53 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2024
    1. Your zettelkasten, having a perfect memory of your "past self" acts as a ratchet so that when you have a new conversation on a particular topic, your "present self" can quickly remember where you left off and not only advance the arguments but leave an associative trail for your "future self" to continue on again later.

      Many thoughts and associations occur when you're having conversations with any text, whether it's with something you're reading by another author or your own notes in your zettelkasten or commonplace book. For more conversations on this topic, perhaps thumb through: https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=tag%3A%27conversations+with+the+text%27

      If you view conversations broadly as means of finding and collecting information from external sources and naturally associating them together, perhaps you'll appreciate this quote:

      No piece of information is superior to any other. Power lies in having them all on file and then finding the connections. There are always connections; you have only to want to find them.—Umberto Eco in Foucault's Pendulum (Secker & Warburg)

      (Reply to u/u/Plastic-Lettuce-7150 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1ae2qf4/communicating_with_a_zettelkasten/)

  2. Jan 2024
    1. Nori January 3 Flag I have two remarks: First, if you instead of an alphanumeric ID use a timestamp-based one, there is no need to “place” the note anywhere

      @Nori said: First, if you instead of an alphanumeric ID use a timestamp-based one, there is no need to “place” the note anywhere.

      Too often I see this generic advice to use a timestamp ID, but no one ever mentions what affordance that practice provides or any direct motivation for doing it. In this context it's suggested to remove the need to place the note anywhere, but if this is the only benefit, why bother having an ID at all? What other tangible benefits does a timestamp ID provide? (If the only benefit is having a record of creation, then why bother to put it into the title, which usually only causes confusion and problem in most digital systems? Digital systems have much better places to store date/time created, modified, etc. if you need them for search.)

      In Luhmann's case the alphanumeric ID gave direct benefits in organically creating neighborhoods of ideas in which one could easily travel and which provided concrete, findable locations for search and linking. This appears to be part of the beneficial structure for what @IvanFerrero has, so why suggest such a change @Nori?

  3. Dec 2023
    1. Also, our own experiences show that when one doesn't use easy-to-recognise IDs, one is less prone to assume stuff, making them better suited to cross-link files.

      Zettlr's maintainer's experience suggests that using complex zettelkasten IDs makes one less likely to assume something about what they mean and thereby making them better suited for cross-linking notes.

      Part of this can be read as a means of disassociating the idea of specific topics from the notes on the cards.

  4. Nov 2023
    1. Live-Roaming: Using Roam to teach students in college

      I'd listened to this whole episode sometime since 2022-04-05, but didn't put it in my notes.

      Mark Robertson delineates how he actively models the use of his note taking practice (using Roam Research) while teaching/lecturing in the classroom. This sort of modeling can be useful for showing students how academics read, gather, and actively use their knowledge. It does miss the portion about using the knowledge to create papers, articles, books, etc., but the use of this mode of reading and notes within a discussion setting isn't terribly different.

      Use of the system for conversation/discussion with the authors of various texts as you read, with your (past) self as you consult your own notes, or your students in classroom lectures/discussion sections is close to creating your own discussion for new audiences (by way of the work your write yourself.)

      https://www.buzzsprout.com/1194506/4875515-mark-robertson-history-socratic-dialogue-live-roaming.mp3

  5. Oct 2023
    1. Links are associative. This is a huge deal. Links are there not only as a quick way to get to source material. They aren’t a way to say, hey here’s the interesting thing of the day. They remind you of the questions you need to ask, of the connections that aren’t immediately evident.

      links can be used for search

      links remind you of questions you need to ask

      links can suggest other future potential links of which one isn't yet aware or which haven't fully manifested, this is some of the "magic" of the zettelkasten—it creates easy potential for future links not yet manifest.

    1. I've been struggling with duplicate notes within my Zettelkasten. .t3_17ajd34._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/Flubber78769 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17ajd34/ive_been_struggling_with_duplicate_notes_within/

      This is the value of actually indexing your content. You can do a quick search around the index entries which provides a natural check against duplication, but importantly it'll let you think about those ideas again and spend your time more profitably by expanding upon them instead.

      Occasionally I'll find duplication from one source to the next which provides some support about an idea's value or spread over time, especially when I'm tracking usage of a thing, so it's not always the case that duplication is automatically a bad thing.

  6. Sep 2023
    1. ID's or Common names for Notes? .t3_16vgxy7._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/pakizh at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16vgxy7/ids_or_common_names_for_notes/

      Keyword search was definitely available in Luhmann's lifetime. Here's the link to the digitized version of Luhmann's keyword index: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/zettelkasten/zettel/ZK_2_SW1_001_V. Versions of this sort of indexing go back at least to John Locke's method for indexing commonplace books in 1685 (in French) and 1706 (in English). See: https://archive.org/details/13925922180LockeCommonplaceBook/mode/2up for the 1706 version. In a zettelkasten context, instead of indexing page numbers, one simply numbers their index cards and the method works exactly the same. (One could also think of it as creating a library card catalog for one's ideas instead of their books—again, using a personalized numbering system instead of the standardized Dewey Decimal System which is used for books.)

      In paper versions, the numbers serve two purposes:

      • Allowing the ideas to be indexed and searched for and found again. Full text search in digital contexts may be easier in some instances, but these sorts of searches may not scale well over thousands of notes and may return hundreds of results which need to be looked through to find the correct one. As a result, even good indexing in digital can pay off well in the long run.
      • Placing similar ideas next to each other (when filed using numbers) allows areas of interest to build up in one's note collection. This also creates what one might call "soft links" between ideas (versus more direct, hard links using [[WikiLinks]] or explicit links to specific numbered cards). These neighborhoods of ideas eventually build up to something interesting in aggregation. Without these sorts of (decimal or alpha-numeric) numbers, it's more difficult to create this affordance in digital applications (and one has to be more vigilant for orphaned notes). One can use tags or category names in Obsidian along with the graph view to approximate some of this affordance, but it requires more work on the part of the user. Prepending sortable numbers onto the titles of notes can allow these neighborhoods to be more visible in the sidebar folder view found in many digital tools.

      Some will suggest or use some sort of date/timestamp number as a unique identifier, but doing this generally has little or no value and most digital systems will automatically add date/time creation and modification timestamps to notes anyway if those are of interest or value.

      More details: https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/27/thoughts-on-zettelkasten-numbering-systems/

      Knowing these potential affordances, try things out for a while to see how they work for you and then decide to continue or change your practice to suit your own needs.

    1. I wonder what you think of a distinction between the more traditional 'scholar's box', and the proto-databases that were used to write dictionaries and then for projects such as the Mundaneum. I can't help feeling there's a significant difference between a collection of notes meant for a single person, and a collection meant to be used collaboratively. But not sure exactly how to characterize this difference. Seems to me that there's a tradition that ended up with the word processor, and another one that ended up with the database. I feel that the word processor, unlike the database, was a dead end.

      reply to u/atomicnotes at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16njtfx/comment/k1tuc9c/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      u/atomicnotes, this is an excellent question. (Though I'd still like to come to terms with people who don't think it acts as a knowledge management system, there's obviously something I'm missing.)

      Some of your distinction comes down to how one is using their zettelkasten and what sorts of questions are being asked of it. One of the earliest descriptions I've seen that begins to get at the difference is the description by Beatrice Webb of her notes (appendix C) in My Apprenticeship. As she describes what she's doing, I get the feeling that she's taking the same broad sort of notes we're all used to, but it's obvious from her discussion that she's also using her slips as a traditional database, but is lacking modern vocabulary to describe it as such.

      Early efforts like the OED, TLL, the Wb, and even Gertrud Bauer's Coptic linguistic zettelkasten of the late 1970s were narrow enough in scope and data collected to make them almost dead simple to define, organize and use as databases on paper. Of course how they were used to compile their ultimate reference books was a bit more complex in form than the basic data from which they stemmed.

      The Mundaneum had a much more complex flavor because it required a standardized system for everyone to work in concert against much more freeform as well as more complex forms of collected data and still be able to search for the answers to specific questions. While still somewhat database flavored, it was dramatically different from the others because of it scope and the much broader sorts of questions one could ask of it. I think that if you ask yourself what sorts of affordances you get from the two different groups (databases and word processors (or even their typewriter precursors) you find even more answers.

      Typewriters and word processors allowed one to get words down on paper quicker by a magnitude of order or two faster, and in combination with reproduction equipment, made it easier to spin off copies of the document for small scale and local mass distribution a lot easier. They do allow a few affordances like higher readability (compared with less standardized and slower handwriting), quick search (at least in the digital era), and moving pieces of text around (also in digital). Much beyond this, they aren't tremendously helpful as a composition tool. As a thinking tool, typewriters and word processors aren't significantly better than their analog predecessors, so you don't gain a huge amount of leverage by using them.

      On the other hand, databases and their spreadsheet brethren offer a lot more, particularly in digital realms. Data collection and collation become much easier. One can also form a massive variety of queries on such collected data, not to mention making calculations on those data or subjecting them to statistical analyses. Searching, sorting, and making direct comparisons also become far easier and quicker to do once you've amassed the data you need. Here again, Beatrice Webb's early experience and descriptions are very helpful as are Hollerinth's early work with punch cards and census data and the speed with which the results could be used.

      Now if you compare the affordances by each of these in the digital era and plot their shifts against increasing computer processing power, you'll see that the value of the word processor stays relatively flat while the database shows much more significant movement.

      Surely there is a lot more at play, particularly at scale and when taking network effects into account, but perhaps this quick sketch may explain to you a bit of the difference you've described.

      Another difference you may be seeing/feeling is that of contextualization. Databases usually have much smaller and more discrete amounts of data cross-indexed (for example: a subject's name versus weight with a value in pounds or kilograms.) As a result the amount of context required to use them is dramatically lower compared to the sorts of data you might keep in an average atomic/evergreen note, which may need to be more heavily recontextualized for you when you need to use it in conjunction with other similar notes which may also need you to recontextualize them and then use them against or with one another.

      Some of this is why the cards in the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae are easier to use and understand out of the box (presuming you know Latin) than those you might find in the Mundaneum. They'll also be far easier to use than a stranger's notes which will require even larger contextualization for you, especially when you haven't spent the time scaffolding the related and often unstated knowledge around them. This is why others' zettelkasten will be more difficult (but not wholly impossible) for a stranger to use. You might apply the analogy of context gaps between children and adults for a typical Disney animated movie to the situation. If you're using someone else's zettelkasten, you'll potentially be able to follow a base level story the way a child would view a Disney cartoon. Compare this to the zettelkasten's creator who will not only see that same story, but will have a much higher level of associative memory at play to see and understand a huge level of in-jokes, cultural references, and other associations that an adult watching the Disney movie will understand that the child would completely miss.

      I'm curious to hear your thoughts on how this all plays out for your way of conceptualizing it.

    2. But I’m increasingly inclined to the view that the genius of ZK is the simple fact that it forces its user to continually interact with, and create connections among their thoughts and the thoughts of others.To the extent that’s correct, the work that ZK demands is not a drawback at all. It is in fact ZKs primary benefit; it’s a serious feature and not at all a bug.

      reply to u/TeeMcBee and u/taurusnoises at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16njtfx/comment/k1ic0ot/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      And two more big yeses.

      There is a growing amount of literature in the educational social annotation space in which teachers/professors are using it specifically to encourage their students to interact with class material and readings. The mechanics on the front end are exactly the same as in most ZK set ups, the difference is what happens with the annotations one makes.

      An entry point into some of this research:

    1. folgezettel pushes the note maker toward making at least one connection at the time of import.

      There is a difference between the sorts of links one might make when placing an idea into an (analog) zettelkasten. A folgezettel link is more valuable than a simple tag/category link because it places an idea into a more specific neighborhood than any handful of tags. This is one of the benefits of a Luhmann-artig ZK system over a more traditional commonplace one, particularly when the work is done up front instead of being punted to a later time.

      For those with a 1A2B3Z linking system (versus a pure decimal system), it may be more difficult to insert a card before other cards rather than after them because of the potential gymnastics of numbering and the natural tendency to put things into a continuing linear order.

      See also: - https://hypothes.is/a/ToqCPq1bEe2Q0b88j4whwQ - https://hyp.is/WtB2AqmlEe2wvCsB5ZyL5A/docdrop.org/download_annotation_doc/Introduction-to-Luhmanns-Zette---Ludecke-Daniel-h4nh8.pdf

  7. Aug 2023
    1. Here’s a child node. It could be a comment on the thought -- an aside, a critique, whatever. It could be something which goes under the heading.

      Lone child nodes cry out for siblings.

      When I was in middle school a teacher told me only to put a sub-bullet point in an outline only if it wasn't an orphan (if you had one sub-point it should have at least one sibling, otherwise don't include it). This was miserable advice because it ended trains of thought which might otherwise grow into something.

      On the other hand it could be better framed that if you have only one child, you should brainstorm to come up with others.

    2. I could continue a thread anywhere, rather than always picking it up at the end. I could sketch out where I expected things to go, with an outline, rather than keeping all the points I wanted to hit in my head as I wrote. If I got stuck on something, I could write about how I was stuck nested underneath whatever paragraph I was currently writing, but then collapse the meta-thoughts to be invisible later -- so the overall narrative doesn’t feel interrupted.

      Notes about what you don't know (open questions), empty outline slots, red links as [[wikilinks]], and other "holes" in tools for thought provide a bookmark for where one may have quit exploring, but are an explicit breadcrumb for picking up that line of thought and continuing it at a future time.

      Linear writing in one's notebooks, books they're reading, and other places doesn't always provide an explicit space which invites the reader or writer to fill them in. One has to train themselves to annotate in the margins to have a conversation with the text. Until one sees these empty spaces as inviting spaces they can be invisible to the eye.

    1. Zettelkasten for Normies: What Normies Really Need to Know .t3_15sqiq2._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/SunghoYahng at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/15sqiq2/zettelkasten_for_normies_what_normies_really_need/

      u/SunghoYahng, some of your article sounds like a pared down digital version of a commonplace book which allows for links, so it fits into the older zettelkasten tradition, just not into the more Luhmann-artig version on which this subreddit is generally more focused. Perhaps yours is closer to a digital version of the analog commonplace using index cards that Billy Oppenheimer describes having learned from Ryan Holiday and Robert Greene?

      Often people focus too much on Luhmann's prodigious output and then immediately imply or say you should adopt his very specific system without describing what his system did or why it worked so well for him and his particular needs. Very few focus on what it is that they want to accomplish and how they might use his system or the thousands of variations on it throughout history to come to those goals as quickly and easily as they can.

      You commit a version of this sin in your opening lines:

      The content about Zettelkasten is mostly too long and practically useless. The purpose of this text is to write only what normies really need to know.

      Who are these so-called "normies" and what specifically are they trying to accomplish? You don't define either of them, and possibly worse do it in a negative framing. The system you're describing might be a great one, but for whom? What do you expect them to use it for? What will they get out of it?

      Many people talk about the "magic" of a zettelkasten and then wave their hands at some version of a workflow of what they think it is or what they think it should be. Perhaps what we all really need is a list of potential affordances that different methods allow and how one might leverage those affordances. How might they be mixed and matched? Then users can decide what outcomes they wish to have (writing, thinking, aggregation, bookmarking, collecting, creativity, artificial memory, serendipity, productivity, wiki, spaced repetition, learning, time wasting, etc., etc.) and which affordances are necessary within their workflow/system to effectuate those specific goals? Finally they can pick and choose a specific version of a methodology/workflow and either an analog substrate (index cards, notebooks, memory palace, etc.) or digital tool/application (Obsidian, Roam Research, The Archive, etc.) to save it all in. Of course once you've chosen that analog or digital tool, does it actually have the affordances you want or need in actual practice? Are they easy to use? Practical? Do they save you time? Are they simple or over-engineered? What happens when they scale to a year of regular use or even a lifetime?

      As a simple example, many writers would love a seriously good outliner functionality in their system to pull out the materials they want to work with and then appropriately order them for a potential final written output. In practice, index cards on a big table are fantastic for this process while most (all?) current digital tools are miserable at it. And of course once you've gotten the outline you like in an analog space you have to type it all out to print/publish in a final form, something which the digital affordance of cut and paste would make much simpler. Who wouldn't love a tool that could give you all of these affordances, presuming you needed them?

      While we're on outlining, very few talk about the ease-of-use that some professional outliners like Dave Winer's Drummer or Little Outliner have versus some of the more text-editing focused tools like Obsidian which are generally poor as outliners (if you could even call them that) in comparison.

      If you're interested in folgezettel and outlining, you might appreciate some subtleties in Bob's piece: https://writing.bobdoto.computer/folgezettel-is-not-an-outline-luhmanns-playful-appreciation-of-disfunction/

      cross reference https://hypothes.is/a/OhcWSjxyEe6V8DP9P6WNQQ

    1. Does anyone has it’s Zettelkasten in Google Docs, Microsoft Word or Plain Tex (without a hood app like obsidian or The Archive)? .t3_15fjb97._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/Efficient_Earth_8773 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/15fjb97/does_anyone_has_its_zettelkasten_in_google_docs/

      Experimenting can be interesting. I've tried using spreadsheet software like Google Sheets or Excel which can be simple and useful methods that don't lose significant functionality. I did separate sheets for zettels, sources, and the index. Each zettel had it's own row with with a number, title, contents, and a link to a source as well as the index.

      Google Docs might be reasonably doable, but the linking portion may be one of the more difficult affordances to accomplish easily or in a very user-centric fashion. It is doable though: https://support.google.com/docs/answer/45893?hl=en&co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop, and one might even mix Google Docs with Google Sheets? I could see Sheets being useful for creating an index and or sources while Docs could be used for individual notes as well. It's all about affordances and ease of use. Text is a major portion of having and maintaining a zettelkasten, so by this logic anything that will allow that could potentially be used as a zettelkasten. However, it helps to think about how one will use it in practice on a day-to-day basis. How hard will it be to create links? Search it? How hard will it be when you've got thousands of "slips"? How much time will these things take as it scales up in size?

      A paper-based example: One of the reasons that many pen and paper users only write on one side of their index cards is that it saves the time of needing to take cards out and check if they do or don't have writing on the back or remembering where something is when it was written on the back of a card. It's a lot easier to tip through your collection if they're written only on the front. If you use an alternate application/software what will all these daily functions look like compounded over time? Does the software make things simpler and easier or will it make them be more difficult or take more time? And is that difficulty and time useful or not to your particular practice? Historian and author David McCullough prefers a manual typewriter over computers with keyboards specifically because it forces him to slow down and take his time. Another affordance to consider is how much or little work one may need to put into using it from a linking (or not) perspective. Using paper forces one to create a minimum of at least one link (made by the simple fact of filing it next to another) while other methods like Obsidian allow you to too easily take notes and place them into an infinitely growing pile of orphaned notes. Is it then more work to create discrete links later when you've lost the context and threads of potential arguments you might make? Will your specific method help you to regularly review through old notes? How hard will it be to mix things up for creativity's sake? How easy/difficult will it be to use your notes for writing/creating new material, if you intend to use it for that?

      Think about how and why you'd want to use it and which affordances you really want/need. Then the only way to tell is to try it out for a bit and see how one likes/doesn't like a particular method and whether or not it helps to motivate you in your work. If you don't like the look of an application and it makes you not want to use it regularly, that obviously is a deal breaker. One might also think about how difficult/easy import/export might be if they intend to hop from one application to another. Finally, switching applications every few months can be self-defeating, so beware of this potential downfall as you make what will eventually need to be your ultimate choice. Beware of shiny object syndrome or software that ceases updating in just a few years without easy export.

  8. Jul 2023
    1. Hello! I've recently encountered the Zettelkasten system and adore the emphasis on connecting ideas. However, I don't want to use the traditional index card way, seeing as I have a ring binder with 90 empty pages thus I don't want it to go to waste. I've researched a lot of methods using a notebook, where some organize their zettels by page number, while others write as usual and connect and index the ideas for every 30 pages or so. But considering that the loose-leaf paper can be in any order I chose, I think there can be a better workaround there. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

      reply to u/SnooPandas3432 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/158tzk7/zettelkasten_on_a_ring_binder_with_looseleaf_paper/

      She didn't specify a particular dimension, but I recall that Beatrice Webb used larger sheets of paper than traditional index-card sized slips in her practice and likely filed them into something akin to hanging files in a filing cabinet.

      For students, I might suggest using the larger sheets/3-ring binder to make Cornell notes for coursework and then later distilling down one or two of the best ideas from a lecture or related readings into index card form for filing away over time. You could then have a repository of bigger formatted literature notes from books/lectures with more space and still have all the benefits of a more traditional card-based zettelkasten for creativity and writing. You could then have the benefit of questions for spaced repetition for quizzes/tests, while still keeping bigger ideas for writing papers or future research needs.

    1. Zk for analyzing components

      reply to u/graidan at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/14n5131/zk_for_analyzing_components/

      I'm intending to use some of my zk for analysis of components for their uses. Specifically, for looking at materia magica (magical ingredients) across authors / books / systems / etc. For example, all the ways that dandelion is used, looking for consistent commonalities and reasoning.

      How would you do this in a ZK system? Create a branch per items under investigation? I feel like a digital solution like notion might work best, but I'd like to incorporate into my analog if I can figure out a good way to do it.

      I like u/taurusnoises' description and understand it, but perhaps an alternate perspective and some examples of how others have done these things may be helpful?

      One feature/affordance that a Luhmann-esque zettelkasten emphasizes is the ability to build on knowledge from the bottom up while older commonplace book and non-Luhmann zettelkasten traditions have a more top-down and/or categorical-first approach. Either of these methods can be tried in your use case to good benefit, but it helps to think about what is happening over the long run. Bottom up approaches are more useful when you're encountering new material and aren't always sure how to categorize it or know where things may be heading. These also tend to encourage greater admixtures of disparate topics, especially over use with time. Top down approaches are potentially better when you've got a broad idea of fields and sub-fields to begin with and know exactly where new ideas will best fit. Because of this they don't naturally tend to mix disparate fields of knowledge as easily, though this can be done with foresight.

      It sounds like you're well-acquainted with your area (of magical ingredients) already, so you're more likely to appreciate a top down approach as a result. A Luhmann-esque zettelkasten is certainly workable here, but you'll be able to scaffold some of your material more easily from the start. You know in advance some of the structure of where you're going and what sorts of questions you'll want to ask of your notes, so you can structure it to be more helpful from the start.

      As an example, in your materia magica case (for which I'll make some broad assumptions without any knowledge of the field), you might have a branch for dandelion. Under dandelion you can aggregate notes on what various authors have to say about specific uses and features. Over time you'll have a variety of notes which will allow you to quickly compare and contrast what those authors have to say about the topic. You can repeat this for other herbs, mushrooms, etc. This may make your writing on this particular area much easier.

      Of course, potential complications may occur later when you may have different questions about the ideas you've collected. Perhaps you'll ask something like, how did practices differ in different geographical areas? Was practice with dandelions the same across different regions or across time? Did practices for other herbs show similar patterns? This may require additional sets of notes which can cross reference time spans and areas. To better handle this with your initial notes branching according to herbs, you may want to make project notes (maps of content, hub notes, structure notes, or whatever you want to call them) on each of these criteria with links back to the originals for studying and comparing these differences.

      To make this easier, you can pull out all the original notes and reorder them accordingly and then make your project notes by noting the original card identifiers/numbers. Or perhaps you just use them to write the particular section directly. Once you're done, you can use the original numbers to file them back into the appropriate places for later use.

      The broader ZK community doesn't talk as frequently or as in-depth about adding metadata relating to time, place, etc. for sorting/resorting or searching for material. Having actual index cards may make doing all of this a lot easier.

      As illustrative examples, Beatrice Webb talks a bit about her use of collecting notes/data across a variety of dimensions for her sociology work as "scientific notetaking" in Appendix C of her book My Apprenticeship (1926). Broadly speaking, she's using her notes as an early form of searchable database. Similarly, Victor Margolin has a short video about his process for writing about history of design and there he's using his notes along the lines of both location as well as time. In both of these examples, we're looking at non-Luhmann-artig practices (somehow it seems more appropriate to use the German -artig than the French -esque), but I'm sure they would have worked just as well with a Luhmann structured practice as well.

      And of course if none of this still makes any sense, I highly recommend you try it anyway. Your experience will assuredly bear out results and you're sure to find the answers you're looking for, and probably a little more to boot. Let us know what you find.

  9. Jun 2023
    1. I'm curious if anyone has ever experimented with making an online Luhmann-esque Zettelkasten using WikiMedia as their platform?

      What were the pros/cons you found for doing so?

      Have you tried other methods (index cards, Obsidian, other(s)?), and if so what affordances did MediaWiki provide or were lacking for what you were attempting to accomplish?

      Did you use transclusion functionality?

      Did you attempt to build or implement backlink functionality? Use the API or plugins for this?

      Did you build some sort of custom index (manually, programatically, other)?

      If you used it for writing, what methods did you attempt with respect to taking the smaller pieces/ideas and building them up into longer written pieces?

      Links to specific public examples are welcome here. I'll also accept links to public versions of commonplace books or similar forms which also use MediaWiki as their infrastructure.

      syndication link: https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/144hzn9/zettelkasten_with_mediawiki/

  10. May 2023
    1. It is unfortunate that the German word for a box of notes is the same as the methodology surrounding Luhmann.

      reply to dandennison84 at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/17921/#Comment_17921

      I've written a bit before on The Two Definitions of Zettelkasten, the latter of which has been emerging since roughly 2013 in English language contexts. Some of it is similar to or extends @dandennison84's framing along with some additional history.

      Because of the richness of prior annotation and note taking traditions, for those who might mean what we're jokingly calling ZK®, I typically refer to that practice specifically as a "Luhmann-esque zettelkasten", though it might be far more appropriate to name them a (Melvil) "Dewey Zettelkasten" because the underlying idea which makes Luhmann's specific zettelkasten unique is that he was numbering his ideas and filing them next to similar ideas. Luhmann was treating ideas on cards the way Dewey had treated and classified books about 76 years earlier. Luhmann fortunately didn't need to have a standardized set of numbers the way the Mundaneum had with the Universal Decimal Classification system, because his was personal/private and not shared.

      To be clear, I'm presently unaware that Dewey had or kept any specific sort of note taking system, card-based or otherwise. I would suspect, given his context, that if we were to dig into that history, we would find something closer to a Locke-inspired indexed commonplace book, though he may have switched later in life as his Library Bureau came to greater prominence and dominance.

      Some of the value of the Dewey-Luhmann note taking system stems from the same sorts of serendipity one discovers while flipping through ideas that one finds in searching for books on library shelves. You may find the specific book you were looking for, but you're also liable to find some interesting things to read on the shelves around that book or even on a shelf you pass on the way to find your book.

      Perhaps naming it and referring to it as the Dewey-Luhmann note taking system or the Dewey-Luhmann Zettelkasten may help to better ground and/or demystify the specific practices? Co-crediting them for the root idea and an early actual practice, respectively, provides a better framing and understanding, especially for native English speakers who don't have the linguistic context for understanding Zettelkästen on its own. Such a moniker would help to better delineate the expected practices and shape of a note taking practice which could be differentiated from other very similar ones which provide somewhat different affordances.

      Of course, as the history of naming scientific principles and mathematical theorems after people shows us, as soon as such a surname label might catch on, we'll assuredly discover someone earlier in the timeline who had mastered these principles long before (eg: the "Gessner Zettelkasten" anyone?) Caveat emptor.

  11. Mar 2023
    1. Auch die Korrektur einer Textstelle ist in der Datenbank sofort global wirksam. Im Zettelarchiv dagegen ist es kaum zu leisten, alle alphabetisch einsortierten Kopien eines bestimmten Zettels zur Korrektur wieder aufzufinden.

      Correcting a text within a digital archive or database allows the change to propagate to all portions of the collection compared with a physical card index which has the hurdle of multiple storage and requires manual changes on all of the associated copies.

      This sort of affordance can be seen in more modern note taking tools like Obsidian which does this sort of work with global search and replace of double bracketed words which change everywhere in the collection.

    1. The date and time (YYYYMMDD hhmm) form a unique identifier for the note. As I get it using this unique identifier is a way to make the notes "anonymous" so that "surprise" connections between them can be found that we wouldn't otherwise have noticed. In other words, it removes us from getting in our own way and forcing the notes to connect in a certain way by how we name them. A great introduction to the system can be found at zettelkasten.de. The page is written in English. The origional numbering system is discussed in the article. The modern computerized system uses the date and time as the unique identifier. I hope this helps.

      reply to u/OldSkoolVFX at https://www.reddit.com/r/ObsidianMD/comments/11jiein/comment/jb6np3f/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      I've studied (and used) Luhmann and other related systems more closely than most, so I'm aware of zettelkasten.de and the variety of numbering systems available including how Luhmann's likely grew out of governmental conscription numbers in 1770s Vienna. As a result your answer comes close to a generic answer, but not to the level of specificity I was hoping for. (Others who use a timestamp should feel free to chime in here as well.)

      How specifically does the anonymity of the notes identified this way create surprise for you? Can you give me an example and how it worked for you? As an example in my own practice using unique titles in Obsidian, when I type [[ and begin typing a word, I'll often get a list of other notes which are often closely related. This provides a variety of potential links and additional context to which I can write the current note in light of. I also get this same sort of serendipity in the autocomplete functionality of my tagging system which has been incredibly useful and generative to me in the past. This helps me to resurface past notes I hadn't thought of recently and can provide new avenues of growth and expansion.

      I've tried the datetime stamp in the past, but without aliasing them all with other titles, things tend to get lost in a massive list of generally useless numbers in an Obsidian folder—i.e. looking at the list gives me absolutely no information without other actions. Further the aliasing to remedy this just becomes extra administrative work. I've also never experienced the sort of surprise you mention when using datetime stamps, or at least not as the result of the timestamps themselves. As a separate concrete example in this video https://share.tube/w/4ad929jjNYMLc6eRppVQmc?start=49s using Denote, there is a clever naming method which simultaneously uses timestamps, Luhmann IDs, titles, and tags. However in this scheme the timestamps is one of the least useful (other than for simply searching by creation date/time, as in "I remember doing this on my birthday last year", or "it was sometime in Winter 2015"...) compared with the Luhmann identifiers, the title, or the tag for search and discovery within the search functionality. Consequently, I'm looking for concrete reasons why people would use datetime stamps and affordances they provide other than to simply have an identifier.

  12. Feb 2023
    1. Folgezettel

      Do folgezettel in combination with an index help to prevent over-indexing behaviors? Or the scaling problem of categorization in a personal knowledge management space?

      Where do subject headings within a zettelkasten dovetail with the index? Where do they help relieve the idea of heavy indexing or tagging? How are the neighborhoods of ideas involved in keeping a sense of closeness while still allowing density of ideas and information?

      Having digital search views into small portions of neighborhoods like gxabbo suggested can be a fantastic affordance. see: https://hypothes.is/a/W2vqGLYxEe2qredYNyNu1A

      For example, consider an anthropology student who intends to spend a lifetime in the subject and its many sub-areas. If they begin smartly tagging things with anthropology as they start, eventually the value of the category, any tags, or ideas within their index will eventually grow without bound to the point that the meaning or value as a search affordance within their zettelkasten (digital or analog) will be utterly useless. Let's say they fix part of the issue by sub-categorizing pieces into cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, etc. This problem is fine while they're in undergraduate or graduate school for a bit, but eventually as they specialize, these areas too will become overwhelming in terms of search and the search results. This problem can continue ad-infinitum for areas and sub areas. So how can one solve it?

      Is a living and concatenating index the solution? The index can have anthropology with sub-areas listed with pointers to the beginnings of threads of thought in these areas which will eventually create neighborhoods of these related ideas.

      The solution is far easier when the ideas are done top-down after-the-fact like in the Dewey Decimal System when the broad areas are preknown and pre-delineated. But in a Luhmann-esque zettelkasten, things grow from the bottom up and thus present different difficulties from a scaling up perspective.

      How do we classify first, second, and third order effects which emerge out of the complexity of a zettelkasten? - Sparse indexing can be a useful long term affordance in the second or third order space. - Combinatorial creativity and ideas of serendipity emerge out of at least the third order. - Using ZK for writing is a second order affordance - Storage is a first order affordance - Memory is a first order affordance (related to storage) - Productivity is a second+ order (because solely spending the time to save and store ideas is a drag at the first order and doesn't show value until retrieval at a later date). - Poor organization can be non-affordance or deterrent which results in a scrap heap - lack of a reason why can be a non-affordance or deterrence as well - cross reference this list and continue on with other pieces and affordances

    1. Part 2: Search & Inspect. Denote as a Zettelkasten, 2023. https://share.tube/w/4ad929jjNYMLc6eRppVQmc.

      His file naming convention and search operation in this is really fantastic:

      20230226155400==51a3b--note-title__tag1_tag2.org

      This allows one to search the file by date/time, signature, title or tags, by using the =, - or _ along with text.

      Beyond this however, there's a fair amount of context to build to use this system including using regex search.

    1. Some systems require a unique identifier, but the people who are using a datetime stamp or random number anywhere in their (Luhmann-esque) zettelkasten title (here's a good example) are leading you astray. Doubly so if it occurs at the beginning of the title. There are no affordances in this practice and it's more likely to cause problems at scale. Just say no! (Note this is not the same as using a Luhmann-esque identifier at the start of a title as a means of providing a sort order of one's notes held in an individual folder.)

      Are there any reasons for someone to do this?! - perhaps for file name conflicts when digitally inserting notes into a system using third party clients with titles which may cause conflicts (though these could/should be removed later for easier reading); - counterexample: https://hypothes.is/a/Jux0pq7yEe2Uqj9mFXS3nQ - Another potential issue is in shared or collaborative note taking spaces where collision is more likely because others don't have the shared context. - perhaps for forcing sort orders on daily notes or recurring meetings MeetingA YYYY-MM-DD, etc., though these are probably in a separate area of one's box and not in their zettelkasten section.

      The point of a zettelkasten is to provide one help in ordering and building their knowledge, not in ordering their notes by time created. This will rarely (sans database-related use cases perhaps) provide any insight and digital systems have other easier and better ways of doing this if you need it.

      Worse, some systems may not do autocompletion on words in the middle of titles, so starting a card with a datetime can hamper this functionality. One should check this against their particular system.

    1. Rookie question: Part of my knowledge database is based on the Zettelkasten method, i.e. I have concept-oriented, atomic notes that are linked to each other. I don't, however, however use IDs and neither the Folgezettel method.

      Example of someone (u/HerrRey) who defines zettelkasten as "concept oriented, atomic notes that are linked to each other", but who doesn't use or exclude "IDs or the folgezettel method". Interestingly they feel like they're not getting the "big picture" of their work.

      Is there an affordance in these missing pieces that prevents them from seeing the big picture because of what they're missing? Is it just neurodiversity? Are they not creating outputs which connect the small to the big, and thus missing it that way?

    1. https://cathieleblanc.com/2023/02/05/choosing-learning-materials/

      Cathie notices that students skip materials about the theoretical "why" of assignments to get to the simpler assignments.

      This seems to be an issue with some in the personal knowledge management space who want to jump into the technology, the terminology, and moving things about without always understanding what they're doing or why. Many end up giving up as a result. Few books provide reasoning behind the terminologies or building blocks they describe to provide the theoretical why. As a result some may figure it out from long, fraught practice, but it's likely that more are not seeing the results they expect and thus giving up.

    1. Using an alphanumeric identification system for your notes is a workout. By having to situate new notes among previously imported ones, folgezettel forces at least one connection between ideas. It's mental calisthenics,8 acting as a check against capture bloat—that is, importing "all the things."

      Those who practice analog note taking have a high level of friction which prevents them from over-collecting (or "capture bloat", importing "all the things", or "collector's fallacy") ideas, which may not rise to a certain level of value. Beyond this, the requirement to find at least one other note to link each idea to provides a smaller hurdle against these hoarding practices.

  13. Jan 2023
    1. All that remained was the small matter of actually writing the chapter. I don’t do this in Obsidian: I think it would be asking for trouble to mix notes and their end-products in the same place.

      I've not seen this explicitly laid out as advice before though in most contexts people's note taking spaces have historically been divorced from their writing spaces for publication because slips and notes are usually kept physically separate from the working spaces or finished parts, but Richard Carter specifically separates the digital spaces in which he takes his notes and then uses them for creating end products. While he could both take notes in Obsidian, his tool of choice for notes, as well as write his finished pieces there, he actively changes contexts to use a different digital app to compose his notes into final pieces.

      What affordances does this context shift provide? <br /> - blank slate may encourage reworking and expansion of original notes - is there a blank slate effect and what would it entail? - potentially moves the piece into a longer format space or tool which provides additional writing, formatting or other affordances (which? there don't seem to be any in this case aside from a potential "distraction free mode" which may tend to force one to focus only on the piece at hand rather than the thousands of other pieces (notes) hiding within the app)

      What affordances does this remove?<br /> - He's forced to repeat himself (cut & paste / DRY violation)

      Is it easier or harder (from a time/effort perspective) to provide citations with such a workflow? Carter does indicate that for him:

      Having links to original sources in my outline makes the compilation of references for the chapter far easier than it used to be.

    1. Anybody using this approach to manage contacts? How?

      reply to IvanFerrero at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/1740/anybody-using-this-approach-to-manage-contacts-how#latest

      Many of the digital note taking tools that run off of text allow you to add metadata to your basic text files (as YAML headers, inline with a key:: value pair, or via #tags). Many of them have search functionality or use other programmatic means like query blocks, DataView, DataViewJS, etc. for doing queries on your files to get back lists, tables, charts, etc. of the data you're looking for.

      The DataView repository has some good examples of how this works with something like Obsidian. Fortunately if you're using simple text files you can usually put them into one or more platforms to get the data and affordances you want out of them individually.

      As an example, I have a script block in my daily note in Obsidian for birthdays in my notes that fall on today's date:

      ```dataview LIST birthday FROM "Lists/People" WHERE birthday.day = date(2023-01-18).day ```

      If I put the text birthday:: 1927-12-08 into a note about Niklas Luhmann, his name and birthday would appear in my daily note on his birthday. One can use similar functionality to create tables of books they read with titles, authors, ratings, dates read, etc. or a variety of other data input which parses through your plaintext files. Services like Obsidian, Logseq, et al. are getting better about allowing these types of programmatic searches for users without backgrounds in programming and various communities usually provide help for pre-made little snippets like the one above that one can cut and paste into their notes to get the outputs that they need. Another Obsidian based example that uses text files for tracking academic journal articles can be found at https://nataliekraneiss.com/your-academic-reading-list-in-obsidian/; I'm sure there are similar versions for other text-based platforms.

      In pre-digital times, for a manual version of a rolodex like this in paper, one could use different color cards as pseudo-tags (doctors are on yellow cards, family members on blue cards, friends on green cards, etc.) or adding edge notches or even tabs to represent different types of metadata. See for example the edge colored cards in Hawkexpress' Pile of Index Cards: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hawkexpress/albums/72157594200490122

  14. Dec 2022
    1. Después de esta historia superficialmente narrada por mí, usted se preguntará, "Y entonces, a cual debo seguir?" A ninguno. Hay un problema en nuestra sociedad, que también se extiende hasta el Zettelkasten: nos hemos fanatizado. Hemos hecho nuestras decisiones políticas, sociales, sexuales, etc., como la esencia de nuestra persona. Me gustaría expandir en ese tema en un futuro artículo, pero por ahora nos importa como eso se relaciona con la elección del zettelkasten: hay peleas y discusiones violentas entre los seguidores de Scheper, los de Ahrens, los digitales, etc. Hay una gran radicalización y tribalismo, evitando la discusión crítica y el discordar intelectual. Y no podemos ser así. Personalmente, el zettelkasten que uso actualmente es más basado en el de Scheper, pero aún así veo a los otros, leo a Ahrens, etc., todo para tener una visión completa y variada de lo que es el Zettelkasten.

      Facundo Macías notices, as have I, a semblance of internecine almost religious/fanatical war between various note taking camps.

      To get away from these we should instead on specific processes, their affordances, and their potential emergent outcomes in individual use. Most people begin these entrenched thoughts based on complete lack of knowledge. Few have practiced some of the broader methods for long enough to get to potential emergent properties.

    1. the Antinet can serve both states. It can assist someone who’s in thegrowth state (without a clear end goal), and it can also assist someone who’sin the contribution state (with a clearly defined book or project).

      This could be clearer and "growth state" and "contribution state" feel like jargon which muddles:

      two of the broad benefits/affordances of having a zettelkasten: - learning and scaffolding knowledge (writing for understanding) - collecting and arranging material for general output

      see also: https://boffosocko.com/2022/04/01/the-zettelkasten-method-of-note-taking-mirrors-most-of-the-levels-of-blooms-taxonomy/

  15. Nov 2022
    1. You cannot followrules you do not know. Nor can you acquire an artistic habitany craft or skill-without following rules. The art as something that can be taught consists of rules to be followed inoperation. The art as something learned and possessed consists of the habit that results from operating according to therules.

      This is why one has some broad general rules for keeping and maintaining a zettelkasten. It helps to have some rules to practice and make a habit.

      Unmentioned here is that true artists known all the rules and can then more profitably break those rules for expanding and improving upon their own practice. This is dramatically different from what is seen by some of those who want to have a commonplace or zettelkasten practice, but begin without any clear rules. They often begin breaking the rules to their detriment without having the benefit of long practice to see and know the affordances of such systems before going out of their way to break those rules.

      By breaking the rules before they've even practiced them, many get confused or lost and quit their practice before they see any of the benefits or affordances of them.

      Of course one should have some clear cut end reasons which answer the "why" question for having such practices, or else they'll also lose the motivation to stick with the practice, particularly when they don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. Pure hope may not be enough for most.

  16. Oct 2022
    1. https://www.denizcemonduygu.com/philo/browse/

      History of Philosophy: Summarized & Visualized

      This could be thought of as a form of digital, single-project zettelkasten dedicated to philosophy. It's got people, sources, and ideas which are cross linked in a Luhmann-sense (without numbering) though not in a topical index-sense. Interestingly it has not only a spatial interface and shows spatial relationships between people and ideas over time using a timeline, but it also indicates—using colored links—the ideas of disagreement/contrast/refutation and agreement/similarity/expansion.

      What other (digital) tools of thought provide these sorts of visualization affordances?

    1. As I thus rearranged the filing system, I found that I wasloosening my imagination.

      "loosening my imagination" !!

    2. nd the way in which these cate-gories changed, some being dropped out and others beingadded, was an index of my own intellectual progress andbreadth. Eventually, the file came to be arranged accord-ing to several larger projects, having many subprojects,which changed from year to year.

      In his section on "Arrangement of File", C. Wright Mills describes some of the evolution of his "file". Knowing that the form and function of one's notes may change over time (Luhmann's certainly changed over time too, a fact which is underlined by his having created a separate ZK II) one should take some comfort and solace that theirs certainly will as well.

      The system designer might also consider the variety of shapes and forms to potentially create a better long term design of their (or others') system(s) for their ultimate needs and use cases. How can one avoid constant change, constant rearrangement, which takes work? How can one minimize the amount of work that goes into creating their system?

      The individual knowledge worker or researcher should have some idea about the various user interfaces and potential arrangements that are available to them before choosing a tool or system for maintaining their work. What are the affordances they might be looking for? What will minimize their overall work, particularly on a lifetime project?

  17. Sep 2022
    1. For instance, particular insights related to the sun or the moon may be filed under the(foreign) keyword “Astronomie” [Astronomy] or under the (German) keyword “Sternkunde”[Science of the Stars]. This can happen even more easily when using just one language, e.g.when notes related to the sociological term “Bund” [Association] are not just filed under“Bund” but also under “Gemeinschaft” [Community] or “Gesellschaft” [Society]. Againstthis one can protect by using dictionaries of synonyms and then create enough referencesheets (e.g. Astronomy: cf. Science of the Stars)

      related, but not drawn from as I've been thinking about the continuum of taxonomies and subject headings for a while...

      On the Spectrum of Topic Headings in note making

      Any reasonable note one may take will likely have a hierarchical chain of tags/subject headings/keywords going from the broad to the very specific. One might start out with something broad like "humanities" (as opposed to science), and proceed into "history", "anthropology", "biological anthropology", "evolution", and even more specific. At the bottom of the chain is the specific atomic idea on the card itself. Each of the subject headings helps to situate the idea and provide the context in which it sits, but how useful within a note taking system is having one or more of these tags on it? What about overlaps with other broader subjects (one will note that "evolution" might also sit under "science" / "biology" as well), but that note may have a different tone and perspective than the prior one.

      This becomes an interesting problem or issue as one explores ideas in a pre-designed note taking system. As a student just beginning to explore anthropology, one may tag hundreds of notes with anthropology to the point that the meaning of the tag is so diluted that a search of the index becomes useless as there's too much to sort through underneath it. But as one continues their studies in the topic further branches and sub headings will appear to better differentiate the ideas. This process will continue as the space further differentiates. Of course one may continue their research into areas that don't have a specific subject heading until they accumulate enough ideas within that space. (Take for example Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky's work which is now known under the heading of Behavioral Economics, a subject which broadly didn't exist before their work.) The note taker might also leverage this idea as they tag their own work as specifically as they might so as not to pollute their system as it grows without bound (or at least to the end of their lifetime).

      The design of one's note taking system should take these eventualities into account and more easily allow the user to start out broad, but slowly hone in on direct specificity.

      Some of this principle of atomicity of ideas and the growth from broad to specific can be seen in Luhmann's zettelkasten (especially ZK II) which starts out fairly broad and branches into the more specific. The index reflects this as well and each index heading ideally points to the most specific sub-card which begins the discussion of that particular topic.

      Perhaps it was this narrowing of specificity which encouraged Luhmann to start ZKII after years of building ZKII which had a broader variety of topics?

    2. Who can say whether I will actually be searchingfor e.g. the note on the relation between freedom of will and responsibility by looking at itunder the keyword “Verantwortlichkeit” [Responsibility]? What if, as is only natural, I willbe unable to remember the keyword and instead search for “Willensfreiheit” [Freedom ofWill] or “Freiheit” [Freedom], hoping to find the entry? This seems to be the biggestcomplaint about the entire system of the sheet box and its merit.

      Heyde specifically highlights that planning for one's future search efforts by choosing the right keyword or even multiple keywords "seems to be the biggest complaint about the entire system of the slip box and its merit."

      Niklas Luhmann apparently spent some time thinking about this, or perhaps even practicing it, before changing his system so that the issue was no longer a problem. As a result, Luhmann's system is much simpler to use and maintain.

      Given his primary use of his slip box for academic research and writing, perhaps his solution was in part motivated by putting the notes and ideas exactly where he would both be able to easily find them, but also exactly where he would need them for creating final products in journal articles and books.

    3. The rigidness and immobility of the note book pages, based on the papern stamp andimmobility of the individual notes, prevents quick and time-saving retrieval and applicationof the content and therefore proves the note book process to be inappropriate. The only tworeasons that this process is still commonly found in the studies of many is that firstly they donot know any better, and that secondly a total immersion into a very specialized field ofscientific research often makes information retrieval easier if not unnecessary.

      Just like Heyde indicated about the slip box note taking system with respect to traditional notebook based systems in 1931, one of the reasons we still aren't broadly using Heyde's system is that we "do not know any better". This is compounded with the fact that the computer revolution makes information retrieval much easier than it had been before. However there is such an information glut and limitations to search, particularly if it's stored in multiple places, that it may be advisable to go back to some of these older, well-tried methods.

      Link to ideas of "single source" of notes as opposed to multiple storage locations as is seen in social media spaces in the 2010-2020s.

    1. Google Forms and Sheets allow users toannotate using customizable tools. Google Forms offers a graphicorganizer that can prompt student-determined categorical input andthen feeds the information into a Sheets database. Sheetsdatabases are taggable, shareable, and exportable to other software,such as Overleaf (London, UK) for writing and Python for coding.The result is a flexible, dynamic knowledge base with many learningapplications for individual and group work

      Who is using these forms in practice? I'd love to see some examples.

      This sort of set up could be used with some outlining functionality to streamline the content creation end of common note taking practices.


      Is anyone using a spreadsheet program (Excel, Google Sheets) as the basis for their zettelkasten?

      Link to examples of zettelkasten as database (Webb, Seignobos suggestions)

      syndication link


    1. By bringing the statementstogether we learn the extent of our information onthe fact; the definitive conclusion depends on therelation between the statements.
    2. the method of slips is the only one mechanicallypossible for the purpose of forming, classifying, andutiUsing a collection of documents of any greatextent. Statisticians, financiers, and men of letterswho observe, have now discovered this as well asscholars.

      Moreover

      A zettelkasten type note taking method isn't only popular and useful for scholars by 1898, but is useful to "statisticians, financiers, and men of letters".

      Note carefully the word "mechanically" here used in a pre-digital context. One can't easily keep large amounts of data in one's head at once to make sense of it, so having a physical and mechanical means of doing so would have been important. In 21st century contexts one would more likely use a spreadsheet or database for these types of manipulations at increasingly larger scales.

    3. The notes from each document are entered upon aloose leaf furnished with the precisest possible in-dications of origin. The advantages of this artificeare obvious : the detachability of the slips enablesus to group them at will in a host of different com-binations ; if necessary, to change their places : it iseasy to bring texts of the same kind together, andto incorporate additions, as they are acquired, in theinterior of the groups to which they belong. As fordocuments which are interesting from several pointsof view, and which ought to appear in several groups,it is sufficient to enter them several times over ondifferent slips ; or they may be represented, as oftenas may be required, on reference-slips.

      Notice that at the bottom of the quote that they indicate that in addition to including multiple copies of a card in various places, a plan which may be inefficient, they indicate that one can add reference-slips in their place.

      This is closely similar to, but a small jump away from having explicit written links on the particular cards themselves, but at least mitigates the tedious copying work while actively creating links or cross references within one's note taking system.

  18. Aug 2022
    1. Should I always create a Bib-note? .t3_x2f4hn._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/x2f4hn/should_i_always_create_a_bibnote/

      If you want to be lazy you could just create the one card with the quote and full source and save a full bibliographical note. Your future self will likely be pleasantly surprised if you do create a full bib note (filed separately) which allows for a greater level of future findability and potential serendipity, It may happen when you've run across that possibly obscure author multiple times and it may spur you to read other material by them or cross reference other related authors. It's these small, but seemingly "useless", practices in the present that generate creativity and serendipity over longer periods of time that really bring out the compounding value of ZK.

      More and more I find that the randomly referenced and obscure writer or historical figure I noted weeks/months/years ago pops up and becomes a key player in research I'm doing now, but that I otherwise would have long forgotten and thus not able to connect or inform my current pursuits. These golden moments are too frequently not written about or highlighted properly in much of the literature about these practices.

      Naturally, however, everyone's practices may differ. You want to save the source at the very least, even if it's just on that slip with the quote. If you're pressed for time now, save the step and do it later when you install the card.

      Often is the time that I don't think of anything useful contemporaneously but then a week or two later I'll think of something relevant and go back and write another note or two, or I'll want to recommend it to someone and then at least it's findable to recommend.

      Frequently I find that the rule "If it's worth reading, then it's worth writing down the author, title, publisher and date at a minimum" saves me from reading a lot of useless material. Of course if you're researching and writing about the broader idea of "listicles" then perhaps you have other priorities?

    1. I see connections between ideas more easily following this approach. Plus, the combinations of ideas lead to even more new ideas. It’s great!

      Like many others, the idea of combinatorial creativity and serendipity stemming from the slip box is undersold.

  19. Jul 2022
    1. portability, thedisplays are getting ever smaller. Unfortunately,small displays force you to classify your notesimmediately you receive or generate them. The studysuggests that knowledge workers may beuncomfortable with these devices as note-takersexcept for non-prima~ aspects of their work such asnoting a telephone number, a diary date or a shortmessage for a colleague. In these cases, users canclassify the note’s subsequent use before they start towrite it. In contrast, if knowledge workers are usingsuch a notebook to jot down an idea they have justheard, they will be forced to classi~ the inherently“unclassifiable” and it is unlikely to inform themlater as it will have disappeared for ever into thebowels of the device. Maybe this is why the A4 pador notebook is an old-favourite of knowledge workerswhose functionality will be hard to match.

      Kidd indicates that knowledge workers may prefer to take notes in physical notebooks because they're not forced to classify them immediately, but they can use their physical presence and location as a means of indicating that some sort of follow up is required. Comparing this to most digital notes which don't have this same sort of location, one is more worried that the computer filing them away will mean that they become lost almost instantaneously. Some notes like diary dates and phone numbers which may have very specific locations for noting them don't fall under these auspices, but other longer and more detailed notes certainly would.


      A digital zettelkasten or commonplace may help to alleviate this as individual ideas are linked and indexed in multiple ways which make them easier to both find, use and expand upon.

    1. I'm trying to get info OUT of my note-taking system. It's not as easy as I'd like it to be.

      This is one of the biggest problems with any of the systems digital or analog. The workflows for this are all generally not great.

      I'm actually trying some advice from Konrad Gessner from the 1500s today. I've printed out some of my digital notes about Tiago Forte's new book to arrange and organize them in an attempt to reuse all my writing and thinking about it into a review of the book. It'll probably take a bit as I've left them for a week or two, but I'm curious to see what the manual process looks like here in an effort to help make the digital portion potentially easier.

    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.

  20. Jun 2022
    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.

      http://books.google.com/books/about/Electronic_journal_literature.html?id=YSFlAAAAMAAJ


      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.

  21. May 2022
    1. 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?