- Apr 2022
7 Notes could also focus on original thoughts, as in the Pen-sées of Blaise Pascal, the “commonplace book” of George Berkeley, or the Sudel-bücher of Georg Lichtenberg, which were devoted to original reflections ratherthan to excerpts from the writings of other authors.
Examples of notes focusing on one's original ideas and reflections rather than excerpts of others' works.
Francis Bacon explained succinctlythat notes could be made either “by epitome or abridgement” (that is, by sum-marizing the source) or “by heads or commonplaces” (that is, by copying a pas-sage verbatim or nearly so and storing it in a notebook under a commonplaceheading for later retrieval and use). Bacon considered the latter method “of farmore profit and use,” and most note-taking advice focused on this practice of ex-cerpting.46
This quote is worth looking up and checking its context. Particularly I'm interested to know if the purpose of summarizing the source is to check one's understanding of the ideas as is done in the Feynman technique, or if the purpose is a reminder summary of the piece itself?
Link to Ahrens mentions of this technique for checking understanding. (Did he use the phrase Feynman in his text?)
The first manual solely devoted to excerpting, or note-taking fromreading, was composed for students in the advanced or rhetoric class at Jesuitcolleges by Francesco Sacchini (1570–1625), professor of rhetoric at the CollegioRomano. De ratione libros cum profectu legendi libellus (A Little Book on Howto Read with Profit) was published in 1614 and in a further six editions, followedby a translation into French in 1786 (for the use of Calvinists, judging from thededication to a pastor in Geneva) and into German in 1832.34
Sacchini (1614)—further references to “Sacchini” will be to this edition; warm thanks to Helmut Zedelmaier for sharing with me his photocopy of this edition. Further editions include: Sammieli (Saint-Mihiel, Lorraine), 1615; Ingolstadt 1616; Bordeaux 1617; Dillingen 1621; Leipzig 1711 and 1738; and Venetiis Britonum (Vannes, Brittany), 1866. It was translated into French (Sacchini ) and German, Über die Lektüre, ihren Nutzen und die Vortheile sie gehörig anzuwenden, nach dem Lateini- Notes to Pages 70–72 283 schen des Sacchini teutsch bearbeitet und mit einem Anhange begleitet von Herrmann Walchner (Karlsruhe, 1832). I am grateful to Helmut Zedelmaier for the information about the German edition, which I have not seen. Sacchini’s De ratione . . . legendi was a source for Rainierio Carsughi, Ars bene scribendi (Rome, 1709), as discussed in Haskell (2003), 260. For the full range of Jesuit practices of note-taking (including notes taken under dictation) see Nelles (2007)—I am grateful to Paul Nelles for helpful conversations over the years. On Sacchini, see also Dainville (1978), 224–27.
the scholastic theologian Godfrey of Fontaines (be-fore 1250–after 1305) left a collection of excerpts and summaries from his readingthat could readily be considered a collection of notes
The earliest medieval florilegium is probably the Liber scintillarum composed by Defensor of Ligugé at the end of the seventh century, which arranged extracts under topical chapters in descending order of the authority of their sources—Gospels first, then St. Paul and other apostles, other books of the Bible, and the doctors of the church.103
Liber scintillarum (The Book of Sparks) composed by Defensor of Ligugé from the end of the seventh century may be one of the earliest medieval florilegium. Its excerpts are arranged under topical chapters in descending order of the authority of their sources beginning with the Gospels, St. Paul, the other apostles, other books of the Bible, and finally the doctors of the church.
Cross reference: 103. Rouse and Rouse (1982), 167.
What manuscript composed by Defensor of Ligugé from the end of the seventh century may be one of the earliest medieval florilegium? :: Liber scintillarum
The seventh century florilegium Liber scintillarum was composed by whom? :: Defensor of Ligugé
- note taking methods
- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
- subject headings
- George Berkeley
- Godfrey of Fontaines
- Defensor of Ligugé
- original ideas
- Feynman Technique
- Francesco Sacchini
- note taking
- Francis Bacon
- active reading
- liber scintillarum
- seventh century
- Blaise Pascal
- commonplace books
- collections of notes
Renaissance revival of the art of note-taking, that is, the art of making excerpts from readings (the old ars excerpendi)
In case I've not explicitly saved the idea of ars excerpendi into the notebook.
Instead of imagination, Drexel recommended training the art of excerpting. Thus, he reversed the ancient rule, according to which knowledge should be entrusted to personal memory rather than to the library, and stored in the mind rather than in a closet upside down.
Jeremias Drexel became one of the earliest educators and reformers to recommend against the ars memoria and instead use the art of excerpting as a means external written memory.
- Feb 2022
<small><cite class='h-cite via'>ᔥ <span class='p-author h-card'>lbcollister</span> in Hypothesis (<time class='dt-published'>02/15/2022 23:20:04</time>)</cite></small>
Taking smart notes is the deliberate practice ofthese skills. Mere reading, underlining sentences and hoping toremember the content is not.
Some of the lighter and more passive (and common) forms of reading, highlighting, underlining sentences and hoping to understand or even remember the content and contexts is far less valuable than active reading, progressive summarization, comparing and contrasting, and extracting smart or permanent notes from one's texts.
Probably the best method is to take notes – not excerpts, butcondensed reformulated accounts of a text.
What is the value of reformulating texts and ideas into one's own words rather than excerpting them?
In the commonplace tradition, learners were suggested to excerpt knowledge and place it into their commonplace books. Luhmann (2000, 154f) and Ahrens (2017, 85) suggest that instead of excerpting that one practice a form of progressive summarization of texts into their own words as a means to learn and expand ones' frames of reference and knowledge.
- Jan 2022
He also jotted down, as Johannes Schmidt has found in his research, a few keywords along with the respective page num-bers (in early modern Europe, this excerpting system was called adversaria or lemmata).83
In early modern Europe the system of excerpting from reading material was called adversaria or lemmata.
With respect to the Ark of Studies, for example, Johann Benedict Metzler did not use gratifying words; yet he nonetheless recommended numbering the hooks (aciculas) to which the paper slips should be attached and recording the matching of number and heading in a subject index. In this way, Metzler noted, scholars would not be compelled to leave empty spaces between entries and to recalibrate the entire content any time a new entry (a new commonplace) should be added.65
65 Johann Benedict Metzler, Artificium excerpendi genuinum dictus Die rechte Kunst zu excer-piren (Leipzig, 1709), 23–4; 30; 91–2
Is there really any mathematical difference between alphabetical order and a numerical decimal order? Can't they be shown to be one-to-one and onto?
To a layperson they may seem different...
The matter is not sim-ply, as in the case of libraries and archives, handling the usually rather tricky language of the indexer,
Modern digital indices have the ability to easily create aliases so that similar or related headings might be concatenated. As an example, I might have four different variations of R. Llull's name in my system or English and Latin versions of names like "excerpting" and "ars excerptendi" which can be mapped to the same endpoints without worrying about the existence of synonyms.
Because the inner linking capability begets meaning associations that en-joy a certain informative value in the horizon of a scientific discipline or a theoretical concern, the updating of this structure requires substantial effort and focalized attention. This may be why Christoph Meiners recommended divorcing the time of excerpting from the time of reading.
Christoph Meiners, Anweisungen für Jünglinge zum eigenen Arbeiten besonders zum Lesen, Excerpiren, und Schreiben (Hannover, 1791), 85: ‘Man excerpire nie beym Lesen selbst. [...] Lesen hat seine Zeit, und Excerpiren hat auch seine Zeit’
Christoph Meiners recommended the separation of doing one's excerpting from one's reading perhaps in part because the creation of links between notes has different demands than the creation of the base note itself.
I find this to be generally easier as well. Often I'll provide one or two links from my note to others I know I have, or perhaps scribble down some reminders of these notes. Otherwise I generally do some additional work of creating these links in a separate sitting.
It's usually much easier to quickly add subject headings while reading and then use these as a basis of creating other more particular and direct links at a later time.
Create a list of the types of links within note taking systems and their meta data:
- taxonomies (tags, categories, subject headings, etc.)
- note to note links
- references to sources
- Dec 2021
Commonplaces were no longer repositories of redundancy, but devices for storing knowledge expansion.
With the invention of the index card and atomic, easily moveable information that can be permuted and re-ordered, the idea of commonplacing doesn't simply highlight and repeat the older wise sayings (sententiae), but allows them to become repositories of new and expanding information. We don't just excerpt anymore, but mix the older thoughts with newer thoughts. This evolution creates a Cambrian explosion of ideas that helps to fuel the information overload from the 16th century onward.
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the German Jesuit Jeremias Drexel noted that in the celebrated Justus Lipsius, one can find ‘tam copiosa, and illustris eruditio’ (a so abundant and glorious erudition) because the Flemish philosopher not only read many books; he also selected and ex-cerpted the best from them.5
Jeremias Drexel, Aurifodina artium et scientiarum omnium. Excerpendi sollertia, omnibus lit-terarum amantibus monstrata (Antwerp, 1638), 18–19