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  1. Last 7 days
  2. Nov 2023
    1. Taking notes for historical writing .t3_185xmuh._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } questionI'm trying to understand how to adopt parts of the Zettelkasten method for thinking about historical information. I wrote a PhD in history. My note-taking methodology was a complete mess the whole time. I used note-taking to digest a book, but it would take me two or three times longer than just reading. I would go back over each section and write down the pieces that seemed crucial. Sometimes, when I didn't know a subject well, that could take time. In the end, I would sometimes have many pages of notes in sequential order sectioned the way the book was sectioned, essentially an overlay of the book's structure. It was time-consuming, very hard, not useless at all, but inefficient.Now consider the Zettelkasten idea. I haven't read much of Luhmann. I recall he was a sociologist, a theorist in the grand style. So, in other words, they operate at a very abstract level. When I read about the Zettelkasten method, that's the way it reads to me. A system for combining thoughts and ideas. Now, you'll say that's an artificial distinction, perhaps...a fact is still rendered in thought, has atomicity to it etc. And I agree. However, the thing about facts is there are just A LOT of them. Before you write your narrative, you are drowning in facts. The writing of history is the thing that allows you to bring some order and selectivity to them, but you must drown first; otherwise, you have not considered all the possibilities and potentialities in the past that the facts reveal. To bring it back to Zettelkasten, the idea of Zettel is so appealing, but how does it work when dealing with an overwhelming number of facts? It's much easier to imagine creating a Zettelkasten from more rarefied thoughts provoked by reading.So, what can I learn from the Zettelkasten method? How can I apply some or all of its methodologies, practically speaking? What would change about my initial note-taking of a book if I were to apply Zettelkasten ideas and practice? Here is a discussion about using the method for "facts". The most concrete suggestions here suggest building Zettels around facts in some ways -- either a single fact, or groups of facts, etc. But in my experience, engaging with a historical text is a lot messier than that. There are facts, but also the author's rendering of the facts, and there are quotes (all the historical "gossip"), and it's all in there together as the author builds their narrative. You are trying to identify the key facts, the author's particular angle and interpretation, preserve your thoughts and reactions, and save these quotes, the richest part of history, the real evidence. In short, it is hard to imagine being able to isolate clear Zettel topics amid this reading experience.In Soenke Ahrens' book "How to Take Smart Notes," he describes three types of notes: fleeting notes (these are fleeting ideas), literature notes, and permanent notes. In that classification, I'm talking about "literature notes." Ahrens says these should be "extremely selective". But with the material I'm talking about it becomes a question. How can you be selective when you still don't know which facts you care about or want to maintain enough detail in your notes so you don't foreclose the possibilities in the historical narrative too early?Perhaps this is just an unsolvable problem. Perhaps there is no choice but to maintain a discipline of taking "selective" literature notes. But there's something about the Zettelkasten method that gives me the feeling that my literature notes could be more detailed and chaotic and open to refinement later.Does my dilemma explained here resonate with anyone who has tried this method for intense historical writing? If so, I'd like to hear you thoughts, or better yet, see some concrete examples of how you've worked.

      reply to u/ethanzanemiller at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/185xmuh/taking_notes_for_historical_writing/

      Rather than spending time theorizing on the subject, particularly since you sound like you're neck-deep already, I would heartily recommend spending some time practicing it heavily within the area you're looking at. Through a bit of time and experience, more of your questions will become imminently clear, especially if you're a practicing historian.

      A frequently missing piece to some of this puzzle for practicing academics is upping the level of how you read and having the ability to consult short pieces of books and articles rather than reading them "cover-to-cover" which is often unnecessary for one's work. Of particular help here, try Adler and Van Doren, and specifically their sections on analytical and syntopical reading.

      • Adler, Mortimer J., and Charles Van Doren. How to Read a Book: The Classical Guide to Intelligent Reading. Revised and Updated ed. edition. 1940. Reprint, Touchstone, 2011.

      In addition to the list of practicing historians I'd provided elsewhere on the topic, you might also appreciate sociologist Beatrice Webb's short appendix C in My Apprenticeship or her longer related text. She spends some time talking about handling dates and the database nature of querying collected facts and ideas to do research and to tell a story.

      Also helpful might be Mill's article which became a chapter in one of his later books:

      Perhaps u/danallosso may have something illuminating to add, or you can skim through his responses on the subject on Reddit or via his previous related writing: https://danallosso.substack.com/.

      Enough historians and various other humanists have been practicing these broad methods for centuries to bear out their usefulness in researching and organizing their work. Read a bit, but truly: practice, practice, and more practice is going to be your best friend here.

    1. Can you provide any more information about how this method works in detail?

      reply to u/ethanzanemiller at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1843k2w/comment/kb4d882/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Presuming you came into this from a search on "history" or a related topic rather than long time experience in this sub?

      A card index, fichier boîte (French), or zettelkasten (German) is broadly the use of index cards (or digital versions) for research and writing. (I generally frame it as an extension of keeping a commonplace book.)

      But some of it is best described within the area of "historical method" by practicing historians themselves, so also try these texts written by historians on the subject:

      Allosso, Dan, and S. F. Allosso. How to Make Notes and Write. Minnesota State Pressbooks, 2022. https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/.

      Barzun, Jacques. The Modern Researcher. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 1992. http://archive.org/details/modernresearcher00barz_1.

      Dow, Earle Wilbur. Principles of a Note-System for Historical Studies. New York: Century Company, 1924.

      Eco, Umberto. How to Write a Thesis. Translated by Caterina Mongiat Farina and Geoff Farina. 1977. Reprint, Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2015. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/how-write-thesis.

      Gottschalk, Louis Reichenthal. Understanding History: A Primer of Historical Method. 1st ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1950. https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-History-Louis-Gottschalk/dp/B001OY27L6.

      Goutor, Jacques. The Card-File System of Note-Taking. Approaching Ontario’s Past 3. Toronto: Ontario Historical Society, 1980. http://archive.org/details/cardfilesystemof0000gout.

      Langlois, Charles Victor, and Charles Seignobos. Introduction to the Study of History. Translated by George Godfrey Berry. First. New York: Henry Holt and company, 1898. http://archive.org/details/cu31924027810286.

      Margolin, Victor. The Process of Writing World History of Design, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxyy0THLfuI.

      Thomas, Keith. “Diary: Working Methods.” London Review of Books, June 10, 2010. https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v32/n11/keith-thomas/diary.

      Maybe start with Keith Thomas and Margolin which are short and then jump to either Goutor or Allosso (first half of that text) which are slightly longer but still quick reads. Umberto Eco may be the dean of studies here, though Barzun has been fairly influential. If you prefer, you can practice Luhmann's method, which is very similar though with a twist, and laid out at https://zettelkasten.de/posts/overview/.

  3. Oct 2023
    1. Yeah, I want back in search history and see Sascha started around 2014. There are hardly any references to ZK before 2012.

      reply tu u/sscheper and u/Barycenter0 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17gmrj8/before_2021_who_here_was_using_a_luhmannian/

      Before 2021, who here was using a Luhmannian analog Zettelkasten?

      This blogpost by Manfred Kuehn dating from 2007-12-16 is one of the earliest posts about Luhmann's Zettelkasten I've seen referenced on the early web (at least in an English language setting). You'll notice that Christian Tietze, the creator of zettelkasten.de, pops up in the comments, though it wasn't until almost six years later.

      Daniel Lüdecke was also obviously reading Kuehn by 2013 and making his digital version of ZKN3. His post has a reference to a 2001 web post in German, but sadly it's not archived. One might presume he tried physical index cards prior to implementing his digital solution.

      German speakers may be better versed to indicate a greater number of potential users in the 80s through the 00s as Luhmann's paper and method were relatively well known, though physical index cards were obviously going out of fashion during that time period. It's most likely that it was academics using it. By the late 00s into 2015, there were probably several dozens of people doing this practice, but identifying/contacting them will require a lot of legwork.

      The zettelkasten.de forum and blog posts may indicate quite a number of users prior to 2021, but I'll leave that work to others. Christian and Sasha may have better approximations for that time period.

      Given the number of digital users who are probably all mostly Luhmann-adjacent in their practices (at best), there likely still aren't a lot of people (digital or analog) who are following his particular recipe or method. Most of what I see discussed in zettelkasten and zettelkasten adjacent spaces online these days could best be described as a mélange of commonplace book and wiki-esque methods with a focus toward smaller atomic level notes. Most practices vary across a pretty wide spectrum.

    1. Nein. Ich habe den Zettelkasten aus der simplen Überlegung her-aus angefangen, daß ich ein schlechtes Gedächtnis habe. Zunächsteinmal hatte ich Zettel in Bücher gelegt, auf die ich mir Notizenmachte, auf diese Weise gingen die Einbände der Bücher kaputt.Dann habe ich mir mit Mappen geholfen, als die jedoch dickerwurden, fand ich nichts mehr in ihnen. Ab 1952 oder 1953 begannich dann mit meinem Zettelkasten, weil mir klar wurde, daß ich fürein Leben planen müsse und nicht für ein Buch.

      Machine translation:

      No. I started the Zettelkasten out of the simple thought that I have a bad memory. First of all, I put pieces of paper in books on which I wrote notes, so the covers of the books got ruined. Then I helped myself with folders, but when they got thicker I couldn't find anything in them. In 1952 or 1953, I started my Zettelkasten because I realized that I had to plan for a life and not for a book.

      There's some missing interstitial space here about how precisely he came to it outside of the general motivation for the thing in general.

      52/53 would have been after law school and in his administrative days and before his trip to Harvard in 61.

  4. Sep 2023
    1. Merchants and traders have a waste book (Sudelbuch, Klitterbuch in GermanI believe) in which they enter daily everything they purchase and sell,messily, without order. From this, it is transferred to their journal, whereeverything appears more systematic, and finally to a ledger, in double entryafter the Italian manner of bookkeeping, where one settles accounts witheach man, once as debtor and then as creditor. This deserves to be imitatedby scholars. First it should be entered in a book in which I record everythingas I see it or as it is given to me in my thoughts; then it may be enteredin another book in which the material is more separated and ordered, andthe ledger might then contain, in an ordered expression, the connectionsand explanations of the material that flow from it. [46]

      —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Notebook E, #46, 1775–1776

      In this single paragraph quote Lichtenberg, using the model of Italian bookkeepers of the 18th century, broadly outlines almost all of the note taking technique suggested by Sönke Ahrens in How to Take Smart Notes. He's got writing down and keeping fleeting notes as well as literature notes. (Keeping academic references would have been commonplace by this time.) He follows up with rewriting and expanding on the original note to create additional "explanations" and even "connections" (links) to create what Ahrens describes as permanent notes or which some would call evergreen notes.

      Lichtenberg's version calls for the permanent notes to be "separated and ordered" and while he may have kept them in book format himself, it's easy to see from Konrad Gessner's suggestion at the use of slips centuries before, that one could easily put their permanent notes on index cards ("separated") and then number and index or categorize them ("ordered"). The only serious missing piece of Luhmann's version of a zettelkasten then are the ideas of placing related ideas nearby each other, though the idea of creating connections between notes is immediately adjacent to this, and his numbering system, which was broadly based on the popularity of Melvil Dewey's decimal system.

      It may bear noticing that John Locke's indexing system for commonplace books was suggested, originally in French in 1685, and later in English in 1706. Given it's popularity, it's not unlikely that Lichtenberg would have been aware of it.

      Given Lichtenberg's very popular waste books were known to have influenced Leo Tolstoy, Albert Einstein, Andre Breton, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. (Reference: Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph (2000). The Waste Books. New York: New York Review Books Classics. ISBN 978-0940322509.) It would not be hard to imagine that Niklas Luhmann would have also been aware of them.

      Open questions: <br /> - did Lichtenberg number the entries in his own waste books? This would be early evidence toward the practice of numbering notes for future reference. Based on this text, it's obvious that the editor numbered the translated notes for this edition, were they Lichtenberg's numbering? - Is there evidence that Lichtenberg knew of Locke's indexing system? Did his waste books have an index?

  5. Aug 2023
    1. other jokes did not land because I did not know the movie star or celebrity referenced.
    2. The main thing I learned while reading through Phyllis Diller's jokes is that comedy has changed a lot since she started her career in the mid-1950s. Her comedy is focused on short one-liners that get laughs in quick succession, while today's comedy is more story-driven. Although a lot of her jokes are very time-bound due to their content, it was interesting to get a glimpse of what was happening at the time a joke was written. Each joke card has a date on it, and the cards span the 1960s to the 1990s. The topic of the jokes told a lot about what people were worried about or focused on at the time the joke was written, whether it was the inflation or student protests of the 1970s, a celebrity's many marriages, or gossip about the president at the time. While, like any comedian, some of her jokes fall flat, I appreciated Diller's hard work in meticulously recording, testing, and filing each joke in the gag file, along with her ability to make a joke about almost any topic.

      evidence of comedy shift from 50s/60s of one liners to more story-based comedy of the 2000s onward. Some of this may come about through idea links or story links as seen in some of Diller's paperclipped cards (see https://hypothes.is/a/W9Wz-EXsEe6nZxew_8BUCg).

    1. Methodenstreit mischten sich zahlreichenamhafte Historiker und andere Geisteswissenschaftlerein. Warburg leistete keinen direkten publizistischen Bei-trag, nahm jedoch, wie der Zettelkasten belegt, als passi-ver Beobachter intensiv an der Debatte teil.359

      Karl Lamprecht was one of Warburg's first teachers in Bonn and Warburg had a section in his zettelkasten dedicated to him. While Warburg wasn't part of the broader public debate on Lamprecht's Methodenstreit (methodological dispute), his notes indicate that he took an active stance on thinking about it.

      Consult footnote for more:

      59 Vgl. Roger Chickering, »The Lamprecht Controversy«, in: Historiker- kontroversen, hrsg. von Hartmut Lehmann, Göttingen 20 0 0, S. 15 – 29

    1. BookmarkZettelkasten for historical research?

      @pgrhowarth @MartinBB @tevka and other historians (and sociologists, anthropologists, humanists, etc.) who want to delve into some of the ideas of historical method, zettelkasten, note taking, intellectual craftsmanship outside of Luhmann's version, I've compiled a list of various primary sources who have written on a variety of related methods throughout the past few hundred years: https://www.zotero.org/chrisaldrich/tags/note%20taking%20methods/items/KTZXN3EV/item-list

      Historians in particular have used indexing their notes as a means of creating analog databases for individual facts outside of their other writing/compiling practices. Thus a mixture of methods may suit your working needs.

      To help frame it one might also consult the following: * Thomas, Keith. “Diary: Working Methods.” London Review of Books, June 10, 2010. https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v32/n11/keith-thomas/diary. * Blair, Ann M. Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age. Yale University Press, 2010. https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300165395/too-much-know.

      I've got a relatively short overview of some of these methods and examples of users at https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/22/the-two-definitions-of-zettelkasten/.

  6. May 2023
  7. Apr 2023
  8. Mar 2023
    1. TheSateliteCombinationCard IndexCabinetandTelephoneStand

      A fascinating combination of office furniture types in 1906!

      The Adjustable Table Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan manufactured a combination table for both telephones and index cards. It was designed as an accessory to be stood next to one's desk to accommodate a telephone at the beginning of the telephone era and also served as storage for one's card index.

      Given the broad business-based use of the card index at the time and the newness of the telephone, this piece of furniture likely was not designed as an early proto-rolodex, though it certainly could have been (and very well may have likely been) used as such in practice.

      I totally want one of these as a side table for my couch/reading chair for both storing index cards and as a temporary writing surface while reading!

      This could also be an early precursor to Twitter!

      Folks have certainly mentioned other incarnations: - annotations in books (person to self), - postcards (person to person), - the telegraph (person to person and possibly to others by personal communication or newspaper distribution)

      but this is the first version of short note user interface for both creation, storage, and distribution by means of electrical transmission (via telephone) with a bigger network (still person to person, but with potential for easy/cheap distribution to more than a single person)

  9. Feb 2023
    1. Moststriking, though, was Marcus’ appropriation of Deutsch’s cards when he extracted thoserelating to America, installing them in the reading room of the American JewishArchives where they remain to this day.
    2. Fred Morrow Flingwrote effusively of the ‘manifest advantages’ of the ‘card system of note taking’

      from<br /> Fling, F. M. (1920) The Writing of History: An Introduction to Historical Method. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    3. Herbert Baxton Adams’ model of ahistorical seminar room suggested it have a dedicated catalogue;
    1. Neben den Methoden herkömmlicher Recherche werden daher normalerweise Zettelkästen angelegt, in denen auf Karteikarten notiert ist, was ständig zitiert werden muss. Studenten erproben dies oft zum ersten mal intensiv für ihre Diplomarbeit. Nach Schlagworten und Autoren werden Notizen alphabetisch geordnet und was in den Kasten einsortiert wurde, kann man auch wieder herausholen.

      Google translate:

      In addition to the methods of conventional research, card boxes are usually created in which index cards are used to record what needs to be constantly quoted. Students often try this out intensively for their diploma thesis for the first time. Notes are sorted alphabetically according to keywords and authors, and what has been sorted into the box can also be taken out again.

      An indication from 2001 of the state of the art of zettelkasten written in German. Note that the description is focused more on the index card or slip-based version of a commonplace book sorted alphabetically by keywords and authors primarily for quoting. Most students trying the method for the first time are those working on graduate level theses.

  10. Jan 2023
    1. My plan is to make some sort of physical timeline eventually, but while analog does feel a little "fixed" for this purpose, I want the shear size and the speed of cards.Do you happen to know what historians used to do before computers?

      reply to u/stjeromeslibido at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/10nlu4l/comment/j6bdgma/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      I've used data from my own cards to create timelines before using the Knightlab's TimelineJS tool: https://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline3/latest/embed/index.html?source=18QD2-Kx0WdFBzqDv1sTkQWOJLGHGXsvr4NBLYNiX9FA&font=Default&lang=en&initial_zoom=2&height=650%27%20width=%27100%%27%20height=%27650%27%20webkitallowfullscreen%20mozallowfullscreen%20allowfullscreen%20frameborder=%270%27

      You'll note that it's got a fun card-like flavor to its design. 🤩

      Historically, while they had certainly done so much earlier, historians began doubling down on slip-based research work flows in the late 1800's. Many in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were heavily influenced by the idea of "historical method" or the German "Wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens". Primary sources going back over a century have included:

      • Bernheim, Ernst. Lehrbuch der historischen Methode und der Geschichtsphilosophie : mit Nachweis der wichtigsten Quellen und Hilfsmittelzum Studium der Geschichte ... völlig neu bearbeitete und vermehrte Auflage. 1889. Reprint, Leipzig : Duncker, 1903. http://archive.org/details/lehrbuchderhisto00bernuoft.
      • Langlois, Charles Victor, and Charles Seignobos. Introduction to the Study of History. Translated by George Godfrey Berry. First. New York: Henry Holt and company, 1898. http://archive.org/details/cu31924027810286.
      • Dow, Earle Wilbur. Principles of a Note-System for Historical Studies. New York: Century Company, 1924.
      • Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. The Modern Researcher. New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1957. http://archive.org/details/modernreseracher0000unse.
      • Eco, Umberto. How to Write a Thesis. Translated by Caterina Mongiat Farina and Geoff Farina. 1977. Reprint, Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2015. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/how-write-thesis.

      A few prime examples of historians practicing this sort of card index method (though not necessarily in the same form as Niklas Luhmann) include:

      Margolin's short video is particularly lovely for its incredible depth despite its brevity.

      Beyond this there is also a very rich history of sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers, linguists, and others in the humanities using similar methods.

      Beatrice Webb has a fairly good description of how she created her "scientific notes" in the late 1880/1890s in a database-like fashion in the appendix to her memoir My Apprenticeship and expanded on some of the ideas in a more specific text a few years later.

      • Webb, Beatrice. My Apprenticeship. First Edition. New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1926.
      • Webb, Sidney, and Beatrice Webb. Methods of Social Study. London; New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1932. http://archive.org/details/b31357891.
    1. Aschheim, Steven E., and Vivian Liska, eds. The German-Jewish Experience Revisited. Perspectives on Jewish Texts and Contexts 3. De Gruyter, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110367195.

      Skimmed for references with respect to Aby Warburg and his zettelkasten.

    2. For some scholars, it is critical thatthis new Warburg obsessively kept tabs on antisemitic incidents on the Easternfront, scribbling down aphorisms and thoughts on scraps of paper and storingthem in Zettelkasten that are now searchable.

      Apparently Aby Warburg "obsessively kept" notes on antisemitic incidents on the Eastern front in his zettelkasten.

      This piece looks at Warburg's Jewish identity as supported or not by the contents of his zettelkasten, thus placing it in the use of zettelkasten or card index as autobiography.

      Might one's notes reflect who they were as a means of creating both their identity while alive as well as revealing it once they've passed on? Might the use of historical method provide its own historical method to be taken up on a meta basis after one's death?

    1. Zinger, Oded. “Finding a Fragment in a Pile of Geniza: A Practical Guide to Collections, Editions, and Resources.” Jewish History 32, no. 2 (December 1, 2019): 279–309. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10835-019-09314-6.

      Read on 2023-01-09

      An overview of sources and repositories for fragments from the Cairo Geniza with useful bibliographies for the start of Geniza studies. Of particular interest to me here is the general work of Shelomo Dov Goitein and his 27,000+ card zettelkasten containing his research work on it. There's some great basic description of his collection in general as well as some small specifics on what it entails and some reasonable guide as to how to search it and digital versions at the Princeton Geniza Lab.

    1. is zettelkasten gamification of note-taking? .t3_zkguan._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/theinvertedform at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/zkguan/is_zettelkasten_gamification_of_notetaking/

      Social media and "influencers" have certainly grabbed onto the idea and squeezed with both hands. Broadly while talking about their own versions of rules, tips, tricks, and tools, they've missed a massive history of the broader techniques which pervade the humanities for over 500 years. When one looks more deeply at the broader cross section of writers, educators, philosophers, and academics who have used variations on the idea of maintaining notebooks or commonplace books, it becomes a relative no-brainer that it is a useful tool. I touch on some of the history as well as some of the recent commercialization here: https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/22/the-two-definitions-of-zettelkasten/.

  11. Dec 2022
    1. I published an article about the Zettelkasten Method in my blog .t3_zgx3pv._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/I_saw_the_Aleph<br /> https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/zgx3pv/i_published_an_article_about_the_zettelkasten/

      Thanks for adding to the tradition in another language. This is great.

      I'm obviously not a fan of the commonly held Luhmann "zettelkasten origin myth", but since you don't cite a source for "otros métodos de tomar notas similares se originan en el siglo XVII" (translation: other similar note taking methods in the 17th century), I'm curious what and potentially who you're referring to here? I've seen a handful of online sources nebulously mention this same 17th century time period without any specific evidence, so I'm curious if you're following that crowd, or if there's something more specific you have in mind or could point to from a historical standpoint?

    1. A pesar de que la variante moderna fue creada por Luhmann, las "máquinas de pensamiento" y otros métodos de tomar notas similares se originan en el siglo XVII.

      I've now seen a handful of (all online) sources quote a 17th Century origin for similar note taking methods. What exactly are they referring to specifically? What are these sources? None seem to be footnoted.

  12. Oct 2022
    1. the writer of "scissors and paste history" ;

      One cannot excerpt their way into knowledge, simply cutting and pasting one's way through life is useless. Your notes may temporarily serve you, but unless you apply judgement and reason to them to create something new, they will remain a scrapheap for future generations who will gain no wisdom or use from your efforts.

      relate to: notes about notes being only useful to their creator

    1. Helbig, Daniela K. “Life without Toothache: Hans Blumenberg’s Zettelkasten and History of Science as Theoretical Attitude.” Journal of the History of Ideas 80, no. 1 (2019): 91–112. https://doi.org/10.1353/jhi.2019.0005

    2. In “collaboration with his Zettelkasten,”61 Blumenberg worked to por-tray these tensions between different and changing historical meanings ofscientific inquiry.
    1. Der Nachlass ist aber nicht nur ein wissenschaftshistorisches Dokument, sondern auch wegen der Rückseiten interessant: Jungius verwendete Predigttexte und Erbauungsliteratur, Schülermitschriften und alte Briefe als Notizpapier. Zudem wurde vieles im Nachlass belassen, was ihm irgendwann einmal zugeordnet wurde, darunter eine Reihe von Manuskripten fremder Hand, z. B. zur Astronomie des Nicolaus Reimers.

      machine translation (Google):

      The estate is not only a scientific-historical document, but also interesting because of the back: Jungius used sermon texts and devotional literature, school notes and old letters as note paper. In addition, much was left in the estate that was assigned to him at some point, including a number of manuscripts by someone else, e.g. B. to the astronomy of Nicolaus Reimers.

      In addition to the inherent value of the notes which Jungius took and which present a snapshot of the state-of-the art of knowledge for his day, there is a secondary source of value as he took his notes on scraps of paper that represent sermon texts and devotional literature, school notes, and old letters. These represent their own historical value separate from his notes.

      link to https://hypothes.is/a/m2izykwGEe2TaktJuW0Qgg

    1. image courtesy hawkexpress on flickr

      Interesting to see the first post on zettelkasten.de in 2013 has a photo of hawkexpress' Pile of Index Cards (PoIC) in it.

      This obviously means that Christian Tietze had at least a passing familiarity with that system, though it differed structurally from Luhmann's version of zettelkasten.

    1. Walter Benjamin termed the book ‘an outdated mediationbetween two filing systems’

      reference for this quote? date?

      Walter Benjamin's fantastic re-definition of a book presaged the invention of the internet, though his instantiation was as a paper based machine.

    1. Indeed, Deutsch’s index is massive but middling, especially when placed alongside those of Niklas Luhmann, Paul Otlet, or Gershom Scholem.

      Curious how Deutsch's 70,000 facts would be middling compared to Luhmann's 90,000? - How many years did Deutsch maintain and collect his version?<br /> - How many publications did he contribute to? - Was his also used for teaching?

      Otlet didn't create his collection alone did he? Wasn't it a massive group effort?

      Check into Gershom Scholem's collection and use. I've not come across his work in this space.

    1. level 1tristanjuricek · 4 hr. agoI’m not sure I see these products as anything more than a way for middle management to put some structure behind meetings, presentations, etc in a novel format. I’m not really sure this is what I’d consider a zettlecasten because there’s really no “net” here; no linking of information between cards. Just some different exercises.If you actually look at some of the cards, they read more like little cues to drive various processes forward: https://pipdecks.com/products/workshop-tactics?variant=39770920321113I’m pretty sure if you had 10 other people read those books and analyze them, they’d come up with 10 different observations on these topics of team management, presentation building, etc.

      Historically the vast majority of zettelkasten didn't have the sort of structure and design of Luhmann's, though with indexing they certainly create a network of notes and excerpts. These examples are just subsets or excerpts of someone's reading of these books and surely anyone else reading any book is going to have a unique set of notes on them. These sets were specifically honed and curated for a particular purpose.

      The interesting pattern here is that someone is selling a subset of their work/notes as a set of cards rather than as a book. Doing this allows different sorts of reading and uses than a "traditional" book would.

      I'm curious what other sort of experimental things people might come up with? The "novel" Cain's Jawbone, for example, could be considered a "Zettelkasten mystery" or "Zettelkasten puzzle". There's also the subset of cards from Roland Barthes' fichier boîte (French for zettelkasten), which was published posthumously as Mourning Diary.

  13. Sep 2022
    1. I've been spelunking through your posts from roughly the decade from 2005 onward which reference your interest in index cards. Thanks for unearthing and writing about all the great index card material from that time period. Have you kept up with your practices?

      I noticed that at least one of your posts had a response by MK (Manfred Kuehn, maintainer of the now defunct Taking Note blog (2007-2018). Was it something you read at the time or kept up with?

      Have you been watching the productivity or personal knowledge management space since roughly 2017 where the idea of the Zettelkasten (slip box or card index) has taken off (eg. https://zettelkasten.de/, Sonke Ahren's book How to Take Smart Notes, Obsidian.md, Roam Research, etc.?) I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on them or even what your practice has meant over time.

      Thanks again.

      Cheers! -CJA

    1. Every one admits nowadays that it is advisable tocollect materials on separate cards or slips of paper.

      A zettelkasten or slip box approach was commonplace, at least by historians, (excuse the pun) by 1898.

      Given the context as mentioned in the opening that this books is for a broader public audience, the idea that this sort of method extends beyond just historians and even the humanities is very likely.

  14. Aug 2022
    1. ManuelRodriguez331 · 8 hr. agotaurusnoises wrote on Aug 20, 2022: Technik des Wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens by Johannes Erich HeydeThe idea of grouping similar notes together with the help of index cards was mainstream knowledge in the 1920'er. Melvil Dewey has invented the decimal classification in 1876 and it was applied to libraries and personal note taking as well.quote: “because for every note there is a systematically related one in the immediate vicinity. [...] A good, scholarly book can grow out of the mere collection of notes — not an ingenious one, indeed" [1]The single cause why it wasn't applied more frequently was because of the limitation of the printing press. In the year 1900 only 100 scholarly journals were available in the world. There was no need to write more manuscripts and teach the art of Scientific Writing to a larger audience.[1] Kuntze, Friedrich: Die Technik der geistigen Arbeit, 1922

      reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/wrytqj/comment/ilax9tc/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Index card systems were insanely popular in the early 1900's for note taking and uses of all other sorts (business administration, libraries, etc.). The note taking tradition of the slip box goes back even further in intellectual history with precedents including miscellanies, commonplace books, and florilegia. Konrad Gessner may have been one of the first to have created a method using slips of rearrangeable paper in the 1500s, but this general pattern of excerpting, note taking and writing goes back to antiquity with the concept of locus communis (Latin) and tópos koinós (Greek).

      What some intellectual historians are hoping for evidence of in this particular source is a possible origin of the idea of the increased complexity of direct links from one card to another as well as the juxtaposition of ideas which build on each other. Did Luhmann innovate this himself or was this something he read or was in general practice which he picked up? Most examples of zettelkasten outside of Luhmann's until those in the present, could be described reasonably accurately as commonplace books on index cards usually arranged by topic/subject heading/head word (with or without internal indices).

      Perhaps it was Luhmann's familiarity with Aktenzeichen (German administrative "file numbers") prior to his academic work which inspired the dramatically different form his index card-based commonplace took? See: https://hyp.is/CqGhGvchEey6heekrEJ9WA/www.wikiwand.com/de/Aktenzeichen_(Deutschland)

      Is it possible that he was influenced by Beatrice Webb's ideas on note taking from Appendix C of My Apprenticeship (1924) which was widely influential in the humanities and particularly sociology and anthropology? Would he have been aware of the work of historians Ernst Bernheim followed by Charles Victor Langlois and Charles Seignobos? (see: https://hypothes.is/a/DLP52hqFEe2nrIMdrd4U7g) Did Luhmann's law studies expose him to the work of jurist Johann Jacob Moser (1701-1785) who wrote about his practice in his autobiography and subsequently influenced generations of practitioners including Jean Paul and potentially Hegel?

      There are obviously lots of unanswered questions...

    1. Zettelkasten history: Johann Siegmund Stoy and The World in a Box

      For those interested in the history of the zettelkasten, you're sure to appreciate The World in a Box: The Story of an Eighteenth-Century Picture Encyclopedia by Anke te Heesen.


      This is a book about a box that contained the world. The box was the Picture Academy for the Young, a popular encyclopedia in pictures invented by preacher-turned-publisher Johann Siegmund Stoy in eighteenth-century Germany. Children were expected to cut out the pictures from the Academy, glue them onto cards, and arrange those cards in ordered compartments—the whole world filed in a box of images.

      As Anke te Heesen demonstrates, Stoy and his world in a box epitomized the Enlightenment concern with the creation and maintenance of an appropriate moral, intellectual, and social order. The box, and its images from nature, myth, and biblical history, were intended to teach children how to collect, store, and order knowledge. te Heesen compares the Academy with other aspects of Enlightenment material culture, such as commercial warehouses and natural history cabinets, to show how the kinds of collecting and ordering practices taught by the Academy shaped both the developing middle class in Germany and Enlightenment thought. The World in a Box, illustrated with a multitude of images of and from Stoy's Academy, offers a glimpse into a time when it was believed that knowledge could be contained and controlled.

    1. On the Internet there are many collective projects where users interact only by modifying local parts of their shared virtual environment. Wikipedia is an example of this.[17][18] The massive structure of information available in a wiki,[19] or an open source software project such as the FreeBSD kernel[19] could be compared to a termite nest; one initial user leaves a seed of an idea (a mudball) which attracts other users who then build upon and modify this initial concept, eventually constructing an elaborate structure of connected thoughts.[20][21]

      Just as eusocial creatures like termites create pheromone infused mudballs which evolve into pillars, arches, chambers, etc., a single individual can maintain a collection of notes (a commonplace book, a zettelkasten) which contains memetic seeds of ideas (highly interesting to at least themselves). Working with this collection over time and continuing to add to it, modify it, link to it, and expand it will create a complex living community of thoughts and ideas.

      Over time this complexity involves to create new ideas, new structures, new insights.

      Allowing this pattern to move from a single person and note collection to multiple people and multiple collections will tend to compound this effect and accelerate it, particularly with digital tools and modern high speed communication methods.

      (Naturally the key is to prevent outside selfish interests from co-opting this behavior, eg. corporate social media.)

  15. Jul 2022
    1. Langlois, Charles-Victor / Seignobos, Charles (1898): Introduction to the Study of History. London

      Niklas Luhmann cites Langlois and Seignobos' Introduction to the Study of History (1898) at least once, so there's evidence that he read at least a portion of the book which outlines some portions of note taking practice that resemble portions of his zettelkasten method.

    1. Bernheim, Ernst. Lehrbuch der historischen Methode und der Geschichtsphilosophie: mit Nachweis der wichtigsten Quellen und Hilfsmittel zum Studium der Geschichte. Leipzig : Duncker & Humblot, 1908. http://archive.org/details/lehrbuchderhist03berngoog.

      Title translation: Textbook of the historical method and the philosophy of history : with reference to the most important sources and aids for the study of history

      A copy of the original 1889 copy can be found at https://digital.ub.uni-leipzig.de/mirador/index.php

    2. der Beschaffenheit des Themas und des Materials wird es oft_ praktisch sein, von sachlicher Ordnung abzusehen und nur dieHuGBerlich chronologische anzuwenden. Gerade dann ist es vongréBtem Wert, die Eintragungen auf lose Blu&tter zu machen,damit man dieselben nach den verschiedenen Gesichtspunktender Zusammengehirigkeit zeitweilig umordnen und dann wiederin die Grundordoung zurticklegen kann. Um die einzelnenNotizen leicht auffinden zu kinnen, ist es ratsam, die Datenoder Schlagwirter oben dartiberzuschreiben; und die Bl&tteroder Zettel miissen von nicht zu diinnem Papier sein, damitman sie schnell durchblattern kann.Soweit es sich um Abschriften ganzer Akten oder Nach-richten handelt, bedarf es keiner besonderen Erérterungen.Doch solche véllige Abschriften wird man nur machen, wo essich um archivalische Quellen oder entlegenere Drucke handelt,die man nicht so leicht wieder erreichen kann. Im tibrigenwird man sich mit Ausztigen und Notizen begniigen, welcheentweder das aus den Quellen ausheben, was fiir das Themain Betracht kommt, oder nur im allgemeinen auf die Quellen-stellen hinweisen. Im ersteren Falle kommt es darauf an, dasBrauchbare und Wichtige scharf zu erkennen und prizis zunotieren; im letzteren Falle mu8 die Hindeutung wenigstensderart prizisiert sein, daf8 man beim sp&teren Durchsehen derNotizen gleich ersieht, was in der betreffenden Quellenstellezu erwarten ist, und da® die Identit&t der Notiz mit dem Inhaltder Quellenstelle nicht zweifelhaft sein kann; bei Urkundenerfordert letzteres besondere Sorgfalt, da nicht selten iiber den-selben (tegenstand zur selben Zeit mehrere dhnliche Dokumenteausgestellt worden sind: man tut daher gut, die Identitét jedesStiickes durch Aufnotierung des Anfanges und Schlusses (In-cipit und Explicit) sicherzustellen, wobei zu bemerken ist, dafhier als Anfang und Schlu8 nicht die formelhaften Teile, diesogenannten Protokolle, welche eben als feststehende Formelnnicht fiir die einzelne Urkunde unterscheidend sind, gelten,sondern daf man Anfang und Schlu8 des individuellen Textesnotiert, eine Art der Bezeichnung, die allgemein bei den pupst-lichen Bullen angewandt wird, indem man von der Bulle Unamsanctam oder Ausculta fili usw. spricht.

      Je nach der Beschaffenheit des Themas und des Materials wird es oft praktisch sein, von sachlicher Ordnung abzusehen und nur die äußerlich chronologische anzuwenden. Gerade dann ist es von größtem Wert, die Eintragungen auf lose Blätter zu machen, damit man dieselben nach den verschiedenen Gesichtspunkten der Zusammengehörigkeit zeitweilig umordnen und dann wieder in die Grundordoung zurücklegen kann. Um die einzelnen Notizen leicht auffinden zu können, ist es ratsam, die Daten oder Schlagwörter oben darüberzuschreiben; und die Blätter oder Zettel müssen von nicht zu dünnem Papier sein, damit man sie schnell durchblättern kann.

      Soweit es sich um Abschriften ganzer Akten oder Nachrichten handelt, bedarf es keiner besonderen Erörterungen. Doch solche völlige Abschriften wird man nur machen, wo es sich um archivalische Quellen oder entlegenere Drucke handelt, die man nicht so leicht wieder erreichen kann. Im übrigen wird man sich mit Auszügen und Notizen begnügen, welche entweder das aus den Quellen ausheben, was für das Thema in Betracht kommt, oder nur im allgemeinen auf die Quellenstellen hinweisen. Im ersteren Falle kommt es darauf an, das Brauchbare und Wichtige scharf zu erkennen und präzis zu notieren; im letzteren Falle muß die Hindeutung wenigstens derart präzisiert sein, daß man beim späteren Durchsehen der Notizen gleich ersieht, was in der betreffenden Quellenstelle zu erwarten ist, und daß die Identität der Notiz mit dem Inhalt der Quellenstelle nicht zweifelhaft sein kann; bei Urkunden erfordert letzteres besondere Sorgfalt, da nicht selten über den-selben (tegenstand zur selben Zeit mehrere ähnliche Dokumente ausgestellt worden sind: man tut daher gut, die Identität jedes Stückes durch Aufnotierung des Anfanges und Schlusses (Incipit und Explicit) sicherzustellen, wobei zu bemerken ist, daf hier als Anfang und Schluß nicht die formelhaften Teile, die sogenannten Protokolle, welche eben als feststehende Formeln nicht für die einzelne Urkunde unterscheidend sind, gelten, sondern daß man Anfang und Schluß des individuellen Textes notiert, eine Art der Bezeichnung, die allgemein bei den päpstlichen Bullen angewandt wird, indem man von der Bulle Unam sanctam oder Ausculta fili usw. spricht.

      Google translation:

      Depending on the nature of the subject and the material, it will often be practical to dispense with factual order and use only the outwardly chronological one. It is precisely then that it is of the greatest value to make the entries on loose sheets of paper, so that they can be temporarily rearranged according to the various aspects of belonging together and then put back into the basic order. In order to be able to easily find the individual notes, it is advisable to write the dates or keywords above them; and the sheets or slips of paper must be of paper that is not too thin so that they can be leafed through quickly.

      As far as copies of entire files or messages are concerned, no special discussion is required. But such complete copies will only be made from archival sources or more remote prints that cannot easily be accessed again. For the rest, one will be content with excerpts and notes, which either extract from the sources what comes into consideration for the subject, or only refer to the sources in general. In the first case it is important to clearly recognize what is useful and important and to write it down precisely; in the latter case, the indication must at least be specified in such a way that, when looking through the notes later, one can immediately see what is to be expected in the relevant source and that the identity of the note with the content of the source cannot be in doubt; for certificates the latter requires special care, as it is not uncommon for same (te, several similar documents existed at the same time have been issued: one does therefore well, the identity of each piece by notating the beginning and end (Incipit and explicit), noting that here as beginning and end not the formulaic parts that so-called protocols, which are simply fixed formulas are not distinctive for the individual document, apply, but that one sees the beginning and end of the individual text noted, a form of designation commonly applied to the papal bulls, speaking of the bull Unam sanctam or Ausculta fili, etc.

      Continuing on in his advice on note taking, Bernheim tells us that notes on loose sheets of paper (presumably in contrast with the bound pages of a commonplace book or other types of notebooks), "can be temporarily rearranged according to the various aspects of belonging together and then put back into the basic order". He recommends giving them dates (presumably to be able to put them back into their temporal order), as well as keywords. He also suggest that "the sheets or slips of paper must be of paper that is not too thin so that they can be leafed through quickly." (translated from German)

      Note that he doesn't specify the exact size of the paper (at least not in this general section) other than to specify either "die Blätter oder Zettel" (sheets or slips) . Other practices may be more indicative of the paper size he may have had in mind. Are his own papers extant? Might those have an indication of his own personal practice as it may have differed from his published advice?

  16. Jun 2022
    1. Before we begin, please note that this piece assumes intermediate familiarity with Zettelkasten and its original creator, the social scientist Niklas Luhmann (1927–1998).

      Even the long running (2013) zettelkasten.de website credits Niklas Luhmann as being the "original creator" of the zettelkasten.


      We really need to track down the origin of linking one idea to another. Obviously writers, and especially novelists, would have had some sort of at least linear order in their writing due to narrative needs in using such a system. What does this tradition look like on the non-fiction side?

      Certainly some of the puzzle stems from the commonplace book tradition, but this is more likely to have relied on natural memory as well as searching and finding via index methods.

      Perhaps looking more closely at Hans Blumenberg's instantiation would be more helpful. Similarly looking at the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss and his predecessors like Marcel Mauss may provide at least an attack on this problem.

      My working hypothesis is that given the history of the Viennese numbering system, it may have stemmed from the late 1700s and this certainly wasn't an innovation by Luhmann.

      link to: https://hyp.is/hLy7NNtqEeuWQIP1UDkM6g/web.archive.org/web/20130916081433/https://christiantietze.de/posts/2013/06/zettelkasten-improves-thinking-writing/ for evidence of start of zettelkasten.de

  17. May 2022
    1. https://www.otherlife.co/pkm/

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

    2. 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.

    1. This is all too correct. Sadly the older methods for writing, note taking, thinking, and memory have fallen by the wayside, so most literate moderns don't have the tradition most of (elite educated) Western culture has had for the past 2000+ years. The long tradition of commonplace books and their related versions including waste books, florilegium, sudelbücher, scholia, glossae, notebooks, anthologies, sylvae, table books, vade mecum, memoranda books, diaries, miscellanies, pocket books, thesauruses, etc. underlines your thesis well. The Zettelkasten, exactly like almost all of these others, is simply an iteration of the commonplace book instantiated into index card form. One of the reasons that Umberto Eco's advice on writing seems so similar to the zettelkasten method is that he was a medievalist scholar who was aware of these long traditions of writing, note taking, and memory and leveraged these for himself, though likely in a slightly different manner. Would anyone suggest that he didn't have a voluminous output or an outsized impact on society and culture? If one really wants to go crazy on the idea of backlinks and the ideas of creativity and invention, perhaps they ought to brush up on their Catalan and read some Ramon Llull? He was an 11th century philosopher and polymath who spent a lot of time not only memorizing much of his personal knowledge, but who invented combinatorial creative methods for juxtaposing his volumes of information to actively create new ideas. I guarantee no backlinking system held a match to his associative methods. Now if someone wanted to mix some mysticism into the fray, then perhaps there might be a competition... Many who are now writing so positively about Zettelkasten or backlinks are doing so in much the same way that humanist scholars like Desiderius Erasmus, Rodolphus Agricola, and Philip Melanchthon did when writing about and re-popularizing commonplace books in the 1500s. The primary difference being that the chance that they leave as lasting a legacy is much smaller. Worse many of them are crediting Luhmann for the actual invention of the Zettelkasten when his is but one instantiation on a long evolution of many note taking devices over literal millennia. I'm still waiting for folks to spend more time talking about Carl Linnaeus' revolutionary invention and use of the index card. Or John Locke's system for creating a new indexing system for commonplace books. Generally we don't talk about these innovations because their users spent more of their time using their systems to get other more important things done for their legacies. In the end, the message seems clear, anyone can be incredibly productive; most of it boils down to having some sort of system of reading, thinking, note taking, and new production and sticking with it for a while. Have a system; use your system; evolve it slowly to work well for you and the way you think and work.

  18. Feb 2022
    1. Iwonder how long it will take until the advantages of Luhmann’s slip-box and work routines become equally obvious to everyone. But bythen, everyone will already have known it all along the way.

      Ahrens focuses almost exclusively on Niklas Luhmann in his book How to Take Smart Notes. Sadly he misses that many others used not only the zettelkasten but other closely similar techniques including the commonplace book as a means of knowledge gathering and productivity.

      There are thousands of productive researchers and writers who have broadly used many of these techniques to great advantage. In fact, it's almost hard to find famous writers or thinkers in the early Renaissance or since who did not use these systems.

      Certainly Luhmann's system was one of the most refined of the group and his success is heavily underlined by his gargantuan output, but by not highlight other users of these systems, we're missing a lot more of the power of these systems.

  19. Jan 2022
    1. https://warburg.library.cornell.edu/about/mnemosyne-themes

      Looking at the broad themes here makes me wonder if they line up potentially with the larger groups of cards in Warburg's zettelkasten?

      While the non-discursive, frequently digressive character of the Atlas frustrates any smooth critical narrative of its themes and contents, nine thematic sequences may still be discerned:

      The ideas of non-discursive, digressive, and frustrated narrative could easily be applied to a stranger approaching another person's collection of notes.

  20. Dec 2021
    1. Possibility of linking (Verweisungsmöglichkeiten). Since all papers have fixed numbers, you can add as many references to them as you may want. Central concepts can have many links which show on which other contexts we can find materials relevant for them.

      Continuing on the analogy between addresses for zettels/index cards and for people, the differing contexts for cards and ideas is similar to the multiple different publics in which people operate (home, work, school, church, etc.)

      Having these multiple publics creates a variety of cross links within various networks for people which makes their internal knowledge and relationships more valuable.

      As societies grow the number of potential interconnections grows as well. Compounding things the society doesn't grow as a homogeneous whole but smaller sub-groups appear creating new and different publics for each member of the society. This is sure to create a much larger and much more complex system. Perhaps it's part of the beneficial piece of the human limit of memory of inter-personal connections (the Dunbar number) means that instead of spending time linearly with those physically closest to us, we travel further out into other spheres and by doing so, we dramatically increase the complexity of our societies.

      Does this level of complexity change for oral societies in pre-agrarian contexts?

      What would this look like mathematically and combinatorially? How does this effect the size and complexity of the system?

      How can we connect this to Stuart Kauffman's ideas on complexity? (Picking up a single thread creates a network by itself...)

    1. In § 3, I explain that to have a life of its own, a card index must be provid-ed with self-referential closure.

      In order to become a free-standing tool, the card index needed to have self-referential closure.

      This may have been one of the necessary steps for the early ideas behind computers. In addition to the idea of a clockwork universe, the index card may have been a step towards early efforts at creating the modern computer.

    1. In 1653, Georg Philipp Harsd ö rffer completes the idea of an excerpt collection as an ordering of paper slips in a box with twenty-four drawers in alphabetical order.

      Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, in 1653, completes the basic idea of an excerpt collection as an ordering of paper slips in a physical box in alphabetic order.

    2. De Arte Excerpendi: Of Scholarly Book Organization by Vincen-tius Placcius. It offers an overview of contemporary procedures, instruc-tions on regular excerpting, and an extensive history of the subject. Placcius expressly warns against a loose form of indexing as pursued by Jungius. 38
      1. Placcius 1689, p. 72.

      Vincentius Placcius in De Arte Excerpendi: Of Scholarly Book Organization (1689) offers a contemporary set of instructions on excerpting knowledge as well as a history of the subject.

      In the book, he warns specifically against the loose form of indexing exhibited by Joachim Jungius. (p72)

  21. Nov 2021
    1. Antonin Sertillanges' book The Intellectual Life is published in 1918 in which he outlines in chapter 7 the broad strokes a version of the zettelkasten method, though writing in French he doesn't use the German name or give the method a specific name.[11] The book was published in French, Italian, and English in more than 50 editions over the span of 40 years. In it, Sertillanges recommends taking notes on slips of "strong paper of a uniform size" either self made with a paper cutter or by "special firms that will spare you the trouble, providing slips of every size and color as well as the necessary boxes and accessories." He also recommends a "certain number of tagged slips, guide-cards, so as to number each category visibly after having numbered each slip, in the corner or in the middle." He goes on to suggest creating a catalog or index of subjects with division and subdivisions and recommends the "very ingenious system", the decimal system, for organizing one's research. For the details of this refers the reader to Organization of intellectual work: practical recipes for use by students of all faculties and workers by Paul Chavigny [fr][12]. Sertillanges recommends against the previous patterns seen with commonplace books where one does note taking in books or on slips of paper which might be pasted into books as they don't "easily allow classification" or "readily lend themselves to use at the moment of writing."

      [[Antonin Sertillanges]]' book ''The Intellectual Life'' is published in 1918 in which he outlines in chapter 7 the broad strokes a version of the zettelkasten method, though writing in French he doesn't use the German name or give the method a specific name.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Antonin |first1=Sertillanges |author-link1= Antonin_Sertillanges |title=The Intellectual Life: Its Sprit, Conditions, Methods |date=1960 |publisher=The Newman Press |location=Westminster, Maryland |translator-last1= Ryan |translator-first1= Mary |translator-link1= |pages=186-198 |edition=fifth printing |language=English}}</ref> The book was published in French, Italian, and English in more than 50 editions over the span of 40 years. In it, Sertillanges recommends taking notes on slips of "strong paper of a uniform size" either self made with a paper cutter or by "special firms that will spare you the trouble, providing slips of every size and color as well as the necessary boxes and accessories." He also recommends a "certain number of tagged slips, guide-cards, so as to number each category visibly after having numbered each slip, in the corner or in the middle." He goes on to suggest creating a catalog or index of subjects with division and subdivisions and recommends the "very ingenious system", the decimal system, for organizing one's research. For the details of this refers the reader to ''Organization of intellectual work: practical recipes for use by students of all faculties and workers'' by {{interlanguage link|Paul Chavigny|fr}}<ref>{{cite book |last1=Chavigny |first1=Paul |title=Organisation du travail intellectuel: recettes pratiques à l'usage des étudiants de toutes les facultés et de tous les travailleurs |date=1918 |publisher=Delagrave |language=French}}</ref>. Sertillanges recommends against the previous patterns seen with commonplace books where one does note taking in books or on slips of paper which might be pasted into books as they don't "easily allow classification" or "readily lend themselves to use at the moment of writing."

  22. Aug 2021
    1. The impactof such practices upon eighteenth-century visual and material culture is recounted in te Heesen, The World in a Box.

      This reference appears to show some of the historical link between the method of loci in rhetoric with that of commonplacing ideas within books. The fact that the word box may suggest some relational link between commonplacing and zettelkasten.

    1. This blogpost by Manfred Kuehn is one of the earliest posts about Zettelkasten I've seen referenced on the early web. It dates from 2007-12-16.

    1. Hesperides, or The Muses’ Garden. Hao Tianhu, “Hesperides, or the Muses’Gardenand its Manuscript History,”Library10(2009),372–404, convincinglyunpacks the complicated history ofHesperides, a manuscript commonplacebook of thousands of passages of contemporary verse and prose extractsarranged alphabetically under headings which exists in two extant versions:Folger Shakespeare Library, MS V.b.93(compiled c.1654–66) and a secondversion based on the former that was prepared for print in1655–65but neverprinted, was cut up in the nineteenth century by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, and now exists in three Folger manuscripts and seventy scrapbooksat the Shakespeare Centre Library in Statford-upon-Avon. Gunnar Sorelius,“An Unknown Shakespearian Commonplace Book,”Library28(1973),294–308, demonstrates that the source of the Shakespeare quotations cut andpasted into over sixty of Halliwell-Phillipps’ Shakespearean scrapbooks was amanuscript that also once contained the now-fragmentary Folger MSSV.a.75,79, and80, and argues that the manuscript is valuable for the light itsheds on seventeenth-century taste and on how a reader spontaneously editedShakespeare. Beal (III, E), vol.1, part2(1980), p.450, discovered thecompiler’s identity (John Evans), an entry in the Stationers’ Register for1655and an advertisement of1659indicating thatHesperideswas to be publishedby Humphrey Moseley (though it never was), and the existence of FolgerMS V.b.93.

      This provides evidence and at least a date for the idea of cutting up books into scraps and then rearranging them to create a commonplace. Where does this fit into the continuum on the evolution of the zettelkasten idea?

      How was this rearrangement physically done besides the cutting up of pieces? Were they pasted in? Clipped? other?

  23. Jun 2021
    1. The introduction could use a referrent to prior examples across history from commonplace books, florilegium, waste books, etc. This general idea has been used for centuries (and is even seen in oral societies before literacy).

      Including a few examples of people who've used the method/ideas before and how it was successful for them could be both useful as well as highly motivating.

  24. May 2021
    1. Markus Krajewski reminds us that Luhmann’s choice of interlocutor has a precedent in an 1805 piece by the novelist Heinrich von Kleist (see the chapter “Paper as Passion” in this collection).

      precedents for zettelkasten