45 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2021
    1. Offloading can be far more complex, however, and doesn’t necessarily involve language. For example, “when we use our hands to move objects around, we offload the task of visualizing new configurations onto the world itself, where those configurations take tangible shape before our eyes” (243-244).

      This is one of the key benefits over the use of index cards in moving toward a zettelkasten from the traditional commonplace book tradition. Rearranging one's ideas in a separate space.

      Raymond Llull attempted to do this within his memory in the 12th century, but there are easier ways of doing this now.

  2. Aug 2021
    1. https://kimberlyhirsh.com/2018/06/29/a-starttofinish-literature.html

      Great overview of a literature review with some useful looking links to more specifics on note taking methods.

      Most of the newer note taking tools like Roam Research, Obsidian, etc. were not available or out when she wrote this. I'm curious how these may have changed or modified her perspective versus some of the other catch-as-catch-can methods with pen/paper/index cards/digital apps?

    1. By the way, Luhmann's system is said to have had 35.000 cards. Jules Verne had 25.000. The sixteenth-century thinker Joachim Jungius is said to have had 150.000, and how many Leibniz had, we do not know, though we do know that he had one of the most ingenious piece of furniture for keeping his copious notes.

      Circa late 2011, he's positing Luhmann had 35,000 cards and not 90,000.

      Jules Verne used index cards. Joachim Jungius is said to have had 150,000 cards.

    2. I accumulated altogether between 5.000 and 6.000 note cards from 1974 to 1985, most of which I still keep for sentimental reasons and sometimes actually still consult.

      Manfred Kuehn's index card commonplace from 1974 - 1985

    3. In writing my dissertation and working on my first book, I used an index card system, characterized by the "one fact, one card" maxim, made popular by Beatrice Webb. [4]

      I've not come across Beatrice Webb before, but I'm curious to see what her system looks like based on this statement.

      From the footnotes:

      She observed in the appendix to her My Apprenticeship of 1926, called The Art of Note-Taking: "It is difficult to persuade the accomplished graduate of Oxford or Cambridge that an indispensable instrument in the technique of sociological enquiry - seeing that without it any of the methods of acquiring facts can seldom be used effectively - is the making of notes" Webb, Beatrice (1926) My Apprenticeship (London: Longmans, Green, and Co.), pp. 426-7.

    1. To me, the greatest benefit of IndexCards is that they force you to not write too much. This is a big help to those of us who are still squishing the bitter juice of BigDesignUpFront from our brains. The expense and rarity of vellum played a similar role in MedievalArchitecture.
    2. This is one of the points made in TheMythOfThePaperlessOffice -- that workplaces often shift from more efficient paper-based technologies to less efficient electronic technologies (electronic technologies can be either more or less efficient, of course) because computers symbolize The Future, Progress, and a New Way Of Doing Things. An office on the move, that's what an office that uses cutting-edge technology is. Not an office that is stuck in the past. And the employees are left to cope with the less productive, but shinier, New Way. -- ApoorvaMuralidhara

      New technologies don't always have the user interface to make them better than old methods.

    3. used for project management. The logistics for the Gulf War were managed on index cards. Read "Moving Mountains" by Lt. General George Pagonis.

      Example of index cards used for project management.

    1. In 2003, Ross's family gave his journals, papers, and correspondence to the British Library, London. Then, in March 2004, on the last day of the W. Ross Ashby Centenary Conference, they announced the intention to make his journal available on the Internet. Four years later, this website fulfilled that promise, making this previously unpublished work available on-line.

      The journal consists of 7,189 numbered pages in 25 volumes, and over 1,600 index cards. To make it easy to browse purposefully through so many images, extensive cross-linking has been added that is based on the keywords in Ross's original keyword index.

      This definitely sounds like a commonplace book. Also an example of one which has been digitized.

    1. Now, whenever I have a thought worth capturing, I write it on an index card in either marker pen or biro (depending on the length of the thought), and place in the relevant box. I use index cards for books, blogs, conversations I overhear at the club, memories, etc. They’re in my coat pocket when I fetch the kids from school. I leave them handy in the locker at the swimming pool (where I do much of my best thinking). And I run with them. Sound weird? Well, I’m in good company. Ryan Holiday[116], Anne Lamott[117], Robert Greene[118], Oliver Burkeman[119], Ronald Reagan, Vladimir Nabokov[120] and Ludwig Wittgenstein[121] all use (d) the humble index card to catalogue and organise their thoughts. If you’re serious about embarking on this digital journey, buy a hundred-pack of 127 x 76mm ruled index cards for less than a pound, rescue a shoebox from the attic and stick a few marker-penned notecards on their end to act as dividers. Write a “My Digital Box” label on the top of the shoebox, and you’re off.

      apparently a quote from Reset: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money by David Sawyer FCIPR.

      Notes about users of index card based commonplace books.

    1. I am also interested in the work and method of Ross Ashby. His card index and notebooks have been put online by the British Commputer Society. I am fascinated by his law of requisite variety and how variety relates to complexity and its unfolding in general and in relation to design.

      Sounds like Ross Ashby kept a commonplace book here.

      Could be worth looking into: http://www.rossashby.info/ and digging further.

    1. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-05-08-reagan-notes-book-brinkley_n.htm

      An article indicating that President Ronald Reagan kept a commonplace book throughout his life. He maintained it on index cards, often with as many as 10 entries per card. The article doesn't seem to indicate that there was any particular organization, index, or taxonomy involved.

      It's now housed at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA.

    2. "If the Reagans' home in Palisades (Calif.) were burning," Brinkley says, "this would be one of the things Reagan would immediately drag out of the house. He carried them with him all over like a carpenter brings their tools. These were the tools for his trade."

      Another example of someone saying that if their house were to catch fire, they'd save their commonplace book (first or foremost).

    1. I keep my index cards in chronological order : the newest card comes at front of the card box. All cards are clasified into four kinds and tagged according to the contents. The sequence is equivalent to my cultural genetic code. Although it may look chaotic at the beginning, it will become more regulated soon. Don't be afraid to sweep out your mind and capture them all. Make visible what is going on in your brain. Look for a pattern behind our life.

      Example of a edge-based taxonomy system for index cards.

    1. Ronald Reagan also kept a similar system that apparently very few people knew about until he died. In his system, he used 3×5 notecards and kept them in a photo binder by theme. These note cards–which were mostly filled with quotes–have actually been turned into a book edited by the historian Douglas Brinkley. These were not only responsible for many of his speeches as president, but before office Reagan delivered hundreds of talks as part of his role at General Electric. There are about 50 years of practical wisdom in these cards. Far more than anything I’ve assembled–whatever you think of the guy. I highly recommend at least looking at it.

      Ronald Reagan kept a commonplace in the form of index cards which he kept in a photo binder and categorized according to theme. Douglas Brinkley edited them into the book The Notes: Ronald Reagan's Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom.

  3. Jul 2021
    1. Your post says nothing at all to suggest Luhman didn’t “invent” “Zettelkasten” (no one says he was only one writing on scraps of paper), you list two names and no links

      My post was more in reaction to the overly common suggestions and statements that Luhmann did invent it and the fact that he's almost always the only quoted user. The link was meant to give some additional context, not proof.

      There are a number of direct predecessors including Hans Blumenberg and Georg Christoph Lichtenberg. For quick/easy reference here try:

      If you want some serious innovation, why not try famous biologist Carl Linnaeus for the invention of the index card? See: http://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/history/research/centres/medicalhistory/past/writing/

      (Though even in this space, I suspect that others were already doing similar things.)

    1. Synapsen, a digital card index by Markus Krajewski

      http://www.verzetteln.de/

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Goodreads</span> in Markus Krajewski (Author of Paper Machines) | Goodreads (<time class='dt-published'>07/04/2021 00:22:32</time>)</cite></small>

    1. Forty years ago, Michel Foucault observed in a footnote that, curiously, historians had neglected the invention of the index card. The book was Discipline and Punish, which explores the relationship between knowledge and power. The index card was a turning point, Foucault believed, in the relationship between power and technology.

      This piece definitely makes an interesting point about the use of index cards (a knowledge management tool) and power.

      Things have only accelerated dramatically with the rise of computers and the creation of data lakes and the leverage of power over people by Facebook, Google, Amazon, et al.

    2. In 1780, two years after Linnaeus’s death, Vienna’s Court Library introduced a card catalog, the first of its kind. Describing all the books on the library’s shelves in one ordered system, it relied on a simple, flexible tool: paper slips. Around the same time that the library catalog appeared, says Krajewski, Europeans adopted banknotes as a universal medium of exchange. He believes this wasn’t a historical coincidence. Banknotes, like bibliographical slips of paper and the books they referred to, were material, representational, and mobile. Perhaps Linnaeus took the same mental leap from “free-floating banknotes” to “little paper slips” (or vice versa).

      I've read about the Vienna Court Library and their card catalogue. Perhaps worth reading Krajewski for more specifics to link these things together?

      Worth exploring the idea of paper money as a source of inspiration here too.

    3. according to Charmantier and Müller-Wille, playing cards were found under the floorboards of the Uppsala home Linnaeus shared with his wife Sara Lisa.
    4. In 1791, France’s revolutionary government issued the world’s first national cataloging code, calling for playing cards to be used for bibliographical records.

      Reference for this as well?

    5. Linnaeus may have drawn inspiration from playing cards. Until the mid-19th century, the backs of playing cards were left blank by manufacturers, offering “a practical writing surface,” where scholars scribbled notes, says Blair. Playing cards “were frequently used as lottery tickets, marriage and death announcements, notepads, or business cards,” explains Markus Krajewski, the author of Paper Machines: About Cards and Catalogs.

      There was a Krajewski reference I couldn't figure out in the German piece on Zettelkasten that I read earlier today. Perhaps this is what was meant?

      These playing cards might also have been used as an idea of a waste book as well, and then someone decided to skip the commonplace book as an intermediary?

    6. Linnaeus experimented with a few filing systems. In 1752, while cataloging Queen Ludovica Ulrica’s collection of butterflies with his disciple Daniel Solander, he prepared small, uniform sheets of paper for the first time. “That cataloging experience was possibly where the idea for using slips came from,” Charmantier explained to me. Solander took this method with him to England, where he cataloged the Sloane Collection of the British Museum and then Joseph Banks’s collections, using similar slips, Charmantier said. This became the cataloging system of a national collection.

      Description of the spread of the index card idea.

    7. More than 1,000 of them, measuring five by three inches, are housed at London’s Linnean Society. Each contains notes about plants and material culled from books and other publications. While flimsier than heavy stock and cut by hand, they’re virtually indistinguishable from modern index cards.

      Information culled from other sources indicates they come from the commonplace book tradition. The index card-like nature becomes the interesting innovation here.

    1. The Swedish 18th-century naturalist Carolus (Carl) Linnaeus is habitually credited with laying the foundations of modern taxonomy through the invention of binominal nomenclature. However, another innovation of Linnaeus' has largely gone unnoticed. He seems to have been one of the first botanists to leave his herbarium unbound, keeping the sheets of dried plants separate and stacking them in a purpose built-cabinet. Understanding the significance of this seemingly mundane and simple invention opens a window onto the profound changes that natural history underwent in the 18th century.

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Wikipedia</span> in Index card - Wikipedia (<time class='dt-published'>07/03/2021 21:36:58</time>)</cite></small>

      Bookmarked at 10:41 PM

      Read 11:09 PM

    2. Towards the end of his career, in the mid-1760s, Linnaeus took this further, inventing a paper tool that has since become very common: index cards. While stored in some fixed, conventional order, often alphabetically, index cards could be retrieved and shuffled around at will to update and compare information at any time.

      Invention of index card dated to the 1760's by Carl Linnaeus.

    3. Linnaeus had to manage a conflict between the need to bring information into a fixed order for purposes of later retrieval, and the need to permanently integrate new information into that order, says Mueller-Wille. “His solution to this dilemma was to keep information on particular subjects on separate sheets, which could be complemented and reshuffled,” he says.

      Carl Linnaeus created a method whereby he kept information on separate sheets of paper which could be reshuffled.

      In a commonplace-centric culture, this would have been a fascinating innovation.

      Did the cost of paper (velum) trigger part of the innovation to smaller pieces?

      Did the de-linearization of data imposed by codices (and previously parchment) open up the way people wrote and thought? Being able to lay out and reorder pages made a more 3 dimensional world. Would have potentially made the world more network-like?

      cross-reference McLuhan's idea about our tools shaping us.

    1. The first early modern card index was designed by Thomas Harrison (ca 1640s). Harrison's manuscript on The Ark of Studies[5] (Arca studiorum) was edited and improved by Vincent Placcius in his well-known handbook on excerpting methods (De arte excerpendi, 1689).
    2. This system was invented by Carl Linnaeus,[1] around 1760.

      How is it not so surprising that Carl Linnaeus, the creator of a huge taxonomic system, also came up with the idea for index cards in 1760.

      How does this fit into the history of the commonplace book and information management? Relationship to the idea of a zettelkasten?

    1. Dafür spricht das Credo des Literaten Walter Benjamin: Und heute schon ist das Buch, wie die aktuelle wissenschaftliche Produktionsweise lehrt, eine veraltete Vermittlung zwischen zwei verschiedenen Kartotheksystemen. Denn alles Wesentliche findet sich im Zettelkasten des Forschers, der's verfaßte, und der Gelehrte, der darin studiert, assimiliert es seiner eigenen Kartothek.

      The credo of the writer Walter Benjamin speaks for this:

      And today, as the current scientific method of production teaches, the book is an outdated mediation between two different card index systems. Because everything essential is to be found in the slip box of the researcher who wrote it, and the scholar who studies it assimilates it in his own card index.

      Here's an early instantiation of thoughts being put down into data which can be copied from one card to the next as a means of creation.

      A similar idea was held in the commonplace book tradition, in general, but this feels much more specific in the lead up to the idea of the Memex.

    2. Mit der Normierung von Karteikarten für die Karteikästen eigener Fabrikation machte Dewey sich um die Weiterentwicklung der Verzettelungstechniken verdient, ohne etwas damit zu verdienen. Um den ökonomischen Ruin zu verhindern, stellte das Library Bureau im Jahr 1888 die eigene Buchführung vom traditionellen Verbuchungssystem auf das schnellere und kostengünstigere System des "card index" um. Der "Technologietransfer zwischen Bibliothek und Büro" (Krajewski), nämlich die Buchführung in Zettelkästen, wird ein Erfolgsschlager: Banken und Versicherungen, Stahl- und Eisenbahnunternehmen übernehmen das Karteisystem und damit auch die Karteikästen von Deweys Firma.

      With the standardization of index cards for the filing boxes of his own manufacture, Dewey earned himself the further development of the routing techniques without earning anything with it. In order to prevent economic ruin, the Library Bureau switched its own bookkeeping from the traditional accounting system to the faster and more cost-effective system of the "card index" in 1888. The "technology transfer between library and office" (Krajewski), namely bookkeeping in card boxes, is a hit: banks and insurance companies, steel and railway companies take over the card system and thus also the card boxes from Dewey's company.

      This is a fascinating way of making one's product indispensable. Talk about self-dogfooding!

      Sounds similar to the way that some chat messaging productivity apps were born (Slack was this way?). The company needed a better way to communicate internally and so built it's own chat system which they sold to others.