535 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. Here are more specific examples of what those opportunitiesmight look like

      He's got a very specific type of notes for productivity compared with the sort of notes a student, academic, or researcher might take. This has consequences to the sort of system one has and how productive or not it is.

      At some point in the book he sounds as if he's talking about notes for content creation/production, but he's also mixing in work productivity sorts of notes which can be treated dramatically differently.

      Modern systems need to better distinguish between these two sorts of modes. (Are there others?) What should we even call these things to distinguish them and how they might be differently handled?

      What do the two things have in common that allow them to be conflated? What is different that suggests distinguishing them and separating them?

      Which digital tools are better for each of these? Do some handle both well? Should there be a mental or physical separation of them?

      Am I just wholly wrong here?

    2. • Write down ideas for next steps: At the end of a worksession, write down what you think the next steps could be forthe next one.• Write down the current status: This could include your currentbiggest challenge, most important open question, or futureroadblocks you expect.• Write down any details you have in mind that are likely tobe forgotten once you step away: Such as details about thecharacters in your story, the pitfalls of the event you’re planning,or the subtle considerations of the product you’re designing.• Write out your intention for the next work session: Set anintention for what you plan on tackling next, the problem youintend to solve, or a certain milestone you want to reach.

      A lot of this is geared toward the work of re-contextualizing one's work and projects.

      Why do all this extra work instead of frontloading it? Here again is an example of more work in comparison to zettelkasten...

    3. The Archipelago of Ideas

      This idea doesn't appear in Steven Johnson's book itself, but only in this quirky little BoingBoing piece, so I'll give Forte credit for using his reading and notes from this piece to create a larger thesis here.

      I'm not really a fan of this broader archipelago of ideas as it puts the work much later in the process. For those not doing it upfront by linking ideas as they go, it's the only reasonable strategy left for leveraging one's notes.

    4. If we overlay the four steps of CODE onto the model ofdivergence and convergence, we arrive at a powerful template forthe creative process in our time.

      The way that Tiago Forte overlaps the idea of C.O.D.E. (capture/collect, organize, distill, express) with the divergence/convergence model points out some primary differences of his system and that of some of the more refined methods of maintaining a zettelkasten.

      A flattened diamond shape which grows from a point on the left so as to indicate divergence from a point to the diamond's wide middle which then decreases to the right to indicate convergence  to the opposite point. Overlapping this on the right of the diamond are the words "capture" and "organize" while the converging right side is overlaid with "distill" and "express". <small>Overlapping ideas of C.O.D.E. and divergence/convergence from Tiago Forte's book Building a Second Brain (Atria Books, 2022) </small>

      Forte's focus on organizing is dedicated solely on to putting things into folders, which is a light touch way of indexing them. However it only indexes them on one axis—that of the folder into which they're being placed. This precludes them from being indexed on a variety of other axes from the start to other places where they might also be used in the future. His method requires more additional work and effort to revisit and re-arrange (move them into other folders) or index them later.

      Most historical commonplacing and zettelkasten techniques place a heavier emphasis on indexing pieces as they're collected.

      Commonplacing creates more work on the user between organizing and distilling because they're more dependent on their memory of the user or depending on the regular re-reading and revisiting of pieces one may have a memory of existence. Most commonplacing methods (particularly the older historic forms of collecting and excerpting sententiae) also doesn't focus or rely on one writing out their own ideas in larger form as one goes along, so generally here there is a larger amount of work at the expression stage.

      Zettelkasten techniques as imagined by Luhmann and Ahrens smooth the process between organization and distillation by creating tacit links between ideas. This additional piece of the process makes distillation far easier because the linking work has been done along the way, so one only need edit out ideas that don't add to the overall argument or piece. All that remains is light editing.

      Ahrens' instantiation of the method also focuses on writing out and summarizing other's ideas in one's own words for later convenient reuse. This idea is also seen in Bruce Ballenger's The Curious Researcher as a means of both sensemaking and reuse, though none of the organizational indexing or idea linking seem to be found there.

      This also fits into the diamond shape that Forte provides as the height along the vertical can stand in as a proxy for the equivalent amount of work that is required during the overall process.

      This shape could be reframed for a refined zettelkasten method as an indication of work

      Forte's diamond shape provided gives a visual representation of the overall process of the divergence and convergence.

      But what if we change that shape to indicate the amount of work that is required along the steps of the process?!

      Here, we might expect the diamond to relatively accurately reflect the amounts of work along the path.

      If this is the case, then what might the relative workload look like for a refined zettelkasten? First we'll need to move the express portion between capture and organize where it more naturally sits, at least in Ahren's instantiation of the method. While this does take a discrete small amount of work and time for the note taker, it pays off in the long run as one intends from the start to reuse this work. It also pays further dividends as it dramatically increases one's understanding of the material that is being collected, particularly when conjoined to the organization portion which actively links this knowledge into one's broader world view based on their notes. For the moment, we'll neglect the benefits of comparison of conjoined ideas which may reveal flaws in our thinking and reasoning or the benefits of new questions and ideas which may arise from this juxtaposition.

      Graphs of commonplace book method (collect, organize, distill, express) versus zettelkasten method (collect, express, organize (index/link), and distill (edit)) with work on the vertical axis and time/methods on the horizontal axis. While there is similar work in collection the graph for the zettelkasten is overall lower and flatter and eventually tails off, the commonplace slowly increases over time.

      This sketch could be refined a bit, but overall it shows that frontloading the work has the effect of dramatically increasing the efficiency and productivity for a particular piece of work.

      Note that when compounded over a lifetime's work, this diagram also neglects the productivity increase over being able to revisit old work and re-using it for multiple different types of work or projects where there is potential overlap, not to mention the combinatorial possibilities.


      It could be useful to better and more carefully plot out the amounts of time, work/effort for these methods (based on practical experience) and then regraph the resulting power inputs against each other to come up with a better picture of the efficiency gains.

      Is some of the reason that people are against zettelkasten methods that they don't see the immediate gains in return for the upfront work, and thus abandon the process? Is this a form of misinterpreted-effort hypothesis at work? It can also be compounded at not being able to see the compounding effects of the upfront work.

      What does research indicate about how people are able to predict compounding effects over time in areas like money/finance? What might this indicate here? Humans definitely have issues seeing and reacting to probabilities in this same manner, so one might expect the same intellectual blindness based on system 1 vs. system 2.

      Given that indexing things, especially digitally, requires so little work and effort upfront, it should be done at the time of collection.

      I'll admit that it only took a moment to read this highlighted sentence and look at the related diagram, but the amount of material I was able to draw out of it by reframing it, thinking about it, having my own thoughts and ideas against it, and then innovating based upon it was incredibly fruitful in terms of better differentiating amongst a variety of note taking and sense making frameworks.

      For me, this is a great example of what reading with a pen in hand, rephrasing, extending, and linking to other ideas can accomplish.

    5. As powerful and necessary as divergence is, if all we ever do isdiverge, then we never arrive anywhere.

      Tiago Forte frames the creative process in the framing of divergence (brainstorming) and convergence (connecting ideas, editing, refining) which emerged out of the Stanford Design School and popularized by IDEO in the 1980s and 1990s.

      But this is just what the more refined practices of maintaining a zettelkasten entail. It's the creation of profligate divergence forced by promiscuously following one's interests and collecting ideas along the way interspersed with active and pointed connection of ideas slowly creating convergence of these ideas over time. The ultimate act of creation finally becomes simple as pulling one's favorite idea of many out of the box (along with all the things connected to it) and editing out any unnecessary pieces and then smoothing the whole into something cohesive.

      This is far less taxing than sculpting marble where one needs to start with an idea of where one is going and then needs the actual skill to get there. Doing this well requires thousands of hours of practice at the skill, working with smaller models, and eventually (hopefully) arriving at art. It's much easier if one has the broad shapes of the entirety of Rodin, Michelangelo, and Donatello's works in their repository and they can simply pull out one that feels interesting and polish it up a bit. Some of the time necessary for work and practice are still there, but the ultimate results are closer to guaranteed art in one domain than the other.

      Commonplacing or slipboxing allows us to take the ability to imitate, which humans are exceptionally good at (Annie Murphy Paul, link tk), and combine those imitations in a way to actively explore and then create new innovative ideas.

      Commonplacing can be thought of as lifelong and consistent practice of brainstorming where one captures all the ideas for later use.

      Link to - practice makes perfect

    6. Over time, your ability to quickly tap these creative assets andcombine them into something new will make all the difference in yourcareer trajectory, business growth, and even quality of life

      I'm curious how he's going to outline this practice as there's been no discussion of linking or cross-linking ideas prior to this point as is done in some instantiations of the zettelkasten methods. (Of course this interlinking is more valuable when it comes specifically to writing output; once can rely on subject headings and search otherwise.)

    1. Looking for advice on how to adapt antinet ideas for my own system .t3_vkllv0._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; }

      Holiday's system is roughly similar to the idea of a commonplace book, just kept and maintained on index cards instead of a notebook. He also seems to advocate for keeping separate boxes for each project which I find to be odd advice, though it's also roughly the same advice suggested by Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit and Tiago Forte's recent book Building a Second Brain which provides a framing that seems geared more toward broader productivity rather than either the commonplacing or zettelkasten traditions.

      I suspect that if you're not linking discrete ideas, you'll get far more value out of your system by practicing profligate indexing terms on your discrete ideas. Two topical/subject headings on an individual idea seems horrifically limiting much less on an entire article and even worse on a whole book. Fewer index topics is easier to get away with in a digital system which allows search across your corpus, but can be painfully limiting in a pen/paper system.

      Most paperbound commonplaces index topics against page numbers, but it's not clear to me how you're numbering (or not) your system to be able to more easily cross reference your notes with an index. Looking at Luhmann's index as an example (https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/zettelkasten/zettel/ZK_2_SW1_001_V) might be illustrative so you can follow along, but if you're not using his numbering system or linking your cards/ideas, then you could simply use consecutive numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, ..., 92000, 92001, ... on your cards to index against to easily find the cards you're after. It almost sounds to me that with your current filing system, you'd have to duplicate your cards to be able to file them under more than one topic. This obviously isn't ideal.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPHw-WdiNbw

      Example of someone's explicit note taking practice. While there's some missing context hiding without pre-knowledge of what a zettelkasten is, it's an n interesting example for modeling purposes for beginners.

    1. Ps) I am trying to post daily content like this on LinkedIn using my Slip-Box as the content generator (the same is posted on Twitter, but LinkedIn is easier to read), so if you want to see more like this, feel free to look me up on LinkedIn or Twitter.

      Explicit example of someone using a zettelkasten to develop ideas and create content for distribution online and within social media.


    1. The term comes from Niklaus Luhmann, a German autodidact and famously prolific academic sociologist. Similar techniques were developed independently by Nabokov and Prisig, among others.


      Wow. Even in the pinned post on r/Zettelkasten, they propagate the myth by implication that Luhmann invented the Zettelkasten.

      They also suggest that Nabokov and Pirsig independently developed similar techniques rather than that it was a commonplace (excuse the pun) pattern in the broader culture.

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

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

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

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

    1. The third UDL principle is to provide multiple means of expression and action. We find it helpful to think of this as the principle that transcends social annotation: at this point, students use what they’ve learned through engagement with the material to create new knowledge. This kind of work tends to happen outside of the social annotation platform as students create videos, essays, presentations, graphics, and other products that showcase their new knowledge.

      I'm not sure I agree here as one can take other annotations from various texts throughout a course and link them together to create new ideas and knowledge within the margins themselves. Of course, at some point the ideas need to escape the margins to potentially take shape with a class wiki, new essays, papers, journal articles or longer pieces.

      Use of social annotation across several years of a program this way may help to super-charge students' experiences.

  2. Jun 2022
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxfTVdohSwA

      Christine Moskell talks about a professor's final exam design prompting students to go back to annotations and add new commentary (or links to other related knowledge) that they've gained during the length of a course.

      Link to:

      This is very similar to the sort of sensemaking and interlinking of information that Sönke Ahrens outlines in his book How to Take Smart Notes though his broader note taking thesis goes a few additional steps for more broadly synthesizing ideas into longer papers, articles, theses, and books.

      Dr. Moskell also outlined a similar tactic at the [[Hypothesis Social Learning Summit - Spotlight on Social Reading & Social Annotation]] earlier today, though that video may not be accessible for a bit.

      Cross reference: https://web.hypothes.is/event/social-learning-summit-spotlight-on-social-reading-social-annotation/

      How can we better center and model these educational practices in our pedagogies?

    1. UsingPARA is not just about creating a bunch of folders to put things in. Itis about identifying the structure of your work and life—what you arecommitted to, what you want to change, and where you want to go.

      Using the P.A.R.A. method puts incredible focus on immediate projects and productivity toward them. This is a dramatically different focus from the zettelkasten method.

      The why's of the systems are dramatically different as well.

    2. Your efforts to capture content for future use will be tremendouslyeasier and more effective if you know what that content is for.

      Within the P.A.R.A. framework it's helpful if you know what your note capture is meant for, but it's wholly against a lot of note taking for things which may simply spark joy. This may be helpful for the work-a-day productivity person, but is painfully out of sync with keeping notes as a means of generating new ideas. Many of these sorts of notes will be hidden away in an archive and thus broadly unusable in the long run.

      Sorting ideas into folders is still an older classical way of thinking instead of linking an idea to related things that make it imminently more usable. Cross linked ideas seem wholly more interesting, vibrant and more useable to me.

    3. We are organizing for actionability

      Organize for actionability.

      (Applicable only for P.A.R.A.?)

      This is interesting for general project management, but potentially not for zettelkasten-type notes. That method has more flexibility that doesn't require this sort of organizational method and actually excels as a result of it.

      There is a tension here.

      Notes primarily for project-based productivity are different from notes for writing-based output.

    4. Tharp calls her approach “the box.”

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

      related: combinatorial creativity triangle thinking

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

    1. you label boxes so you knowwhat’s in them; you arrange your clothes according to color. Eventually you reach apoint where you look around and you’re satisfied. There are no loose ends.Everything is in its place, put away or accounted for or easily accessed. The roomexudes order and harmony. When you look around, you’re happy.

      Interlinking your ideas can help to create a harmony within your collection. There are no loose ends or lost ideas. There is a place for everything and everything is in its proper place, ready to be used and reused.

    2. d. She puts the ideas together and tries to broker a deal for theconglomerate to acquire a radio network. At the end, she’s challenged to describehow she came up with the plan for the acquisition. It’s a telling scene. She has justbeen fired. On her way out of the building, with all her files and personal itemspacked in a box (a box just like mine!), she gets a chance to explain her thoughtprocess to the mogul:See? This is Forbes. It’s just your basic article about how you were lookingto expand into broadcasting. Right? Okay now. The same day—I’ll never forgetthis—I’m reading Page Six of the New York Post and there’s this item on BobbyStein, the radio talk show guy who does all those gross jokes about Ethiopiaand the Betty Ford Center. Well, anyway, he’s hosting this charity auction thatnight. Real bluebloods and won’t that be funny? Now I turn the page to Suzywho does the society stuff and there’s this picture of your daughter—see, nicepicture—and she’s helping to organize the charity ball. So I started to think:Trask, Radio, Trask, Radio.... So now here we are.He’s impressed and hires her on the spot. Forget the fairy-tale plot; as ademonstration of how to link A to B and come up with C, Working Girl is a primerin the art of scratching.

      The plot twist at the end of Working Girl (Twentieth Century Fox, 1988) turns on Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) explaining her stroke of combinatorial creativity in coming up with a business pitch. Because she had juxtaposed several disparate ideas from the New York Post several pages from each other in a creative way, she got the job and Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver) is left embarrassed because she can't explain how she came up with a complicated combination of ideas.

      Tess McGill (portrayed by a big 80's haired Melanie Griffith) packing a brown banker's box with her office items and papers leaving her office and her job. Is this Tess McGill's zettelkasten in the movie Working Girl?

      Tess McGill has slips of newspaper with ideas on them and a physical box to put them in.

      slips with ideas+box=zettelkasten

      Bonus points because she links her ideas, right?!

    3. the true value of the box: It contains your inspirations without confiningyour creativity.
    4. Above all, learn to respect your box’s strange and disorderly ways. As arepository of half-baked inspirations and unformed aids, the box can seem to be ahaphazard tool while you’re filling it. But when you want to go back and make senseof your path, every step is there to be found, and the order emerges if only inhindsight. Your box is proof that you have prepared well. If you want to know howany creative project will turn out, your box’s contents are as good a predictor ofsuccess or failure as anything I know.

      Just as Luhmann and others discuss the seeming disorder and potential serendipity of their boxes, Tharp notices this same "strange and disorderly way..." of her box method. She remarks that "order emerges if only in hindsight." She also indicates that the contents of one's box "are as good a predictor of success or failure [of a project] as anything I know."

    5. All I know for sure is that they are trapped in the box.My solution for them: This isn’t working. Free yourself. Get out of this box. Putit away for another day and start a new box.

      Don't get trapped in a particular project. Sometimes variety of projects can be just the medicine the doctor ordered. The zettelkasten method works, in part, because it makes it easier to work on things which inspire you while still knowing that you can slip away for a while, but still come back and find all your prior work there waiting for you. This is particularly useful even if you've forgotten that work.

      Link this to examples of Luhmann and Ahren's descriptions of not becoming bored with their zettelkasten.

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

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

    7. Sometimes the goal is nothing more than a personal mantra such as “keep itsimple” or “something perfect” or “economy” to remind me of what I was thinkingat the beginning if and when I lose my way. I write it down on a slip of paper and it’sthe first thing that goes into the box.
    8. I also like the simplicity of a box. There’s a purpose here, and it has a lot to dowith efficiency. A writer with a good storage and retrieval system can write faster.He isn’t spending a lot of time looking things up, scouring his papers, and patrollingother rooms at home wondering where he left that perfect quote. It’s in the box.

      A card index can be a massive boon to a writer as a well-indexed one, in particular, will save massive amounts of time which might otherwise be spent searching for quotes or ideas that they know they know, but can't easily recreate.

    9. I know one magazine editor who hoardsnewspaper and magazine clippings.

      Twyla Tharp tells the story of a colleague who is a magazine editor. They keep a pile of clippings of phots, illustrations, and stories in their desk and mine it, often with others, for something that will create story ideas for new work.

      This method is highly similar to that of Eminem's "Stacking Ammo" method.

    10. It’s not the only answer, of course. Maurice Sendak has a room that’s theequivalent of my boxes, a working studio that contains a huge unit with flat pulloutdrawers in which he keeps sketches, reference materials, notes, articles. He works onseveral projects at a time, and he likes to keep the overlapping materials out of sightwhen he’s tackling any one of them. Other people rely on carefully arranged indexcards. The more technological among us put it all on a computer. There’s no singlecorrect system. Anything can work, so long as it lets you store and retrieve yourideas—and never lose them.

      Regardless of what sort of physical instantiation one's notes may take, a workable storage option for them is necessary whether it is a simple box, a shelving system, a curiosity cabinet, a flat file, or even an entire room itself.

    11. Maurice Sendak has a room that’s theequivalent of my boxes, a working studio that contains a huge unit with flat pulloutdrawers in which he keeps sketches, reference materials, notes, articles. He works onseveral projects at a time, and he likes to keep the overlapping materials out of sightwhen he’s tackling any one of them.

      In her experience with Maurice Sendak, Twyla Tharp indicates that he has a room that works as the equivalent of her project boxes. His version is a working studio that contains a huge unit with flat pullout drawers where he keeps sketches, reference materials, notes, and articles. His system allows him to keep all the ideas ready at hand, but also easily out of the way so he can focus on a particular idea and project at a time.

    12. shelving in my work area at home, which holds my audio equipment, hundreds ofmusic CDs, and piles of musical scores, is not mere heavy-gauge industrial shelving;it’s scaffolding equipment, strong enough for painters to stand on when they’reworking on the exterior of a house. In other words, the shelves are built for hardwork. That’s a personal aesthetic choice. I want everything around me, from mydancers to my dances to my shelves, to be strong and built to last

      I like cardboard file boxes for a bunch of reasons, all willfully idiosyncratic. The

      Twyla Tharp's creative note taking system not only entails notes and ideas in boxes, but extends physically to a heavy-gauge industrial shelving which also holds her other tools for work including her "audio equipment, hundreds of music CDs, and piles of musical scores".

    13. Most important, though, the box means I never have to worry about forgetting.

      For Twyla Tharp, the most important feature of her project boxes is the fact that they free her from the worry of forgetting her ideas.

    14. The box makes me feel connected to a project. It is my soil. I feel this evenwhen I’ve back-burnered a project: I may have put the box away on a shelf, but Iknow it’s there. The project name on the box in bold black lettering is a constantreminder that I had an idea once and may come back to it very soon.

      Having a physical note taking system also stands as a physical reminder and representation of one's work and focus. It may be somewhat out of the way on a shelf, but it takes up space in a way that digital files and notes do not. This invites one into using and maintaining it.

      Link to - tying a string on one's finger as a reminder - method of loci - orality

    15. Everyone hashis or her own organizational system. Mine is a box, the kind you can buy at OfficeDepot for transferring files.I start every dance with a box. I write the project name on the box, and as thepiece progresses I fill it up with every item that went into the making of the dance.This means notebooks, news clippings, CDs, videotapes of me working alone in mystudio, videos of the dancers rehearsing, books and photographs and pieces of artthat may have inspired me.

      While she keeps more than just slips of paper (or index cards) in it, Twyla Tharp definitely falls into the pattern of creative collection related to the zettelkasten tradition.

    16. before you can think out of the box, you have tostart with a box

      Can it be?! Twyla Tharp has an entire chapter in her book on creativity that covers a variation of the zettelkasten note taking concept!!!

      Does the phrase "thinking outside of the box" make a tacit nod to the idea of using a card index (or the German zettelkasten) for note taking, sense making, and thinking?

    1. *The compass*

      I too have seen this before, though the directions may have been different.

      When thinking about an idea, map it discretely. North on the compass rose is where the idea comes from, South is where it leads to, West leads to things similar to the idea while East are ideas that are the opposite of it.

      This is useful in situating information, particularly with respect to the similarities and opposites. One must generally train themselves to think about the opposites.

      Many of the directions are directly related to putting information into a zettelkasten, in particular where X comes from (source), where it leads (commentary or links to other ides), what's similar to x are links to either closely related ideas or to an index. The opposite of X is the one which is left out in this system too.

      *The compass*: <br>Saw that one before. Ugh, didn't like it.<br><br>Thinking about it though, it's a fitting metaphor to look at a note from different directions. I'm going to add this to my notes template(Just to try). All my notes have North & could use some other perspectives 🎉<br><br>🧶4/4 pic.twitter.com/CJctmC5Y39

      — Alex Qwxlea (@QwxleaA) June 14, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      Link to - Indigenous map conceptualizations - direction finding - method of loci

    1. This indicates that it's a list of public zettelkasten, but in reality more are blogs, websites, digital gardens, or articles about digital gardens.

      Potentially indicative of the confusion people have about what these practices look like online.

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Xennial</span> in The Rise of Digital Gardeners - Musings of a Xennial (<time class='dt-published'>06/14/2022 12:01:39</time>)</cite></small>

  3. danallosso.substack.com danallosso.substack.com
    1. https://danallosso.substack.com/p/note-cards?s=r

      Outline of one of Dan's experiments writing a handbook about reading, thinking, and writing. He's taking a zettelkasten-like approach, but doing it as a stand-alone project with little indexing and crosslinking of ideas or creating card addresses.

      This sounds more akin to the processes of Vladimir Nabokov and Ryan Holiday/Robert Greene.

    1. 1980s: "I always typed a few hours a day on a heavy and noisy IBM typewriter. Before converting to the Apple faith, I wrote down every interesting idea or possibly useful datum on 5 × 8 cards that I kept in card-boxes. But I used them only sparingly to write papers of books, for they were just random collections. Once an unknown American scholar phoned me to announce that he was about to commit suicide because he had failed to craft a general theory of ideas out of thousands of cards that he had filled in the course of a decade. He had been a casualty of dataism, the idea that knowledge of anything is just a collection of bits of knowledge." (pp. 273–274)

      Anecdotal evidence of contemplation of suicide based on over-collection of notes without creating a clear thesis or use for them.

      I'm curious who the colleague was and what or how their note taking system wasn't working for them. Most likely the inability to link ideas to each other, lack of clear examples of others doing the practice to help guide them?

    2. 1985: "Another doctoral student who wished to work on technophilosophy was José Félix, a friendly Basque engineer whom I engaged as a house sitter while my family and I spent the long summer of 1985 in Mallorca. He seized this opportunity to photocopy all my unpublished essays and filing cabinet cards. The external examiner, who was familiar with my work, flunked José Félix's dissertation, alleging that it had been lifted from my publications." (p. 387)
    3. Around 1956: "My next task was to prepare my course. Since none of the textbooks known to me was satisfactory, I resorted to the maieutic method that Plato had attributed to Socrates. My lectures consisted essentially in questions that I distributed beforehand to the students, and an abstract of the research that they had prompted. I wrote each question on a 6 × 8 card. I had adopted this procedure a few years earlier for my own work, so I did not start from scratch. Eventually I filled several hundreds of such cards, classed them by subject, and placed them in boxes. When a box filled up, it was time to write an article or a book chapter. The boxes complemented my hanging-files cabinet, containing sketches of papers, some of them aborted, as well as some letters." (p. 129)

      This sounds somewhat similar to Mark Robertson's method of "live Roaming" (using Roam Research during his history classes) as a teaching tool on top of other prior methods.

      link to: Roland Barthes' card collection for teaching: https://hypothes.is/a/wELPGLhaEeywRnsyCfVmXQ

    4. Mario Bunge (1919–2020) was an Argentine-Canadian philosopher and physicist. Here are some excerpts from his book Between Two Worlds: Memoirs of a Philosopher-Scientist (Springer-Verlag, 2016) about his use of card-boxes

      Mario Bunge had a card index note taking practice.

    1. https://scottscheper.com/letter/1/

      Step by step approach for starting the major parts of a zettelkasten.

      Not bad in general, but the referencing tags seem a bit arcane to me and there are much simpler ways of doing this.

    2. The zettelkästen creator, Niklas Luhmann, produced 70 books and over 550 publications in a short amount of time.
    1. The Antinet’s permanent-address scheme, with its shifting nature, gives the system a unique personality. The Antinet’s unique personality stands as one of the most integral aspects of the system. A key component that enables insightful communication with a human being is the human’s personality–the person’s unique way of communicating with you based on their unique perspectives and interpretations. The Numeric-alpha addresses provide the Zettelkasten with a unique personality. Over time, unique structures form due to Numeric-alpha addresses. This is important because it allows one to communicate with the Antinet, transforming it into a communication experience with a second mind, a doppelgänger, or a ghost in a box, as Luhmann called it. (5)5 This is the entity Luhmann referred to when he titled his paper, Communicating with Noteboxes. Numeric-alpha addresses make all of this possible.

      Scheper seems to indicate that it is the addressing system alone which provides the "personality" of a zettelkasten, whereby he's actively providing personification of a paper and pencil system by way of literacy. We need to look more closely, however at the idea of what communication truly is to discern this. A person might be able to read an individual card and have a conversation with just it, but this conversation will be wholly one sided, and stops at the level of that single card. We also need the links between that individual card and multiple others to fill in the rest of the resulting potential conversation. Or we will rely on the reader of the card extending the idea or linking it to others of their ideas (and that of the zettelkasten), to grow the system and thereby its "personality".

      Thus the personality is part that of the collection of cards using their addresses and the links between them. This personality, however, isn't immediate. It might grow over time reaching some upper limit at the length of time of the user's life, but much of its personality is contingent upon the knowledge of the missing context of the system that is contained in or by its creator. Few zettelkasten will be so well composed as to provide full context. (cross reference: https://hyp.is/5gWedOs7Eeyrg2cTFW4iCg/niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/Zettelkasten/zettel/ZK_2_NB_9-8_V).

      The question we might want to look at: Is there a limiting upper bound (a la a Shannon Limit) to the amount of information that a zettelkasten might contain or transmit, even beyond the life of an initial creator? Could it converse with itself without the assistance of an outside actor of some sort? What pieces are missing that might help us to define communication or even life itself?

    2. If Luhmann’s notebox system was not dynamic and fluid and not one of pure order, either, how can one think of Luhmann’s notebox system? In my experience using an Antinet Zettelkasten, I find it to be more organic in nature. Like nature, it has simple laws and fundamental rules by which it operates (like the laws of thermodynamics in physics); yet, it’s also subject to arbitrary decisions. We know this because in describing it, Luhmann uses the word arbitrary to describe its arbitrary internal branching. We can infer that arbitrary, means something that was decided by Luhmann outside of some external and strict criteria (i.e., strict schemes like the Dewey Decimal Classification). (12)12 This arbitrary, random structure contributes to one of its most distinctive aspects of the system–the aspect of surprises. Because of its unique structure, the Antinet is noted as “a surprise generator,” and a system that develops “a creativity of its own.” (13)

      There's some magical thinking involved here. While the system has some arbitrary internal branching, the surprises come from the system's perfect memory that the human user doesn't have. This makes it appear that the system creates its own creativity, but it is really the combinatorics of the perfect memory system with use over time.

      Link to: serendipity of systems based on auto-complete

    3. It would lack a unique personality or an “alter ego,” which is what Luhmann’s system aimed to create. (9)

      Is there evidence that Luhmann's system aimed to create anything from the start in a sort of autopoietic sense? Or is it (more likely) the case that Luhmann saw this sort of "alter ego" emerging over time and described it after-the-fact?

      Based on his experiences and note takers and zettelkasten users might expect this outcome now.

      Are there examples of prior commonplace book users or note takers seeing or describing this sort of experience in the historical record?

      Related to this is the idea that a reader might have a conversation with another author by reading and writing their own notes from a particular text.

      The only real difference here is that one's notes and the ability to link them to other ideas or topical headings in a commonplace book or zettelkasten means that the reader/writer has an infinitely growable perfect memory.

    4. The four principles Niklas Luhmann used to build his notebox system are: Analog Numeric-alpha Tree Index The first letters of those four principles (A, N, T, I) are what comprise an Antinet. An Antinet Zettelkasten is a network of these four principles.

      The four principles Niklas Luhmann used to build his notebox system are:

      1. Analog
      2. Numeric-alpha
      3. Tree
      4. Index

      The first letters of those four principles (A, N, T, I) are what comprise an Antinet. An Antinet Zettelkasten is a network of these four principles.

    5. 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

    1. ZK II: Note 9/8 9/8 Zettelkasten 1 as a cybernetic system Combination of disorder and order, of lump formation and unpredictable combination realized in ad hoc access. Precondition: waiver of fixed order. The upstream differentiation: search aids vs. content; Registers, questions, ideas vs. Existing forms and partly makes superfluous what must be assumed in terms of inner order .

      Niklas Luhmann thought of the zettelkasten as a cybernetic system.

      He considers a precondition of its creation is that it ought to waive any "fixed order", allow for search, and the asking of questions.

      There are only the outlines of brief and scant thoughts here however, which would have required significant amounts of additional context not contained on the card. As a result one would require additional underpinning to understand what Luhmann means here as the card definitively couldn't have been directly or easily reused for future writing beyond the basic sketch outline he provides. What proportion of cards have brief thought sketches like this versus more fully thought out and directly reusable ideas within his system? Does Schmidt provide any guidance here without reading portions of the larger corpus? How does this differ from the guidance of Ahrens?

      (Translation from German to English via Google)

    1. Perhaps the more intriguing question isn't one of process, but of content? What do florilegia and commonplaces have to do with zettelkasten?!? 😉

    1. You have, of course, another guide to the right sequence: thenotes in front of you; but let them spur, not drag you onward.In short, write from memory-as far as possible-with only oc-casional pron1pting from the notes, and make everything correctand shipshape later.

      Rather than using his notes as the actual writing, Barzun suggests writing "from memory" and only occasionally using prompting from one's notes.

      This is wholly opposed to the idea of reusing the writing of one's notes in more advanced zettelkasten methods.



    1. My own copy of A Catalogue of Crime certainly fits that description, even though I generally disagree with many of its harsh judgments on modern crime fiction. Barzun and Taylor definitely prefer classic whodunits, especially those written with wit, panache, and, above all, cleverness. The Catalogue lists more than 5,000 novel-length mysteries, collections of detective stories, true-crime books, and assorted volumes celebrating the delights of detection. Every entry is annotated, and a succinct critical judgment given.

      While this excerpt doesn't indicate the index card origin of the published book, it does indicate that it has descriptions of more than 5,000 novel-length mysteries, detective stories, etc. which includes annotations and critical judgements of each.

      One can thus draw the conclusion that this shared index card collection of details was used to publish a subsequent book.

    1. Mortimer J. Adler's slip box collection (Photo of him holding a pipe in his left hand and mouth posing in front of dozens of boxes of index cards with topic headwords including "law", "love", "life", "sin", "art", "democracy", "citizen", "fate", etc.)

      Though if we roughly estimate this collection at 1000 cards per box with roughly 76 boxes potentially present, the 76,000 cards are still shy of Luhmann's collection. It'll take some hunting thigs down, but as Adler suggests that people write their notes in their books, which he would have likely done, then this collection isn't necessarily his own. I suspect, but don't yet have definitive proof, that it was created as a group effort for the 54-volume Great Books of the Western World and its two-volume index of great ideas, the Syntopicon.

    1. together with his friend Wendell Hertig Taylor, kept a running tally of every mystery book that came along. Their brief descriptions, scribbled on three-by-five-inch index cards, eventually coalesced into “A Catalogue of Crime,” one of the foremost reference works in the mystery/suspense genre.

      Jacques Barzun had a card index for cataloging mystery/suspense books which he maintained on 3x5" cards with his friend Wendell Hertig Taylor.

      Did he keep a card index for his ideas as well?

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWkwOefBPZY

      Some of the basic outline of this looks like OER (Open Educational Resources) and its "five Rs": Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and/or Redistribute content. (To which I've already suggested the sixth: Request update (or revision control).

      Some of this is similar to:

      The Read Write Web is no longer sufficient. I want the Read Fork Write Merge Web. #osb11 lunch table. #diso #indieweb [Tantek Çelik](http://tantek.com/2011/174/t1/read-fork-write-merge-web-osb110

      Idea of collections of learning as collections or "playlists" or "readlists". Similar to the old tool Readlist which bundled articles into books relatively easily. See also: https://boffosocko.com/2022/03/26/indieweb-readlists-tools-and-brainstorming/

      Use of Wiki version histories

      Some of this has the form of a Wiki but with smaller nuggets of information (sort of like Tiddlywiki perhaps, which also allows for creating custom orderings of things which had specific URLs for displaying and sharing them.) The Zettelkasten idea has some of this embedded into it. Shared zettelkasten could be an interesting thing.

      Data is the new soil. A way to reframe "data is the new oil" but as a part of the commons. This fits well into the gardens and streams metaphor.

      Jerry, have you seen Matt Ridley's work on Ideas Have Sex? https://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex Of course you have: https://app.thebrain.com/brains/3d80058c-14d8-5361-0b61-a061f89baf87/thoughts/3e2c5c75-fc49-0688-f455-6de58e4487f1/attachments/8aab91d4-5fc8-93fe-7850-d6fa828c10a9

      I've heard Jerry mention the idea of "crystallization of knowledge" before. How can we concretely link this version with Cesar Hidalgo's work, esp. Why Information Grows.

      Cross reference Jerry's Brain: https://app.thebrain.com/brains/3d80058c-14d8-5361-0b61-a061f89baf87/thoughts/4bfe6526-9884-4b6d-9548-23659da7811e/notes

    2. settle custon which a philosopher named nicholas lumen created

      Another example of an unsourced reference to Niklas Luhmann creating the zettelkasten.

    1. Perhaps it may be helpful to dramatically reframe the question of how to keep a zettelkasten? One page blog posts from people who've only recently seen the idea and are synopsizing it without a year or more practice themselves are highly confusing at best. Can I write something we don't see enough of in spaces relating to zettelkasten? Perhaps we should briefly consider the intellectual predecessor of the slip box?

      Start out by forgetting zettelkasten exist. Instead read about what a commonplace book is and how that (simpler) form of note taking works. This short article outlined as a class assignment is a fascinating way to start and has some illustrative examples: https://www.academia.edu/35101285/Creating_a_Commonplace_Book_CPB_. If you're a writer, researcher, or journalist, perhaps Steven Johnson's perspective may be interesting to you instead: https://stevenberlinjohnson.com/the-glass-box-and-the-commonplace-book-639b16c4f3bb

      Collect interesting passages, quotes, and ideas as you read. Keep them in a notebook and call it your commonplace book. If you like call these your "fleeting notes" as some do.

      As you do this, start building an index of subject headings for your ideas, perhaps using John Locke's method (see: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/john-lockes-method-for-common-place-books-1685).

      Once you've got this, you've really mastered the majority of what a zettelkasten is and have a powerful tool at your disposal. If you feel it's useful, you can add a few more tools and variations to your set up.

      Next instead of keeping the ideas in a notebook, put them on index cards so that they're easier to sort through, move around, and re-arrange. This particularly useful if you want to use them to create an outline of your ideas for writing something with them.

      Next, maybe keep some index cards that have the references and bibliographies from which your excerpting and note taking comes from. Link these bibliographical cards to the cards with your content.

      As you go through your notes, ideas, and excerpts, maybe you want to further refine them? Write them out in your own words. Improve their clarity, so that when you go to re-use them, you can simply "excerpt" material you've already written for yourself and you're not plagiarizing others. You can call these improved notes, as some do either "permanent notes" or "evergreen notes".

      Perhaps you're looking for more creativity, serendipity, and organic surprise in your system? Next you can link individual notes together. In a paper system you can do this by following one note with another or writing addresses on each card and using that addressing system to link them, but in a digital environment you can link one note to many multiple others that are related. If you're not sure where to start here, look back to your subject headings and pull out cards related to broad categories. Some things will obviously fit more closely than others, so be more selective and only link ideas that are more intimately connected than just the subject heading you've used.

      Now when you want to write or create something new on a particular topic, ask your slip box a question and attempt to answer it by consulting your index. Find cards related to the topic, pull out those and place them in a useful order to create an outline perhaps using the cross links that already exist. (You've done that linking work as you went, so why not use it to make things easier now?) Copy the contents into a document and begin editing.

      Beyond the first few steps, you're really just creating additional complexity to a system to increase the combinatorial complexity of juxtaposed ideas that you could potentially pull back out of your system for writing more interesting text and generating new ideas. Some people may neither want nor need this sort of complexity in their working lives. If you don't need it, then just keep a simple commonplace book (or commonplace card file) to remind you of the interesting ideas and inspirations you've seen and could potentially reuse throughout your life.

      The benefit of this method is that beyond creating your index, you'll always have something useful even if you abandon things later on and quit refining it. If you do go all the way, concentrate on writing out just two short solid ideas every day (Luhmann averaged about 6 per day and Roland Barthes averaged 1 and change). Do it until you have between 500 and 1000 cards (based on some surveys and anecdotal evidence), and you should begin seeing some serendipitous and intriguing results as you use your system for your writing.

      We should acknowledge that that (visual) artists and musicians might also keep commonplaces and zettelkasten. As an example, Eminem keeps a zettelkasten, but it is so minimal that it is literally just a box and slips of paper with no apparent organization beyond this. If this fits your style and you don't get any value out of having cards with locators like 3a4b/65m1, then don't do that useless work. Make sure your system is working for you and you're not working for your system.

      Sadly, it's generally difficult to find a single blog post that can accurately define what a zettelkasten is, how it's structured, how it works, and why one would want one much less what one should expect from it. Sonke Ahrens does a reasonably good job, but his explanation is an entire book. Hopefully this distillation will get you moving in a positive direction for having a useful daily practice, but without an excessive amount of work. Once you've been at it a while, then start looking at Ahrens and others to refine things for your personal preferences and creative needs.

    1. The addressing system that many digital note taking systems offer is reminiscent of Luhmann's paper system where it served a particular use. Many might ask themselves if they really need this functionality in digital contexts where text search and other affordances can be more directly useful.

      Frequently missed by many, perhaps because they're befuddled by the complex branching numbering system which gets more publicity, Luhmann's paper-based system had a highly useful and simple subject heading index (see: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/zettelkasten/zettel/ZK_2_SW1_001_V, for example) which can be replicated using either #tags or [[wikilinks]] within tools like Obsidian. Of course having an index doesn't preclude the incredible usefulness of directly linking one idea to potentially multiple others in some branching tree-like or network structure.

      Note that one highly valuable feature of Luhmann's paper version was that the totality of cards were linked to a minimum of at least one other card by the default that they were placed into the file itself. Those putting notes into Obsidian often place them into their system as singlet, un-linked notes as a default, and this can lead to problems down the road. However this can be mitigated by utilizing topical or subject headings on individual cards which allows for searching on a heading and then cross-linking individual ideas as appropriate.

      As an example, because two cards may be tagged with "archaeology" doesn't necessarily mean they're closely related as ideas. This tends to decrease in likelihood if one is an archaeologist and a large proportion of cards might contain that tag, but will simultaneously create more value over time as generic tags increase in number but the specific ideas cross link in small numbers. Similarly as one delves more deeply into archaeology, one will also come up with more granular and useful sub-tags (like Zooarcheology, Paleobotany, Archeopedology, Forensic Archeology, Archeoastronomy, Geoarcheology, etc.) as their knowledge in sub areas increases.

      Concretely, one might expect that the subject heading "sociology" would be nearly useless to Luhmann as that was the overarching topic of both of his zettelkästen (I & II), whereas "Autonomie" was much more specific and useful for cross linking a smaller handful of potentially related ideas in the future.

      Looking beyond Luhmann can be highly helpful in designing and using one's own system. I'd recommend taking a look at John Locke's work on indexing (1685) (https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/john-lockes-method-for-common-place-books-1685 is an interesting source, though you're obviously applying it to (digital) cards and not a notebook) or Ross Ashby's hybrid notebook/index card system which is also available online (http://www.rossashby.info/journal/index.html) as an example.

      Another helpful tip some are sure to appreciate in systems that have an auto-complete function is simply starting to write a wikilink with various related subject heading words that may appear within your system. You'll then be presented with potential options of things to link to serendipitously that you may not have otherwise considered. Within a digital zettelkasten, the popularly used DYAC (Damn You Auto Complete) may turn into Bless You Auto Complete.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf4caUoi5bo

      Scott Scheper shows how he uses his paper zettelkasten for planning six week sprints. Only a very rough outline of what this looks like, though he does show using his index to cross reference the card with the actual details.

  4. May 2022
    1. What does it look like to move from mindless consumption tomindful creation?

      Collecting ideas and creating links between them in a zettelkasten can seemingly solve this problem with "little" work. :)

    2. This cross-disciplinary approach allowed him tomake connections across seemingly unrelated subjects, whilecontinuing to follow his sense of curiosity

      For someone like Feynman who worked in areas beyond theoretical physics, tacitly practicing the Llullan combinatorial arts will allow them to apply their knowledge in a more cross-disciplinary way.

      But why apply this sort of thinking to just one person? Abstract it up a few levels. What if multiple people can apply this technique simultaneously?

      Currently it's happening in academic circles with people collaborating across disciplines, but it's more likely happening by oral transmission by holding conversations about the work at hand and combinatorial brainstorming being the engine. What if they were keeping a collective zettelkasten to encourage their work? This presents the issue of the histories of separate knowledge bases and potential context collapse. They still need to have some sort of intervening interface (typically personal presence for memory/reference) to encourage it as search may not be as useful or much more time consuming.

      How might anagora.org act as a potential model for brining these ideas into fruition?

      link directly to portions of https://hypothes.is/a/GZ5kkuAyEeyfDx9azj0VAw

    3. , I’vedeveloped a simple, intuitive four-part method called “CODE”—Capture; Organize; Distill; Express.

      I'm sort of surprised that Forte hasn't trademarked this "method". Immediately on it's face it looks a lot like the general steps of note taking for a zettelkasten, or let's be honest, almost any note taking method. Nice to see that he's reminding people to do some distillation and expression using their notes however as this is where most people lose the thread.

    4. 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?

    5. Other popular terms for such a system include Zettelkasten (meaning “slipbox” in German, coined by influential sociologist Niklas Luhmann), Memex (aword invented by American inventor Vannevar Bush), and digital garden(named by popular online creator Anne-Laure Le Cunff)

      Zettelkasten existed prior to Niklas Luhmann, who neither invented them nor coined their name.

      The earliest concept of a digital garden stems from Mark Bernstein's essay Hypertext Gardens: Delightful Vistas in 1998.

      Anne-Laure Le Cunff's first mention of "digital garden" was on April 21, 2020

      Progress on my digital garden / evergreen notebook inspired by @andy_matuschak🌱<br><br>Super grateful for @alyssaxuu who's been literally handholding me through the whole thing — thank you! pic.twitter.com/ErzvEsdAUj

      — Anne-Laure Le Cunff (@anthilemoon) April 22, 2020
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      Which occurred after Maggie Appleton's mention on 2020-04-15 https://twitter.com/Mappletons/status/1250532315459194880

      Nerding hard on digital gardens, personal wikis, and experimental knowledge systems with @_jonesian today.<br><br>We have an epic collection going, check these out...<br><br>1. @tomcritchlow's Wikifolders: https://t.co/QnXw0vzbMG pic.twitter.com/9ri6g9hD93

      — Maggie Appleton 🧭 (@Mappletons) April 15, 2020
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      And several days after Justin Tadlock on 2020-04-17 https://wptavern.com/on- digital-gardens-blogs-personal-spaces-and-the-future

      Before this there was Joel Hooks by at least 2020-02-04 https://web.archive.org/web/20200204180025/https://joelhooks.com/digital-garden, though he had been thinking about it in late 2019: https://github.com/joelhooks/joelhooks-com/blob/36c21b34f02ade14d4e67915ff412462030282cd/content/blog/2019-12-08--on-writing-more~~qG38AKqxq/index.mdx

      He was predated by Tom Critchlow on 2018-10-18 https://tomcritchlow.com/blogchains/digital-gardens/ who quotes Mike Caulfield's article from 2015-10-17 as an influence https://hapgood.us/2015/10/17/the-garden-and-the-stream-a-technopastoral/amp/

      Archive.org has versions going back into the early 2000's: https://web.archive.org/web/*/%22digital%20garden%22

    1. Chris, this is a great take, thanks! Visiting the origins of the system doesn't fit into my current interests, but I'm very happy to know more about them.I gave a mini-lecture to my students last night about this system; really it's more about the idea of networking your ideas over anything else, isn't it? My students, who are all working on creative nonfiction projects, were so relieved to have someplace to put and process all the things they inevitably flag in the books they read.

      I've been collecting some feedback on folks who've introduced this to students. I'm curious how your experiment ultimately went? Did they take to it? Do you feel like some are still using or even experimenting with the methods?

    1. What good is the mostmeticulous transcript if it cannot be brought into productive relationships with otherentries? What good are pages-long excerpts if they do not inscribe themselves into anetwork of pre-forming cross-references?

      Some excellent questions that nudge one into an "orthodox" zettelkasten practice.

    2. Stuttgart System 1785ff.

      A referent to Hegel's note taking system.

    3. Bielefeld 1951ff.

      Interesting that Markus Krajewski continually refers to Luhmann's zettelkasten as Bielefeld 1951ff.

    4. Hegel’s slip box in handy luggage format joined him for everyjourney and all seven migrations to Berlin,32 the many square meters of Luhmann’swooden boxes prevent unlimited mobility and thus the possibility of accessing writtenmemory at all times.

      Hegel's slip box was in a handy enough luggage format that he was able to easily take it with him on journeys or on moves.

      1. Amid his wandering, he always kept these incunabula of his education. They lie partly in portfolios, partly in cases, on the backs of which a label was glued for orientation. Rosenkranz, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegels Leben , 12.
    5. “This technique alsoexplains why I don’t think at all linearly and have trouble finding the right sequence ofchapters when writing a book, because indeed every chapter must reappear in everyother.”22
      1. Luhmann, Archimedes und wir , 145.

      Luhmann indicated that his note taking system made it difficult for him to be a linear thinker. Instead he felt that each chapter he wrote "must reappear in every other."

      This seems quite similar to Carl Linnaeus' work which he regularly recycled into future works.

    6. While the admin-istrative scientist Luhmann ignores the librarian’s dictum in his consideration of theproper paper for the project out of spatial concerns, DIN 1504, which, apart from theInternational Library Format, only allows DIN A 6 and DIN A 7 for “literature cards,”18regrettably goes unused.

      Despite his career as an administrative scientist, Luhmann eschewed the International Library Format which allows for DIN A6 and DIN A7 for "literature cards."

      Cross reference:

      1. See Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V. (DIN), Publikation und Dokumentation 2. Erschließung von Dokumenten, Informationsverarbeitung, Reprographie, Bibliotheksverwaltung, Normen, vol. 154 of DIN-Taschenbuch , 2nd ed. (Berlin, Kö ln: Beuth, 1984), 64f.

      link to https://hypothes.is/a/hKgd_t1jEeyxoxOujPZNkg

    7. Despite the librarian card-theoreticalrecommendation of only using cardboard or strong paper as a bearer of information,17Luhmann relies on plain typewriter paper for spatial economy, which can quickly lead,however, to the deterioration of the medium with frequent browsing.

      For Luhmann's time, the librarian recommendation for substrate was either cardboard or strong paper as the carrier for information, but he eschewed this recommendation in favor of plain typewriter paper because it took up less space. This came at the cost of deterioration of many of his cards through regular use however.

    8. According to this, the arrangement consists of “wooden boxes with drawers that pullout in the front, and cards in octavo format ” (= DIN A5).

      Luhmann's zettelkasten collection of cards was in octavo format, aka DIN A5 (148mm x 210mm or 5.8" x 8.3").

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

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

      1. Ralf Klassen, “Bezaubernde Jeannie oder Liebe ist nur ein Zeitvertreib,” in Wir Fernsehkinder. Eine Generation ohne Programm, ed. Walter Wüllenweber (Berlin: Rowohlt Berlin Verlag, 1994), 81 – 97, at 84.
    10. WhenNiklas Luhmann decided in 1951, toward the end of his legal studies, to no longergather loose sheets into portfolios, as Goethe once did,9 but rather to take up work ona slip box, just like his implicit benchmark Hegel, the position of the Other becameoccupied by a paper machine.

      Niklas Luhmann created his slip box in 1951 after the model of Hegel rather than using the method of loose sheets into portfolios as Goethe had done.

      1. See Ernst Robert Curtius, “ Goethes Aktenf ü hrung,” in Kritische Essays zur europäischen Literatur (Bern: Francke, 1954), 57 – 69.

      Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832)

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

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

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

    12. Somewhere in Stuttgart, 1785: Still in high school, a fifteen-year-old reader begins towrite on loose sheets of paper with order, diligence, and discretion: “In his reading, heapproached works in the following way: everything that seemed noteworthy to him—and what didn’t!—he wrote on a single sheet, which he labeled above with the generalheading under which the particular content should be subsumed. In the middle of theupper edge, he then wrote the keyword of the article in large letters, frequently inFraktur. He organized the sheets themselves again according to the alphabet, and dueto this simple mechanism, he was always ready to use his excerpts at any moment.” 1With each of his alphabetized notes, the young reader established a new address thatwould henceforth constitute the site for the concepts upon which his future activitiesas philosopher and scholar would be based.

      Markus Krajewski indicates here that Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (27 August 1770 – 14 November 1831) kept a zettelkasten, though from the sound of it, his sheets, organized by head words have more of a ring of commonplace book.

    13. Hegel ’s absolute spirit is a hidden slip box.— Friedrich Kittler
    14. Paper as Passion: Niklas Luhmann and His CardIndexMarkus Krajewskitranslated by Charles Marcrum II

      Starting here...

    1. Scott, I'll spend some more in-depth time with it shortly, but in a quick skim of topics I pleasantly notice a few citations of my own work. Perhaps I've done a poor job communicating about wikis, but from what I've seen from your work thus far I take much the same view of zettelkasten as you do. Somehow though I find that you're quoting me in opposition to your views? While you're broadly distinguishing against the well-known Wikipedia, and rightly so, I also broadly consider (unpublished) and include examples of small personal wikis and those within Ward Cunningham's FedWiki space, though I don't focus on them in that particular piece. In broad generalities most of these smaller wikis are closer to the commonplace and zettelkasten traditions, though as you point out they have some structural functional differences. You also quote me as someone in "information theory" in a way that that indicates context collapse. Note that my distinctions and work in information theory relate primarily to theoretical areas in electrical engineering, physics, complexity theory, and mathematics as it relates to Claude Shannon's work. It very specifically does not relate to my more humanities focused work within intellectual history, note taking, commonplaces, rhetoric, orality, or memory. In these areas, I'm better read than most, but have no professional title(s). Can't wait to read the entire piece more thoroughly...

    1. in my experience it has its head has a similar pattern to what henry ford did to the automobile 01:20:31 industry so before him it was basically like a few people built one car at a time and he basically broke up the process so you had like i don't know how many but 01:20:43 like dozens people a dozen people and each individual had just one one motion to do and the industrialization specialization right yeah and the the result was that 01:20:56 each individual didn't know anything and all the knowledge was in the process and my suspicion is that the promise of the settle custom that the paper 01:21:08 just write themselves it's like a very prominent process a promise around the telecast method lead to the to the thinking that you basically reduce your 01:21:20 the need for yourself and all the intelligence all the proficiency is put into a system and you have something doing for you and you treat yourself more like a like a 01:21:33 worker on a an assembly line just being and having all just a simple a simple motion that you have to do and then the end product will be 01:21:45 but will be very complex and very sophisticated because the intelligence is embedded in the process

      Sascha Fast analogizes the writing process using a zettelkasten to Henry Ford's assembly line for building cars. Each worker on the assembly line has a limited bit of knowledge for their individual part of the process, but most of the knowledge and value is built into the overarching process itself. This makes the overall system quicker and more efficient.

      Similarly with note taking, each individual portion of the process is simple and self-contained, but it allows the writer to create a much more creative and complex piece in the end. Here an individual can accomplish all of the individual steps in a self-contained way while focusing on individual steps without becoming lost in the subsequent steps which would otherwise require a tremendous additional amount of energy.

    2. autoph uh german how is it in english i think it's i i yeah i've looked it up i think it's autopiosis or auto autopilosis yes in germany it's

      Niklas Luhmann used his zettelkasten to develop an organic theory to understand an organic subject in an autopoetic way.

    3. is the the um the writing by hand um because you know you can you can certainly write by hand and write down facts you know as well um 00:30:36 and uh and so yeah but i but what i what i do hold is that it's way way harder to uh store a lot of facts in 00:30:49 you know an analog settle costin because there's no copy paste you actually have to write out the facts by hand and as a result of that i think there are more benefits over digital in that you 00:31:02 are writing down uh neuro imprinting you know facts onto your mind that you can later recall more rapidly and stuff and um i think that's a benefit

      Keeping a manual zettelkasten using pen/pencil and paper may be beneficial to some as it will tend to remove the easy functionality of cut and paste in the digital space and force the user to think a bit more deeply about what they're working on and expand on it. Those with paper zettelkasten aren't as likely to spend time collecting simple facts as a result of this. This will make the content going into the system much more solid and reusable in the future.

    4. i started creating and using notecards and this isn't like 2006.

      Scott P. Scheper left off of notebooks and started using note cards in 2006.

    5. like when i was uh with um yeah like 12 years ago i started my telecast no it's wrong like 13 years ago i'm an old dude it was like around in 00:13:24 2014 or 15 that you started it ah no no i started my first uh i might sell custom when it was like half a year uh it was 20 00:13:37 2008 i think okay 2008 2009

      Sascha Fast started his zettelkasten in 2008 or 2009 and went to plain text around 2010.

    6. you saw the inevitable blog posts in the blogosphere and the youtubers picked it up and if you actually did it like cold adaption it was very easy to see who actually did 00:04:34 it themselves and then had some practical experience and some people like just researched it and like i think you you know it like when people say like the 12 best tips for x and y 00:04:47 yeah and um you have this kind of blog post that's obvious like easy grabs for content

      There are likely far more people talking about zettelkasten and writing short, simple blogposts and articles about it than those who are actually practicing it and seeing benefit from it.

      Finding public examples of people practicing and showing their work in the zettelkasten space are few and far between.

      This effect likely increases the availability bias of Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten which is frequently spoken of, but it also has the benefit of being online, even if it's primarily written in German.

    7. i think that there are many people presenting just the saddle custom method or what uh they think that zelda custom method is but you never see like uh 00:03:18 how they actually do their own work

      Sounds that like me, Sascha Fast thinks many are talking about zettelkasten, but not actually practicing it properly.

    1. Don't worry, Niklas Luhmann never 'got' the whole evergreen vs. fleeting notes thing either. They're Ahrensian inventions. They're not Zettelkasten concepts, they're Ahrenskasten concepts.

      Ahrens uses the phrase permanent notes and never uses the words evergreen notes. Evergreen notes stems from Andy Matuschak's reading of Ahrens, likely with a side reference to the idea of evergreen articles which is a closely related commonplace idea in journalism.

      The difference between the permanent(evergreen) and fleeting comes from where one chooses to put the actual work into their system. One can collect thousands of fleeting notes in their system, but it's more likely that it will eventually collapse on itself and do the author no good. Better is to put as much work in up front to get to a good permanent note that is reusable in potentially many contexts.

      Much of this stems back at least as far as Vincentius Placcius in De Arte Excerpendi: Of Scholarly Book Organization (1689) where he offers a contemporary set of instructions on excerpting knowledge from books as well as a history of the subject of note taking. In the book, he warns specifically against the practice exhibited by Joachim Jungius (1585-1657) who left behind approximately 150,000 slips (or scraps) of paper (zettels). Because there was no index to it or links between the notes Jungius' collection was ostensibly useless following his death. His scraps were literally a "scrap heap".

    1. suggested by Gessner for bibliographical units on slips of paper in subject or alphabetical order, for the generation of new texts through recombination.

      This sort of recombination is also seen in the work of Raymond Llull, though there he did it in a specific combinatorial way and implemented it in his memory rather than on paper.

    1. https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/ur5xjv/handwritten_cards_to_a_digital_back_up_workflow/

      For those who keep a physical pen and paper system who either want to be a bit on the hybrid side, or just have a digital backup "just in case", I thought I'd share a workflow that I outlined back in December that works reasonably well. (Backups or emergency plans for one's notes are important as evidenced by poet Jean Paul's admonition to his wife before setting off on a trip in 1812: "In the event of a fire, the black-bound excerpts are to be saved first.") It's framed as posting to a website/digital garden, but it works just as well for many of the digital text platforms one might have or consider. For those on other platforms (like iOS) there are some useful suggestions in the comments section. Handwriting My Website (or Zettelkasten) with a Digital Amanuensis

    1. What's your opinion on the note card system? Do you personally use it? .t3_ugqnle._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; }


      For commonplace items, I've found notebooks with good indices more valuable. Note cards are better if you're taking atomic notes that you plan on actively reusing in your writing work which is more of a zettelkasten feature/functionality cards are easier to move around, re-arrange, and create outlines for your writing when you get to that point. Historically it was the ability to re-arrange and reuse one's commonplace items that helped to spawn and popularize the idea of zettelkasten, which are often more frequently used by writers, researchers, and academics for creating new content. Historically it was the ability to re-arrange and reuse one's commonplace items that helped to spawn and popularize the idea of zettelkasten, which are often more frequently used by writers, researchers, and academics for creating new content.

      Some of the difference can be personal choice, practicality, ease-of-use, and the functionality you hope to get out of one method or the other. Honestly there's no reason you couldn't do both if you chose, but it may help to have a common index which will allow you to search for and find things you need. A set of useful historical examples can be found in the mid-twentieth century comedians including Bob Hope (pages he kept in files), Phyllis Diller (index cards), Joan Rivers (index cards), and actor/politician Ronald Reagan who maintained what some might call a commonplace book of quotes which he kept on index cards, but held in a notebook-like binder similar to a photo album with pages that he could place the cards in, but still allow him to move them around (both from slot to slot, or move whole pages at a time). The loosest system I've yet seen is that of Eminem who kept ideas and lyrics written on hotel stationery or random slips of paper which he kept wholly unorganized and unindexed in a cardboard box in a method he called "stacking ammo." Do what you think will work best for you and try it out for a while. You can always change methods later on if your needs change.

    1. ZK II: Zettel 9/8j 9/8j Im Zettelkasten ist ein Zettel, der dasArgument enthält, das die Behauptungenauf allen anderen Zetteln widerlegt. Aber dieser Zettel verschwindet, sobald manden Zettelkasten aufzieht. D.h. er nimmt eine andere Nummer an,verstellt sich und ist dann nicht zu finden. Ein Joker.

      9/8j In the slip box is a slip containing the argument that refutes the claims on all the other slips.

      But this slip disappears as soon as you open the slip box.

      Ie he assumes a different number, disguises himself and then cannot be found.

      A joker.

      An example of a jokerzettel.

      Link this to the Claude Shannon's useless machine (based on an idea of Marvin Minsky) of a useless machine whose only function is to switch itself off. see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useless_machine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNa9v8Z7Rac

    1. Direct access to the list box: table of contents , directly to ZK I: List 1 or ZK 2: List 1 – or to the "Jokerzettel" ?

      Niklas Luhmann kept a portion of his note taking system (ZK II Note 9/8j) specifically for joke related slips. It has been referred to as his jokerzettel.

      This would seem to be in keeping with other examples kept in America by Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, George Carlin, and a wide variety of comics like Adam Sandler et al. who have moved to using notebooks.

      This is the first time I've seen the word/phrase jokerzettel in print.

    1. Are you scanning all your analogue note cards?

      I do scan them, though in a somewhat different workflow than the batch processing that some might imagine. The broad outline and some of the specific details can be found here: Handwriting my Website with a Digital Amanuensis. The comments section of that post has some useful tips for folks on other platforms.

    2. If you're in software development, start your zettelkasten by documenting the step-by-step instructions to fresh install your development environment. Windows Utilities, Dev Tools, IDE, all those config options not already in your dotfiles, etc...I promise it'll be useful and get you started

      I tend to take a much narrower view of the use and function of a zettelkasten for the reuse of atomic ideas. As a result, from experience I'd recommend these sorts of details are probably better suited for future search in your blog, a personal wiki, or even a commonplace book format than for use in your zettelkasten. I've outlined some of the broad idea for this in an article: Zettelkasten Overreach. On the other hand, if an outline form of these things is imminently abstractable for future very active reuse in other programming environments, then perhaps it's worthwhile, but then you'd need to reach the appropriate level of abstraction for this reuse and you may have lost the more specific details for direct recreation needed as reminders for your future self.

    3. For Eco on using something like a ZK, see his short book How to Write an Essay. Basically, he writes about making something that we could say is like a ZK, but one card system for each writing assignment.

      Umberto Eco's book How to Write a Thesis (MIT Press, 2015, #) can broadly be thought of as a zettelkasten system, but it advises a separate system for each project or writing assignment. This is generally good advice, and potentially excellent for students on a one-time basis, but it prevents one from benefitting from the work over multiple projects or even a lifetime.

      In some sense, a more traditional approach, and one seen used in Niklas Luhmann's example is to keep different sections separated by broad topics.

      Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten #1 had 108 broad topics (along with a bibliography and a subject index), and zettelkasten #2 had 11 broad topics. (Cross reference: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/zettelkasten/inhaltsuebersicht)

      The zettelkasten structure allowed a familiar "folder" like top level structure, but the bibliographic and subject indices allowed them to interlink ideas from one space to the next for longer term work on multiple projects simultaneously.

    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. That people show off these illegible globs in public only makes sense from a signaling perspective: They are saying, “look at how many nodes I have in my brain, amazing nodes, I have so many nodes that a peon such as yourself can’t even guess what’s going on here!”

      I have tongue-in-cheek posted a massive graph indicating that it was only a "few days work" to see what sort of reaction it would get. No one batted an eyelash, which makes me think that too many are "collectors" and aren't actually building something or using their system correctly.

      There is a dearth of solid examples of these systems online for people to look at and evaluate critically. This is killing the space slowly.

    3. and link me to a paid course, no doubt

      I will agree that there are far too many "influencers" and "gurus" out there selling something in the note taking space. Almost none of them know what the hell they're talking about.

    4. I tried using Roam for about two weeks once. I used Roam and only Roam, diligently. After only two weeks, my knowledge graph was utterly unintelligible and distressing.

      While one can take a lot of notes in two weeks, even just six quality notes a day (Niklas Lumann's pace was six per day while Roland Barthes was closer to 1 and change per day) only provides about 84 cards or zettels. This isn't enough to make anything distressing or unintelligible. It's also incredibly far short of creating any useful links to create anything. He should have trimmed things down and continued for about 24 weeks to see any significant results. (Of course this also begs the question: what was his purpose in pursuing such a system in the first place?)

    5. The concept of the Knowledge Graph deserves the classification of bullshit because its allure derives primarily from the false impression that it can mechanistically deliver—or substitute for—the brute, linear willfulness that defines all non-trivial writing.

      In watching the space and seeing the sorts of conversations and questions I see online in Twitter, Reddit, and other fora, I too often see people talking about the system(s) and not actually using the systems. Very few get to a critical mass of well written notes, which I estimate to be about 500 to 1000 before they give up. Most aren't taking good notes and are imposing far more structure on them as if they're writing wiki articles instead of taking notes. Too many things go wrong in their processes before they're giving up and moving on. This has the effect of making the enterprise appear to be a failure.

      I suspect that the author of this piece is in this last group and instead of thinking about why they're failing, they're lashing out about the hype in the space. Certainly there is way too much hype, and that isn't necessarily a good thing. But there's also not nearly enough practice and that is far worse.

    6. 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. name means a slit box in german as in like a slip of paper a box containing such slips of paper it was invented or at least the modern form was described by a sociologist 00:02:32 named nicholas lumon

      Another example of someone misattributing the invention of the zettelkasten to Niklas Luhmann. At least Soren Bjornstad modifies the attribution to say modern form, but I suspect that this is more of a verbal hedge more than being backed up with actual evidence, though perhaps the video will bear out more detail?

      The availability heuristic is so strong in Luhmann's case, that he is attributed the invention. I find that few people can point to or ever mention any others who used the method.

    1. Luhmann realised his note-taking was not leadinganywhere. So he turned note-taking on its head.

      Here Ahrens doesn't say that Luhmann invented the zettelkasten, but he comes pretty close and is heavily implying it rather than delving into the ways which Luhmann may have been taught this practice.

    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.

    1. https://wordpress.org/plugins/slippy/

      This WordPress plugin looks like it's a solid custom post type for creating a digital zettelkasten. Looks like it relies on tags/categories for linking, though has a custom link function. This in combination with Webmention could be a useful bi-directional link set up.

    1. Does anyone know of someone's public Zettelkasten somewhere on the internet? I am trying to write literature notes and permanent notes, and am trying to refine my own system but do not really think I am doing things all too well. I have read a decent amount of content on how one should write literature and permanent notes, but I think I am at the point where reading through someone else's Zettelkasten to get inspiration for how I create my own would be useful. However, I cannot find a good specific Zettelkasten one. I saw on github a list of digital gardens but most did not seemed geared towards the Zettelkasten approach, and the only one I saw that fit the bill was in Spanish...

      There are lots of people writing/saying they've got a digital zettelkasten online, but few actually are in the mold you're actively looking for. Most are wikis, digital gardens, commonplace books, or simply webpages or more blog-like in form.

      This IndieWeb wiki page has some of the few useful digital examples I'm aware of: https://indieweb.org/Zettelk%C3%A4sten

      I've got the start of a potential online site with some sample cards, though they're not all properly interlinked, online at https://notes.boffosocko.com. My Hypothes.is account is relatively zettelkasten-like in many of the ways you might be considering, though individual notes aren't heavily interlinked in the way one would like, though they are reasonably well indexed with keywords: https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich. Many notes may be more fleeting in nature, so look for the journal articles/books that have 10 or more annotations versus documents with under 5. Generally these all get moved into a digital system where they're further refined and interlinked.

  5. Apr 2022
    1. it starts with 00:32:31 this one kind of thing called single finger and these are all just variations or practice styles [Music] 00:32:45 and then octave double stop skills [Music] and you know just down the list but you know these things are all developed 00:32:59 through the practice the daily practice but then once once they've been developed then i can just plug them into songs and and create so that's just i'm really excited about this form like the fiddle wrong is because

      Jason Kleinberg takes basic tunes and then has a list of variations of practice styles which he runs through with each one (eg. single-finger, octave double stops scale, old-time, polkafy, blues, etc.) and he plays those tunes in these modified styles not only to practice, but to take these "musical conversations" and translate them into his own words. This is a clever way of generating new music and potentially even new styles by mixing those which have come before. To a great sense, he's having a musical conversation with prior composers and musicians in the same way that an annotator will have a conversation in the margins with an author. It's also an example of the sort of combinatorial creativity suggested by Raymond Llull's work.

    1. https://blog.sjm.codes/202204231657

      Nothing new or earth shattering to me, but I did manage to squeeze out a few literature notes that may be useful later.

    2. Zettelkasten notes are little atomic Feynman Technique experiences.

      The creation of literature notes for one's zettelkasten are atomic instances of the use of the Feynman technique to test one's understanding.

    3. The Zettelkasten System is a Superset of the Feynman Technique

      Not exactly my specific framing, but I've noted this correspondence before. Glad to see others have the same perception.

    1. http://ratfactor.com/cards/

      Dave Gauer has nascent digital zettelkasten on his website though he calls them a virtual box of cards "(as opposed to 'zettelkasten' or 'wiki' or 'notes')".

      Given it's limited extent, the collection presents in a more wiki like fashion with such limited functionality (on the front end) that it appears more like a loose collection of web pages.

      What are the generally accepted distinctions between all these forms?

    1. Do you manage “wiki”-type notes and permanent notes separately? .t3_uapyj9._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; }

      I personally and always recommend people keep separate folders for zettelkasten and wiki like patterns primarily because you could and should be using each of them in dramatically different ways. If you're putting your zettelkasten notes into a wiki setting, then you're starting to actively place those notes into a final written form (Ahrens calls these "projects" in his book How to Take Smart Notes as a catchall for articles, chapters, books, or other long form writing.)

    1. What do I need to see to believe that the zettelkasten method is working? .t3_uc59sc._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; }

      Luhmann is not an outlier, he's just the only example known in English social media and the blogosphere over the past couple of years. Try searching for "card index" (English), "fichier boîte" (French), or even "commonplace book" (a simplified version of and predecessor of the zettelkasten) and you'll find lots of examples. Over the past year or so I've been working at improving the number of examples available. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zettelkasten. Recently I've just uncovered Roland Barthes (12,250+ index cards) and Vladimir Nabokov (author of Lolita fame: https://www.openculture.com/2014/02/the-notecards-on-which-vladimir-nabokov-wrote-lolita.html).

      Some of the common things I see people doing wrong are not putting in the work and particularly not creating links between their cards. Others don't have a clear reason why they're actually doing the practice. Based on anecdotal evidence from people who are well practiced at it and have done it a while, it can take from 500 to 1000 cards to see the sort of fun serendipity and value in having a zettelkasten. Having something specific or even an area in which you actively want to write as an end goal can be very helpful. If you're writing even 1-3 solid cards a day, that is the leverage in productivity. Barthes averaged about 1 and change compared to Luhmann's 6 cards a day. Once you have lots of cards that are all linked together, pick your favorite up with all the ones that go with it and you've got a solid article or even the start of a book.

    1. »Bei Feuer sind die schwarzeingebundnen Exzerpten zuerst zu retten«, wies der Dichter Jean Paul seine Frau vor Antritt einer Reise im Jahr 1812 an.

      "In the event of a fire, the black-bound excerpts are to be saved first," the poet Jean Paul instructed his wife before setting out on a journey in 1812.

      link to: https://hyp.is/BLL9TvZ9EeuSIrsiWKCB9w/ryanholiday.net/the-notecard-system-the-key-for-remembering-organizing-and-using-everything-you-read/

    1. French theorist, philosopher, and writer Roland Barthes (1915 – 1980) kept a fichier boîte or card index file beginning in 1943 until his death. Curator Nathalie Léger has indicated that there are 12,250 slips in Roland Barthes' bequest at the Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC).[16][17] Louis-Jean Calvet explains that in writing Michelet, Barthes used his notes on index cards to try out various combinations of cards to both organize them as well as "to find correspondences between them."[18][19] In addition to using his card index for producing his published works, Barthes also used his note taking system for teaching as well. His final course on the topic of the Neutral, which he taught as a seminar at Collège de France, was contained in four bundles consisting of 800 cards which contained everything from notes, summaries, figures, and bibliographic entries.[18] In his autobiographical Roland Barthes par (by) Roland Barthes, Barthes reproduces three of his index cards in facsimile.[20] Published posthumously in 2010, Barthes' Mourning Diary was created from a collection of 330 of his index cards focusing on his mourning following the death of his mother. The book jacket of the book prominently features one of his index cards from the collection.[21] In a well known photo of Barthes in his office taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1963, the author is pictured with his card indexes on the shelf behind him.[22][16]

      French theorist, philosopher, and writer [[Roland Barthes]] (1915 – 1980) kept a ''fichier boîte'' or card index file beginning in 1943 until his death. Curator Nathalie Léger has indicated that there are 12,250 slips in Roland Barthes' bequest at the [[Institute for Contemporary Publishing Archives|Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC)]].<ref name="Hollier">{{cite journal |last1=Hollier |first1=Denis |title=Notes (On the Index Card). |journal=October |date=2005 |volume=112 |issue=Spring |pages=35–44 |url=https://www.jstor.org/stable/3397642 |access-date=23 April 2022}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Krapp |first1=Peter |editor1-last=Chun |editor1-first=W. H. K. |editor2-last=Keenan |editor2-first=T |title=New Media, Old Theory: A History and Theory Reader |date=2006 |publisher=Routledge |location=New York |pages=359-373 |chapter=Hypertext Avant La Lettre}}</ref> [[Louis-Jean Calvet]] explains that in writing ''Michelet'', Barthes used his notes on index cards to try out various combinations of cards to both organize them as well as "to find correspondences between them."<ref name="Rowan">{{cite journal |last1=Wilken |first1=Rowan |title=The card index as creativity machine |journal=Culture Machine |date=2010 |volume=11 |pages=7–30 |url=https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-card-index-as-creativity-machine-Wilken/ffeae0931cc269da047d0844a6bef7e1c7424b46 |access-date=23 April 2022}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Calvet |first1=Louis-Jean |title=Roland Barthes: A Biography |date=1994 |publisher=Indiana University Press |location=Bloomington, IN}}</ref> In addition to using his card index for producing his published works, Barthes also used his note taking system for teaching as well. His final course on the topic of the Neutral, which he taught as a seminar at Collège de France, was contained in four bundles consisting of 800 cards which contained everything from notes, summaries, figures, and bibliographic entries.<ref name="Rowan"></ref> In his autobiographical ''Roland Barthes par (by) Roland Barthes'', Barthes reproduces three of his index cards in facsimile.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Barthes |first1=Roland |title=Roland Barthes |date=1977 |publisher=Macmillan |isbn=978-1-349-03520-5 |page=75}}</ref> Published posthumously in 2010, Barthes' ''Mourning Diary'' was created from a collection of 330 of his index cards focusing on his mourning following the death of his mother. The book jacket of the book prominently features one of his index cards from the collection.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Barthes |first1=Roland |title=Mourning Diary |date=2010 |publisher=Macmillan |url=https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374533113/mourningdiary}}</ref> In a well known photo of Barthes in his office taken by [[Henri Cartier-Bresson]] in 1963, the author is pictured with his card indexes on the shelf behind him.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Yacavone |first1=Kathrin |title=Interdisciplinary Barthes |date=2020 |publisher=Oxford University Press |isbn=978-0-19-726667-0 |pages=97–117 |url=https://doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197266670.003.0007 |chapter=Picturing Barthes: The Photographic Construction of Authorship}}</ref><ref name="Hollier"></ref>

    1. The project's structure is idiosyncratic. The convolutes correspond to letters of the alphabet; the individual sections of text— sometimes individual lines, sometimes multi-paragraph analyses —are ordered with square brackets, starting from [A1,1]. This numbering system comes from the pieces of folded paper that Benjamin wrote on, with [A1a,1] denoting the third page of his 'folio.'[3] Additionally, Benjamin included cross-references at the end of some sections. These were denoted by small boxes enclosing the word (e.g., ■ Fashion ■