134 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    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. A Digital Garden Theme for Gatsby. Gatsby Garden lets you create a static HTML version of your markdown notes

      This also supports Obsidian wikilinks

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

  2. May 2021
    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  5. 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. The best example of a twentieth-century commonplace book is Geoffrey Madan’s Notebooks, published in 1981.
    9. 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.

    10. <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>

    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.

  6. 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

    1. Long before there was the Internet, there was the commonplace book — a creative and intellectual ledger of fragmentary inspirations, which a writer would collect from other books and copy into a notebook, often alongside his or her reflections and riffs. These borrowed ideas are in dialogue with the writer’s own imagination and foment it into original thinking. Over long enough a period of time — years, decades, often a lifetime — the commonplace book, while composed primarily of copied passages, comes to radiate the singular sensibility of its keeper: beliefs are refined, ideas incubated, intellectual fixations fleshed out, and the outlines of a personhood revealed. (Brain Pickings is, in an unshakable sense, a commonplace book.)
  7. 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
  8. Oct 2020
    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. my blog posts to be long-lived pieces of my consciousness: something I may want to refer back to, or remember in the future.

      a commonplace book!

    1. and serve as pre-prints to work that may live later on, or always exist in their current format

      Thinking of a personal site as a pre-print server is an interesting concept and somewhat similar to the idea of a commonplace book.

    1. The blog was not just the venue in which I started putting together the ideas that became my second book, the one that made promotion and various subsequent jobs possible, but it was also the way that I was able to demonstrate that there might be a readership for that second book, without which it’s much less likely that a press would have been interested.

      This sounds like she's used her blog as both a commonplace book as well as an author platform.

    1. So most people say this is the original vision of the web.

      I look it and say, it's just another version of the commonplace book!

    2. I’m shocked and amazed that we still struggle to find materials.

      Something about this sentence and its lead up reminds of this particularly great section of the Microformats wiki about why not email: http://microformats.org/wiki/wiki-better-than-email

    3. It really is the ultimate garden.

      I've long wanted to create my own personal wiki, and while reading this thus far have continued to think about it. Perhaps I need to just jump in and build one to supplement my stream-based commonplace book? I'll need to think about how to best dovetail the two together.

    4. 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. 2011-06-23 at OSBridge2011 having lunch with Ward, Tantek exclaimed: The Read Write Web is no longer sufficient. I want the Read Fork Write Merge Web. #osb11 lunch table. #diso #indieweb

      This is what I want too!

    1. Luhmann didn’t only write a lot and developed the most complex of all theoretical bodies in the social sciences. He was known for his vast knowledge and deep thinking. He didn’t run to his Zettelkasten when you asked him something. This is because he practiced thinking through writing and processing in the context of the Zettelkasten.

      I read Zettelkasten (German for “slip box”, or “card index”) and immediately think commonplace book!

    2. The Barbell Method takes this into account by integrating your reading habit into your knowledge work with two steps: Read the book. Read swiftly but don’t skip any parts unless they make you vomit or put you to sleep. Mark all the passages that stand out and contain useful, interesting or inspiring information. Read the book a second time. But now you read the marked parts only. This time you make notes, connect them to past notes (Zettelkasten Method!) and think about what you’ve read. Make mindmaps, drawings, bullet points – everything that helps you to think more clearly.
    1. Some other interesting wikis Credit for inspiration for this whole project comes from a variety of wikis and wiki-like collections on the web: buster.wiki/ - Strong design and everything has a date by the looks of it which enables an RSS feed. Very polished and thought through. are.na - A platform that all the cool kids use for building personal knowledge libraries. Lightly social, perhaps the right answer but slightly questionable if they’ll be around for a long time. Ymmv. Brendan’s /canon - this was part of the original inspiration for me. A curated list of pure stock - things that Brendan returns to again and again. He has a template you can copy too. Worrydream’s quotes page - just a massive list of interesting quotes collected by Brett Victor. Notice how being one giant page makes it instantly searchable. daywreckers.com - from Ben Pieratt, not quite a wiki but a very minimal site designed to collect the dots. A daily visit from me. derek sivers’ daily journal - a post from Derek Sivers on how to keep a text-file long-term store for your ideas and notes. And there’s lots more too - this twitter thread has a whole bunch of interesting rabbit holes. And, you can of course find this list of wikis on my wiki :)

      An interesting list here to be sure.

      As I'm thinking about it I also have to think about not only my own blog cum commonplace book, but I do also keep a private digital set of structures in OneNote (primarily) as well as some data Evernote which serve a lot of the same functionality.

    2. 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.

    1. “In his influential De Copia (1512),” writes Professor Richard Yeo, “Erasmus advised that an abundant stock of quotations and maxims from classical texts be entered under various loci (places) to assist free-flowing oratory.” Arranged under ‘Heads’ and recorded as ‘common-places’ (loci communes), these commonplace books could be consulted for speeches and written compositions designed for various situations — in the law court, at ceremonial occasions, or in the dedication of a book to a patron. Typical headings included the classical topics of honour, virtue, beauty, friendship, and Christian ones such as God, Creation, faith, hope, or the names of the virtues and vices.
    2. Neither ought anything to be collected whilst you are busied in reading; if by taking the pen in hand the thread of your reading be broken off, for that will make the reading both tedious and unpleasant.

      This is incredibly important for me, though in a more technology friendly age, I've got tools like Hypothes.is for quickly highlighting and annotating pages and can then later collect them into my commonplace book as notes to work with and manage after-the-fact.

    1. Interestingly, I’ve found that Kindle is useful in this respect. I buy Kindle versions of books that I need for work, and highlight passages and bookmark pages as I go. And when I’ve finished the software obligingly has a collection of all the passages I’ve highlighted.

      John, you should spend a minute or two to learn about Hypothes.is (https://web.hypothes.is/) as an online tool for doing this. It's a free account or you can self-host the software yourself if you like. There are also functionalities to have public, private, or group annotations. I often pull my own annotations to my personal website similar to your own Memex and publish them there (example: https://boffosocko.com/kind/annotation/)

      Syndicated copy: https://boffosocko.com/2020/05/21/55771248/)

  9. Sep 2020
    1. Now, if I notice a moment in a past Are.na conversation that highlights the topic, I add it to the topic's channel. Now the text block sits in the middle of a Venn diagram — both part of a chat log and part of a curated selection from conversations I have.

      This sounds a lot like a zettelkasten and the way it branches, it's just being done between multiple people and the zettelkasten instead of just one person.

    1. The purpose (for me) in these bookmarks is to identify a space (or process) between Hypothesis and my IndieWeb commonplace site. I want to read, review, and share the link, salient quotes, and perhaps some context for others. The use of Hypothesis helps as I have another series of links behind to “show my work.”

      Bookmarks op je site zijn één van de meest traditionele vormen van bloggen en je eigen website vorm geven. Inderdaad kan Hypothesis helpen in het proces om de links van context te voorzien, ze bij elkaar te houden én via de Hypothesis API ze op allerlei manieren in je eigen systeem te krijgen. In welke vorm ze uiteindelijk in je eigen commonplace site/digital garden terecht komen, dat is aan je eigen creativiteit. Wat ik erg hoopgevend vind, is dat Hypothesis best wat metadata opslaat van de annotatie, wat weer mogelijkheden geeft voor andere dwarsverbanden, backlinks en digitaal "tuinieren".

  10. Aug 2020
    1. “The idea of a ‘blog’ needs to get over itself,” wrote Joel Hooks in a post titled Stop Giving af and Start Writing More. “Everybody is treating writing as a ‘content marketing strategy’ and using it to ‘build a personal brand’ which leads to the fundamental flawed idea that everything you post has to be polished to perfection and ready to be consumed.” It is almost as if he had reached down into my soul and figured out why I no longer had the vigor I once had for sharing on my personal blog. For far too long, I was trying to brand myself. Posts became few and far between. I still shared a short note, aside, once in a while, but much of what I shared was for others rather than myself.

      For many, social media took over their "streams" of thoughts and ideas to the point that they forgot to sit, reflect, and write something longer (polished or not).

      Personal websites used for yourself first is a powerful idea for collecting, thinking, and creating.

      Getting away from "branding" is a great idea. Too many personal sites are used for this dreadful thing. I'd much rather see the edge ideas and what they flower into.

    2. Despite having something that worked sort of like a blog, I maintained various resources and links of other neat ideas I found around the web. It was a digital garden that I tended, occasionally plucking weeds and planting new ideas that may someday blossom into something more.

      The idea of a thought space hiding in here....

    3. My blog posts were merely random thoughts — bits and pieces of my life.
  11. May 2020
    1. The aim of these books wasn’t regurgitation but rather combinatorial creativity. People were encouraged to improvise on themes and topics. Gathering raw material alone — in this case, information — is not enough. We must transform it into something new. It is in this light that Seneca advised copying the bee and Einstein advised combinatorial play.

      I was really hoping for so much more in this essay on the combinatorial creativity, espcially since the author threw the idea into the title. The real meat must be in the two linked articles about Seneca and Einstein.

      There is a slight mention of combinatorics in the justaposition of pieces within one's commonplace book, and a mention that these books may date back to the 12th century where they were probably more influenced by the combinatoric creativity of Raymond Lull. It's still an open question for me just how far back the idea of commonplaces goes as well as how far back Lull's combinatoric pieces go...

    2. “Extraordinary Commonplaces,” Robert Darnton
    3. Early compilations involved various combinations of four crucial operations: storing, sorting, selecting, and summarizing, which I think of as the four S’s of text management. We too store, sort, select, and summarize information, but now we rely not only on human memory, manuscript, and print, as in earlier centuries, but also on computer chips, search functions, data mining, and Wikipedia, along with other electronic techniques.
  12. Dec 2019
  13. www.edwinwenink.xyz www.edwinwenink.xyz
    1. This weblog is a mnemonic device.

      Blogs as digital commonplace books

    1. Green has built up a stable, useful relationship with the software, mostly opening it to scribble down interesting lines that occur to him, or that are spoken to him, to use later on in his writing.
  14. Nov 2019
    1. A personal blog is an online journal, your day to day thoughts published on the web rather than in (or in addition to) a physical notebook. It is an unfinished story, a scratch pad, an outboard brain; and while there are highlights it is more the journey that's the important aspect.

      Colin nibbles around the edges of defining a digital public commonplace book and even the idea of "though spaces" though without tacitly using either phrase.

  15. Aug 2019
    1. Following his abdication in 2004, Norodom Sihanouk, the former King of Cambodia, began to share his remarks in a rather creative way. Sihanouk established a website which, despite his passing in 2012, remains updated and well-organized to this day.7http://norodomsihanouk.info The archive includes selections of Sihanouk’s personal correspondences, handwritten recipes, musical compositions, and film commentary. It also includes many annotated newspaper and magazine articles.

      This sounds to me like a version of a commonplace book, but given the date, likely one of the first explicitly done online.

  16. Apr 2019
  17. Jan 2019
    1. Isaacson pointed out that more than 7,000 pages from Da Vinci’s notebooks survived to today–a stretch of 500 years. He asked how many of our tweets and Facebook posts will survive even 50 years. Paper, it turns out, is a durable medium of information storage.
  18. Dec 2018
    1. "The blog serves as a kind of steam valve for me," he says. "I put stuff out there that I'm forming an opinion about, and another blogger starts arguing with me and giving me feedback, and I haven't even finished what I was posting!"

      An early written incarnation of the idea of blogs as "thought spaces".

  19. Nov 2016
    1. This raises the question of not only how congregations adapt but also how they influence these gentrified zones and their residents.

      The question my commonplace addresses