- May 2020
Annotations—even inline marginalia which include your own writing—have very little informational value. They’re atomized; they don’t relate to each other; they don’t add up to anything; they’re ultra-compressed; they’re largely unedited. That’s fine: think of them as just a reminder. They say “hey, look at this passage,” with a few words of context to jog your memory about what the passage was about.Since you’re going to write lasting notes anyway, annotations need carry just enough information to recreate your mental context in that moment of reading. You wouldn’t want to rely on that long-term, since then you’d just have a huge pile of hooks you’d have to “follow” anytime you wanted to think about your experience with that book.
Classical marginalia in books, according to Andy Matuschok, have little informational value. They are not interlinked, they're very compressed and usually unedited. But that's okay.
Their purpose is to help you get back to the mental context you were in when you thought the passage was worth returning to.