. When you catch and idea, you see it in your mind's eye, and you feel it, and you can hear it. And then you write that idea down on a piece of paper, and you write it down in such a way that when you read it, the idea comes back in full.

      David Lynch Interview supposedly... source? (asking mrtnj at https://discord.com/channels/992400632390615070/992400632776507447)

      Interesting with respect to orality almost more than literacy.

    1. And each Christmas he sets aside two weeks to meticulously index that year’s diary – proudly claiming he can find anything within three minutes.

      I very much like this idea! I have years of journals that I sometimes peruse, and have lamented that so many "good ideas" live in there, but I never use them, or much see them. This has me wondering if I can incorporate them into my zettelkasten.

  5. Apr 2024
    1. Have you ever had a meaningful conversation with Siri or Alexa or Cortana? Of course not.

      That said, I have had some pretty amazing conversations with ChatGPT-4. I've found it to be useful, too, for brainstorming. In one recent case (which I blogged about on my personal blog), the AI helped me through figuring out a structural issue with my zettelkasten.

    1. Rolodex Item #67380 https://www.ebay.com/itm/166733559184

      You have to appreciate the way that this zettelkasten is designed to be decorative and include personal family photos almost as a representation of what it directly contains.

      Caption: A small rolodex file in grey and black plastic with a picture frame on the front with space for a small photo, in this case either a picture of a young child or a family dog

    1. 00:26 Zettelkasten wasn't conceived by Niklas Luhmann; this is a myth (which the person in the video puts forward). Zettelkasten has a long history, and, Niklas Luhmann had a specific taste and version of it.

    2. 1:09 He puts the question forward: "why is the material on zettelkasten so divergent?" Well, it has been, historically speaking. There is no one way to keep a zettelkasten. What the person is pointing at, I think, is why are practices so divergent from Niklas Luhmann?

    3. What Obsidian gurus get wrong about Zettelkasten
    1. How much "google-able" information do you have in your vault?

      reply to u/Lauchpferd at https://www.reddit.com/r/ObsidianMD/comments/1c6ydzp/how_much_googleable_information_do_you_have_in/

      This is the wrong question to be asking. If it were useful, then Google has everything already, so why bother? Let them do all the work for you.

      Most note taking methods were evolved to not only aid in sensemaking, but to help people with the exponentially growing "information overload" problem. Sure you can Google many things, but doing so usually provides "facts" and rarely ever actual insight. Thus: discover, collect, index, link, build.

      If you had to search every time to use a thing, you'd lose out most of your effort to the scourge of time when you've probably seen it before and could find it internally among your own collection of millions of things (with greater accuracy as well as reliability of the information you've previously vetted) versus Google's quadrillions of things which would all need to be vetted for relevancy, accuracy, and then placement among the thread of ideas you were attempting to potentially build toward. And once you've found it to place where you need it to make an argument or complete an argument, where will you put it? in your notes? And now you've come full circle.

      Save yourself the time and only do the job once.

      No piece of information is superior to any other. Power lies in having them all on file and then finding the connections. There are always connections; you have only to want to find them. —Umberto Eco

    1. KWoCurr 1 point2 points3 points 5 hours ago (0 children)I actually do use Dewey!

      reply to https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1c4kaps/giving_you_notes_a_unique_id_the_debate_continues/kzop2yh/

      I'm with you on some of this, but let me play devil's advocate for a moment, so that we might hew closer to the question u/atomicnotes has posed:

      If a Dewey Decimal Number is equivalent to a topic heading or subject, then what is the difference between using these subject/category/tag headings and forgoing the work of translating into a DC number (a task which is far less straightforward for those without a library science). If there is a onto to one and onto correspondence there should mathematically be no difference.

      And how does one treat insightful material on geometry (516), for example, which comes from a book classified about political science (320-329)?

      In a similar vein, why not use Otlet's Universal Decimal Classification which more easily allows for the admixture of topics as well as time periods?


      Separately, I'll echo your valuable statement:

      "I think everyone stumbles into a system of their own. I suspect the best practice here is the one that works for you!"

    2. Most of my notes have a title that roughly conform to Dewey, often with an ersatz Cutter number for the author (that's a library science thing).

      This is the first time I've seen a mention of a Cutter number in the zettelkasten space.

    1. I'm referring here to what in German is called fogazeto which usually gets translated as sequence of note

      A sequence of notes, also known as a "folgezettel", is a train of thought. A hierarchical structure like a folgezettel can help establish a sequence of notes by placing similar notes close together. It can also provide a quick view of first-level connections between notes.

    1. if you want to create an old school settle casting of your own the very first thing you should do is decide what topics or categories you want to have in your zettle costume

      I am not sure what "topics" or "categories" means here and why they should be decided first. I thought Zettelkasten by design accommodates any number of subject matter.

    1. you write the notes on it and you're faced with a dilemma because you don't know which folder to use it's problems like these that makes the use of the system cumbersome and makes the users eventually abandon their system altogether on the contrary zedl casting is bottom up you start with a hodgepodge of nodes each indicating an idea and you link them with each other there are no folders nothing but as you keep adding more and more notes into the system into this primary soup you can see the emergent structure you'll see that some nodes form clusters like they become the central hubs around which many other ideas and concepts revolve so they must be crucial and over time the system becomes more structured despite the initial thought that it will just turn into a confusing hairball of notes

      you write the notes on it and you're faced with a dilemma because you don't know which folder to use it's problems like these that makes the use of the system cumbersome and makes the users eventually abandon their system altogether. On the contrary zedl casting is bottom up you start with a hodgepodge of nodes each indicating an idea and you link them with each other there are no folders nothing but as you keep adding more and more notes into the system into this primary soup you can see the emergent structure you'll see that some nodes form clusters like they become the central hubs around which many other ideas and concepts revolve so they must be crucial and over time the system becomes more structured despite the initial thought that it will just turn into a confusing hairball of notes

    1. The 20th-century German sociologist Niklas Luhmann managed to publish 70 books.

      I should start collecting quotes about Luhmann's prodigiousness. I've read variously that he published 40 books, 50 books, 60 books, 70+ books, as well as 400, 600 articles. I'm just curious to know 1) what the real number is, and 2) why so many people are using different numbers.

    1. "I made a great study of theology at one time," said Mr Brooke, as if to explain the insight just manifested. "I know something of all schools. I knewWilberforce in his best days.6Do you know Wilberforce?"Mr Casaubon said, "No.""Well, Wilberforce was perhaps not enough of a thinker; but if I went intoParliament, as I have been asked to do, I should sit on the independent bench,as Wilberforce did, and work at philanthropy."Mr Casaubon bowed, and observed that it was a wide field."Yes," said Mr Brooke, with an easy smile, "but I have documents. I began along while ago to collect documents. They want arranging, but when a question has struck me, I have written to somebody and got an answer. I have documents at my back. But now, how do you arrange your documents?""In pigeon-holes partly," said Mr Casaubon, with rather a startled air of effort."Ah, pigeon-holes will not do. I have tried pigeon-holes, but everything getsmixed in pigeon-holes: I never know whether a paper is in A or Z.""I wish you would let me sort your papers for you, uncle," said Dorothea. "Iwould letter them all, and then make a list of subjects under each letter."Mr Casaubon gravely smiled approval, and said to Mr Brooke, "You have anexcellent secretary at hand, you perceive.""No, no," said Mr Brooke, shaking his head; "I cannot let young ladies meddle with my documents. Young ladies are too flighty."Dorothea felt hurt. Mr Casaubon would think that her uncle had some special reason for delivering this opinion, whereas the remark lay in his mind aslightly as the broken wing of an insect among all the other fragments there, anda chance current had sent it alighting on her.When the two girls were in the drawing-room alone, Celia said —"How very ugly Mr Casaubon is!""Celia! He is one of the most distinguished-looking men I ever saw. He is remarkably like the portrait of Locke. He has the same deep eye-sockets."

      Fascinating that within a section or prose about indexing within MiddleMarch (set in 1829 to 1832 and published in 1871-1872), George Eliot compares a character's distinguished appearance to that of John Locke!

      Mr. Brooke asks for advice about arranging notes as he has tried pigeon holes but has the common issue of multiple storage and can't remember under which letter he's filed his particular note. Mr. Casaubon indicates that he uses pigeon-holes.

      Dorothea Brooke mentions that she knows how to properly index papers so that they might be searched for and found later. She is likely aware of John Locke's indexing method from 1685 (or in English in 1706) and in the same scene compares Mr. Casaubon's appearance to Locke.

    1. RE: Thinking about Luhmann's ZKI and ZKII at https://hypothes.is/a/nEPjVPN3Ee6EheNfkl3DfA

      I have to wonder if there's an explicit nod to both ZKI and ZKII in Daniel Lüdecke's naming of ZKN3 here? or had he simply gone through prior iterations of the software himself?

    2. If a variation of any importancebecomes necessary then it is best to start a new index.

      Given his experience in the space, the work of creating a second index (card index/zettelkasten), marks an important change or shift in perspective.

      This may shed light on Niklas Luhmann's practices between ZKI and ZKII. What were the important differences between the two? Presumably closer focus was important for ZKII.

    3. The same applies to reorganisation, whoseobject is merely to substitute superior for inferior control oradequate for inadequate control.

      Substituting what Kaiser calls "superior for inferior control" which he defines as "reorganization" is a path which allows for the ideas behind the progressive enhancement of raw (fleeting) notes to commonplacing, to indexing, to a Luhmann-artig zettelkasten to work for a broad variety of people. Not everyone will require the same level of organization.

    4. Organisation may be called the science of the 27numbers simultaneous control of numbers. Organisa-tion whether small or large, is the directconsequence of numbers and the greater the numbers, the moreneed for organisation. Numbers compel us to organise, withoutsome organisation there can be no effective management, noeffective control

      This is the reasoning for why we'll want an indexed system. The vast wealth of information may be overwhelming, but with the ability to organize and control it (by writing it down and indexing it) we can turn it into something useful.

    5. Reference numbers to paragraphs in vol I are distinguishedby a preceding I

      Even in writing his book, which takes the form of a numbered and indexed card index, he's making explicit links to the similar card index which he made in volume 1 of the book. It's as if he's created his own hypertext of linked material between the two volumes.

    6. The first draft of this scheme of indexing was worked out inPhiladelphia in 1896-7 and after some years of constant appli-cation involving an index of some 50,000 cards it was re-written-in the light of experience gained.

      Julius Kaiser built a card index (zettelkasten) of 50,000 index cards based on a system he says he worked out between 1896-7 when he was Librarian of the Philadelphia Commercial Museum. In following years he applied the system to three additional card indexes (of unmentioned sizes).

      His experience in doing this provides significant ethos for his coming arguments and discussion.

    7. by system we eliminate duplication, we concentratecontrol;

      Part of Luhmann's practice in looking up ideas to place in his zettelkasten first was a means of preventing duplication of ideas. If an idea is repeated, that can be noted on the extant card as evidence that others see the idea too or one can compare the potential subtle differences as a means of expanding the space.

      Eliminating duplication also assists in the ratchet effect of collecting information and connecting it.

    8. it follows that no purchasable articlecan supply our individual wants so far as a key to our stockof information is concerned. We shall always be mainly de-pendent in this direction upon our own efforts to meet ourown situation.

      I appreciate his emphasis on "always" here. Though given our current rise of artificial intelligence and ChatGPT, this is obviously a problem which people are attempting to overcome.

      Sadly, AI seem to be designed for the commercial masses in the same way that Google Search is (cross reference: https://hypothes.is/a/jx6MYvETEe6Ip2OnCJnJbg), so without a large enough model of your own interests, can AI solve your personal problems? And if this is the case, how much data will it really need? To solve this problem, you need your own storehouse of personally curated data to teach an AI. Even if you have such a store for an AI, will the AI still proceed in the direction you would in reality or will it represent some stochastic or random process from the point it leaves your personal data set?

      How do we get around the chicken-and-egg problem here? What else might the solution space look like outside of this sketch?

    9. That is not the case.It is true, a variety of published indexes, catalogues and biblio-graphies to periodical and other literature exists, but they donot and cannot meet our individual case, for1 Every individual moves in a sphere of his own and coversindividual ground such as a printed index cannot touch.2 Printed indexes although they give usable information,cannot go sufficiently into details, they must studyabove all the common requirements of a number ofsubscribers sufficiently large to assure their existenceand continuance (apart from the question of adver-tising).

      Kaiser's argument for why building a personal index of notes is more valuable than relying on the indexes of others.

      Note that this is answer still stands firmly even after the advent of both the Mundaneum, Google, and other digital search methods (not to mention his statement about ignoring advertising, which obviously had irksome aspects even in 1911.) Our needs and desires are idiosyncratic, so our personal indexes are going to be imminently more valuable to us over time because of these idiosyncrasies. Sure, you could just Google it, but Google answers stand alone and don't build you toward insight without the added work of creating your own index.

      Some of this is bound up in the idea that your own personal notes are far more valuable than the notes someone else may have taken and passed along to you.

    1. 357 It is this great difficulty involved in consistency which is responsiblefor the fact that however much we may try or desire to do otherwise,the best man to run a system effectively is he who has devised it,''^for however careful and painstaking we may be in trying to repro-duce his system accurately on paper, these reproductions are merelyabstracts of the original ; reproduction can never be absolutelycomplete. We may reproduce a system on paper in clearly markedoutlines, we may add within the general configuration all the inter-woven details, all of which may be concise and manageable, butbeyond the confines of the system there are blank margins in alldirections, which cannot be filled in until such cases arise as willcompel us to extend the ramifications of our system into thesemargins. It is not possible to express these ramifications before-hand on paper, but they no doubt have been allowed for in themind of the originator of the system, even supposing that he is notalways conscious of it. It is precisely these undefined marginswhich in most cases put consistency on its trial ; hence consistency,already a difficult factor in cases where the deviser deals with hisown system, is doubly so in other cases, for the unexpressed rami-fications which remain in suspense until called into being by unfore-seen circumstances can only be depicted consistently with therest of the system in the mind of the originator, who will have tobe consulted in each case for the purpose.

      What great advice this is in general, but especially for those who are attempting to copy or recreate Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten for themselves.

    2. It is prudent to maturewell before improvements are adopted. Improvements rashlyintroduced may give cause for regret when it is too late to turn back.

      Regular note taking practice will be the best indicator of when potential improvements are worthwhile. Though you may see someone else's advice, workflows, or potential improvements, they may be just as likely not to work for you and your particular needs. Adopting changes without thinking them through or even practicing them for a while are more likely to cause harm, regret, or additional work without any value added to the system.

    3. don't supervise too little, otherwise your staff will soonbecome prolific in the production and application of all manner ofimprovements, which must eventually prove fatal ; superviseenough to assure adequate continuity and consistency in the system,and to leave your staff sufficient of their individuality to make theirwork interesting to them.

      While many will be interested in improving, expanding, or constantly changing their note taking systems, centuries of practice and experience indicate as Julius Kaiser says that they "must eventually prove fatal" (¶361). Allow simplicity, consistency, and continuity to be your watchwords and put your creativity into your reading and writing rather than into the system and workflows themselves. Additional rules and workflows will result in extra work which doesn't produce results in the long term. These will make your work more complicated, less likely to be consistent, and generally will destroy your ability to create continuity.

    4. the supervisormust therefore be prepared to carry the system a step furtherwhenever occasion arises. There is therefore an opportunity tobring individuality into play. If we are not prepared to assert ourindividuality within and without the limits set by the system, wemay depend upon it that our collaborators or subordinates willassert theirs, consciously or unconsciously, and we shall find inthe end that our system has been distorted in all directions, withoutnecessarily transgressing our rules, although the latter will be buta matter of time.

      This advice also generally applies to one's one personal zettelkasten, much less a group version.

    5. The measure of control is also the measure of responsibility. Respon-sibility without control is a hopeless proposition.
    6. System without consistency is an impossibility. 356But let us realise what a difficult matter it is tobe consistent. We are surrounded by changes and inconsistencieseverywhere. Language above all, which we must needs constantlyuse, is not a perfect instrument for giving expression to consistency.We may have our rules all nicely worded and filed in the key cabinet,but if we have not taken the greatest pains in constructing them,if we have not subjected each one to the most searching criticismbefore they are applied, v/e shall find sooner or later that in one

      we have forbidden what we wish to enforce in another in however small a degree it may be ; or very probably we shall find that cases or conditions arise, when our rules are inapplicable, our wording is faulty or our meaning ambiguous.

    7. To run a system effectively, we must be prepared 355Servant to uphold it ourselves, we must give the examplein effective work, we must be the first to submitto it although we supply the directing energy to run it. If we thinkourselves above our own system, then it has already ceased to exist.We must bear in mind therefore that any rules we may make, anyinstructions we may give, any supervision we may effect, applyto ourselves equally with others. We may be the masters of thesystem, we are also its servants, but for all that we need not beslaves to it.
  6. Mar 2024
    1. As the functionof the caU number is separation, so the function of references isconcentration.

      Placing call numbers or location numbers on items to be filed allows them to be separated from other items while placing cross-references or links allows them to be brought back together again. These two affordances allow for divergence as well as convergence of items or ideas.

    2. Now the strength of consecutive numbers undoubtedly lies inthe fact that there cannot be any gaps, whatever the size of afile, the series of numbers is always complete.

      While some sources (which? Kaiser implies that there are some, though they may have been based on anecdotal evidence) apparently recommend to use one number for each firm, Kaiser admonishes users to stay away from this rule as not all firms will also take up space within each particular category. He recommends using consecutive numbering within each category so that there are no gaps. This lack of any gaps will reveal in the future when things may be missing from one's system.

    3. Elaborate library classifications were either inapplicable or much 74too complicated and therefore unmanageable. Their applicationto business was out of the question. Something simple, easy toimderstand and easy to handle was required. This was foundin the numerical arrangement. The numerical classification inspite of its arbitrary character will always have this advantagethat it ensures accuracy with the least trouble, and this is stillmore the case where large quantities are handled. It was quitenatural therefore that this should be preferred for business purposes.As there are many sets of things arranged numerically, it isnecessary to distinguish one set from the other, so as to know towhat set a given number refers. This is done by affixing dis-tinguishing initials to the numbers, each class being assigned somecharacteristic initial of its own.

      In describing classification schemes for card index-based business uses, Julius Kaiser indicated in 1908 that "elaborate library classifications were either inapplicable or much too complicated and therefore unmanageable." This is in part because of the standardization of the Dewey Decimal System, which may have provided efficiencies for library systems, but proved too rigid for the idiosyncrasies of a variety of businesses. Instead he describes an alpha-numeric system in which numbers provide simple means of finding while the initial alphabetic codes assign specific office-related classes (correspondence, press cuttings, catalogs, etc.) to the indexed materials.

    4. Labour saving therefore means systematic application of expertlabour.

      This quote is broadly recognized in economic settings as true, but few in the knowledge management space place emphasis or focus on designing both simple systems which are easy to master and use on a regular, ongoing basis. This allows the knowledge worker the ability to more quickly (almost blindly) handle their indexing and filing operations so that things are precisely where they need them when required for use.

      Poor design will not only decrease the ease of use, but also discourage the user from both efficiently using and benefiting from their systems.

      Even simple and efficient filing systems require familiarity and expertise for them to effect useful gains to their users, and prove their effectiveness over time. If a user can't get to a basic level of functionality in short time, they're likely to give up on it and never see the ultimate benefits.

    5. The quality of the cardshould correspond to the performances required of it. Cardsused for permanent registers or indexes should be of good strongquality, for temporary work a cheaper card can usually be employed.

      Index card quality can be important for cards that are repeatedly used.

      This admonition was more frequently attended to with respect to library card catalogs, but potentially less followed in personal use—Niklas Luhmann's self-cut paper slips which wore ragged over time come quickly to mind here.

    6. The text in this book is numbered by paragraphs and where asubject is treated in more than one place, the numbers in bracketsindicate the additional paragraphs bearing on the subject underdiscussion.

      ¶5

      The book is ostensibly in the form of a card index with numbers laid out in running order to create a book. The index is also done keyed to these paragraph numbers rather than by page as has traditionally been done.

      As a result, one could cut up the book (or two copies to get both sides) and turn it back into a card index with very little work.

    7. Volume 2 will be almost entirelydevoted to the work of indexing in the sense of analysing literatureand will go more fully into the question of classification and themanagement of guide cards. The present volume is confined asfar as practicable to the use of plain cards. Tabulated cards,methods of tabulating and the application of tabulated cards topractical business will be dealt with in volume 3, " The CardSystem at the Factory."

      companion volumes treated the topics of "analysing literature" and the application of tabulated cards to practical business "at the Factory".

      see: Kaiser, J. Systematic Indexing. The Card System Series 2. London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd., 1911. http://archive.org/details/systematicindexi00kaisuoft.

    1. https://archive.org/details/run-de-1986-10/page/120/mode/2up

      "RUN – Unabhängiges Commodore Computermagazin", Ausgabe 10/Oktober 1986, which has a hexdump code listing of a C64 Zettelkasten

      ᔥ[Michael Gisiger[]] in mastodon: (@gisiger@nerdculture.de)

      Lust auf #Retrocomputing und #PKM mit einem #Zettelkasten? Bitte schön, in der Oktober-Ausgabe 1986 des #Commodore Magazins RUN findet sich ein Listing für den #C64 dazu. Viel Spass beim Abtippen 😅

      https://archive.org/details/run-de-1986-10/page/120/mode/2up

      See additional conversation at: https://www.reddit.com/r/c64/comments/1bg0ja1/does_anyone_have_the_zettelkasten_program_from/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

    1. https://pipdecks.com/

      Also targeting business executives (via YouTube) as a storytelling deck: https://pipdecks.com/pages/storyteller-tactics-card-deck

      Described as "expert knowledge in your back pocket", and sold as a "toolkit" with "practical step-by-step recipes", and "templates."

      They offer 7 decks of tactics for Brand, Team, Storytelling, Innovation, Productivity, Team, Workshop, Strategy.

    1. Hi Muhammed, Thank you so much for the workshop friday. It was Nice to hear others geek out and talk about the Zettelkasten principle and with interactive exercises it was wonderful. I have done my PhD with inspiration in Luhmann’s system for knowledge creation so I am quite familiar with it. Still I have a question for you that I am sad I didn’t get around to discuss with you in person at the summit. Instead I thought I could ask it here and hope you would still see it. Are you doing your Zettelkasten in obsidian - and if so why do you still number them? Best Agnes

      /reply at Digital Fitness in response to Agnes Lausen about folgezettel

      Hey Agnes, thanks a lot for attending. I rlly loved the energy and loved doing the workshop. As to your question, yes I do use obsidian for my zettelkasten. As to the numbering, it gives me a few benefits. Firstly, it forces me to make a link. If I am going to import a new note, I will have to link the note to another note, because I have to give an ID (number). This prevents orphan notes. And, it gives me a visual sense of what is going on in my zettelkasten. I can see at a glance if a section has more notes than others (my section 4, for example, has more notes.) Both the ID and the statement title, for me, gives me so much context just seeing the title without looking at the contents.

    1. As Brad Bird, who joined Pixar as a director in 2000, likes to say, “The process eithermakes you or unmakes you.” I like Brad’s way of looking at it because while it gives theprocess power, it implies that we have an active role to play in it as well.

      This is a useful frame with respect to any process.

      How would one apply it to zettelkasten for those having issues in their workflows?

    2. Likewise, we “trusted the process,” but the process didn’t save Toy Story 2 either. “Trust theProcess” had morphed into “Assume that the Process Will Fix Things for Us.” It gave ussolace, which we felt we needed. But it also coaxed us into letting down our guard and, in theend, made us passive. Even worse, it made us sloppy.

      One could consider the simplicity of ars excerpendi/zettelkasten against the phrase "trust the process", and this is fine for some of the lower level collecting methods, but one needs to be careful not to fall trap to the complacency of only collecting and not using the collection to actively create.

      Many people rely too much on the collection portion of the process and don't put any work into the use or creation portions. They may be left wondering what the ultimate value is of their unused collection of treasure.

    1. “Do you know, Watson,” said he, “that it is one of the curses of a mind with a turn like mine that I must look at everything with reference to my own special subject. You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolation and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there.”

      Indexing the world into a commonplace book, zettelkasten, or other means can create new perspectives on the world in which we live. It thereby helps to prevent the sorts of cognitive bias which we might otherwise fall trap to.

      This example of Homes indexing crime gives him a dramatically different perspective on crime in the countryside to Watson who only sees the beauty in the story of "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches."

    1. This could be used as a stand alone app for viewing and arranging "index cards" as a digital outliner for organizing ideas.

      https://blyt.net/phxslides/

      A slideshow could be thought of as an individual playlist or outline for a particular article, chapter, or book.

    2. Phoenix Slides https://blyt.net/phxslides/

      via Peter Kaminski:

      A fast, free image viewer I use for sifting through thousands of images:

    1. People marveled at new invention after new invention and there was a tendency to see mechanical and especially electrical advances as somehow endowed with life. The phonograph, for example, was held to be alive and print adverts even claimed it had a soul.

      I love the tying together of the "aliveness" of a zettelkasten with the "soul" of the phonograph here.

    1. https://web.archive.org/web/20240305193114/https://writing.bobdoto.computer/how-to-use-folgezettel-in-your-zettelkasten-everything-you-need-to-know-to-get-started/

      I regularly come across posts wrt to use Folgezettel or not, and whether there's a role for them outside 'Luhmann purism'. Bob Doto is vocal about it, or has been over the yrs. I get three elements from this: 1. The numerical branches and numbers are emergent, not preplanned like Johnny Decimal or as people once suggested for common placing 1. It forces a first link. Which also serves as a mental anchor. This is something that can work regardless of Folgezettel. I also always add at least one link. The thing is I do not fixate that link by marking them as the original or something like that. I could however do that in some way. The same is true for exploring the collection. It might help as an entry point (and you may have a mental map of the main numbered branches) but that works without numbering too: I know from the graph where main sections of my notes are and use that as starting point. 1. Luhmann and Doto remarked it helps preserve original lines of reasoning /argumentation from a source text or their thinking session. This is something I currently don't really have, and do miss. I do at times create an overview note for such things, and I sometimes add 'link trains' to a note, linking to an overarching concept and following concept and an example. I am not sure that introducing numbering is key in keeping lines of argumentation visible/traceable. This is one of the things to think about n:: numbering systems allow keeping lines of reasoning

  7. Feb 2024
    1. https://chat.openai.com/g/g-z5XcnT7cQ-zettel-critique-assistant

      Zettel Critique Assistant<br /> By Florian Lengyel<br /> Critique Zettels following three rules: Zettels should have a single focus, WikiLinks indicate a shift in focus, Zettels should be written for your future self. The GPT will suggest how to split multi-focused notes into separate notes. Create structure note from a list of note titles and abstracts.

      ᔥ[[ZettelDistraction]] in Share with us what is happening in your ZK this week. February 20, 2024

    1. The term "fleeting note" comes from Sonke Ahrens' book, How to Take Smart Notes, and describes a note which is impermanent or, to use Ahrens' language, not permanently stored in your zettelkasten.

      Fleeting notes aren't permanently stored in the zettelkasten

    1. Able to see lots of cards at once.

      ZK practice inspired by Ahrens, but had practice based on Umberto Eco's book before that.

      Broad subjects for his Ph.D. studies: Ecology in architecture / environmentalism

      3 parts: - zk main cards - bibliography / keywords - chronological section (history of ecology)

      Four "drawers" and space for blank cards and supplies. Built on wheels to allow movement. Has a foldable cover.

      He has analog practice because he worries about companies closing and taking notes with them.

      Watched TheNoPoet's How I use my analog Zettelkasten.

    2. Bought a photo printer so he could include images and photos in his zettelkasten

    1. Watched [[The Unenlightened Generalists]] in Linked Notes: An Introduction to the Zettelkasten Method

      A 28:30 intro to zettelkasten. I could only make it about 10 minutes in. Fine, but nothing more than yet another "one pager" on method with a modified version of the Luhmann myth as motivation.

    1. Together, over the years, they achieved what one of their earlymasters, Charles Ammi Cutter, called a “syndetic” structure—that is,a system of referential links—of remarkable coherency andresolution.

      reference for this?


      definition: syndetic structure is one of coherency and resolution made up by referential links.

      Why is no one using this word in the zettelkasten space?


      The adjective "syndetic" means "serving to connect" or "to be connected by a conjunction". (A conjunction being a word used to connect words, phrases and clauses, for example: and, but, if). The antonym is "asyndetic" (connections made without conjoins)

    2. Thus, the New York Public Library has CATNYP.There is BEARCAT (Kutztown University) and ALLECAT (Allegheny) andBOBCAT (NYU’s Bobst Library) and CATS (Cambridge). There is VIRGO(the University of Virginia), FRANCIS (Williams College), LUCY(Skidmore), CLIO (Columbia), CHESTER (the University of Rochester),SHERLOCK (Bualo State College), ARLO (the University of Colorado atColorado Springs), FRANKLIN (the University of Pennsylvania), andHarvard’s appropriately Eustace Tilleyish HOLLIS. There is BISON(SUNY Bualo), OASIS (the University of Iowa), ORION (UCLA),SOCRATES (Stanford), ILIAD (Butler), EUCLIDPLUS (Case Western), LUMINA(the University of Minnesota), and THE CONNELLY EXPLORER (La Salle).MELVYL (the University of California system) is named after MelvilDewey; the misspelling was reportedly intentional, meant toemphasize the dierence between Dewey’s cataloging universe andour own.

      List of names for computerized library card catalogs at various libraries.

    1. Some weeks ago I explain the philosophy of Antinet Zettelkasten to my girlfriend. She was sceptical at that moment but when she saw my purple metal box full of cards and dividers she started to gather information and with her father made this one. The name is zauberkasten (magic box in german) and this is not the final version. Hope you like folks! :)
    1. All thequotations have one thing in common – they hail from the Brisbane Courier-Mail.
    2. turn off the light, and take off his shirt, his shorts, and his underwear.

      Mr Collier had a special technique. He cut out the quotations and, dipping a brush in sweet-smelling Perkins Paste glue, he stuck the quotation onto the slip. It was quick, and some nights he could get through 100 slips. Just him and the sound of his scissors, the incessant croak of cicadas, and the greasy smell of the neighbour’s lamb chops hanging in the close air. Around midnight, he would stop work, gather up the scraps of paper, clear the table,

      zettelkasten and nudity!!!

    3. Those times are better captured in the ten volumes, 414,825entries, and 1,827,306 quotations that were finally published in 1928.

      The first edition of the Oxford English dictionary was published in 1928 in 10 volumes containing 414,825 entries and 1,827,306 quotations.

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

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

    5. reading John Almon’s Anecdotes of the Life of William Pitt (1792), andproduced 600 slips, alongside her social work, in 1879.
    6. The Dictionary’s coverage of the leading transcendentalist, HenryDavid Thoreau, is largely due to the monumental efforts of a single woman,Miss Alice Byington of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, who sent in 5,000 slipsfrom books that included several by Thoreau:

      over how long a period?

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

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

    8. gloryhole, a drawer in whichthings are heaped together without any attempt at order or tidiness;

      compare with scrap heaps or even the method of Eminem's zettelkasten (Eminem's gloryhole ???). rofl...

    9. In this context, Marsh invited members of the American public to helpcreate a radical new dictionary of all English which applied the scientificmethod, was collaborative in its making, and was based on written evidence.They were asked to collect current words and especially to read books fromthe eighteenth century – because literature from earlier centuries was harderto get in America at the time. Marsh ended his appeal with the warning thatAmericans would be paid nothing for their help.
    10. Some Americans did write directly to Murray, and these – 196 ofthem – are the ones underlined in the address books. They represent 10 percent of all the Dictionary People with addresses and produced a total of238,080 slips that crossed the ocean before coming to rest on Murray’s deskin the Scriptorium.
    11. Stephen kept sending slips toMurray for twelve years, until 1891

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

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

    12. during theyears that Leslie Stephen contributed to the OED, he started his owncrowdsourced project, the Dictionary of National Biography (DNB). Just asMurray’s Dictionary traced the lives of thousands of words, Stephen’sdictionary traced the lives of thousands of people who made a notable impacton British history. Stephen invited 653 people to write 29,120 articles. Sixty-three volumes comprising 29,108 pages were published, the first volume in1885 and the last in 1900. The DNB is still going today, under the aegis ofOxford University Press, and it now covers the lives of 55,000 people.

      Presumably this dictionary also used a card index for collection? (check...)

    13. Katharine also read her friend John Ruskin’s book The Eagle’s Nest(1872), lectures on the relationship between natural science and art, for theDictionary, writing out 1,000 slips.
    14. Robert Browning was a great favourite and also a greatfriend. Katharine sent in 500 slips from his Dramatic Idyls of 1879, and Amyproduced 300 slips from the same book.
    15. Dr Minor would read a text not for its meaning but for its words. It wasa novel approach to the task – the equivalent of cutting up a book word byword, and then placing each in an alphabetical list which helped the editorsquickly find quotations. Just as Google today ‘reads’ text as a series of wordsor symbols that are searchable and discoverable, so with Dr Minor. A manualundertaking of this kind was laborious – he was basically working as acomputer would work – but it probably resulted in a higher percentage of hisquotations making it to the Dictionary page than those of other contributors.
    16. Ranking below Thomas Austin, who sent in 165,061 slips, and WilliamDouglas, who sent in 151,982, there is a big drop to the third-highestcontributor Dr Thomas Nadauld Brushfield, who sent in 70,277 slips.

      repetition here from before to introduce mental health...

    17. The Indian languages Specialist, Edward Brandreth, had D, D4, and D5beside his name in the address books and spent tireless hours in the BritishMuseum searching for fillers. Murray sent this retired member of the IndianCivil Service a total of 35 lists of desiderata, and Brandreth sent himthousands of quotations in return.

      thousands of slips...

    18. Alexander Beazeley, an engineer who specialized in lighthouses andsent in a total of 38,233 slips, many of which were desiderata and did notrelate to lighthouses.
    19. theRevd William Lees, a vicar outside Reigate who sent in a total of 18,500slips;
    20. Murray responded a week later, giving instructions on how to read.This was towards the very end of his life and his instructions to Miss Taylorgive rare insight into Murray’s reading tips, especially instructions for readingfor desiderata, in this case words beginning with S, T, and U–Z: ‘I shouldsuggest looking it through and marking with a pencil dot such words as arementioned in the enclosed note, and any others that strike you as noteworthy,and then go through it copying out from the marked ones those immediatelywanted for the letters at which we are working the better parts of S & T, andsending these as soon as ready; then proceed to those in U to Z, and finallythe earlier words for our Supplement. I hope you will not find it too tedious;and I should be sorry if it were allowed to interfere with other calls.’

      James Murray's instructions to Miss E. Hilda Taylor in 1914 for how to read for excerpting of useful words for the Oxford English Dictionary.

      Compare this with his original instructions from circa 1879.

      Also: https://hypothes.is/a/3S08ysbDEe6Ca5tVAqEABQ

    21. The random selection of words by volunteers often resulted in themchoosing the same words with similar dates, and produced gaps in thequotation paragraphs, which Murray and his assistants had to fill by their ownmanual searching. This must have been like trying to find a needle in ahaystack. It was remarkable how successful Murray’s small team was at fillingthose gaps and finding earliest or latest quotations. Murray told thePhilological Society that this manual trawling for words had to be done forthe majority of words: ‘For more than five-sixths of the words we have tosearch out and find additional quotations in order to complete their historyand illustrate the senses; for every word we have to make a general search todiscover whether any earlier or later quotations, or quotations in other senses,exist.’
    22. two small flaws in the Dictionary’s compilation process

      It is incredibly difficult to plan in advance what to collect for any zettelkasten, even when its scope is tightly defined, like it would have been for the Oxford English Dictionary.

    23. And yet he desperately needed the help of Subeditors because the task wastoo massive to do alone. Two years into the job, Murray had estimated thathe had sent out 817,625 blank slips to Readers. If they returned them withquotations, and if he spent a minimum of 30 seconds reading each one andallocating it to the correct sense of an entry, it would take him three workingyears to get through a third of the materials gathered.

      By the second year into his editing work on the OED, John Murray estimated that he had sent out 817,625 slips to readers.

      At the average price of $0.025 for bulk index cards in 2023, this would have cost $20,440, so one must wonder at the cost of having done it. How much would this have been in March 1879 when Murray tool over editorship?

      How many went out in total? Who cut them all? Surely mass manufacture didn't exist at the time for them?

      Sending them out would have helped to ensure a reasonable facsimile of having cards of equal size coming back.

    24. From the moment in March 1879 whenMurray signed the contract with Oxford University Press to be the next Editorof the Dictionary, and he took possession of 2 tons of slips at his house, hisfamily was immediately part of the project (whether they liked it or not)sorting out the slips. Their house was a workplace and the family aworkforce.

      Perhaps one of the first sources of counting slips in weight rather than number!

    25. Helwich was the fifth-highest contributor
    26. The most prolific Reader in Europe – we might call him a ‘super-contributor’ – was Hartwig Helwich, a professor at the University of Viennawho wrote out the entire Cursor Mundi onto 46,599 slips. His efforts madethe medieval poem the second-most-frequently cited work in the Dictionaryafter the Bible (though in the current OED, it has dropped to eleventh in thetop sources).

      This practice of writing out everything onto slips sounds like that used later (double check the timing) by the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae in creating their slip corpus for later work.

    27. We think of the OED as a radical dictionary because of its size, itsscholarship, and its methods, and it was radical for English. But if youcompare it with other languages, there was nothing about its creation in themid-nineteenth century that had not been done before in Europe. English wasrelatively late to the table. The English editors were able to pick and choosethe best methods from different European dictionaries. The OEDimplemented European lexicographic practices, and advanced upon them, tocreate something truly revolutionary, something that would in fact end upbeing the envy of Europe.
    28. A section of a wall of slips in the Grimmwelt Museum showinghow the Brothers Grimm pioneered the methods used by theOED twenty years later.
    29. By the time the OED project commenced, Europe already had majordictionaries under way or completed in German, French, Italian, Russian, andDutch, all of which were taking advantage of the new methodologies ofContinental philology. In Germany, the Brothers Grimm had begun theDeutsches Wörterbuch in 1838. In France, Émile Littré had begun theDictionnaire de la langue française in 1841 (a dictionary of post-1600French). In the Netherlands, Matthias de Vries had begun Woordenboek derNederlandsche Taal in 1852 (a dictionary of post-medieval Dutch).

      Oxford English Dictionary (1857 - )

    30. showing the hundreds of volunteers who corresponded with the brothers; theeditors’ lists of words and statistical counts of entries; the tracing ofetymology using the new scientific philological methods of the day; thegathering of citations from historical, published sources. I had worked in theOED archives for years and the contents of the Grimmwelt Museum lookedidentical.

      They looked exactly like the slips sent into the OED by the Dictionary People. There was a world map

      Lexicographer Sarah Ogilvie, a previous editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, said she "had worked in the OED archives for years and the contents of the Grimmwelt Museum looked identical" to them. She indicated that the similarity of the dictionary projects extended to the hundreds of volunteers, lists of words, counts of entries, etymology work, citations from published sources, and general philological methods used by the editors of the era.

    31. There was a dramatic wall of vastnumbers of slips, or ‘zettel’, hanging from long nails.

      The Grimmwelt Museum in Kassel, Germany is the home of some of the work of Grimm Brothers work on the Deutsches Wörterbuch which features a large wall of zettel or slips hanging from long nails.

      The slips hanging on nails sounds similar to Thomas Harrison's 1740's wooden cabinet of hanging slips used for excerpts and isn't far off from the organizational structure used by the subsequent Oxford English Dictionary's pigeonhole system of organization for their slip collection.

      see: https://hypothes.is/a/kVW3glq0EeyihQ834uN_Ig

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

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

    33. tensof thousands of books

      Tens of thousands of books were used to draw the quotations used in the OED.

    34. The box in the archives held two further address books belonging toMurray, and the following summer, in a box in the Bodleian Library, I foundanother three address books belonging to the Editor who had preceded him,Frederick Furnivall. As I worked my way through them, it became clear thatthere were thousands of contributors. Some three thousand, to be exact.

      Sarah Ogilvie found a total of three address books from Dr. Murray as well as three address books from Frederick Furnivall which contained details about the three thousand or so contributors to the OED.

    35. He devised a systemof storage for all the slips in shelves of pigeonholes that lined the walls of theScriptorium.

      The scriptorium for the OED relied on shelves of pigeonholes into which the slips could be sorted and stored.

      There are photos of Murray with these pigeonholes stuffed behind him. Dig one of these up.

      This pigeonhole practice is in marked difference to other projects like the TLL which relied on boxes on shelves.

    36. urray’s house at 78 Banbury Road to receive post (it is still there today).This is now one of the most gentrified areas of Oxford, full of large three-storey, redbrick, Victorian houses, but the houses were brand new whenMurray lived there and considered quite far out of town.

      Considered outside of Oxford at the time, Dr. Murray fashioned the Scriptorium at his house at 78 Banbury Road. Murray received so much mail that the Royal Mail installed a red pillar box just to handle the volume.

    37. Readers received a list of twelve instructions on how to select a word,which included, ‘Give the date of your book (if you can), author, title (short).Give an exact reference, such as seems to you to be the best to enable anyoneto verify your quotations. Make a quotation for every word that strikes you asrare, obsolete, old-fashioned, new, peculiar, or used in a peculiar way.’
    38. A 4 x 6-inch ‘slip’ sent in by one of the most prolific femalecontributors, Edith Thompson of Bath, who sent in 13,259slips. The underlinings and markings were made by Dr Murray.
    39. In addition tobeing Readers, volunteers could help as Subeditors who received bundles ofslips for pre-sorting (chronologically and into senses of meaning

      The slips for the OED were sorted alphabetically and then grouped chronologically and by sense of meanings of the words.

    40. The volunteer ‘Readers’ were instructed to write out the words andsentences on small 4 x 6-inch pieces of paper, known as ‘slips’.

      Volunteer 'Readers' for the Oxford English Dictionary were encouraged to write down interesting headwords along with their appearances in-situ along with the associated bibliographical information. The recommended paper size was 4 x 6-inch pieces of paper which were commonly called 'slips'.

      (Double check this against the historical requests from James Murray.)

    41. Ogilvie, Sarah. The Dictionary People: The Unsung Heroes Who Created the Oxford English Dictionary. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 2023. https://amzn.to/3Un0sv9.

      Read from 2023-12-04 to 2024-02-01

      Annotation URL: urn:x-pdf:c95483c701c7fc677e89f2c44f98a30b

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    1. Your zettelkasten, having a perfect memory of your "past self" acts as a ratchet so that when you have a new conversation on a particular topic, your "present self" can quickly remember where you left off and not only advance the arguments but leave an associative trail for your "future self" to continue on again later.

      Many thoughts and associations occur when you're having conversations with any text, whether it's with something you're reading by another author or your own notes in your zettelkasten or commonplace book. For more conversations on this topic, perhaps thumb through: https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=tag%3A%27conversations+with+the+text%27

      If you view conversations broadly as means of finding and collecting information from external sources and naturally associating them together, perhaps you'll appreciate this quote:

      No piece of information is superior to any other. Power lies in having them all on file and then finding the connections. There are always connections; you have only to want to find them.—Umberto Eco in Foucault's Pendulum (Secker & Warburg)

      (Reply to u/u/Plastic-Lettuce-7150 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1ae2qf4/communicating_with_a_zettelkasten/)