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  1. Last 7 days
    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.

  2. Sep 2022
    1. Memory techniques are the fix for a rather artificial situation. Whenit comes to academic writing, we don't have the need for this trick,

      He's wholly wrong on this score because he lacks a deeper appreciation for how this works or its value to oral societies. He uses the word "trick" in a disparaging sense with respect to mnemotechniques.

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    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.


      Revisit this for some pull quotes and fine details of his method.

    1. IntertextsAs Jonathan Culler writes: “Liter-ary works are not to be consideredautonomous entities, ‘organicwholes,’ but as intertextual con-structs: sequences which havemeaning in relation to other textswhich they take up, cite, parody,refute, or generally transform.” ThePursuit of Signs (Ithaca, NY: CornelUniversity Press, 1981), 38.

      Throughout Rewriting: How To Do Things With Texts (Utah State University Press, 2006) Joseph Harris presents highlighted sidebar presentations he labels "Intertexts".

      They simultaneously serve the functions of footnotes, references, (pseudo-)pull quotes, and conversation with his own text. It's not frequently seen this way, but these intertexts serve the function of presenting his annotations of his own text to model these sorts of annotations and intertextuality which he hopes the reader (student) to be able to perform themselves. He explicitly places them in a visually forward position within the text rather than hiding them in the pages' footnotes or end notes where the audience he is addressing can't possibly miss them. In fact, the reader will be drawn to them above other parts of the text when doing a cursory flip through the book upon picking it up, a fact that underlines their importance in his book's thesis.


      This really is a fantastic example of the marriage of form and function as well as modelling behavior.


      cc: @remikalir

    2. As I write this book, for instance, I am sitting in a small room, beforea laptop computer, surrounded by books, papers, and magazines—all ofwhich I am, in some metaphorical sense, “in conversation with” (in muchthe same way I am also in conversation with you, my imagined reader).But what I am actually doing is working with a set of materials—lookingfor books on my shelves and flipping through them, folding pages over ormarking them with Post-its, retyping passages, filing and retrieving print-outs and photocopies, making notes in margins and on index cards, and,of course, composing, cutting, pasting, formatting, revising, and printingblocks of prose. I am, that is, for the most part, moving bits of text and paperaround.

      Joseph Harris uses a mélange of materials to make his writing including books, papers, magazines, from which he is copying sections out, writing in margins, making notes on index cards and then moving those pieces of text and pieces of paper (the index cards, and possibly Post-it notes) around to create his output.

      He doesn't delineate a specific process for his excerpting or note taking practice. How does he organize his notes? Is he just pulling them from piles around him? Is there a sense of organization at all?

    1. Live-Roaming: Using Roam to teach students in college

      I'd listened to this whole episode sometime since 2022-04-05, but didn't put it in my notes.

      Mark Robertson delineates how he actively models the use of his note taking practice (using Roam Research) while teaching/lecturing in the classroom. This sort of modeling can be useful for showing students how academics read, gather, and actively use their knowledge. It does miss the portion about using the knowledge to create papers, articles, books, etc., but the use of this mode of reading and notes within a discussion setting isn't terribly different.

      Use of the system for conversation/discussion with the authors of various texts as you read, with your (past) self as you consult your own notes, or your students in classroom lectures/discussion sections is close to creating your own discussion for new audiences (by way of the work your write yourself.)

      https://www.buzzsprout.com/1194506/4875515-mark-robertson-history-socratic-dialogue-live-roaming.mp3

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

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

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

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

      https://www.spiegel.de/kultur/zukunft-im-zettelkasten-a-75d23643-0002-0001-0000-000046407320?context=issue

      Google translation:

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

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

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

    1. I’m with Iris (and Jane) about the PoIC system — I don’t understand how the system works once it is set up. It’s a shame as it might be very useful. Ideally, I’d like to set it up with notebooks in Evernote instead of actual index cards and boxes (the last thing I need in my life is more paper clutter). That way it would be easily searchable, too).

      As is apparently often in describing new organizing systems (commonplace books, zettelkasten, PoIC, etc.), not everyone is going to understand it the first time, or even understand what is going on or why one would want to use it.

      This post by Susan is such an example.

      Susan does almost immediately grasp that this might be something one could transfer into a digital system however, particularly for the search functionality.

    1. But having a conversation partner in your topic is actually ideal!

      What's the solution: dig into your primary sources. Ask open-ended questions, and refine them as you go. Be open to new lines of inquiry. Stage your work in Conversation with so-and-so [ previously defined as the author of the text].

      Stacy Fahrenthold recommends digging into primary sources and using them (and their author(s) as a "conversation partner". She doesn't mention using either one's memory or one's notes as a communication partner the way Luhmann does in "Kommunikation mit Zettelkästen" (1981), which can be an incredibly fruitful and creative method for original material.

      http://luhmann.surge.sh/communicating-with-slip-boxes

    1. https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/3641225-mcconnell-throws-shade-on-grahams-proposed-national-abortion-ban/

      I've recently run across a few examples of a pattern that should have a name because it would appear to dramatically change the outcomes. I'm going to term it "decisions based on possibilities rather than realities". It's seen frequently in economics and politics and seems to be a form of cognitive bias. People make choices (or votes) about uncertain futures, often when there is a confluence of fear, uncertainty, and doubt, and these choices are dramatically different than when they're presented with the actual circumstances in practice.

      A recent example was a story about a woman who was virulently pro-life who when presented with a situation required her to switch her position to pro-choice.

      Another relates to choices that people want to make about where their children might go to school versus where they actually send them, and the damage this does to public education.

      Let's start collecting examples of these quandaries at all levels of making choices in the real world.


      What is the relationship to this with the mental exercise of "descending into the particular"?

      Does this also potentially cause decision fatigue in cases of voting spaces when constituents are forced to vote for candidates on thousands of axes which they may or may not agree with?

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

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

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

    1. That stage when you're pretty sure you've finished reading + taking notes, and you're ready to start porting everything over into thematic sections on Scrivener. One of the many stages of writing before The Writing actually begins. T-minus 14 hours

      https://twitter.com/shannonmattern/status/1512134425785610255

      That stage when you're pretty sure you've finished reading + taking notes, and you're ready to start porting everything over into thematic sections on Scrivener. One of the many stages of writing before The Writing actually begins. T-minus 14 hours 😰

      — Shannon Mattern (@shannonmattern) April 7, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. Shannon Mattern@shannonmattern·Apr 16Replying to @shannonmattern"I do not take notes as I read. I dog-ear—verso-top, recto-bottom—and underline sentences + paragraphs. I create a document and type out every underlined sentence and paragraph, sorted by book. Then I create a second document + sort the sentences + paragraphs by subject...."2117Shannon Mattern@shannonmattern·Apr 16"... The process of doing this usually gets me to a preliminary articulation of the argument I want to make, its beginning and its end, its arc, and its subclaims." How affirming - this is my process, too! // All of this is from a lovely @nybooks email interview with @mervatim

      Merve Emre's note taking process: dog earing and highlighting followed by typing out sentences and sorting into a rough draft.

      Similar to Shannon Mattern's as noted.


      "I do not take notes as I read. I dog-ear—verso-top, recto-bottom—and underline sentences + paragraphs. I create a document and type out every underlined sentence and paragraph, sorted by book. Then I create a second document + sort the sentences + paragraphs by subject...."

      — Shannon Mattern (@shannonmattern) April 16, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      "... The process of doing this usually gets me to a preliminary articulation of the argument I want to make, its beginning and its end, its arc, and its subclaims." How affirming - this is my process, too! // All of this is from a lovely @nybooks email interview with @mervatim pic.twitter.com/iAF82mo5MI

      — Shannon Mattern (@shannonmattern) April 16, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=math+demystified&i=stripbooks&crid=UM15P2ZTY84C&sprefix=math+demystified%2Cstripbooks%2C137&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

      A whole series of books from McGraw Hill whose titles all carry an implicit math shaming. Who wants to carry these books around and be seen reading them? Even the word DeMYSTiFieD on the cover is written in CLoWn case.

      • Business Math Demystified
      • Dosage Calculations and Basic Math for Nurses Demystified
      • Geometry Demystified
      • Business Calculus Demystified
      • Math Word Problems Demystified
      • Everyday Math Demystified
      • Discrete Mathematics Demystified
      • Math Proofs Demystified
      • Pre-Algebra Demystified
  3. Aug 2022
    1. Although there is more than one way to implement a Zettelkasten system, the essential elements are always the same: brief summaries on cards, organized into categories.

      https://medium.com/flourish-inc/wait-what-the-did-i-just-read-4b00ff02d1b7

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

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

    1. (see paragraph 28)

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

    1. ‘The Brain Has a Body’ (the title of a 1997 article) and the body has an environment – “but neither the body nor the environment feature in modelling approaches that seek to understand the brain.” The input from the world is part of the system in which brains operate.

      Body and environment are commonly ignored in modeling of the brain to understand its working. Example of sub-system / system / supra-system perception levels not being taken into account simultaneously, compare [[Triz denken in systeemniveaus 20200826114731]], and the corresponding switches wrt where the complexity is [[De locus van Complexiteit 20040513173600]]. Similar to [[Disruption Theory is Real, but Wrong 20191014111801]] where the disruption can manifest on a different level than the players in the scene being disrupted and causing the disruption.

    2. There’s an interesting but brief discussion of the contrast between reductionist approaches to understanding the brain (which seems dominant) and others pointing to the emergence of complex phenomena from a few simple neural networks. I don’t know what to think of it in this context, but the path of reductionism hasn’t served economics all that well.

      Greedy reductionism, beyond the point where it still provides new agency or insight, is a consistent risk. Consciousness, economics. Perhpas make a list of examples where this happened in different fields and the impact of it? Should be a bunch in my notes.

    1. To access GPT-3, you set up an account at OpenAI. Then you click on Playground, which brings you to this workspace:

      did that. Playing with it is highly fascinating. Saving some conversations as examples.

    2. I’ve talked to people who prompt GPT-3 to give them legal advice and diagnose their illnesses (for an example of how this looks, see this footnote1). I’ve talked to men who let their five-year-olds hang out with GPT-3, treating it as an eternally patient uncle, answering questions, while dad gets on with work.

      The essay gives various examples of usage: legal advice medical diagnosis nanny to talk to your kid a research assistant, prompting it for surprisal basically to come up with lines of inquiry an questions let the algo impersonate someone and run ideas by that impersonation let the algo impersonate opposing debate partners list possible counterarguments draw analogies between knowledge domains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Thanks again for this video!

    1. https://universitylifecafe.k-state.edu/bookshelf/academicskills/indexcardstudysystem.html

      Natalie Umberger is writing about an "index card study system" in an academic study skills context, but it's an admixture of come ideas from Cornell Notes and using index cards as flashcards.

      The advice to "Review your notes and readings frequently, so the material is 'fresh.' " is a common one (through at least the 1980s to the present), though research on the mere-exposure effect indicates that it's not as valuable as other methods.

      How can we stamp out the misconception that this sort of review is practical?

  4. Jul 2022
    1. the mechanism ofdouble bind described by Gregory Bateson et al. [35 ] as a pattern of communication

      !- examples : double bind * When one thinks a little, one finds many such double bind situations in life such as: * Persons in positions of responsibility who have access to more resources than they have ability to afford, creating temptation to steal Marrying out of sense of duty instead of love * Challenges identifying with gender identity - LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning), and others. The "plus" represents other sexual identities including pansexual and Two-Spirit) * Conformity bias - sensing injustice of certain social norms propagated by your own ingroup but feeling peer pressure to conform

    1. For example, in the Phaedrus, one of Plato’s dialogues from the 4th century BCE, Socrates relates the myth of the king Thamus and the god Theuth. Theuth was the inventor of letters — the first technology of thinking!

      Another of the abounding examples of people thinking that writing and literacy are the first technology of thinking.

    1. https://x28newblog.wordpress.com/2022/07/13/pruning-for-output/comment-page-1/#comment-4960

      I love that you're adding links to the responses back and forth for future reference. I remember doing this manually several years back, but its a practice I rarely see. Both Stephen and I are using the Webmention spec to do this for our selves in an automatic fashion. (Mine display on my site in the comments, though I don't think Stephen does presently.) On wordpress.com you'd likely need to have a higher paid tier to add the plugins to enable this for WordPress, though depending on how often you do this it may be worth it?

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

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

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

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

    1. that you know was not connected to any kind of military application there were other examples of this and this is something that you could actually put you know 00:07:36 these cards in a smaller deck that you could review i drove to my conference so it would have been a lot harder to review these when i'm driving however if you're flying or taking a train or you 00:07:49 know something where a passenger seat you could potentially just take these cars make a small deck and carry them with you wouldn't need a computer or anything now that was the priming piece 00:08:03 how did it help next step is i actually went to the agenda into the schedule and looked at it typically when you do that there are some some talks that you're going to want to 00:08:16 go to right and some work groups or tracks that are that have a large application to what you're doing your day job is the other piece is if you're presenting

      This is an example about preparation for going into a conference (or battle, which is suggested by this particular conference's topic). The work provides a primer for what is about to happen and can be analogized to ancients taking the ark of the covenant into battle before them. It serves as a cultural talisman representing what they're fighting for, but it also likely served as a mnemonic device for their actual battle strategies and plans from the time. They take it with them as a physical review reminder and device.

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

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

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7XbgD4VVa4

      Matthias Melcher's note taking process. Quick capture as text. Linking and categorizing later, and then import into a private WordPress space.

      No indication here what happens after, though ostensibly some of it is covered here: https://x28newblog.wordpress.com/2022/07/13/pruning-for-output/

    1. Or if I’m jogging, I associate each thing I want to remember with one of my limbs, then I go through them one at a time “left arm, left leg…” when I’m done running and I write them down.

      Example of someone in the wild using their body as a locus for attaching memories temporarily so that they can recall ideas for making note of later.

  5. Jun 2022
    1. The trending topics on Twitter can be used as a form of juxtaposition of random ideas which could be brought together to make new and interesting things.

      Here's but one example of someone practicing just this:

      Y’all, imagine Spielberg’s Sailor Moon pic.twitter.com/xZ1DEsbLTy

      — Matty Illustration (@MN_illustration) June 30, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      cc: https://twitter.com/marshallk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Chefs use mise en place—a philosophy and mindset embodied ina set of practical techniques—as their “external brain.”1 It gives thema way to externalize their thinking into their environment

      Dan Charnas, Work Clean: The Life-Changing Power of Mise-en-Place to Organize Your Life, Work, and Mind (Emmaus, PA: Rodale Books, 2016)

      mise-en-place is an example of a means of thinking externally with one's environment

      link to - similar ideas in Annie Murphy Paul's The Extended Mind

    2. the time you sit down tomake progress on something, all the work to gather and organize thesource material needs to already be done. We can’t expectourselves to instantly come up with brilliant ideas on demand. Ilearned that innovation and problem-solving depend on a routine thatsystematically brings interesting ideas to the surface of ourawareness.

      By writing down and collecting ideas slowly over time, working on them in small fits and spurts, when one finally comes to do the final work on their writing project or other work, the pieces only need minor shaping to take their final form. This process allows for a much greater level of serendipity, creativity, and potential sustained genius of connecting ideas across time to take shape in a final piece.


      How does this relate to diffuse thinking? How can slow diffuse thinking be leveraged into this process?

      Writing down fleeting notes while walking around can be valuable as one's ideas brew slowly in the mind (diffuse thinking) in combination with active combinatorial creativity, thus a form of Llullan combinatorial diffusion.


      Many business books seem so shallow and often only have one real insight which is repeated multiple times, perhaps to drive the point home or perhaps just to have enough filler to seem being worth the purchase of a book.

      Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich is an example of this, though it shows a different form of genius in expanding the idea from a variety of perspectives so that eventually everyone will absorb the broader idea which is distilled to great effect into the title.

    3. eventually you’ll have so many IPs at yourdisposal that you can execute entire projects just by assemblingpreviously created IPs. This is a magical experience that willcompletely change how you view productivity.

      another example of the idea of "magical" experience that comes when taking notes. This one isn't about idea creation or even serendipity though, but relates specifically to being "bulk productive".

    4. Thus began a lifelong relationship with her commonplace books.Butler would scrape together twenty-five cents to buy small Meadmemo pads, and in those pages she took notes on every aspect ofher life: grocery and clothes shopping lists, last-minute to-dos,wishes and intentions, and calculations of her remaining funds forrent, food, and utilities. She meticulously tracked her daily writinggoals and page counts, lists of her failings and desired personalqualities, her wishes and dreams for the future, and contracts she

      would sign with herself each day for how many words she committed to write.

      Not really enough evidence for a solid quote here. What was his source?

      He cites the following shallowly: <br /> - Octavia E. Butler, Bloodchild and Other Stories: Positive Obsession (New York: Seven Stories, 2005), 123–36.<br /> - 2 Lynell George, A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia Butler (Santa Monica: Angel City Press, 2020).<br /> - 3 Dan Sheehan, “Octavia Butler has finally made the New York Times Best Seller list,” LitHub.com, September 3, 2020, https://lithub.com/octavia- butler-has-finally-made-the-new-york-times-best-seller-list/.<br /> - 4 Butler’s archive has been available to researchers and scholars at the Huntington Library since 2010.

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

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

      https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/vgtyuf/mastery_requires_theory_application_of_theory_is/

    1. He examines archival documents and prehistoric barrows as expertly as mud splashes and tobacco ash, and files the results of his reading and excerpting systematically in a massive collection of notebooks, which he regularly consults.

      Worth pulling out the exact reference, but Anthony Grafton indicates that Sherlock Holmes regularly read and "excerpted systematically into a massive collection of notebooks, which he regularly consults."

    1. I know one magazine editor who hoardsnewspaper and magazine clippings.

      Twyla Tharp tells the story of a colleague who is a magazine editor. They keep a pile of clippings of phots, illustrations, and stories in their desk and mine it, often with others, for something that will create story ideas for new work.

      This method is highly similar to that of Eminem's "Stacking Ammo" method.

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

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

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

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

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

    1. http://messnerenglish.weebly.com/who-uses-a-writers-notebook.html

      Example of a teacher using the commonplace book tradition within her class, though she frames it as a "writer's notebook". I like the way she uses examples of cultural figures who are doing this same sort of pattern.

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

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

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

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

      Mario Bunge had a card index note taking practice.

    1. https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/401/hopeful-theorist

      This is a fascinating first hand example of note taking experience spanning several decades. It includes descriptions of personal experience with a wide variety of most of the major note taking digital applications during this time period and provides a clear preference for a text-only (digital) format.

      It describes a collection of over 10,000 text notes and 6,000 bibliographic entries.

    1. https://www.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk/the-scope-and-nature-of-darwins-commonplace-book/

      Erasmus Darwin's commonplace book

      It is one of the version(s?) published by John Bell based on John Locke's method and is a quarto volume bound in vellum with about 300 sheets of fine paper.

      Blank pages 1 to 160 were numbered and filled by Darwin in his own hand with 136 entries. The book was started in 1776 and continued until 1787. Presumably Darwin had a previous commonplace book, but it has not been found and this version doesn't have any experiments prior to 1776, though there are indications that some material has been transferred from another source.

      The book contains material on medical records, scientific matters, mechanical and industrial improvements, and inventions.

      The provenance of Erasmus Darwin's seems to have it pass through is widow Elizabeth who added some family history to it. It passed through to her son and other descendants who added entries primarily of family related topics. Leonard Darwin (1850-1943), the last surviving son of Charles Darwin gave it to Down House, Kent from whence it was loaned to Erasmus Darwin House in 1999.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Gall's Law is a rule of thumb for systems design from Gall's book Systemantics: How Systems Really Work and How They Fail. It states: .mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.

      This feels like an underlying and underpinning principle of how the IndieWeb which focuses on working real world examples which are able to build up more complex systems instead of theoretical architecture astronomy which goes no where.

      Reference: John Gall (1975) Systemantics: How Systems Really Work and How They Fail p. 71

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

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

    1. https://www.hjkeen.net/halqn/index.htm

      A great example of an online commonplace book prominently featuring quotes with an index featuring authors, titles, categories, and even translators. Even more interesting, it looks like it's hand built using a large table.

    1. Between 1930 to 1980,Labrousse, Daumard, and Kuznets carried out their research almostexclusively by hand, on file cards.

      Piketty indicates that Ernest Labrousse, Adeline Daumard, and Simon Kuznets carried out their economic and historical research almost exclusively by hand using file cards.

      Are their notes still extant? What did their systems look like? From whom did they learn them?

    1. Goodreads lost my entire account last week. Nine years as a user, some 600 books and 250 carefully written reviews all deleted and unrecoverable. Their support has not been helpful. In 35 years of being online I've never encountered a company with such callous disregard for their users' data.

      A clarion call for owning your own data.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Another working day on #BarbaraBodichon begins. I love my writing table but sometimes wish I’d one of those svelte, shiny offices where nothing appears to be out of place, even behind closed drawers/doors. What’s your desk look like right now, #Twitterstorians? #WorkplacePix

      This says so much about modern note taking in the academy.

      Another working day on #BarbaraBodichon begins. I love my writing table but sometimes wish I’d one of those svelte, shiny offices where nothing appears to be out of place, even behind closed drawers/doors. What’s your desk look like right now, #Twitterstorians? #WorkplacePix pic.twitter.com/vk9iA3gnT7

      — jane robinson (@janerobinson00) May 19, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. This "commonplace book" is a collection of personally chosen quotations. This is not really a "quotations" site like so many on the web. Rather, it is words I save as I read. I give an accurate citation whenever I can.
    1. https://3stages.org/quotes/index.html

      I thought I'd bookmarked this before, but apparently not in my notebook. Example of an explicit online commonplace book, primarily with quotes from J. Jacobs' reading.

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

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

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

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

      A joker.

      An example of a jokerzettel.


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

    1. The singular written work is a brute force attack, not a bureaucratic spider web. It is preciously rare—always has been and always will be. The ability to create singular written works is mostly impervious to education and technical supplementation; it is overwhelmingly what we used to call gifted or God-given and today call either genetic or inspired.

      This perspective is the same sort of hero worship that has too often been beaten into people (and especially students) over the centuries.

      You have to be an absolute genius to be able to create work like that of Francis Bacon, Conrad Gessner, John Locke, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Carl Linnaeus, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Marcel Mauss, Isaac Newton, Umberto Eco, Philip Melanchthon, Erasmus Darwin, Rudolphus Agricola, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Burns right?

      Here's the secret: all of them kept extensive notebooks, commonplace books, or zettelkasten-like note collections. Small little pieces aggregated over time allowed them to create great things.

      I suspect that if one looks at famous creators/writers throughout history they will discover that some sort of personal knowledge management system at the core of their practice.

    1. Amanda CAARSON I've been a web developer since 1999, and I've been on the indieweb since 2015. This site is a commonplace book for all my online activity and will eventually be a home for archives of all of my online content.

      https://arush.io/

      Example of a personal website indicating that it's a commonplace book. (Highly likely through my own influence.)

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

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

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

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

  8. Apr 2022
    1. I have just over 1000 notes, going back over 10yrs. Style has changed significantly over time. Only 300-400 are “wiki style”. Started digital daily notes about 2 yrs ago - before that was on paper.
    1. in reality pretty much everyone out there has some messiness in their graph and that's okay

      Newcomers to note taking practice using tools like Roam Research, Obsidian, Logseq, et al. often see very nice and clean-cut toy examples of note collections which are impeccably linked and maintained. This may also be the case for those who publish their notes (or portions thereof) in public settings on the web. In reality, this sort of rigidness and beautifully manicured practice almost never happens. There are varying levels of messiness in actual people's notes. Beginners should be aware of this and not hold themselves to too high a standard and use this as an excuse not to practice and get their work done.

    2. using rome as a almost a tool to convey information to your future self

      One's note taking is not only a conversation with the text or even the original author, it is also a conversation you're having with your future self. This feature is accelerated when one cross links ideas within their note box with each other and revisits them at regular intervals.


      Example of someone who uses Roam Research and talks about the prevalence of using it as a "conversation with your future self."


      This is very similar to the same patterns that can be seen in the commonplace book tradition, and even in the blogosphere (Cory Doctorow comes to mind), or IndieWeb which often recommends writing on your own website to document how you did things for your future self.

    1. Why public? There is something about making your posts available to the rest of the world that holds your feet to the fire and makes you commit. I’ve tried dozens of times to keep a private ongoing digital notebook in Evernote, Devonthink, Roam, and Obsidian, but they never stick. But making my notes available to the world in my digital garden keeps me coming back and updating it daily.

      -Chuck Grimmett

    2. Writing and publishing forces you to solidify and clarify your thoughts.
    1. There is, however, one thing to learn from writers that non-writers don’t always understand. Most writers don’t write to express what they think. They write to figure out what they think. Writing is a process of discovery.
    1. YOU should write blogs.Even if nobody reads them, you should write them. It's become pretty clear to me that blogging is a source of both innovation and clarity. I have many of my best ideas and insights while blogging. Struggling to express things that you're thinking or feeling helps you understand them better.
    1. Blogging is my way of pulling together into a coherent form all the stray thoughts rolling around in my mind. Writing helps me sift the good thoughts from all the bad and fit them all together in a logical pattern.
    1. One of the most interesting aspects to blogging is discourse - the idea that in order to write something you must think about it with a critical eye and that this process actually helps you clarify your thinking around it.
    1. https://blog.kowalczyk.info/

      <small><cite class='h-cite ht'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Dave Gauer</span> in Inspiration for the virtual box of cards - ratfactor (<time class='dt-published'>02/27/2022 14:21:56</time>)</cite></small>

    1. https://wiki.nikitavoloboev.xyz/

      <small><cite class='h-cite ht'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Dave Gauer</span> in Inspiration for the virtual box of cards - ratfactor (<time class='dt-published'>02/27/2022 14:21:56</time>)</cite></small>

    1. http://ratfactor.com/cards/

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

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

      What are the generally accepted distinctions between all these forms?

    1. https://www.themarginalian.org/2011/06/20/inside-notebooks/

      There are a number of books which feature the sketchbooks and notebooks of famous writers, researchers and artists. However, most of their work is presented as art in and of itself. Rarely are the messiest and ugliest pages pictured. Most of the layouts in these books are laid out as art. Frequently missing are the structural parts and interviews with the original authors talking about their process. How do they actually use these notebooks in practice? How do ideas move from their heads into the notebooks and from there into their practical work? The notebooks only capture raw ideas as a scaffolding for extending the user's brain and thinking, but it doesn't capture the intangible ideas and portions of process which are still trapped within their brains. To be able to evaluate these portions, the author needs to talk or write about those missing portions of the process otherwise the way they create genius is wholly missing. A viewer of such notebooks would be no closer to creating genius for themselves by attempting to follow the same patterns without these additional structures. It's like the indigenous peoples who talk with rocks as part of their cultural practice—so much of what is happening is missing from the description of "talking with rocks" that most people wouldn't even know where to begin, but for the initiated, the process would be imminently crystal clear.

      Which of these books actually delves into the process and does interviews as well?

      This article actually lays out the notebooks as their own form of art rather than centering the idea of creative process as a means of helping others to follow these same patterns. We need the book that does for the art and design area what Sönke Ahrens' book How to Take Smart Notes does for the note taking space. It's interesting to see Niklas Luhmann's collection of 90,000 index cards, but without knowing how he used them and what purpose they served, the enterprise is lost. Similarly the depiction of Roland Barthes' index cards in Roland Barthes has a similar function. Showing them is not equivalent to actually understanding them.

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/3SOmoMcMEey8n9dSUWhPJw

    1. https://winnielim.org/library/collections/personal-websites-with-a-notes-section/

      Winnie has some excellent examples of people's websites with notes, similar to that of https://indieweb.org/note. But it feels a bit like she's approaching it from the perspective of deeper ideas and thoughts than one might post to Twitter or other social media. It would be worthwhile looking at examples of people's practices in this space that are more akin to note taking and idea building, perhaps in the vein of creating digital gardens or the use of annotation tools like Hypothes.is?

    1. I was fortunate enough to see—and now share with you—a handful of these diaries from 1977 in their original, hand-written form. (A collection of more than three hundred entries, entitled “Mourning Diary,” will be published by Hill and Wang next month.)

      Hill and Wang published Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes on October 12, 2010. It is a collection of 330 entries which he wrote following the death of his mother Henriette in 1977.

      Kristina Budelis indicates that she saw them in person and reproduced four of them as index card-like notes in The New Yorker (September 2010).

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

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

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

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

  9. docdrop.org