21 Matching Annotations
  1. 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. 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)
  2. Jan 2022
    1. Reflecting upon Robert Darnton's comment, perhaps my personal reading and writing style is more representative of the seventeenth century than the twentieth or twenty-first.  Throughout my career in the antiquarian book trade, which began in the 1960s, I found myself moving between subjects in the course of a day as I catalogued various books in stock, read about other books for sale, or discussed the different interests of clients.  With access to the Internet in the 1990s it was, of course, possible to follow-up more efficiently on diverse topics with Internet searches and hyperlinks.  The way that HistoryofInformation.com is written, as a series of reading and research notes connected by links and indexed in a database, may be viewed to a certain extent as analogous to the method of maintaining and indexing commonplace books described by Locke.

      Jeremy Norman, an antiquarian bookseller, indicates that his website is written in much the same manner as John Locke's commonplace book.

  3. Oct 2021
    1. Of course someone has published a zettelkasten notebook for taking notes to be moved into one's zettelkasten at a later date.

      It includes space for notes as well as meta data box which includes labels and spaces for the following:

      • UID
      • Parent UID
      • Zettel
      • tags
      • refs

      It's also got (at least one) page for an index in the end titled "tag list" with a two column ruling

      This follows the general pattern of pre-printed commonplace books which was common with at least John Locke's index pre-printed.

      Other examples include published bullet journals with custom formatting.

  4. 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

  5. Aug 2021
    1. Yeo, “Notebooks as Memory Aids” (II, G), locates Locke’s views at a crucialjuncture in the status of memory, when commonplace books were seen assites for ordering information and not as prompts for recalling it.

      Interesting datum along the timeline of commonplacebooks and memory. Worth logging and following.

      Note the difference in the ideas of ordering information versus being able to recall it. How does this step in the evolution figure for the concept of the zettelkasten?



  6. Apr 2021
    1. An old bachelor is generally very precise and exact in his habits. He has no one but himself to look after, nothing to distract his attention from his own affairs; and Mr. Dodgson was the most precise and exact of old bachelors. He made a précis of every letter he wrote or received from the 1st of January, 1861, to the 8th of the same month, 1898. These précis were all numbered and entered in reference-books, and by an ingenious system of cross-numbering he was able to trace a whole correspondence, which might extend through several volumes. The last number entered in his book is 98,721.

      I'm curious what this system was? Was it influenced by systems of John Locke's commonplace book? It could also have been the sort of system which may have inspired Niklas Luhmann.

      Whatever it was, it must have been massive and somewhat well thought through if it reached such a tremendous size.

  7. Feb 2021
    1. When I meet with any thing, that I think fit to put into my common-place-book, I first find a proper head. Suppose for example that the head be EPISTOLA, I look unto the index for the first letter and the following vowel which in this instance are E. i. if in the space marked E. i. there is any number that directs me to the page designed for words that begin with an E and whose first vowel after the initial letter is I, I must then write under the word Epistola in that page what I have to remark.

      I must do some research into Niklas Luhmann to see if he was aware of Locke's work or the broader idea of commonplace books in general as it seems pretty obvious that his refinesments on their systems brought him to his conceptualization of the zettelkasten.

    1. Locke’s humble two page method, in this sense, prefigures libraries filled with volumes of encyclopedias, from Carl Linnaeus’s Systema Naturae (1735) to Luke Howard's classification of clouds.
    2. According to the historian Robert Darnton, this led to a very particular structuring of knowledge: commonplace users "broke texts into fragments and assembled them into new patterns by transcribing them in different sections of their notebook." It was a mixture of fragmented order and disorder that anticipated a particular form of scientific investigation and organisation of information.

      Might be an interesting source to read.

      Also feels in form a bit like the combinatorial method of Raymond Llull, but without as much mixing.

    3. The English physician and philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) was all too aware of the grip of amnesia and the shortness of memory. In his seminal Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) he wrote of his rival Blaise Pascal, who he named as the “prodigy of parts”, who “forgot nothing of what he had done, read, or thought.” Locke, in reaction, attempted to simulate Pascal’s "hyperthymesia", not in the mind, but upon the page: through the construction of a system of "commonplacing", as a form of what Swift called “supplemental memory”.

      Interesting use of hyperthymesia here. Also Swift using the concept of "supplemental memory" giving at least a historical mile marker of the state of mnemotechy which may have been known at the time.

    1. Short overview of John Locke's commonplace book method. Nothing I haven't seen before sadly.

      And probably not a method I would personally use unless I was thinking about paper solutions.

  8. Oct 2020
    1. While calling memory “the store-house of our ideas,” John Locke recognized its limitations. On the one hand, it was an incredible source of knowledge. On the other hand, it was weak and fragile. He knew that over time, memory faded and became harder to retrieve, which made it less valuable.

      As most humanists of the time may have had incredibly well-trained memories (particularly in comparison with the general loss of the art now), this is particularly interesting to me. Having had a great memory, the real value of these writings and materials is to help their memories dramatically outlive their own lifetimes. This is particularly useful as their systems of passing down ideas via memory was dramatically different than those of indigenous peoples who had a much more institutionalized version of memory methods and passing along their knowledge.

  9. Feb 2020
    1. my Mind


      • That item is simply a portrait of John Locke. The relation is that the word "mind" is very relevant to all the work accomplished by Locke, as he spent most of his life as a renowned philosopher.

      Mowat, Diane, and Daniel Defoe. Robinson Crusoe. Oxford University Press Canada, 2008.

    2. came now fresh into my Mind, and my Conscience,

      The words conscience and mind bring about ideas that can be noted in John Locke’s text: *An essay concerning Human Understanding.* In book two, Locke explains how thoughts come to be. He believes that “All ideas come from sensation or reflections”. In this specific case, the ideas being expressed in this excerpt are rooted in reflection, as Crusoe is thinking on how and why he dared to actually leave his parents the way that he did. Much of this is seen throughout the whole narrative as it is written in the view of Crusoe. Nonetheless, it demonstrates how this story is evolving from simple story telling in the perspective of an outsider to the actual recount of the person living it in their own words.

      John Locke, The Works of John Locke in Nine Volumes, (London: Rivington, 1824 12th ed.). Vol. 1. 2/12/2020. https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/761 Mowat, Diane, and Daniel Defoe. Robinson Crusoe. Oxford University Press Canada, 2008.

  10. Dec 2019
    1. a long time before I learned to distinguish between the operations of my various senses

      The Creature's awakening to consciousness follows John Locke's account of how the mind slowly learns to distjnguish the various senses before it can apprehend the world. CITE LOCKE SOURCE

    2. it was, indeed, a long time before I learned to distinguish between the operations of my various senses

      The Creature's awakening to consciousness alludes to accounts of consciousness and maturation by John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Locke gives an account of how the mind of a child slowly learns to distinguish the various senses before it can apprehend the world in totu, in Ch. 7 of his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Rousseau's Emile, which Mary recorded having read in 1815, also offers an account contrasting the senses of an adult to the senses of a child.

    3. It was with these feelings that I began the creation of a human being

      "Creation" points toward popular literary themes, and to the Bible. It also calls into question property rights. John Locke (1632-1704) argued in Two Treatises of Government that applying one's labor to nature made that creation one's property. Shelley seems to call into question the relation of scientific research to the idea of ownership.

  11. Aug 2015
  12. classicliberal.tripod.com classicliberal.tripod.com
    1. Chapter 9

      This is a difficult reading. Try your best.

      Study Questions:

      According to Locke, why is “man” willing to give up the natural condition of freedom?

      Why does “man” enter into a condition of society and law?