6 Matching Annotations
  1. Jun 2022
    1. Sometimes you know a project is coming and can startsaving things to a project folder in advance,

      no mention of the affordances of being able to cross-link things or even transclude them from an original location (which works for one currently) to another useful location.

  2. May 2022
    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. If you're in software development, start your zettelkasten by documenting the step-by-step instructions to fresh install your development environment. Windows Utilities, Dev Tools, IDE, all those config options not already in your dotfiles, etc...I promise it'll be useful and get you started

      I tend to take a much narrower view of the use and function of a zettelkasten for the reuse of atomic ideas. As a result, from experience I'd recommend these sorts of details are probably better suited for future search in your blog, a personal wiki, or even a commonplace book format than for use in your zettelkasten. I've outlined some of the broad idea for this in an article: Zettelkasten Overreach. On the other hand, if an outline form of these things is imminently abstractable for future very active reuse in other programming environments, then perhaps it's worthwhile, but then you'd need to reach the appropriate level of abstraction for this reuse and you may have lost the more specific details for direct recreation needed as reminders for your future self.

  3. Feb 2022
    1. 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.

  4. Dec 2021
    1. I think smaller projects that are faster to build are better for research in this space. Building many smaller projects rather than large ambitious ones have helped me because I avoid getting too attached to one particular idea or product, and with smaller-scoped prototypes I can try many more iterations against the same question or problem. It also lowers the barrier to entry to try more risky ideas – “I’ll try this for a weekend” is much easier than “I’ll have to shift my schedule the next couple weeks to fit this in; is it worth that?” A culture of shorter, more atomic projects will also encourage everyone to break down large ideas into smaller ones that are individually testable, which I think is a good practice regardless of whether those ideas are for a product or an experiment. On the other hand, cycles that are too short obviously run the risk of keeping us from trying more ambitious or complex ideas.

      Atomizing projects and research ideas is very similar to the idea of the atomic note.

      If useful things can be turned into re-usable building blocks, then it can be easier to build and design larger and more complex systems out of them.