- May 2023
I am wholly unsurprised that Harold Innis maintained a card index (zettelkasten) through his research life, but I am pleased to have found that his literary estate has done some work on it and published it. The introduction seems to have some fascinating material on the form and structure as well as decisions on how they decided to present and publish it.
Another important 20th-century thinker to rely on index cards was pioneering media theo-rist Harold Innis.18 The executors of his estate published a tome called The Idea File (1980),composed of 18 inches of index cards, plus five inches of reference cards. Innis had a selection ofhand-written index cards typed up and numbered, 1 through 339. It is unclear if these rumina-tions on television and art, communication and trade, secrecy and money, literature and the oraltradition, archives and history were intended to constitute a book project; the decision to publishthe cards balances the putative will to posterity of an author, and the potential embarrassmentof incomplete work. Clearly Innis intended to work synchronically rather than diachronically,to focus less on logical connections than on analogies, to practice pattern recognition—andthe associative links of a card index lend themselves perfectly to this kind of project.
- Mar 2023
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Zettel. Edited by Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe and Georg Henrik von Wright,. Translated by G. E. M. Anscombe. Second California Paperback Printing. 1967. Reprint, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press, 2007.
annotation target: urn:x-pdf:15f4a1e48274f28b55eb6f8411c1ff1c
Often fragments on the same topic were clipped together; butthere were also a large number lying loose in the box. Someyears ago Peter Geach made an arrangement of this material,keeping together what were in single bundles, and otherwisefitting the pieces as well as he could according to subject matter.This arrangement we have retained with a very few alterations
This brings up the question of how Ludwig Wittgenstein arranged his own zettelkasten...
Peter Geach made an arrangement of Wittgenstein's zettels which was broadly kept in the edited and published version Zettel (1967). Apparently fragments on the same topic were clipped together indicating that Wittgenstein's method was most likely by topical headings. However there were also a large number of slips "lying loose in the box." Perhaps these were notes which he had yet to file or which some intervening archivist may have re-arranged?
In any case, Geach otherwise arranged all the materials as best as he could according to subject matter. As a result the printed book version isn't necessarily the arrangement that Wittgenstein would have made, but the editors of the book felt that at least Geach's arrangement made it an "instructive and readable compilation".
This source doesn't indicate the use of alphabetical dividers or other tabbed divisions.
WB publish here a collection of fragments made by Wittgensteinhimself and left by him in a box-file
In 1967, G. E. M. Anscombe and G. H. von Wright published a collection of notes from Ludwig Wittgenstein's zettelkasten which they aptly titled Zettel.
- Jan 2023
Before they were sent, however, the contents of itstwenty-six drawers were photographed in Princeton, resulting in thirty mi-crofilm rolls. Recently, digital pdf copies of these microfilm rolls have been
circulating among scholars of the documentary Geniza.
Prior to being shipped to the National Library of Israel, Goitein's index card collection was photographed in Princeton and transferred to thirty microfilm rolls from which digital copies in .pdf format have been circulating among scholars of the documentary Geniza.
Link to other examples of digitized note collections: - Niklas Luhmann - W. Ross Ashby - Jonathan Edwards
Are there collections by Charles Darwin and Linnaeus as well?
Recently, images ofGoitein’s index cards and transcriptions have been attached to existing tran-scriptions or to shelf marks without transcription, thus increasing the numberof records to over eighty-three hundred (as of May 2018).
S.D. Goitein's index cards have been imaged and transcribed and added to the Princeton Geniza Lab as of May 2018. Digital search and an index are also available.
- Oct 2022
Klassische Editionen können nur schwer die komplexe Arbeitsweise von Jungius’ abbilden und niemals alle möglichen Querverbindungen aufzeigen. Insbesondere sind thematisch zusammengehörende Stellen oft weit voneinander entfernt abgelegt worden, so dass selbst der bis auf die Ebene der kleinsten Konvolute des Bestands („Manipel“ von durchschnittlich etwa 15 Blatt Umfang) hinunterreichende gedruckte Katalog von Christoph Meinel deren Auffinden nur wenig erleichtert. Ebenso wenig sind sie in der Lage, die Rolle von Zeichnungen und Tabellen oder gar die Informationen auf den Zettelrückseiten adäquat wiederzugeben. Aufgrund dieser Besonderheiten ist der Nachlass Joachim Jungius besonders attraktiv für eine Digitalisierung.
machine translation (Google):
Classic editions can hardly depict Jungius' complex way of working and can never show all possible cross-connections. In particular, passages that belong together thematically have often been filed far apart from each other, so that even the printed catalog by Christoph Meinel, which extends down to the level of the smallest bundles of the collection (“Maniples” averaging around 15 pages in size), makes finding them only slightly easier. Nor are they able to adequately reproduce the role of drawings and tables or even the information on the backs of notes. Due to these special features, the estate of Joachim Jungius is particularly attractive for digitization.
It sounds here as if Christoph Meinel has collected and printed a catalog of Joachim Jungius' zettelkasten. (Where is this? Find a copy.) This seems particularly true as related cards could and would have been easily kept far apart from each other, and this could give us a hint as to the structural nature of his specific practice and uses of his notes.
It sounds as if Stabi is making an effort to digitize Jungius' note collection.
- Jul 2022
Famously, Luswig Wittgenstein organized his thoughts this way. Also famously, he never completed his 'big book' - almost all of his books (On Certainty, Philosophical Investigations, Zettel, etc.) were compiled by his students in the years after his death.
I've not looked directly at Wittgenstein's note collection before, but it could be an interesting historical example.
Might be worth collecting examples of what has happened to note collections after author's lives. Some obviously have been influential in scholarship, but generally they're subsumed by the broader category of a person's "papers" which are often archived at libraries, museums, and other institutions.
Examples: - Vincentius Placcius' collection used by his students - Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten which is being heavily studied by Johannes F.K. Schmidt - Mortimer J. Adler - was his kept? where is it stored?
Posthumously published note card collections - Ludwig Wittgenstein - Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project - Ronald Reagan's collection at his presidential library, though it is more of an commonplace book collection of quotes which was later published - Roland Barthes' Mourning Diary - Vladimir Nabokov's The Original of Laura - others...
Just as note collections serve an autobiographical function, perhaps they may also serve as an intellectual autobiographical function? Wittgenstein never managed to complete his 'big book', but in some sense, doesn't his collection of note cards serve this function for those willing to explore it all?
I'd previously suggested that Scott P. Scheper publish not only his book on note taking, but to actually publish his note cards as a stand-alone zettelkasten example to go with them. What if this sort of publishing practice were more commonplace? The modern day equivalent is more likely a person's blog or their wiki. Not enough people are publicly publishing their notes to see what this practice might look like for future generations.
- posthumous publication
- Johannes F.K. Schmidt
- Vincentius Placcius
- note taking
- card index as autobiography
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
- Scott P. Scheper
- Walter Benjamin
- published zettelkasten
- Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten
- posthumous notes
- Jun 2022
u/sscheper in writing your book, have you thought about the following alternative publishing idea which I'm transcribing from a random though I put on a card this morning?
I find myself thinking about people publishing books in index card/zettelkasten formats. Perhaps Scott Scheper could do this with his antinet book presented in a traditional linear format, but done in index cards with his numbers, links, etc. as well as his actual cards for his index at the end so that readers could also see the power of the system by holding it in their hands and playing with it?
It could be done roughly like Edward Powys Mathers' Cain's Jawbone or Henry Korn's Pontoon Manifesto? Perhaps numbered consecutively to make it easier to bring back into that format, but also done with your zk numbering so that people could order it and use it that way too? This way you get the book as well as a meta artifact of what the book is about as an example of how to do such a thing for yourself. Maybe even make a contest for a better ordering for the book than the one you published it in ?
Link to: - https://hyp.is/6IBzkPfeEeyo9Suq-ZmCKg/www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/
- Henry James Korn
- Cain's Jawbone
- experimental fiction
- Scott P. Scheper
- Edward Powys Mathers
- antinet zettelkasten
- experimental nonfiction
- published zettelkasten
- index card books
- index cards