285 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. Two hundred years later, Blumenberg’s note cards, each of them number-stamped by him and thus carrying along a trace of their temporal order of origin, could be moved and rearranged continuously in ways that weren’t open to the entries confined to the bound pages of Lichtenberg’s books. Blumenberg relied on the new connections and constellations generated within his Zettelkasten throughout his life as a writer.

      Another major example of a significant zettelkasten.

    2. “If only I had channels in my head,” Lichtenberg had fantasized, “so as to promote domestic trade between the stockpiles of my thought! But alas, there they lie by the hundreds without being of use to one another.”

      A fascinating quote in the history of the commonplace book on it's way to becoming the Memex.

    3. “penny’s worth of thought” as Lichtenberg had called his entries

      a good name for entries in a commonplace

    4. Merchants have their waste book, Sudelbuch or Klitterbuch in German I believe, in which they list all that they have sold or bought every single day, everything as it comes and in no particular order. The waste book’s content is then transferred to the Journal in a more systematic fashion, and at last it ends up in the “Leidger [sic] at double entrance,” following the Italian way of bookkeeping. […] This is a process worthy of imitation by the learned.”(See Ulrich Joost’s analysis in this volume, 24-35.)

      I've seen this quote earlier today, but interesting seeing another source quote it.

    5. Ruminant machines: a twentieth-century episode in the material history of ideas

      ruminant machines is an interesting concept, it sounds like a cross between a cow and Memex.

    1. Arthur Schopenhauer admired Lichtenberg greatly for what he had written in his notebooks. He called him one of those who "think ... for their own instruction", who are "genuine 'thinkers for themselves' in both senses of the words".[4] Other admirers of Lichtenberg's notebooks include Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Jacques Barzun.

      It would almost have to be the case that with his method and notebooks being so well known that they influenced Niklas Luhmann's idea of a zettelkasten.

    2. The scrapbooks reveal a critical and analytical way of thinking and emphasis on experimental evidence in physics, through which he became one of the early founders and advocates of modern scientific methodology. The more experience and experiments are accumulated during the exploration of nature, the more faltering its theories become. It is always good though not to abandon them instantly. For every hypothesis which used to be good at least serves the purpose of duly summarizing and keeping all phenomena until its own time. One should lay down the conflicting experience separately, until it has accumulated sufficiently to justify the efforts necessary to edifice a new theory. (Lichtenberg: scrapbook JII/1602)

      Georg Christoph Lichtenberg used his notebooks as thinking tools with respect to scientific methodology.

    1. Lichtenberg, on the other hand, used the term "aphorism" in his notes, but never referred to it in his own writing. [7] The name Sudelbuch goes back to him, as his brother Ludwig Christian Lichtenberg noted in the "preliminary report" for the first edition of a selection of Lichtenberg's notes the year after his death . [8] And there was already reference to Lichtenberg's own explanation of the use of the term: [9] “The merchants have their waste book (Sudelbuch, Klitterbuch, I believe in German), in which they enter everything they sell and buy from day to day, everything in a mess, from this it is carried into the journal, where everything is more systematically stands, and finally it comes to the Leidger at double entrance according to the Italian way of bookkeeping. In this, each man is accounted for separately, first as a debtor and then as a creditor. This deserves to be imitated by scholars. First a book in which I write everything, as I see it or as my thoughts give me, then this can be carried back into another, where the matter is more separated and ordered, - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg : Sudelbuch E, entry 46 [10]

      Here's translated quote from the 1700's in which Georg Christoph Lichtenberg directly links the idea of double-entry bookkeeping to the idea of a commonplace book (or waste book or in his tongue Sudelbücher).

      Not to dissimilar to my recent observation:

      Backlinks in digital gardens, commonplace books, or wikis are just an abstract extension of the accounting concept of double-entry bookkeeping.

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

      I added this section.

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

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

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

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

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

  2. gordonbrander.com gordonbrander.com
    1. There are rumors Pascal wrote the Pensées on notecards, and pinned these cards to a wall, connecting related thoughts with yarn. An early example of hypertext?

      This certainly fits into the broad general ideas surrounding note taking, commonplace books, and zettelkasten as tools for thought. People generally seemed to have used relatively similar methods but shoehorned them into the available tools they had at the time.

      This also, incidentally isn't too far off from how indigenous peoples the world over have used memory techniques (memory palaces, songlines, etc.) to hold together and pollinate their own thinking.

      Raymond Llull took things a step further with his combinatoric methods, though I've yet to see anyone attempting that in the area of digital gardens.

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

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

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

    1. Despite the surprising lack of digital editions, the commonplace book, more than any other genre of writing, seems well suited to a digital format, since, by its very structure, it is a linked web of fragments that have been “coded” and “marked up” with metadata. For this reason, we have put much thought and planning into which tools to use and how design this digital edition.
    1. A standalone React/Redux web application for for presenting unique printed books and manuscripts in digital facsimile.

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Whitney Trettien</span> in Digital Book History (<time class='dt-published'>04/07/2021 12:59:11</time>)</cite></small>

    1. Cut/Copy/Paste explores the relations between fragments, history, books, and media. It does so by scouting out fringe maker cultures of the seventeenth century, where archives were cut up, “hacked,” and reassembled into new media machines: the Concordance Room at Little Gidding in the 1630s and 1640s, where Mary Collett Ferrar and her family sliced apart printed Bibles and pasted the pieces back together into elaborate collages known as “Harmonies”; the domestic printing atelier of Edward Benlowes, a gentleman poet and Royalist who rode out the Civil Wars by assembling boutique books of poetry; and the nomadic collections of John Bagford, a shoemaker-turned-bookseller who foraged fragments of old manuscripts and title pages from used bookshops to assemble a material history of the book. Working across a century of upheaval, when England was reconsidering its religion and governance, each of these individuals saved the frail, fragile, frangible bits of the past and made from them new constellations of meaning. These fragmented assemblages resist familiar bibliographic and literary categories, slipping between the cracks of disciplines; later institutions like the British Library did not know how to collate or catalogue them, shuffling them between departments of print and manuscript. Yet, brought back together in this hybrid history, their scattered remains witness an emergent early modern poetics of care and curation, grounded in communities of practice. Stitching together new work in book history and media archaeology via digital methods and feminist historiography, Cut/Copy/Paste traces the lives and afterlives of these communities, from their origins in early modern print cultures to the circulation of their work as digital fragments today. In doing so, this project rediscovers the odd book histories of the seventeenth century as a media history with an ethics of material making—one that has much to teach us today.
    1. A Digital Garden Theme for Gatsby. Gatsby Garden lets you create a static HTML version of your markdown notes

      This also supports Obsidian wikilinks

  3. May 2021
    1. An interesting thread with some links to the [[agora]] and various pieces others are building.

    1. I love the phrase "elephant paths" (the correct translation?) for maps of content.

      I also like the idea of having a set up for doing digital captures of physical notebook pages. I'll have to consider how to do this most easily. I should also look back and evaluate how to continue improving my digital process as well.

    1. all active note-takers, life-hackers, and apparently also IndieWeb-enabled bloggers!

      We really need to get around to scheduling the second session of Gardens and Streams.

    2. esterday evening, Ton Zijlstra organized the first Dutch Obsidian meetup. I didn’t really know what to expect, and in the end I’m glad I let my curiosity get the better of me, as we chatted for almost two hours on various struggles with contemporary note-taking using the relatively new note-taking player, Obsidian. Read Frank Meeuwsen’s expectations and Ton’s afterthoughts on their respective blogs (in Dutch). Together with Sebastiaan Andeweg and myself, the four of us had a great time showing each other how we tackle digital note-taking. It turned out to be a small but quirky group of like-minded people: all active note-takers, life-hackers, and apparently also IndieWeb-enabled bloggers!

      This sounds like a fun way to get together. I'm personally curious to see people taking their Obsidian data and turning them into IndieWeb-friendly linked Memexes. It's interesting to use Obsidian to have a thought conversation with one's self, but it could also be interesting if they could have conversations with each other via Webmention.

      For me the more difficult piece is not so much getting the thing online, but setting it up so that the backlinks all work properly using the [[wikilink]] syntax.

    1. Now this is interesting, and it sort of hits on the difference between a personal blog and a blog that feels more like a personal brand exercise. The best personal blogs I’ve come across feel like a glimpse in to someone’s personal notebook, something filled mostly with notes written with the author in mind first and foremost vs notes that have been written with a wider audience in mind. A good personal blog can (and maybe should) contain a mixture of both, since they both can be absolutely great and useful. But when it is only ever writing for an audience… well that doesn’t feel like a personal blog, to me.

      This is much the way I feel and write. I keep my site more as a personal commonplace book and write primarily for myself. Others read it from time to time and comment, but in the end, it's really all just for me.

    1. Children of Ruin (by Adrian Tchaikovsky) you may like that deals with an uplifted octopus society. It's a sequel to a previous book (Children of Time)

      heard about this before, read

  4. Apr 2021
    1. This is a pretty solid overview of a literature review workflow. He doesn't use the words, but this is not a half bad way to build a digital commonplace book or digital garden/personal wiki for research use.

      I hadn't thought about using Grav as the method for storing and displaying all of it, but perhaps it's worth looking into?

    1. This looks fascinating. I'm not so much interested in the coding/programming part as I am the actual "working in public" portions as they relate to writing, thinking, blogging in the open and sharing that as part of my own learning and growth as well as for sharing that with a broader personal learning network. I'm curious what lessons might be learned within this frame or how educators and journalists might benefit from it.

    1. There are surprisingly few digital editions of commonplace books, especially given how the genre lends itself to digitization. What we've made isn't perfect but we hope it helps others think through/with these types of books. More about that here: digitalbookhistory.com/colletscommonp…

      I've seen some people building digital commonplace books in real time, but I'm also curious to see more academics doing it and seeing what tools and platforms they're using to do it.

      Given the prevalence for these in text, I'd be particularly curious to see them being done as .txt or .md files and then imported into platforms like Obsidian, Roam Research, Org Mode, TiddlyWiki, et al for cross linking and backlinking.

      I've seen some evidence of people doing some of this with copies of the bible, but yet to see anyone digitize and cross link old notebooks or commonplace books.

    1. An old bachelor is generally very precise and exact in his habits. He has no one but himself to look after, nothing to distract his attention from his own affairs; and Mr. Dodgson was the most precise and exact of old bachelors. He made a précis of every letter he wrote or received from the 1st of January, 1861, to the 8th of the same month, 1898. These précis were all numbered and entered in reference-books, and by an ingenious system of cross-numbering he was able to trace a whole correspondence, which might extend through several volumes. The last number entered in his book is 98,721.

      I'm curious what this system was? Was it influenced by systems of John Locke's commonplace book? It could also have been the sort of system which may have inspired Niklas Luhmann.

      Whatever it was, it must have been massive and somewhat well thought through if it reached such a tremendous size.

  5. Mar 2021
    1. He talks about stories being important to us.

      This is because there's an organization and order to our stories, which is important to our memory, individually and culturally.


      The idea of photographs helping to spark our memories of times and spaces.


      Urgency vs. acceptance


      h/t Jacky A.

    1. Folks like Ben Thompson are effectively writing books. Take a year of his essays, edit them for brevity and clarity, and you’d have a brilliant edition of This Year in Tech. And so in a strange way, Stratechery in paid newsletter form is as much a Future Book as a bounded Kindle edition.

      And this isn't a new thing, publishers were mining the blogosphere for books from websites in the early 2000s.

    2. Purchasing a book is one of the strongest self-selections of community, and damn it, I wanted to engage.

    3. Why the future book never arrived? I might posit that the book we want needs more context about us (perhaps a commonplace book?). If it had this then it could meet us where we are and help to give us the things we need.

      An Algebra text would be dramatically different things to a 4th grader, an 8th grader, and a college math major. It could still be the same book, but hide or reveal portions of it's complexity depending on our background and knowledge of its subject.

      Perhaps it would know our favorite learning modalities and provide them based on whether we're motivated by stories, audio, video, data visualizations, or other thoughts and ideas.

    1. Ravi outlines some of how he syndicates from his Drupal website to Twitter.

      I particularly appreciated that he's using a sort of taxonomy within Drupal to add some of his particular content to "books" which aggregate related content together. If this were done in an editable outline then it should be easier to aggregate and edit later into an actual book. This would be a cool UI to have within a website for writing and creating.

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>hyperlink.academy</span> in The Future of Textbooks (<time class='dt-published'>03/18/2021 23:54:19</time>)</cite></small>

    1. Furthermore, web annotation also affords curation, creating a static but unstable record of this emergent and dynamic performance, accenting via hypertext particular ideas and moments from a malleable document.

      One of the pieces missing from Hypothes.is is the curateable notebook which more easily allows one to create new content from one's annotations.

      Search is certain there, but being able to move the pieces about and re-synthesize them into new emergent pieces is the second necessary step.

    2. Platforms like Hypothes.is, which afford social and collaborative web annotation, demonstrate the ease with which authors and their audience can create a sociotechnical milieu to share thinking in progress, voice wonder, and rehearse informal dispositions in service of publication.

      I personally identify with this since I'm porting my annotations and thoughts to a notebook as part of a process for active thinking, revision, writing, and eventual publication.

    1. Eva Illouz's Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism and Georg Franck's Mental Capitalism

      Books to look into.

    1. engage in technology enhancedmultigenre research

      this will go nicely with a text from my Educational Ethnography class, Hybrid Ethnography

    1. I love this idea. I have a fairly extensive personal commonplace book and collect and archive tons of material, but really should delve more deeply into the topic. I'd be particularly interested in the taxonomies portions you've outlined.

  6. Feb 2021
    1. This website is an open notebook. The purpose of this is to share the ideas that I'm exploring and to think in public. This means that, unlike a traditional blog, I'm showcasing many ideas that are in development rather than complete. If you'd like to see more detail or have related thoughts, feel free to leave a comment or tweet at me @RobertHaisfield.

      Similar to my own ideas of networked digital commonplace books or the idea of a networked Memex.

    1. a MD notebook like Athens Research (another open collab project that makes a bi-directional linking markdown notebook, they even call it a Memex but their focus is more on the notebook and research side than on the data collection and annotation end that WorldBrain is focused on See here for AthensResearch/Athens vision: https://github.com/athensresearch/athens/blob/master/VISION.md 6 roadmap/mindmap: https://whimsical.com/TCeXP1dpRkdT8rpMvYci2P 4 notion: https://www.notion.so/Athens-67e1c6068cb449ff935d10e882fd9b05 1 they use clojurescript and datascript (which I have worked with professionally in the past, it is ideal for the backlinking notes graph problem they solve and is the same tech behind Roam which is closed-source software they are aiming to provide and opensource alternative for)

      I've heard one or two mentions of Athens before, but don't think I've actively bookmarked it. Here are some of the primary references.

    1. This project is somewhat related to getmemex.com

      Zegnat et al.: FYI WorldBrain's Memex (= getmemex.com) has some shared history with my WebMemex project; we collaborated for some months, then went in somewhat different directions; I focussed on web page snapshotting for a while, and got distracted with other things; WorldBrain's version added more and more features and got a lot closer to what I had in mind for WebMemex. — via treora # 21:34 on 2021-02-12

    1. Comments

      This word is exactly the point. What if this web page were a public thing within Roam? Then other people's notebooks could comment within their own, but using notifications (via Webmention) could be placed into a comments section at the bottom of one's page or even done inline on the portions they're commenting on using block references.

    2. When it comes to publishing, I think the publishing platform of choice is determined by other questions, such as where are my ideas going to make the most impact, where can I make the most money, what banner can I publish under that will lend me the most credibility. 

      What about publishing in a place that could make one's ideas dramatically better? If Roam or competitiors had page to page discussions (think short notes/status updates on Twitter, but without the extra "crap"), then one would come for the ideas and the conversation, but in a format that's meant for improving and elevating one's thoughts and ideas.

      This may not appeal to Harry and Mary Beercan, but it would cater to a large enough group to make things worthwhile.

    3. The only problem is, I’ve seen a lot of “public Roams” but I never enjoy the reading experience. Non-linear “digital gardens” of notes are of immense usefulness, but only so long as the individual nodes provide quality linear reading experiences. And it’s not impossible to do so in Roam, but I’ve rarely seen it. 

      This is an important point and is generally true.

      But it's also why I like the idea of linking Roam or similar tools to Hypothes.is. Hypothes.is puts some of the conversation into other documents which are linear, but allow side conversations which could be moved into one's public/private notebooks.

      Similarly, longer articles within a digital garden could be this more linear space where conversations occur and continue to hone ideas.

    4. In other words, Roam could be the thing the scientist uses for fun to organize their book notes, or they could also be the thing that same scientist uses at work to collaborate with colleagues on discovering new truths, paid for by their employer.

      But why can't it do both?

      Because it's on the same platform, they could allow people to make their notes public and shareable. They could add Webmention support so that one notebook could talk to another!

      C'mon people!!? Don't you remember the dream of the Memex?

    5. This is what I mean when I say Roam “increases the expected value of my notes.” Now that I’m using Roam, I’m confident my notes will remain useful long into the future, so I’ve increased the quality and quantity of the notes I take.

      Well interlinked notes increases their future expected value which in turn gives one more reason to not only take more notes, but to take better notes.

    6. In most note-taking apps, you jot something down quickly and only use it a few times before losing track of it.

      This is a major problem of most note taking applications. Having the ability to inter-link one's notes in ways that allow one to revisit, revise, and rearrange them is incredibly valuable.

    7. Personal todo lists don’t depend on others using the same system (no network effects)

      They don't unless you're building a wiki or commonplace book that can interact with those of others. (Roam research isn't doing this---yet, but they should.) Ideally small building block pieces will allow it to dovetail with other systems that could potentially do the same thing.

    1. And yes, some add-ons exist, but I just wish the feature was native to the browser. And I do not want to rely on a third party service. My quotes are mine only and should not necessary be shared with a server on someone's else machine.

      Ownership of the data is important. One could certainly set up their own Hypothes.is server if they liked.

      I personally take the data from my own Hypothes.is account and dump it into my local Obsidian.md vault for saving, crosslinking, and further thought.

    2. Bookmark This Selection What I would like from the bookmark feature in the browser is the ability to not only bookmark the full page but be able to select a piece of the page that is reflected in the bookmark, be through the normal menu as we have seen above or through the contextual menu of the browser.

      Sounds kind of like they're wishing for Hypothes.is?

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>KevinMarks</span> in #indieweb 2021-02-15 (<time class='dt-published'>02/14/2021 17:38:55</time>)</cite></small>

    2. I know there’s lots of advice out there about considering your audience when you write, but when it comes to my personal site, I’d find that crippling. It would be one more admonishment from the inner critic whispering “no one’s interested in that”, “you have nothing new to add to this topic”, and “you’re not quailified to write about this.” If I’m writing for myself, then it’s easier to have fewer inhibitions. By treating everything as a scrappy note-to-self, I can avoid agonising about quality control …although I still spend far too long trying to come up with titles for posts.

      Many people anecdotally have said that they find it difficult to either write on their sites or actually hit publish when they're done. This is great advice for getting over that.

    3. I have a section of my site called “notes” but the truth is that every single thing I post on here—whether it’s a link, a blog post, or anything else—is really a “note to self.”
    1. A fascinating and thoughtful article. One of the best things I've read in a month.

    2. You cannot measure the health of journalism simply by looking at the number of editors and reporters on the payroll of newspapers. There are undoubtedly going to be fewer of them. The question is whether that loss is going to be offset by the tremendous increase in textual productivity we get from a connected web. Presuming, of course, that we don’t replace that web with glass boxes.

      The value of journalism must take account of the increase in textual productivity gained by the interconnected Internet and not solely by the number of editors, reporters, and size or number of newspapers.

      Of course we also need to account for the signal to noise ratio created by the masses of people who can say anything they like, which can also be compounded by the algorithmic feed of social platforms that give preference to the extremes and content that increases engagement (a measure which doesn't take into account the intrinsic value of the things which are shared.)

      How can we measure and prefer the content with more intrinsic value? Similar to the idea of fast food and healthier food? How can we help people to know the difference between the types of information they're consuming.

    3. The promise also lies in doing things with the words, forging new links of association, remixing them. We have all the tools at our disposal to create commonplace books that would astound Locke and Jefferson. And yet we are, deliberately, trying to crawl back into the glass box.

      Technology is providing us with the ability to build the most amazing commonplace books, thought spaces, and thinking machines, but somehow we're ignoring the power they have.

    4. the frozen nature of the text seem more like a feature than a bug, something they’ve deliberated chosen, rather than a flaw that they didn’t have time to correct.

      The thoughtfulness and design of of Hypothes.is is incredibly valuable to me specifically because it dramatically increases my textual productivity in combination with my digital commonplace book.

      Connect this to the Jeremy Dean's idea of it helping to facilitate a conversation with texts. Nate Angell had a specific quote of it somewhere, but it might also reside in this document: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14682753.2017.1362168

    5. Now, it may well be true that Apple, and The Times, and The Journal intend to add extensive tools that encourage the textual productivity of their apps. If that happens, I will be delighted. The iPad is only about two weeks old, after all, and it famously took Apple two years to introduce copy-and-paste to the iPhone OS.

      By not providing the ability to select text, copy it, or share it, some digital applications are dramatically lowering the textual productivity of their content.

    6. The overall increase in textual productivity may be the single most important fact about the Web’s growth over the past fifteen years. Think about it this way: let’s say it’s 1995, and you are cultivating a page of “hot links” to interesting discoveries on the Web. You find an article about a Columbia journalism lecture and you link to it on your page. The information value you have created is useful exclusively to two groups: people interested in journalism who happen to visit your page, and the people maintaining the Columbia page, who benefit from the increased traffic. Fast forward to 2010, and you check-in at Foursquare for this lecture tonight, and tweet a link to a description of the talk. What happens to that information? For starters, it goes out to friends of yours, and into your twitter feed, and into Google’s index. The geo-data embedded in the link alerts local businesses who can offer your promotions through foursquare; the link to the talk helps Google build its index of the web, which then attracts advertisers interested in your location or the topic of journalism itself. Because that tiny little snippet of information is free to make new connections, by checking in here you are helping your friends figure out what to do tonight; you’re helping the Journalism school in promoting this venue; you’re helping the bar across Broadway attract more customers, you’re helping Google organize the web; you’re helping people searching google for information about journalism; you’re helping journalism schools advertising on Google to attract new students. Not bad for 140 characters.

      A fantastic example of the value of networked thought based solely on the ability of everyone's commonplace books to talk to each other.

    7. Ecologists talk about the “productivity” of an ecosystem, which is a measure of how effectively the ecosystem converts the energy and nutrients coming into the system into biological growth. A productive ecosystem, like a rainforest, sustains more life per unit of energy than an unproductive ecosystem, like a desert. We need a comparable yardstick for information systems, a measure of a system’s ability to extract value from a given unit of information. Call it, in this example: textual productivity. By creating fluid networks of words, by creating those digital-age commonplaces, we increase the textual productivity of the system.

      Definition: textual productivity

      A measure of how much additional knowledge is generated by a system of ideas and thoughts interacting with each other.

    8. Along the right side of the page, we have short snippets of text written by five advertisers, mostly journalism schools as it happens, though they are in a silent competition with other snippets of text created by other advertisers bidding to be on this page.

      Reframing:

      SEO is really just various commonplace books competing to be the most important zettels in the world for particular taxonomies.

    9. What you see on this page is, in a very real sense, textual play: the recombining of words into new forms and associations that their original creators never dreamed of.

      What if we add in a dose of Llull's combinatorial thought to the idea of a search engine? What if the search engine can remember the top 50 categories in my personal commonplace book and show overlapping searches of those terms? What if it's even more combinatorial and randomly chooses overlaps from any words in my commonplace? Is that more or less valuable as an idea generator?

      Is it more fruitful to randomly work on various entries every day in an effort to tie them into our other thoughts?

    10. What I want to suggest to you is that, in some improbable way, this page is as much of an heir to the structure of a commonplace book as the most avant-garde textual collage. Who is the “author” of this page? There are, in all likelihood, thousands of them. It has been constructed, algorithmically, by remixing small snippets of text from diverse sources, with diverse goals, and transformed into something categorically different and genuinely valuable. In the center column, we have short snippets of text written by ten individuals or groups, though of course, Google reports that it has 32 million more snippets to survey if we want to keep clicking. The selection of these initial ten links is itself dependant on millions of other snippets of text that link to these and other journalism-related pages on the Web.

      Google search is just an algorithmic search version of John Locke's commonplace book index iterated across millions of individual commonplace books.

    11. The idea of a purely linear text is a myth; readers stitch together meanings in much more complex ways than we have traditionally imagined; the true text is more of a network than a single, fixed document.

      The internet isn't a new invention, it's just a more fixed version of the melange of text, ideas, and thought networks that have existed over human existence.

      First there was just the memory and indigenous peoples all over the world creating vast memory palaces to interconnect their thoughts. (cross reference the idea of ancients thinking much the way we do now from the fist episode or so of Literature and History)

      Then we invite writing and texts which help us in terms of greater storage without the work or relying solely on memory. This reaches it's pinnacle in the commonplace book and the ideas of Llull's combinatorial thought.

      Finally we've built the Internet which interconnects so much more.

      But now we need to go back and revisit the commonplace book and memory techniques to tie them altogether. Perhaps Lynne Kelly's concept of The Third Archive is what we should perfect next until another new instantiation comes to augment the system.

    12. Since the heyday of the commonplace book, there have been a few isolated attempts to turn these textual remixes into a finished product, into a standalone work of collage. The most famous is probably Jefferson’s bible, his controversial “remix” of the New Testament. There’s also Walter Benjamin’s unfinished, and ultimately unpublishable Passagenwerk, or “Arcades Project,” his rumination on the early shopping malls of Paris built out of photos, quotes, and aphoristic musings. Just this year, David Shields published a book, Reality Hunger, built out of quotes from a wide variety of sources. And of course, there are parallel works in music, painting, and architecture that are constructed out of “quotes” lifted from original sources and remixed in imaginative ways.

      Interesting examples of remixed work.

    13. When I meet with any thing, that I think fit to put into my common-place-book, I first find a proper head. Suppose for example that the head be EPISTOLA, I look unto the index for the first letter and the following vowel which in this instance are E. i. if in the space marked E. i. there is any number that directs me to the page designed for words that begin with an E and whose first vowel after the initial letter is I, I must then write under the word Epistola in that page what I have to remark.

      I must do some research into Niklas Luhmann to see if he was aware of Locke's work or the broader idea of commonplace books in general as it seems pretty obvious that his refinesments on their systems brought him to his conceptualization of the zettelkasten.

    14. The great minds of the period — Milton, Bacon, Locke — were zealous believers in the memory-enhancing powers of the commonplace book. There is a distinct self-help quality to the early descriptions of commonplacing’s virtues: in the words of one advocate, maintaining the books enabled one to “lay up a fund of knowledge, from which we may at all times select what is useful in the several pursuits of life.”
    15. In its most customary form, “commonplacing,” as it was called, involved transcribing interesting or inspirational passages from one’s reading, assembling a personalized encyclopedia of quotations. It was a kind of solitary version of the original web logs: an archive of interesting tidbits that one encountered during one’s textual browsing.

      Written in 2010, this may be one of the first mentions I've seen that relates blogging and websites to commonplace books.

    16. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>The Public Domain Review</span> in John Locke’s Method for Common-Place Books (1685) (<time class='dt-published'>02/13/2021 14:10:02</time>)</cite></small>

    1. Commonplacing was like quilting: it produced pictures, some more beautiful than others, but each of them interesting in its own way. The assembled texts reveal patterns of culture: the segments that went into it, the stitching that connected them, the tears that pulled them apart, and the common cloth of which they were composed.

      A nice little analogy here.

    2. That point warrants pondering, because the history of reading has become one of the most vital fields of research in the humanities; yet it consists for the most part of case studies, which do not fit into a general pattern. Instead of sharing a common view of long-term trends, historians of reading tend to treat their subject as a moving target driven by the interplay of binary opposites: reading by turning the leaves of a codex as opposed to reading by unrolling a volumen, reading printed texts in contrast to reading manuscripts, silent reading as distinct from reading aloud, reading alone rather than reading in groups, reading extensively by racing through different kinds of material vs. reading intensively by perusing a few books many times. Now that the research has shifted to commonplace books, we may add segmental vs. sequential reading to the list.

      This paragraph is a good overview of areas of research into reading.

    3. Only fifteen of the thirty-seven commonplace books were written in his hand. He might have dictated the others to a secretary, but the nature of his authorship, if it existed, remains a matter of conjecture. A great deal of guesswork also must go into the interpretation of the entries in his own hand, because none of them are dated. Unlike the notes of Harvey, they consist of endless excerpts, which cannot be connected with anything that was happening in the world of politics.

      I find myself wondering what this study of his commonplace books would look like if it were digitized and cross-linked? Sadly the lack of dates on the posts would prevent some knowledge from being captured, but what would the broader corpus look like?

      Consider the broader digital humanities perspective of this. Something akin to corpus linguistics, but at the level of view of what a single person reads, thinks, and reacts to over the course of their own lifetime.

      How much of a person could be recreated from such a collection?

    4. Foucault probably offers the most helpful theoretical approach. His “archaeology of knowledge” suggests a way to study texts as sites that bear the marks of epistemological activity, and it has the advantage of doing justice to the social dimension of thought.

    5. He is right, I think, to treat commonplace books as sites to be mined for information about how people thought in a culture based on different assumptions from our own.

      This is an interesting take, and particularly because the writers may not have expected their commonplace books to be read or studied.

      My particular version may be slightly more suspect. While I keep one, it's digital and more public facing. Therefore there is the chance that people (though I suspect a vanishingly small number) may read my words and be influenced by them. Generally however, I feel like 99.9999% of the time I'm writing just to have a conversation with myself and the expectation that it will make me better.

    6. But help can be had from a study of some similar material by Lisa Jardine and Anthony Grafton.3 They published a dazzlingly original analysis of the marginalia of Gabriel Harvey, a lawyer and secretary to the Earl of Leicester in Elizabethan England. Harvey read and reread a 1555 edition of Livy’s History of Rome over a period of twenty-two years, leaving behind a trail of annotations, which often can be linked to contemporary events. In fact, he filled the margins with so many allusions and cross-references that they turned into a kind of palimpsest or a commonplace book within a book.

      Annotations so heavy in a book that it becomes a commonplace book within a book is an interesting take.

    7. Why pause over this arcane, forgotten book? Because it shows how an archaic genre could be used to impose order on experience in modern times. Commonplace books served far more effectively in this manner several centuries earlier, when they were standard tools of readers. By studying them, historians and literary scholars have come closer to understanding reading, both as a specific cultural practice and as a general way of construing the world. But it is a tricky business, especially when the researcher moves from questions about who readers were and what they read to the problems of how they made sense of books.

      To some extent, this same thing will very likely be done with social media in 50 or 100 years' time.

    8. Trousers should shiver on the shoe but not break. —Arnold Bennett’s tailor

      A gentleman: superficially perhaps, a man who never looks as if he’d just had his hair cut.

      No gentleman can be without three copies of a book; one for show (and this he will probably keep at his country house), another for use, and a third at the service of his friends. —Richard Heber

      Some great examples from Geoffrey Madan's notebooks

    9. The best example of a twentieth-century commonplace book is Geoffrey Madan’s Notebooks, published in 1981.
    10. Unlike modern readers, who follow the flow of a narrative from beginning to end, early modern Englishmen read in fits and starts and jumped from book to book. They broke texts into fragments and assembled them into new patterns by transcribing them in different sections of their notebooks. Then they reread the copies and rearranged the patterns while adding more excerpts. Reading and writing were therefore inseparable activities.

      Overview of reading patterns by early modern Englishmen.

    11. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>The Public Domain Review</span> in John Locke’s Method for Common-Place Books (1685) (<time class='dt-published'>02/13/2021 14:10:02</time>)</cite></small>

    1. According to the historian Robert Darnton, this led to a very particular structuring of knowledge: commonplace users "broke texts into fragments and assembled them into new patterns by transcribing them in different sections of their notebook." It was a mixture of fragmented order and disorder that anticipated a particular form of scientific investigation and organisation of information.

      Might be an interesting source to read.

      Also feels in form a bit like the combinatorial method of Raymond Llull, but without as much mixing.

    2. Méthode nouvelle de dresser des recueils (1685), later translated into English as New Method of Organizing Common Place Books (1706)

      I hadn't known about the earlier French version of John Locke's book.

    3. The English physician and philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) was all too aware of the grip of amnesia and the shortness of memory. In his seminal Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) he wrote of his rival Blaise Pascal, who he named as the “prodigy of parts”, who “forgot nothing of what he had done, read, or thought.” Locke, in reaction, attempted to simulate Pascal’s "hyperthymesia", not in the mind, but upon the page: through the construction of a system of "commonplacing", as a form of what Swift called “supplemental memory”.

      Interesting use of hyperthymesia here. Also Swift using the concept of "supplemental memory" giving at least a historical mile marker of the state of mnemotechy which may have been known at the time.

    4. In "A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet" from 1721, Jonathan Swift remarked that a commonplace book is something that “a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that great wits have short memories”.
    1. Short overview of John Locke's commonplace book method. Nothing I haven't seen before sadly.

      And probably not a method I would personally use unless I was thinking about paper solutions.

    1. Mostly an advertisement for their other materials, but a reasonable overview particularly with

      4 Benefits of Keeping a Commonplace Book

      • To remember what inspired you
      • To save hours on research.
      • To find unexpected connections.
      • To focus your future reading.
    2. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>J. D. Biersdorfer</span> in Create a Digital Commonplace Book - The New York Times (<time class='dt-published'>02/13/2021 12:20:08</time>)</cite></small>

    1. This article has lots of examples of commonplace books and talks about a few of the older online methods for collecting and keeping them.

      It doesn't touch on any of the newer applications with backlink UI like Roam Research, Obsidian, Foam, etc.

      And as Kimberly Hirsh indicated, it doesn't include keeping one on your own website where you can truly keep it for yourself.

    2. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Kimberly Hirsh</span> in Kimberly Hirsh (<time class='dt-published'>02/13/2021 05:48:31</time>)</cite></small>

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>J. D. Biersdorfer</span> in Create a Digital Commonplace Book - The New York Times (<time class='dt-published'>02/13/2021 12:20:08</time>)</cite></small>

  7. Jan 2021
    1. A page from the commonplace book of William Stukeley, with a sketch plan of standing stones at Avebury, southern England.

      a nice example of a commonplace book by an archaeologist

    Tags

    Annotators

  8. Dec 2020
    1. In both cases – speech and writing – the materiality of language undergoes a transformation (to audible sounds or written signs) which in turn produces a mental shift.

      There's surely a link between this and the idea of thought spaces in the blogosphere or the idea of a commonplace book/digital garden/wiki.

    1. Hugh makes the Ark, allegorically, a prefiguration of the Church(para. 6), using an exegetical commonplace going back at least to St. Ambrose
    1. The credibility bookcase, with its towering, idiosyncratic array of worn volumes, is itself an affectation. The expert could choose to speak in front of his art prints or his television or his blank white walls, but he chooses to be framed by his books. It is the most insidious of aesthetic trends: one that masquerades as pure intellectual exercise.
  9. Nov 2020
  10. Oct 2020
    1. Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., sends personalized URLs to customers with a list of handpicked recommendations.

      Perhaps if they went the step further to set up domains for their customers, they could ostensibly use them not only as book blogs, but also to replace their social media habits?

      An IndieWeb friendly platform run by your local bookseller might be out of their wheelhouse, but it could potentially help solve their proximal problem while also solving one of society's problems all while helping to build community.

    1. The students in Raphael Folsom’s Spanish Borderlands course read primary sources on a weekly basis. Rather than taking notes on 3×5 index cards as we did when I was a kid, the students take the same type of note in the Drupal system. They fill out some basic bibliographic information about the source, write a short summary of the source, and then take a note about an interesting facet of the text.

      I've been trying this sort of thing out with a TiddlyWiki for a while and have got a reasonable sort of workflow for doing it. The key is to reduce the overhead so that one can quickly take notes in a manner that interlinks them and makes it seem worthwhile to come back to them to review and potentially reorganize them. Doing this practice in public has a lot of value as well. I'll have to come back and look at some of how this was built at a later time.

    1. Obsidian is a powerful knowledge base that works on top of a local folder of plain text Markdown files.

      Alright, I think I may now have things set to use an IFTTT applet to take my Hypothes.is feed and dump it into a file on OneDrive.

      The tiny amount of clean up to the resultant file isn't bad. In fact, a bit of it is actually good as it can count as a version of spaced repetition towards better recall of my notes.

      The one thing I'll potentially miss is the tags, which Hypothes.is doesn't include in their feeds (tucked into the body would be fine), but I suppose I could add them as internal wiki links directly if I wanted.

      I suspect that other storage services that work with IFTTT should work as well.

      Details in a blogpost soon...

      Testing cross-linking:

      See Also:

      • [[Obsidian]]
      • [[Hypothes.is]]
      • [[note taking]]
      • [[zettlekasten]]
      • [[commonplace books]]
      • [[productivity]]

      hat tip to Hypothesis, for such a generally wonderful user interface for making annotating, highlighting, bookmarking, and replying to web pages so easy!

    1. This is a reasonable synopsis for why to keep a zettlekasten or commonplace book and how to use it to create new material. It fits roughly in line with my overall experience in doing these things.

    2. This principle requires us to expand our definition of “publication” beyond the usual narrow sense. Few people will ever publish their work in an academic journal or even on a blog. But everything that we write down and share with someone else counts: notes we share with a friend, homework we submit to a professor, emails we write to our colleagues, and presentations we deliver to clients all count as knowledge made public.

      This idea underlies the reason why one might want to have a public online commonplace book or digital garden.

    1. The second article is from Tom Critchlow titled Building a Digital Garden. What I really like about Tom's piece is his discussion of the idea of "non-performative blogging" in your personal space on the web.I love this idea. Instead of "content marketing" we can use our websites to get back to what made the web awesome while also creating better resources for ourselves and our users.

      There's a nice kernel of an idea here that one's website should be built and made (useful) for ones self first and only secondarily for others. This is what makes it a "personal" website.

    1. This is exactly the sort of thing that makes me happy about the IndieWeb!

      One person tinkers around with an idea and posts about how they did it. Someone else sees it and thinks it's cool and wants it for themselves. They then modify it for their system, maybe with some changes or even improvements, and post the details on their site.

      They've both syndicated copies to IndieWeb news or to the IndieWeb wiki, so that in the future, others looking for that sort of UI research or examples can find them and potentially modify them for their own personal use.

      And the cycle begins anew...

    1. Although I’ve already got a blog (you’re reading it!), I decided not to mirror my book reviews here. I post normal content so infrequently that anyone who wanted to read the blog but wasn’t interested in book reviews would be inundated with content they didn’t want. In the end, I spun up an additional WordPress instance on my web space (something that my host, Krystal Hosting, makes very easy to do) to keep the reviews completely isolated from everything else.

      This seems to be a frequent excuse for people to spin up yet another website rather than attempting to tackle the UI subscription problem.

      Social readers would be well advised to think about this problem so people could have a single website with multiple types/kinds of content.

      Platforms should better delineate how to allow publishers and readers to more easily extract the posts that they're interested in following.

  11. app.getpocket.com app.getpocket.com
    1. The main thing that dissuaded him, he says, is that “I wouldn’t want to sell a book to a philistine, which is what every bookseller has to do.”
    1. I want to extract a reusable piece out of it in a way that it can be connected to many different things eventually. I want to make a home page for this idea or fact. My hub for thinking about this.

      And isn't this just the point of tools like commonplace books and zettelkasten?

    1. Catch up by reading my last post of digital streams, campfires and gardens.

      I immediately thought of a post from Mike Caulfield (Hapgood). Interesting to see that Tom has already read and referenced it in his prior post.

    1. How do you manage information flows? If anyone is using a personal wiki-style long term information tool I’d love to hear from you!

      I've got a handful of interesting things bookmarked here: https://boffosocko.com/tag/wikis/ which includes a rabbit hole of a request similar to your own.

    1. The complementary principle to dividing isgathering and collecting. Eachnew composition can also be conceived as a place into which culled and rec-ollected matters are gathered. The very concept of reading in Latin is basedonthenotionof‘‘gathering,’’Latinlegere, ‘‘to read’’ having as its root mean-ing ‘‘to collect up, to gather by picking, plucking, and the like.’’ The Greekverblegōhad a similar range of meaning, from ‘‘to lay’’ something down or‘‘to lay asleep’’ to ‘‘to lay [things] in order,’’ hence ‘‘to gather, pick up,’’ ‘‘torelate,’’ ‘‘to speak purposefully.’’ The name of one venerable and essential typeof ancient and medieval encyclopedia puns on these closely allied verbs: theflorilegium, ‘‘flower-culling’’ (with a pun on ‘‘flower-reading’’), a collection ofsayings, maxims, and stories collected from past works, sometimes quotedexactly (though in mnemonically brief segments), but often just summarized.The best known of these through much of the Middle Ages was ValeriusMaximus’sDicta et facta memorabilia(early first century..), but there aremany other examples. Indeed, the premodern encyclopedia itself is a sort ofmemory-book, the flowers of (one’s extensive) reading gathered up in someorderly arrangement for the purpose of quick, secure recollection in connec-tion with making a new composition. After all, this is one essential purposeof encyclopedias even today.

      This seems awfully close to the sort of "digital gardens" I've been reading about recently. They obviously are not a new idea.

      For example see: https://github.com/MaggieAppleton/digital-gardeners

    2. Gardens were also popular, the medieval sort of garden,with orderly beds of medicinal plants and fruit trees separated by grass andsurrounded by a wall. Undoubtedly, gardens became popular with monasticand later writers because of the Song of Songs, a preeminent text for mysticalmeditation. Various other Biblical structures were often used too: the Taber-nacle described in Exodus; the Temple described in  Kings; the Jerusalemcitadel envisioned by Ezekiel and often conflated with the Heavenly City ofthe Apocalypse. We now would never think to organize an encyclopedia ofknowledge on the plan of Noah’s Ark, but for a clerical audience to whomthis text was as familiar as the order of the alphabet is to us—why not? It is asimple (if large), clearly arranged (if imaginary) composition site, containingmany useful compartments with a straightforward route among them, a sortof foundational map to use in arranging your materials (orresin Latin) as yougather them into the location of your new composition from the networksof your experiences, including of course all your experiences of books, music,and other arts. Thus, in the course of an ideal medieval education, in addi-tion to acquiring a great many segments of scriptural and classical texts, onealso would acquire an extensive repertoire of image-schemes in which to putthem, both ‘‘to lay them away’’ and ‘‘to collect them’’ in new arrangementson later occasions.

      Again, another reference to gardens with respect to memorizing information. There's a direct correlation to some of the sorts of thinking tools many are using to create digital gardens or personal wikis. These ideas aren't new! Our predecessors were simply using different structures to store and remember them. Their tools were different, but their goals and general methods were ultimately the same.

    3. Re-collection is not passive, but rather an activity involvinghuman will and thought; it is often defined as a form of reasoning. One mayconveniently think of this activity in spatial terms, as if memories have beenstored in a variety of places and must be called together in a common placewhere we can become aware of them, where we can ‘‘see’’ them again andknow them in the present.

      I don't use it frequently (enough perhaps), but TiddlyWiki has the ability to open multiple cards (tiddlers) in one view (using a permalink) as a means of giving disparate small pieces of thought a commonplace. Very few other note taking systems do this without relying on a taxonomy mechanism.