- Jan 2023
I'd recommend a Book-to-Maincard approach for this (instead of the 2-step Bibcard Method). And I'd recommend Reformulation notes (i.e., summarization notes) instead of Excerpts.
Is this about as close as Scott Scheper comes to recommending taking Cornell Notes?!? 😂
Let's be honest that this is roughly what this (and Bibcards) ultimately is. You take some general notes on a lecture (book or other material) as a sense making tool to help you better understand the material. You write down some bits you want to remember and use for some brief spaced repetition perhaps. You write down some pointed questions to help review for a test later. The subtle difference is that Cornell notes were designed to do the sense making, summary, and repetition portions well for students and learners, but didn't focus as much on the longer tail of knowledge creation using analysis, and synthesis. To fill in the last mile for your card index, take the best idea(s) (maybe one or two at most) and flesh it out to create a useful maincard.
If it's useful try some 8 x 12" paper for your lecture notes, and take them Bibcard or Cornell Notes style. Once you've excerpted your main card notes, you can fold your sheet in half twice and file it with your Bibcards, naturally taking care to have the paper's spine face up to prevent other slips from becoming lost in between. (This obviously works best for those using 4 x 6" index cards though if you're in the 3 x 5" camp, then use 6" x 10" sheets for folding.) For those with middle grades or high school students, this may be a more profitable method for introducing these methods to their study, learning, and creation patterns.
Summary: Cornell Notes can be an excellent method for capturing session-based fleeting notes and distilling them down into permanent notes. Cornell Notes focus on the lower levels of Bloom's Taxonomy rather than the broader spectrum that a zettelkasten method might.
- Nov 2022
For example, if I've left myself a note like #pkm/xref this reminds me of something the Carthage expert I like said, but I can't remember her name I will search my notes to figure out the name of the Carthage expert I like, cross-reference the highlight with things she said, and add links and update notes as appropriate. If I said something like This reminds me of the article about the guy a crane is in love with when I was taking notes on something without access to my notes, I will go find the article and link to my notes about it so that my backlinks and graph are updated.
I'm not sure how frequent this pattern is within fleeting notes, but it's something I do myself to create at least a temporary shorthand context of how things interrelate and which can easily be cleaned up later in the longer form permanent notes.
The tougher thing is to always capture these sorts of things which one won't remember, but which quite often create better and stronger insights down the road.
I never immediately read an article then make a notecard.
By waiting some amount of time (days/weeks/a few months) between originally reading something and processing one's notes on it allows them to slowly distill into one's consciousness. It also allows one to operate on their diffuse thinking which may also help to link ideas to others in their memory.
- Oct 2022
Very nice to differentiate between core notes (notes that we have worked a lot on) and peripheral notes.
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Very nice to differentiate between core notes (notes that we have worked a lot on) and peripheral notes.— Bianca Pereira | PKM Coach and Researcher (@bianca_oli_per) October 24, 2022
Coming from the Strange New Worlds Plugin, Bianca Pereira defines core notes (those worked on and thus likely of more value) versus peripheral notes.
Core notes have a similar connotation to so-called permanent notes while peripheral notes have connection to fleeting notes, though peripheral notes would seem to have a higher connotation of value than fleeting notes.
Some of this is similar to my commonplacing practice and collection versus my more focused Luhmann-esque zettelkasten practice.
another long forgotten manual for students, History and Historical Research (1928) by C.G. Crump of the Public Record Office: ‘Never make a note for future use in such a form ... that even you yourself will not know what it means, when you come across it some months later.’
- Aug 2022
Content addressing is the big little idea behind IPFS. With content addressing (CIDs), you ask for a file using a hash of its contents. It doesn't matter where the file lives. Anyone in the network can serve that content. This is analogous to the leap Baran made from circuit switching to packet switching. Servers become fungible, going from K-selected to r-selected.
Content addressing is when a piece of content has its own permanent address, a URI. Many copies may exist of the content, hosted by many in the network, all copies have the same address. Whoever is best situated to serve you a copy, does so. It makes the servers interchangeable. My blogposts have a canonical fixed address, but it's tied to a specific domain and only found on 1 server (except when using a CDN).
IPFS starts from content addressing.
Content addressing, assuming the intention 'protocol for thought' here, does match with atomic notes type of pkm systems. All my notes have unique names that could as human readable names map to CIDs. CIDs do change when the content changes, so there's a mismatch with the concept of 'permanent notes' that are permanent in name/location yet have slowly evolving content.
“500 and 1000 cards” is a long way before perceiving some benefit. Maybe this is necessary because “mine is more textual and less visual than his [Michalsky’s]”. For me, benefit is visible after approx. 40 new notes, dropped on the canvas of my tool, rearranged and connected.
Thanks for this additional piece of Data Matthias! I have a feeling that some of the benefit will also come down to the level of quality of the notes and how well interlinked they may be. Those doing massive dumps of raw, unelaborated, and unlinked data using services like Readwise into their collections will certainly take longer than those who have more refined ideas well linked. My number is presuming something closer to the former while something along the lines of a tenth of that (an order of magnitude) would seem to fall in line with my current working model. It would be nice to have a larger body of data to work with though.
Annotations: 10,099 (public and private as of 2022-07-03)
Date of publication: 2022-07-03<br /> Duration: 3 years, 6 months, 5 days or 1312 days<br /> Average of: ~10099/1,312 = 7.69 annotations per day
I suspect that earlier years were more sparse with higher number of fleeting notes. The past year or two output and quality increased dramatically with more valuable literature notes and more actual near-permanent or actual permanent notes.
- Jul 2022
Others have called these“Main Notes” or “Permanent Notes” or “EvergreenNotes”. I called them Point Notes to remind myself thatwhen I write them I should be making a point.
Part of Allosso's definition of point notes: they should be making a point.
(No mention of "atomic notes"?)
Engage with the idea and comment or elaborateon it in a Point Note.
Dan Allosso's definition of a point note.
This is roughly equivalent to permanent notes or evergreen notes in Ahrens or Matuschak's frameworks respectively. Somehow I like what seems like a broader feel here, thought the name
Does this version contain within it the idea of growth or evolution over time? Evergreen note in Matuschak's version does, though the word evergreen stemming from the journalism space would indicate an idea that doesn't evolve over time but is simply reusable or republishable with little or no work. The linguistic link to evergreen articles in the journalism space creates cognitive dissonance for me in calling notes evergreen. Evergreen connotes reusability, which is useful, but ideas should have the ability to evolve and procreate with other ideas.
Beyond the cards mentioned above, you should also capture any hard-to-classify thoughts, questions, and areas for further inquiry on separate cards. Regularly go through these to make sure that you are covering everything and that you don’t forget something.I consider these insurance cards because they won’t get lost in some notebook or scrap of paper, or email to oneself.
Julius Reizen in reviewing over Umberto Eco's index card system in How to Write a Thesis, defines his own "insurance card" as one which contains "hard-to-classify thoughts, questions, and areas for further inquiry". These he would keep together so that they don't otherwise get lost in the variety of other locations one might keep them
These might be akin to Ahrens' "fleeting notes" but are ones which may not easily or even immediately be converted in to "permanent notes" for one's zettelkasten. However, given their mission critical importance, they may be some of the most important cards in one's repository.
link this to - idea of centralizing one's note taking practice to a single location
Is this idea in Eco's book and Reizen is the one that gives it a name since some of the other categories have names? (examples: bibliographic index cards, reading index cards (aka literature notes), cards for themes, author index cards, quote index cards, idea index cards, connection cards). Were these "officially" named and categorized by Eco?
May be worthwhile to create a grid of these naming systems and uses amongst some of the broader note taking methods. Where are they similar, where do they differ?
Multi-search tools that have full access to multiple trusted data stores (ostensibly personal ones across notebooks, hard drives, social media services, etc.) could potentially solve the problem of needing to remember where you noted something.
Currently, in the social media space especially, this is not a realized service.
- fleeting notes
- IndieWeb search
- note taking process
- types of notes
- tools for thought affordances
- insurance cards
- permanent notes
- card index for writing
- card index
- note taking methods
- fleeting ideas
- Umberto Eco
- note taking why
- Jun 2022
For anyone who reads music, the sketchbooks literally record the progress of hisinvention. He would scribble his rough, unformed ideas in his pocket notebook andthen leave them there, unused, in a state of suspension, but at least captured withpencil on paper. A few months later, in a bigger, more permanent notebook, you canfind him picking up that idea again, but he’s not just copying the musical idea intoanother book. You can see him developing it, tormenting it, improving it in the newnotebook. He might take an original three-note motif and push it to its next stage bydropping one of the notes a half tone and doubling it. Then he’d let the idea sit therefor another six months. It would reappear in a third notebook, again not copied butfurther improved, perhaps inverted this time and ready to be used in a piano sonata.
Beethoven kept a variation of a waste book in that he kept a pocket notebook for quick capture of ideas. Later, instead of copying them over into a permanent place, he'd translate and amplify on the idea in a second notebook. Later on, he might pick up the idea again in a third notebook with further improvements.
By doing this me might also use the initial ideas as building blocks for more than one individual piece. This is very clever, particularly in musical development where various snippets of music might be morphed into various different forms in ways that written ideas generally can't be so used.
This literally allowed him to re-use his "notes" at two different levels (the written ones as well as the musical ones.)
- Feb 2022
Purple Numbers are a clever hack because you can work them into many existing kinds of systems. You don’t have to reinvent the document format, or cut it up into many pieces. You just stick a few ID tags in useful places. It’s like dog-earing the page of a book to find your way back.
As permanently identified paragraph level locations, purple numbers might allow one to combinatorically rearrange sets of notes or facts in a variety of different ways.
This pattern might be seen in earlier instantiations of note taking tools like the German zettelkasten.
Documents might be generated by creating playlists of purple numbers in particular (useful) orders.
Local file Local file
he best-researched and mostsuccessful learning method is elaboration. It is very similar to whatwe do when we take smart notes and combine them with others,which is the opposite of mere re-viewing (Stein et al. 1984)Elaboration means nothing other than really thinking about themeaning of what we read, how it could inform different questions andtopics and how it could be combined with other knowledge
Elaboration is thinking deeply about the meaning of what we've read, how it could inform or answer different questions, and how it can be linked or combined with other knowledge. It is one of the best-researched and most successful learning methods. While it seems to have some subtle differences, it sounds broadly similar to the Feynman technique and is related to the idea of writing questions based on one's notes in the Cornell note taking method.
This is why choosing an external system that forces us todeliberate practice and confronts us as much as possible with ourlack of understanding or not-yet-learned information is such a smartmove.
Choosing an external system for knowledge keeping and production forces the learner into a deliberate practice and confronts them with their lack of understanding. This is a large part of the underlying value not only of the zettelkasten, but of the use of a commonplace book which Benjamin Franklin was getting at when recommending that one "read with a pen in your hand". The external system also creates a modality shift from reading to writing by way of thinking which further underlines the value.
What other building blocks are present in addition to: - modality shift - deliberate practice - confrontation of lack of understanding
Are there other systems that do all of these as well as others simultaneously?
link to Franklin quote
Reading with a pen in yourhand is the small-scale equivalent of a lecture.
Active reading with a pen in your hand and the creation of smart notes is a small-scale equivalent of a full introductory lecture from the perspective of Richard Feynman's technique for testing understanding.
Active reading is roughly equivalent to the idea of reading with a pen in your hand or showing evidence of a mind at play.
Taking smart notes is the deliberate practice ofthese skills. Mere reading, underlining sentences and hoping toremember the content is not.
Some of the lighter and more passive (and common) forms of reading, highlighting, underlining sentences and hoping to understand or even remember the content and contexts is far less valuable than active reading, progressive summarization, comparing and contrasting, and extracting smart or permanent notes from one's texts.
Permanent notes, on the other hand, are written in a way that canstill be understood even when you have forgotten the context theyare taken from.
Integrate this into the definition of permanent notes.
Fleeting notes are context collapse (context apocalypse?) just waiting to happen.
Just collecting unprocessedfleeting notes inevitably leads to chaos.
Collecting fleeting notes and not processing them into something more useful and permanent will eventually end in abject failure.
An example can be seen in the note taking of Joachim Jungius in 1657. He compiled approximately 150,000 slips (also known as scraps) with excerpts and ideas without any sort of order, arrangement, index or reference system. Following his death his students and heirs could make nothing of the massive "scrap heap". As a result, Vincent Placcius in De Arte Excerpendi (1689) specifically warns against this practice (p. 72).
(cross reference from : https://hypothes.is/a/SyenKlO2Eeys0esqwOgjUw)
Academic writing in itself is not a complicated process thatrequires a variety of complicated tools, but is in constant danger ofbeing clogged with unnecessary distractions. Unfortunately, moststudents collect and embrace over time a variety of learning andnote-taking techniques, each promising to make something easier,but combined have the opposite effect.
Not highlighted in this context but it bears thinking about, Ahrens is looking at writing in particular while many note taking techniques (Cornell notes, SQ3R, SQ4R, etc.) and methods geared at students are specific to capturing basic facts which may need to be learned, by which I mean memorized or at least highly familiar, so that they can later be used in future analysis.
Many of these note taking concepts are geared toward basic factual acquisition, repetition, and memorization and not future generative thought or writing applications.
It's important to separate these ideas so that one can focus on one or the other. Perhaps there are contexts within which both may be valuable, but typically they're not. Within the zettelkasten context the difference between the two may be subtly seen in the conception of "literature notes" and "permanent notes".
Literature notes are progressive summarizations which one may use to strengthen and aid in understanding and later recall. These may include basic facts which one might wish to create question/answer pairs for use in spaced repetition programs.
Permanent notes have a higher level of importance, particularly for generative writing. These are the primary substance one wants to work with while the literature notes may be the "packing peanuts" or filler that can be used to provide background context to support one's more permanent notes.
Compare this with: https://boffosocko.com/2021/12/22/different-types-of-notes-and-use-cases/
Make literature notes.
Related to literature notes, but a small level down are the sorts of basic highlights that one makes in their books/reading. For pedagogy's sake they're a sort of fleeting note that might be better rewritten in a progressive summarization form. Too often they're not, but sit there on the page in a limbo between the lowest form of fleeting note and a literature note.
Hierarchy of annotations and notes: - fleeting notes - highlights - marginalia marks: ?, !, ⁕, †, ‡, ⁂, ⊙, doodles, phatic marks, tags, categories, topic headings, etc., - very brief annotations - literature notes (progressive summaries) - permanent notes
Make permanent notes.
The important part of permanent notes are generating your own ideas and connecting (linking them densely) into your note system. The linking part is important and can be the part that most using digital systems forget to do. In paper zettelkasten, one was forced to create the first link by placing the note into the system for the first time. This can specifically be seen in Niklas Luhmann's example where a note became a new area of its own or, far more likely, it was linked to prior ideas.
By linking the idea to others within the system, it becomes more likely that the idea can have additional multiple contexts where it might be used and improve the fact that context shifts will prove more insight in the future.
Additional links to subject headings, tags, categories, or other forms of taxonomy will also help to make sure the note isn't lost completely into the system. Links to the bibliographical references within the system are helpful as well, especially for later citation. Keep in mind that these categories and reference links aren't nearly as valuable as the other primary idea links.
One can surely collect ideas and facts into their system, but these aren't as important or as interesting as one's own ideas and the things that are sparked and generated by them.
Asking questions in permanent notes can be valuable as they can become the context for new research, projects, and writing. Open questions can be incredibly valuable for one's thinking and explorations.
- Feynman Technique
- spaced repetition
- progressive summarization
- Benjamin Franklin
- scrap heap
- Joachim Jungius
- note taking
- commonplace books
- excerpting vs. progressive summarization
- literature notes
- multiple contexts
- note taking methods
- learning methods
- ars notaria
- fleeting notes
- context collapse
- context shifts
- Cornell notes
- idea links
- active reading
- external structures for thought
- note taking misconceptions
- deliberate practice
- permanent notes
- Vincentius Placcius
- tools for thought
- topical headings
- collector's fallacy
- modality shifts
- open questions
- atomic ideas
- Dec 2020
Notions, Notes, Ideas and work notes
My equivalent, as best as I can tell, is:
- Permanent notes (atomic, linked concepts) = Notions
- Temporary notes (half-formed thoughts, links, snippets, etc.) = Notes
- Temporary notes initially, which later become permanent notes = Ideas (see later comment about why)
- Admin notes (projects, tasks, meetings, etc.) = Work notes
- May 2020
You should construct evergreen (permanent) notes based on concepts, not related to a source (e.g. a book) or an author.
Your mental models are compression functions. You make them more powerful by trying to use them on new information. Are you able to compress the new information with an already acquired function? Yes, then you've discovered an analogous concept across two different sources. Sort of? Then maybe there's an important difference, or maybe it's a clue that your compression function needs updating. And finally, no? Then perhaps this is an indication that you need to construct a new mental model – a new compression function.
Instead of having a task like “write an outline of the first chapter,” you have a task like “find notes which seem relevant.” Each step feels doable. This is an executable strategy (see Executable strategy).
Whereas Dr. Sönke Ahrens in How to Make Smart Notes seemed to be saying that the writing of a permanent note (~evergreen note) is a unit of knowledge work with predictable effort & time investment (as well as searching for relevant notes), Andy emphasizes only the note searching activity in this context.