123 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
  2. Aug 2022
    1. Historical Hypermedia: An Alternative History of the Semantic Web and Web 2.0 and Implications for e-Research. .mp3. Berkeley School of Information Regents’ Lecture. UC Berkeley School of Information, 2010. https://archive.org/details/podcast_uc-berkeley-school-informat_historical-hypermedia-an-alte_1000088371512. archive.org.

      https://www.ischool.berkeley.edu/events/2010/historical-hypermedia-alternative-history-semantic-web-and-web-20-and-implications-e.

      https://www.ischool.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/audio/2010-10-20-vandenheuvel_0.mp3

      headshot of Charles van den Heuvel

      Interface as Thing - book on Paul Otlet (not released, though he said he was working on it)

      • W. Boyd Rayward 1994 expert on Otlet
      • Otlet on annotation, visualization, of text
      • TBL married internet and hypertext (ideas have sex)
      • V. Bush As We May Think - crosslinks between microfilms, not in a computer context
      • Ted Nelson 1965, hypermedia

      t=540

      • Michael Buckland book about machine developed by Emanuel Goldberg antecedent to memex
      • Emanuel Goldberg and His Knowledge Machine: Information, Invention, and Political Forces (New Directions in Information Management) by Michael Buckland (Libraries Unlimited, (March 31, 2006)
      • Otlet and Goldsmith were precursors as well

      four figures in his research: - Patrick Gattis - biologist, architect, diagrams of knowledge, metaphorical use of architecture; classification - Paul Otlet, Brussels born - Wilhelm Ostwalt - nobel prize in chemistry - Otto Neurath, philosophher, designer of isotype

      Paul Otlet

      Otlet was interested in both the physical as well as the intangible aspects of the Mundaneum including as an idea, an institution, method, body of work, building, and as a network.<br /> (#t=1020)

      Early iPhone diagram?!?

      (roughly) armchair to do the things in the web of life (Nelson quote) (get full quote and source for use) (circa 19:30)

      compares Otlet to TBL


      Michael Buckland 1991 <s>internet of things</s> coinage - did I hear this correctly? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_things lists different coinages

      Turns out it was "information as thing"<br /> See: https://hypothes.is/a/kXIjaBaOEe2MEi8Fav6QsA


      sugane brierre and otlet<br /> "everything can be in a document"<br /> importance of evidence


      The idea of evidence implies a passiveness. For evidence to be useful then, one has to actively do something with it, use it for comparison or analysis with other facts, knowledge, or evidence for it to become useful.


      transformation of sound into writing<br /> movement of pieces at will to create a new combination of facts - combinatorial creativity idea here. (circa 27:30 and again at 29:00)<br /> not just efficiency but improvement and purification of humanity

      put things on system cards and put them into new orders<br /> breaking things down into smaller pieces, whether books or index cards....

      Otlet doesn't use the word interfaces, but makes these with language and annotations that existed at the time. (32:00)

      Otlet created diagrams and images to expand his ideas

      Otlet used octagonal index cards to create extra edges to connect them together by topic. This created more complex trees of knowledge beyond the four sides of standard index cards. (diagram referenced, but not contained in the lecture)

      Otlet is interested in the "materialization of knowledge": how to transfer idea into an object. (How does this related to mnemonic devices for daily use? How does it relate to broader material culture?)

      Otlet inspired by work of Herbert Spencer

      space an time are forms of thought, I hold myself that they are forms of things. (get full quote and source) from spencer influence of Plato's forms here?

      Otlet visualization of information (38:20)

      S. R. Ranganathan may have had these ideas about visualization too

      atomization of knowledge; atomist approach 19th century examples:S. R. Ranganathan, Wilson, Otlet, Richardson, (atomic notes are NOT new either...) (39:40)

      Otlet creates interfaces to the world - time with cyclic representation - space - moving cube along time and space axes as well as levels of detail - comparison to Ted Nelson and zoomable screens even though Ted Nelson didn't have screens, but simulated them in paper - globes

      Katie Berner - semantic web; claims that reporting a scholarly result won't be a paper, but a nugget of information that links to other portions of the network of knowledge.<br /> (so not just one's own system, but the global commons system)

      Mention of Open Annotation (Consortium) Collaboration:<br /> - Jane Hunter, University of Australia Brisbane & Queensland<br /> - Tim Cole, University of Urbana Champaign<br /> - Herbert Van de Sompel, Los Alamos National Laboratory annotations of various media<br /> see:<br /> - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311366469_The_Open_Annotation_Collaboration_A_Data_Model_to_Support_Sharing_and_Interoperability_of_Scholarly_Annotations - http://www.openannotation.org/spec/core/20130205/index.html - http://www.openannotation.org/PhaseIII_Team.html

      trust must be put into the system for it to work

      coloration of the provenance of links goes back to Otlet (~52:00)

      Creativity is the friction of the attention space at the moments when the structural blocks are grinding against one another the hardest. —Randall Collins (1998) The sociology of philosophers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (p.76)

    1. 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 1895, the Belgians Paul Otlet (1868-1944) and Henri La Fontaine founded the International Institute of Bibliography (IIB) and began working on something they called the Universal Bibliographic Repertory (UBR), an enormous catalog based on index cards. Funded by the Belgian government, the UBR involved the collection of books, articles, photographs and other documents in order to create a one-of-a-kind international index.
    2. After thirty years of working with notebooks, Linnaeus began to experiment with a filing system of information recorded on separate sheets of paper.

      Carl Linnaeus used notebooks for thirty years before beginning to experiment with information written on slips of paper.

    1. I know a lot of people use Evernote for this but I think physical is better. You want to be able to move the stuff around.

      Holiday prefers physical index cards over digital systems like Evernote because he wants to have the ability to "move the stuff around."

    1. Alternate index card holding furniture for display?<br /> https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/wffvs4/alternate_index_card_holding_furniture_for_display/

      Separate from boxes for long term card holding storage, does anyone have any suggestions they like for organizing or temporarily displaying cards?

      I've got a couple card tray rack organizers (originally intended for playing cards, but great for zettels) which I generally like.

      Two playing card holders, one with several cards inserted as an example. The holder allows compact display of cards perpendicular to one's table with the ability to see many at one time while working.

      I've also seen Levenger's note card "bleachers" which are similar, but more expensive. - Note Card Bleachers - Portable Note Card Bleachers - Nantucket Bamboo Compact Bleachers

      Levenger index card bleacher for compactly displaying index cards in an array on a desk so that portions are visible but that they don't take up space.

      Does anyone have anything else they like for compact working/displaying aside from laying cards out on tables/desks?

      Do you have other methods for this sort of organization or layout of ideas visually? Corkboards, magnetic whiteboards/walls, other?

    1. https://universitylifecafe.k-state.edu/bookshelf/academicskills/indexcardstudysystem.html

      Natalie Umberger is writing about an "index card study system" in an academic study skills context, but it's an admixture of come ideas from Cornell Notes and using index cards as flashcards.

      The advice to "Review your notes and readings frequently, so the material is 'fresh.' " is a common one (through at least the 1980s to the present), though research on the mere-exposure effect indicates that it's not as valuable as other methods.

      How can we stamp out the misconception that this sort of review is practical?

    1. https://www.preservearticles.com/business/what-is-card-indexing-and-explain-its-advantages-and-disadvantages/1740

      This page seems to be broadly copied from the book Secretarial Practice and Company Law by Arun Kumar and Rachana Sharma (Atlantic Publishers & Distributors (P) Limited, 1998) # and specifically page 529.

      It contains no other history or references that I can immediately see. The book seems to be written for a secretarial audience in India in the 1990's, and while interesting not otherwise pertinent to immediate to my historical questions.

  3. Jul 2022
    1. Quarto 215 x 275 mm

      roughly 8.46 inches x 10.8 inches or about the size of an 8.5 x 11" sheet

    1. “ Every one agrees nowadays ”, observethe most noted French writers on the study of history, “ that it is advisable to collectmaterials on separate cards or slips of paper. . . . The advantages of this artifice areobvious; the detachability of the slips enables us to group them at will in a host ofdifferent combinations; if necessary, to change their places; it is easy to bring textsof the same kind together, and to incorporate additions, as they are acquired, in theinterior of the groups to which they belong ” (Introduction to the Study of History,by Charles Langlois and Charles Seignobos, translated by C. G. Berry, 1898, p.103). “
    1. Over the course of his intellectual life, from about 1943 until hissudden death in 1980, Barthes built a card index consisting of morethan 12,250 note cards – the full extent of this collection was notknown until access to it was granted to the manuscript researchers ofthe Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC) inFrance (Krapp, 2006: 363).3

      Roland Barthes accumulated a card index of more than 12,250 note cards beginning in 1943 which were held after his death in 1980 at the Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC) in France.

      Barthes' dates 12 November 1915 – 26 March 1980 age 64

      He started his card index at roughly age 28 and at around the same time which he began producing written work. (Did he have any significant writing work or publications prior to this?)

      His card collection spanned about 37 years and at 12,250 cards means that was producing on average 0.907 cards per day. If we don't include weekends, then he produced 1.27 cards per day on average. Compare this with Ahrens' estimate of 6 cards a day for Niklas Luhmann.


      With this note I'm starting the use of a subject heading (in English) of "card index" as a generic collection of notes which are often kept in one or more boxes. This is to distinguish it from the more modern idea of zettelkasten in the Luhmann framing which also connotes a dense set of links between the cards themselves, though this may not have been the case historically. Card index is also specifically separate from 'index card' which is an individual instance of an item that might be found in a card index. At present, I'm unaware of a specific word in English which defines the broader note taking context or portions thereof relating to index cards in the same way that a zettelkasten implies. This may be the result of the broad use of index cards for so many varying uses in the early 20th century. For these other varying uses I'll try to differentiate them henceforth with the generic 'index card files' which might also be used to describe the containers in which cards might be found.

    1. https://www.zylstra.org/blog/2022/06/spring-83/

      I've been thinking about this sort of thing off and on myself.

      I too almost immediately thought of Fraidyc.at and its nudge at shifting the importance of content based on time and recency. I'd love to have a social reader with additional affordances for both this time shifting and Ton's idea of reading based on social distance.

      I'm struck by the seemingly related idea of @peterhagen's LindyLearn platform and annotations: https://annotations.lindylearn.io/new/ which focuses on taking some of the longer term interesting ideas as the basis for browsing and chewing on. Though even here, one needs some of the odd, the cutting edge, and the avant garde in their balanced internet diet. Would Spring '83 provide some of this?

      I'm also struck by some similarities this has with the idea of Derek Siver's /now page movement. I see some updating regularly while others have let it slip by the wayside. Still the "board" of users exists, though one must click through a sea of mostly smiling and welcoming faces to get to it the individual pieces of content. (The smiling faces are more inviting and personal than the cacophony of yelling and chaos I see in models for Spring '83.) This reminds me of Stanley Meyers' frequent assertion that he attempted to design a certain "sense of quiet" into the early television show Dragnet to balance the seeming loudness of the everyday as well as the noise of other contemporaneous television programming.

      The form reminds me a bit of the signature pages of one's high school year book. But here, instead of the goal being timeless scribbles, one has the opportunity to change the message over time. Does the potential commercialization of the form (you know it will happen in a VC world crazed with surveillance capitalism) follow the same trajectory of the old college paper facebook? Next up, Yearbook.com!

      Beyond the thing as a standard, I wondered what the actual form of Spring '83 adds to a broader conversation? What does it add to the diversity of voices that we don't already see in other spaces. How might it be abused? Would people come back to it regularly? What might be its emergent properties?

      It definitely seems quirky and fun in and old school web sort of way, but it also stresses me out looking at the zany busyness of some of the examples of magazine stands. The general form reminds me of the bargain bins at book stores which have the promise of finding valuable hidden gems and at an excellent price, but often the ideas and quality of what I find usually isn't worth the discounted price and the return on investment is rarely worth the effort. How might this get beyond these forms?

      It also brings up the idea of what other online forms we may have had with this same sort of raw experimentation? How might the internet have looked if there had been a bigger rise of the wiki before that of the blog? What would the world be like if Webmention had existed before social media rose to prominence? Did we somehow miss some interesting digital animals because the web rose so quickly to prominence without more early experimentation before its "Cambrian explosion"?

      I've been thinking about distilled note taking forms recently and what a network of atomic ideas on index cards look like and what emerges from them. What if the standard were digital index cards that linked and cross linked to each other, particularly in a world without adherence to time based orders and streams? What does a new story look like if I can pull out a card either at random or based on a single topic and only see it or perhaps some short linked chain of ideas (mine or others) which come along with it? Does the choice of a random "Markov monkey" change my thinking or perspective? What comes out of this jar of Pandora? Is it just a new form of cadavre exquis?

      This standard has been out for a bit and presumably folks are experimenting with it. What do the early results look like? How are they using it? Do they like it? Does it need more scale? What do small changes make to the overall form?


      For more on these related ideas, see: https://hypothes.is/search?q=tag%3A%22spring+%2783%22

    1. 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.

    2. Even the sloppiest manuscript would bring twenty new cards for my hoard.

      This quote is similar to the broad idea (source(s)?) that one can learn something even from the worst books or the man who's a fool.

      I've excerpted the portion of the quote that appears before this in the past. See: https://hyp.is/jqug2tNlEeyg2JfEczmepw/3stages.org/c/gq_title.cgi?list=1045&ti=Foucault%27s%20Pendulum%20(Eco)

  4. Jun 2022
    1. u/sscheper in writing your book, have you thought about the following alternative publishing idea which I'm transcribing from a random though I put on a card this morning?

      I find myself thinking about people publishing books in index card/zettelkasten formats. Perhaps Scott Scheper could do this with his antinet book presented in a traditional linear format, but done in index cards with his numbers, links, etc. as well as his actual cards for his index at the end so that readers could also see the power of the system by holding it in their hands and playing with it?

      It could be done roughly like Edward Powys Mathers' Cain's Jawbone or Henry Korn's Pontoon Manifesto? Perhaps numbered consecutively to make it easier to bring back into that format, but also done with your zk numbering so that people could order it and use it that way too? This way you get the book as well as a meta artifact of what the book is about as an example of how to do such a thing for yourself. Maybe even make a contest for a better ordering for the book than the one you published it in ?

      Link to: - https://hyp.is/6IBzkPfeEeyo9Suq-ZmCKg/www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/

    1. surveys indicate that screens and e-readers interfere with two other important aspects of navigating texts: serendipity and a sense of control.

      Based on surveys, readers indicate that two important parts of textual navigation are sense of control and serendipity.

      http://books.google.com/books/about/Electronic_journal_literature.html?id=YSFlAAAAMAAJ


      How does the control over a book frame how we read? What does "power over" a book look like compared to "power with"?

      What are the tools for thought affordances that paper books provide over digital books and vice versa?


      I find myself thinking about people publishing books in index card/zettelkasten formats. Perhaps Scott Scheper could do this with his antinet book presented in a linear format, but done in index cards with his numbers, links, etc. as well as his actual cards for his index so that readers could also see the power of the system by holding it in their hands and playing with it.

    1. Luhmann’s zettelkasten use case .t3_vlape5._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; } I was just thinking… I wonder what Luhmann’s use case for his zettelkasten was. By this I mean, was his original use for it for knowledge development, then his papers/books came as a successful bi-product? Or was his original intention to use it to actually write books/papers in the first place… Does anyone have any insight on this?

      When asked by Bielefeld University to report on his research projects, Luhmann famously replied:

      “Theory of society; duration: 30 years; costs: none”.

      In this there is a tremendously large nod to his zettelkasten to permit this work to be done.

      Though technically at the current price of $11.78 for 1,000 index cards on Amazon right now and a total of 92,000 cards, Luhmann should have better budgeted 1083.76 for the paper not to mention the cost of pens and pencils.

      Luhmann, N. (1997). Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft (2 vols). Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp. Published in translation as Theory of society (2 vols.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press 2012–2013.

    1. Sometimes the goal is nothing more than a personal mantra such as “keep itsimple” or “something perfect” or “economy” to remind me of what I was thinkingat the beginning if and when I lose my way. I write it down on a slip of paper and it’sthe first thing that goes into the box.
    2. The second was “makedance pay for the dancers.” I’ve always been resentful of the fact that some of theso-called elite art forms can’t survive on their own without sponsorship andsubsidies. It bothers me that dance companies around the world are not-for-profitorganizations and that dancers, who are as devoted and disciplined as any NFL orNBA superstar, are at the low end of the entertainment industry’s income scale. Iwanted this Broadway-bound project not only to elevate serious dance in thecommercial arena but also to pay the dancers well. So I wrote my goals for theproject, “tell a story” and “make dance pay,” on two blue index cards and watchedthem float to the bottom of the Joel box.

      Given the importance of dance in oral cultures, what, why, and how has dance moved to be one of the seemingly lowest and least well paid art forms in modern society?

      How might modern dance regain its teaching and mnemonic status in our culture?

    1. You may prefer notebooks to cards for note taking-very well:use what you like, but invariably; it will save you time andannoyance. If you use cards , use small ones (3" x 5") so that youuse a separate card for each fact, title, or memorandum toyourself. The cards are then easily shuffled for grouping. If youuse a notebook, leave a margin for the key word, letter, or num-ber which you will insert later as an index to the contents.
  5. May 2022
    1. The pixel portrait of Niklas Luhmann was created by Sebastian Zimmer (CCeH) using the software AndreaMosaic from the image of 1271 slips of paper from the 'Zettelkasten'.

      © Alexander Kluge/ Universität Bielefeld*

    1. Despite the librarian card-theoreticalrecommendation of only using cardboard or strong paper as a bearer of information,17Luhmann relies on plain typewriter paper for spatial economy, which can quickly lead,however, to the deterioration of the medium with frequent browsing.

      For Luhmann's time, the librarian recommendation for substrate was either cardboard or strong paper as the carrier for information, but he eschewed this recommendation in favor of plain typewriter paper because it took up less space. This came at the cost of deterioration of many of his cards through regular use however.

    2. According to this, the arrangement consists of “wooden boxes with drawers that pullout in the front, and cards in octavo format ” (= DIN A5).

      Luhmann's zettelkasten collection of cards was in octavo format, aka DIN A5 (148mm x 210mm or 5.8" x 8.3").

    1. Between 1930 to 1980,Labrousse, Daumard, and Kuznets carried out their research almostexclusively by hand, on file cards.

      Piketty indicates that Ernest Labrousse, Adeline Daumard, and Simon Kuznets carried out their economic and historical research almost exclusively by hand using file cards.

      Are their notes still extant? What did their systems look like? From whom did they learn them?

    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).
    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. In §§ 4–5, I examine the socio-evolutionary circumstances under which a closed combinatory, such as the one triggered by the Llullian art, was replaced by an open-ended combinatory, such as the one triggered by a card index based on removable entries. In early modernity, improvement in abstraction compelled scholars to abandon the idea that the order of knowledge should mirror the order of nature. This development also implied giving up the use of space as a type of externalization and as the main rule for checking consis-tency.

      F*ck! I've been scooped!

      Apparently I'm not the only one who has noticed this, though I notice that he doesn't cite Frances A. Yates, which would have certainly been the place for having come up with this historical background (at least that's where I found it.)


      The Llullian arts can be more easily practiced with ideas placed on moveable index cards than they might be with ideas stored in one's own memory. Thus the index card as a tool significantly decreases the overhead and provides an easier user interface for permuting one's ideas and combining them. This decrease in mental work appearing at a time of information overload also puts specific pressure on the older use of the art of memory to put it out of fashion.

  6. Apr 2022
    1. INTERVIEWER: Could you say something of your work habits?Do you write to a preplanned chart? Do you jump from onesection to another, or do you move from the beginning throughto the end?NABOKOV: The pattern of the thing precedes the thing. I fill inthe gaps of the crossword at any spot I happen to choose. Thesebits I write on index cards until the novel is done. My schedule

      is flexible, but I am rather particular about my instruments: lined Bristol cards and well sharpened, not too hard, pencils capped with erasers.

      Nabokov on his system of writing.

    2. Mr. Nabokov’s writing method is to compose his stories and novels on index cards,shuffling them as the work progresses since he does not write in consecutive order.Every card is rewritten many times. When the work is completed,the cards in final order, Nabokov dictates from them to his wifewho types it up in triplicate.

      Vladimir Nabokov's general writing method consisted of composing his material on index cards so that he could shuffle them as he worked as he didn't write in consecutive order. He rewrote and edited cards many times and when the work was completed with the cards in their final order, Nabokov dictated them to his wife Vera who would type them up in triplicate.

    1. It is notinsignificant either that among the illustrations of the Roland Barthes par RolandBarthes there are a series of facsimile reproductions of the author’s handwriting,analogic reproductions of linguistic graphemes, pieces of writing silenced,abstracted from the universe of discourse by their photographic reproduction. Inparticular, as we have seen, the three index cards are reproduced not for the sakeof their content, not for their signified, but for a reality-effect value for which ourexpanding taste, says Barthes, encompasses the fashion of diaries, of testimonials,of historical documents, and, most of all, the massive development of photogra-

      phy. In that sense, the reproduction of these three slips ironically resonates, if on a different scale, with the world tour of the mask of Tutankhamen. It refers, if not to the magic silence of a relic, at least to the ghostly parergonal quality of what French language calls a reliquat.

      Hollier argues that Barthes' reproduced cards are not only completely divorced from their original context and use, but that they are reproduced for the sheen of reality and artistic fashion they convey to the reader. So much thought, value, and culture is lost in the worship of these items in this setting compared to their original context.

      This is closely linked to the same sort of context collapse highlighted by the photo of Chief William Berens seated beside the living stones of his elders in Tim Ingold's Why Anthropology Matters. There we only appreciate the sense of antiquity, curiosity, and exoticness of an elder of a culture that is not ours. These rocks, by very direct analogy, are the index cards of the zettelkasten of an oral culture.

      Black and white photo of a man in Western dress (pants, white shirt, and vest) sits on a rock with a forrest in the background. Beside him are several large round, but generally otherwise unremarkable rocks. Chief William Berens seated beside the living stones of his elders; a picture taken by A. Irving Hallowell in 1930, between Grand Rapids and Pikangikum, Ontario, Canada. (American Philosophical Society)

    2. Hollier, Denis. “Notes (On the Index Card).” October 112, no. Spring (2005): 35–44. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3397642

      Read: 2022-04-20 15:36

      Interesting material on Barthes' use of note cards, though not in depth. Some interesting discussion on the idea of autobiography from a philosophical perspective.

      The first five sections were interesting to me, the last two a bit denser and not as clear or interesting without additional context.

    3. Roland Barthes par Roland Barthes. This time, the index cards werealready there. One of the pages of illustrations of the volume reproduces three ofthem in facsimile. The text doesn’t comment on them, doesn’t even allude tothem. There is just a caption: “Reversal: of scholarly origin, the index card endsup following the twists and turns of the drive.”

      In his book Roland Barthes par (by) Roland Barthes, Barthes reproduces three of his index cards in facsimile. The text doesn't comment or even allude to them, they're presented only with the captions "Reversal: of scholarly origin, the note follows the various twists and turns of movement." "...outside...", and "...or at a desk".

      In this setting, the card index proves itself the most direct co-author as it physically appears in Barthes' autobiography!

    4. In his practice, Leiris wrote,Duchamp demonstratesall the honesty of a gambler who knows that the game only has meaningto the extent that one scrupulously observes the rules from the very out-set. What makes the game so compelling is not its final result or how wellone performs, but rather the game in and of itself, the constant shiftingaround of pawns, the circulation of cards, everything that contributes tothe fact that the game—as opposed to a work of art—never stands still.

      particularly:

      but rather the game in and of itself, the constant shifting around of pawns, the circulation of cards, everything that contributes to the fact that the game--as opposed to a work of art--never stands still.

      This reminds me of some of the mnemonic devices (cowrie shells) that Lynne Kelly describes in combinatorial mnemonic practice. These are like games or stories that change through time. And these are fairly similar to the statistical thermodynamics of life and our multitude of paths through it. Or stories which change over time.

      Is life just a game?

      there's a kernel of something interesting here, we'll just need to tie it all together.

      Think also of combining various notes together in a zettelkasten.

      Were these indigenous tribes doing combinatorial work in a more rigorous mathematical fashion?

    1. Embarrassed and almost guilty because sometimes I feel that my mourning is merely a susceptibility to emotion. But all my life haven’t I been just that: moved?

    2. Struck by the abstract nature of absence; yet it’s so painful, lacerating. Which allows me to understand abstraction somewhat better: it is absence and pain, the pain of absence—perhaps therefore love?

    3. —How strange: her voice, which I knew so well, and which is said to be the very texture of memory (“the dear inflection…”), I no longer hear. Like a localized deafness…

    4. —”Never again, never again!” —And yet there’s a contradiction: “never again” isn’t eternal, since you yourself will die one day. “Never again” is the expression of an immortal. (Images courtesy Michel Salzedo.)

    5. I was fortunate enough to see—and now share with you—a handful of these diaries from 1977 in their original, hand-written form. (A collection of more than three hundred entries, entitled “Mourning Diary,” will be published by Hill and Wang next month.)

      Hill and Wang published Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes on October 12, 2010. It is a collection of 330 entries which he wrote following the death of his mother Henriette in 1977.

      Kristina Budelis indicates that she saw them in person and reproduced four of them as index card-like notes in The New Yorker (September 2010).

    1. In one interview, Barthes lists the fragment among the ‘twenty keywords’ most important to him (see Barthes, 1991: 205-211).
    2. Krapp argues that, despite its ‘respectablelineage’, the card index generally ‘figures only as an anonymous,furtive factor in text generation, acknowledged – all the way into thetwentieth century – merely as a memory crutch’ (361).2 A keyreason for this is due to the fact that the ‘enlightened scholar isexpected to produce innovative thought’ (361); knowledgeproduction, and any prostheses involved in it, ‘became and remaineda private matter’ (361).

      'Memory crutch' implies a physical human failing that needs assistance rather than a phrase like aide-mémoire that doesn't draw that same attention.

    3. In a remarkable essay on precursors to hypertext, Peter Krapp(2006) provides a useful overview of the development of the indexcard and its use by various thinkers, including Locke, Leibniz, Hegel,and Wittgenstein, as well as by those known to Barthes and part of asimilar intellectual milieu, including Michel Leiris, Georges Perec,and Claude Lévi-Strauss (Krapp, 2006: 360-362; Sieburth, 2005).1

      Peter Krapp created a list of thinkers including Locke, Leibniz, Hegel, Wittgenstein, Barthes, Michel Leiris, Georges Perec, and Lévi-Strauss who used index cards in his essay Hypertext Avant La Lettre on the precursors of hypertext.

      see also: Krapp, P. (2006) ‘Hypertext Avant La Lettre’, in W. H. K. Chun & T. Keenan (eds), New Media, Old Theory: A History and Theory Reader. New York: Routledge: 359-373.

      Notice that Krapp was the translator of Paper Machines About Cards & Catalogs, 1548 – 1929 (MIT Press, 2011) by Marcus Krajewski. Which was writing about hypertext and index cards first? Or did they simply influence each other?

    4. arthes’ use ofindex cards has been documented elsewhere (Krapp, 2006; Hollier,2005; Calvet, 1994)

      Roland Barthes' use of index cards has been documented by the following:

      Krapp, P. (2006) ‘Hypertext Avant La Lettre’, in W. H. K. Chun & T. Keenan (eds), New Media, Old Theory: A History and Theory Reader. New York: Routledge: 359-373.

      Hollier, D. (2005) ‘Notes (on the Index Card)’, October 112 (Spring): 35-44.

      Calvet, J.-L. (1994) Roland Barthes: A Biography. Trans. S. Wykes. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

    5. Calvet, J.-L. (1994) Roland Barthes: A Biography. Trans. S. Wykes.Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

      Includes some research on the use Roland Barthes made of index cards for note taking to create his output.

    6. Krapp, P. (2006) ‘Hypertext Avant La Lettre’, in W. H. K. Chun & T.Keenan (eds), New Media, Old Theory: A History and Theory Reader.New York: Routledge: 359-373.
    7. Denis Hollier, in an essayon index card use by Barthes and Michel Leiris, argues that Leiris’use of index cards in writing his autobiography results in ‘asecondary, indirect autobiography, originating not from thesubject’s innermost self, but from the stack of index cards (theautobiographical shards) in the little box on the author’s desk’(Hollier, 2005: 39).

      Wait, what?! Someone's written an essay on index card use by these two?!

    1. Nabokov’s working notecards for “Lolita.”

      Nabokov used index cards for his research and writing. In one index card for research on Lolita, he creates a "weight-heigh-age table for girls of school age" to be able to specify Lolita's measurements. He also researched the Colt catalog of 1940 to get gun specifications to make those small points realistic in his writing.

      syndication link

    2. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Colin Marshall</span> in The Notecards on Which Vladimir Nabokov Wrote Lolita: A Look Inside the Author's Creative Process | Open Culture (<time class='dt-published'>04/10/2022 12:18:34</time>)</cite></small>

    1. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Roland Barthes, 1963. © PAR79520 Henri CartierBresson/Magnum Photos.

      A photo of Roland Barthes from 1963 featured in Picturing Barthes: The Photographic Construction of Authorship (Oxford University Press, 2020) DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266670.003.0007

      There appears to be in index card file behind him in the photo, which he may have used for note taking in the mode of a zettelkasten.

      link to journal article notes on:

      Wilken, Rowan. “The Card Index as Creativity Machine.” Culture Machine 11 (2010): 7–30. https://culturemachine.net/creative-media/

    1. anadvocate for the index card in the early twentieth century, for example, called forthe use of index cards in imitation of “accountants of the modern school.”32

      Zedelmaier argues that scholarly methods of informa- tion management inspired bureaucratic information management; see Zedelmaier (2004), 203.

      Go digging around here for links to the history of index cards, zettelkasten, and business/accounting.

  7. Feb 2022
    1. In fact, my allegiance to Scrivener basically boils down to just three tricks that the software performs, but those tricks are so good that I’m more than willing to put up with all the rest of the tool’s complexity.Those three tricks are:Every Scrivener document is made up of little cards of text — called “scrivenings” in the lingo — that are presented in an outline view on the left hand side of the window. Select a card, and you see the text associated with that card in the main view.If you select more than one card in the outline, the combined text of those cards is presented in a single scrolling view in the main window. You can easily merge a series of cards into one longer card.The cards can be nested; you can create a card called, say, “biographical info”, and then drag six cards that contain quotes about given character’s biography into that card, effectively creating a new folder. That folder can in turn be nested inside another folder, and so on. If you select an entire folder, you see the combined text of all the cards as a single scrolling document.

      Steven Johnson identifies the three features of Scrivener which provide him with the most value.

      Notice the close similarity of these features to those of a traditional zettelkasten: cards of text which can be linked together and rearranged into lines of thought.

      One difference is the focus on the creation of folders which creates definite hierarchies rather than networks of thought.

    1. In preparing these instructions, Gaspard-Michel LeBlond, one of their authors, urges the use of uniform media for registering titles, suggesting that “ catalog materials are not diffi cult to assemble; it is suffi cient to use playing cards [. . .] Whether one writes lengthwise or across the backs of cards, one should pick one way and stick with it to preserve uniformity. ” 110 Presumably LeBlond was familiar with the work of Abb é Rozier fi fteen years earlier; it is unknown whether precisely cut cards had been used before Rozier. The activity of cutting up pages is often mentioned in prior descrip-tions.

      In published instructions issued on May 8, 1791 in France, Gaspard-Michel LeBlond by way of standardization for library catalogs suggests using playing cards either vertically or horizontally but admonishing catalogers to pick one orientation and stick with it. He was likely familiar with the use of playing cards for this purpose by Abbé Rozier fifteen years earlier.

    2. 4. What follows is the compilation of the basic catalog; that is, all book titles are copied on a piece of paper (whose pagina aversa must remain blank) according to a specifi c order, so that together with the title of every book and the name of the author, the place, year, and format of the printing, the volume, and the place of the same in the library is marked.

      Benedictine abbot Franz Stephan Rautenstrauch (1734 – 1785) in creating the Catalogo Topographico for the Vienna University Library created a nine point instruction set for cataloging, describing, and ordering books which included using paper slips.


      Interesting to note that the admonishment to leave the backs of the slips (pagina aversa), in the 1780's seems to make its way into 20th century practice by Luhmann and others.

    3. Rozier chances upon the labor-saving idea of producing catalogs according to Gessner ’ s procedures — that is, transferring titles onto one side of a piece of paper before copying them into tabular form. Yet he optimizes this process by dint of a small refi nement, with regard to the paper itself: instead of copying data onto specially cut octavo sheets, he uses uniformly and precisely cut paper whose ordinary purpose obeys the contingent pleasure of being shuffl ed, ordered, and exchanged: “ cartes à jouer. ” 35 In sticking strictly to the playing card sizes available in prerevolutionary France (either 83 × 43 mm or 70 × 43 mm), Rozier cast his bibliographical specifi cations into a standardized and therefore easily handled format.

      Abbé François Rozier cleverly transferred book titles onto the blank side of French playing cards instead of cut octavo sheets as a means of indexing after being appointed in 1775 to index the holdings of the Académie des Sciences in Paris.

    4. Therefore, they were frequently used as lottery tickets, marriage and death announcements, notepads, or busi-ness cards.

      With blank backs, French playing cards in the late 1700s were often used as lottery tickets, marriage and death announcements, notepads, and business cards.

    5. Playing cards offer numerous advantages: only after 1816 do their hitherto unmarked backs (fi gure 3.1) assumed a Tarot pattern.

      Prior to 1816 in France playing cards (cartes à jouer) had unmarked backs and thereafter contained a Tarot pattern.

    1. cut out paper as Luhmann hadto.

      On the back of his notes, you will find not only manuscript drafts, but also old bills or drawings by his children. [footnote]

      While it's possible that Luhmann may have cut some of his own paper, by the time he was creating his notes the mass manufacture of index cards of various sizes was ubiquitous enough that he should never have had to cut his own. He certainly wasn't forced to manufacture them the way Carl Linnaeus had to.

  8. Jan 2022
    1. Here, the card index func-tions as a ‘thinking machine’,67 and becomes the best communication partner for learned men.68

      From a computer science perspective, isn't the index card functioning like an external memory, albeit one with somewhat pre-arranged linked paths? It's the movement through the machine's various paths that is doing the "thinking". Or the user's (active) choices that create the paths creates the impression of thinking.

      Perhaps it's the pre-arranged links where the thinking has already happened (based on "work" put into the system) and then traversing the paths gives the appearance of "new" thinking?

      How does this relate to other systems which can be thought of as thinking from a complexity perspective? Bacteria perhaps? Groups of cells acting in concert? Groups of people acting in concert? Cells seeing out food using random walks? etc?

      From this perspective, how can we break out the constituent parts of thought and thinking? Consciousness? With enough nodes and edges and choices of paths between them (or a "correct" subset of paths) could anything look like thinking or computing?

    1. ow about using a scratch pad slightly smaller than the page-size of the book -- so that the edges of the sheets won't protrude?

      Interesting to note here that he suggests a scratch pad rather than index cards here given his own personal use of index cards.

  9. Dec 2021
    1. index card file

      Given the use case that Niklas Luhmann had, the translation of zettelkasten into English is better read as "index card file" rather than the simpler and more direct translation "slip box".

      While it's not often talked about in the recent contexts, there is a long history of using index cards for note taking in the United States and the idea of an index card file was once ubiquitous. There has been such a long span between this former ubiquity and our digital modernity that the idea of a zettelkasten seems like a wondrous new tool, never seen before. As a result, people in within social media, the personal knowledge management space, or the tools for thought space will happily use the phrase zettelkasten as if it is the hottest and newest thing on the planet.

    1. An absolutely beautiful design for short notes.

      This is the sort of theme that will appeal to zettelkasten users who are building digital gardens. A bit of the old mixed in with the new.

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Pete Moor </span> in // pimoore.ca (<time class='dt-published'>12/24/2021 18:02:15</time>)</cite></small>

    1. Commonplaces were no longer repositories of redundancy, but devices for storing knowledge expansion.

      With the invention of the index card and atomic, easily moveable information that can be permuted and re-ordered, the idea of commonplacing doesn't simply highlight and repeat the older wise sayings (sententiae), but allows them to become repositories of new and expanding information. We don't just excerpt anymore, but mix the older thoughts with newer thoughts. This evolution creates a Cambrian explosion of ideas that helps to fuel the information overload from the 16th century onward.

    2. Through an inner structure of recursive links and semantic pointers, a card index achieves a proper autonomy; it behaves as a ‘communication partner’ who can recommend unexpected associations among different ideas. I suggest that in this respect pre-adaptive advances took root in early modern Europe, and that this basic requisite for information pro-cessing machines was formulated largely by the keyword ‘order’.

      aliases for "topical headings": headwords keywords tags categories

    1. One more thing ought to be explained in advance: why the card index is indeed a paper machine. As we will see, card indexes not only possess all the basic logical elements of the universal discrete machine — they also fi t a strict understanding of theoretical kinematics . The possibility of rear-ranging its elements makes the card index a machine: if changing the position of a slip of paper and subsequently introducing it in another place means shifting other index cards, this process can be described as a chained mechanism. This “ starts moving when force is exerted on one of its movable parts, thus changing its position. What follows is mechanical work taking place under particular conditions. This is what we call a machine . ” 11 The force taking effect is the user ’ s hand. A book lacks this property of free motion, and owing to its rigid form it is not a paper machine.

      The mechanical work of moving an index card from one position to another (and potentially changing or modifying links to it in the process) allows us to call card catalogues paper machines. This property is not shared by information stored in codices or scrolls and thus we do not call books paper machines.

    2. Foucault proclaimed in a footnote: “ Appearance of the index card and development of the human sciences: another invention little celebrated by historians. ”

      from Foucault 1975, p. 363, n. 49; see Foucault 1966, pp. XV and passim for discourse analysis.

      Is he talking here about the invention of the index card about the same time as the rise of the scientific method? With index cards one can directly compare and contrast two different ideas as if weighing them on a balance to see which carries more weight. Then the better idea can win while the lesser is discarded to the "scrap heap"?

    3. Here, I also briefl y digress and examine two coinciding addressing logics: In the same decade and in the same town, the origin of the card index cooccurs with the invention of the house number. This establishes the possibility of abstract representation of (and controlled access to) both texts and inhabitants.

      Curiously, and possibly coincidently, the idea of the index card and the invention of the house number co-occur in the same decade and the same town. This creates the potential of abstracting the representation of information and people into numbers for easier access and linking.

    4. What differs here from other data storage (as in the medium of the codex book) is a simple and obvious principle: information is available on separate, uniform, and mobile carriers and can be further arranged and processed according to strict systems of order.

      The primary value of the card catalogue and index cards as tools for thought is that it is a self-contained, uniform and mobile carrier that can be arranged and processed based on strict systems of order. Books have many of these properties, but the information isn't as atomic or as easily re-ordered.

    5. s Alan Turing proved only years later, these machines merely need (1) a (theoretically infi nite) partitioned paper tape, (2) a writing and reading head, and (3) an exact

      procedure for the writing and reading head to move over the paper segments. This book seeks to map the three basic logical components of every computer onto the card catalog as a “ paper machine,” analyzing its data processing and interfaces that may justify the claim, “Card catalogs can do anything!”

      Purpose of the book.

      A card catalog of index cards used by a human meets all the basic criteria of a Turing machine, or abstract computer, as defined by Alan Turing.

    6. “ Card catalogs can do anything ” — this is the slogan Fortschritt GmbH

      What a great quote to start off a book like this!

  10. Nov 2021
    1. Now that we're digitizing the Zettelkasten we often find dated notes that say things like "note 60,7B3 is missing". This note replaces the original note at this position. We often find that the original note is maybe only 20, 30 notes away, put back in the wrong position. But Luhmann did not start looking, because where should he look? How far would he have to go to maybe find it again? So, instead he adds the "note is missing"-note. Should he bump into the original note by chance, then he could put it back in its original position. Or else, not.

      Niklas Luhmann had a simple way of dealing with lost cards by creating empty replacements which could be swapped out if found later. It's not too dissimilar to doing inventory in a book store where mischievous customers pick up books, move them, or even hide them sections away. Going through occasionally or even regularly or systematically would eventually find lost/misfiled cards unless they were removed entirely from the system (similar to stolen books).

    2. So the big secret then is, how did he know that this note here exists? How could he remember that this existing note was relevant to the new one he was writing? A mystery we haven't solved yet.

      I'm surprised to see/hear this!

      How did Niklas Luhmann cross link his notes? Apparently researchers don't quite know, but I'd suggest that in working with them diligently over time, he'd have a reasonable internal idea from memory in addition to working with his indices and his outline cards.

      The cards in some sense form a physical path through which he regularly traverses, so he's making a physical memory palace (or songline) out of index cards.

    1. on advocate for the index card in the early twentieth century called for animitation of “accountants of the modern schoolY”1

      Paul Chavigny, Organisation du travail intellectuel: Recettes pratiques a` l’usage des e ́tudiants de toutes les faculte ́s et de tous les travailleurs (Paris, 1920)

      Chavigny was an advocate for the index card in note taking in imitation of "accountants of the modern school". We know that the rise of the index card was hastened by the innovation of Melvil Dewey's company using index cards as part of their internal accounting system, which they actively exported to other companies as a product.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    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.

  13. 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. 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.