222 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. 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.

    1. The trending topics on Twitter can be used as a form of juxtaposition of random ideas which could be brought together to make new and interesting things.

      Here's but one example of someone practicing just this:

      Y’all, imagine Spielberg’s Sailor Moon pic.twitter.com/xZ1DEsbLTy

      — Matty Illustration (@MN_illustration) June 30, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      cc: https://twitter.com/marshallk

    1. Explore more Thinking Routines at pz.harvard.edu/thinking-routines
    2. Compass Points, a routine for examining propositions.

      via https://pz.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/Compass%20Points_0.pdf

      • E- excited
      • W- worrisome
      • N - need to know
      • S - stance or suggestion for moving forward

      These could be used as a simple set of rules for thumb for evaluating and expanding on ideas in note taking or social annotation settings.

      Compare these with the suggestions of Tiago Forte in his book Building a Second Brain. Which is better? More comprehensive? Are there any ideas missing in a broader conceptualization? Is there a better acronymization or analogy for such a technique?

    1. surveys indicate that screens and e-readers interfere with two other important aspects of navigating texts: serendipity and a sense of control.

      Based on surveys, readers indicate that two important parts of textual navigation are sense of control and serendipity.


      How does the control over a book frame how we read? What does "power over" a book look like compared to "power with"?

      What are the tools for thought affordances that paper books provide over digital books and vice versa?

      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 linear format, but done in index cards with his numbers, links, etc. as well as his actual cards for his index so that readers could also see the power of the system by holding it in their hands and playing with it.

  2. Jun 2022
    1. Giving Your First Brain a New Job

      This entire chapter thus far (to the end of this section at minimum) sounds like it would have been better motivating material.

      It also has a more touchy-feely and less concrete nature which puts in the self-help category and not so much in the tools for thought space.

    2. 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.

    3. Tharp calls her approach “the box.”

      In The Creative Habit, dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp has creative inspiration and note taking practice which she calls "the box" in which she organizes “notebooks, news clippings, CDs, videotapes of me working alone in my studio, videos of the dancers rehearsing, books and photographs and pieces of art that may have inspired me”. She also calls her linking of ideas within her box method "the art of scratching" (chapter 6).

      related: combinatorial creativity triangle thinking

      [[Twyla Tharp]] [[The Creative Habit]] #books/wanttoread

    1. Tiago's book follows the general method of the commonplace book, but relies more heavily on a folder-based method and places far less emphasis and value on having a solid index. There isn't any real focus on linking ideas other than putting some things together in the same folder. His experience with the history of the space in feels like it only goes back to some early Ryan Holiday blog posts. He erroneously credits Luhmann with inventing the zettelkasten and Anne-Laure Le Cunff created digital gardens. He's already retracted these in sketch errata here: https://www.buildingasecondbrain.com/endnotes.

      I'll give him at least some credit that there is some reasonable evidence that he actually used his system to write his own book, but the number and depth of his references and experience is exceptionally shallow given the number of years he's been in the space, particularly professionally. He also has some interesting anecdotes and examples of various people including and array of artists and writers which aren't frequently mentioned in the note taking space, so I'll give him points for some diversity of players as well. I'm mostly left with the feeling that he wrote the book because of the general adage that "thought leaders in their space should have a published book in their area to have credibility". Whether or not one can call him a thought leader for "re-inventing" something that Rudolphus Agricola and Desiderius Erasmus firmly ensconced into Western culture about 500 years ago is debatable.

      Stylistically, I'd call his prose a bit florid and too often self-help-y. The four letter acronyms become a bit much after a while. It wavers dangerously close to those who are prone to the sirens' call of the #ProductivityPorn space.

      If you've read a handful of the big articles in the note taking, tools for thought, digital gardens, zettelkasten space, Ahren's book, or regularly keep up with r/antinet or r/Zettelkasten, chances are that you'll be sorely disappointed and not find much insight. If you have friends that don't need the horsepower of Ahrens or zettelkasten, then it might be a reasonable substitute, but then it could have been half the length for the reader.

    1. The box is not a substitute for creating. The box doesn’t compose or write apoem or create a dance step. The box is the raw index of your preparation. It is therepository of your creative potential, but it is not that potential realized.

      Great quote about what a zettelkasten isn't. This is also one of the reasons why I've underlined the amount of work that one must put into the box to get productive material back out the other end.

    1. Harness collective intelligence augmented by digital technology, and unlock exponential innovation. Beyond old hierarchical structures and archaic tools.


      The words "beyond", "hierarchical", and "archaic" are all designed to marginalize prior thought and tools which all work, and are likely upon which this broader idea is built. This is a potentially toxic means of creating "power over" this prior art rather than a more open spirit of "power with".

    1. https://kumu.io/

      Make sense of your messy world. Kumu makes it easy to organize complex data into relationship maps that are beautiful to look at and a pleasure to use.


      The art of mapping is to create a context in which others can think.

      Tool mentioned on [[2022-06-02]] by Jerry Michalski during [[Friends of the Link]] meeting.

  3. May 2022
    1. However, what if we replace “ human face ” in this decisive quotewith “interface,” that is, the interface between man and apparatus?

      This wording seems quite profound.

      It means that by creating a personification of our tools, we can more easily communicate with them.

      Do people personify their computers? I remember in the late 80s and early 90s computer workstations, especially in university settings, having personified names.

      Link this to the personification of rocks w.r.t. talking rocks and oral traditions.

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/KosdVt1qEeykU2dTuVZT3Q

    2. In a word thatKleist borrows from Kant: a “midwifery of thought.”45
      1. Immanuel Kant, Metaphysik der Sitten, Zweiter Teil, II. Ethische Methodenlehre, 1st Section, §50: “He is the midwife of his thoughts,” on the teacher-student relationship.
    3. a constellation already described in 1805 by Heinrich von Kleist in his fascinat-ing analysis of the “Midwifery of Thought”: “If you want to know something and cannotfind it through meditation, I advise you, my dear, clever friend, to speak about it withthe next acquaintance who bumps into you.” 43 The positive tension that such a conversa-tion immediately elicits through the expectations of the Other obliges one to producenew thought in the conversation. The idea develops during speech. There, the sheeravailability of such a counterpart, who must do nothing further (i.e., offer additionalstimulus through keen contradiction of the speaker) is already enough; “There is a specialsource of excitement, for him who speaks, in the human face across from him; and agaze which already announces a half-expressed thought to be understood often givesexpression to the entire other half.”44
      1. Heinrich von Kleist, “Ü ber die allm ä hliche Verfertigung der Gedanken beim Reden,” in Sämtliche Werke und Briefe. Zweiter Band, ed. Helmut Sembdner (M ü nchen: dtv, 1805/2001), 319 – 324, at 319.
      2. Ibid., 320.

      in 1805 Heinrich von Kleist noted that one can use conversation with another person, even when that person is silent, to come up with solutions or ideas they may not have done on their own.

      This phenomena is borne out in modern practices like the so-called "rubber duck debugging", where a programmer can talk to any imagined listener, often framed as a rubber duck sitting on their desk, and talk through the problem in their code. Invariably, talking through all the steps of the problem will often result in the person realizing what the problem is and allow them to fix it.

      This method of verbal "conversation" obviously was a tool which indigenous oral cultures frequently used despite the fact that they didn't have literacy as a tool to fall back on.

    4. commenting in an interview: “By the way, many people havecome here to see that.”13 The writing tool became an object of desire, especially foryoung academics seeking to add a carefully planned card index to their carefully plannedcareers: “After all, Fred wants to be a professor.” 1

      Luhmann indicates that aspiring academics came to visit to see his card collection in potentially planning their own.

      1. Ralf Klassen, “Bezaubernde Jeannie oder Liebe ist nur ein Zeitvertreib,” in Wir Fernsehkinder. Eine Generation ohne Programm, ed. Walter Wüllenweber (Berlin: Rowohlt Berlin Verlag, 1994), 81 – 97, at 84.
    1. Creativity depends on acreative process.
    2. There are four essential capabilities that we can rely on a SecondBrain to perform for us:1. Making our ideas concrete.2. Revealing new associations between ideas.3. Incubating our ideas over time.4. Sharpening our unique perspectives.

      Does the system really do each of these? Writing things down for our future selves is the thing that makes ideas concrete, not the system itself. Most notebooks don't reveal new associations, we actively have to do that ourselves via memory or through active search and linking within the system itself. The system may help, but it doesn't automatically create associations nor reveal them. By keeping our ideas in one place they do incubate to some extent, but isn't the real incubation taking place in a diffuse way in our minds to come out later?

    1. This art of method was understood by Ramus and Ramists as its own efficacious art of memory. InScholae in liberales artes, Ramus is explicit about his disdain for the visual mnemonic rules suggested byclassical sources.“The art of memory,”he counters,“consists entirely in division and composition. If weseek then an art which will divide and compose things, we shall find the art of memory”(qtd. in Yates 233).Ramus thus enfolds the fourth canon into his methodical framework, linking memorization of content withits“division and composition,”that is, with its organization.

      Arrangement and organization definitely have their place and can be helpful. However they may also tend to become too rigid to the point that one's thinking begins to lack creativity and invention. Where is the space for the Llullist arts of combinatorial thought here?

    1. In §§ 4–5, I examine the socio-evolutionary circumstances under which a closed combinatory, such as the one triggered by the Llullian art, was replaced by an open-ended combinatory, such as the one triggered by a card index based on removable entries. In early modernity, improvement in abstraction compelled scholars to abandon the idea that the order of knowledge should mirror the order of nature. This development also implied giving up the use of space as a type of externalization and as the main rule for checking consis-tency.

      F*ck! I've been scooped!

      Apparently I'm not the only one who has noticed this, though I notice that he doesn't cite Frances A. Yates, which would have certainly been the place for having come up with this historical background (at least that's where I found it.)

      The Llullian arts can be more easily practiced with ideas placed on moveable index cards than they might be with ideas stored in one's own memory. Thus the index card as a tool significantly decreases the overhead and provides an easier user interface for permuting one's ideas and combining them. This decrease in mental work appearing at a time of information overload also puts specific pressure on the older use of the art of memory to put it out of fashion.

    1. Active reading to the extreme!

      What a clever innovation building on the ideas of the art of memory and Raymond Llull's combinatoric arts!

      Does this hit all of the areas of Bloom's Taxonomy? I suspect that it does.

      How could it be tied more directly into an active reading, annotating, and note taking practice?

    1. Sometime in 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche bought a typewriter—a Malling-Hansen Writing Ball, to be precise. His vision was failing, and keeping his eyes focused on a page had become exhausting and painful, often bringing on crushing headaches. He had been forced to curtail his writing, and he feared that he would soon have to give it up. The typewriter rescued him, at least for a time. Once he had mastered touch-typing, he was able to write with his eyes closed, using only the tips of his fingers. Words could once again flow from his mind to the page. But the machine had a subtler effect on his work. One of Nietzsche’s friends, a composer, noticed a change in the style of his writing. His already terse prose had become even tighter, more telegraphic. “Perhaps you will through this instrument even take to a new idiom,” the friend wrote in a letter, noting that, in his own work, his “‘thoughts’ in music and language often depend on the quality of pen and paper.”“You are right,” Nietzsche replied, “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.” Under the sway of the machine, writes the German media scholar Friedrich A. Kittler , Nietzsche’s prose “changed from arguments to aphorisms, from thoughts to puns, from rhetoric to telegram style.”

      Saving the entire story for context, but primarily for this Marshall McLuhan-esque quote:

      “You are right,” Nietzsche replied, “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.”

      I want to know the source of the quote.

    1. Who can integrate bidi links into a larger system, expand in concentric circles, and take them to their logical conclusion — ubiquity across all information surfaces. ... Across Closed Worlds (Chat, Notes, Projects) to Open Worlds (Twitter, Blogs, Feeds) & everything in between The [[wiki link]] is just like #'s and @'s — public-domain innovations in hypertext. But just cause your social app has @'s and #'s doesn't mean people will use it.

      This is a fine sentiment, but a networked version of wikilinks is bound to cause conflicts in folksonomies and issues with sourcing and verifiability. The potential for context collapse is potentially too great to have these scale for this type of knowledge production. One would need to have trusted groups to create usefulness. Search at scale for these is likely to be at issue as well.

      Are the affordances beyond the local scale really any better than current web technologies? What about the potential effects on the commons?

    1. $L(#&$'&$+-41,[*$4'2'+18$081**)--C*Y$*+=4#&+*$=*#$+"#*#$+--8*$+-$8#1)&$"-H$+-$H)'+#Y$4)1HY$1&4$0180=81+#$-&$*"##+*$-.$919#)$+"1+Y$H"#&$08'99#4Y$*+198#4Y$-)$28=#4$+-2#+"#)Y$7#0-C#$1$&-+#7--@V

      What are the differences in the affordances of handwritten notes versus digital notes? Worth making a complete list.

  4. Apr 2022
    1. using rome as a almost a tool to convey information to your future self

      One's note taking is not only a conversation with the text or even the original author, it is also a conversation you're having with your future self. This feature is accelerated when one cross links ideas within their note box with each other and revisits them at regular intervals.

      Example of someone who uses Roam Research and talks about the prevalence of using it as a "conversation with your future self."

      This is very similar to the same patterns that can be seen in the commonplace book tradition, and even in the blogosphere (Cory Doctorow comes to mind), or IndieWeb which often recommends writing on your own website to document how you did things for your future self.

    1. Another visual-mapping tool is Open Knowledge Maps, a service offered by a Vienna-based not-for-profit organization of the same name. It was founded in 2015 by Peter Kraker, a former scholarly-communication researcher at Graz University of Technology in Austria.


      Open Knowledge maps is a visual literature search tool that is based on keywords rather than on a paper's title, author, or DOI. The service was founded in 2015 by Peter Kraker, a former scholarly communication researcher at Graz University of Technology.

    2. In 2019, Smolyansky co-founded Connected Papers, one of a new generation of visual literature-mapping and recommendation tools.



      Something about the name Connected Papers reminds me of the same sort of linking name that Manfred Kuehn gave to his note taking software ConnectedText.

    1. A filing system is indefinitely expandable, rhizomatic (at any point of timeor space, one can always insert a new card); in contradistinction with the sequen-tial irreversibility of the pages of the notebook and of the book, its interiormobility allows for permanent reordering (for, even if there is no narrative conclu-sion of a diary, there is a last page of the notebook on which it is written: its pagesare numbered, like days on a calendar).

      Most writing systems and forms force a beginning and an end, they force a particular structure that is both finite and limiting. The card index (zettelkasten) may have a beginning—there's always a first note or card, but it never has to have an end unless one's ownership is so absolute it ends with the life of its author. There are an ever-increasing number of ways to order a card index, though some try to get around this to create some artificial stability by numbering or specifically ordering their cards. New ideas can be accepted into the index at a multitude of places and are always internally mobile and re-orderable.

      link to Luhmann's works on describing this sort of rhizomatic behavior of his zettelkasten

      Within a network model framing for a zettelkasten, one might define thinking as traversing a graph of idea nodes in a particular order. Alternately it might also include randomly juxtaposing cards and creating links between ones which have similarities. Which of these modes of thinking has a higher order? Which creates more value? Which requires more work?

    2. Not unlike Duchamp’s door that is both open and closed at thesame time, the card file resists the syntagmatic closure of the sentence by sustain-ing the openness of the paradigm.

      Resisting syntagmatic closure

      Ideas placed into a card file or zettelkasten resist syntagmatic closure. Even well-formed structures in a card file can accept, expand, and integrate new ideas.

      Is a zettelkasten ever done?

    1. As Derrida writes ofthe computer, ‘I don’t feel the interposition of the machine as a sortof progress in transparency, univocity, or easiness. Rather, we areparticipating in a partly new plot’ (2005: 21). H
    2. Furthermore,combinatorial logic dictates that the card index is also the wellspringof creativity insofar as it permits expansive possibilities for futureintellectual endeavours (see Hollier, 2005: 40; cf. Krapp, 2006:367).
    3. the card indexis the quintessential structuralist tool in that it simultaneouslycombines the paradigmatic (selection) with the syntagmatic(combination) in one mechanism.
    1. Reviewing The Original of Laura, Alexander Theroux describes the cards as a “portable strategy that allowed [Nabokov] to compose in the car while his wife drove the devoted lepidopterist on butterfly expeditions.”

      While note cards have a certain portability about them for writing almost anywhere, aren't notebooks just as easily portable? In fact, with a notebook, one doesn't need to worry about spilling and unordering the entire enterprise.

      There are, however, other benefits. By using small atomic pieces on note cards, one can be far more focused on the idea and words immediately at hand. It's also far easier in a creative and editorial process to move pieces around experimentally.

      Similarly, when facing Hemmingway's White Bull, the size and space of an index card is fall smaller. This may have the effect that Twitter's short status updates have for writers who aren't faced with the seemingly insurmountable burden of writing a long blog post or essay in other software. They can write 280 characters and stop. Of if they feel motivated, they can continue on by adding to the prior parts of a growing thread. Sadly, Twitter doesn't allow either editing or rearrangements, so the endeavor and analogy are lost beyond here.

    1. Many famous antique texts are misunderstood and many others have been completely dismissed, all because the literary style in which they were written is unfamiliar today. So argues Mary Douglas in this controversial study of ring composition, a technique which places the meaning of a text in the middle, framed by a beginning and ending in parallel. To read a ring composition in the modern linear fashion is to misinterpret it, Douglas contends, and today’s scholars must reevaluate important antique texts from around the world.Found in the Bible and in writings from as far afield as Egypt, China, Indonesia, Greece, and Russia, ring composition is too widespread to have come from a single source. Does it perhaps derive from the way the brain works? What is its function in social contexts? The author examines ring composition, its principles and functions, in a cross-cultural way. She focuses on ring composition in Homer’s Iliad, the Bible’s book of Numbers, and, for a challenging modern example, Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, developing a persuasive argument for reconstruing famous books and rereading neglected ones.

      Mary Douglas has a fascinating looking text on ring composition, a literary style which puts the meaning of the text in the middle and frames it with the beginning and end which are in parallel.

      Texts like the Bible, Homer, and even Tristram Shandy might be looked at from a different perspective with this lens.

      Suggested to me by Ann Bergin within the context of The Extended Mind

  5. Mar 2022
    1. Orality is a technology or as a tool for thinking.

    2. but i i think the first couple of hundred notes are more like a collection and you look 00:34:29 for um connections and there are some but you remember them because yes the amount where it's where it doesn't surprise you 00:34:43 uh it's more you know where they are and i think the from 500 on um there's a shift um and then you need to uh figure out how to um 00:34:58 find them again so the index or some kind of system becomes more important and i think a couple of thousand notes and uh you're 00:35:12 automatically turning to your set of custom [Music] as the place where you will likely find some kind of connection

      Q: How many permanent notes did it take before you felt you had a communication partner?

      Sönke Ahrens has indicated that the first couple hundred notes are more of a static collection. Then from five hundred notes onward there is a shift and having an index becomes more important. It's only at about one thousand notes that one begins automatically turning to the zettelkasten to find connections. Perhaps it's at this point that the tool begins to look like a communication partner.

      link this to the few other examples from others.

    3. it is a tool for productivity um but i think it's a technology that forces you to [Music] engage more deeply with 00:29:06 the text you're reading

      The zettelkasten is a tool for thought that forces you to engage more deeply with what you're reading.

    1. A major advance in user interfaces that supports creative exploration would the capacity to go back in time, to review and manipulate the history of actions taken during an entire session. Users will be able to see all the steps in designing an engine and change an early design decision. They will be able to extract sections of the history to replay them or to convert into permanent macros that can be applied in similar situations. Extracting and replaying sections of history is a form of direct man ipulation programming. It enables users to explore every alternative in a decision-making situation, and then chose the one with the most favorable outcomes.

      While being able to view the history of a problem space from the perspective of a creation process is interesting, in reverse, it is also an interesting way to view a potential learning experience.

      I can't help but think about the branching tree networks of knowledge in some math texts providing potential alternate paths through the text to allow learners to go from novice to expert in areas in which they're interested. We need more user interfaces like this.

    2. Powerful tools can support creativity: Innovation can be facilitated by powerful tools that supply templates and support exploratory processes such as brainstorming (offering links to related concepts), state-space expl oration (trying out all permutations), idea combining (systematic pairings), rapid prototyping, and simulation modeling.

      State-space exploration and idea combining (systematic pairings) are just modern reimaginings of ideas going back to Raymond Llull and possibly earlier.

    3. The design of tools for toolsmiths (Brooks, 1996)

      Brooks, Frederick, Jr., The computer scientist as toolsmith II, Communications of the ACM 39, 3 (March 1996), 61-68.

    1. Hands can be a prompt, a window, a way station—butwhat they ought never have to be is still.

      Missing reference in this chapter on encouraging gestures as a tool for thought: "idle hands are the devil's workshop".

      Could the Bible have been encouraging the use of one's hands for communication??

    2. “It is from the attempt of expressing themselves thatunderstanding evolves, rather than the other way around,” he maintains.

      —Woff-Michael Roth

      Actively attempting to express oneself is one of the best methods of evolving one's understanding.

      Link this to the ideas related to being forced to actively manufacture the answer to a question is one of the best ways to learn.

    3. Research shows that people who are asked to write on complex topics,instead of being allowed to talk and gesture about them, end up reasoning lessastutely and drawing fewer inferences.

      Should active reading, thinking, and annotating also include making gestures as a means of providing more clear reasoning, and drawing better inferences from one's material?

      Would gestural movements with a hand or physical writing be helpful in annotation over digital annotation using typing as an input? Is this related to the anecdotal evidence/research of handwriting being a better method of note taking over typing?

      Could products like Hypothes.is or Diigo benefit from the use of digital pens on screens as a means of improving learning over using a mouse and a keyboard to highlight and annotate?

  6. Feb 2022
    1. 9/8g Hinter der Zettelkastentechnik steht dieErfahrung: Ohne zu schreiben kann mannicht denken – jedenfalls nicht in anspruchsvollen,selektiven Zugriff aufs Gedächtnis voraussehendenZusammenhängen. Das heißt auch: ohne Differenzen einzukerben,kann man nicht denken.

      Google translation:

      9/8g The Zettelkasten technique is based on experience: You can't think without writing—at least not in contexts that require selective access to memory.

      That also means: you can't think without notching differences.

      There's something interesting about the translation here of "notching" occurring on an index card about ideas which can be linked to the early computer science version of edge-notched cards. Could this have been a subtle and tangential reference to just this sort of computing?

      The idea isn't new to me, but in the last phrase Luhmann tangentially highlights the value of the zettelkasten for more easily and directly comparing and contrasting the ideas on two different cards which might be either linked or juxtaposed.

      Link to:

      • Graeber and Wengrow ideas of storytelling
      • Shield of Achilles and ekphrasis thesis

      • https://hypothes.is/a/I-VY-HyfEeyjIC_pm7NF7Q With the further context of the full quote including "with selective access to memory" Luhmann seemed to at least to make space (if not give a tacit nod?) to oral traditions which had methods for access to memories in ways that modern literates don't typically give any credit at all. Johannes F.K .Schmidt certainly didn't and actively erased it in Niklas Luhmann’s Card Index: The Fabrication of Serendipity.

    1. Something about Scrivener elicits a lot of strong feelings from people who have used it, both positive and negative. It has a growing community of writers who swear by it, and a parallel community that is tired of hearing all the Scrivener-heads raving about their magic tool.

      Scrivener and its community are an example of a tool for thought being thought of as a magical tool potentially without people thinking about what the tool is doing that makes things so dramatically different.

      This article is written in 2017 just before the expansion of the zettelkasten craze in various social media spaces.

    2. Two things are worth noting here: the nests and the non-linearity. The different layers are nested in structure. Hunches come together to form ideas which come together to form stories. But sequence only becomes critical in the top layers: stories, arguments, chapters. The different between the two stages is like the difference between the pushpin evidence board from The Wire — a scattered network of clues and potential connections—and a prosecutor’s closing statement in a criminal trial.
    1. https://every.to/superorganizers/the-fall-of-roam

      A user talks about why they've stopped using Roam Research.

      I suspect that a lot of people have many of the same issues and to a great extent, it's a result of them not understanding the underlying use cases of the problems they're trying to solve.

      This user is focusing on it solving the problem of where one is placing their data in hopes that it will fix all their problems, but without defining the reason why they're using the tool and what problems they hope for it to solve.

      Note taking is a much broader idea space than many suppose.

    1. Working with the slip-box, therefore, doesn’t mean storinginformation in there instead of in your head, i.e. not learning. On thecontrary, it facilitates real, long-term learning

      The forms of thinking, writing, and elaboration that go into creating permanent notes for a slip box are natural means of facilitating actual, long-term learning.

    2. he best-researched and mostsuccessful learning method is elaboration. It is very similar to whatwe do when we take smart notes and combine them with others,which is the opposite of mere re-viewing (Stein et al. 1984)Elaboration means nothing other than really thinking about themeaning of what we read, how it could inform different questions andtopics and how it could be combined with other knowledge

      Elaboration is thinking deeply about the meaning of what we've read, how it could inform or answer different questions, and how it can be linked or combined with other knowledge. It is one of the best-researched and most successful learning methods. While it seems to have some subtle differences, it sounds broadly similar to the Feynman technique and is related to the idea of writing questions based on one's notes in the Cornell note taking method.

    3. Bjork, Robert A. 2011. “On the Symbiosis of Remembering,Forgetting and Learning.” In Successful Remembering andSuccessful Forgetting: a Festschrift in Honor of Robert A. Bjork,edited by Aaron S. Benjamin, 1–22. New York, NY: PsychologyPress.
    4. This is why choosing an external system that forces us todeliberate practice and confronts us as much as possible with ourlack of understanding or not-yet-learned information is such a smartmove.

      Choosing an external system for knowledge keeping and production forces the learner into a deliberate practice and confronts them with their lack of understanding. This is a large part of the underlying value not only of the zettelkasten, but of the use of a commonplace book which Benjamin Franklin was getting at when recommending that one "read with a pen in your hand". The external system also creates a modality shift from reading to writing by way of thinking which further underlines the value.

      What other building blocks are present in addition to: - modality shift - deliberate practice - confrontation of lack of understanding

      Are there other systems that do all of these as well as others simultaneously?

      link to Franklin quote

    5. While it is obvious that familiarity is not understanding, we have nochance of knowing whether we understand something or just believewe understand something until we test ourselves in some form.

      The Cornell notes practice of writing questions in the empty left column as a means of testing knowledge can be an effective tool after taking notes to ensure that one has actually learned and understood the broad concepts. They can also be used for spaced repetition purposes as well.

      Valuable though they may be as teaching and learning tools, they don't figure directly into the idea of permanent notes from a zettelkasten perspective.

    6. Also, we shouldn’t underestimate the advantages of writing. In oralpresentations, we easily get away with unfounded claims. We candistract from argumentative gaps with confident gestures or drop acasual “you know what I mean” irrespective of whether we knowwhat we meant. In writing, these manoeuvres are a little too obvious.It is easy to check a statement like: “But that is what I said!” Themost important advantage of writing is that it helps us to confrontourselves when we do not understand something as well as wewould like to believe.

      In modern literate contexts, it is easier to establish doubletalk in oral contexts than it is in written contexts as the written is more easily reviewed for clarity and concreteness. Verbal ticks like "you know what I mean", "it's easy to see/show", and other versions of similar hand-waving arguments that indicate gaps in thinking and arguments are far easier to identify in writing than they are in speech where social pressure may cause the audience to agree without actually following the thread of the argument. Writing certainly allows for timeshiting, but it explicitly also expands time frames for grasping and understanding a full argument in a way not commonly seen in oral settings.

      Note that this may not be the case in primarily oral cultures which may take specific steps to mitigate these patterns.

      Link this to the anthropology example from Scott M. Lacy of the (Malian?) tribe that made group decisions by repeating a statement from the lowest to the highest and back again to ensure understanding and agreement.

      This difference in communication between oral and literate is one which leaders can take advantage of in leading their followers astray. An example is Donald Trump who actively eschewed written communication or even reading in general in favor of oral and highly emotional speech. This generally freed him from the need to make coherent and useful arguments.

    7. Separate and Interlocking Tasks

      Chapter 9 of How to Take Smart Notes looks at some of the psychology research involving attention, multitasking, decision making, willpower, concentration, expertise, planning, to highlight the value of the design and structure of the zettelkasten as a positive tool for helping one to be more productive in their thinking and writing work.

    8. The slip-box provides not only a clear structure to work in, but also forces usto shift our attention consciously as we can complete tasks inreasonable time before moving on to the next one.

      Ahrens provides a quick overview of some research on distraction, attention, and multi-tasking to make the point that:

      The simple structure and design of the zettelkasten forces one's focus and attention on small individual tasks that cumulatively build into better thinking and writing.

      (Summary of Section 9.2)

    9. Theseemingly pragmatic and down-to-earth-sounding advice – to decidewhat to write about before you start writing – is therefore eithermisleading or banal.

      Properly framed note taking methods are themselves a hermeneutic circle for thinking and creating.

    10. Every intellectual endeavour starts from an already existingpreconception, which then can be transformed during further inquiresand can serve as a starting point for following endeavours. Basically,that is what Hans-Georg Gadamer called the hermeneutic circle

      (Gadamer 2004).

      All intellectual endeavors start from a preexisting set of ideas. These can then be built upon to create new concepts which then influence the original starting point and may continue ever expanding with further thought.

      Ahrens argues that most writing advice goes against the idea of the hermeneutic circle and pretends as if the writer is starting with a blank page. This can prefigure some of the stress and difficulty Ernest Hemingway spoke of when he compared writing to "facing the white bull which is paper with no words on it."

      While it can be convenient to think of the idea of tabula rasa, in practice it really doesn't exist. As a result the zettelkasten more readily shows its value in the writing process.

    11. Even ifyou decide never to write a single line of a manuscript, you willimprove your reading, thinking and other intellectual skills just bydoing everything as if nothing counts other than writing.

      Is there evidence that this is true?

    12. We need a reliable and simple external structure tothink in that compensates for the limitations of our brains

      Let's be honest that there are certainly methods for doing all of this within our brains and not needing to rely on external structures. This being said, using writing, literacy, and external structures does allow us to process things faster than before.

      Can we calculate what the level of greater efficiency allows for doing this? What is the overall throughput difference in being able to forget and write? Not rely on communication with others? What does a back of the envelope calculation for this look like?

    13. By adding these links between notes, Luhmann was able to addthe same note to different contexts.

      By crosslinking one's notes in a hypertext-like manner one is able to give them many different contexts. This linking and context shifting is a solid method for helping one's ideas to have sex with each other as a means of generating new ideas.

      Is there a relationship between this idea of context shifting and modality shifting? Are these just examples of building blocks for tools of thought? Are they sifts on different axes? When might they be though of as the same? Compare and contrast this further.

    14. a system is neededto keep track of the ever-increasing pool of information, which allowsone to combine different ideas in an intelligent way with the aim ofgenerating new ideas.

      The point of good tools of thought is to allow one to keep track of the ever increasing flood of information that also allows them to juxtapose or combine ideas in novel and interesting ways. Further, this should provide them with a means of generating and then improving upon their new ideas.

    15. A good structure is something you can trust. It relieves you fromthe burden of remembering and keeping track of everything. If youcan trust the system, you can let go of the attempt to hold everythingtogether in your head and you can start focusing on what isimportant:

      Whether it's for writing, to do lists, or other productivity spaces, a well designed system is something that one can put their absolute trust into. This allows one to free themselves from the burden of tracking and dealing with minutiae so they can get serious work done.

    1. https://reallifemag.com/rank-and-file/

      An interesting example of someone who fell into the trap of thinking that a particular tool or tools would magically make them smarter or help them do a particular line of work without showing any deep evidence of knowing what they were doing. The discussion here flows over a number of mixed note taking domains with no clear thrust for what they were using it pointedly for. The multiple directions and lack of experience likely doomed them to failure here.

    2. This is a widespread mistake among those who think that a sexy note-taking app like Roam will suddenly free their minds, or that they can train themselves into geniuses with enough spaced repetition, or that they can build a zettelkasten capable of thinking original thoughts for them.

      Thinking that the tool will solve a particular problem without knowing what the tool does or how to use it properly will surely set one up for failure. You can use a screwdriver like a hammer, but your results won't be as good as using a hammer and using it properly.

    1. https://www.obsidianroundup.org/ite-not-second-brain/

      Eleanor Konik describes why second brain is a terrible term for note taking apps.

    2. As much as I automate things, though,none of my thinking is done by a tool.Even with plugins like Graph Analysis, I never feel like I'm being presented with emergent connections — tho this is what the plugin is intended for, and I believe it works for other people.

      At what point could digital tools be said to be thinking? Do they need to be generative? It certainly needs to be on the other side of serendipitously juxtaposing two interesting ideas. One can juxtapose millions of ideas, it's the selection of a tiny subset of these as "better" or more interesting than the others and then building off of that that constitutes this sort of generative thought.

  7. Jan 2022
    1. https://vimeo.com/232545219

      from: Eyeo Conference 2017


      Robin Sloan at Eyeo 2017 | Writing with the Machine | Language models built with recurrent neural networks are advancing the state of the art on what feels like a weekly basis; off-the-shelf code is capable of astonishing mimicry and composition. What happens, though, when we take those models off the command line and put them into an interactive writing environment? In this talk Robin presents demos of several tools, including one presented here for the first time. He discusses motivations and process, shares some technical tips, proposes a course for the future — and along the way, write at least one short story together with the audience: all of us, and the machine.


      Robin created a corpus using If Magazine and Galaxy Magazine from the Internet Archive and used it as a writing tool. He talks about using a few other models for generating text.

      Some of the idea here is reminiscent of the way John McPhee used the 1913 Webster Dictionary for finding words (or le mot juste) for his work, as tangentially suggested in Draft #4 in The New Yorker (2013-04-22)

      Cross reference: https://hypothes.is/a/t2a9_pTQEeuNSDf16lq3qw and https://hypothes.is/a/vUG82pTOEeu6Z99lBsrRrg from https://jsomers.net/blog/dictionary

      Croatian acapella singing: klapa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sciwtWcfdH4

      Writing using the adjacent possible.

      Corpus building as an art [~37:00]

      Forgetting what one trained their model on and then seeing the unexpected come out of it. This is similar to Luhmann's use of the zettelkasten as a serendipitous writing partner.

      Open questions

      How might we use information theory to do this more easily?

      What does a person or machine's "hand" look like in the long term with these tools?

      Can we use corpus linguistics in reverse for this?

      What sources would you use to train your model?


      • Andrej Karpathy. 2015. "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Recurrent Neural Networks"
      • Samuel R. Bowman, Luke Vilnis, Oriol Vinyals, et al. "Generating sentences from a continuous space." 2015. arXiv: 1511.06349
      • Stanislau Semeniuta, Aliaksei Severyn, and Erhardt Barth. 2017. "A Hybrid Convolutional Variational Autoencoder for Text generation." arXiv:1702.02390
      • Soroush Mehri, et al. 2017. "SampleRNN: An Unconditional End-to-End Neural Audio Generation Model." arXiv:1612.07837 applies neural networks to sound and sound production
    1. “One cannot think without writing.” (Luhmann 1992, 53)

      Similar statements have been made by others:

      I could quote Luhmann on this as well, who thought that "without writing one cannot think," But there is nothing peculiarly "Luhmannian" about this idea. Isaac Asimov is said to have said "Writing to me is simply thinking through my fingers." And, to give one other example, E. B. White (of "Strunk and White" fame) claimed that "writing is one way to go about thinking." In other words, writing is thinking. And since I do almost all my significant writing in ConnectedText these days, it might be called my "writing environment."—Manfred Kuehn

      I think this was Luhmann's full quote:

      Ohne zu schreiben, kann man nicht denken; jedenfalls nicht in anspruchsvoller, anschlussfähiger Weise.

      (Translation) You cannot think without writing; at least not in a sophisticated, connectable way.

      Luhmann’s “you” or "one" in his quote is obviously only a Western cultural referent which erases the existence of oral based cultures which have other ways to do their sophisticated thinking. His ignorant framing on the topic shouldn’t be a shared one. Oral cultures managed to do their thinking through speech and memory.

    1. in Luhmann’s mind theprocess of writing things down enables disciplined thinking in the first place: “Underlying the filing tech-nique is the experience that without writing, there is no thinking.”22
      1. Luhmann, Zettelkasten II, index card no. 9/8g (my translation).

      The act of taking notes helps to focus the mind and one's concentration. This facilitates better and deeper thinking. While he erases oral cultures and those who used mnemonic techniques, Niklas Luhmann said, "without writing, there is no thinking."

    1. If we follow the caper star clockwise, starting with “checklist” and signifying just the facts as they are presented, we have ready at hand a way to begin rethinking the types of inquiry proper to certain areas of thought [FIGURE 7]. On the first of the five points then, “checklist,” let us hang journalism, objective accounts, and the raw data of scientific research. On the second, concerning “characters” and their relations, let us place psychology, sociology, anthropology, and politics. The third, at the bottom left, concerning “words,” let us imagine linguistics, philology, rhetoric, and dialectic. The fourth point, “questions,” accommodates philosophy broadly speaking, and the generating of topics and concepts, as well as modes of inquiry, whether inductive or deductive, proper to law and medical research. And finally, the top point, concerning “U” (a tag which stands for “you” as well as the first letter of “universal”), let us place ethics, religion, theology, and practices conducive to reflection and self realization—any means of understanding your place in the world and your stake in the matter under consideration. As the crossing lines of the five-pointed star indicate, all points are interrelated. As for the center, whatever one wants to place there can be illuminated by the five categories broadly conceived as just outlined.
    2. This five-fold approach covers the most fundamental and time-honored categories of thought. Corresponding to the five points on the caper star, they are: (1) the rational process of cause and effect (“x” happened which led to “y” and then “z”); (2) the often irrational nature of human interactions (as Socrates put it: “knowing the better, but doing the worse”); (3) taking stock of the extent to which language is a medium for conveying both sense and transmitting the values of a given culture, (4) the various faces of interrogation (the truism that every news-story must consider and seek to answer: “who? what? where? when? how? and, if possible, why”); and (5) the self-conscious reflection on one’s own point of view (“what we believe to be true is what keeps us from discovering the truth”).
    3. Since spirited leaps of imagination are required for these interactive projects conducing to the gathering of information that can help students make connections they might not otherwise consider, they have been dubbed “capers.”

      Engel calls his system the Caper Star because the "spirited leaps of imagination" are required to help the student on their quest.

    1. One of these tools was the so-called Indice Categorico designed by Emanu-ele Tesauro. Tesauro displayed it as a ‘secret truly secret’ (‘secreto veramente secreto’), that is, as a truly valuable invention. According to Tesauro,72 the matter was to discover topics that were hidden behind several different cat-egories and to compare them to each other (‘penetrar gli obietti altamente ap-piattati sotto diverse Categorie, e di riscontrarli tra loro’) to discover analogies and similarities that would have otherwise been overlooked if everything had been preserved under its own category (‘scovare analogie e somiglianze che sarebbero passate inosservate se ogni cosa fosse rimasta classificata sotto la propria Categoria’). The cognitive device used to achieve this purpose was the metaphor. By listing topics in a jumbled manner under a certain category ac-cording to some similarity in meaning among them, it was possible to produce unexpected results. In short, it was possible to discover something new.

      72 Emanuele Tesauro, Il Cannocchiale aristotelico, 5th ed. (Venice, 1669), 83. On this inven-tion, see also Umberto Eco, Dall’albero al labirinto. Studi storici sul segno e l’interpretazione (Milan, 2007), 45–7.

      Emanuele Tesaurio's Indice Categorico was a tool for thought which aimed to discover new information by using metaphors and analogies with respect to the categories or taxonomies so as to draw links between them.

    2. Here, the card index func-tions as a ‘thinking machine’,67 and becomes the best communication partner for learned men.68

      From a computer science perspective, isn't the index card functioning like an external memory, albeit one with somewhat pre-arranged linked paths? It's the movement through the machine's various paths that is doing the "thinking". Or the user's (active) choices that create the paths creates the impression of thinking.

      Perhaps it's the pre-arranged links where the thinking has already happened (based on "work" put into the system) and then traversing the paths gives the appearance of "new" thinking?

      How does this relate to other systems which can be thought of as thinking from a complexity perspective? Bacteria perhaps? Groups of cells acting in concert? Groups of people acting in concert? Cells seeing out food using random walks? etc?

      From this perspective, how can we break out the constituent parts of thought and thinking? Consciousness? With enough nodes and edges and choices of paths between them (or a "correct" subset of paths) could anything look like thinking or computing?

    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. Because there’s no need for context/app switching.

      Rebuilding one's earlier context and switching between apps are tremendous sinks of time and energy when writing, thinking, and creating.

      It's better to get as much done as possible in the present so as not to need to do all the work over again later.

    1. Markoff, a long-time chronicler of computing, sees Engelbart as one pole in a decades-long competition "between artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation -- A.I. versus I.A."

      There is an interesting difference between artificial intelligence and intelligence automation. Index cards were already doing the second by the early 1940s.

    1. He breaks off, looking anxious. “But I didn’t tell their stories, because I thought they were a better way of persuading people of an argument. It’s a book of stories about people, because I think stories are a fundamentally better way of thinking about the world.”

      Stories are an important way of thinking about and explaining the world. They may also be a potential brain hack.

      Note their use here just after Hari has mentioned that connecting with people (often by way of their stories) is a basic human condition and need. Also note that Hari was previously a columnist with a slant, has he realized that this is the better way to convince people of plausible sounding things? Particularly without source, attribution, research, and potentially cherry picking data.

      Are we blinding ourselves by telling stories? Particularly without comparison or actual testing?

      I saw a book about this topic months ago and need to find it and dig it up.

  8. Dec 2021
    1. It is impossible to think without writing; at least it is impossible in any sophisticated or networked (anschlußfähig) fashion.

      The sentiment that it is impossible to think without writing is patently wrong. While it's an excellent tool, it takes an overly textual perspective and completely ignores the value of orality an memory in prehistory.

      Modern culture has lost so many of our valuable cultural resources that we have completely forgotten that they even existed.

      Oral cultures certainly had networked thought, Luhmann and others simply can't imagine how it may have worked. We're also blinded by the imagined size of societies in pre-agricultural contexts. The size and scope of cities and city networks makes the history of writing have an outsized appearance.

      Further, we don't have solid records of these older netowrks, a major drawback of oral cultures which aren't properly maintained, but this doesn't mean that they didn not exist.

    1. there's an exception ah yes indeed there is an exception to that which is largely 00:08:28 when you're talking to someone else so in conversation and in dialogue you're actually can maintain consciousness for very long periods of time well which is why you need to imagine you're talking 00:08:41 to someone else to really be able to think out a problem

      Humans in general have a seven second window of self-consciousness. (What is the reference for this? Double check it.) The exception is when one is in conversation with someone else, and then people have much longer spans of self-consciousness.

      I'm left to wonder if this is a useful fact for writing in the margins in books or into one's notebook, commonplace book, or zettelkasten? By having a conversation with yourself, or more specifically with the imaginary author you're annotating or if you prefer to frame it as a conversation with your zettelkasten, one expands their self-consciousness for much longer periods of time? What benefit does this have for the individual? What benefit for humanity in aggregate?

      Is it this fact or just coincidence that much early philosophy was done as dialectic?

      From an orality perspective, this makes it much more useful to talk to one's surroundings or objects like rocks. Did mnemonic techniques help give rise to our ability to be more self-conscious as a species? Is it like a muscle that we've been slowly and evolutionarily exercising for 250,000 years?

    1. The “agricultural revolution,” so the mainstream argument goes, was a double-edged sword – it triggered the big leap in human civilisation which brought us writing, culture, history all things that make humans “special;” but it also led to hierarchy, organised power, bureaucracy, and inequality. Graeber and Wengrow had been suspicious about this narrative for a long time – they did not believe in this evolutionary, progressive, and deterministic parable.

      Focusing on literacy as one of the features that makes humanity special is a major flaw. In fact, it is likely our earlier orality and the attendant portions that come with that which made us unique within the animal kingdom. While transmission of knowledge and information may be quicker with literacy and even with computer technology, our ability to cope with it stems first from our orality.

    1. When the user stores his thoughts in his own filing cabinet, these thoughts are no longer his own but those of his filing cabinet.

      The definition of ownership here is at odds. The person invented the thought, they're just storing it somewhere else that isn't their own brain. This doesn't release ownership necessarily.

    1. The story is linear (the stages are followed in order, with no going back), uniform (they are followed the same way everywhere), progressive (the stages are “stages” in the first place, leading from lower to higher, more primitive to more sophisticated), deterministic (development is driven by technology, not human choice), and teleological (the process culminates in us).

      This might be the case if the tools drove the people, but isn't it more likely the way in which different people use the tools?

      Which direction gives rise to more complexity?

  9. worrydream.com worrydream.com
    1. Bret Victor: email (9/3/04) Interface matters to me more than anything else, and it always has. I just never realized that. I've spent a lot of time over the years desperately trying to think of a "thing" to change the world. I now know why the search was fruitless -- things don't change the world. People change the world by using things. The focus must be on the "using", not the "thing". Now that I'm looking through the right end of the binoculars, I can see a lot more clearly, and there are projects and possibilities that genuinely interest me deeply.

      Specifically highlighting that the "focus must be on the 'using', not the 'thing'".

      This quote is very reminiscent of John M. Culkin's quote (often misattributed to McLuhan) "We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us."

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Linus Lee</span> in Towards a research community for better thinking tools | thesephist.com (<time class='dt-published'>12/01/2021 08:23:07</time>)</cite></small>

    1. https://thesephist.com/

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'> Frank McPherson</span> in Frankly... (<time class='dt-published'>12/03/2021 12:49:46</time>)</cite></small>

    1. appropriate metaphors open our eyes to more than denotation: they produce a surplus of meaning that stimulates thought.
    2. What differs here from other data storage (as in the medium of the codex book) is a simple and obvious principle: information is available on separate, uniform, and mobile carriers and can be further arranged and processed according to strict systems of order.

      The primary value of the card catalogue and index cards as tools for thought is that it is a self-contained, uniform and mobile carrier that can be arranged and processed based on strict systems of order. Books have many of these properties, but the information isn't as atomic or as easily re-ordered.

  10. Nov 2021
    1. In Bound to Read, Jeffrey Todd Knight excavates this culture of compilation—of binding and mixing texts, authors, and genres into single volumes—and sheds light on a practice that not only was pervasive but also defined the period's very ways of writing and thinking.
    1. https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1459547762517688327.html

      Anthony Baker experimenting with ideas from Necromant and Eleanor Konik to cross link digital notes with physical paper notes.

      I've thought about doing something similar to this with my physical notebooks in the past, though hadn't done block level linking as a means of potentially pulling in and linking pieces in the future.

      Often for more important linked things, I'll simply import the physical version into my digital copy at the time of first use/reference, but this could be interesting for large bodies of notes which aren't digital.

    1. A fluorescence of note taking tools

      What is missing in this train of thought is search. The real challenge is recalling of information easily, whether that is traditional search or something more AI-ish that can uncover connections between items that I don't see myself. What I want is a tool that can search across all my repositories, and that requires either APIs for communication or standard data storage formats. I prefer APis.

    1. "The Zettelkasten takes more of my time than the writing of books." —Niklas Luhmann (via vimeo.com/173128404)

      Some people complain about the amount of time that working in their zettelkasten or notes may take, and it may take a while, but it is exactly the actual work of creation that takes the longest. The rest of the process is just the copying over and editing.

  11. Oct 2021
    1. sometimes you de- yelop a whole passage, not with the intention of completing it, but because it comes of itself and because inspiration is like grace, which passes by and does not come back.

      So very few modern sources describe annotation or note taking in these terms.

      I find often in my annotations, the most recent one just above is such a one, where I start with a tiny kernel of an idea and then my brain begins warming up and I put down some additional thoughts. These can sometimes build and turn into multiple sentences or paragraphs, other times they sit and need further work. But either way, with some work they may turn into something altogether different than what the original author intended or discussed.

      These are the things I want to keep, expand upon, and integrate into larger works or juxtapose with other broader ideas and themes in the things I am writing about.

      Sadly, we're just not teaching students or writers these tidbits or habits anymore.

      Sönke Ahrens mentions this idea in his book about Smart Notes. When one is asked to write an essay or a paper it is immensely difficult to have a perch on which to begin. But if one has been taking notes about their reading which is of direct interest to them and which can be highly personal, then it is incredibly easy to have a starting block against which to push to begin what can be either a short sprint or a terrific marathon.

      This pattern can be seen by many bloggers who surf a bit of the web, read what others have written, and use those ideas and spaces as a place to write or create their own comments.

      Certainly this can involve some work, but it's always nicer when the muses visit and the words begin to flow.

      I've now written so much here in this annotation that this note here, is another example of this phenomenon.

      With some hope, by moving this annotation into my commonplace book (or if you prefer the words notebook, blog, zettelkasten, digital garden, wiki, etc.) I will have it to reflect and expand upon later, but it'll also be a significant piece of text which I might move into a longer essay and edit a bit to make a piece of my own.

      With luck, I may be able to remedy some of the modern note taking treatises and restore some of what we've lost from older traditions to reframe them in an more logical light for modern students.

      I recall being lucky enough to work around teachers insisting I use note cards and references in my sixth grade classes, but it was never explained to me exactly what this exercise was meant to engender. It was as if they were providing the ingredients for a recipe, but had somehow managed to leave off the narrative about what to do with those ingredients, how things were supposed to be washed, handled, prepared, mixed, chopped, etc. I always felt that I was baking blind with no directions as to temperature or time. Fortunately my memory for reading on shorter time scales was better than my peers and it was only that which saved my dishes from ruin.

      I've come to see note taking as beginning expanded conversations with the text on the page and the other texts in my notebooks. Annotations in the the margins slowly build to become something else of my own making.

      We might compare this with the more recent movement of social annotation in the digital pedagogy space. This serves a related master, but seems a bit more tangent to it. The goal of social annotation seems to be to help engage students in their texts as a group. Reading for many of these students may be more foreign than it is to me and many other academics who make trade with it. Thus social annotation helps turn that reading into a conversation between peers and their text. By engaging with the text and each other, they get something more out of it than they might have if left to their own devices. The piece I feel is missing here is the modeling of the next several steps to the broader commonplacing tradition. Once a student has begun the path of allowing their ideas to have sex with the ideas they find on the page or with their colleagues, what do they do next? Are they being taught to revisit their notes and ideas? Sift them? Expand upon them. Place them in a storehouse of their best materials where they can later be used to write those longer essays, chapters, or books which may benefit them later?

      How might we build these next pieces into these curricula of social annotation to continue building on these ideas and principles?

    1. For academics, annotation is also essential to scholarly communication and knowledge production. With Annotation, we eagerly accepted a social and scholarly responsibility to spark, curate, and facilitate discussion about annotation.

      The tools for thought crowd should all be reading Kalir and Garcia's book Annotation.

    1. What I'm interested in is doing this with visual artefacts as source material. What does visual pkm look like? Journaling, scrapbooking, collecting and the like. The most obvious tool is the sketchbook. How does a sketchbook work?

      It builds on many of these traditions, but there is a rather sizeable movement in the physical world as well as lots online of sketchnotes which might fit the bill for you Roy.

      The canonical book/textbook for the space seems to be Sketchnote Handbook, The: the illustrated guide to visual note taking by Mike Rohde.

      For a solid overview of the idea in about 30 minutes, I found this to be a useful video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evLCAYlx4Kw

    1. Synthesis is about describing a clear idea that can be represented in a (atomic) succinct note, with supporting evidence as applicable.

      At the moment, I guess I’m currently doing this in Drafts, but without any real rigour. What I’ve intended to do is host my atomic notes in iThoughts. But maybe this is part of my system that needs closer attention. Maybe there’s legitimate cause for another tool in the stack? Or maybe this just calls for another workspace? I think this is the space I wanted Project Meta to fill…

  12. Sep 2021
    1. https://via.hypothes.is/https://finiteeyes.net/pedagogy/extending-the-mind/

      A well written review of Annie Murphy Paul's The Extended Mind. Matthew Cheney has distilled a lot out of the book from his notes with particular application to improving pedagogy.

      I definitely want to read this with relation to not only using it to improve teaching, but with respect to mnemotechniques and the methods oral and indigenous societies may have either had things right or wrong and what Western culture may have lost as a result. I'm also particularly interested in it for its applications to the use of commonplace books and zettelkasten as methods of extending the mind and tools for thought.

    2. How to Use These Ideas

      I love that he's not only externalized his thoughts from the book as annotations/notes and then synthesized them into a longer essay, but he's further expanded and externalized them by thinking about how to put them to use!