- Sep 2023
For note makers who find themselves creating an unwieldy amount of so-called "orphan notes," the folgezettel sounds the alarm. When faced with a sea of parents without children (9A 9B 9C 9D 9E, etc) it makes these "empty nesters" all the more apparent as the note gets added to the stack.
There's an interesting dichotomy which seems to be arising here. It's almost as if he's defining a folgezettel note in opposition to orphaned notes, most often seen in digital settings when importing lots of "stuff" but which Doto indicates can happen in analog systems as well.
Orphaned notes in an analog space, however are still linked by proximity even though they're not as densely linked (even from a mathematical topology perspective.)
- May 2023
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.
The few notes I did refer back to frequently where checklists, self-written instructions to complete regular tasks, lists (reading lists, watchlists, etc.) or recipes. Funnily enough the ROI on these notes was a lot higher than all the permanent/evergreen/zettel notes I had written.
Notes can be used for different purposes.
- basic sense-making
- knowledge construction and dispersion
The broad distinction is between productivity goals and knowledge. (Is there a broad range I'm missing here within the traditions?) You can take notes about projects that need to be taken care of, lists of things to do, reminders of what needs to be done. These all fall within productivity and doing and checking them off a list will help one get to a different place or location and this can be an excellent thing, particularly when the project was consciously decided upon and is a worthy goal.
Notes for knowledge sake can be far more elusive for people. The value here generally comes with far more planning and foresight towards a particular goal. Are you writing a newsletter, article, book, or making a video or performance of some sort (play, movie, music, etc.)? Collecting small pieces of these things on a pathway is then important as you build your ideas and a structure toward some finished product.
Often times, before getting to this construction phase, one needs to take notes to be able to scaffold their understanding of a particular topic. Once basically understood some of these notes may be useless and not need to be reviewed, or if they are reviewed, it is for the purpose of ensconcing ideas into long term memory. Once this is finished, then the notes may be broadly useless. (This is why it's simple to "hide them with one's references/literature notes.) Other notes are more seminal towards scaffolding ideas towards larger projects for summarization and dissemination to other audiences. If you're researching a topic, a fair number of your notes will be used to help you understand the basics while others will help you to compare/contrast and analyze. Notes you make built on these will help you shape new structures and new, original thoughts. (note taking for paradigm shifts). These then can be used (re-used) when you write your article, book, or other creative project.
- Dec 2022
But then life went on and nothing really happened.
This essay seems to be more about shiny object syndrome. The writer doesn't seem to realize any problems they've created. Way too much digging into tools and processes. Note the switching and trying out dozens of applications. (Dear god, why??!!) Also looks like a lot of collecting digitally for no clear goal. As a result of this sort of process it appears that many of the usual affordances were completely blocked, unrealized, and thus useless.
No clear goal in mind for anything other than a nebulous being "better".
One goal was to "retain what I read", but nothing was actively used toward this stated goal. Notes can help a little, but one would need mnemonic methods and possibly spaced repetition neither of which was mentioned.
A list of specific building blocks within the methods and expected outcomes would have helped this person (and likely others), but to my knowledge this doesn't exist as a thing yet though bits and pieces are obviously floating around.<br /> TK: building blocks of note taking
Evidence here for what we'll call the "perfect system fallacy", an illness which often goes hand in hand with "shiny object syndrome".
Too many systems bound together will create so much immediate complexity that there isn't any chance for future complexity or emergence as the proximal system is doomed to failure. One should instead strive for immediate and excessive simplicity which might then build with time, use, and practice into something more rich and complex. This idea seems to be either completely missed or lost in the online literature and especially the blogosphere and social media.
people had come up with solutions Sadly, despite thousands of variations on some patterns, people don't seem to be able to settle on either "one solution" or their "own solution" and in trying to do everything all at once they become lost, set adrift, and lose focus on any particular thing they've got as their own goal.
In this particular instance, "retaining what they read" was totally ignored. Worse, they didn't seem to ever review over their notes of what they read.
I was pondering about different note types, fleeting, permanent, different organisational systems, hierarchical, non-hierarchical, you know the deal.
Why worry about all the types of notes?! This is the problem with these multi-various definitions and types. They end up confusing people without giving them clear cut use cases and methods by which to use them. They get lost in definitional overload and aren't connecting the names with actual use cases and affordances.
I often felt lost about what to takes notes on and what not to take notes on.
Why? Most sources seem to have reasonable guidance on this. Make notes on things that interest you, things which surprise you.
They seem to have gotten lost in all the other moving pieces. Perhaps advice on this should come first, again in the middle, and a third time at the end of these processes.
I'm curious how deeply they read sources and which sources they read to come to these conclusions? Did they read a lot of one page blog posts with summarizations or did they read book length works by Ahrens, Forte, Allosso, Scheper, et al? Or did they read all of these and watch lots of crazy videos as well. Doing it "all" will likely lead into the shiny object syndrome as well.
This seems to outline a list of specifically what not to do and how not to approach these systems and "popular" blog posts that are an inch deep and a mile wide rather than some which have more depth.
Worst of all, I spent so much time taking notes and figuring out a personal knowledge management system that I neglected the things I actually wanted to learn about. And even though I kind of always knew this, I kept falling into the same trap.
Definitely a symptom of shiny object syndrome!
- note taking problems
- shiny object syndrome
- perfect system fallacy
- note taking affordances
- building blocks
- types of notes
- note taking building blocks
- perfection is the enemy of progress
- anecdotal evidence
- Nov 2022
The point to recognize is that these notes primarily concern the structure of the book, and not its substance-at leastnot in detail. We therefore call this kind of note-making structural.
Adler and Van Doren define structural note making as the sorts of questions one might ask at the level of inspectional reading including: - what kind of book is it? - what is it about? - what is the overall structure with respect to the argument the author intends to make?
- Oct 2022
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?
- card index as database
- programmable notes
- Beatrice Webb
- idea links
- Maggie Delano
- Roam Research
- category theory
- user interface
- Boolean algebra
- scientific note taking
- cascading idea sheets
- integrated development environment
- building blocks
- types of notes
- super tags
- integrated thinking environments
For the second time Goutor mentions using different size cards for different note types, but doesn't specifically advise for it or provide a reason. Perhaps his advice for consistency and card size applies only to cards of particular types? (p28)
Incidentally he also specifically mentions 7x9" cards here too. How frequently used were these as a standard?
- Jul 2022
Beyond the cards mentioned above, you should also capture any hard-to-classify thoughts, questions, and areas for further inquiry on separate cards. Regularly go through these to make sure that you are covering everything and that you don’t forget something.I consider these insurance cards because they won’t get lost in some notebook or scrap of paper, or email to oneself.
Julius Reizen in reviewing over Umberto Eco's index card system in How to Write a Thesis, defines his own "insurance card" as one which contains "hard-to-classify thoughts, questions, and areas for further inquiry". These he would keep together so that they don't otherwise get lost in the variety of other locations one might keep them
These might be akin to Ahrens' "fleeting notes" but are ones which may not easily or even immediately be converted in to "permanent notes" for one's zettelkasten. However, given their mission critical importance, they may be some of the most important cards in one's repository.
link this to - idea of centralizing one's note taking practice to a single location
Is this idea in Eco's book and Reizen is the one that gives it a name since some of the other categories have names? (examples: bibliographic index cards, reading index cards (aka literature notes), cards for themes, author index cards, quote index cards, idea index cards, connection cards). Were these "officially" named and categorized by Eco?
May be worthwhile to create a grid of these naming systems and uses amongst some of the broader note taking methods. Where are they similar, where do they differ?
Multi-search tools that have full access to multiple trusted data stores (ostensibly personal ones across notebooks, hard drives, social media services, etc.) could potentially solve the problem of needing to remember where you noted something.
Currently, in the social media space especially, this is not a realized service.
- fleeting notes
- insurance cards
- card index
- note taking process
- Umberto Eco
- IndieWeb search
- tools for thought affordances
- fleeting ideas
- note taking why
- permanent notes
- note taking methods
- types of notes
- card index for writing
- Feb 2022
It should be recognized that these basic note types are very different than the digital garden framing of 📤 (seedbox), 🌱 (seedling), 🪴 (sapling), 🌲 (evergreen), etc. which are another measure of the growth and expansion of not just one particular idea but potentially multiple ideas over time. These are a project management sort of tool for focusing on the growth of ideas. Within some tools, one might also use graph views and interconnectedness as means of charting this same sort of growth.
Sönke Ahrens' framing of fleeting note, literature note, and permanent note are a value assignation to the types of each of these notes with respect to generating new ideas and writing.
- digital garden methaphors
- Sönke Ahrens
- note taking methods
- digital gardens
- note types
- project management
- note taking
- graph thinking