35 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2022
    1. He explains the purpose of his "waste book" in his notebook E: Die Kaufleute haben ihr Waste book (Sudelbuch, Klitterbuch glaube ich im deutschen), darin tragen sie von Tag zu Tag alles ein was sie verkaufen und kaufen, alles durch einander ohne Ordnung, aus diesem wird es in das Journal getragen, wo alles mehr systematisch steht ... Dieses verdient von den Gelehrten nachgeahmt zu werden. Erst ein Buch worin ich alles einschreibe, so wie ich es sehe oder wie es mir meine Gedancken eingeben, alsdann kann dieses wieder in ein anderes getragen werden, wo die Materien mehr abgesondert und geordnet sind.[2] "Tradesmen have their 'waste book' (scrawl-book, composition book I think in German), in which they enter from day to day everything they buy and sell, everything all mixed up without any order to it, from there it is transferred to the day-book, where everything appears in more systematic fashion ... This deserves to be imitated by scholars. First a book where I write down everything as I see it or as my thoughts put it before me, later this can be transcribed into another, where the materials are more distinguished and ordered."
  2. Jun 2022
    1. For anyone who reads music, the sketchbooks literally record the progress of hisinvention. He would scribble his rough, unformed ideas in his pocket notebook andthen leave them there, unused, in a state of suspension, but at least captured withpencil on paper. A few months later, in a bigger, more permanent notebook, you canfind him picking up that idea again, but he’s not just copying the musical idea intoanother book. You can see him developing it, tormenting it, improving it in the newnotebook. He might take an original three-note motif and push it to its next stage bydropping one of the notes a half tone and doubling it. Then he’d let the idea sit therefor another six months. It would reappear in a third notebook, again not copied butfurther improved, perhaps inverted this time and ready to be used in a piano sonata.

      Beethoven kept a variation of a waste book in that he kept a pocket notebook for quick capture of ideas. Later, instead of copying them over into a permanent place, he'd translate and amplify on the idea in a second notebook. Later on, he might pick up the idea again in a third notebook with further improvements.

      By doing this me might also use the initial ideas as building blocks for more than one individual piece. This is very clever, particularly in musical development where various snippets of music might be morphed into various different forms in ways that written ideas generally can't be so used.

      This literally allowed him to re-use his "notes" at two different levels (the written ones as well as the musical ones.)

  3. May 2022
    1. “What does one do with what has been written?” Niklas Luhmann asks: “To be sure,one will initially produce mostly waste. But we have been raised such that we expectsomething useful from our activities or otherwise quickly lose heart. Thus, one shouldconsider whether and how to process the notes so that they are available for later access,or at least provide such a comforting illusion.”

      "To be sure, one will initially produce mostly waste." -Niklas Luhmann

      How true!!! I see many people with this initial problem and not an insignificant few give up entirely because of this.

    1. 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.

  4. Apr 2022
    1. An eighteenth- century manual of bookkeeping listed three stages ofrecords a merchant should keep: waste book, journal (arranged in systematicorder), and ledger (featuring an index to access all people, places, and merchan-dise)
    2. Early modern scholars referred most often to merchants as exemplars for theirhabit of keeping two notebooks: a daybook (or journal) to record transactionsin the order in which they occurred and a ledger in which these transactionswere sorted into categories, as in double- entry bookkeeping
    3. In addition, FrancisBacon compared one of his notebooks to a “merchant’s waste book, where toenter all manner of remembrance of matter, form, business, study, touching my-self, service, others; either sparsim or in schedules, without any manner of re-straint.”3

      Compare this with her paper: Blair, Ann. “Note Taking as an Art of Transmission.” Critical Inquiry 31, no. 1 (September 2004): 85–107. https://doi.org/10.1086/427303.

      Where she footnotes:

      Francis Bacon compared one of his notebooks to a merchant’s waste book; see Brian Vickers, introduction to Francis Bacon, Francis Bacon, ed. Vickers (Oxford, 1996), p. xliii.

      and linked note: https://hypothes.is/a/DSCwQjrVEeyv8U-0GOufYQ

    4. Italian merchants of the fourteenth and fifteenthcenturies are known for keeping ricordanze that combined personal and practicalinformation.

      Compare this with the waste book tradition in accounting.

  5. Mar 2022
    1. When I lived in Austin, I updated it regularly as I read at my desk; in Brooklyn, where I had no room for a desk, I would take photos of passages in library books and transcribe them later in a coffee shop. These days I live semi-nomadically, without a fixed address, and I email myself lines. Every few months I sift through them and copy the ones that still resonate into my book.

      Here's an example of someone using photos on their phone and email in the vein of a waste book.

    1. this is george have you have you um found that there are people who are natural thinkers like this uh the zettlecaston type thinking the 01:15:45 bottom-up thinking whatever you want to call it have you studied great thinkers and looked at their patterns and seen that they do that or is it all over the place 01:16:00 i i'm not an expert on i i know what i like in in terms of works um 01:16:13 i think there are similarities between the thinkers i read and i believe 01:16:26 they're often systematic and have found a way to deal with complexity to be able to put heterogeneous 01:16:40 ideas different ideas into a coherent theory system and i think the only way to do that 01:16:54 is by having some kind of external um brain or an equivalent of it

      George is asking a good question here and one I've even asked myself, but doesn't seem to have spent any time looking at intellectual history.

      Almost all great thinkers were not only significant writers as well, but most, at least in Western culture, kept significant notes of their work, had a commonplace book(s), waste books, sudelbücher, zettelkasten, etc.

      Of course most were also fairly wealthy and had the free time to be able to do their work which also helped to tip the balance in their favor.

    1. They get harder to read the longer I wait to transcribe them.

      He's using his Field Notes notebooks as waste books and transcribing the important pieces into other places as necessary.

      He also indicates that he's taking brief, reminder notes (or fleeting notes) contemporaneously and then expanding upon them later as necessary.

  6. Feb 2022
    1. We need to getour thoughts on paper first and improve them there, where we canlook at them. Especially complex ideas are difficult to turn into alinear text in the head alone. If we try to please the critical readerinstantly, our workflow would come to a standstill. We tend to callextremely slow writers, who always try to write as if for print,perfectionists. Even though it sounds like praise for extremeprofessionalism, it is not: A real professional would wait until it wastime for proofreading, so he or she can focus on one thing at a time.While proofreading requires more focused attention, finding the rightwords during writing requires much more floating attention.

      Proofreading while rewriting, structuring, or doing the thinking or creative parts of writing is a form of bikeshedding. It is easy to focus on the small and picayune fixes when writing, but this distracts from the more important parts of the work which really need one's attention to be successful.

      Get your ideas down on paper and only afterwards work on proofreading at the end. Switching contexts from thinking and creativity to spelling, small bits of grammar, and typography can be taxing from the perspective of trying to multi-task.

      Link: Draft #4 and using Webster's 1913 dictionary for choosing better words/verbiage as a discrete step within the rewrite.

      Linked to above: Are there other dictionaries, thesauruses, books of quotations, or individual commonplace books, waste books that can serve as resources for finding better words, phrases, or phrasing when writing? Imagine searching through Thoreau's commonplace book for finding interesting turns of phrase. Naturally searching through one's own commonplace book is a great place to start, if you're saving those sorts of things, especially from fiction.

      Link this to Robin Sloan's AI talk and using artificial intelligence and corpuses of literature to generate writing.

    1. Transferring my notes from notebooks into nvALT is a process that I always enjoy. When I fill up a physical notebook, I'll go through it, acting as a sort of loose, first filter for the material I’ve accumulated. I’ll cross out a few things that are obviously garbage, but most of my notes make the cut, and I transcribe them into nvALT.When that’s done, I throw away the notebook.

      Robin Sloan has a waste book practice where he takes his notes in small Field Note notebooks and transcribes them into nvAlt. When he's done, he throws away the notebook.

    1. In a general sense Cicero contrasted the short-lived memoranda of the merchant with the more carefully kept account book designed as a permanent record.[7]

      Cicero (1930). Pro Quinto Roscio comoedo oratio,"The Speeches". Translated by Freese, John Henry. Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp. 278–81.

      (Not sure if I had this in my notes already from other reading, but adding again just in case.)

  7. Nov 2021
    1. Mary Poovey,A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences ofWealth and Society(Chicago, 1998).

      Most recently, the emergence of the fact has been attributed to methods of commercial recordkeeping (and double-entry bookkeeping in particular).

      Reference to read/look into with respect to accounting and note taking.

    2. Ciceroalready contrasted the short-lived memoranda of the merchant with the more carefully kept accountbook designed as a permanent record; see Cicero, “Pro Quinto Roscio comoedo oratio,”TheSpeeches,trans. John Henry Freese (Cambridge, Mass., 1930), 2.7, pp. 278–81.
    3. The comparison also occurs in GeorgChristoph Lichtenberg, as discussed in Anke te Heesen, “Die doppelte Verzeichnung: Schriftlicheund ra ̈umliche Aneignungsweisen von Natur im 18. Jahrhundert,” inGeha ̈use der Mnemosyne:Architektur als Schriftform der Erinnerung,ed. Harald Tausch (Go ̈ttingen, 2003), pp. 263–86.
    4. Y trancis pacon compared one of hisnotebooks to a merchant’s wastebooki see prian ̈ickersW introduction to trancis paconW yrancisuaconX edY ̈ickers SfixfordW ]ggdTW pY xli

      Francis Bacon compared one of his notebooks to a merchant's wastebook.

    5. was common among early modern authorsW and the notion of the merXchant as a model to imitate persisted through changes to new techniquesY

      References to the merchant’s two notebooks as a model for student note taking was common among early modern authors, and the notion of the merchant as a model to imitate persisted through changes to new techniques.

  8. Sep 2021
  9. Aug 2021
    1. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/adversaria

      Note the use of adversaria also as a book of accounts. This is intriguing and gives a historical linguistic link to the idea of waste books being used in the commonplace tradition. When was this secondary use of adversaria used?

    1. Unlike traditional journaling or commonplacing, my pocket notebooks don’t have any set format, and mostly amount to a collection of short lists, reminders, and random stream-of-consciousness jottings. These notebooks essentially serve the same purpose as scratch paper, only I have all of my random musings gathered together in one place as opposed to scattered around my desk on post-its and the backs of old grocery lists.

      This is an example in the wild of someone using pocket notebooks as waste books. Though in this case they weren't actively moving pieces into a more permanent commonplace.


  10. Jul 2021
    1. "I always get my jokes down on pieces of paper right away—backs of matchbos, whatever. No one is allowed to throw a piece of paper out in my house, because on the back of a laundry list there may be a joke."

      For Joan Rivers scraps of paper, receipts, laundry lists, and matchbooks served the function as waste books. She would eventually transfer them to 3x5" index cards using a typewriter.

    1. Over time, Carlin formalized that system: paper scraps with words or phrases would each receive a category, usually noted in a different color at the top of the paper, and then periodically those scraps would be gathered into plastic bags by category, and then those bags would go into file folders. Though he would later begin using a computer to keep track of those ideas, the basic principle of find-ability remained. “That’s how he built this collection of independent ideas that he was able to cross-reference and start to build larger routines from,” Heftel explains.

      George Carlin's process of collecting and collating his material. His plastic bags by category were similar to the concept of waste books to quickly collect information (similar to the idea of fleeting notes). He later placed them into file folders (an iteration on the Zettelkasten using file folders of papers instead of index cards).

  11. May 2021
    1. We still do not understand how information practices from the worlds of learning, finance, industry, and administration cross-pollinated. From the fourteenth century onward, accountants developed complex instructions for note-taking to describe holdings and transactions, as well for the recording of numbers and calculations. By the seventeenth century, merchants, and indeed ship captains, engineers, and state administrators, were known to travel with trunks of memoranda, massive inventories, scrap books, and various ledgers and log books that mixed descriptive notes and numbers. By the eighteenth century, tables and printed forms cut down on the need for notes and required less description and more systematic numerical notes. Notaries also were master information handlers, creating archives for their legal and financial documents and cross-referencing catalogue systems.

      I'm noticing no mention here of double entry book keeping or the accountant's idea of waste books.

      There's also no mention of orality or memory methods either.

    1. Waste books were also used in the tradition of the commonplace book. A well know example is Isaac Newton's Waste Book in which he did much of the development of the calculus.[4] Another example is that of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, who called his waste books sudelbücher, and which were known to have influenced Leo Tolstoy, Albert Einstein, Andre Breton, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.[

      I added this section.

    2. I've heard references of people using these in combination with or also for commonplace books.

    1. Newton's Waste Book (MS Add. 4004) The most cherished legacy that Newton received from his stepfather, Barnabas Smith (1582-1653), seems to have been this vast manuscript commonplace book Add. 4004. Smith was rector of North Witham, a wealthy clergyman who married Newton’s mother on 27 January 1646. The immediate consequence of this union was that the three-year old Isaac Newton had to be sent to live with his grandmother. On Smith’s death, Newton appears to have inherited his library, most of which he gave away much later in life to a kinsman in Grantham. Smith himself had made extensive use of these books, in compiling a volume of theological commonplaces. This consisted of hundreds of folios bound in pasteboard, ruled at the top and in the margin of each folio to allow space for a heading and references to each entry. Newton was not interested by the very pedestrian efforts in divinity, largely the culling of quotations, with which Smith had begun to fill the book since its inception on 12 May 1612. He wanted its paper, as the title that he wrote on its original cover in February 1664 (‘Waste Book’) suggested.

      Here's the beginning of the digital example of Isaac Newton's Waste Book.

    1. Gimmick Book Pulp sci-fi author Alfred Bester kept a book of storytelling tricks. All I ever wanted was to be a great storytelling pitchman, which is why I collected the tricky devices and means which are entered in this Gimmick Book.

      It's been a while since I've seen someone mention either gimmick books or waste books in relation to commonplace books.

    1. The largest collection of Isaac Newton's papers has gone digital, committing to open-access posterity the works of one of history's greatest scientist. Among the works shared online by the Cambridge Digital Library are Newton's own annotated copy of Principia Mathematica and the 'Waste Book,' the notebook in which a young Newton worked out the principles of calculus.

      I've annotated something about Isaac Newton's Waste Book for calculus before (possibly in Cambridge's Digital Library itself, but just in case, I'm making a note of it here again so it doesn't get lost.

      In my own practice, I occasionally use small notebooks to write temporary notes into before transferring them into other digital forms. I generally don't throw them away, but they're essentially waste books in a sense.