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  1. Last 7 days
  2. desalesuniversity-my.sharepoint.com desalesuniversity-my.sharepoint.com
    1. We find favorwith Mortimer J. Adler’s stance, from 1940,that “marking up a book is not an act ofmutilation but of love.”18

      also:

      Full ownership of a book only comes when you have made it a part of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it—which comes to the same thing—is by writing in it. —Adler, Mortimer J., and Charles Van Doren. How to Read a Book. Revised and Updated edition. 1940. Reprint, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972.

      They also suggest that due to the relative low cost of books, it's easier to justify writing in them, though they carve out an exception for the barbarism of scribbling in library books.

  3. Nov 2022
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ueMHkGljK0

      Robert Greene's method goes back to junior high school when he was practicing something similar. He doesn't say he invented it, and it may be likely that teachers modeled some of the system for him. He revised the system over time to make it work for himself.


      • [x] Revisit this for some pull quotes and fine details of his method. (Done on 2022-11-08)
    2. Robert Greene: (pruriently) "You want to see my index cards?"<br /> Brian Rose: (curiously) Yeah. Can we?? ... This is epic! timestamp

    1. Inevitably, I read and highlight more articles than I have time to fully process in Obsidian. There are currently 483 files in the Readwise/Articles folder and 527 files marked as needing to be processed. I have, depending on how you count, between 3 and 5 jobs right now. I am not going to neatly format all of those files. I am going to focus on the important ones, when I have time.

      I suspect that this example of Eleanor Konik's is incredibly common among note takers. They may have vast repositories of collected material which they can reference or use, but typically don't.

      In digital contexts it's probably much more common that one will have a larger commonplace book-style collection of notes (either in folders or with tags), and a smaller subsection of more highly processed notes (a la Luhmann's practice perhaps) which are more tightly worked and interlinked.

      To a great extent this mirrors much of my own practice as well.

    1. A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial, reason, that "great wits have short memories;" and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day's reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men, as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there. For, take this for a rule, when an author is in your books, you have the same demand upon him for his wit, as a merchant has for your money, when you are in his. By these few and easy prescriptions, (with the help of a good genius) it is possible you may, in a short time, arrive at the accomplishments of a poet, and shine in that character[3].

      "Nullum numen abest si sit prudentia, is unquestionably true, with regard to every thing except poetry; and I am very sure that any man of common understanding may, by proper culture, care, attention, and labour, make himself whatever he pleases, except a good poet." Chesterfield, Letter lxxxi.

      See also: https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:The_Works_of_the_Rev._Jonathan_Swift,_Volume_5.djvu/261 as a source


      Swift, Jonathan. The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift. Edited by Thomas Sheridan and John Nichols. Vol. 5. 19 vols. London: H. Baldwin and Son, 1801.

    1. Oppenheimer, Billy. “The Notecard System: Capture, Organize, and Use Everything You Read, Watch, and Listen To.” Billy Oppenheimer (blog), August 26, 2022. https://billyoppenheimer.com/notecard-system/.

    2. Ronald Reagan notecard

    3. He has a warehouse of notecards with ideas and stories and quotes and facts and bits of research, which get pulled and pieced together then proofread and revised and trimmed and inspected and packaged and then shipped.

      While the ancients thought of the commonplace as a storehouse of value or a treasury, modern knowledge workers and content creators might analogize it to a factory where one stores up ideas in a warehouse space where they can be easily accessed, put into a production line where those ideas can be assembled, revised, proofread, and then package and distributed to consumers (readers).

      (summary)

    4. In this article, I am going to explain my adapted version of the notecard system.

      Note that he explicitly calls out that his is an adapted version of a preexisting thing--namely a system that was taught to Ryan Holiday who was taught by Robert Greene.

      Presumably there is both some economic and street cred value for the author/influencer in claiming his precedents.

      It's worth noting that he mentions other famous users, though only the smallest fraction of them with emphasis up front on his teachers whose audience he shares financially.

    5. The Notecard System

      This is almost pitched as a product with the brand name "The Notecard System".

    1. "If the Reagans' home in Palisades (Calif.) were burning," Brinkley says, "this would be one of the things Reagan would immediately drag out of the house. He carried them with him all over like a carpenter brings their tools. These were the tools for his trade."

      Another example of someone saying that if their house were to catch fire, they'd save their commonplace book (first or foremost).

  4. Oct 2022
    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.

    1. ‘What tho’ his head be empty, provided his common-place book be full?’ sneered Jonathan Swift.
    2. I feel sympathy for Robert Southey, whose excerpts from his voracious reading were posthumously published in four volumes as Southey’s Common-Place Book. He confessed in 1822 that,Like those persons who frequent sales, and fill their houses with useless purchases, because they may want them some time or other; so am I for ever making collections, and storing up materials which may not come into use till the Greek Calends. And this I have been doing for five-and-twenty years! It is true that I draw daily upon my hoards, and should be poor without them; but in prudence I ought now to be working up these materials rather than adding to so much dead stock.
    3. Before the Xerox machine, this was a labour-intensive counsel of perfection; and it is no wonder that many of the great 19th-century historians employed professional copyists.

      According to Keith Thomas, "many of the great 19th-century historians employed professional copyists" as a means of keeping up with filing copies of their note slips under multiple subject headings.

    4. As the historian Thomas Fuller remarked, ‘A commonplace book contains many notions in garrison, whence the owner may draw out an army into the field on competent warning.’
    5. Another help to the memory is the pocketbook in which to enter stray thoughts and observations: what the Elizabethans called ‘tablets’.

      Elizabethans called pocketbooks or small notebooks "tablets."

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

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

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

  5. www.indxd.ink www.indxd.ink
    1. 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 zettelkasten practices, but want the digital search and some back up of their system.


      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>sgtstretch </span> in @Gaby @pimoore so a good friend of mine makes [INDXD](https://www.indxd.ink/) which is for indexing analog notebooks and being able to find things. I don't personally use it, but I know @patrickrhone has written about it before. (<time class='dt-published'>10/27/2022 17:59:32</time>)</cite></small>

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI3yiPA6npA

      Generally interesting and useful, but is broadly an extended advertisement for JetPens products.

      Transparent sticky notes allow one to take notes on them, but the text is still visible through the paper.

      One can use separate pages to write notes and then use washi tape to tape the notes to the page in a hinge-like fashion similar to selectively interleaving one's books.

    1. Very nice to differentiate between core notes (notes that we have worked a lot on) and peripheral notes.

      Very nice to differentiate between core notes (notes that we have worked a lot on) and peripheral notes.

      — Bianca Pereira | PKM Coach and Researcher (@bianca_oli_per) October 24, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      Coming from the Strange New Worlds Plugin, Bianca Pereira defines core notes (those worked on and thus likely of more value) versus peripheral notes.

      Core notes have a similar connotation to so-called permanent notes while peripheral notes have connection to fleeting notes, though peripheral notes would seem to have a higher connotation of value than fleeting notes.

      Some of this is similar to my commonplacing practice and collection versus my more focused Luhmann-esque zettelkasten practice.

    1. I might even say the best books are the best books because they stubbornly defy being reduced to a synopsis and some notes. Another way of saying that is, great books have so much in them that many different people with many different interests can all find something they’ll value in their pages.

      This might be said of art, design, or any pursuit. Any design might comprise hundreds of design decisions. The more there are, the more depth to the design, the more facets of the problem space it has examined, the more knowledge it may contain, the more potential to learn.

    1. Laudator Temporis Acti

      https://laudatortemporisacti.blogspot.com/

      Michael Gilleland is an antediluvian, bibliomaniac, and curmudgeon.

      The title of the blog and Gilleland's calling himself a curmudgeon calls to mind Horace...

    1. "In the event of a fire, the black-bound excerpts are to be saved first," instructed the poet Jean Paul to his wife before setting off on a trip in 1812.

      Writer Jean Paul on the importance of his Zettelkasten.

    1. What if something happened to your box? My house recently got robbed and I was so fucking terrified that someone took it, you have no idea. Thankfully they didn’t. I am actually thinking of using TaskRabbit to have someone create a digital backup. In the meantime, these boxes are what I’m running back into a fire for to pull out (in fact, I sometimes keep them in a fireproof safe).

      His collection is incredibly important to him. He states this in a way that's highly reminiscent of Jean Paul.

      "In the event of a fire, the black-bound excerpts are to be saved first." —instructions from Jean Paul to his wife before setting off on a trip in 1812 #

    1. Does anyone else work in project-based systems instead? .t3_y2pzuu._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/m_t_rv_s__n https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/y2pzuu/does_anyone_else_work_in_projectbased_systems/

      Historically, many had zettelkasten which were commonplace books kept on note cards, usually categorized by subject (read: "folders" or "tags"), so you're not far from that original tradition.

      Similar to your work pattern, you may find the idea of a "Pile of Index Cards" (PoIC) interesting. See https://lifehacker.com/the-pile-of-index-cards-system-efficiently-organizes-ta-1599093089 and https://www.flickr.com/photos/hawkexpress/albums/72157594200490122 (read the descriptions of the photos for more details; there was also a related, but now defunct wiki, which you can find copies of on Archive.org with more detail). This pattern was often seen implemented in the TiddlyWiki space, but can now be implemented in many note taking apps that have to do functionality along with search and tags. Similarly you may find those under Tiago Forte's banner "Building a Second Brain" to be closer to your project-based/productivity framing if you need additional examples or like-minded community. You may find that some of Nick Milo's Linking Your Thinking (LYT) is in this productivity spectrum as well. (Caveat emptor: these last two are selling products/services, but there's a lot of their material freely available online.)

      Luhmann changed the internal structure of his particular zettelkasten that created a new variation on the older traditions. It is this Luhmann-based tradition that many in r/Zettelkasten follow. Since many who used the prior (commonplace-based) tradition were also highly productive, attributing output to a particular practice is wrongly placed. Each user approaches these traditions idiosyncratically to get them to work for themselves, so ignore naysayers and those with purist tendencies, particularly when they're new to these practices or aren't aware of their richer history. As the sub-reddit rules indicate: "There is no [universal or orthodox] 'right' way", but you'll find a way that is right for you.

    1. Francis Bacon once remarked that "some booksare to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to bechewed and digested."
    1. Check out the Zettelkasten (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zettelkasten). It may be similar to what you're thinking of. I use a digital one (Foam), and it's absolutely awesome. It's totally turned how I do my work for school on its head.

      reply to https://www.reddit.com/user/kf6gpe/

      Thanks. Having edited large parts of that page, and particularly the history pieces, I'm aware of it. It's also why I'm asking for actual examples of practices and personal histories, especially since many in this particular forum appear to be using traditional notebook/journal forms. :)

      Did you come to ZK or commonplacing first? How did you hear about it/them? Is your practice like the traditional commonplacing framing, closer to Luhmann's/that suggested by zettelkasten.de/Ahrens, or a hybrid of the two approaches?

    2. Index cards for commonplacing?

      I know that Robert Greene and Ryan Holiday have talked about their commonplace methods using index cards before, and Mortimer J. Adler et al. used index cards with commonplacing methods in their Great Books/Syntopicon project, but is anyone else using this method? Where or from whom did you learn/hear about using index cards? What benefits do you feel you're getting over a journal or notebook-based method? Mortimer J. Adler smoking a pipe amidst a sea of index cards in boxes with 102 topic labels (examples: Law, World, Love, Life, Being, Sin, Art, Citizen, Change, etc.)

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

      Hello u/sscheper,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. http://www.greyroom.org/issues/60/20/the-dialectic-of-the-university-his-masters-voice/

      “The Indexers pose with the file of Great Ideas. At sides stand editors [Mortimer] Adler (left) and [William] Gorman (right). Each file drawer contains index references to a Great Idea. In center are the works of the 71 authors which constitute the Great Books.” From “The 102 Great Ideas: Scholars Complete a Monumental Catalog,” Life 24, no. 4 (26 January 1948). Photo: George Skadding.

    1. Walter Benjamin termed the book ‘an outdated mediationbetween two filing systems’

      reference for this quote? date?

      Walter Benjamin's fantastic re-definition of a book presaged the invention of the internet, though his instantiation was as a paper based machine.

    2. In one instance, Deutsch bound interleaving pages in HeinrichGraetz’s Geschichte der Juden – the masterful eleven-volume work published from1854 to 1876 by Deutsch’s onetime teacher at Breslau’s Ju ̈disch-Theologisches Seminar– so he could fill it with errata and supplementary notes.
    1. Posted byu/lsumnler1 year agoHow is a commonplace book different than a zettelkasten? .t3_pguxq7._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } I get that physically the commonplace book is in a notebook whether physical or digitized and zettelkasten is in index cards whether physical or digitized but don't they server the same purpose.

      Broadly the zettelkasten tradition grew out of commonplacing in the 1500s, in part, because it was easier to arrange and re-arrange one's thoughts on cards for potential reuse in outlining and writing. Most zettelkasten are just index card-based forms of commonplaces, though some following Niklas Luhmann's model have a higher level of internal links, connections, and structure.

      I wrote a bit about some of these traditions (especially online ones) a while back at: https://boffosocko.com/2021/07/03/differentiating-online-variations-of-the-commonplace-book-digital-gardens-wikis-zettlekasten-waste-books-florilegia-and-second-brains/

    1. Breitenbach, H. P. “The Card Index for Teachers.” The School Review 20, no. 4 (1912): 271–72.


      Apparently in 1912, the card index was little known to teachers... this isn't the sort of use case I was expecting here...

      The general gist of this short note is an encouraging one to suggest that instead of traditional grade books, which are still used heavily in 2022, teachers should use rolodex like cards for keeping attendance and notes on a student's progress.

      Presumably this never caught on. While some elementary teachers still use older paper gradebooks, many others have transferred to digital LMS platforms.

    1. And yet that is not " r e a l l y " how the project arose.What really happened is that the idea and the plan cameout o f my files; for all projects with me begin and end withthem, and books are simply organized releases from thecontinuous work that goes into them.

      Surely by "files" he means his written notes and ideas which he has filed away?

      Thus articles and books are agglomerations of ideas within notes (or perhaps one's retained memory, as best as that might be done) which are then broken off from them and released to a wider readership.

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

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

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

    1. Capture Cards (red) 4.00 Beautifully Useful 3″ x 5″ Index Cards (Pack of 100)I created my Capture Cards to help make it easier for me to capture ideas, make notes, and record tasks as they happen. Good tools have a way of removing frustration and stress from a workflow, and for me, these cards do just that.Just enough structure to help you capture, but not enough to get in the way.They’re printed full-bleed on 70lb (heavy and durable) premium smooth white cover stock, and you get 100 2-sided cards in each pack. They feel great in your hand, yet hold up well in your pocket.

      https://web.archive.org/web/20140707053048/http://www.getfrictionless.com/products/capture-cards-red

      Simple index cards, but sold with a purpose in mind: capturing notes!

      One is reminded here of waste books and fleeting notes.

      Image:<br /> Graph ruled index cards with two colored title areas-grey and red-on the top front and a grey footer with a red band at the header of the back

    1. Students' annotations canprompt first draft thinking, avoiding a blank page when writing andreassuring students that they have captured the critical informationabout the main argument from the reading.

      While annotations may prove "first draft thinking", why couldn't they provide the actual thinking and direct writing which moves toward the final product? This is the sort of approach seen in historical commonplace book methods, zettelkasten methods, and certainly in Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten incarnation as delineated by Johannes Schmidt or variations described by Sönke Ahrens (2017) or Dan Allosso (2022)? Other similar variations can be seen in the work of Umberto Eco (MIT, 2015) and Gerald Weinberg (Dorset House, 2005).

      Also potentially useful background here: 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

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

      https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/xaky94/so_what_do_you_do_for_topics_that_dont_fit_in_a/

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


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

    1. My first recommendation would be fiction. Reading fiction is important to understand the cross-sectional variation in humanity, to understand how difficult generalisations can be, to just get a sense of how different social pieces fit together, and to get a sense of different historical eras – and plus, reading fiction is often just plain flat-out fun.

      Why reading fiction is important

    1. Andy 10:31AM Flag Thanks for sharing all this. In a Twitter response, @taurusnoises said: "we are all participating in an evolving dynamic history of zettelkasten methods (plural)". I imagine the plurality of methods is even more diverse than indicated by @chrisaldrich, who seems to be keen to trace everything through a single historical tradition back to commonplace books. But if you consider that every scholar who ever worked must have had some kind of note-taking method, and that many of them probably used paper slips or cards, and that they may have invented methods relatively independently and tailored those methods to diverse needs, then we are looking at a much more interesting plurality of methods indeed.

      Andy, I take that much broader view you're describing. I definitely wouldn't say I'm keen to trace things through one (or even more) historical traditions, and to be sure there have been very many. I'm curious about a broad variety of traditions and variations on them; giving broad categorization to them can be helpful. I study both the written instructions through time, but also look at specific examples people have left behind of how they actually practiced those instructions. The vast majority of people are not likely to invent and evolve a practice alone, but are more likely likely to imitate the broad instructions read from a manual or taught by teachers and then pick and choose what they feel works for them and their particular needs. It's ultimately here that general laziness is likely to fall down to a least common denominator.

      Between the 8th and 13th Centuries florilegium flouished, likely passed from user to user through a religious network, primarily facilitated by the Catholic Church and mendicant orders of the time period. In the late 1400s to 1500s, there were incredibly popular handbooks outlining the commonplace book by Erasmus, Agricola, and Melancthon that influenced generations of both teachers and students to come. These traditions ebbed and flowed over time and bent to the technologies of their times (index cards, card catalogs, carbon copy paper, computers, internet, desktop/mobile/browser applications, and others.) Naturally now we see a new crop of writers and "influencers" like Kuehn, Ahrens, Allosso, Holiday, Forte, Milo, and even zettelkasten.de prescribing methods which are variously followed (or not), understood, misunderstood, modified, and changed by readers looking for something they can easily follow, maintain, and which hopefully has both short term and long term value to them.

      Everyone is taking what they want from what they read on these techniques, but often they're not presented with the broadest array of methods or told what the benefits and affordances of each of the methods may be. Most manuals on these topics are pretty prescriptive and few offer or suggest flexibility. If you read Tiago Forte but don't need a system for work or project-based productivity but rather need a more Luhmann-like system for academic writing, you'll have missed something or will only have a tool that gets you part of what you may have needed. Similarly if you don't need the affordances of a Luhmannesque system, but you've only read Ahrens, you might not find the value of simplified but similar systems and may get lost in terminology you don't understand or may not use. The worst sin, in my opinion, is when these writers offer their advice, based only on their own experiences which are contingent on their own work processes, and say this is "the way" or I've developed "this method" over the past decade of grueling, hard-fought experience and it's the "secret" to the "magic of note taking". These ideas have a long and deep history with lots of exploration and (usually very little) innovation, but an average person isn't able to take advantage of this because they're only seeing a tiny slice of these broader practices. They're being given a hammer instead of a whole toolbox of useful tools from which they might choose. Almost none are asking the user "What is the problem you're trying to solve?" and then making suggestions about what may or may not have worked for similar problems in the past as a means of arriving at a solution. More often they're being thrown in the deep end and covered in four letter acronyms, jargon, and theory which ultimately have no value to them. In other cases they're being sold on the magic of productivity and creativity while the work involved is downplayed and they don't get far enough into the work to see any of the promised productivity and creativity.

    1. Each slip ought to be furnished with precise refer-ences to the source from which its contents havebeen derived ; consequently, if a document has beenanalysed upon fifty different slips, the same refer-ences must be repeated fifty times. Hence a slightincrease in the amount of writing to be done. Itis certainly on account of this trivial complicationthat some obstinately cling to the inferior notebooksystem.

      A zettelkasten may require more duplication of effort than a notebook based system in terms of copying.


      It's likely that the attempt to be lazy about copying was what encouraged Luhmann to use his particular system the way he did.

    2. Every one admits nowadays that it is advisable tocollect materials on separate cards or slips of paper.

      A zettelkasten or slip box approach was commonplace, at least by historians, (excuse the pun) by 1898.

      Given the context as mentioned in the opening that this books is for a broader public audience, the idea that this sort of method extends beyond just historians and even the humanities is very likely.

    3. tions will not always fit without inconvenience intotheir proper place ; and the scheme of classification,once adopted, is rigid, and can only be modifiedwith difficulty. Many librarians used to draw uptheir catalogues on this plan, which is now uni-versally condemned.

      Others, well understanding the advantages of systematic classification, have proposed to fit their materials, as fast as collected, into their appropriate places in a prearranged scheme. For this purpose they use notebooks of which every page has first been provided with a heading. Thus all the entries of the same kind are close to one another. This system leaves something to be desired; for addi

      The use of a commonplace method for historical research is marked as a poor choice because:<br /> The topics with similar headings may be close together, but ideas may not ultimately fit into their pre-allotted spaces.<br /> The classification system may be too rigid as ideas change and get modified over time.

      They mention that librarians used to catalog books in this method, but that they realized that their system would be out of date almost immediately. (I've got some notes on this particular idea to which this could be directly linked as evidence.)

  7. Aug 2022
    1. At the time he was selling, Jay-Z was also coming up with rhymes. He normally wrote down his material in a green notebook he carried around with him — but he never took the notebook with him on the streets, he says. "I would run into the corner store, the bodega, and just grab a paper bag or buy juice — anything just to get a paper bag," he says. "And I'd write the words on the paper bag and stuff these ideas in my pocket until I got back. Then I would transfer them into the notebook. As I got further and further away from home and my notebook, I had to memorize these rhymes — longer and longer and longer. ... By the time I got to record my first album, I was 26, I didn't need pen or paper — my memory had been trained just to listen to a song, think of the words, and lay them to tape." Since his first album, he says, he's never written down any of his lyrics. "I've lost plenty of material," he says. "It's not the best way. I wouldn't advise it to anyone. I've lost a couple albums' worth of great material. ... Think about when you can't remember a word and it drives you crazy. So imagine forgetting an entire rhyme. 'What's that? I said I was the greatest something?' "

      In his youth, while selling drugs on the side, Jay-Z would write down material for lyrics into a green notebook. He never took the notebook around with him on the streets, but instead would buy anything at a corner store just for the paper bags as writing material. He would write the words onto these paper bags and stuff them into his pockets (wearable Zettelkasten anyone? or maybe Zetteltasche?) When he got home, in long standing waste book tradition, he would transfer the words to his notebook.

      Jay-Z has said he hasn't written down any lyrics since his first album, but warns, "I've lost plenty of material. It's not the best way. I wouldn't advise it to anyone. I've lost a couple albums' worth of great material."

      https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/fa/2010/11/20101116_fa_01.mp3

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/T3Z38uDUEeuFcPu2U_w_zA (Jonathan Edwards' zettelmantle)

    1. https://occidental.substack.com/p/the-adlernet-guide-part-ii?sd=pf

      Description of a note taking method for reading the Great Books: part commonplace, part zettelkasten.

      I'm curious where she's ultimately placing the cards to know if the color coding means anything in the end other than simply differentiating the card "types" up front? (i.e. does it help to distinguish cards once potentially mixed up?)

    2. But the real goal of a Great Books reading program is to experience the minds of these authors (something the Schoolmen called connatural knowledge) and imprint whatever value we find there on our souls (i.e. will and intellect). This can only be done through a process of intentional re-reading.
    1. The narrator considers this as vandalism and finds it hard to believe how anyone "educated enough to have access to a university library should do this to a book." To him "the treatment of books is a test of civilized behaviour."

      Highlighted portion is a quote from Kuehn sub-quoting David Lodge, Deaf Sentence (New York: Viking 2008)

      Ownership is certainly a factor here, but given how inexpensive many books are now, if you own it, why not mark it up? See also: Mortimer J. Adler's position on this.


      Marking up library books is a barbarism; not marking up your own books is a worse sin.

    1. Der Gelehrte griff bei der Wissensproduktion nur noch auf den flüchtigen Speicher der Exzerptsammlungen zurück, die die loci communes enthielten: die "Gemeinplätze", die wir auch heute sprichwörtlich noch so nennen. Gesner nannte diese Sammlungen "chartaceos libros", also Karteibücher. Er erfand ein eigenes Verfahren, mit dem die einzelnen Notate jederzeit derangierbar und damit auch neu arrangierbar waren, um der Informationsflut Rechnung zu tragen und ständig neue Einträge hinzugefügen zu können. "Du weißt, wie leicht es ist, Fakten zu sammeln, und wie schwer, sie zu ordnen", schrieb der Basler Gelehrte Caspar Wolf, der Herausgeber der Werke Gesners.

      For the production of knowledge, the scholar only resorted to the volatile memory of the excerpt collections, the [[loci communes]] contained: the "platitudes" that we still literally call that today. Gesner called these collections "chartaceos libros", that is, index books. He invented his own method with which the individual notes could be rearranged at any time and thus rearranged in order to take account of the flood of information and to be able to constantly add new entries. "You know how easy it is to collect facts and how difficult it is to organize them," wrote the Basel scholar [[Caspar Wolf]], editor of Gesner's works.

      Is this translation of platitudes correct/appropriate here? Maybe aphorisms or the Latin sententiae (written wisdom) are better?

      I'd like to look more closely at his method. Was he, like Jean Paul, using slips of paper which he could move around within a particular book? Perhaps the way one might move photos around in a photo album with tape/adhesive?

    2. war der Schweizer Humanist Conrad Gesner. Gesners Bibliotheca Universalis, die zwischen 1545 und 1548 in zwei Foliobänden mit jeweils über 1000 Seiten erschien, sollte alle Bücher verzeichnen, die seit Gutenberg erschienen waren.

      Swiss humanist Conrad Gesner. Gesner's Bibliotheca Universalis, which appeared between 1545 and 1548 in two folio volumes with over 1000 pages each, was supposed to list all the books that had appeared since Gutenberg.

      In Bibliotheca Universalis, Conrad Gesner collected a list that was supposed to list all the books which had appeared since Gutenberg's moveable type.

    3. als deren Meister sich sein Zeitgenosse Johann Jacob Moser (1701-1785) erwies. Die Verzettelungstechnik des schwäbischen Juristen und Schriftstellers ist ein nachdrücklicher Beleg dafür, wie man allein durch Umadressierung aus den Exzerpten alter Bücher neue machen kann. Seine auf über 500 Titel veranschlagte Publikationsliste hätte Moser nach eigenem Bekunden ohne das von ihm geschaffene Hilfsmittel nicht bewerkstelligen können. Moser war auch einer der ersten Theoretiker des Zettelkastens. Unter der Überschrift "Meine Art, Materialien zu künfftigen Schrifften zu sammlen" hat er selbst die Algorithmen beschrieben, mit deren Hilfe er seine "Zettelkästgen" füllte.

      the master of which his contemporary Johann Jacob Moser (1701-1785) proved to be. The technique used by the Swabian lawyer and writer to scramble is emphatic evidence of how you can turn excerpts from old books into new ones just by re-addressing them. According to his own admission, Moser would not have been able to manage his publication list, which is estimated at over 500 titles, without the aid he had created. Moser was also one of the first theorists of the card box. Under the heading "My way of collecting materials for future writings", he himself described the algorithms with which he filled his "card boxes".

      Johann Jacob Moser was a commonplace book keeper who referenced his system as a means of inventio. He wrote about how he collected material for future writing and described the ways in which he filled his "card boxes".

      I'm curious what his exact method was and if it could be called an early precursor of the zettelkasten?

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

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

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

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

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

    3. In the past, merchants created indexes for names, topics etc. in a way that the necessaryentries had to be made in chronological order, or at least in a way that the necessary and oftenabundant supplementations had to be added to the foundational structure in the chronologicalorder of of their emergent necessity. Oftentimes they even refered to one another.

      A call back to the influences of accounting and waste books on the evolution of note taking.

    1. Launched in 1924, Penguin paperbacks were designed to be affordable and easy to carry. Penguin founder Allen Lane wanted to make quality literature accessible to everyone. Today, vintage Penguins can be picked up cheaply and are easy to find. They also look impressive on any bookshelf thanks to their color scheme. Orange for fiction, green for crime, pink for travel and adventure, dark blue for biographies and memoirs, red for drama, purple for essays, and yellow for miscellaneous.
    1. fragments_shored · 1 hr. agoI don't have a specific edition to offer, but you asked "why don't publishers publish more books with scholar's margins?" and the answer is because it's expensive. More white space means more paper and binding material, longer time for the print run, more customization on the press, heavier and therefore more costly to ship. Book publishing operates on a very thin margin so it's not cost-effective, especially when most consumers don't care about the extra margin space and/or aren't willing to absorb the costs in the purchase price.What can consumers do to encourage publishers to change these practices? Be willing to spend the $80 for the scholar's margins instead of expecting to pay the normal $5 to $10.

      The razor thin margins argument only works from the bookseller's perspective, and this is primarily due to excessive competition from Amazon. Beyond this, sure the product would be slightly more expensive, but (pun intended) only marginally so. Revenue margins on classics written before 1924 (which most of this class of books is) are also significantly higher because they're public domain and the company isn't paying royalties on them. Additionally, at scale, a company with a series like Penguin Classics has a pretty solid understanding of print runs and demand to more easily allow them to innovate like this. Take the Penguin Classics copy of Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War which lists for $20 in paperback and sells for $12.00 on Amazon. (You'll notice that Amazon is essentially giving away their entire discount (aka margin, usually a 40% discount on the list price) here. At a 10,000 copy print run, the cost of the print/paper/print run is in the $2.00 per copy range or lower. Amazon is taking a razor margin for the sale, but Penguin is pocketing almost $10 in pure profit as I'm sure their marketing budget is very near zero here.<br /> They could easily still do very close to this with either larger book margins or even the same text printed on 6 x 9" instead of 5 x 8.25 (or even smaller pulp sizes) so they don't have to reset the entire book for pennies on the dollar at the publisher level. Given that the majority of this market is targeted at students, who could directly use these affordances (and often do but in more cramped space) for the small mark up (particularly in comparison to the $80 copies, which still don't fit the bill, when they exist), I would attribute their non-existence to laziness and lack of imagination on the part of the publishers. Perhaps a smaller publishers like Dover might take on such a project as a means of cheaply, but profitably improving their position in the market? Those making the argument for not marking up these sorts of copies to keep the book pristine for the next reader are missing the point. I also suspect that they haven't recently purchased these sorts of used copies that often go for under $4 on the used market. Even when treated well and not heavily annotated by the first reader, these books are not in good shape and really aren't designed to be read by more than three people. It's also the reason that most libraries don't purchase them. I might buy their argument for the more expensive hardcover collector's market, but not for the pulp mass market books which hold almost no value on the secondary market. Additionally the secondary market for this class of books doesn't usually reflect large value differences between heavily annotated/highlighted texts and those that aren't. Whether they mark them up or not, the first owner is responsible for the largest proportion of depreciated value. Tangentially, I find myself lamenting the cultural practices of prior generations who valued sharing annotated copies of texts with friends and lovers as tokens of their friendship and love. I'm guessing those who vitiate against annotation have never known these practices existed.

    1. Louis Menand had an interesting article on great books courses recently: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/12/20/whats-so-great-about-great-books-courses-roosevelt-montas-rescuing-socrates.

      If you look closely at those photos of Adler, you'll notice that one is in context and the other is the same image of him cut and pasted onto a set of books.

      Those who are into this broader topic may also appreciate Alex Beam's book "A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books". A while back I remember going though Lawrence Principe's Great Courses lecture series on the History of Science to 1700 which I suspect might help contextualize a tour through the great courses.

      I'm curious if you're adding any other books that Adler et al left off their list?

    1. level 2hog8541ssOp · 15 hr. agoVery nice! I am a pastor so I am researching Antinet being used along with Bible studies.

      If you've not come across the examples, one of the precursors of the slip box tradition was the widespread use of florilegia from the 8th through the 13th centuries and beyond, and they were primarily used for religious study, preaching, and sermon writing.

      A major example of early use was by Philip Melanchthon, who wrote a very popular handbook on how to keep a commonplace. He's one of the reasons why many Lutheran books are called or have Commonplace in the title.

      A fantastic example is that of American preacher Jonathan Edwards which he called by an alternate name of Miscellanies which is now digitized and online, much the way Luhmann's is: http://edwards.yale.edu/research/misc-index Apparently he used to pin slips with notes on his coat jacket!

      If I recall, u/TomKluender may have some practical experience in the overlap of theology and zettelkasten.

      (Moved this comment to https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/wth5t8/bible_study_and_zettelkasten/ as a better location for the conversation)

    1. https://github.com/sajjad2881/NewSyntopicon

      Someone's creating a new digitally linked version of the Syntopicon as text files for Obsidian (and potentially other platforms). Looks like it's partial at best and will need a lot of editing work to become whole.

      found by way of

      Has anyone made a hypermedia rendition of the Syntopicon, i.e. with transcluded windows or "parallel pages" into the indexed texts?<br><br>Many of Adler's Great Books are public domain, so it wouldn't require *so* titanic a copyright issue… pic.twitter.com/UmWiyn5aBC

      — Andy Matuschak (@andy_matuschak) August 17, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. Teachers have long understood that grasping the themes of great literature, while often times challenging, is well within the means of those readers willing to thoughtfully engage the text. Furthermore, teachers have long understood the value of margin notes as a powerful tool in accomplishing this end. Yet despite the collective wisdom of many educators, publishers continue to print the classics in a format little conducive to the kind of "text-grappling" that experts recommended. In listening to students and educators, Gladius Books has heeded the call by publishing a series of the most frequently read classics, each printed with extra-wide margins for convenient annotations. To maximize the value of margin notes, the publisher has also included an appendix with helpful note-taking suggestions.

      a publisher that takes having wider margins seriously!

    1. Annotate Books has added a 1.8-inch ruled margin on every page. The ample space lets you to write your thoughts, expanding your understanding of the text. This edition brings an end to does convoluted, parallel notes, made on minute spaces. Never again fail to understand your brilliant ideas, when you go back and review the text.

      This is what we want to see!! The publishing company Annotate Books is republishing classic texts with a roomier 1.8" ruled margin on every page to make it easier to annotate texts.

      It reminds me about the idea of having print-on-demand interleaved books. Why not have print-on-demand books which have wider than usual margins either with or without lines/grids/dots for easier note taking and marginalia?

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/C5WcYFhsEeyLyFeV9leIzw

    1. On the Internet there are many collective projects where users interact only by modifying local parts of their shared virtual environment. Wikipedia is an example of this.[17][18] The massive structure of information available in a wiki,[19] or an open source software project such as the FreeBSD kernel[19] could be compared to a termite nest; one initial user leaves a seed of an idea (a mudball) which attracts other users who then build upon and modify this initial concept, eventually constructing an elaborate structure of connected thoughts.[20][21]

      Just as eusocial creatures like termites create pheromone infused mudballs which evolve into pillars, arches, chambers, etc., a single individual can maintain a collection of notes (a commonplace book, a zettelkasten) which contains memetic seeds of ideas (highly interesting to at least themselves). Working with this collection over time and continuing to add to it, modify it, link to it, and expand it will create a complex living community of thoughts and ideas.

      Over time this complexity involves to create new ideas, new structures, new insights.

      Allowing this pattern to move from a single person and note collection to multiple people and multiple collections will tend to compound this effect and accelerate it, particularly with digital tools and modern high speed communication methods.

      (Naturally the key is to prevent outside selfish interests from co-opting this behavior, eg. corporate social media.)

    2. The network of trails functions as a shared external memory for the ant colony.

      Just as a trail of pheromones serves the function of a shared external memory for an ant colony, annotations can create a set of associative trails which serve as an external memory for a broader human collective memory. Further songlines and other orality based memory methods form a shared, but individually stored internal collective memory for those who use and practice them.

      Vestiges of this human practice can be seen in modern society with the use and spread of cultural memes. People are incredibly good at seeing and recognizing memes and what they communicate and spreading them because they've evolved to function this way since the dawn of humanity.

    1. https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2013/08/how-and-why-to-keep-a-commonplace-book/

      An early essay from Ryan Holiday about commonplace books including how, why, and their general value.

      Notice that the essay almost reads as if he's copying out cards from his own system. This is highlighted by the fact that he adds dashes in front 23 of his paragraphs/points.

    2. Protect it at all costs. As the historian Douglas Brinkley said about Ronald Reagan’s collection of notecards: “If the Reagans’ home in Palisades were burning, this would be one of the things Reagan would immediately drag out of the house. He carried them with him all over like a carpenter brings their tools. These were the tools for his trade.”

      Another example of saving one's commonplace in case of a fire!

      link to: - https://hypothes.is/a/BLL9TvZ9EeuSIrsiWKCB9w - https://hypothes.is/a/zHUghMiaEeuKKvcrc5ux5w

    3. I’ve been keeping my commonplace books in variety of forms for 6 or 7 years. But I’m just getting started.

      In August 2013 Ryan Holiday said that he'd been commonplacing for "6 or 7 years".

    4. Ronald Reagan actually kept quotes on a similar notecard system.

      By at least 2013 Ryan Holiday was aware of Ronald Reagan's note card system from a 2011 USA Today article and related book.

    5. I use 4×6 ruled index cards, which Robert Greene introduced me to. I write the information on the card, and the theme/category on the top right corner. As he figured out, being able to shuffle and move the cards into different groups is crucial to getting the most out of them.

      Ryan Holiday keeps a commonplace book on 4x6 inch ruled index cards with a theme or category written in the top right corner. He learned his system from Robert Greene.

      Of crucial importance to him was the ability to shuffle the cards and move them around.

    6. A commonplace book is a way to keep our learning priorities in order. It motivates us to look for and keep only the things we can use.
    7. And if you still need a why–I’ll let this quote from Seneca answer it (which I got from my own reading and notes): “We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application–not far far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech–and learn them so well that words become works.”
    1. https://lifehacker.com/im-ryan-holiday-and-this-is-how-i-work-1485776137

      An influential productivity article from 2013-12-18 that is seen quoted over the blogosphere for the following years that broadened the idea of the commonplace book and the later popularity of the zettelkasten.

      Note that zettelkasten.de was just starting up at about this time period, though it follows the work of Manfred Kuehn's note taking blog.

    2. Every book I read is also broken up and digested on these cards, which are all loosely by themed.

      Holiday analogizes his reading and note taking practice as a means of digesting books into his note card collection.

      Link to: - https://hypothes.is/a/OZ2r9rOfEeu9oFPzd3bMlw - Reader's Digest as a popular example

      How do the ideas of "digesting books" and "ruminant machines" relate to the psychology phenomenon of diffuse thinking over time?

    3. It's several thousand 4x6 notecards—based on a system taught to by my mentor Robert Greene when I was his research assistant—that have ideas, notes on books I liked, quotes that caught my attention, research for projects or phrases I am kicking around.

      Ryan Holiday learned his index card-based commonplace book system from writer Robert Greene for whom he worked as an assistant.

    4. My Commonplace Book (pictured above) is the first thing I'm taking out of my house in a fire.

      As a strong indicator of how important his commonplace book is, Ryan Holiday not only indicates that it's the tool he can't live without but he says it "is the first thing I'm taking out of my house in a fire."

      Link to: - https://hypothes.is/a/KCnrXMdHEeyxz3sZy3Uo5g

      Cross reference with his fears of robbery as well: - https://hypothes.is/a/BLL9TvZ9EeuSIrsiWKCB9w

    1. David Quammen on Books

      Of course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper.<br /> —David Quammen (1948 ― ), science, nature, and travel writer in The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder

      Syndication link: - https://boffosocko.com/2016/08/03/intellectual-wallpaper/

  8. Jul 2022
    1. Or, we canpicture ourselves collecting bones, breaking and roastingthem, and then boiling them for hours or days in a stockpot to release the nutritious and tasty marrow.

      We can imagine mining the information we encounter, following veins and seams underground, then smelting and refining the ore into useful metals. Occasionally we might come across gems that are nearly perfect when we discover them, perhaps needing only a bit of cutting and setting to reveal their beauty. But mostly the work involves patience and effort, as we go through the steps of finding, collecting, refining, and concentrating information from a raw material into exactly what we need for our structure

      I love these two new clever metaphors (mining and refining and cooking) for note taking for building knowledge. They're a welcome addition to the older and more classical metaphor of bees (Latin: apes) collecting pollen to make honey in the commonplace tradition.

    1. He explains the purpose of his "waste book" in his notebook E: Die Kaufleute haben ihr Waste book (Sudelbuch, Klitterbuch glaube ich im deutschen), darin tragen sie von Tag zu Tag alles ein was sie verkaufen und kaufen, alles durch einander ohne Ordnung, aus diesem wird es in das Journal getragen, wo alles mehr systematisch steht ... Dieses verdient von den Gelehrten nachgeahmt zu werden. Erst ein Buch worin ich alles einschreibe, so wie ich es sehe oder wie es mir meine Gedancken eingeben, alsdann kann dieses wieder in ein anderes getragen werden, wo die Materien mehr abgesondert und geordnet sind.[2] "Tradesmen have their 'waste book' (scrawl-book, composition book I think in German), in which they enter from day to day everything they buy and sell, everything all mixed up without any order to it, from there it is transferred to the day-book, where everything appears in more systematic fashion ... This deserves to be imitated by scholars. First a book where I write down everything as I see it or as my thoughts put it before me, later this can be transcribed into another, where the materials are more distinguished and ordered."
    1. Organization of both a commonplace book and pocket notebook .t3_w1vq6q._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; }

      Historically, following a tradition from accounting ledgers, people kept small, convenient pocket notebooks called "waste books" for quickly capturing notes and ideas in daily life. Later, they'd either expand on them or copy them out in better detail and usually in a nicer hand with sources/citations, and indexing/cross referencing in their permanent commonplaces. When you're done with it, you'd simply dispose of or throw away the waste book.

      As for arrangement or organization, it's been common for people to use something roughly similar to John Locke's indexing method from 1706 for arranging and finding material. Others use a card index file and index cards to be able to rearrange pieces or to more easily index and cross reference portions.

      I often recommend https://indieweb.org/commonplace_book as a pretty solid resource with some history, books, articles, and lots of examples (both digital and analog/paper-based) one might look at to find what they think would be best for themselves.

    1. Beatrice Webb, the famous sociologist and political activist, reported in 1926: "'Every one agrees nowadays', observe the most noted French writers on the study of history, 'that it is advisable to collect materials on separate cards or slips of paper. . . . The advantages of this artifice are obvious; the detachability of the slips enables us to group them at will in a host of different combinations; if necessary, to change their places; it is easy to bring texts of the same kind together, and to incorporate additions, as they are acquired, in the interior of the groups to which they belong.'" [6]

      footnote:

      Webb 1926, p. 363. The number of scholars who have used the index card method is legion, especially in sociology and anthropology, but also in many other subjects. Claude Lévy-Strauss learned their use from Marcel Mauss and others, Roland Barthes used them, Charles Sanders Peirce relied on them, and William Van Orman Quine wrote his lectures on them, etc.

    1. Robert uses a system based on flashcards

      flashcards?!?!! A commonplace book done in index cards is NOT based on "flashcards". 🤮

      Someone here is missing the point...

    2. In his interviews, he likes to emphasize that, in each book, he’s back to square one.

      Where does Robert Greene specifically say this?

      With a commonplace book repository, one is never really starting from square one. Anyone who says otherwise is missing the point.

    3. with established worldwide fame and prestige, to step in his previous successes to write more-of-the-same books and convert all the attention in cheap money. Just like Robert Kiyosaki did with his 942357 books about “Rich dad”.

      Many artists fall into a creativity trap caused by fame. They spend years developing a great work, but then when it's released, the industry requires they follow it up almost immediately with something even stronger.

      Jewel is an reasonable and perhaps typical example of this phenomenon. She spent several years writing the entirety of her first album Pieces of You (1995), which had three to four solid singles. As it became popular she was rushed to release Spirit (1998), which, while it was ultimately successful, didn't measure up to the first album which had far more incubation time. She wasn't able to build up enough material over time to more easily ride her initial wave of fame. Creativity on demand can be a difficult master, particularly when one is actively touring or supporting their first work while needing to

      (Compare the number of titles she self-wrote on album one vs. album two).

      M. Night Shyamalan is in a similar space, though as a director he preferred to direct scripts that he himself had written. While he'd had several years of writing and many scripts, some were owned by other production companies/studios which forced him to start from scratch several times and both write and direct at the same time, a process which is difficult to do by oneself.

      Another example is Robert Kiyosaki who spun off several similar "Rich Dad" books after the success of his first.

      Compare this with artists who have a note taking or commonplacing practice for maintaining the velocity of their creative output: - Eminem - stacking ammo - Taylor Swift - commonplace practice

    1. Realizing that my prior separate advice wasn't as actionable or specific, I thought I'd take another crack at your question.

      Some seem to miss the older techniques and names for this sort of practice and get too wound up in words like categories, tags, #hashtags, [[wikilinks]], or other related taxonomies and ontologies. Some become confounded about how to implement these into digital systems. Simplify things and index your ideas/notes the way one would have indexed books in a library card catalog, generally using subject, author and title.

      Since you're using an approach more grounded in the commonplace book tradition rather than a zettelkasten one, put an easy identifier on your note (this can be a unique title or number) and then cross reference it with any related subject headings or topical category words you find useful.

      Here's a concrete example, hopefully in reasonable detail that one can easily follow. Let's say you have a quote you want to save:

      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, Foucault's Pendulum

      In a paper system you might give this card the identification number #237. (This is analogous to the Dewey Decimal number that might be put on a book to find it on the shelves.) You want to be able to find this quote in the future using the topical words "power", "information", "connections", and "quotes" for example. (Which topical headings you choose and why can be up to you, the goal is to make it easier to dig up for potential reuse in future contexts). So create a separate paper index with alphabetical headings (A-Z) and then write cards for your topical headings. Your card with "power" at the top will have the number #237 on it to indicate that that card is related to the word power. You'll ultimately have other cards that relate and can easily find everything related to "power" within your system by using this subject index.

      You might also want to file that quote under two other "topics" which will make it easy to find: primarily the author of the quote "Umberto Eco" and the title of the source Foucault's Pendulum. You can add these to your index the same way you did "power", "information", etc., but it may be easier or more logical to keep a bibliographic index separately for footnoting your material, so you might want a separate bibliographic index for authors and sources. If you do this, then create a card with Umberto Eco at the top and then put the number #237 on it. Later you'll add other numbers for other related ideas to Eco. You can then keep your card "Eco, Umberto" alphabetized with all the other authors you cite. You'll effect a similar process with the title.

      With this done, you now have a system in which you don't have to categorize a single idea in a single place. Regardless of what project or thing you're working on, you can find lots of related notes. If you're juggling multiple projects you can have an index file or document outline for these as well. So your book project on the History of Information could have a rough outline of the book on which you've got the number #237 in the chapter or place where you might use the quote.

      Hopefully this will be even more flexible than Holiday's system because that was broadly project based. In practice, if you're keeping notes over a lifetime, you're unlikely to be interested in dramatically different areas the way Ryan Holiday or Robert Greene were for disparate book projects, but will find more overlapping areas. Having a more flexible system that will allow you to reuse your notes for multiple settings or projects will be highly valuable.

      For those who are using digital systems, ask yourself: "what functions and features allow you to do these analog patterns most easily?" If you're using something like Obsidian which has #tagging functionality that automatically creates an index of all your tags, then leverage that and remove some of the manual process. The goal is to make sure the digital system is creating the structure to allow you to easily find and use your notes when you need them. If your note taking system doesn't have custom functionalities for any of these things, then you'll need to do more portions of them manually.

    1. This also made me think of church bulletin ads, which all look the exact same way, except maybe it’s just a Catholic thing2?

      I thought of the same aesthetic as well, in part because it wasn't as "busy" as the comic book page aesthetic.

  9. Jun 2022
    1. The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/ by Ferris Jabr Scientific American 2013-04-11 A good overview of reading practices, reading user interfaces, and research literature relevant to it. Lots of abstracts from research which I ought to look at more closely, and thus didn't make note of as much as I'd rather delve into the primary sources.

      Most of the research cited here is preliminary to early e-reading devices and has small sample sizes. Better would be to see how subsequent studies have fared with larger and more diverse groups.

    2. Some researchers have found that these discrepancies create enough "haptic dissonance" to dissuade some people from using e-readers. People expect books to look, feel and even smell a certain way; when they do not, reading sometimes becomes less enjoyable or even unpleasant. For others, the convenience of a slim portable e-reader outweighs any attachment they might have to the feel of paper books.
    1. u/sscheper in writing your book, have you thought about the following alternative publishing idea which I'm transcribing from a random though I put on a card this morning?

      I find myself thinking about people publishing books in index card/zettelkasten formats. Perhaps Scott Scheper could do this with his antinet book presented in a traditional linear format, but done in index cards with his numbers, links, etc. as well as his actual cards for his index at the end so that readers could also see the power of the system by holding it in their hands and playing with it?

      It could be done roughly like Edward Powys Mathers' Cain's Jawbone or Henry Korn's Pontoon Manifesto? Perhaps numbered consecutively to make it easier to bring back into that format, but also done with your zk numbering so that people could order it and use it that way too? This way you get the book as well as a meta artifact of what the book is about as an example of how to do such a thing for yourself. Maybe even make a contest for a better ordering for the book than the one you published it in ?

      Link to: - https://hyp.is/6IBzkPfeEeyo9Suq-ZmCKg/www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/

    1. “Collect books, even if you don't plan on reading them right away. Nothing is more important than an unread library.” ― John Waters