44 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2022
    1. The Zettelkasten Method is based on this experience: One cannot think without writing - at least not in demanding contexts that anticipate selective access to memory. This also means: without notching differences one cannot think.

      Sönke Ahrens roughly quoted this passage or one like it (check the reference), but I criticized it for not being inclusive of indigenous people or oral methods. Luhmann, however, went further and was at least passively more inclusive by saying that one needs to be able to "notch differences" to be able to think, and this is a much better framing.

  2. Oct 2022
    1. Examining the cards, it becomes clear that the index constitutes not a mythic totalhistory but a specific set of facts and data that piqued Deutsch’s interest and whichreflected his personal research priorities (see Figure 2).

      Zettelkasten, if nothing else, are a close reflection of the interests of the author who collected them.

      link: Ahrens mentions this

    1. Perhaps in large part because of his narrow local audience of amateur historians, Goutor's detailing of note taking method included several pages on early research preparation before taking any notes at all. Some of this was to ensure that extant potential materials for one's subject actually existed, in cases where a researcher might run into issues of availability. It also took into account the public audiences they might be serving and what those audiences would expect in terms of level of detail, resources, photos, maps, charts, etc. (p 9-11)

      This is in marked contrast with the broader audiences of writers like Eco and Ahrens who presumed either extended research needs for either masters or Ph.D. theses, or, in Ahrens' case, life long researchers at universities or journalists, though Eco did make a nod in this direction at the end of his work. With a broader area of applicability, one's collection of notes might also help to guide their particular interests into a variety of tangential or related areas. Goutor either didn't see this longer term value, or curtailed his efforts here because of the scope of his audience.

    1. In "On Intellectual Craftsmanship" (1952), C. Wright Mills talks about his methods for note taking, thinking, and analysis in what he calls "sociological imagination". This is a sociologists' framing of their own research and analysis practice and thus bears a sociological related name. While he talks more about the thinking, outlining, and writing process rather than the mechanical portion of how he takes notes or what he uses, he's extending significantly on the ideas and methods that Sönke Ahrens describes in How to Take Smart Notes (2017), though obviously he's doing it 65 years earlier. It would seem obvious that the specific methods (using either files, note cards, notebooks, etc.) were a bit more commonplace for his time and context, so he spent more of his time on the finer and tougher portions of the note making and thinking processes which are often the more difficult parts once one is past the "easy" mechanics.

      While Mills doesn't delineate the steps or materials of his method of note taking the way Beatrice Webb, Langlois & Seignobos, Johannes Erich Heyde, Antonin Sertillanges, or many others have done before or Umberto Eco, Robert Greene/Ryan Holiday, Sönke Ahrens, or Dan Allosso since, he does focus more on the softer portions of his thinking methods and their desired outcomes and provides personal examples of how it works and what his expected outcomes are. Much like Niklas Luhmann describes in Kommunikation mit Zettelkästen (VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 1981), Mills is focusing on the thinking processes and outcomes, but in a more accessible way and with some additional depth.

      Because the paper is rather short, but specific in its ideas and methods, those who finish the broad strokes of Ahrens' book and methods and find themselves somewhat confused will more than profit from the discussion here in Mills. Those looking for a stronger "crash course" might find that the first seven chapters of Allosso along with this discussion in Mills is a straighter and shorter path.

      While Mills doesn't delineate his specific method in terms of physical tools, he does broadly refer to "files" which can be thought of as a zettelkasten (slip box) or card index traditions. Scant evidence in the piece indicates that he's talking about physical file folders and sheets of paper rather than slips or index cards, but this is generally irrelevant to the broader process of thinking or writing. Once can easily replace the instances of the English word "file" with the German concept of zettelkasten and not be confused.

      One will note that this paper was written as a manuscript in April 1952 and was later distributed for classroom use in 1955, meaning that some of these methods were being distributed from professor to students. The piece was later revised and included as an appendix to Mill's text The Sociological Imagination which was first published in 1959.

      Because there aren't specifics about Mills' note structure indicated here, we can't determine if his system was like that of Niklas Luhmann, but given the historical record one could suppose that it was closer to the commonplace tradition using slips or sheets. One thing becomes more clear however that between the popularity of Webb's work and this (which was reprinted in 2000 with a 40th anniversary edition), these methods were widespread in the mid-twentieth century and specifically in the field of sociology.

      Above and beyond most of these sorts of treatises on note taking method, Mills does spend more time on the thinking portions of the practice and delineates eleven different practices that one can focus on as they actively read/think and take notes as well as afterwards for creating content or writing.


      My full notes on the article can be found at https://jonudell.info/h/facet/?user=chrisaldrich&max=100&exactTagSearch=true&expanded=true&addQuoteContext=true&url=urn%3Ax-pdf%3A0138200b4bfcde2757a137d61cd65cb8

  3. Sep 2022
    1. Experiments on Twitter by Bjarke Mønsted and his colleagues at the Technical University of Denmark and the University of Southern California indicate that information is transmitted via “complex contagion”: when we are repeatedly exposed to an idea, typically from many sources, we are more likely to adopt and reshare it. This social bias is further amplified by what psychologists call the “mere exposure” effect: when people are repeatedly exposed to the same stimuli, such as certain faces, they grow to like those stimuli more than those they have encountered less often.

      This seems slightly different than the mere-exposure effect that Ahrens (2017) delineated. Are they same/different/related, but contextually different?

    1. @BenjaminVanDyneReplying to @ChrisAldrichI wish I had a good answer! The book I use when I teach is Joseph Harris’s “rewriting” which is technically a writing book but teaches well as a book about how to read in a writerly way.

      Thanks for this! I like the framing and general concept of the book.

      It seems like its a good follow on to Dan Allosso's OER text How to Make Notes and Write https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/ or Sönke Ahrens' How to Take Smart Notes https://amzn.to/3DwJVMz which includes some useful psychology and mental health perspective.

      Other similar examples are Umberto Eco's How to Write a Thesis (MIT, 2015) or Gerald Weinberg's The Fieldstone Method https://amzn.to/3DCf6GA These may be some of what we're all missing.

      I'm reminded of Mark Robertson's (@calhistorian) discussion of modeling his note taking practice and output in his classroom using Roam Research. https://hyp.is/QuB5NDa0Ee28hUP7ExvFuw/thatsthenorm.com/mark-robertson-history-socratic-dialogue/ Perhaps we need more of this?

      Early examples of this sort of note taking can also be seen in the religious studies space with Melanchthon's handbook on commonplaces or Jonathan Edwards' Miscellanies, though missing are the process from notes to writings. https://www.logos.com/grow/jonathan-edwards-organizational-genius/

      Other examples of these practices in the wild include @andy_matuschak's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGcs4tyey18 and TheNonPoet's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sdp0jo2Fe4 Though it may be better for students to see this in areas in which they're interested.

      Hypothes.is as a potential means of modeling and allowing students to directly "see" this sort of work as it progresses using public/semi-public annotations may be helpful. Then one can separately model re-arranging them and writing a paper. https://web.hypothes.is/

      Reply to: https://twitter.com/BenjaminVanDyne/status/1571171086171095042

    1. Students' annotations canprompt first draft thinking, avoiding a blank page when writing andreassuring students that they have captured the critical informationabout the main argument from the reading.

      While annotations may prove "first draft thinking", why couldn't they provide the actual thinking and direct writing which moves toward the final product? This is the sort of approach seen in historical commonplace book methods, zettelkasten methods, and certainly in Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten incarnation as delineated by Johannes Schmidt or variations described by Sönke Ahrens (2017) or Dan Allosso (2022)? Other similar variations can be seen in the work of Umberto Eco (MIT, 2015) and Gerald Weinberg (Dorset House, 2005).

      Also potentially useful background here: Blair, Ann M. Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age. Yale University Press, 2010. https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300165395/too-much-know

  4. Aug 2022
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o49C8jQIsvs

      Video about the Double-Bubble Map: https://youtu.be/Hm4En13TDjs

      The double-bubble map is a tool for thought for comparing and contrasting ideas. Albert Rosenberg indicates that construction of opposites is one of the most reliable ways for generating ideas. (35:50)

      Bluma Zeigarnik - open tasks tend to occupy short-term memory.

      I love his compounding interest graphic with the steps moving up to the right with the quote: "Even groundbreaking paradigm shifts are most often the consequence of many small moves in the right direction instead of one big idea." This could be an awesome t-shirt or motivational poster.

      Watched this up to about 36 minutes on 2022-08-10 and finished on 2022-08-22.

  5. Jul 2022
    1. My new friend Scott Scheper is pretty direct with his argument that "Ahrensian" note-taking is NOT what Luhmann did.

      Compare and contrast these two practices.

      Do we have enough data about the early portions of Luhmann's process to indicate this? Similarly for the final portion of creation (outlining and plugging in ideas).

    1. For those curious about the idea of what students might do with the notes and annotations they're making in the margins of their texts using Hypothes.is, I would submit that Dan Allosso's OER handbook How to Make Notes and Write (Minnesota State Pressbooks, 2022) may be a very useful place to turn. https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/

      It provides some concrete advice on the topic of once you've highlighted and annotated various texts for a course, how might you then turn your new understanding, ideas, and extant thinking work into a blogpost, essay, term paper or thesis.

      For a similar, but alternative take, the book How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking by Sönke Ahrens (Create Space, 2017) may also be helpful as well. This text however requires purchase via Amazon and doesn't carry the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike (by-nc-sa 4.0) license that Dr. Allosso's does.

      In addition to the online copy of the book, there's an annotatable .pdf copy available here: http://docdrop.org/pdf/How-to-Make-Notes-and-Write---Allosso-Dan-jzdq8.pdf/ though one can download .epub and .pdf copies directly from the Pressbooks site.

    1. But it's not a trivial problem. I have compiled, at latest reckoning, 35,669 posts - my version of a Zettelkasten. But how to use them when writing a paper? It's not straightforward - and I find myself typically looking outside my own notes to do searches on Google and elsewhere. So how is my own Zettel useful? For me, the magic happens in the creation, not in the subsequent use. They become grist for pattern recognition. I don't find value in classifying them or categorizing them (except for historical purposes, to create a chronology of some concept over time), but by linking them intuitively to form overarching themes or concepts not actually contained in the resources themselves. But this my brain does, not my software. Then I write a paper (or an outline) based on those themes (usually at the prompt of an interview, speaking or paper invitation) and then I flesh out the paper by doing a much wider search, and not just my limited collection of resources.

      Stephen Downes describes some of his note taking process for creation here. He doesn't actively reuse his notes (or in this case blog posts, bookmarks, etc.) which number a sizeable 35669, directly, at least in the sort of cut and paste method suggested by Sönke Ahrens. Rather he follows a sort of broad idea, outline creation, and search plan akin to that described by Cory Doctorow in 20 years a blogger

      Link to: - https://hyp.is/_XgTCm9GEeyn4Dv6eR9ypw/pluralistic.net/2021/01/13/two-decades/


      Downes suggests that the "magic happens in the creation" of his notes. He uses them as "grist for pattern recognition". He doesn't mention words like surprise or serendipity coming from his notes by linking them, though he does use them "intuitively to form overarching themes or concepts not actually contained in the resources themselves." This is closely akin to the broader ideas ensconced in inventio, Llullan Wheels, triangle thinking, ideas have sex, combinatorial creativity, serendipity (Luhmann), insight, etc. which have been described by others.


      Note that Downes indicates that his brain creates the links and he doesn't rely on his software to do this. The break is compounded by the fact that he doesn't find value in classifying or categorizing his notes.


      I appreciate that Downes uses the word "grist" to describe part of his note taking practice which evokes the idea of grinding up complex ideas (the grain) to sort out the portions of the whole to find simpler ideas (the flour) which one might use later to combine to make new ideas (bread, cake, etc.) Similar analogies might be had in the grain harvesting space including winnowing or threshing.

      One can compare this use of a grist mill analogy of thinking with the analogy of the crucible, which implies a chamber or space in which elements are brought together often with work or extreme conditions to create new products by their combination.

      Of course these also follow the older classical analogy of imitating the bees (apes).

  6. Jun 2022
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxfTVdohSwA

      Christine Moskell talks about a professor's final exam design prompting students to go back to annotations and add new commentary (or links to other related knowledge) that they've gained during the length of a course.


      Link to:

      This is very similar to the sort of sensemaking and interlinking of information that Sönke Ahrens outlines in his book How to Take Smart Notes though his broader note taking thesis goes a few additional steps for more broadly synthesizing ideas into longer papers, articles, theses, and books.

      Dr. Moskell also outlined a similar tactic at the [[Hypothesis Social Learning Summit - Spotlight on Social Reading & Social Annotation]] earlier today, though that video may not be accessible for a bit.

      Cross reference: https://web.hypothes.is/event/social-learning-summit-spotlight-on-social-reading-social-annotation/

      How can we better center and model these educational practices in our pedagogies?

    1. Sönke Ahrens’ How to Take Smart Notes changed so much.Now everyone is condemning note-takers (those collecting knowledge in heaps, e.g. via the good old Evernote) and praising note makers (those selecting their notes and linking them to other knowledge and producing their own thinking through them, e.g. via newish tools such as Obsidian)

      In the framing here, I don't think it was so much Ahren's book, but the florescence of note taking tools (many of them very technical and appealing to the male/techbro crowd mentioned earlier in the piece). Though perhaps some of this tech crowd were influenced by Ahrens to make these tools which simply accelerated the space.

    1. ZK II: Note 9/8 9/8 Zettelkasten 1 as a cybernetic system Combination of disorder and order, of lump formation and unpredictable combination realized in ad hoc access. Precondition: waiver of fixed order. The upstream differentiation: search aids vs. content; Registers, questions, ideas vs. Existing forms and partly makes superfluous what must be assumed in terms of inner order .

      Niklas Luhmann thought of the zettelkasten as a cybernetic system.

      He considers a precondition of its creation is that it ought to waive any "fixed order", allow for search, and the asking of questions.


      There are only the outlines of brief and scant thoughts here however, which would have required significant amounts of additional context not contained on the card. As a result one would require additional underpinning to understand what Luhmann means here as the card definitively couldn't have been directly or easily reused for future writing beyond the basic sketch outline he provides. What proportion of cards have brief thought sketches like this versus more fully thought out and directly reusable ideas within his system? Does Schmidt provide any guidance here without reading portions of the larger corpus? How does this differ from the guidance of Ahrens?

      (Translation from German to English via Google)

  7. May 2022
    1. Don't worry, Niklas Luhmann never 'got' the whole evergreen vs. fleeting notes thing either. They're Ahrensian inventions. They're not Zettelkasten concepts, they're Ahrenskasten concepts.

      Ahrens uses the phrase permanent notes and never uses the words evergreen notes. Evergreen notes stems from Andy Matuschak's reading of Ahrens, likely with a side reference to the idea of evergreen articles which is a closely related commonplace idea in journalism.

      The difference between the permanent(evergreen) and fleeting comes from where one chooses to put the actual work into their system. One can collect thousands of fleeting notes in their system, but it's more likely that it will eventually collapse on itself and do the author no good. Better is to put as much work in up front to get to a good permanent note that is reusable in potentially many contexts.

      Much of this stems back at least as far as Vincentius Placcius in De Arte Excerpendi: Of Scholarly Book Organization (1689) where he offers a contemporary set of instructions on excerpting knowledge from books as well as a history of the subject of note taking. In the book, he warns specifically against the practice exhibited by Joachim Jungius (1585-1657) who left behind approximately 150,000 slips (or scraps) of paper (zettels). Because there was no index to it or links between the notes Jungius' collection was ostensibly useless following his death. His scraps were literally a "scrap heap".

    1. Luhmann realised his note-taking was not leadinganywhere. So he turned note-taking on its head.

      Here Ahrens doesn't say that Luhmann invented the zettelkasten, but he comes pretty close and is heavily implying it rather than delving into the ways which Luhmann may have been taught this practice.

  8. Apr 2022
    1. The Zettelkasten System is a Superset of the Feynman Technique

      Sönke Ahrens outlines this broad idea of how one practices the Feynman technique for understanding using one's notes in How to Take Smart Notes, but he doesn't use the name Feynman technique. Certainly the idea of writing things down to test one's understanding predated Feynman, does anyone know of historical examples of this pattern/technique prior to Feynman? Does it have other names in the literature?

    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. We have to endlessly scroll and parse a ton of images and headlines before we can find something interesting to read.

      The randomness of interesting tidbits in a social media scroll help to put us in a state of flow. We get small hits of dopamine from finding interesting posts to fill in the gaps of the boring bits in between and suddenly find we've lost the day. As a result an endless scroll of varying quality might have the effect of making one feel productive when in fact a reasonably large proportion of your time is spent on useless and uninteresting content.

      This effect may be put even further out when it's done algorithmically and the dopamine hits become more frequent. Potentially worse than this, the depth of the insight found in most social feeds is very shallow and rarely ever deep. One is almost never invited to delve further to find new insights.


      How might a social media stream of content be leveraged to help people read more interesting and complex content? Could putting Jacques Derrida's texts into a social media-like framing create this? Then one could reply to the text by sentence or paragraph with their own notes. This is similar to the user interface of Hypothes.is, but Hypothes.is has a more traditional reading interface compared to the social media space. What if one interspersed multiple authors in short threads? What other methods might work to "trick" the human mind into having more fun and finding flow in their deeper and more engaged reading states?

      Link this to the idea of fun in Sönke Ahrens' How to Take Smart Notes.

    1. My "map of content" for Java Collection Framework. Obsidian & Excalidraw make learning programming language full of joy! Great thanks to @obsdmd @zsviczian

      My "map of content" for Java Collection Framework. Obsidian & Excalidraw make learning programming language full of joy!<br><br>Great thanks to @obsdmd @zsviczian pic.twitter.com/FWBxfj2yLS

      — YM (@Peng1M) April 22, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      Note the use of scare quotes around "map of content". Is it because YM doesn't take the idea seriously or because of the pseudo map nature of the diagram included?

      Link to the idea that map of content is just a marketing term for something which already exists, namely a table of contents.

      It's also similar to the projects idea and outlines espoused by Sönke Ahrens.

    1. Where annotation is not an individual activity, jotting down marginalia in solitude, but a dialogue between multiple annotators in the now, or incrementally adding to annotators from the past.

      My first view, even before any of the potential social annotation angle, is that in annotating or taking notes, I'm simultaneously having a conversation with the author of the work and/or my own thoughts on the topic at hand. Anything beyond that for me is "gravy".

      I occasionally find that if I'm writing as I go that I'll have questions and take a stab only to find that the author provides an answer a few paragraphs or pages on. I can then look back at my thought to see where I got things right, where I may have missed or where to go from there. Sometimes I'll find holes that both the author and I missed. Almost always I'm glad that I spent the time thinking about the idea critically and got to the place myself with or without the author's help. I'm not sure that most others always do this, but it's a habit I've picked up from reading mathematics texts which frequently say things like "we'll leave it to the reader to verify or fill in the gaps" or "this is left as an exercise". Most readers won't/don't do this, but my view is that it's almost always where the actual engagement and learning from the material stems.

      Sometimes I may be writing out pieces to clarify them for myself and solidify my understanding while other times, I'm using the text as a prompt for my own writing. My intention most often is to add my own thoughts in a significantly well-thought out manner such that I can in the near future reuse these annotations/notes in essays or other writing. Some of this comes from broad experience of keeping a commonplace book for quite a while, and some of it has been influenced on reading about the history of note taking practices by others. One of the best summations of the overall practice I've seen thus far is Sönke Ahrens' How to Take Smart Notes (Create Space, 2017), though I find there are some practical steps missing that can only be found by actually practicing his methods in a dedicated fashion for several months before one sees changes in their thought patterns, the questions they ask, and the work that stems from it all. And by work, I mean just that. The whole enterprise is a fair amount of work, though I find it quite fun and very productive over time.

      In my youth, I'd read passages and come up with some brilliant ideas. I might have underlined the passage and written something like "revisit this and expand", but I found I almost never did and upon revisiting it I couldn't capture the spark of the brilliant idea I had managed to see before. Now I just take the time out to write out the entire thing then and there with the knowledge that I can then later revise it and work it into something bigger later. Doing the work right now has been one of the biggest differences in my practice, and I'm finding that projects I want to make progress on are moving forward much more rapidly than they ever did.

    1. nother factor militating against completeadvice was the notion that methods should be kept secret to be most effective.One author of a university thesis on the topic noted that most scholars were un-willing to share their secrets on note-taking with others. A few advice givers rec-ommended “keeping the secrets of your studies to yourself ” on the grounds thatpeople would be most impressed by achievements that they did not understand.39

      Sönke Ahrens apparently missed this bit of advice.

      link to the Arthur C. Clarke quote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." which appeared in his 1962 book “Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible”.

  9. Mar 2022
    1. maybe i need to explain that i changed the way i write in rome a little bit 01:23:42 because i um use the blocks as um individual notes so that 01:23:55 the page can become what in the traditional center cast might be a note sequence and if two notes are directly related i might just add another block 01:24:07 because you still have the granularity with the block references um a question would become part of that note sequence and 01:24:19 [Music] they are just a part of the writing itself so i don't have a special question page 01:24:33 i have a lot of questions within the ongoing dialogues and sometimes 01:24:44 um there are the ones that turn into a project and um so they are on top of my mind and um they 01:24:59 might move into the uh shortcut section because i just want to jump right back into that the next day 01:25:13 but there is no sophisticated system to deal with questions they are just part of it

      Sönke Ahrens uses block references in Roam Research as zettels (or atomic notes), but puts them into larger pages almost as if he was pre-building larger project pages, as described in his book.

    2. the going through abstraction and re-specification so i think i became interested in cetera carson also because i saw a lot of similarities 01:11:30 to what historians of science describe as experimental work in laboratories and that is especially in the field of science and technology 01:11:43 studies especially the work of hanzio greinberger he works for the max planck institute for history of science in berlin and the way he describes 01:11:55 um experimental work as a form of material deconstruction um is my blueprint for understanding 01:12:10 the work of lumen

      Sönke Ahrens used Hans-Jörg Rheinberger's description of experimental work as a form of material deconstruction as a framework for looking at Niklas Luhmann.

    3. 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.

    4. i knew that that this is that might be different but no i of course you you don't connect it 00:27:44 that much with your own book it's more about that you see the idea and the idea is lumens idea and you're trying to describe it as good as possible

      Even Sönke Ahrens has indirectly attributed the idea of the zettelkasten directly to Niklas Luhmann.

      2022-03-24

    5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO7-wEc5dnc

      Quit watching at around 1:40:00 where it devolved into a love fest for the club itself.

  10. Feb 2022
    1. Steven Johnson indicates that the word processor is a terrible tool for writing because it doesn't have usable affordances for building up longer pieces from one's notes or basic ideas.

      He discusses his specific workflow of note taking and keeping ideas in Scrivener where he arranges them into folders and outlines which then become the source of his writing.

      Different from the typical zettelkasten workflow, he's keeping his notes hierarchically organized in folders based on topic keywords and only later when creating a specific writing project making explicit links and orders between his notes to create longer pieces. It's here that his work diverges most dramatically to the zettelkasten method described by Sönke Ahrens.

    2. In the research phase, you’re just creating a disorganized pile of cards, with quotes, ideas, links, fragments, hunches. There’s no order, no sequence; just a non-linear collection of vaguely related ideas. But as the project takes shape, certain themes begin to emerge, and those become folders housing other cards. Eventually those themes start to map onto actual sections of the book, or individual chapters. At this point, sequence does begin to matter, but you can change the sequence just by dragging cards and folders around in the left hand outline view.

      Example of writing advice that builds the links in after-the-fact instead of cross-linking ideas into initial networks as they're finding them. Compare/contrast this to the creation of these networks in the zettelkasten tradition as well as Sönke Ahrens description.

      There's less upfront work in creating these links at the start than there is in reloading the context in one's brain to create these links after the fact. Collecting ideas without filing, linking, or organizing them upfront also means that one is more likely to only use these ideas in the context of specific projects which one already has in mind rather than keeping them for a lifetime's work which might also create generative projects one hadn't expected.

    1. In the early chapters Ahrens outlines the general form and method for taking notes for a zettelkasten, though he's not overly descriptive of the method and provides no direct examples.

      In the middle chapters he talks broadly about learning research and how the zettelkasten method dovetails with these methods.

      He does this almost as if he's a good teacher showing the student an outline of what to do and why, but leaving it up to them to actually do the work and experimentation to come up with their own specific methods of use to best suit their purposes. This allows them to do the work themselves so that they have a better chance of following a simple, but easy set of rules, but in a way that will allow them to potentially more quickly become an expert at the practice.

      “The one who does the work does the learning,” writes Doyle (2008, 63) [Section 10.5]

      In some sense, he's actively practicing what he preaches as a teaching device within his own book!

      I think that this point may be actively missed by those readers who aren't actively engaging with and converting his ideas into their own and doing the work which he's actively suggesting.

    2. Ahrens, Sönke. How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers. Create Space, 2017.

    1. It should be recognized that these basic note types are very different than the digital garden framing of 📤 (seedbox), 🌱 (seedling), 🪴 (sapling), 🌲 (evergreen), etc. which are another measure of the growth and expansion of not just one particular idea but potentially multiple ideas over time. These are a project management sort of tool for focusing on the growth of ideas. Within some tools, one might also use graph views and interconnectedness as means of charting this same sort of growth.

      Sönke Ahrens' framing of fleeting note, literature note, and permanent note are a value assignation to the types of each of these notes with respect to generating new ideas and writing.

  11. Jan 2022
  12. Nov 2021
    1. Though firmly rooted in Renaissance culture, Knight's carefully calibrated arguments also push forward to the digital present—engaging with the modern library archives where these works were rebound and remade, and showing how the custodianship of literary artifacts shapes our canons, chronologies, and contemporary interpretative practices.

      This passage reminds me of a conversation on 2021-11-16 at Liquid Margins with Will T. Monroe (@willtmonroe) about using Sönke Ahrens' book Smart Notes and Hypothes.is as a structure for getting groups of people (compared to Ahrens' focus on a single person) to do collection, curation, and creation of open education resources (OER).

      Here Jeffrey Todd Knight sounds like he's looking at it from the perspective of one (or maybe two) creators in conjunction (curator and binder/publisher) while I'm thinking about expanding behond

      This sort of pattern can also be seen in Mortimer J. Adler's group zettelkasten used to create The Great Books of the Western World series as well in larger wiki-based efforts like Wikipedia, so it's not new, but the question is how a teacher (or other leader) can help to better organize a community of creators around making larger works from smaller pieces. Robin DeRosa's example of using OER in the classroom is another example, but there, the process sounded much more difficult and manual.

      This is the sort of piece that Vannevar Bush completely missed as a mode of creation and research in his conceptualization of the Memex. Perhaps we need the "Inventiex" as a mode of larger group means of "inventio" using these methods in a digital setting?

  13. Oct 2021
    1. sometimes you de- yelop a whole passage, not with the intention of completing it, but because it comes of itself and because inspiration is like grace, which passes by and does not come back.

      So very few modern sources describe annotation or note taking in these terms.

      I find often in my annotations, the most recent one just above is such a one, where I start with a tiny kernel of an idea and then my brain begins warming up and I put down some additional thoughts. These can sometimes build and turn into multiple sentences or paragraphs, other times they sit and need further work. But either way, with some work they may turn into something altogether different than what the original author intended or discussed.

      These are the things I want to keep, expand upon, and integrate into larger works or juxtapose with other broader ideas and themes in the things I am writing about.

      Sadly, we're just not teaching students or writers these tidbits or habits anymore.

      Sönke Ahrens mentions this idea in his book about Smart Notes. When one is asked to write an essay or a paper it is immensely difficult to have a perch on which to begin. But if one has been taking notes about their reading which is of direct interest to them and which can be highly personal, then it is incredibly easy to have a starting block against which to push to begin what can be either a short sprint or a terrific marathon.

      This pattern can be seen by many bloggers who surf a bit of the web, read what others have written, and use those ideas and spaces as a place to write or create their own comments.

      Certainly this can involve some work, but it's always nicer when the muses visit and the words begin to flow.

      I've now written so much here in this annotation that this note here, is another example of this phenomenon.

      With some hope, by moving this annotation into my commonplace book (or if you prefer the words notebook, blog, zettelkasten, digital garden, wiki, etc.) I will have it to reflect and expand upon later, but it'll also be a significant piece of text which I might move into a longer essay and edit a bit to make a piece of my own.

      With luck, I may be able to remedy some of the modern note taking treatises and restore some of what we've lost from older traditions to reframe them in an more logical light for modern students.

      I recall being lucky enough to work around teachers insisting I use note cards and references in my sixth grade classes, but it was never explained to me exactly what this exercise was meant to engender. It was as if they were providing the ingredients for a recipe, but had somehow managed to leave off the narrative about what to do with those ingredients, how things were supposed to be washed, handled, prepared, mixed, chopped, etc. I always felt that I was baking blind with no directions as to temperature or time. Fortunately my memory for reading on shorter time scales was better than my peers and it was only that which saved my dishes from ruin.

      I've come to see note taking as beginning expanded conversations with the text on the page and the other texts in my notebooks. Annotations in the the margins slowly build to become something else of my own making.

      We might compare this with the more recent movement of social annotation in the digital pedagogy space. This serves a related master, but seems a bit more tangent to it. The goal of social annotation seems to be to help engage students in their texts as a group. Reading for many of these students may be more foreign than it is to me and many other academics who make trade with it. Thus social annotation helps turn that reading into a conversation between peers and their text. By engaging with the text and each other, they get something more out of it than they might have if left to their own devices. The piece I feel is missing here is the modeling of the next several steps to the broader commonplacing tradition. Once a student has begun the path of allowing their ideas to have sex with the ideas they find on the page or with their colleagues, what do they do next? Are they being taught to revisit their notes and ideas? Sift them? Expand upon them. Place them in a storehouse of their best materials where they can later be used to write those longer essays, chapters, or books which may benefit them later?

      How might we build these next pieces into these curricula of social annotation to continue building on these ideas and principles?

  14. Aug 2021
    1. https://collect.readwriterespond.com/how-to-remember-more-of-what-you-read/

      Some useful looking links here. Thanks Aaron.

      I've been digging deeper and deeper into some of the topics and sub-topics.

      The biggest problem I've seen thus far is a lot of wanna-be experts and influencers (especially within the Roam Research space) touching on the very surface of problem. I've seen more interesting and serious people within the Obsidian community sharing their personal practices and finding pieces of that useful.

      The second issue may be that different things work somewhat differently for different people, none of whom are using the same tools or even general systems. Not all of them have the same end goals either. Part of the key is finding something useful that works for you or modifying something slowly over time to get it to work for you.

      At the end of the day your website holds the true answer: read, write, respond (along with the implied "repeat" at the end).

      One of the best and most thorough prescriptions I've seen is Sönke Ahrens' book which he's written after several years of using and researching a few particular systems.

      I've been finding some useful tidbits from my own experience and research into the history of note taking and commonplace book traditions. The memory portion intrigues me a lot as well as I've done quite a lot of research into historical methods of mnemonics and memory traditions. Naturally the ancient Greeks had most of this all down within the topic of rhetoric, but culturally we seem to have unbundled and lost a lot of our own traditions with changes in our educational system over time.