72 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2022
    1. The daily cadence of a DNP frames the system as a kind of personal diary. Which we may not necessarily want in a personal knowledge base.

      This sounds similar to my criticism of zettelkasten overreach.

      See: https://boffosocko.com/2022/02/05/zettelkasten-overreach/

    1. https://www.kevinmarks.com/memex.html

      I got stuck over the weekend, so I totally missed Kevin Marks' memex demo at IndieWebCamp's Create Day, but it is an interesting little UI experiment.

      I'll always maintain that Vannevar Bush really harmed the first few generations of web development by not mentioning the word commonplace book in his conceptualization. Marks heals some of this wound by explicitly tying the idea of memex to that of the zettelkasten however. John Borthwick even mentions the idea of "networked commonplace books". [I suspect a little birdie may have nudged this perspective as catnip to grab my attention—a ruse which is highly effective.]

      Some of Kevin's conceptualization reminds me a bit of Jerry Michalski's use of The Brain which provides a specific visual branching of ideas based on the links and their positions on the page: the main idea in the center, parent ideas above it, sibling ideas to the right/left and child ideas below it. I don't think it's got the idea of incoming or outgoing links, but having a visual location on the page for incoming links (my own site has incoming ones at the bottom as comments or responses) can be valuable.

      I'm also reminded a bit of Kartik Prabhu's experiments with marginalia and webmention on his website which plays around with these ideas as well as their visual placement on the page in different methods.

      MIT MediaLab's Fold site (details) was also an interesting sort of UI experiment in this space.

      It also seems a bit reminiscent of Kevin Mark's experiments with hovercards in the past as well, which might be an interesting way to do the outgoing links part.

      Next up, I'd love to see larger branching visualizations of these sorts of things across multiple sites... Who will show us those "associative trails"?

      Another potential framing for what we're all really doing is building digital versions of Indigenous Australian's songlines across the web. Perhaps this may help realize Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly's dream for a "third archive"?

    1. I like to imagine all the thoughts and ideas I’vecollected in my system of notes as a forest. I imagine itas three-dimensional, because the trains of thought I’vebeen working on for some time look like trees, withbranches of argument, point, and counterpoint andleaves of source-based evidence. Actually, the forest isfour-dimensional, because it changes over time, growingas I add more to it. A piece of output I make using thisforest of thoughts is like a path through the woods. It’sa one-dimensional narrative or interpretation that startsat one point, moves in a line or an arc (sometimes azig-zag) through the woods, touching some but not allof the trees and leaves. I like this imagery, because itsuggests there are many ways to move through the forest.
  2. Jul 2022
    1. https://archive.org/details/britannica_propaedia/mode/2up

      The one-volume Propædia is the first of three parts of the 15th edition of Encyclopædia Britannica, the other two being the 12-volume Micropædia and the 17-volume Macropædia. The Propædia is intended as a topical organization of the Britannica's contents, complementary to the alphabetical organization of the other two parts. Introduced in 1974 with the 15th edition, the Propædia and Micropædia were intended to replace the Index of the 14th edition; however, after widespread criticism, the Britannica restored the Index as a two-volume set in 1985. ==The core of the Propædia is its Outline of Knowledge, which seeks to provide a logical framework for all human knowledge==; however, the Propædia also has several appendices listing the staff members, advisors and contributors to all three parts of the Britannica.

      link to: - https://hypothes.is/a/ISNt8BBPEe2oTse1NiJv4w

    1. Because I wanted to make use of a unified version of the overall universe of knowledge as a structural framework, I ended up using the Outline of Knowledge (OoK) in the Propædia volume that was part of Encyclopedia Britannica 15th edition, first published 1974, the final version of which (2010) is archived at -- where else? -- the Internet Archive.

      The Outline of Knowledge appears in the Propædia volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica. It is similar to various olther classification systems like the Dewey Decimal system or the Universal Decimal Classification.

    1. https://developassion.gumroad.com/l/obsidian-starter-kit

      Sébastien Dubois selling an Obsidian Starter Kit for €19.99 on Gumroad.

      Looks like it's got lots of support and description of many of the big buzz words in the personal knowledge management space. Not sure how it would work with everything and the kitchen sink thrown in.

      found via https://www.reddit.com/r/PersonalKnowledgeMgmt/comments/w8dw94/obsidian_starter_kit/

    1. The excitement over PKM has spilled over into blogs,YouTube channels, online courses, and books. Like otherproductivity hacks of the past (The One Minute Manager,Getting Things Done, etc.), techniques such as “LinkingYour Thinking”, “Writing Smart Notes”, or “Building aSecond Brain” contain a lot of useful ideas and havesometimes launched careers for their authors.

      a.k.a. productivity porn

    1. Mander, R., Salomon, G. and Wong, Y. A PileMetaphor for Supporting Casual Organisationof Information. Proceedings of Human Factorsin Computing Systems CHI’92, pp 627-634,1992.

      The quote from this paper references Mander 1992:

      It seems that knowledge workers use physical space, such as desks or floors, as a temporary holding pattern for inputs and ideas which they cannot yet categorise or even decide how they might use [12].

      leads me to believe that the original paper has information which supports office workers using their physical environments as thinking and memory spaces much as indigenous peoples have for their knowledge management systems using orality and memory.

    2. Kidd, Alison. “The Marks Are on the Knowledge Worker.” In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 186–91. CHI ’94. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery, 1994. https://doi.org/10.1145/191666.191740.

  3. Jun 2022
    1. We've yet to see note-taking platforms meaningfully add AI affordances into their systems, but there are hints at how they could in other platforms.

      A promising project is Paul Bricman's Conceptarium.

    2. None of the automations I've suggested above are impractically complex or technologically impossible.

      Exactly. For most apps, they're simply your classical macros.

    1. The reason these apps are great for such a broad range of use cases is they give users really strong data structures to work within.

      Inside the very specific realm of personal knowledge bases, TiddlyWiki is the killer app when it comes to using blocks and having structured, translatable data behind them.

    1. personal knowledge management (#PKM),#SecondBrain, #BASB, or #toolsforthought. Share your toptakeaways from this book or anything else you’ve realized ordiscovered

      smart marketing for those who may be more naïve...

    2. That is why building a Second Brain is a journey of personalgrowth. As your information environment changes, the way yourmind operates starts to be transformed.

      This also happens with the techniques of orality, but from an entirely different perspective. Again, these methods are totally invisible even to an expert on productivity and personal knowledge management.

      Not even a mention here of the ancient Greeks bemoaning the invention of literacy as papering over valuable memory.

    3. You might have arrived at this book because you heard about thisnew field called personal knowledge management, or maybe whenyou were trying to find guidance in how to use a cool new notetakingapp. Maybe you were drawn in by the promise of new techniques forenhancing your productivity, or perhaps it was the allure of asystematic approach to creativity.

      The broad audiences for this book.

      This may have been better place in the introduction to draw these people in.

    1. https://app.thebrain.com/brains/3d80058c-14d8-5361-0b61-a061f89baf87/thoughts/32f9fc36-6963-9ee0-9b44-a89112919e29/attachments/6492d41a-73b2-20d8-b145-3283598c612b

      A fantastic example of an extensive mind map from Jerry Michalski using The Brain.

      There are lots of interesting links and resources, but on the whole

      How many of the nodes actually have specific notes, explicit ideas, annotations, or excerpts within them?

      Without these, it's an interesting map and provides some broad context, but removes local specific context of who Jerry is and how he explicitly thinks. One can review the overarching parts to extract what his biases may be based on availability heuristics, but in areas of conflicting ideas which have relatively equal numbers of links within a particular area, one may not be able to discern arguments from each other.

      Still a fascinating start and something not commonly seen in the broader literature.

      I'll also note that even in a small sample of one video call with Jerry sharing his screen while we talked about a broad sub-topic it's interesting to see his prior contexts as we conversed. I've only ever had similar experiences with Bill Seitz who regularly drops links to his wiki pages in this sort of way or Kevin Marks (usually in text chat contexts and less frequently in video calls/conversations) who drops links to his extensive blogging history which also serves to add his prior thoughts and contextualizations.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G60o31ay_D0

      Maintaining multiple blogs or websites for each topic one is interested in can be exhausting.

      Example: Dan Allosso indicates that he's gotten overwhelmed at keeping things "everywhere" rather than in one place. (~4:40)

  4. May 2022
    1. Informationbecomes knowledge—personal, embodied, verified—only when weput it to use. You gain confidence in what you know only when youknow that it works. Until you do, it’s just a theory.

      motivational...

    2. Remembering, Connecting, Creating: The Three Stages ofPersonal Knowledge Management
    3. This isn’t the same notetaking you learned in school

      Most people weren't taught positive or even useful note taking skills in school, and this is a massive problem in a knowledge-based and knowledge privileged society.

    4. the lessons you will find within thesepages are built on timeless and unchanging principles

      The ideas behind knowledge management are largely timeless, but they are far from unchanging. They have evolved slowly over 2000+ years until we broadly threw many of them away in the early 20th century.

      One only need read a few pages of Ann M. Blair's Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age to see some of the changes and shifts within the space from the 1400s on.

    1. in my experience it has its head has a similar pattern to what henry ford did to the automobile 01:20:31 industry so before him it was basically like a few people built one car at a time and he basically broke up the process so you had like i don't know how many but 01:20:43 like dozens people a dozen people and each individual had just one one motion to do and the industrialization specialization right yeah and the the result was that 01:20:56 each individual didn't know anything and all the knowledge was in the process and my suspicion is that the promise of the settle custom that the paper 01:21:08 just write themselves it's like a very prominent process a promise around the telecast method lead to the to the thinking that you basically reduce your 01:21:20 the need for yourself and all the intelligence all the proficiency is put into a system and you have something doing for you and you treat yourself more like a like a 01:21:33 worker on a an assembly line just being and having all just a simple a simple motion that you have to do and then the end product will be 01:21:45 but will be very complex and very sophisticated because the intelligence is embedded in the process

      Sascha Fast analogizes the writing process using a zettelkasten to Henry Ford's assembly line for building cars. Each worker on the assembly line has a limited bit of knowledge for their individual part of the process, but most of the knowledge and value is built into the overarching process itself. This makes the overall system quicker and more efficient.

      Similarly with note taking, each individual portion of the process is simple and self-contained, but it allows the writer to create a much more creative and complex piece in the end. Here an individual can accomplish all of the individual steps in a self-contained way while focusing on individual steps without becoming lost in the subsequent steps which would otherwise require a tremendous additional amount of energy.

    1. https://www.otherlife.co/pkm/

      The PKM space has gotten crazy, but mostly through bad practice, lack of history, and hype. There are a few valid points I see mirrored here, but on the whole this piece is broadly off base due to a lack of proper experience, practice and study. I definitely would recommend he take a paid course to fix the issue, but delve more deeply into recommended historical practices.

    2. But the current discourse has gotten out of hand.

      The current discourse around personal knowledge management is out of hand, but not necessarily for all the reasons stated here. There are many issues and we have a lot of history and practice to recover. We also have lost sight of the "why are we doing this?" question before jumping into some of these practices with both feet.

    3. Apps and courses that help you make these pretty pictures are not helping you to advance your knowledge or to write increasingly insightful works.

      Based on my preliminary reading of Tiago Forte's forthcoming book, this seems broadly true.

    4. That people show off these illegible globs in public only makes sense from a signaling perspective: They are saying, “look at how many nodes I have in my brain, amazing nodes, I have so many nodes that a peon such as yourself can’t even guess what’s going on here!”

      I have tongue-in-cheek posted a massive graph indicating that it was only a "few days work" to see what sort of reaction it would get. No one batted an eyelash, which makes me think that too many are "collectors" and aren't actually building something or using their system correctly.

      There is a dearth of solid examples of these systems online for people to look at and evaluate critically. This is killing the space slowly.

    5. The single most widely shared marketing image for Roam Research

      This useless knowledge graph is one of the worst parts about Roam Research. It is bad UI and wholly unusable.

    6. Many writers have devised lots of little systems, and the fact that everyone into PKM mentions this one guy supports my argument. What percentage of history's greatest and most prolific writers did not use a Zettelkasten? More than 99%, probably. Luhmann is an exception that proves the rule.

      There is a heavy availability heuristic at play here. Most people in the recent/modern PKM space are enamored with the idea of zettelkasten and no one (or very few) have delved in more deeply to the history to uncover more than Luhmann. There definitely are many, many more. If we expand the circle to include looser forms like the commonplace book then we find that nearly every major thinker since the Renaissance kept some sort of note taking system and it's highly likely that their work was heavily influenced by their notes, notebooks, and commonplace books.

      Hell, Newton invented the calculus in his waste book, a form of pre-commonplace book from which he apparently never got his temporary notes out into a more personal permanent form.

      A short trip to even the scant references on the Wikipedia pages for commonplace book and zettelkasten will reveal a fraction of the extant examples.

    7. All you have to do is take cute little notes all the time, and the hard work is magically done for you!

      This sounds clever, but it belies the amount of work that can go into such systems on the font end instead of on the back end. It also sounds as if the author hasn't used such a system to even a low level of critical mass to begin discovering any serendipity or finding any insight in their links.

    8. Everyone is overloaded with information thanks to the digital revolution, so—the PKM people tell us—we need new software and systems to survive and thrive.

      Information overload goes back much further in history than the digital revolution. I might argue that information managers have tamed large portions of the beast already and we've forgotten many of the methods and as a result we're now either reinventing or rediscovering them as we transfer them to the digital space.

  5. Apr 2022
  6. Mar 2022
    1. We’re building a knowledge base, so if one writer collects information for an article, their research is made available to the other writers in the collective. 

      How does one equitably and logically build a communally shared knowledge base for a for-profit space?

      How might a communal zettelkasten work? A solid index for creating links between pieces is incredibly important here, but who does this work? How is it valued?

    1. I also maintain a public Zettelkasten (others use the similar terms digital garden or second brain), in which I keep thoughts about everything under the sun. You can visit it to virtually “pick my brain” about some topic without bothering me, or to explore what I’m currently working on.

      Soren Bjornstad has a public zettelkasten which is in the vein of a traditional one though he indicates that others might call it a digital garden or second brain. This shows the conflation of many of these terms.

      What truly differentiates digital gardens from wikis and zettelkasten?

  7. Feb 2022
    1. These study guides, which neglect everything before a writingassignment is given, are a little bit like financial advisors who discusshow 65-year-olds can save for retirement. At this point you would bebetter off curbing your enthusiasm (which is exactly what one of themost often sold study guides in Germany recommends: first, loweryour expectations on quality and insight).

      A side benefit of a growing set of notes as an academic is that one has a visible repository of knowledge and ideas as well as fascinating questions which, while they may reveal how much one doesn't know, it will make it apparent how much one does know and thereby mitigate one's feelings of imposter syndrome.

    1. Highlighting would be a crude form of knowledge telling. Knowledge transforming involves interpretation on the part of the content producer.

      Scholars who study writing differentiate between knowledge telling and knowledge transforming.

      Highlighting can be seen as a weak form of knowledge telling. It's a low level indicator that an idea is important, but doesn't even go so far as the reader strengthening the concept by restating the idea in their own words similar to the Feynman technique.

      One could go steps further by not only restating it but transforming it and linking it into one's larger body of knowledge or extending into other contexts.

  8. Jan 2022
    1. A Mental Squeeze Point is when your unsorted knowledge becomes so messy it overwhelms and discourages you. Either you are equipped with frameworks to overcome the squeeze point, or you are discouraged and possibly abandon your project.

      Cross reference: https://hypothes.is/a/BuMcAnr4EeyxO-PwNBfPrg (Dan Allosso's analogy about the Kuiper Belt)

    1. https://www.goedel.io/p/tools-for-thought-but-not-for-search

      Searching for two ingredients in an effort to find a recipe that will allow their use should be de rigueur in a personal knowledge manager, sadly it doesn't appear to be the case.


      This sort of simple search not working in these tools is just silly.

      They should be able to search across blocks, pages, and even provide graph views to help in this process. Where are all the overlaps of these words within one's database?

    1. Michael Ashcroft@m_ashcroft

      Having a solid reason for "why" when beginning a personal knowledge management system is important.

  9. Dec 2021
    1. Simultaneously, there was a revival of the old art of excerpting and the use of commonplace books. Yet, the latter were perceived no longer as memory aids but as true secondary memo-ries. Scholars, in turn, became increasingly aware that to address the informa-tion overload produced by printing, the best solution was to train a card index instead of their own individual consciousness.

      Another reason for the downfall of older Western memory traditions is the increased emphasis and focus on the use of commonplaces and commonplace books in the late 1400s onward.

      Cross reference the popularity of manuals by Erasmus, Agricola, and Melanchthon.

    2. In short, the core hypothesis that I would like to explore is that there is nothing particularly surprising in the contemporary use of a card index as a surprise generator. Indeed, the question should be instead: how it is possible to explain the evolutionary improbability of the social use of ‘machines’ as secondary memories for knowledge management and reproduc-tion?

      The key question Alberto Cevolini is exploring here.

    3. The main hypothesis is that in the use of a card index as a surprise generator, there is nothing particularly surpris-ing if one considers the evolution of knowledge management in early modern Europe.

      This is what I have been arguing all along as I've been doing my research as well.

    1. Even more important is that all this isn’t about the software. It is about the system you set up. Some software nudges you, sometimes even pushes you, towards system design decisions. Take Wikis as an example. Most of them have two different modes: The reading mode. The editing mode. The reading mode is the default. But most of the time you should create, edit and re-edit the content. This default, this separation of reading and editing, is a small but significant barrier on producing content. You will behave differently. This is one reason I don’t like wikis for knowledge work. They are clumsy and work better for different purposes.

      Most wikis have a user interface problem between their read and edit modes. Switching between the two creates additional and unnecessary friction for placing content and new information into them.

  10. Nov 2021
  11. Oct 2021
    1. A new idea acts retrospectively; a torch throws its light behind as well as before. Materials that were laid aside take on a new aspect when they are classified by means of an idea. Then everything within us is reborn and animated with a new life. But for that to happen, the paths of light must be open, our thoughts must be in order and linked consecutively one with another.
    2. Among the works of St. Thomas there is a letter to a certain Brother John, in which are enumerated Sixteen Precepts for Acquiring the Treasure of Knowledge.t Th

      Reference to read.

      They are given in Latin and English, with a commentary, in a lecture by Fr. Victor White, O.P., published by Black- friars, Oxford, December 1944: St. Thomas Aquinas, De Modo Studendi, price 6d.

    1. All of which can help with getting a grip on your personal knowledge mastery (pkm).

      Example of someone in the wild using PKM as Personal Knowledge Mastery instead of the more common Personal Knowledge Management.

  12. Sep 2021
  13. Aug 2021
    1. The foregoing studies suggest two strands of commonplacing circa 1700. The first was thecollection of authoritative knowledge, usually in the form of quotations. The second was thecollection of personal or natural knowledge, with Francis Bacon’s lists, desiderata and apho-risms serving as early examples. While Moss has shown that the first strand was losing popular-ity by the 1680s, recent scholarship has shown that the second retained momentum through theeighteenth century,9especially in scientific dictionaries,10instructional cards,11catalogues,12

      loose-leaf manuscripts,13syllabi14and, most especially, notebooks.15

      There are two strands of commonplacing around 1700: one is the traditional collection of authoritative knowledge while the second was an emergent collection of more personal knowledge and exploration.

  14. Jul 2021
    1. On the difference for writing for one's self and for others. Of course there's also the need to be able to re-decifer one's notes again in the future. It may be best to keep more detailed for your future self as if you're writing for the public.

      I like the idea of distance in "communication space" which comes up in the comments. This is related to context collapse and shared contexts which are often too-important in our communication with regard to being understood in the far future.

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Matthias Melcher</span> in Commonplace Book | x28's new Blog (<time class='dt-published'>07/06/2021 11:13:34</time>)</cite></small>

  15. Jun 2021
  16. May 2021