64 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2022
    1. The endpapers at the back ofthe book can be used to make a personal index of the author'spoints in the order of their appearance.
  2. Oct 2022
  3. 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. Christopher Hill, used to pencil on the back endpaper of his books a list of the pages and topics which had caught his attention. He rubbed out his notes if he sold the book, but not always very thoroughly, so one can usually recognise a volume which belonged to him.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Hill_(historian)

      Christopher Hill's practice of creating indices of topics of interest to him in the end papers of his books is similar to that of Mortimer J. Adler who attested this practice as well.

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Manfred Kuehn</span> in Taking note: Luhmann's Zettelkasten (<time class='dt-published'>08/06/2021 00:16:23</time>)</cite></small>

      Note the use of the edge highlighted taxonomy system used on these cards:

      Similar to the so called high five indexing system I ran across recently.

    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. Altogether, one finds an interminable assortment of facts on almost anytopic, with major sections relating to blood accusations and blood libels, fiction andliterature, the Passover Haggadah, memoirs, mixed marriages, orthodoxy, Palestine,periodicals, and universities, but also obscure topics including hunting, Russian Jewishdwarfs, and myths and magic.

      Deutsch's zettelkasten seems to have been done in index style using headwords as was common in the older commonplace tradition.

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    1. Cattell, J. McKeen. “Methods for a Card Index.” Science 10, no. 247 (1899): 419–20.


      Columbia professor of psychology calls for the creation of a card index of references to reviews and abstracts for areas of research. Columbia was apparently doing this in 1899 for the psychology department.

      What happened to this effort? How similar was it to the system of advertising cards for books in Germany in the early 1930s described by Heyde?

    1. Goutor doesn't specifically cover the process, but ostensibly after one has categorized content notes, they are filed together in one's box under that heading. (p34) As a result, there is no specific indexing or cross-indexing of cards or ideas which might be filed under multiple headings. In fact, he doesn't approach the idea of filing under multiple headings at all, while authors like Heyde (1931) obsess over it. Goutor's method also presumes that the creation of some of the subject headings is to be done in the planning stages of the project, though in practice some may arise as one works. This process is more similar to that seen in Robert Greene's commonplacing method using index cards.

  4. Sep 2022
    1. For instance, particular insights related to the sun or the moon may be filed under the(foreign) keyword “Astronomie” [Astronomy] or under the (German) keyword “Sternkunde”[Science of the Stars]. This can happen even more easily when using just one language, e.g.when notes related to the sociological term “Bund” [Association] are not just filed under“Bund” but also under “Gemeinschaft” [Community] or “Gesellschaft” [Society]. Againstthis one can protect by using dictionaries of synonyms and then create enough referencesheets (e.g. Astronomy: cf. Science of the Stars)

      related, but not drawn from as I've been thinking about the continuum of taxonomies and subject headings for a while...

      On the Spectrum of Topic Headings in note making

      Any reasonable note one may take will likely have a hierarchical chain of tags/subject headings/keywords going from the broad to the very specific. One might start out with something broad like "humanities" (as opposed to science), and proceed into "history", "anthropology", "biological anthropology", "evolution", and even more specific. At the bottom of the chain is the specific atomic idea on the card itself. Each of the subject headings helps to situate the idea and provide the context in which it sits, but how useful within a note taking system is having one or more of these tags on it? What about overlaps with other broader subjects (one will note that "evolution" might also sit under "science" / "biology" as well), but that note may have a different tone and perspective than the prior one.

      This becomes an interesting problem or issue as one explores ideas in a pre-designed note taking system. As a student just beginning to explore anthropology, one may tag hundreds of notes with anthropology to the point that the meaning of the tag is so diluted that a search of the index becomes useless as there's too much to sort through underneath it. But as one continues their studies in the topic further branches and sub headings will appear to better differentiate the ideas. This process will continue as the space further differentiates. Of course one may continue their research into areas that don't have a specific subject heading until they accumulate enough ideas within that space. (Take for example Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky's work which is now known under the heading of Behavioral Economics, a subject which broadly didn't exist before their work.) The note taker might also leverage this idea as they tag their own work as specifically as they might so as not to pollute their system as it grows without bound (or at least to the end of their lifetime).

      The design of one's note taking system should take these eventualities into account and more easily allow the user to start out broad, but slowly hone in on direct specificity.

      Some of this principle of atomicity of ideas and the growth from broad to specific can be seen in Luhmann's zettelkasten (especially ZK II) which starts out fairly broad and branches into the more specific. The index reflects this as well and each index heading ideally points to the most specific sub-card which begins the discussion of that particular topic.

      Perhaps it was this narrowing of specificity which encouraged Luhmann to start ZKII after years of building ZKII which had a broader variety of topics?

    2. 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, as thegraphic shows.

      With respect to Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten, it seems he eschewed the Heyde's advice to use subject headings as the Anschrift (address). Instead, much like a physical street address or card card catalog system, he substituted a card address instead. This freed him up from needing to copy cards multiple times to insert them in different places as well as needing to create multiple cards to properly index the ideas and their locations.

      Without this subtle change Luhmann's 90,000 card collection could have easily been 4-5 times its size.

    3. Many know from their own experience how uncontrollable and irretrievable the oftenvaluable notes and chains of thought are in note books and in the cabinets they are stored in

      Heyde indicates how "valuable notes and chains of thought are" but also points out "how uncontrollable and irretrievable" they are.

      This statement is strong evidence along with others in this chapter which may have inspired Niklas Luhmann to invent his iteration of the zettelkasten method of excerpting and making notes.

      (link to: Clemens /Heyde and Luhmann timeline: https://hypothes.is/a/4wxHdDqeEe2OKGMHXDKezA)

      Presumably he may have either heard or seen others talking about or using these general methods either during his undergraduate or law school experiences. Even with some scant experience, this line may have struck him significantly as an organization barrier of earlier methods.

      Why have notes strewn about in a box or notebook as Heyde says? Why spend the time indexing everything and then needing to search for it later? Why not take the time to actively place new ideas into one's box as close as possibly to ideas they directly relate to?

      But how do we manage this in a findable way? Since we can't index ideas based on tabs in a notebook or even notebook page numbers, we need to have some sort of handle on where ideas are in slips within our box. The development of European card catalog systems had started in the late 1700s, and further refinements of Melvil Dewey as well as standardization had come about by the early to mid 1900s. One could have used the Dewey Decimal System to index their notes using smaller decimals to infinitely intersperse cards on a growing basis.

      But Niklas Luhmann had gone to law school and spent time in civil administration. He would have been aware of aktenzeichen file numbers used in German law/court settings and public administration. He seems to have used a simplified version of this sort of filing system as the base of his numbering system. And why not? He would have likely been intimately familiar with its use and application, so why not adopt it or a simplified version of it for his use? Because it's extensible in a a branching tree fashion, one can add an infinite number of cards or files into the midst of a preexisting collection. And isn't this just the function aktenzeichen file numbers served within the German court system? Incidentally these file numbers began use around 1932, but were likely heavily influenced by the Austrian conscription numbers and house numbers of the late 1770s which also influenced library card cataloging numbers, so the whole system comes right back around. (Ref Krajewski here).

      (Cross reference/ see: https://hypothes.is/a/CqGhGvchEey6heekrEJ9WA

      Other pieces he may have been attempting to get around include the excessive work of additional copying involved in this piece as well as a lot of the additional work of indexing.

      One will note that Luhmann's index was much more sparse than without his methods. Often in books, a reader will find a reference or two in an index and then go right to the spot they need and read around it. Luhmann did exactly this in his sequence of cards. An index entry or two would send him to the general local and sifting through a handful of cards would place him in the correct vicinity. This results in a slight increase in time for some searches, but it pays off in massive savings of time of not needing to cross index everything onto cards as one goes, and it also dramatically increases the probability that one will serendipitously review over related cards and potentially generate new insights and links for new ideas going into one's slip box.

  5. Jul 2022
    1. This might be all you need, if your notes are directedtoward a small, immediate goa

      I like that there are a variety of potential contexts here which students might find themselves within (short term versus long term / big projects versus small). The broad advice can be useful to more people because they can pick and choose for their own needs.

      This is similar to Umberto Eco's advice which is geared toward a longer thesis, though he mentions that one might continue on their system across additional topics or even an entire career.

    2. An Index is something you must physically create asyou add cards in a physical note system.

      Watch closely to see how Allosso's description of an index comes to the advice of John Locke versus the practice of Niklas Luhmann.

      Alternately, is it closer to a commonplace indexing system or a shallowly linked, but still complex zettelkasten indexing system?

      In shared digital systems, I still suspect that densely indexed notes will have more communal value.

      Link to: - https://hypothes.is/a/nrk0vgoCEe2y3CedssHnVA

    3. Thefirst is tagging eachnote with a keywordthat identifies what the idea described in the note is about.

      What are the potential different affordances allowed by giving cards titles versus giving them topic keywords or other taxonomic links?

      Card titles may be useful in analog settings, but they can be even more valuable in digital settings where one can transclude "cards" (read: ideas) into outlines.


      Both of these two patterns have some similarities. Is Allosso differentiating between them? As his notes don't seem to have titles otherwise, one would presume that he's solely referring to topic categories.

    1. https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/zettelkasten/zettel/ZK_2_SW1_001_V

      One may notice that Niklas Luhmann's index within his zettelkasten is fantastically sparce. By this we might look at the index entry for "system" which links to only one card. For someone who spent a large portion of his life researching systems theory, this may seem fantastically bizarre.

      However, it's not as as odd as one may think given the structure of his particular zettelkasten. The single reference gives an initial foothold into his slip box where shuffling through cards beyond that idea will reveal a number of cards closely related to the topic which subsequently follow it. Regular use and work with the system would have allowed Luhmann better memory with respect to its contents and the searching through threads of thought would have potentially sparked new ideas and threads. Thus he didn't need to spend the time and effort to highly index each individual card, he just needed a starting place and could follow the links from there. This tends to minimize the indexing work he needed to do regularly, but simultaneously makes it harder for the modern person who may wish to read or consult those notes.

      Some of the difference here is the idea of top-down versus bottom-up construction. While thousands of his cards may have been tagged as "systems" or "systems theory", over time and with increased scale they would have become nearly useless as a construct. Instead, one may consider increasing levels of sub-topics, but these too may be generally useless with respect to (manual) search, so the better option is to only look at the smallest level of link (and/or their titles) which is only likely to link to 3-4 other locations outside of the card just before it. This greater specificity scales better over time on the part of the individual user who is broadly familiar with the system.


      Alternatively, for those in shared digital spaces who may maintain public facing (potentially shared) notes (zettelkasten), such sparse indices may not be as functional for the readers of such notes. New readers entering such material generally without context, will feel lost or befuddled that they may need to read hundreds of cards to find and explore the sorts of ideas they're actively looking for. In these cases, more extensive indices, digital search, and improved user interfaces may be required to help new readers find their way into the corpus of another's notes.


      Another related idea to that of digital, public, shared notes, is shared taxonomies. What sorts of word or words would one want to search for broadly to find the appropriate places? Certainly widely used systems like the Dewey Decimal System or the Universal Decimal Classification may be helpful for broadly crosslinking across systems, but this will take an additional level of work on the individual publishers.

      Is or isn't it worthwhile to do this in practice? Is this make-work? Perhaps not in analog spaces, but what about the affordances in digital spaces which are generally more easily searched as a corpus.


      As an experiment, attempt to explore Luhmann's Zettelkasten via an entryway into the index. Compare and contrast this with Andy Matuschak's notes which have some clever cross linking UI at the bottoms of the notes, but which are missing simple search functionality and have no tagging/indexing at all. Similarly look at W. Ross Ashby's system (both analog and digitized) and explore the different affordances of these two which are separately designed structures---the analog by Ashby himself, but the digital one by an institution after his death.

    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.

  6. Jun 2022
    1. Index

      I'm guessing it's just the fact that I have an advance reader copy of the book that accounts for the missing index in my copy.

      If not, then dear G-d!!!

    2. You never knowwhen the rejected scraps from one project might become the perfectmissing piece in another. The possibilities are endless.

      He says this, but his advice on how to use them is too scant and/or flawed. Where are they held? How are they indexed? How are they linked so that finding and using them in the future? (especially, other than rote memory or the need to have vague memory and the ability to search for them in the future?)

    3. First, while using the previous retrieval methods, it is a good ideato keep your focus a little broad. Don’t begin and end your searchwith only the specific folder that matches your criteria.

      The area of serendipity becomes much more powerful when one has ideas both directly interlinked, ideas categorized with subject headings or tags, or when one can have affordances like auto-complete.

      The method Forte suggests and outlines allows for some serendipity, but not as much as other methods with additional refinements. Serendipity in Forte's method isn't as strong as in others.

      In this section he's talking about some of the true "magic of note taking" which is discussed by Luhmann and others.

      link to:<br /> Luhmann's writings on serendipity and surprise when using his zettelkasten (Communication with the Slipbox...)<br /> Ahrens mentions of this effect

    4. How to Resurface and Reuse Your Past Work

      Coming back to the beginning of this section. He talks about tags, solely after-the-fact instead of when taking notes on the fly. While it might seem that he would have been using tags as subject headings in a traditional commonplace book, he really isn't. This is a significant departure from the historical method!! It's also ill advised not to be either tagging/categorizing as one goes along to make searching and linking things together dramatically easier.

      How has he missed the power of this from the start?! This is really a massive flaw in his method from my perspective, particularly as he quotes John Locke's work on the topic.

      Did I maybe miss some of this in earlier sections when he quoted John Locke? Double check, just in case, but this is certainly the section of the book to discuss using these ideas!

    1. Looking for advice on how to adapt antinet ideas for my own system .t3_vkllv0._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; }

      Holiday's system is roughly similar to the idea of a commonplace book, just kept and maintained on index cards instead of a notebook. He also seems to advocate for keeping separate boxes for each project which I find to be odd advice, though it's also roughly the same advice suggested by Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit and Tiago Forte's recent book Building a Second Brain which provides a framing that seems geared more toward broader productivity rather than either the commonplacing or zettelkasten traditions.

      I suspect that if you're not linking discrete ideas, you'll get far more value out of your system by practicing profligate indexing terms on your discrete ideas. Two topical/subject headings on an individual idea seems horrifically limiting much less on an entire article and even worse on a whole book. Fewer index topics is easier to get away with in a digital system which allows search across your corpus, but can be painfully limiting in a pen/paper system.

      Most paperbound commonplaces index topics against page numbers, but it's not clear to me how you're numbering (or not) your system to be able to more easily cross reference your notes with an index. Looking at Luhmann's index as an example (https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/zettelkasten/zettel/ZK_2_SW1_001_V) might be illustrative so you can follow along, but if you're not using his numbering system or linking your cards/ideas, then you could simply use consecutive numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, ..., 92000, 92001, ... on your cards to index against to easily find the cards you're after. It almost sounds to me that with your current filing system, you'd have to duplicate your cards to be able to file them under more than one topic. This obviously isn't ideal.

    1. level 2ojboal · 2 hr. agoNot quite understanding the value of Locke's method: far as I understand it, rather than having a list of keywords or phrases, Locke's index is instead based on a combination of first letter and vowel. I can understand how that might be useful for the sake of compression, but doesn't that mean you don't have the benefit of "index as list of keywords/phrases" (or did I miss something)?

      Locke's method is certainly a compact one and is specifically designed for notebooks of several hundred pages where you're slowly growing the index as you go within a limited and usually predetermined amount of space. If you're using an index card or digital system where space isn't an issue, then that specific method may not be as ideal. Whichever option you ultimately choose, it's certainly incredibly valuable and worthwhile to have an index of some sort.

      For those into specifics, here's some detail about creating an index using Hypothes.is data in Obsidian: https://boffosocko.com/2022/05/20/creating-a-commonplace-book-or-zettelkasten-index-from-hypothes-is-tags/ and here's some detail for how I did it for a website built on WordPress: https://boffosocko.com/2021/09/04/an-index-for-my-digital-commonplace-book/

      I'm curious to see how others do this in their tool sets, particularly in ways that remove some of the tedium.

    1. You may prefer notebooks to cards for note taking-very well:use what you like, but invariably; it will save you time andannoyance. If you use cards , use small ones (3" x 5") so that youuse a separate card for each fact, title, or memorandum toyourself. The cards are then easily shuffled for grouping. If youuse a notebook, leave a margin for the key word, letter, or num-ber which you will insert later as an index to the contents.
  7. May 2022
    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. The last element in his file system was an index, from which hewould refer to one or two notes that would serve as a kind of entrypoint into a line of thought or topic.

      Indices are certainly an old construct. One of the oldest structured examples in the note taking space is that of John Locke who detailed it in Méthode nouvelle de dresser des recueils (1685), later translated into English as A New Method of Organizing Common Place Books (1706).

      Previously commonplace books had been structured with headwords done alphabetically. This meant starting with a preconceived structure and leaving blank or empty space ahead of time without prior knowledge of what would fill it or how long that might take. By turning that system on its head, one could fill a notebook from front to back with a specific index of the headwords at the end. Then one didn't need to do the same amount of pre-planning or gymnastics over time with respect to where to put their notes.

      This idea combined with that of Konrad Gessner's design for being able to re-arrange slips of paper (which later became index cards based on an idea by Carl Linnaeus), gives us an awful lot of freedom and flexibility in almost any note taking system.


      Building blocks of the note taking system

      • atomic ideas
      • written on (re-arrangeable) slips, cards, or hypertext spaces
      • cross linked with each other
      • cross linked with an index
      • cross linked with references

      are there others? should they be broken up differently?


      Godfathers of Notetaking

      • Aristotle, Cicero (commonplaces)
      • Seneca the Younger (collecting and reusing)
      • Raymond Llull (combinatorial rearrangements)
      • Konrad Gessner (storage for re-arrangeable slips)
      • John Locke (indices)
      • Carl Linnaeus (index cards)
    1. https://x28newblog.wordpress.com/2022/05/08/curating-my-blog-archive/

      I like the overall look and effect done here to create a table of contents in WordPress, but it seems like some quirky gymnastics to pull it off. How might this be done in a more straightforward way? Are there any plugins for WordPress that could create a page that keeps the categories and the descriptions? And particularly a page that primarily only shows articles and not other content types?

      Link this to my work on my own index at https://boffosocko.com/about/index/

  8. Apr 2022
    1. The project's structure is idiosyncratic. The convolutes correspond to letters of the alphabet; the individual sections of text— sometimes individual lines, sometimes multi-paragraph analyses —are ordered with square brackets, starting from [A1,1]. This numbering system comes from the pieces of folded paper that Benjamin wrote on, with [A1a,1] denoting the third page of his 'folio.'[3] Additionally, Benjamin included cross-references at the end of some sections. These were denoted by small boxes enclosing the word (e.g., ■ Fashion ■).[4]

      It's worth look looking into the structure of Walter Benjamin's Arcade Project as the numbering system that he used on his zettels is very similar to that of both Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten as well as the street numbers of 1770 Vienna.

      link to - https://hypothes.is/a/4jtT0FqsEeyXFzP-AuDIAA - https://hypothes.is/a/lvGHJlNHEeyZnV-8psRNrA

    1. Pagination with Arabic numerals on both sides of a page was probably first used in a 1513 edition of Niccolò Perotti’s Cornucopiae. This commentary on Martial’s epigrams offered a wide- ranging commentary on every word that Martial used and was valued as the most sophis-ticated Latin dictionary of its time. But since the words were discussed in the order in which they appeared in Martial’s poems, a powerful alphabetical index was essential. The printer Aldus Manutius of Venice explained the novelty of using page numbers in his index: “a very copious index in which each word that is sought can most easily be found, since each half page throughout the whole work is numbered . . . with arithmetical numbers.”
    2. Concordances and indexes to authoritative texts are evidence of a new sense of the limitations of the florilegium, which seemed increasingly inadequate to the complexity of university teaching and preaching.
    3. In rapid succession there followed alpha-betized subject indexes to major authors like Aristotle (indexed anonymously by 1250 in Paris), Augustine (by the Dominican Kilwardby at Oxford, 1256–61), or Aquinas (owner- indexed by Godfrey of Fontaines, then circulated more broadly). These indexes used a clear ordering system (the alphabet) and subject terms that were standard in scholastic circles, with the result that they could serve as a col-lective resource for students and scholars throughout Europe who had access to a copy, and they circulated separately from the works they indexed.127
    4. These “con-cordances” (called so at the time) offered an alphabetical index not of the words themselves but of the theological concepts found in the Bible (realia); in modern

      parlance they were subject indexes.126

      126 Théry (1935), 443n99.

  9. Mar 2022
    1. but i i think the first couple of hundred notes are more like a collection and you look 00:34:29 for um connections and there are some but you remember them because yes the amount where it's where it doesn't surprise you 00:34:43 uh it's more you know where they are and i think the from 500 on um there's a shift um and then you need to uh figure out how to um 00:34:58 find them again so the index or some kind of system becomes more important and i think a couple of thousand notes and uh you're 00:35:12 automatically turning to your set of custom [Music] as the place where you will likely find some kind of connection

      Q: How many permanent notes did it take before you felt you had a communication partner?


      Sönke Ahrens has indicated that the first couple hundred notes are more of a static collection. Then from five hundred notes onward there is a shift and having an index becomes more important. It's only at about one thousand notes that one begins automatically turning to the zettelkasten to find connections. Perhaps it's at this point that the tool begins to look like a communication partner.


      link this to the few other examples from others.

  10. Feb 2022
    1. https://collect.readwriterespond.com/monks-a-polymath-and-an-invention-made-by-two-people-at-the-same-time-its-all-in-the-history-of-the-index/

      Great find Aaron. Thanks for the ping.

      I've gone back further than this for the commonplace and the florilegium which helped to influence their creation, though I've not delved into the specific invention or general use of indices in the space heavily. I suspected that they grew out of the tradition of using headwords, though I'm not sure that indices became more popular until the paper by John Locke in 1689 (in French) or 1706 (in English).

      I'll put Dr. Duncan's book into the hopper and see what he's got to say on the topic.

    1. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-28/index-history-invention-made-simultaneously-800-years-ago/100690782

      The idea of the index was invented twice in roughly 1230.

      Once by Hugh of Saint-Cher in Paris as a concordance of the Bible. The notes towards creating it still exist in a variety of hands. The project, executed by a group of friars at the Dominican Friary of Saint-Jacques, listed 10,000 words and 129,000 locations.

      The second version was invented by Robert Grosseteste in Oxford who used marginal marks to create a "grand table".

      The article doesn't mention florilegium, but the head words from them must have been a likely precursor. The article does mention lectures and sermons being key in their invention.

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Aaron Davis</span> in 📑 Monks, a polymath and an invention made by two people at the same time. It’s all in the history of the index | Read Write Collect (<time class='dt-published'>02/15/2022 21:22:10</time>)</cite></small>

    2. At the back of Dr Duncan's book on the topic, Index, A History Of The, he includes not one but two indexes, in order to make a point.

      Dennis Duncan includes two indices in his book Index, A History of The, one by a professional human indexer and the second generated by artificial intelligence. He indicates that the human version is far better.

    1. A zettelkasten is an accumulation of notes in which each successive note is given a number, rather than being placed in a category or topic.

      An example here of a misconception. The zettle may be given a number, but it is also given a topic tied into an index. Because it isn't put into a "folder" or "hierarchy" isn't the same thing as not giving it a topic.

  11. Jan 2022
    1. As memory models, rhetorical storehouses and archives are functional equivalents. Both are used as devices for storing and retriev-ing knowledge.

      Mnemonic (mental) storehouses (thesaurus) and written archives are functionally equivalent and serve to store and retrieve information. Their primary difference is in the effort put into how one applies their attention to them. The former requires more mental effort into storing information into the location and then recalling it.

      In the case of archives with subject indices, they require less mental effort and visually serve a potential store of variety and ease of creating additional links between bits of knowledge.

    2. This system of short annotations was conceived to de-contextualize information and free it from pre-structured meaning frames that would otherwise remove the possibility of further variety. Moreover, it could be expanded without limits in terms of both number and possible meaning combinations. Finally, it allowed a continuous (and recur-sive) improvement of open-ended combinatory performances, thereby shift-ing the burden of recollection from contents to indexing systems.74

      In a valuable article, Lorraine Daston, ‘Perché i fatti sono brevi?’, Quaderni storici 108 (2001), 745–70, esp. 756–59, noted that a clear analogy exists between these features and the art of excerpting.

      Can one trick oneself into forced context collapse with relation to the material one is reading in such a way so as to force surprise and the creation of new ideas by then re-contextualizing them into one's system of notes?

    3. Jean Paul invented a similar system and called it Witz. Like Tesauro, Jean Paul considered that the matter was to cede a prearranged ge-ography of places where everything had its own seat but was also compelled to remain in its own seat without possible deviation. The dismantlement of this architecture was required to change the rhetorical invention--that is, the retrieval of what is already known but has been forgotten--into an invention in the modern, scientific sense of the term.73 Also similar to Tesauro, accord-ing to Jean Paul, such an invention or discovery could occur only through the jumbled recording of notes taken from readings (or, from personal reflections) and retrievable by means of a subject index. By searching and recombining, the compiler would have put into practice the chance principle on which the whole knowledge storage mechanism was based; he would have likely discov-ered similarities and connections between remote items that he would have otherwise overlooked.

      73 Cf. Götz Müller, Jean Pauls Exzerpte (Würzburg, 1988), 321–22

      I'm not quite sure I understand what the mechanism of this is specifically. Revisit it later. Sounds like it's using the set up the system not only to discover the adjacent possible but the remote improbable.

    4. the card index functions as an en-gine of variety rather than as an engine of redundancy.
    5. With respect to the Ark of Studies, for example, Johann Benedict Metzler did not use gratifying words; yet he nonetheless recommended numbering the hooks (aciculas) to which the paper slips should be attached and recording the matching of number and heading in a subject index. In this way, Metzler noted, scholars would not be compelled to leave empty spaces between entries and to recalibrate the entire content any time a new entry (a new commonplace) should be added.65

      65 Johann Benedict Metzler, Artificium excerpendi genuinum dictus Die rechte Kunst zu excer-piren (Leipzig, 1709), 23–4; 30; 91–2

      Is there really any mathematical difference between alphabetical order and a numerical decimal order? Can't they be shown to be one-to-one and onto?

      To a layperson they may seem different...

    6. Samuel Hartlib was well aware of this improvement. While extolling the clever invention of Harrison, Hartlib noted that combinations and links con-stituted the ‘argumentative part’ of the card index.60

      Hartlib Papers 30/4/47A, Ephemerides 1640, Part 2.

      In extolling the Ark of Studies created by Thomas Harrison, Samuel Hartlib indicated that the combinations of information and the potential links between them created the "argumentative part" of the system. In some sense this seems to be analogous to the the processing power of an information system if not specifically creating its consciousness.

    7. Placcius recommended considering the first, the second, and the third letters in the words listed in the subject index in order to avoid spending too much time in searching for an entry;

      Placcius, De arte excerpendi, 84–5;

    8. Just Christoph Udenius, for example, sug-gested leaving thirty or forty blank pages at the end of a commonplace book to be filled in with a well-made subject index, or devoting a separate in-octavo booklet for this essential task;

      Just Christoph Udenius, Excerpendi ratio nova (Nordhausen, 1687), 62–3; Placcius, De arte excerpendi, 84–5; Drexel, Aurifodina, 135.

      What earlier suggestions might there have been for creating indices for commonplaces?

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

      Interesting that he makes no reference to the commonplace book or zettelkasten traditions—particularly because we know he (later?) had an extensive system of index cards.

    2. There are all kinds of devices for marking a book intelligently and fruitfully. Here's the way I do it: • Underlining (or highlighting): of major points, of important or forceful statements. • Vertical lines at the margin: to emphasize a statement already underlined. • Star, asterisk, or other doo-dad at the margin: to be used sparingly, to emphasize the ten or twenty most important statements in the book. (You may want to fold the bottom comer of each page on which you use such marks. It won't hurt the sturdy paper on which most modern books are printed, and you will be able take the book off the shelf at any time and, by opening it at the folded-corner page, refresh your recollection of the book.) • Numbers in the margin: to indicate the sequence of points the author makes in developing a single argument. • Numbers of other pages in the margin: to indicate where else in the book the author made points relevant to the point marked; to tie up the ideas in a book, which, though they may be separated by many pages, belong together. • Circling or highlighting of key words or phrases. • Writing in the margin, or at the top or bottom of the page, for the sake of: recording questions (and perhaps answers) which a passage raised in your mind; reducing a complicated discussion to a simple statement; recording the sequence of major points right through the books. I use the end-papers at the back of the book to make a personal index of the author's points in the order of their appearance.

      Mortimer J. Adler's method of annotating a text.

      He's primarily giving the author and their ideas all the power and importance here.

      There is nothing, so far, about immediate progressive summarization. There's also little about the reuse of one's notes for analysis and future synthesis, which I find surprising.

      Earlier in the essay he mentions picking the book up later to refresh one's memory, but there's nothing about linking the ideas from one book to another.

    1. https://tim.blog/2007/12/05/how-to-take-notes-like-an-alpha-geek-plus-my-2600-date-challenge/

      Tim Ferriss discuses some of his take on his note taking process. Nothing new or interesting here, though he seems to focus more on to do lists and follow up material for productivity purposes rather than remembering or connecting details after-the-fact and in the long term.

      He does outline and highly recommend having an index, but his version has a quirk of number pages as 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 instead of a more straightforward whole number system. Presumably this save the time and effort of putting a number on each page, though one could just number either the even or odd pages this way if necessary and presume the missing numbers.

      Nothing really mind bending here.

  12. Nov 2021
    1. So the big secret then is, how did he know that this note here exists? How could he remember that this existing note was relevant to the new one he was writing? A mystery we haven't solved yet.

      I'm surprised to see/hear this!

      How did Niklas Luhmann cross link his notes? Apparently researchers don't quite know, but I'd suggest that in working with them diligently over time, he'd have a reasonable internal idea from memory in addition to working with his indices and his outline cards.

      The cards in some sense form a physical path through which he regularly traverses, so he's making a physical memory palace (or songline) out of index cards.

  13. Sep 2021
    1. ☞An index(the final pages of the Commonplace Book) of at least 20 words. The index will be listed alphabetically (or thematically, then alphabetically) by your commonplace book headings with page numbers. You may decide to also add cross-references to authors, other frequently appearing terms that were not heading chapters, etc. (Figure 9)

      One might also suggest the use of John Locke's method here: See: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/john-lockes-method-for-common-place-books-1685

    2. ☞A table of contents(at the front of your Commonplace Book). Ideally, this would be in alphabetically order, but as you discover new areas of interest and inquiry (and reach dead ends or exhaust old ideas) your commonplace book will grow and change. (Figure 8)

      An index in the back would potentially be more historically correct, but...

  14. Aug 2021
    1. Some thoughts about leaving space in new notebooks, especially for one's future self:

      • contact information in front in case of loss
      • space for a future table of contents to come
      • space for page numbers and dates
      • space in the back for house keeping, indices, etc.

      http://www.notesaboutnotes.com/Notes/FrontMatter.html

    1. I keep my index cards in chronological order : the newest card comes at front of the card box. All cards are clasified into four kinds and tagged according to the contents. The sequence is equivalent to my cultural genetic code. Although it may look chaotic at the beginning, it will become more regulated soon. Don't be afraid to sweep out your mind and capture them all. Make visible what is going on in your brain. Look for a pattern behind our life.

      Example of a edge-based taxonomy system for index cards.

  15. Jul 2021
    1. I've used something like this in a textbook before while also using different colored pens to help differentiate a larger taxonomy. I found it to be better for a smaller custom cpb that only had a narrow section of topics. In my larger, multi-volume commonplace, I have a separate volume that serves as an index and uses a method similar to John Locke's, though larger in scope and shape. Sadly in this case, the index would be much too large (with too many entries) to make the high five method practicable.

      reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/commonplacebook/comments/oq12xs/has_anyone_used_this_indexing_system_curious_what/

    1. Highfive Notebook indexing method

      A clever method for creating an index or tracking system in a bound notebook by creating an index and then marking the edge of the page for related pages.

      Could also be used for tracking one's mood or other similar taxonomic items.

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>u/mor-leidr </span> in Has anyone used this indexing system? Curious what you think : commonplacebook (<time class='dt-published'>07/30/2021 12:29:53</time>)</cite></small>

    1. He even kept “indexes to indexes,” as Robert D. Richardson describes in his wonderful biography, Emerson: The Mind on Fire: Indexing was a crucial method for Emerson because it allowed him to write first and organize later and because it gave him easy access to the enormous mass of specific materials in his ever-increasing pile of notebooks… Emerson spent a good deal of time methodically copying and recopying journal material, indexing, alphabetizing indexes, and eventually making indexes of indexes. When he came to write a lecture, he would work through his indexes, making a list of possible passages. He then assembled, ordered, and reordered these into the talk or lecture.
  16. Nov 2016
    1. Comme pour les autres manuscrits, il ne s’agit pas d’une version originale du récit mais bien une copie d’une version antérieure.

      Quels indices ont permis d’affirmer qu’il s’agit de copies?