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  1. Last 7 days
    1. Whenever I read about the various ideas, I feel like I do not necessarily belong. Thinking about my practice, I never quite feel that it is deliberate enough.


      Sometimes the root question is "what to I want to do this for?" Having an underlying reason can be hugely motivating.

      Are you collecting examples of things for students? (seeing examples can be incredibly powerful, especially for defining spaces) for yourself? Are you using them for exploring a particular space? To clarify your thinking/thought process? To think more critically? To write an article, blog, or book? To make videos or other content?

      Your own website is a version of many of these things in itself. You read, you collect, you write, you interlink ideas and expand on them. You're doing it much more naturally than you think.

      I find that having an idea of the broader space, what various practices look like, and use cases for them provides me a lot more flexibility for what may work or not work for my particular use case. I can then pick and choose for what suits me best, knowing that I don't have to spend as much time and effort experimenting to invent a system from scratch but can evolve something pre-existing to suit my current needs best.

      It's like learning to cook. There are thousands of methods (not even counting cuisine specific portions) for cooking a variety of meals. Knowing what these are and their outcomes can be incredibly helpful for creatively coming up with new meals. By analogy students are often only learning to heat water to boil an egg, but with some additional techniques they can bake complicated French pâtissier. Often if you know a handful of cooking methods you can go much further and farther using combinations of techniques and ingredients.

      What I'm looking for in the reading, note taking, and creation space is a baseline version of Peter Hertzmann's 50 Ways to Cook a Carrot combined with Michael Ruhlman's Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. Generally cooking is seen as an overly complex and difficult topic, something that is emphasized on most aspirational cooking shows. But cooking schools break the material down into small pieces which makes the processes much easier and more broadly applicable. Once you've got these building blocks mastered, you can be much more creative with what you can create.

      How can we combine these small building blocks of reading and note taking practices for students in the 4th - 8th grades so that they can begin to leverage them in high school and certainly by college? Is there a way to frame them within teaching rhetoric and critical thinking to improve not only learning outcomes, but to improve lifelong learning and thinking?

    1. Victor Margolin's note taking and writing process

      • Collecting materials and bibliographies in files based on categories (for chapters)
      • Reads material, excerpts/note making on 5 x 7" note cards
        • Generally with a title (based on visual in video)
        • excerpts have page number references (much like literature notes, the refinement linking and outlining happens separately later in his mapping and writing processes)
        • filed in a box with tabbed index cards by chapter number with name
        • video indicates that he does write on both sides of cards breaking the usual rule to write only on one side
      • Uses large pad of newsprint (roughly 18" x 24" based on visualization) to map out each chapter in visual form using his cards in a non-linear way. Out of the diagrams and clusters he creates a linear narrative form.
      • Tapes diagrams to wall
      • Writes in text editor on computer as he references the index cards and the visual map.

      "I've developed a way of working to make this huge project of a world history of design manageable."<br /> —Victor Margolin

      Notice here that Victor Margolin doesn't indicate that it was a process that he was taught, but rather "I've developed". Of course he was likely taught or influenced on the method, particularly as a historian, and that what he really means to communicate is that this is how he's evolved that process.

      "I begin with a large amount of information." <br /> —Victor Margolin

      "As I begin to write a story begins to emerge because, in fact, I've already rehearsed this story in several different ways by getting the information for the cards, mapping it out and of course the writing is then the third way of telling the story the one that will ultimately result in the finished chapters."<br /> —Victor Margolin

  2. Nov 2022
    1. danielsantos @chrisaldrich @jean I second this. It would be very nice to have a tagmoji for PKM and it’s apps… I instantly thought about a brain 🧠, though.

      @danielsantos @jean I almost included the brain emoji, but I feel like it's far too closely associated with Tiago Forte's commercial/paid Second Brain courses and book, and doesn't have the feel of written (or even typed/digital) representation of note taking the way the card file box 🗃️ does historically. I've seen many in the zettelkasten space use the card file box emoji regularly and it generally doesn't have any negative connotations that I've seen or am aware of. I've also seen some in the digital gardening spaces make use of some of the plant-related emoji for their notes, but those generally have a more clear cut gardening use case on the web and might otherwise cause confusion. Some of the other logical choices of pens, pencils, and journals are already either in use for those topics or ought to be kept for them if necessary.

    1. Athens Research is winding down their note taking application.

      Potentially the first of more to come?

      Athens the OSS project is winding down. The company is still operating, but taking time to reset and explore new ideas. Open to chats and convos. Thanks all ❤️ https://t.co/Y7ROM86WSy

      — Jeff Tang 🏛 (Ohio) (@tangjeff0) November 11, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ueMHkGljK0

      Robert Greene's method goes back to junior high school when he was practicing something similar. He doesn't say he invented it, and it may be likely that teachers modeled some of the system for him. He revised the system over time to make it work for himself.

      • [x] Revisit this for some pull quotes and fine details of his method. (Done on 2022-11-08)
    1. https://www.obsidianroundup.org/the-konik-method-for-making-notes/

      Eleanor Konik explores, in reasonable depth, how she makes notes and uses Obsidian to manage them. She doesn't talk much about the philosophy of her method in a prescriptive manner so much as she looks directly at her process.

      This isn't so much a "rules" set, but takes some pre-existing rules (unstated) and shows how she bends them to her particular needs for outputs primarily in non-academic settings.

    2. Not every highlight needs to become a "card" — and having things in my notes that are highlighted but don't need to be turned into further notes does not mean that I have failed by "over-highlighting." Useful notes are messy, and time is valuable. A sense of completionism is nice for some things but mostly just gets in the way when it comes to learning. I read about 10% of the articles that show up in my feed. I take highlight about 50% of those, and affirmatively take notes on about 10% of those. This doesn't mean I wasted my time reading, or that I failed at notetaking because I should have done a better job of taking comprehensive notes. It means I used judgment, and used my time wisely, and focused on things that were worthwhile from a return on investment perspective.

      While there are rules and processes for taking notes, it's small personal tidbits like this that are harder fought knowledge for the beginner who generally only learns these bits through work and experience.

    3. Inevitably, I read and highlight more articles than I have time to fully process in Obsidian. There are currently 483 files in the Readwise/Articles folder and 527 files marked as needing to be processed. I have, depending on how you count, between 3 and 5 jobs right now. I am not going to neatly format all of those files. I am going to focus on the important ones, when I have time.

      I suspect that this example of Eleanor Konik's is incredibly common among note takers. They may have vast repositories of collected material which they can reference or use, but typically don't.

      In digital contexts it's probably much more common that one will have a larger commonplace book-style collection of notes (either in folders or with tags), and a smaller subsection of more highly processed notes (a la Luhmann's practice perhaps) which are more tightly worked and interlinked.

      To a great extent this mirrors much of my own practice as well.

    4. I never want to be one of those people who who write extensively about note-writing but rarely have a serious context of use.

      She's probably right that too many" influencers" in the space don't have actual context for use.

      Love that she links to Andy Matuschak's admonishment about this...

    1. You cannot followrules you do not know. Nor can you acquire an artistic habitany craft or skill-without following rules. The art as something that can be taught consists of rules to be followed inoperation. The art as something learned and possessed consists of the habit that results from operating according to therules.

      This is why one has some broad general rules for keeping and maintaining a zettelkasten. It helps to have some rules to practice and make a habit.

      Unmentioned here is that true artists known all the rules and can then more profitably break those rules for expanding and improving upon their own practice. This is dramatically different from what is seen by some of those who want to have a commonplace or zettelkasten practice, but begin without any clear rules. They often begin breaking the rules to their detriment without having the benefit of long practice to see and know the affordances of such systems before going out of their way to break those rules.

      By breaking the rules before they've even practiced them, many get confused or lost and quit their practice before they see any of the benefits or affordances of them.

      Of course one should have some clear cut end reasons which answer the "why" question for having such practices, or else they'll also lose the motivation to stick with the practice, particularly when they don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. Pure hope may not be enough for most.

    1. https://notebookofghosts.com/2018/02/25/a-brief-guide-to-keeping-a-commonplace-book/

      very loose and hands-off on dictating others' practices

      nothing new to me really...

    2. I also suggest letting your first commonplace be a trial run.

      Because your note taking practices will grow and evolve, don't get over-involved in too many specifics up front. Start somewhere and see where it goes.

    3. This is one compiler’s approach to keeping a commonplace book.

      Commonplacing is a personal practice.

    1. A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial, reason, that "great wits have short memories;" and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day's reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men, as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there. For, take this for a rule, when an author is in your books, you have the same demand upon him for his wit, as a merchant has for your money, when you are in his. By these few and easy prescriptions, (with the help of a good genius) it is possible you may, in a short time, arrive at the accomplishments of a poet, and shine in that character[3].

      "Nullum numen abest si sit prudentia, is unquestionably true, with regard to every thing except poetry; and I am very sure that any man of common understanding may, by proper culture, care, attention, and labour, make himself whatever he pleases, except a good poet." Chesterfield, Letter lxxxi.

      See also: https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:The_Works_of_the_Rev._Jonathan_Swift,_Volume_5.djvu/261 as a source

      Swift, Jonathan. The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift. Edited by Thomas Sheridan and John Nichols. Vol. 5. 19 vols. London: H. Baldwin and Son, 1801.

    1. Carlin’s bags of categorized ideas, from the archives of George Carlin

      George Carlin kept his slips (miscellaneous scraps of collected paper with notes) sorted by topic name in Ziploc bags (literally that specific brand given the photo's blue/purple signature on the bag locks).

      This is similar to others, including historian Keith Thomas, who kept his in labeled envelopes.

    1. evolution of my processes.

      A note taking practice is almost always an evolving process with a variety of different pressures and variables in how it takes form.

      List out these variables and pressures.

    2. Tiago’s methodology is app-agnostic. He’s a systems and principles kind of thinker, so even though I use physical notecards, his work has influenced the evolution of my processes.

      Billy Oppenheimer indicates that Tiago Forte's systems and methods have influenced the evolution of his own note taking process.

    3. I never immediately read an article then make a notecard.

      By waiting some amount of time (days/weeks/a few months) between originally reading something and processing one's notes on it allows them to slowly distill into one's consciousness. It also allows one to operate on their diffuse thinking which may also help to link ideas to others in their memory.

    4. If you can’t talk yourself into using your energy to write or type something out, it’s probably not worth capturing.

      Being willing to capture an idea by spending the time writing it out in full is an incredibly strong indicator that it is actually worth capturing. Often those who use cut and paste or other digital means for their note capture will over-collect because the barrier is low and simple.

      More often than not, if one doesn't have some sort of barrier for capturing notes, they will become a burden and ultimately a scrap heap of generally useless ideas.

      In the end, experience will eventually dictate one's practice as, over time, one will develop an internal gut feeling of what is really worth collecting and what isn't. Don't let your not having this at the beginning deter you. Collect and process and over time, you'll balance out what is useful.

    5. One of the big lies notetakers tell themselves is, “I will remember why I liked this quote/story/fact/etc.”

      Take notes for your most imperfect, forgetful future self. You're assuredly not only not going to remember either the thing you are taking notes for in the first place, but you're highly unlikely to remember why you thought it was interesting or intriguing or that clever thing you initially thought of at the same time.

      Capture all of this quickly in the moment, particularly the interesting links to other things in your repository of notes. These ideas will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for one to remember.

    6. And improving the quality and quantity of material available to your brain when you sit down to create something—that is why we implement The Notecard System.

      Increasing the quantity and quality of ideas and materials one has at their disposal when one desires to create something new is one of the reasons for having a note taking system.

      memory, learning, sense making, improving understanding, improved creativity, and others are also at play... any others? we should have a comprehensive list eventually.

    7. If you are like Lebron James or Paul Simon, if you were born with a gift for recall, you might not need a note-taking system.

      I would suggest that this is wholly wrong as both of the memories described are honed for specific situations and not broadly applicable.

      Even those with good natural memories as well as those with significant mnemonic practices can benefit from a structured note taking practice.

  3. Oct 2022
    1. Pomeroy, Earl. “Frederic L. Paxson and His Approach to History.” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 39, no. 4 (1953): 673–92. https://doi.org/10.2307/1895394

      read on 2022-10-30 - 10-31

    2. t may be that in using his system hedeveloped his mind and his knowledge of history to the point wherehe expected his readers to draw more inferences from the facts heselected than most modern readers are accustomed to doing, in thisday of the predigested book.

      It's possible that the process of note taking and excerpting may impose levels of analysis and synthesis on their users such that when writing and synthesizing their works that they more subtly expect their readers to do the same thing when their audiences may require more handholding and explanation.

      Here, both the authors' experiences and that of the cultures in which they're writing will determine the relationship.

      There's lots of analogies between thinking and digesting (rumination, consumption, etc), in reading and understanding contexts.

    3. Thus Paxson was not content to limit historians to the immediateand the ascertainable. Historical truth must appear through some-thing short of scientific method, and in something other than scien-tific form, linked and geared to the unassimilable mass of facts.There was no standard technique suited to all persons and purposes,in note-taking or in composition. "The ordinary methods of his-torical narrative are ineffective before a theme that is in its essen-tials descriptive," he wrote of Archer B. Hulbert's Forty- Niners(1931) in 1932. "In some respects the story of the trails can notbe told until it is thrown into the form of epic poetry, or comes un-der the hand of the historical novelist." 42

      This statement makes it appear as if Paxson was aware of the movement in the late 1800s of the attempt to make history a more scientific endeavor by writers like Bernheim, Langlois/Seignobos, and others, but that Pomeroy is less so.

      How scientific can history be as an area of study? There is the descriptive from which we might draw conclusions, but how much can we know when there are not only so many potential variables, but we generally lack the ability to design and run discrete experiments on history itself?

      Recall Paxson's earlier comment that "in history you cannot prove an inference". https://hypothes.is/a/LIWSoFlLEe2zUtvMoEr0nQ

      Had enough time elapsed up to this writing in 1953, that the ideal of a scientific history from the late 1800s had been borne out not to be accomplished?

    4. McMaster's Stephen Girard(1918), he said, was a "series of anecdotes . . . without connection"and with little interpretation or analysis." In Rhodes's last twovolumes the facts rarely appeared "to have meaning or to be partsof a coherent structure." " "No simple theme, like that whichdominated his great work, is apparent here. Mr. Rhodes has notseen any constructive unity in the years he covers. Instead of mak-ing a synthesis that would of itself lead the reader to a clearerunderstanding of American history . . . , he has developed his topicsparagraph by paragraph, with often abrupt transition from themeto theme." 26 His failure in the final product followed,

      Paxson would have considered it a failure in note taking to have only compiled but not to have synthesized one's accumulated knowledge.

      Why take notes if one is not going to use them to some end, whether that be personally in one's life, or to extend and expand the depth and breadth of human knowledge by analyzing and synthesizing the ideas to create something new for others' benefit?

    5. On the whole, his efficiency probablyreduced the time required for taking and filing notes to the amountother historians spent in note-taking alone. What he wrote in hisnotes was brief, and yet specific enough so that he saved himself thejob of searching at length for what he had read. His mind was freeto reflect and appraise.

      Earl Pomeroy suggests that Paxson's note taking method freed his mind to better reflect and appraise his work. This allows a greater efficiency of work, particularly when it comes to easier search and recall as well as the overall process which becomes easier through practice.

    6. he kepthis note pads always in his pocket

      The small size and portability of index cards make them easy to have at hand at a moment's notice.

    7. He took it toWashington when he went into war service in 1917-1918;

      Frederic Paxson took his note file from Wisconsin to Washington D.C. when he went into war service from 1917-1918, which Earl Pomeroy notes as an indicator of how little burden it was, but he doesn't make any notation about worries about loss or damage during travel, which may have potentially occurred to Paxson, given his practice and the value to him of the collection.

      May be worth looking deeper into to see if he had such worries.

    8. Onesuspected that Paxson's love for his work may have tempted him tolabor too long, and that he established a schedule to protect him-self and the keenness of his mind, to keep himself from his deskinstead of at it, as is some men's purpose.

      Pomeroy suspects that Paxson may have kept to a strict work schedule to keep his mind sharp, but he doesn't propose or suspect that it may have been the case that Paxson's note taking practice was the thing which not only helped to keep his mind sharp, but which allowed him the freedom and flexibility to keep very regular work hours.

    9. The mass of Paxson's paper work may appear more clearly nowthan the zest with which he labored, but the essence of his methodwas in the spirit rather than in the product.

      Ahrens and others following him have argued that there is a sort of lightness imbued both in one's thinking processes and life by making and accumulating notes. The cognitive load is lessened by offloading one's thoughts onto pieces of paper that can be revised, compared, and juxtaposed as a means of building some written or creative endeavor, even if it's slowly over time.

      Frederic L. Paxson's mode of life made this seem to be the case for him. There is evidence that he was easier able to manage his daily life by his note taking system. He accumulated no work on his desk and carried none home and was able to more easily give his attention to others.

      Is this a result of breaking things down into tiny, bite sized chunks that were difficult to actually interrupt?

      Was it the system or his particular temperament? Are there other examples of this easier mode of life for note takers? Is there a pattern? What portions can be attributed to the system and one's ability to stick to it versus their particular temperaments?

      Other than small examples in my own life, this may be one of the first examples I've seen of this mode of work. Definitely worth looking at others.

    10. None of these notes wasever used in his writing; probably they were taken with no thoughtof specific use, but out of absorption in the American scene.

      It's quite likely that one will take a large number of notes with no immediate goal or plan for use and this is completely acceptable. Often these notes go towards the more immediate goal of forming one's own understanding and setting of a broader tableau for material one will write in the future.

    11. Note, "Quotations: make them brief," n.d., unclassified, Paxson File, and note,"Your sentences must be your own." "A long quotation burdens your text. Theprinter commonly puts it in a different type and indicates that it is a thing apart.The quotation will be most effective when it is brief and pertinent and may beamalgamated in your own paragraph. The more completely you understand yoursources the more aptly & gracefully you will quote." "Do not take out of a secondarywork a paragraph or its substance and incorporate it in your work. . . . Use it if youmust, but restate it in your own terms, and make its form entirely yours. Give thefootnote of course but remember that you must be the author."

      Paxson doesn't directly indicate to rewrite for one's own digestion and understanding process, but hints at it strongly when he says that "Your sentences must be your own." By making and owning your sentences, you ought to have completely understood the ideas and made them a part of you prior to transmitting them back along to others.

      Under Paxon's framing and knowing that he also sometimes held onto is notes for a while before forming final opinions, one's notes, even when public (like my own are), are still just partial truths of thought caught in the moment. It takes further digestion and juxtaposition with additional thoughts which are later rewritten in longer form to make articles, books, etc.

      Note taking is a process of sense making seeking out the truth of a situation.

    12. A note system, he told his stu-dents, should permit rearrangement and study of notes in differentrelationships "until the fact itself is brought out against the back-ground in all its important details."
      1. Note headed "notes," n.d., Paxson File, unclassified.
    13. he file wascomplex enough, and the task it represented was large enough, sothat few of his sixty-five doctors, who watched the file grow in theseminar as part of the historical laboratory process, have main-tained full files of their own.

      Owing to the size and complex nature of Paxson's note collection which he used and demonstrated to his students in his teaching and historical laboratory process, few of the sixty-five doctors who studied under him maintained files of their own.

    14. Occasionally he noted down what he heard and saw aswell as what he read, and sometimes what he said and did, althoughhe also kept a diary in separate form.

      In addition to an extensive note collection, Paxson kept a separate diary, indicating a different practicing in a different form.

    15. tie left, however, a record of his own approach to theproblems of writing history in his book reviews, which with hisarticles are probably his most characteristic writings, and in a half-century's accumulation of notes that he used in writing his books,and that he might have used in writing other books.

      half-century's accumulation of notes

    1. Turner was never comfortable at Harvard; when he retired in 1922 he became a visiting scholar at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, where his note cards and files continued to accumulate, although few monographs got published. His The Frontier in American History (1920) was a collection of older essays.

      Where did Turner's note cards and files end up? Are they housed at the Huntington Library? What other evidence or indication is there that this was an extensive zettelkasten practice here?

    1. Thomas, Keith. “Diary: Working Methods.” London Review of Books, June 10, 2010. https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v32/n11/keith-thomas/diary.

      Historian Keith Thomas talks about his methods of note taking and work as a historian. A method which falls into the tradition of commonplacing and zettelkasten, though his was in note taking and excerpting onto slips which he kept in envelopes instead of notebooks or a card index.

    2. It is only too easy to misapply excerpted passages by taking them out of their original context. Ideally, I should have followed the technique, recommended as long ago as 1615 by the learned Jesuit Francesco Sacchini, of always making two sets of notes, one to be sliced up and filed, the other to be kept in its original form.

      Francesco Sacchini advised in 1615 that one should make two sets of notes: one to be cut up and filed, and the other kept in it's original form so as to keep the full context of the original author's context.

      This is broadly one of the values of note taking in Hypothes.is. One can take broader excerpts of an authors' works as well as maintain links for fuller context to reconsult, but still have the shorter excerpts as well as one's own notes.

    3. As Francis Bacon warned long ago, ‘One man’s notes will little profit another.’
    4. It is possible to take too many notes; the task of sorting, filing and assimilating them can take for ever, so that nothing gets written.
    5. Unfortunately, such diverse topics as literacy, numeracy, gestures, jokes, sexual morality, personal cleanliness or the treatment of animals, though central to my concerns, are hard to pursue systematically. They can’t be investigated in a single archive or repository of information. Progress depends on building up a picture from a mass of casual and unpredictable references accumulated over a long period. That makes them unsuitable subjects for a doctoral thesis, which has to be completed in a few years. But they are just the thing for a lifetime’s reading. So when I read, I am looking out for material relating to several hundred different topics. Even so, I find that, as my interests change, I have to go back to sources I read long ago, with my new preoccupations in mind.

      For a variety of topics and interests there are not archives of information that can be consulted or referenced. As a result one must slowly, but methodically collect this sort of information over a lifetime to be able to analyze it and build theses.

    6. Periodically, I file them away in old envelopes, devoting a separate envelope to each topic.

      Filing notes away in envelopes, while keeping them safely collected together, puts them both out of site and out of mind. It may also take longer to retrieve them and make them less accessible to use and reuse.

    7. When I go to libraries or archives, I make notes in a continuous form on sheets of paper, entering the page number and abbreviated title of the source opposite each excerpted passage. When I get home, I copy the bibliographical details of the works I have consulted into an alphabeticised index book, so that I can cite them in my footnotes. I then cut up each sheet with a pair of scissors. The resulting fragments are of varying size, depending on the length of the passage transcribed. These sliced-up pieces of paper pile up on the floor. Periodically, I file them away in old envelopes, devoting a separate envelope to each topic. Along with them go newspaper cuttings, lists of relevant books and articles yet to be read, and notes on anything else which might be helpful when it comes to thinking about the topic more analytically. If the notes on a particular topic are especially voluminous, I put them in a box file or a cardboard container or a drawer in a desk. I also keep an index of the topics on which I have an envelope or a file. The envelopes run into thousands.

      Historian Keith Thomas describes his note taking method which is similar to older zettelkasten methods, though he uses larger sheets of paper rather than index cards and files them away in topic-based envelopes.

    8. When I did, though, I was reassured to see that, in a slipshod sort of way, I had arrived at something vaguely approximating to their prescriptions. En route I had made all the obvious beginner’s mistakes.

      Keith Thomas wasn't taught, nor did he read (until much too late), methods on note taking, but still managed to puzzle out most of the specifics for his note taking practice in his historical work, or at least everything but taking notes on note cards instead of on sheets of paper.

    9. I have always been impressed by those academics who can sit impassively through a complex lecture by some visiting luminary without finding it necessary to make a single note, even a furtive one on the back of an envelope. They’d lose face, no doubt, if they were seen copying it all down, like a first-year undergraduate.

      In academia, the act of not taking notes can act as an external signal of superiority or even indifference.

    10. John Aubrey tells us that Hobbes ‘always carried a note booke in his pocket, and as soon as a thought darted, he presently entred it into his booke, or otherwise he might have lost it. He had drawn the designe of the book into chapters, etc., so he knew whereabout it would come in.’
    11. Another help to the memory is the pocketbook in which to enter stray thoughts and observations: what the Elizabethans called ‘tablets’.

      Elizabethans called pocketbooks or small notebooks "tablets."

    12. Macaulay claimed that his memory was good enough to enable him to write out the whole of Paradise Lost. But when preparing his History of England, he made extensive notes in a multitude of pocketbooks of every shape and colour.

      By what method did Macaulay memorize Paradise Lost?

    13. In his splendid recent autobiography, History of a History Man, Patrick Collinson reveals that when as a young man he was asked by the medievalist Geoffrey Barraclough at a job interview what his research method was, all he could say was that he tried to look at everything which was remotely relevant to his subject: ‘I had no “method”, only an omnium gatherum of materials culled from more or less everywhere.’

      How does a medievalist reference "omnium gatherum" without an explicit mention of even florilegia which generally translates as "gatherings of flowers" as their method?!

    14. It never helps historians to say too much about their working methods. For just as the conjuror’s magic disappears if the audience knows how the trick is done, so the credibility of scholars can be sharply diminished if readers learn everything about how exactly their books came to be written.

      Except that, seemingly, many historians have written and published about just this very topic!

      People often talk about the "magic of note taking", but it's not frequent that they frame the methods as magician's secrets.

    1. Meta App 在产品体验上更像是专注型 App,不同的 Meta App 可以用来处理不同的使用场景。与专注型 App 不同之处在于,所有的 Meta App 都能共享相同的资料库、并且遵守一套如何处理这些资料的协议。不同的 Meta App 能让你用不同的方式使用你的资料,并在必要时为这些资料加上特定的 meta data。举例来说,你有一份文件,负责白板思考的 Meta App 可以把它解读成一个白板上的便利贴,并加上颜色、长宽等 meta data;负责专案管理的 Meta App 可以把这份文件解读成一个 Task,并加上像是“已完成”、“进行中”等 meta data;负责部落格后台管理的 Meta App 可以把它解读成一则贴文,并加上发布日期、浏览数、讚数等 meta data。换言之,使用者的资料是集中的,但是透过不同的 Meta App,你既可以享受到专注型 App 在单点上的强大,又能享受到通用型 App 的整合性。

      同一个数据 不同处理方式 这个我似乎也想到过 这个配合logseq的datalog模式, 其实可以考虑以logseq+excali的技术模式本地化实现 。 表格 数据库也是一种方式 可能某种交互协作也是一种方式

    1. https://gabz.blog/2022/10/27/what-about-them.html

      Why do people not have strong note taking practices or desire to do so? - Some of it may come down to lack of a practice (or model) to follow - some don't have a clearly stated need for why they're doing it in the first place - some spread their notes out over many tools and applications which prevents a quorum of power building up in one place, thus defeating a lot of the purpose. (This is why having all of one's notes in one place is so important as a rule.) - This particular post is a good example of this cardinal sin. - Lack of easy search defeats the ability to extract value back out of having made the notes in the first place. - Note repositories aren't always all of the value proposition. Often the fact of the work that went into making a note to learn and understand ideas is all of the value for a reasonable portion of notes.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvxbl7Iwep4

      Lots of levels here to pull apart, but this should be particularly interesting to novices.

      Modes of note taking: * note taking for raw information * note taking (or writing) for understanding * note taking for relationships of and between knowledge * note taking for creating proficiency * note taking for productivity

      Sung takes the viewpoint that linear note taking isn't as effective as mind mapping and drawing out relationships; in part this is why handwriting is more effective means of note taking compared to typing, particularly as most note taking apps force one into a linear pathway that doesn't mirror the affordances available within handwriting.

      This video is definitely more about note taking than note making.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI3yiPA6npA

      Generally interesting and useful, but is broadly an extended advertisement for JetPens products.

      Transparent sticky notes allow one to take notes on them, but the text is still visible through the paper.

      One can use separate pages to write notes and then use washi tape to tape the notes to the page in a hinge-like fashion similar to selectively interleaving one's books.

    1. I have been using Apple notes, but began to wonder if I could find an app that supports zettelkasten in digital handwritten form. The closest thing I found is CardNotes however it is underdeveloped imo, and maybe dead?

      Someone looking for handwriting apps that allow one to use handwriting in digital contexts.


    1. The first demo of TidlyWiki from 2004 took the ideas of wiki and applied them to fragments rather than entire pages. The hypothesis was that it would be easier to write in small interlinked chunks that could be gradually massaged into a linear narrative

      The first demo of TidlyWiki from 2004 took the ideas of wiki and applied them to fragments rather than entire pages. The hypothesis was that it would be easier to write in small interlinked chunks that could be gradually massaged into a linear narrativehttps://t.co/v2v6dyL3Oy pic.twitter.com/MJO7tyopr2

      — TiddlyWiki (@TiddlyWiki) September 20, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. best that deep study invites you to gather in like a harvest, and to store up as the wealth of life.

      Like centuries of rhetors before him, he's using ideas and metaphors of harvest, treasure, and wealth to describe note taking.

      Why have these passed out of popular Western thought since the 1920-1960s when this book was popular?



    1. I can't quite grasp this concept, although it seems interesting for my specific case. Isn't the index box supposed to be organized by alphabetical order? How can personal notes be placed right in such an order?

      los2pollos reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/y5un81/comment/it667sq/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      There are a wide variety of methods of organizing and sorting one's note cards including by topic (usually alphabetical), by date, by idea, by author, by title, etc.

      If you're using it as a diary, you'd probably keep that subsection in order by date written, and then potentially have it cross indexed by subject if those things were important to you.

      If you kept other information like mood, health, activities, exercise, glasses of water per day (for example) on them, you could resort and re-order them by those data as well if you liked. And naturally, this ability to resort/reorder one's notes has been one of the greatest features and affordances to these systems historically.

    2. Bilingual Antinet?

      There's research to support that thinking in a non-native language has benefits for your thought processes and decision making. E.g.: https://news.uchicago.edu/story/thinking-foreign-language-helps-economic-decision-making

    1. In the second case, checking “Connection” in my Index would lead me to this card. I might then compare this thought to others that use the same keyword, to see how it supports or modifies the idea of connection.

      The reliance upon tag-like keywords in physical note-taking of this type seems to be a limitation compared to digital systems that allow full text search. That said, the benefits of full text search might be somewhat overblown, as found search terms say nothing of the context and would need either tags or a quick read of the text to provide that context.

    2. I might even say the best books are the best books because they stubbornly defy being reduced to a synopsis and some notes. Another way of saying that is, great books have so much in them that many different people with many different interests can all find something they’ll value in their pages.

      This might be said of art, design, or any pursuit. Any design might comprise hundreds of design decisions. The more there are, the more depth to the design, the more facets of the problem space it has examined, the more knowledge it may contain, the more potential to learn.

    1. A friend of mine, well versed in all sorts of PKM and stuff, was convinced the ZK was beneficial, but took a long time before you started seeing benefits. My experience was completely different. I think I had about 5 permanent cards established when I made my first jump to a new idea... I don't know if the idea is any good at this moment, but I got a chill up my spine when I did it. I have more cards now, and have had a few more "new thoughts" that I would not have had otherwise. Don't put it off.

      The zettelkasten can be a useful educational substrate for thinking in as few as five cards.

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/Iwy7MGlMEeyztTNgvCXUOA

    1. https://www.loom.com/share/a05f636661cb41628b9cb7061bd749ae

      Synopsis: Maggie Delano looks at some of the affordances supplied by Tana (compared to Roam Research) in terms of providing better block-based user interface for note type creation, search, and filtering.

      These sorts of tools and programmable note implementations remind me of Beatrice Webb's idea of scientific note taking or using her note cards like a database to sort and search for data to analyze it and create new results and insight.

      It would seem that many of these note taking tools like Roam and Tana are using blocks and sub blocks as a means of defining atomic notes or database-like data in a way in which sub-blocks are linked to or "filed underneath" their parent blocks. In reality it would seem that they're still using a broadly defined index card type system as used in the late 1800s/early 1900s to implement a set up that otherwise would be a traditional database in the Microsoft Excel or MySQL sort of fashion, the major difference being that the user interface is cognitively easier to understand for most people.

      These allow people to take a form of structured textual notes to which might be attached other smaller data or meta data chunks that can be easily searched, sorted, and filtered to allow for quicker or easier use.

      Ostensibly from a mathematical (or set theoretic and even topological) point of view there should be a variety of one-to-one and onto relationships (some might even extend these to "links") between these sorts of notes and database representations such that one should be able to implement their note taking system in Excel or MySQL and do all of these sorts of things.

      Cascading Idea Sheets or Cascading Idea Relationships

      One might analogize these sorts of note taking interfaces to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). While there is the perennial question about whether or not CSS is a programming language, if we presume that it is (and it is), then we can apply the same sorts of class, id, and inheritance structures to our notes and their meta data. Thus one could have an incredibly atomic word, phrase, or even number(s) which inherits a set of semantic relationships to those ideas which it sits below. These links and relationships then more clearly define and contextualize them with respect to other similar ideas that may be situated outside of or adjacent to them. Once one has done this then there is a variety of Boolean operations which might be applied to various similar sets and classes of ideas.

      If one wanted to go an additional level of abstraction further, then one could apply the ideas of category theory to one's notes to generate new ideas and structures. This may allow using abstractions in one field of academic research to others much further afield.

      The user interface then becomes the key differentiator when bringing these ideas to the masses. Developers and designers should be endeavoring to allow the power of complex searches, sorts, and filtering while minimizing the sorts of advanced search queries that an average person would be expected to execute for themselves while also allowing some reasonable flexibility in the sorts of ways that users might (most easily for them) add data and meta data to their ideas.

      Jupyter programmable notebooks are of this sort, but do they have the same sort of hierarchical "card" type (or atomic note type) implementation?

    1. Der Nachlass ist aber nicht nur ein wissenschaftshistorisches Dokument, sondern auch wegen der Rückseiten interessant: Jungius verwendete Predigttexte und Erbauungsliteratur, Schülermitschriften und alte Briefe als Notizpapier. Zudem wurde vieles im Nachlass belassen, was ihm irgendwann einmal zugeordnet wurde, darunter eine Reihe von Manuskripten fremder Hand, z. B. zur Astronomie des Nicolaus Reimers.

      machine translation (Google):

      The estate is not only a scientific-historical document, but also interesting because of the back: Jungius used sermon texts and devotional literature, school notes and old letters as note paper. In addition, much was left in the estate that was assigned to him at some point, including a number of manuscripts by someone else, e.g. B. to the astronomy of Nicolaus Reimers.

      In addition to the inherent value of the notes which Jungius took and which present a snapshot of the state-of-the art of knowledge for his day, there is a secondary source of value as he took his notes on scraps of paper that represent sermon texts and devotional literature, school notes, and old letters. These represent their own historical value separate from his notes.

      link to https://hypothes.is/a/m2izykwGEe2TaktJuW0Qgg

    1. Film making is like note taking

      Incidentally, one should note that the video is made up of snippets over time and then edited together at some later date. Specifically, these snippets are much like regularly taken notes which can then be later used (and even re-used--some could easily appear in other videos) to put together some larger project, namely this compilation video of his process. Pointing out this parallel between note taking and movie/videomaking, makes the note taking process much more easily seen, specifically for students. Note taking is usually a quite and solo endeavor done alone, which makes it much harder to show and demonstrate. And when it is demonstrated or modeled, it's usually dreadfully boring and uninteresting to watch compared to seeing it put together and edited as a finished piece. Edits in a film are visually obvious while the edits in written text, even when done poorly, are invisible.

    1. 4. Cite Card Icon : Hat (something above you)Tag : 5th block Quotation, cooking recipe from book, web, tv, anything about someone else’s idea is classified into this class. Important here is distinguishing “your idea (Discovery Card)” and “someone else’s idea (Cite Card)”. Source of the information must be included in the Cite Card. A book, for example, author, year, page(s) are recorded for later use.

      Despite being used primarily as a productivity tool the PoIC system also included some features of personal knowledge management with "discovery cards" and "citation cards". Discovery cards were things which contained one's own ideas while the citation cards were the ideas of others and included bibliographic information. Citation cards were tagged on the 5th block as an indicator within the system.

      Question: How was the information material managed? Was it separate from the date-based system? On first blush it would appear not, nor was there a subject index which would have made it more difficult for one to find data within the system.

    1. How to link between Cards The "date" and "time" stamp of a cards define their "absolute name". This is why the time stamp must be unique, but not necessary to be accurate. In addition, it is easy to find a specific card, according to the stamp, if all cards are kept in chronological order. This technique was first introduced on the 2-channel.

      The PoIC system allows linking of cards using date/timestamps for indexing/finding. Interestingly they were all kept in chronological order rather than in idea order as in Luhmann's zettelkasten.

      What are the pros/cons of this?<br /> - more searching and hunting through cards certainly is a drawback for lack of "threaded" ideas - others...

      hawkexpress apparently learned this technique on the 2-channel.

    1. I’m with Iris (and Jane) about the PoIC system — I don’t understand how the system works once it is set up. It’s a shame as it might be very useful. Ideally, I’d like to set it up with notebooks in Evernote instead of actual index cards and boxes (the last thing I need in my life is more paper clutter). That way it would be easily searchable, too).

      As is apparently often in describing new organizing systems (commonplace books, zettelkasten, PoIC, etc.), not everyone is going to understand it the first time, or even understand what is going on or why one would want to use it.

      This post by Susan is such an example.

      Susan does almost immediately grasp that this might be something one could transfer into a digital system however, particularly for the search functionality.

    1. Much like Umberto Eco (How to Write a Thesis), in the closing paragraphs of his essay, Goutor finally indicates that note cards can potentially be reused for multiple projects because each one "contains a piece of information which does not depend on a specific context for its value." While providing an example of how this might work, he goes even further by not only saying that "note-cards should never be discarded" but that they might be "recycled" by passing them on to "another interested party" while saying that their value and usefulness is dependent upon how well they may have adhered to some of the most basic note taking methods. (p35)

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/jqug2tNlEeyg2JfEczmepw

    2. Goutor, Jacques. The Card-File System of Note-Taking. Approaching Ontario’s Past 3. Toronto: Ontario Historical Society, 1980. http://archive.org/details/cardfilesystemof0000gout

    3. Goutor only mentions two potential organizational patterns for creating output with one's card index: either by chronological order or topical order. (p34) This might be typical for a historian who is likely to be more interested in chronologies and who would have likely noted down dates within their notes.

    4. Thesis to bear out (only tangentially related to this particular text):

      Part of the reason that index card files didn't catch on, especially in America, was that they didn't have a solid/concrete name by which they went. The generic term card index subsumed so much in relation to library card catalogues or rolodexes which had very specific functions and individualized names. Other cultures had more descriptive names like zettelkasten or fichier boîte which, while potentially bland within their languages, had more specific names for what they were.

    5. Goutor recommends cross-referencing or linking ideas between cards "at the bottom of the note-card, as soon as the note itself is completed." Links shouldn't be trusted to memory and should be noted as soon as possible. Further he recommends periodically sorting through cards and adding adding additional cross references as one ruminates. While he indicates that cross-referencing may seem "cumbersome at first sight, experience will show that it enhances the usefulness of the card file when the time comes to retrieve the information it contains." (p32-33)

      Beyond this he doesn't indicate any additional benefits of creativity or serendipity that have been seen in similar treatises.

    6. ...the usefulness of a note-taking system has an ultimate limit beyond which it becomes self-defeating. [...] After all, the ultimate purpose of the exercise is not to produce beautiful notes displaying the researcher's technical prowess, but rather usable notes to build the mosaic.<br /> —Jacques Goutor (p33)

    7. Goutor breaks down the post-processing of notes into two phases: "coding" (tagging or categorization) and "cross-referencing". (p31).

    8. Goutor mentions that the innovation of photocopying, while potentially useful in some cases, isn't a replacement for actual reading and proper note taking. (p30) These same sorts of affordances and problems might be similar in the newer digital/online realm for people who rely on either whole scale copy/pasting or highlight capturing of texts, but who don't do the actual work of reading, processing, and creating good notes.

      Some of the benefits like portability, ease of access, ability to work with delicate primary materials, better facsimiles of things like maps or tables, etc. are still true.

    9. Unlike many note taking manuals, Goutor advises for consistency in method and use as a means of improving efficiency. He extends this specifically to choosing card sizes (though this only goes as far as particular note types: i.e. bibliographic notes versus content notes), card colors, layout of cards, and card classification. (p28)

      It's frequent in practice, however, that many people make small incremental changes in their workflows and systems over time. In some cases, people have been known to make dramatic changes, like changes in platforms, or start over from scratch (example: that of Luhmann who started ZKII after many years of building ZKI).

    10. The design of Goutor's note taking method is such that each note should have "a life of its own, so that it can stand independently of every other one in the file." (p28) This concept is broadly similar to the ideas of both atomic notes and evergreen notes in related contexts.

      Goutor says that a note's life stems from its identity by means of its bibliographic source, its unique content, and its ultimate purpose. Here he uses the singular "purpose" and doesn't explicitly use "purposes" thereby indicating that an individual note can have multiple potential lives in different places within one's lifetime of work. It seems most likely that he may not have thought of using ideas in multiple different locations, but again, his particular audience (see: https://hypothes.is/a/8jKcTkNPEe2sCntTfNWf2Q) may have also dictated this choice. One could argue that it would have been quite easy for him to have used the plural to suggest the idea simply and tangentially, but that his use of the singular here is specifically because the idea wasn't part of his note taking worldview.

    11. Goutor recommended using subject headings as a marginal annotations on one's note cards to "indicate[s] the preliminary coding to be used in classifying" a note. (p21)

    12. While he previously recommended using note cards of the same size, the examples in Goutor (1980) have 3x5" cards for bibliographic notes and 5x7" or larger cards for content notes. (p19, 21)

      Is there a reason stated anywhere here for this discrepancy or change? One would ostensibly keep them in different places/sections of one's card index, but does the size difference help to differentiate the two to aid in sorting? Is the larger card intended to hold more long form writing?

      Goutor is in Canada, so were 5x7" cards more common or standardized there in the late 1970s and early 80s?

      A5 measures 148 × 210 millimeters or 5.83 × 8.27 inches, so is a bit larger than 5x7".

      5x7" is a more standard photo size, so was this chosen as the result of storage options from the photography space?

      5x7" is scantly available in America in 2022, but only from Hamilco. A few others make cardstock in that size but not specifically as index cards.

    13. Noting the dates of available materials within archives or sources can be useful on bibliography notes for either planning or revisiting sources. (p16,18)

      Similarly one ought to note missing dates, data, volumes, or resources at locations to prevent unfruitfully looking for data in these locations or as a note to potentially look for the missing material in other locations. (p16)

    14. When interviewing subjects, one should not only note the date, time, and location, but get (preferably written) permission to (record) or quote them. Notes about their memory, recall, or behavior may be useful, if nothing else as a reminder for crossing checking their information with other potential sources.

    15. Not mentioned in any other sources I've consulted (yet), Goutor recommends adding notes about the physical location of bibliographic sources to bibliographic notes. This should include details about not only the library and even call numbers, to minimize needing to look them up again in the future, but to have notes about arrangements and contacts which may needed to revisit harder to access resources. (p14) This can also be useful for sources like maps which may be needed for higher quality reproduction in the final text. (p15)

    16. Goutor recommended the use of bibliographic cards not only for their standard uses as sourcing, information, and footnotes, but for creating potential scopes of work and research for planning purposes, especially in planning out one's reading and note taking using various archives and resources to make more effective and productive use of one's time. (p13) This can be potentially very useful for visiting archives and sources for which one does not have easy or frequent access.

    17. Having an easily repeatable, mechanical process of note taking can free up the cognitive space one might otherwise spend on making sure that it works for them in the long run.

      Simple and sometimes dull activities like always starting by writing down sources of material in full, can save one immeasurable amounts of time in tracking down these pieces at a later date when they will be needed, especially in relation to the miniscule time and effort doing so takes upfront. (p12)

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

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

    19. There is a difference between various modes of note taking and their ultimate outcomes. Some is done for learning about an area and absorbing it into one's own source of general knowledge. Others are done to collect and generate new sorts of knowledge. But some may be done for raw data collection and analysis. Beatrice Webb called this "scientific note taking".

      Historian Jacques Goutor talks about research preparation for this sort of data collecting and analysis though he doesn't give it a particular name. He recommends reading papers in related areas to prepare for the sort of data acquisition one may likely require so that one can plan out some of one's needs in advance. This will allow the researcher, especially in areas like history or sociology, the ability to preplan some of the sorts of data and notes they'll need to take from their historical sources or subjects in order to carry out their planned goals. (p8)

      C. Wright Mills mentions (On Intellectual Craftsmanship, 1952) similar research planning whereby he writes out potential longer research methods even when he is not able to spend the time, effort, energy, or other (financial) resources to carry out such plans. He felt that just the thought experiments and exercise of doing such unfulfilled research often bore fruit in his other sociological endeavors.

    20. The goals of a note taking system or method should be that the resulting notes are clear, concise, complete, searchable, and easily manipulated for creating end-products.

      If these criteria aren't met, then the work involved in making them may be wasted or require additional (unnecessary) time and effort to make them manageable and useful.


    21. For physical note taking on index cards or visualizations provided by computer generated graphs, one can physically view a mass of notes and have a general feeling if there is a large enough corpus to begin writing an essay, chapter, or book or if one needs to do additional research on a topic, or perhaps pick a different topic on which to focus.

      (parts suggested by p7, though broadly obvious)

    22. Goutor comments, like many before him, that it is common to take notes on notebook paper in longer form, but that this is inadvisable as it is much harder to impose a useful order or classification on such work. He does mention scissors as a means of cutting up such notes, but comments that "a mass of slips of paper of varying sizes [can be] difficult to arrange and potentially useless unless care has been taken to note the source of each separate entry."

      He also repeats the frequent admonitions that one should take notes only on one side and to use cards of a uniform size.


    23. The act of note taking acts as a filter between original sources of information and the potential outputs the individual note taker may have an interest in creating.

      (rephrasing from p4)

      me: This level of interest and filtering for potential outputs is part of what creates the individuality of each person's ultimate notes, and in part, is why attempts at creating some sort of universal excerpting project are doomed to failure in the end. No one can excerpt all the pieces from a text that future readers may find interesting, intriguing, or particularly useful, especially when future interests may not yet be delineated or even known at the time of excerpting.

    24. Note taking is a means of rendering large volumes of non-portable sources of information into a nearly infinitely portable source. This is particularly true when done in digital form.

      (p4, Why take notes?)

    25. Goutor's description is offered as an outline of a mechanical method which he hopes will provide a greater level of efficiency, but which might be adapted to each researcher's work and needs. He also specifically offers it as a method to be used for "constructing some sort of final product". He considers it as serving the functions of gathering, organizing, storing and retrieving information.

      (p3, Introduction)

    1. Posted byu/Kshkn16 hours agoRate my idea for a new product

      One might suggest that the freedom, flexibility, and customization of these systems is actually an unuseful time suck for many users which only encourages shiny object syndrome. From a design perspective, try starting out building a system that works for you before beginning on design for others. Research and looking at the user interfaces offered by the competition will helpful as well. Which are the most popular? fun to use? Why? What actual affordances do those interfaces and functionalities allow? are they truly productive?

      Possibly more productive, what sorts of standards can you leverage to make people's pre-existing notes more useful? Can you take pre-existing stores of .txt or .md files and provide different views or perspectives on them? This will allow people to pick and choose which applications might work with their stores of data to provide different views or perspectives on them. Why reinvent a text editor or tools like Logseq or Obsidian when you can leverage the local stores of data to provide the sorts of services you're not seeing in the broader space? For example, on the "social media" side, there are existing solutions for taking your locally stored notes, putting them into the cloud and displaying them on the web, but the various steps are highly technical and require a relatively large amount of work and admin tax to maintain. A service that allows one to point at their local store of data and automatically host it on a website and keep it synced would be a major boon for the non-technical user.

      Separately, Matuschak did not invent evergreen notes. The first clear cut instantiation I've seen in the literature is from Konrad Gessner in 1548, and honestly even his idea really stems from a longstanding tradition of working with commonplace sententiae preceding his work. (see https://hypothes.is/a/uEboYlOwEeykkotYs594LA) Matuschak simply applied the definition/idea of "evergreen" (meaning easily reusable) articles or content from journalism to describe his notes which could be reused in various contexts. (Example: Why rewrite an article on how to decorate and entertain for the holidays, when you can reuse the same article you've been publishing for years, perhaps along with some updated photos?) "Atomic" notes is another variation on this same theme, but is one which underlies the ability to re-use notes in combination with one or more other notes to generate new ideas.

    1. Pardon my use of English. I'm curious if you ultimately found the best research method for yourself? Did you publish it? Being interested in reading practices and annotation myself I can't wait to read your thesis, though it may take some time given the dreadful state of my French capabilities.

      Thank you for your reflection on Barthes' particular method (and especially the photos)! If you're interested to dig further I found a few references that expand significantly on Barthes' fichier boîte method in the following short journal articles: - Hollier, Denis. “Notes (On the Index Card).” October, vol. 112, no. Spring, 2005, pp. 35–44. - Wilken, Rowan. “The Card Index as Creativity Machine.” Culture Machine, vol. 11, 2010, pp. 7–30.

      Having delved into it reasonably, it stems from the commonplace book tradition which moved to slips of paper (index cards) in the late 1500s with Konrad Gessner. Ernst Bernheim (German) and shortly after Charles Langlois & Charles Seignobos (French) wrote about some of their research methods in popular textbooks about historical method in the late 1800s. Paul Chavigny also wrote a manual in French in the early 1920s. One of the best versions of this method I've seen is by Umberto Eco (How to Write a Thesis (1977, 2015) though there are also German and English editions of Ahrens' How to Take Smart Notes (2017) which describes a similar zettelkasten method used by prolific German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, about whom there is a significant archive: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/. It would be helpful to have more written methods like these, but apparently much of these traditions is handed down orally. Having glanced at some of your other methods posts, it almost looks like you've recast the general tradition using colorful Post-It Notes.

      If you did finally outline your ultimate method, I'd love to read it.

      Thanks again!

      syndication link

    2. Il y a un point, en particulier, qui me frappe chaque jour davantage : ce que l’archive du chercheur d’hier peut apprendre au chercheur d’aujourd’hui, sur le plan de la méthodologie.


      There is one point in particular that strikes me more every day: what the archive of yesterday's researcher can teach today's researcher, in terms of methodology.

      With the rarer exceptions of writers like Erasmus, Melanchthon, Agricola, U. Eco, and G. Weinberg who wrote manuals or others like John Locke (on Indices), E. Bernheim, Langlois/Seignobos, and B. Webb who tucked reasonable advice on research and note taking methods in their texts or appendices one of the benefits of of researcher archives is not just the historical record of the researcher's evolving thought, but to actually show specific types of methodology and changes through time.

    1. Eventually, as the cards fall into groups accordingto subject or person or chronological sequence, the pattern of mystory will emerge.

      For creating narrative, Barbara Tuchman apparently relied on grouping her note cards by subject, person, or chronological sequence.

    2. Sincecopying is a chore and a bore, use of the cards, the smaller thebetter, forces one to extract the strictly relevant, to distill from thevery beginning, to pass the material through the grinder of one’s ownmind, so to speak.

      Barbara Tuchman recommended using the smallest sized index cards possible to force one only to "extract the strictly relevant" because copying by hand can be both "a chore and a bore".

      In the same address in 1963, she encourages "distill[ing] from the very beginning, to pass the material through the grinder of one's own mind, so to speak." This practice is similar to modern day pedagogues who encourage this practice, but with the benefit of psychology research to back up the practice.

      This advice is two-fold in terms of filtering out the useless material for an author, but the grinder metaphor indicates placing multiple types of material in to to a processor to see what new combinations of products come out the other end. This touches more subtly on the idea of combinatorial creativity encouraged by Raymond Llull, Matt Ridley, et al. or the serendipity described by Niklas Luhmann and others.

      When did the writing for understanding idea begin within the tradition? Was it through experience in part and then underlined with psychology research? Visit Ahrens' references on this for particular papers to read.

      Link to modality shift research.

    3. As to the mechanics of research, I take notes on four-by-six indexcards, reminding myself about once an hour of a rule I read long agoin a research manual, “Never write on the back of anything.”

      Barbara Tuchman took her notes on four-by-six inch index cards.

      She repeated the oft-advised mantra to only write on one side of a sheet.

      What manual did she read this in? She specifically puts quotes on "Never write on the back of anything." so perhaps it might be something that could be tracked down?

      Who was the earliest version of this quote? And was it always towards the idea of cutting up slips or pages and not wanting to lose material on the back? or did it also (later? when?) include ease-of-use and user interface features even when not cutting things up?

      At what point did double sided become a thing for personal printed materials? Certainly out of a duty to minimize materials, but it also needed the ability to duplex print pages or photocopy them that way.

    4. Tuchman, Barbara W. Practicing History. Ballantine, 1982.

    1. https://sashachapin.substack.com/p/notes-against-note-taking-systems

      The writer rails against note taking systems, and then suggests a note taking system (commonplace books)?!? What a sad circular argument.

      Of course, far too many get stuck in the idea of productivity porn and that is a problem... rail against that...

    1. e called on his fellow rabbis to submitnotecards with details from their readings. He proposed that a central office gathermaterial into a ‘system’ of information about Jewish history, and he suggested theypublish the notes in the CCAR’s Yearbook.

      This sounds similar to the variety of calls to do collaborative card indexes for scientific efforts, particularly those found in the fall of 1899 in the journal Science.

      This is also very similar to Mortimer J. Adler et al's group collaboration to produce The Syntopicon as well as his work on Propædia and Encyclopædia Britannica.

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/nvWZnuApEeuKR--5AeBv8w

    1. https://archive.org/details/refiningreadingw0000meij/page/256/mode/2up?q=index+card

      Refining, reading, writing : includes 2009 mla update card by Mei, Jennifer (Nelson, 2007)

      Contains a very generic reference to note taking on index cards for arranging material, but of such a low quality in comparison to more sophisticated treatments in the century prior. Apparently by this time the older traditions have disappeared and have been heavily watered down into just a few paragraphs.

    1. Provided with some sort of a card box, whether of metal or wood, oreven of cardboard, the English teacher will find that an era of peace andorder has come over his classe

      Sounds like magic, n'cest pas? 😜



    1. This search for order pushes one to seek out under-lying patterns and trends, to find relations that may betypical and causal.

      Finding order and relations (and their particular types), is a form of linking ideas found in some of the more complex zettelkasten and knowledge management spaces. It's not as explicit here and he doesn't seem to be focusing on stating or writing explicit links within his notes. He does, however, place some focus on the quality and types of links he's making (or at least thinking about), something which isn't frequently seen in the current PKM space. For example, no one is creating user interfaces that show links between ideas which are opposite (or in opposition or antonym relation) to each other.

    2. I do not want toacquire any technique of work that would limit the play offancy.
    3. A career-line study of the presidents, all cabinet members,and all members of the Supreme Court. This 1 'already have onIBM cards from the constitutional period through Truman'ssecond term, but I want to expand the items used and analyze itafresh.

      Notice that it's not just notes, but data on IBM cards that he's using for research here. This sort of data analysis is much easier now, but is also of the sort detailed by Beatrice Webb in her scientific note taking.

    4. examine my entire file, not only thoseparts of it which obviously bore on the topic, but alsomany others which seemed to have no relevance whatso-ever. For imagination and " t h e structuring of an i d e a " areoften exercised by putting together hitherto isolated items,by finding unsuspected connections. 1 made new units inthe file for this particular range of problems, which, o fcourse, led to a new arrangement of other parts of the file.

      What a lot to unpack here.

      He's actively looking through all parts of his files to find potential links and connections between ideas. He brings up the idea of "unsuspected connections" which touches on Luhmann's idea of serendipity, Llull's combinatorial arts, or what one might call combinatorial creativity.

    5. nd the way in which these cate-gories changed, some being dropped out and others beingadded, was an index of my own intellectual progress andbreadth. Eventually, the file came to be arranged accord-ing to several larger projects, having many subprojects,which changed from year to year.

      In his section on "Arrangement of File", C. Wright Mills describes some of the evolution of his "file". Knowing that the form and function of one's notes may change over time (Luhmann's certainly changed over time too, a fact which is underlined by his having created a separate ZK II) one should take some comfort and solace that theirs certainly will as well.

      The system designer might also consider the variety of shapes and forms to potentially create a better long term design of their (or others') system(s) for their ultimate needs and use cases. How can one avoid constant change, constant rearrangement, which takes work? How can one minimize the amount of work that goes into creating their system?

      The individual knowledge worker or researcher should have some idea about the various user interfaces and potential arrangements that are available to them before choosing a tool or system for maintaining their work. What are the affordances they might be looking for? What will minimize their overall work, particularly on a lifetime project?

    6. To be able to trustone's own experience, even if it often turns out to beinadequate, is one mark of the mature workman. Suchconfidence in o n e ' s own experience is indispensable tooriginality in any intellectual pursuit, and the file is onetool by which I have tried to develop and justify suchconfidence.

      The function of memory served by having written notes is what allows the serious researcher or thinker to have greater confidence in their work, potentially more free from cognitive bias as one idea can be directly compared and contrasted with another by direct juxtaposition.

    7. And yet that is not " r e a l l y " how the project arose.What really happened is that the idea and the plan cameout o f my files; for all projects with me begin and end withthem, and books are simply organized releases from thecontinuous work that goes into them.

      Surely by "files" he means his written notes and ideas which he has filed away?

      Thus articles and books are agglomerations of ideas within notes (or perhaps one's retained memory, as best as that might be done) which are then broken off from them and released to a wider readership.

    8. In this essay I am going to try candidly to report how Ibecame interested in a topic I happen now to be studying,and how I am going about studying it. I know that in doingthis I run the risk of failing in modesty and perhaps even ofclaiming some peculiar virtue for my own personal habits.1 intend no such claims. 1 know also that it may be said:"WelL, that's the way you work; but it's not of much use tom e . " To this the reply seems quite clear; it is: " W o n d e r -ful. Tell me how you w o r k . "

      We could use more of this in the current tools for thought space. Given neurodiversity, having a smorgasbord of options from which to choose from and then to be able to pick and choose or experiment on what works for you in particular seems to be the best route forward.

    9. Perhaps there are al-ready too many formal discourses on method, and cer-tainly there are too many inspirational pieces on how tothink. Neither seem to be of much use to those for whomthey are apparently intended. The first does not usuallytouch the realities of the problem as the beginning studentencounters them: the second is usually vulgar and oftennonsense.

      A description of the problem.

      Also missing are concrete examples and modeling of behavior for students to see and follow.

    10. E veryone seriously concerned with teaching complainsthat most students do not know how to do indepen-dent work. They do not know how to read, they do notknow how to take notes, they do not know how to set up aproblem nor how to research it. In short, they do not knowhow to work intellectually.
  4. Sep 2022
    1. Heyde, Johannes Erich. Technik des wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens. (Sektion 1.2 Die Kartei) Junker und Dünnhaupt, 1931.

      (Unknown translation from German into English. v1 TK)

      The overall title of the work (in English: Technique of Scientific Work) calls immediately to mind the tradition of note taking growing out of the scientific historical methods work of Bernheim and Langlois/Seignobos and even more specifically the description of note taking by Beatrice Webb (1926) who explicitly used the phrase "recipe for scientific note-taking".

      see: https://hypothes.is/a/BFWG2Ae1Ee2W1HM7oNTlYg

      first reading: 2022-08-23 second reading: 2022-09-22

    2. For instance, particular insights related to the sun or the moon may be filed under the(foreign) keyword “Astronomie” [Astronomy] or under the (German) keyword “Sternkunde”[Science of the Stars]. This can happen even more easily when using just one language, e.g.when notes related to the sociological term “Bund” [Association] are not just filed under“Bund” but also under “Gemeinschaft” [Community] or “Gesellschaft” [Society]. Againstthis one can protect by using dictionaries of synonyms and then create enough referencesheets (e.g. Astronomy: cf. Science of the Stars)

      related, but not drawn from as I've been thinking about the continuum of taxonomies and subject headings for a while...

      On the Spectrum of Topic Headings in note making

      Any reasonable note one may take will likely have a hierarchical chain of tags/subject headings/keywords going from the broad to the very specific. One might start out with something broad like "humanities" (as opposed to science), and proceed into "history", "anthropology", "biological anthropology", "evolution", and even more specific. At the bottom of the chain is the specific atomic idea on the card itself. Each of the subject headings helps to situate the idea and provide the context in which it sits, but how useful within a note taking system is having one or more of these tags on it? What about overlaps with other broader subjects (one will note that "evolution" might also sit under "science" / "biology" as well), but that note may have a different tone and perspective than the prior one.

      This becomes an interesting problem or issue as one explores ideas in a pre-designed note taking system. As a student just beginning to explore anthropology, one may tag hundreds of notes with anthropology to the point that the meaning of the tag is so diluted that a search of the index becomes useless as there's too much to sort through underneath it. But as one continues their studies in the topic further branches and sub headings will appear to better differentiate the ideas. This process will continue as the space further differentiates. Of course one may continue their research into areas that don't have a specific subject heading until they accumulate enough ideas within that space. (Take for example Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky's work which is now known under the heading of Behavioral Economics, a subject which broadly didn't exist before their work.) The note taker might also leverage this idea as they tag their own work as specifically as they might so as not to pollute their system as it grows without bound (or at least to the end of their lifetime).

      The design of one's note taking system should take these eventualities into account and more easily allow the user to start out broad, but slowly hone in on direct specificity.

      Some of this principle of atomicity of ideas and the growth from broad to specific can be seen in Luhmann's zettelkasten (especially ZK II) which starts out fairly broad and branches into the more specific. The index reflects this as well and each index heading ideally points to the most specific sub-card which begins the discussion of that particular topic.

      Perhaps it was this narrowing of specificity which encouraged Luhmann to start ZKII after years of building ZKII which had a broader variety of topics?

    3. Who can say whether I will actually be searchingfor e.g. the note on the relation between freedom of will and responsibility by looking at itunder the keyword “Verantwortlichkeit” [Responsibility]? What if, as is only natural, I willbe unable to remember the keyword and instead search for “Willensfreiheit” [Freedom ofWill] or “Freiheit” [Freedom], hoping to find the entry? This seems to be the biggestcomplaint about the entire system of the sheet box and its merit.

      Heyde specifically highlights that planning for one's future search efforts by choosing the right keyword or even multiple keywords "seems to be the biggest complaint about the entire system of the slip box and its merit."

      Niklas Luhmann apparently spent some time thinking about this, or perhaps even practicing it, before changing his system so that the issue was no longer a problem. As a result, Luhmann's system is much simpler to use and maintain.

      Given his primary use of his slip box for academic research and writing, perhaps his solution was in part motivated by putting the notes and ideas exactly where he would both be able to easily find them, but also exactly where he would need them for creating final products in journal articles and books.

    4. need to be united in one single place

      often repeated advice, especially in the modern period.

    5. Thesheets must always be of equal size, or at least of equal height in order not to get stuck or beoverlooked when manually searching for sheets or adding them.
    6. The rigidness and immobility of the note book pages, based on the papern stamp andimmobility of the individual notes, prevents quick and time-saving retrieval and applicationof the content and therefore proves the note book process to be inappropriate. The only tworeasons that this process is still commonly found in the studies of many is that firstly they donot know any better, and that secondly a total immersion into a very specialized field ofscientific research often makes information retrieval easier if not unnecessary.

      Just like Heyde indicated about the slip box note taking system with respect to traditional notebook based systems in 1931, one of the reasons we still aren't broadly using Heyde's system is that we "do not know any better". This is compounded with the fact that the computer revolution makes information retrieval much easier than it had been before. However there is such an information glut and limitations to search, particularly if it's stored in multiple places, that it may be advisable to go back to some of these older, well-tried methods.

      Link to ideas of "single source" of notes as opposed to multiple storage locations as is seen in social media spaces in the 2010-2020s.

    7. Oftentimes they even refered to one another.

      An explicit reference in 1931 in a section on note taking to cross links between entries in accounting ledgers. This linking process is a a precursor to larger database processes seen in digital computing.

      Were there other earlier references that are this explicit within either note making or accounting contexts? Surely... (See also: Beatrice Webb's scientific note taking)

      Just the word "digital" computing defines that there must have been an "analog' computing which preceded it. However we think of digital computing in much broader terms than we may have of the analog process.

      Human thinking is heavily influenced by associative links, so it's only natural that we should want to link our notes together on paper as we've done for tens of thousands of years (at least.)

    1. • Daily writing prevents writer’s block.• Daily writing demystifies the writing process.• Daily writing keeps your research always at the top of your mind.• Daily writing generates new ideas.• Daily writing stimulates creativity• Daily writing adds up incrementally.• Daily writing helps you figure out what you want to say.

      What specifically does she define "writing" to be? What exactly is she writing, and how much? What does her process look like?

      One might also consider the idea of active reading and writing notes. I may not "write" daily in the way she means, but my note writing, is cumulative and beneficial in the ways she describes in her list. I might further posit that the amount of work/effort it takes me to do my writing is far more fruitful and productive than her writing.

      When I say writing, I mean focused note taking (either excerpting, rephrasing, or original small ideas which can be stitched together later). I don't think this is her same definition.

      I'm curious how her process of writing generates new ideas and creativity specifically?

      One might analogize the idea of active reading with a pen in hand as a sort of Einsteinian space-time. Many view reading and writing as to separate and distinct practices. What if they're melded together the way Einstein reconceptualized the space time continuum? The writing advice provided by those who write about commonplace books, zettelkasten, and general note taking combines an active reading practice with a focused writing practice that moves one toward not only more output, but higher quality output without the deleterious effects seen in other methods.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2HegcwDRnU

      Makes the argument that note taking is an information system, and if it is, then we can use the research from the corpus of information system (IS) theory to examine how to take better notes.

      He looks at the Wang and Wang 2006 research and applies their framework of "complete, meaningful, unambiguous, and correct" dimensions of data quality to example note areas of study notes, project management notes (or to do lists) and recipes.

      Looks at dimensions of data quality from Mahanti, 2019.

      What is the difference between notes and annotations?

    1. Courtney, Jennifer Pooler. “A Review of Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts.” The Journal of Effective Teaching 7, no. 1 (2007): 74–77.

      Review of: Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How To Do Things With Texts. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2006. https://muse.jhu.edu/book/9248.