- May 2022
and link me to a paid course, no doubt
I will agree that there are far too many "influencers" and "gurus" out there selling something in the note taking space. Almost none of them know what the hell they're talking about.
The concept of the Knowledge Graph deserves the classification of bullshit because its allure derives primarily from the false impression that it can mechanistically deliver—or substitute for—the brute, linear willfulness that defines all non-trivial writing.
In watching the space and seeing the sorts of conversations and questions I see online in Twitter, Reddit, and other fora, I too often see people talking about the system(s) and not actually using the systems. Very few get to a critical mass of well written notes, which I estimate to be about 500 to 1000 before they give up. Most aren't taking good notes and are imposing far more structure on them as if they're writing wiki articles instead of taking notes. Too many things go wrong in their processes before they're giving up and moving on. This has the effect of making the enterprise appear to be a failure.
I suspect that the author of this piece is in this last group and instead of thinking about why they're failing, they're lashing out about the hype in the space. Certainly there is way too much hype, and that isn't necessarily a good thing. But there's also not nearly enough practice and that is far worse.
- Apr 2022
One of his last works, the Aurifodina, “The Mine of All Arts and Sci-ences, or the Habit of Excerpting,” was printed in 1638 (in 2,000 copies) andin another fourteen editions down to 1695 and spawned abridgments in Latin(1658), German (1684), and English.
Simply the word abridgement here leads me to wonder:
Was the continual abridgement of texts and excerpting small pieces for later use the partial cause of the loss of the arts of memory? Ars excerpendi ad infinitum? It's possible that this, with the growth of note taking practices, continual information overload, and other pressures for educational reform swamped the prior practices.
For evidence, take a look at William Engel's work following the arts of memory in England and Europe to see if we can track the slow demise by attrition of the descriptions and practices. What would such a study show? How might we assign values to the various pressures at play? Which was the most responsible?
Could it have also been the slow, inexorable death of many of these classical means of taking notes as well? How did we loose the practices of excerpting for creating new ideas? Where did the commonplace books go? Where did the zettelkasten disappear to?
One author, with a carefully honed practice and the extant context of their life writes some brief notes which get passed along to their students or which are put into a new book that misses a lot of their existing context with respect to the new readers. These readers then don't know about the attrition happening and slowly, but surely the knowledge goes missing amidst a wash of information overload. Over time the ideas and practices slowly erode and are replaced with newer techniques which may not have been well tested or stood the test of time. One day the world wakes up and the common practices are no longer of use.
This is potentially all the more likely because of the extremely basic ideas underpinning some of memory and note taking. They seem like such basic knowledge we're also prone to take them for granted and not teach them as thoroughly as we ought.
How does one juxtapose this with the idea of humanist scholars excerpting, copying, and using classical texts with a specific eye toward preventing the loss of these very classical texts?
Is this potentially the idea of having one's eye on a particular target and losing sight of other creeping effects?
It's also difficult to remember what it was like when we ourselves didn't know something and once that is lost, it can be harder and harder to teach newcomers.
- context collapse
- commonplace books
- information overload
- disappearance of note taking practices
- note taking
- education reform
- ars excerpendi
- disappearance of the art of memory
- Feb 2022
A long and creative list with lots of attributes people have with respect to personal knowledge management, but without any real canonical definitions.
- Sep 2021
Most of us were taught as children to treat books as something sacred—no folding the page corners, and no writing in the margins, ever.
Most Medieval manuscripts specifically left wide columns of space to encourage readers to mark up their texts.
cross reference: Medieval notepads - Khan Academy
<small>Detail, London, British Library, Harley MS 3487 (13th century)—[source](http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=16790)</small>
- Aug 2021
The most common and sensible location for putting down thoughts, critique or notes was the margin of the medieval book. Consider this: you wouldn’t think so looking at a medieval page, but on average only half of it was filled with the actual text. A shocking fifty to sixty percent was designed to be margin. As inefficient as this may seem, the space came in handy for the reader. As the Middle Ages progressed it became more and more common to resort to the margin for note-taking.