1,102 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. “I first make a plan of what I am going to write,and then take from the note cabinet what I can use.”60

      source:

      60 Hans-Georg Moeller, The Radical Luhmann (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), 11.

      I rather like the phrase "note cabinet" which isn't used often enough in the zettelkasten space. Something more interesting than filing cabinet which feels like where things are stored to never be seen again versus a note cabinet which is temporary and directed location storage specifically meant for things to actively be reused.

    2. the Antinet can serve both states. It can assist someone who’s in thegrowth state (without a clear end goal), and it can also assist someone who’sin the contribution state (with a clearly defined book or project).

      This could be clearer and "growth state" and "contribution state" feel like jargon which muddles:

      two of the broad benefits/affordances of having a zettelkasten: - learning and scaffolding knowledge (writing for understanding) - collecting and arranging material for general output

      see also: https://boffosocko.com/2022/04/01/the-zettelkasten-method-of-note-taking-mirrors-most-of-the-levels-of-blooms-taxonomy/

    3. “I started my Zettelkasten,because I realized that I had to plan for a life and not for a book.”5

      from Niklas Luhmann, Niklas Luhmann Short Cuts (English Translation), 2002, 22.

    1. Whenever I read about the various ideas, I feel like I do not necessarily belong. Thinking about my practice, I never quite feel that it is deliberate enough.

      https://readwriterespond.com/2022/11/commonplace-book-a-verb-or-a-noun/

      Sometimes the root question is "what to I want to do this for?" Having an underlying reason can be hugely motivating.

      Are you collecting examples of things for students? (seeing examples can be incredibly powerful, especially for defining spaces) for yourself? Are you using them for exploring a particular space? To clarify your thinking/thought process? To think more critically? To write an article, blog, or book? To make videos or other content?

      Your own website is a version of many of these things in itself. You read, you collect, you write, you interlink ideas and expand on them. You're doing it much more naturally than you think.


      I find that having an idea of the broader space, what various practices look like, and use cases for them provides me a lot more flexibility for what may work or not work for my particular use case. I can then pick and choose for what suits me best, knowing that I don't have to spend as much time and effort experimenting to invent a system from scratch but can evolve something pre-existing to suit my current needs best.

      It's like learning to cook. There are thousands of methods (not even counting cuisine specific portions) for cooking a variety of meals. Knowing what these are and their outcomes can be incredibly helpful for creatively coming up with new meals. By analogy students are often only learning to heat water to boil an egg, but with some additional techniques they can bake complicated French pâtissier. Often if you know a handful of cooking methods you can go much further and farther using combinations of techniques and ingredients.

      What I'm looking for in the reading, note taking, and creation space is a baseline version of Peter Hertzmann's 50 Ways to Cook a Carrot combined with Michael Ruhlman's Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. Generally cooking is seen as an overly complex and difficult topic, something that is emphasized on most aspirational cooking shows. But cooking schools break the material down into small pieces which makes the processes much easier and more broadly applicable. Once you've got these building blocks mastered, you can be much more creative with what you can create.

      How can we combine these small building blocks of reading and note taking practices for students in the 4th - 8th grades so that they can begin to leverage them in high school and certainly by college? Is there a way to frame them within teaching rhetoric and critical thinking to improve not only learning outcomes, but to improve lifelong learning and thinking?

    1. Victor Margolin's note taking and writing process

      • Collecting materials and bibliographies in files based on categories (for chapters)
      • Reads material, excerpts/note making on 5 x 7" note cards
        • Generally with a title (based on visual in video)
        • excerpts have page number references (much like literature notes, the refinement linking and outlining happens separately later in his mapping and writing processes)
        • filed in a box with tabbed index cards by chapter number with name
        • video indicates that he does write on both sides of cards breaking the usual rule to write only on one side
      • Uses large pad of newsprint (roughly 18" x 24" based on visualization) to map out each chapter in visual form using his cards in a non-linear way. Out of the diagrams and clusters he creates a linear narrative form.
      • Tapes diagrams to wall
      • Writes in text editor on computer as he references the index cards and the visual map.

      "I've developed a way of working to make this huge project of a world history of design manageable."<br /> —Victor Margolin

      Notice here that Victor Margolin doesn't indicate that it was a process that he was taught, but rather "I've developed". Of course he was likely taught or influenced on the method, particularly as a historian, and that what he really means to communicate is that this is how he's evolved that process.

      "I begin with a large amount of information." <br /> —Victor Margolin

      "As I begin to write a story begins to emerge because, in fact, I've already rehearsed this story in several different ways by getting the information for the cards, mapping it out and of course the writing is then the third way of telling the story the one that will ultimately result in the finished chapters."<br /> —Victor Margolin

  2. Nov 2022
    1. danielsantos @chrisaldrich @jean I second this. It would be very nice to have a tagmoji for PKM and it’s apps… I instantly thought about a brain 🧠, though.

      @danielsantos @jean I almost included the brain emoji, but I feel like it's far too closely associated with Tiago Forte's commercial/paid Second Brain courses and book, and doesn't have the feel of written (or even typed/digital) representation of note taking the way the card file box 🗃️ does historically. I've seen many in the zettelkasten space use the card file box emoji regularly and it generally doesn't have any negative connotations that I've seen or am aware of. I've also seen some in the digital gardening spaces make use of some of the plant-related emoji for their notes, but those generally have a more clear cut gardening use case on the web and might otherwise cause confusion. Some of the other logical choices of pens, pencils, and journals are already either in use for those topics or ought to be kept for them if necessary.

    1. coord_polar() qui crée des coordonnées polaires et la fonction theme_void() qui crée un graphique sans axes.

    1. Athens Research is winding down their note taking application.

      Potentially the first of more to come?

      Athens the OSS project is winding down. The company is still operating, but taking time to reset and explore new ideas. Open to chats and convos. Thanks all ❤️ https://t.co/Y7ROM86WSy

      — Jeff Tang 🏛 (Ohio) (@tangjeff0) November 11, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ueMHkGljK0

      Robert Greene's method goes back to junior high school when he was practicing something similar. He doesn't say he invented it, and it may be likely that teachers modeled some of the system for him. He revised the system over time to make it work for himself.


      • [x] Revisit this for some pull quotes and fine details of his method. (Done on 2022-11-08)
    1. https://www.obsidianroundup.org/the-konik-method-for-making-notes/

      Eleanor Konik explores, in reasonable depth, how she makes notes and uses Obsidian to manage them. She doesn't talk much about the philosophy of her method in a prescriptive manner so much as she looks directly at her process.

      This isn't so much a "rules" set, but takes some pre-existing rules (unstated) and shows how she bends them to her particular needs for outputs primarily in non-academic settings.

    2. Not every highlight needs to become a "card" — and having things in my notes that are highlighted but don't need to be turned into further notes does not mean that I have failed by "over-highlighting." Useful notes are messy, and time is valuable. A sense of completionism is nice for some things but mostly just gets in the way when it comes to learning. I read about 10% of the articles that show up in my feed. I take highlight about 50% of those, and affirmatively take notes on about 10% of those. This doesn't mean I wasted my time reading, or that I failed at notetaking because I should have done a better job of taking comprehensive notes. It means I used judgment, and used my time wisely, and focused on things that were worthwhile from a return on investment perspective.

      While there are rules and processes for taking notes, it's small personal tidbits like this that are harder fought knowledge for the beginner who generally only learns these bits through work and experience.

    3. Inevitably, I read and highlight more articles than I have time to fully process in Obsidian. There are currently 483 files in the Readwise/Articles folder and 527 files marked as needing to be processed. I have, depending on how you count, between 3 and 5 jobs right now. I am not going to neatly format all of those files. I am going to focus on the important ones, when I have time.

      I suspect that this example of Eleanor Konik's is incredibly common among note takers. They may have vast repositories of collected material which they can reference or use, but typically don't.

      In digital contexts it's probably much more common that one will have a larger commonplace book-style collection of notes (either in folders or with tags), and a smaller subsection of more highly processed notes (a la Luhmann's practice perhaps) which are more tightly worked and interlinked.

      To a great extent this mirrors much of my own practice as well.

    4. I never want to be one of those people who who write extensively about note-writing but rarely have a serious context of use.

      She's probably right that too many" influencers" in the space don't have actual context for use.

      Love that she links to Andy Matuschak's admonishment about this...

    1. And this is the art-the skill or craftthat we are talking about here.

      We don't talk about the art of reading or the art of note making often enough as a goal to which students might aspire. It's too often framed as a set of rules and an mechanical process rather than a road to producing interesting, inspiring, or insightful content that can change humanity.

    2. You cannot followrules you do not know. Nor can you acquire an artistic habitany craft or skill-without following rules. The art as something that can be taught consists of rules to be followed inoperation. The art as something learned and possessed consists of the habit that results from operating according to therules.

      This is why one has some broad general rules for keeping and maintaining a zettelkasten. It helps to have some rules to practice and make a habit.

      Unmentioned here is that true artists known all the rules and can then more profitably break those rules for expanding and improving upon their own practice. This is dramatically different from what is seen by some of those who want to have a commonplace or zettelkasten practice, but begin without any clear rules. They often begin breaking the rules to their detriment without having the benefit of long practice to see and know the affordances of such systems before going out of their way to break those rules.

      By breaking the rules before they've even practiced them, many get confused or lost and quit their practice before they see any of the benefits or affordances of them.

      Of course one should have some clear cut end reasons which answer the "why" question for having such practices, or else they'll also lose the motivation to stick with the practice, particularly when they don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. Pure hope may not be enough for most.

    3. The point to recognize is that these notes primarily concern the structure of the book, and not its substance-at leastnot in detail. We therefore call this kind of note-making structural.

      Adler and Van Doren define structural note making as the sorts of questions one might ask at the level of inspectional reading including: - what kind of book is it? - what is it about? - what is the overall structure with respect to the argument the author intends to make?

    4. The Three Kinds of N o te-making
    1. https://notebookofghosts.com/2018/02/25/a-brief-guide-to-keeping-a-commonplace-book/

      very loose and hands-off on dictating others' practices

      nothing new to me really...

    2. I also suggest letting your first commonplace be a trial run.

      Because your note taking practices will grow and evolve, don't get over-involved in too many specifics up front. Start somewhere and see where it goes.

    3. This is one compiler’s approach to keeping a commonplace book.

      Commonplacing is a personal practice.

    1. A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial, reason, that "great wits have short memories;" and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day's reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men, as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there. For, take this for a rule, when an author is in your books, you have the same demand upon him for his wit, as a merchant has for your money, when you are in his. By these few and easy prescriptions, (with the help of a good genius) it is possible you may, in a short time, arrive at the accomplishments of a poet, and shine in that character[3].

      "Nullum numen abest si sit prudentia, is unquestionably true, with regard to every thing except poetry; and I am very sure that any man of common understanding may, by proper culture, care, attention, and labour, make himself whatever he pleases, except a good poet." Chesterfield, Letter lxxxi.

      See also: https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:The_Works_of_the_Rev._Jonathan_Swift,_Volume_5.djvu/261 as a source


      Swift, Jonathan. The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift. Edited by Thomas Sheridan and John Nichols. Vol. 5. 19 vols. London: H. Baldwin and Son, 1801.

    1. Carlin’s bags of categorized ideas, from the archives of George Carlin

      George Carlin kept his slips (miscellaneous scraps of collected paper with notes) sorted by topic name in Ziploc bags (literally that specific brand given the photo's blue/purple signature on the bag locks).

      This is similar to others, including historian Keith Thomas, who kept his in labeled envelopes.

    1. "If the Reagans' home in Palisades (Calif.) were burning," Brinkley says, "this would be one of the things Reagan would immediately drag out of the house. He carried them with him all over like a carpenter brings their tools. These were the tools for his trade."

      Another example of someone saying that if their house were to catch fire, they'd save their commonplace book (first or foremost).

    1. evolution of my processes.

      A note taking practice is almost always an evolving process with a variety of different pressures and variables in how it takes form.

      List out these variables and pressures.

    2. Tiago’s methodology is app-agnostic. He’s a systems and principles kind of thinker, so even though I use physical notecards, his work has influenced the evolution of my processes.

      Billy Oppenheimer indicates that Tiago Forte's systems and methods have influenced the evolution of his own note taking process.

    3. Do you keep track of what cards you’ve used and haven’t used? No. If I need to, I’ll search the various places online I might have used the contents of a notecard.

      Oppenheimer doesn't have a system for tracking which cards he's used or not. When necessary he relies on manual search to find those places, but doesn't say if he still reuses them or how often.

    4. I never immediately read an article then make a notecard.

      By waiting some amount of time (days/weeks/a few months) between originally reading something and processing one's notes on it allows them to slowly distill into one's consciousness. It also allows one to operate on their diffuse thinking which may also help to link ideas to others in their memory.

    5. If you can’t talk yourself into using your energy to write or type something out, it’s probably not worth capturing.

      Being willing to capture an idea by spending the time writing it out in full is an incredibly strong indicator that it is actually worth capturing. Often those who use cut and paste or other digital means for their note capture will over-collect because the barrier is low and simple.

      More often than not, if one doesn't have some sort of barrier for capturing notes, they will become a burden and ultimately a scrap heap of generally useless ideas.

      In the end, experience will eventually dictate one's practice as, over time, one will develop an internal gut feeling of what is really worth collecting and what isn't. Don't let your not having this at the beginning deter you. Collect and process and over time, you'll balance out what is useful.

    6. One of the big lies notetakers tell themselves is, “I will remember why I liked this quote/story/fact/etc.”

      Take notes for your most imperfect, forgetful future self. You're assuredly not only not going to remember either the thing you are taking notes for in the first place, but you're highly unlikely to remember why you thought it was interesting or intriguing or that clever thing you initially thought of at the same time.

      Capture all of this quickly in the moment, particularly the interesting links to other things in your repository of notes. These ideas will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for one to remember.

    7. And improving the quality and quantity of material available to your brain when you sit down to create something—that is why we implement The Notecard System.

      Increasing the quantity and quality of ideas and materials one has at their disposal when one desires to create something new is one of the reasons for having a note taking system.

      memory, learning, sense making, improving understanding, improved creativity, and others are also at play... any others? we should have a comprehensive list eventually.

    8. If you are like Lebron James or Paul Simon, if you were born with a gift for recall, you might not need a note-taking system.

      I would suggest that this is wholly wrong as both of the memories described are honed for specific situations and not broadly applicable.

      Even those with good natural memories as well as those with significant mnemonic practices can benefit from a structured note taking practice.

    1. https://www.instagram.com/p/CeWV6xBuZUN/?hl=en

      Ryan Holiday in the past has made custom 4 x 6" index cards for taking notes for his individual projects.

      Pictured: A custom slip with 11 light gray lines, small margins all around, and at the top the printed words: "Courage. Temperance. Justice. Wisdom."

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Billy Oppenheimer, research assistant to Ryan Holiday</span> in The Notecard System: Capture, Organize, and Use Everything You Read, Watch, and Listen To - Billy Oppenheimer (<time class='dt-published'>11/03/2022 16:53:44</time>)</cite></small>

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      I used to do this sort of practice before, but I used buckslips instead.

  3. Oct 2022
    1. Pomeroy, Earl. “Frederic L. Paxson and His Approach to History.” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 39, no. 4 (1953): 673–92. https://doi.org/10.2307/1895394

      read on 2022-10-30 - 10-31

    2. t may be that in using his system hedeveloped his mind and his knowledge of history to the point wherehe expected his readers to draw more inferences from the facts heselected than most modern readers are accustomed to doing, in thisday of the predigested book.

      It's possible that the process of note taking and excerpting may impose levels of analysis and synthesis on their users such that when writing and synthesizing their works that they more subtly expect their readers to do the same thing when their audiences may require more handholding and explanation.

      Here, both the authors' experiences and that of the cultures in which they're writing will determine the relationship.


      There's lots of analogies between thinking and digesting (rumination, consumption, etc), in reading and understanding contexts.

    3. Thus Paxson was not content to limit historians to the immediateand the ascertainable. Historical truth must appear through some-thing short of scientific method, and in something other than scien-tific form, linked and geared to the unassimilable mass of facts.There was no standard technique suited to all persons and purposes,in note-taking or in composition. "The ordinary methods of his-torical narrative are ineffective before a theme that is in its essen-tials descriptive," he wrote of Archer B. Hulbert's Forty- Niners(1931) in 1932. "In some respects the story of the trails can notbe told until it is thrown into the form of epic poetry, or comes un-der the hand of the historical novelist." 42

      This statement makes it appear as if Paxson was aware of the movement in the late 1800s of the attempt to make history a more scientific endeavor by writers like Bernheim, Langlois/Seignobos, and others, but that Pomeroy is less so.

      How scientific can history be as an area of study? There is the descriptive from which we might draw conclusions, but how much can we know when there are not only so many potential variables, but we generally lack the ability to design and run discrete experiments on history itself?

      Recall Paxson's earlier comment that "in history you cannot prove an inference". https://hypothes.is/a/LIWSoFlLEe2zUtvMoEr0nQ

      Had enough time elapsed up to this writing in 1953, that the ideal of a scientific history from the late 1800s had been borne out not to be accomplished?

    4. McMaster's Stephen Girard(1918), he said, was a "series of anecdotes . . . without connection"and with little interpretation or analysis." In Rhodes's last twovolumes the facts rarely appeared "to have meaning or to be partsof a coherent structure." " "No simple theme, like that whichdominated his great work, is apparent here. Mr. Rhodes has notseen any constructive unity in the years he covers. Instead of mak-ing a synthesis that would of itself lead the reader to a clearerunderstanding of American history . . . , he has developed his topicsparagraph by paragraph, with often abrupt transition from themeto theme." 26 His failure in the final product followed,

      Paxson would have considered it a failure in note taking to have only compiled but not to have synthesized one's accumulated knowledge.

      Why take notes if one is not going to use them to some end, whether that be personally in one's life, or to extend and expand the depth and breadth of human knowledge by analyzing and synthesizing the ideas to create something new for others' benefit?

    5. On the whole, his efficiency probablyreduced the time required for taking and filing notes to the amountother historians spent in note-taking alone. What he wrote in hisnotes was brief, and yet specific enough so that he saved himself thejob of searching at length for what he had read. His mind was freeto reflect and appraise.

      Earl Pomeroy suggests that Paxson's note taking method freed his mind to better reflect and appraise his work. This allows a greater efficiency of work, particularly when it comes to easier search and recall as well as the overall process which becomes easier through practice.

    6. he kepthis note pads always in his pocket

      The small size and portability of index cards make them easy to have at hand at a moment's notice.

    7. He took it toWashington when he went into war service in 1917-1918;

      Frederic Paxson took his note file from Wisconsin to Washington D.C. when he went into war service from 1917-1918, which Earl Pomeroy notes as an indicator of how little burden it was, but he doesn't make any notation about worries about loss or damage during travel, which may have potentially occurred to Paxson, given his practice and the value to him of the collection.

      May be worth looking deeper into to see if he had such worries.

    8. Onesuspected that Paxson's love for his work may have tempted him tolabor too long, and that he established a schedule to protect him-self and the keenness of his mind, to keep himself from his deskinstead of at it, as is some men's purpose.

      Pomeroy suspects that Paxson may have kept to a strict work schedule to keep his mind sharp, but he doesn't propose or suspect that it may have been the case that Paxson's note taking practice was the thing which not only helped to keep his mind sharp, but which allowed him the freedom and flexibility to keep very regular work hours.

    9. The mass of Paxson's paper work may appear more clearly nowthan the zest with which he labored, but the essence of his methodwas in the spirit rather than in the product.

      Ahrens and others following him have argued that there is a sort of lightness imbued both in one's thinking processes and life by making and accumulating notes. The cognitive load is lessened by offloading one's thoughts onto pieces of paper that can be revised, compared, and juxtaposed as a means of building some written or creative endeavor, even if it's slowly over time.

      Frederic L. Paxson's mode of life made this seem to be the case for him. There is evidence that he was easier able to manage his daily life by his note taking system. He accumulated no work on his desk and carried none home and was able to more easily give his attention to others.

      Is this a result of breaking things down into tiny, bite sized chunks that were difficult to actually interrupt?

      Was it the system or his particular temperament? Are there other examples of this easier mode of life for note takers? Is there a pattern? What portions can be attributed to the system and one's ability to stick to it versus their particular temperaments?

      Other than small examples in my own life, this may be one of the first examples I've seen of this mode of work. Definitely worth looking at others.

    10. None of these notes wasever used in his writing; probably they were taken with no thoughtof specific use, but out of absorption in the American scene.

      It's quite likely that one will take a large number of notes with no immediate goal or plan for use and this is completely acceptable. Often these notes go towards the more immediate goal of forming one's own understanding and setting of a broader tableau for material one will write in the future.

    11. Note, "Quotations: make them brief," n.d., unclassified, Paxson File, and note,"Your sentences must be your own." "A long quotation burdens your text. Theprinter commonly puts it in a different type and indicates that it is a thing apart.The quotation will be most effective when it is brief and pertinent and may beamalgamated in your own paragraph. The more completely you understand yoursources the more aptly & gracefully you will quote." "Do not take out of a secondarywork a paragraph or its substance and incorporate it in your work. . . . Use it if youmust, but restate it in your own terms, and make its form entirely yours. Give thefootnote of course but remember that you must be the author."

      Paxson doesn't directly indicate to rewrite for one's own digestion and understanding process, but hints at it strongly when he says that "Your sentences must be your own." By making and owning your sentences, you ought to have completely understood the ideas and made them a part of you prior to transmitting them back along to others.


      Under Paxon's framing and knowing that he also sometimes held onto is notes for a while before forming final opinions, one's notes, even when public (like my own are), are still just partial truths of thought caught in the moment. It takes further digestion and juxtaposition with additional thoughts which are later rewritten in longer form to make articles, books, etc.


      Note taking is a process of sense making seeking out the truth of a situation.

    12. A note system, he told his stu-dents, should permit rearrangement and study of notes in differentrelationships "until the fact itself is brought out against the back-ground in all its important details."
      1. Note headed "notes," n.d., Paxson File, unclassified.
    13. he file wascomplex enough, and the task it represented was large enough, sothat few of his sixty-five doctors, who watched the file grow in theseminar as part of the historical laboratory process, have main-tained full files of their own.

      Owing to the size and complex nature of Paxson's note collection which he used and demonstrated to his students in his teaching and historical laboratory process, few of the sixty-five doctors who studied under him maintained files of their own.

    14. Occasionally he noted down what he heard and saw aswell as what he read, and sometimes what he said and did, althoughhe also kept a diary in separate form.

      In addition to an extensive note collection, Paxson kept a separate diary, indicating a different practicing in a different form.

    15. tie left, however, a record of his own approach to theproblems of writing history in his book reviews, which with hisarticles are probably his most characteristic writings, and in a half-century's accumulation of notes that he used in writing his books,and that he might have used in writing other books.

      half-century's accumulation of notes

    1. Turner was never comfortable at Harvard; when he retired in 1922 he became a visiting scholar at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, where his note cards and files continued to accumulate, although few monographs got published. His The Frontier in American History (1920) was a collection of older essays.

      Where did Turner's note cards and files end up? Are they housed at the Huntington Library? What other evidence or indication is there that this was an extensive zettelkasten practice here?

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

      Historian Keith Thomas talks about his methods of note taking and work as a historian. A method which falls into the tradition of commonplacing and zettelkasten, though his was in note taking and excerpting onto slips which he kept in envelopes instead of notebooks or a card index.

    2. It is only too easy to misapply excerpted passages by taking them out of their original context. Ideally, I should have followed the technique, recommended as long ago as 1615 by the learned Jesuit Francesco Sacchini, of always making two sets of notes, one to be sliced up and filed, the other to be kept in its original form.

      Francesco Sacchini advised in 1615 that one should make two sets of notes: one to be cut up and filed, and the other kept in it's original form so as to keep the full context of the original author's context.


      This is broadly one of the values of note taking in Hypothes.is. One can take broader excerpts of an authors' works as well as maintain links for fuller context to reconsult, but still have the shorter excerpts as well as one's own notes.

    3. I feel sympathy for Robert Southey, whose excerpts from his voracious reading were posthumously published in four volumes as Southey’s Common-Place Book. He confessed in 1822 that,Like those persons who frequent sales, and fill their houses with useless purchases, because they may want them some time or other; so am I for ever making collections, and storing up materials which may not come into use till the Greek Calends. And this I have been doing for five-and-twenty years! It is true that I draw daily upon my hoards, and should be poor without them; but in prudence I ought now to be working up these materials rather than adding to so much dead stock.
    4. As Francis Bacon warned long ago, ‘One man’s notes will little profit another.’
    5. It is possible to take too many notes; the task of sorting, filing and assimilating them can take for ever, so that nothing gets written.
    6. Unfortunately, such diverse topics as literacy, numeracy, gestures, jokes, sexual morality, personal cleanliness or the treatment of animals, though central to my concerns, are hard to pursue systematically. They can’t be investigated in a single archive or repository of information. Progress depends on building up a picture from a mass of casual and unpredictable references accumulated over a long period. That makes them unsuitable subjects for a doctoral thesis, which has to be completed in a few years. But they are just the thing for a lifetime’s reading. So when I read, I am looking out for material relating to several hundred different topics. Even so, I find that, as my interests change, I have to go back to sources I read long ago, with my new preoccupations in mind.

      For a variety of topics and interests there are not archives of information that can be consulted or referenced. As a result one must slowly, but methodically collect this sort of information over a lifetime to be able to analyze it and build theses.

    7. Periodically, I file them away in old envelopes, devoting a separate envelope to each topic.

      Filing notes away in envelopes, while keeping them safely collected together, puts them both out of site and out of mind. It may also take longer to retrieve them and make them less accessible to use and reuse.

    8. Filing is a tedious activity and bundles of unsorted notes accumulate. Some of them get loose and blow around the house, turning up months later under a carpet or a cushion. A few of my most valued envelopes have disappeared altogether. I strongly suspect that they fell into the large basket at the side of my desk full of the waste paper with which they are only too easily confused.

      Relying on cut up slips of paper rather than the standard cards of equal size, Keith Thomas has relayed that his slips often "get loose and blow around the house, turning up months later under a carpet or cushion."

      He also suspects that some of his notes have accidentally been thrown away by falling off his desk and into the nearby waste basket which camouflages his notes amongst similar looking trash.

    9. When I go to libraries or archives, I make notes in a continuous form on sheets of paper, entering the page number and abbreviated title of the source opposite each excerpted passage. When I get home, I copy the bibliographical details of the works I have consulted into an alphabeticised index book, so that I can cite them in my footnotes. I then cut up each sheet with a pair of scissors. The resulting fragments are of varying size, depending on the length of the passage transcribed. These sliced-up pieces of paper pile up on the floor. Periodically, I file them away in old envelopes, devoting a separate envelope to each topic. Along with them go newspaper cuttings, lists of relevant books and articles yet to be read, and notes on anything else which might be helpful when it comes to thinking about the topic more analytically. If the notes on a particular topic are especially voluminous, I put them in a box file or a cardboard container or a drawer in a desk. I also keep an index of the topics on which I have an envelope or a file. The envelopes run into thousands.

      Historian Keith Thomas describes his note taking method which is similar to older zettelkasten methods, though he uses larger sheets of paper rather than index cards and files them away in topic-based envelopes.

    10. When I did, though, I was reassured to see that, in a slipshod sort of way, I had arrived at something vaguely approximating to their prescriptions. En route I had made all the obvious beginner’s mistakes.

      Keith Thomas wasn't taught, nor did he read (until much too late), methods on note taking, but still managed to puzzle out most of the specifics for his note taking practice in his historical work, or at least everything but taking notes on note cards instead of on sheets of paper.

    11. I have always been impressed by those academics who can sit impassively through a complex lecture by some visiting luminary without finding it necessary to make a single note, even a furtive one on the back of an envelope. They’d lose face, no doubt, if they were seen copying it all down, like a first-year undergraduate.

      In academia, the act of not taking notes can act as an external signal of superiority or even indifference.

    12. John Aubrey tells us that Hobbes ‘always carried a note booke in his pocket, and as soon as a thought darted, he presently entred it into his booke, or otherwise he might have lost it. He had drawn the designe of the book into chapters, etc., so he knew whereabout it would come in.’
    13. Another help to the memory is the pocketbook in which to enter stray thoughts and observations: what the Elizabethans called ‘tablets’.

      Elizabethans called pocketbooks or small notebooks "tablets."

    14. Macaulay claimed that his memory was good enough to enable him to write out the whole of Paradise Lost. But when preparing his History of England, he made extensive notes in a multitude of pocketbooks of every shape and colour.

      By what method did Macaulay memorize Paradise Lost?

    15. In his splendid recent autobiography, History of a History Man, Patrick Collinson reveals that when as a young man he was asked by the medievalist Geoffrey Barraclough at a job interview what his research method was, all he could say was that he tried to look at everything which was remotely relevant to his subject: ‘I had no “method”, only an omnium gatherum of materials culled from more or less everywhere.’

      How does a medievalist reference "omnium gatherum" without an explicit mention of even florilegia which generally translates as "gatherings of flowers" as their method?!

    16. It never helps historians to say too much about their working methods. For just as the conjuror’s magic disappears if the audience knows how the trick is done, so the credibility of scholars can be sharply diminished if readers learn everything about how exactly their books came to be written.

      Except that, seemingly, many historians have written and published about just this very topic!

      People often talk about the "magic of note taking", but it's not frequent that they frame the methods as magician's secrets.

    1. Meta App 在产品体验上更像是专注型 App,不同的 Meta App 可以用来处理不同的使用场景。与专注型 App 不同之处在于,所有的 Meta App 都能共享相同的资料库、并且遵守一套如何处理这些资料的协议。不同的 Meta App 能让你用不同的方式使用你的资料,并在必要时为这些资料加上特定的 meta data。举例来说,你有一份文件,负责白板思考的 Meta App 可以把它解读成一个白板上的便利贴,并加上颜色、长宽等 meta data;负责专案管理的 Meta App 可以把这份文件解读成一个 Task,并加上像是“已完成”、“进行中”等 meta data;负责部落格后台管理的 Meta App 可以把它解读成一则贴文,并加上发布日期、浏览数、讚数等 meta data。换言之,使用者的资料是集中的,但是透过不同的 Meta App,你既可以享受到专注型 App 在单点上的强大,又能享受到通用型 App 的整合性。

      同一个数据 不同处理方式 这个我似乎也想到过 这个配合logseq的datalog模式, 其实可以考虑以logseq+excali的技术模式本地化实现 。 表格 数据库也是一种方式 可能某种交互协作也是一种方式

    1. https://gabz.blog/2022/10/27/what-about-them.html

      Why do people not have strong note taking practices or desire to do so? - Some of it may come down to lack of a practice (or model) to follow - some don't have a clearly stated need for why they're doing it in the first place - some spread their notes out over many tools and applications which prevents a quorum of power building up in one place, thus defeating a lot of the purpose. (This is why having all of one's notes in one place is so important as a rule.) - This particular post is a good example of this cardinal sin. - Lack of easy search defeats the ability to extract value back out of having made the notes in the first place. - Note repositories aren't always all of the value proposition. Often the fact of the work that went into making a note to learn and understand ideas is all of the value for a reasonable portion of notes.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvxbl7Iwep4

      Lots of levels here to pull apart, but this should be particularly interesting to novices.

      Modes of note taking: * note taking for raw information * note taking (or writing) for understanding * note taking for relationships of and between knowledge * note taking for creating proficiency * note taking for productivity

      Sung takes the viewpoint that linear note taking isn't as effective as mind mapping and drawing out relationships; in part this is why handwriting is more effective means of note taking compared to typing, particularly as most note taking apps force one into a linear pathway that doesn't mirror the affordances available within handwriting.

      This video is definitely more about note taking than note making.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI3yiPA6npA

      Generally interesting and useful, but is broadly an extended advertisement for JetPens products.

      Transparent sticky notes allow one to take notes on them, but the text is still visible through the paper.

      One can use separate pages to write notes and then use washi tape to tape the notes to the page in a hinge-like fashion similar to selectively interleaving one's books.

    1. I have been using Apple notes, but began to wonder if I could find an app that supports zettelkasten in digital handwritten form. The closest thing I found is CardNotes however it is underdeveloped imo, and maybe dead?

      Someone looking for handwriting apps that allow one to use handwriting in digital contexts.

      https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/ydwl32/handwriting_zettelkasten/

    1. TiddlyWiki's philosophy now is that the purpose of recording and organising information is so that it can be used again. To maximise the possibilities for reuse, write or slice information into the smallest semantically meaningful units, and weave them together into narratives.

      TiddlyWiki's philosophy now is that the purpose of recording and organising information is so that it can be used again.<br><br>To maximise the possibilities for reuse, write or slice information into the smallest semantically meaningful units, and weave them together into narratives.

      — TiddlyWiki (@TiddlyWiki) September 20, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    2. The first demo of TidlyWiki from 2004 took the ideas of wiki and applied them to fragments rather than entire pages. The hypothesis was that it would be easier to write in small interlinked chunks that could be gradually massaged into a linear narrative

      The first demo of TidlyWiki from 2004 took the ideas of wiki and applied them to fragments rather than entire pages. The hypothesis was that it would be easier to write in small interlinked chunks that could be gradually massaged into a linear narrativehttps://t.co/v2v6dyL3Oy pic.twitter.com/MJO7tyopr2

      — TiddlyWiki (@TiddlyWiki) September 20, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. best that deep study invites you to gather in like a harvest, and to store up as the wealth of life.

      Like centuries of rhetors before him, he's using ideas and metaphors of harvest, treasure, and wealth to describe note taking.

      Why have these passed out of popular Western thought since the 1920-1960s when this book was popular?

    Tags

    Annotators

    1. I can't quite grasp this concept, although it seems interesting for my specific case. Isn't the index box supposed to be organized by alphabetical order? How can personal notes be placed right in such an order?

      los2pollos reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/y5un81/comment/it667sq/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      There are a wide variety of methods of organizing and sorting one's note cards including by topic (usually alphabetical), by date, by idea, by author, by title, etc.

      If you're using it as a diary, you'd probably keep that subsection in order by date written, and then potentially have it cross indexed by subject if those things were important to you.

      If you kept other information like mood, health, activities, exercise, glasses of water per day (for example) on them, you could resort and re-order them by those data as well if you liked. And naturally, this ability to resort/reorder one's notes has been one of the greatest features and affordances to these systems historically.

    2. Bilingual Antinet?

      There's research to support that thinking in a non-native language has benefits for your thought processes and decision making. E.g.: https://news.uchicago.edu/story/thinking-foreign-language-helps-economic-decision-making

    1. In the second case, checking “Connection” in my Index would lead me to this card. I might then compare this thought to others that use the same keyword, to see how it supports or modifies the idea of connection.

      The reliance upon tag-like keywords in physical note-taking of this type seems to be a limitation compared to digital systems that allow full text search. That said, the benefits of full text search might be somewhat overblown, as found search terms say nothing of the context and would need either tags or a quick read of the text to provide that context.

    2. I might even say the best books are the best books because they stubbornly defy being reduced to a synopsis and some notes. Another way of saying that is, great books have so much in them that many different people with many different interests can all find something they’ll value in their pages.

      This might be said of art, design, or any pursuit. Any design might comprise hundreds of design decisions. The more there are, the more depth to the design, the more facets of the problem space it has examined, the more knowledge it may contain, the more potential to learn.

    1. I am less worried about natural disaster than my own negligence. I take the cards with me too much. I am not stationary in my office and so to use the cards I am taking them. I am afraid they will lost or destroyed. I have started to scan into apple notes. I will see how that goes. It is easy and might be a great overall solution.

      episcopal-orthodox reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/y77414/comment/isyqc7b/

      As long as you're not using flimsy, standard paper for your slips like Luhmann (they deteriorate too rapidly with repeated use), you can frame your carrying them around more positively by thinking that use over time creates a lovely patina to your words and ideas. The value of this far outweighs the fear of loss, at least for me. And if you're still concerned, there's always the option that you could use ars memoria to memorize all of your cards and meditate on them combinatorially using Llullan wheels the way Raymond Llull originally did. 🛞🗃️🚀🤩

    2. Worried about paper cards being lost or destroyed .t3_y77414._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } I am loving using paper index cards. I am, however, worried that something could happen to the cards and I could lose years of work. I did not have this work when my notes were all online. are there any apps that you are using to make a digital copy of the notes? Ideally, I would love to have a digital mirror, but I am not willing to do 2x the work.

      u/LBHO https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/y77414/worried_about_paper_cards_being_lost_or_destroyed/

      As a firm believer in the programming principle of DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself), I can appreciate the desire not to do the work twice.

      Note card loss and destruction is definitely a thing folks have worried about. The easiest thing may be to spend a minute or two every day and make quick photo back ups of your cards as you make them. Then if things are lost, you'll have a back up from which you can likely find OCR (optical character recognition) software to pull your notes from to recreate them if necessary. I've outlined some details I've used in the past. Incidentally, opening a photo in Google Docs will automatically do a pretty reasonable OCR on it.

      I know some have written about bringing old notes into their (new) zettelkasten practice, and the general advice here has been to only pull in new things as needed or as heavily interested to ease the cognitive load of thinking you need to do everything at once. If you did lose everything and had to restore from back up, I suspect this would probably be the best advice for proceeding as well.

      Historically many have worried about loss, but the only actual example of loss I've run across is that of Hans Blumenberg whose zettelkasten from the early 1940s was lost during the war, but he continued apace in another dating from 1947 accumulating over 30,000 cards at the rate of about 1.5 per day over 50 some odd years.

    1. A friend of mine, well versed in all sorts of PKM and stuff, was convinced the ZK was beneficial, but took a long time before you started seeing benefits. My experience was completely different. I think I had about 5 permanent cards established when I made my first jump to a new idea... I don't know if the idea is any good at this moment, but I got a chill up my spine when I did it. I have more cards now, and have had a few more "new thoughts" that I would not have had otherwise. Don't put it off.

      The zettelkasten can be a useful educational substrate for thinking in as few as five cards.

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/Iwy7MGlMEeyztTNgvCXUOA

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

      Writer Jean Paul on the importance of his Zettelkasten.

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

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

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

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

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

    1. What if something happened to your box? My house recently got robbed and I was so fucking terrified that someone took it, you have no idea. Thankfully they didn’t. I am actually thinking of using TaskRabbit to have someone create a digital backup. In the meantime, these boxes are what I’m running back into a fire for to pull out (in fact, I sometimes keep them in a fireproof safe).

      His collection is incredibly important to him. He states this in a way that's highly reminiscent of Jean Paul.

      "In the event of a fire, the black-bound excerpts are to be saved first." —instructions from Jean Paul to his wife before setting off on a trip in 1812 #

    1. Blu-menberg’s first collection of note cards dates back to the early 1940s butwas lost during the war; the Marbach collection contains cards from 1947onwards. 18

      18 Von Bülow and Krusche, “Vorla ̈ ufiges,” 273.

      Hans Blumenberg's first zettelkasten dates to the early 1940s, but was lost during the war though he continued the practice afterwards. The collection of his notes housed at Marbach dates from 1947 onward.

    2. for instance, he accused Mon-taigne of having “used up” a quote from Lucretius by employing it to illus-trate a minor paradox, rather than saving it, as Blumenberg deemed“compulsory,” for his major argument regarding the failure of states. 3

      Hans Blumenberg was cognizant of the potential of over-use of ideas in his own work and in at least one case accused Montaigne of having over used a Lucretius quote to illustrate a small point rather than saving it for a major point in his argument on the failure of states where Blumenberg thought it was "compulsory".

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/mT8Twk2cEe2bvj8lq2Lgpw

    3. Note cardshe struck through once or several times in red ink once he’d used them,then wrapped and hid away to avoid the risk of using them too often—asystem so integral to his own method of thinking and writing that it shapedhis understanding of other writers’ processes;

      Hans Blumenberg had a habit of striking out note cards either once or twice in red ink as a means of indicating to himself that he had used them in his writing work. He also wrapped them up and hid them away to prevent the risk of over-using his ideas in publications.

    4. There is a box stored in the German Literature Archive in Marbach, thewooden box Hans Blumenberg kept in a fireproof steel cabinet, for it con-tained his collection of about thirty thousand typed and handwritten notecards.1

      Hans Blumenberg's zettelkasten of about thirty thousand typed and handwritten note cards is now kept at the German Literature Archive in Marbach. Blumenberg kept it in a wooden box which he kept in a fireproof steel cabinet.

    1. https://www.loom.com/share/a05f636661cb41628b9cb7061bd749ae

      Synopsis: Maggie Delano looks at some of the affordances supplied by Tana (compared to Roam Research) in terms of providing better block-based user interface for note type creation, search, and filtering.


      These sorts of tools and programmable note implementations remind me of Beatrice Webb's idea of scientific note taking or using her note cards like a database to sort and search for data to analyze it and create new results and insight.

      It would seem that many of these note taking tools like Roam and Tana are using blocks and sub blocks as a means of defining atomic notes or database-like data in a way in which sub-blocks are linked to or "filed underneath" their parent blocks. In reality it would seem that they're still using a broadly defined index card type system as used in the late 1800s/early 1900s to implement a set up that otherwise would be a traditional database in the Microsoft Excel or MySQL sort of fashion, the major difference being that the user interface is cognitively easier to understand for most people.

      These allow people to take a form of structured textual notes to which might be attached other smaller data or meta data chunks that can be easily searched, sorted, and filtered to allow for quicker or easier use.

      Ostensibly from a mathematical (or set theoretic and even topological) point of view there should be a variety of one-to-one and onto relationships (some might even extend these to "links") between these sorts of notes and database representations such that one should be able to implement their note taking system in Excel or MySQL and do all of these sorts of things.

      Cascading Idea Sheets or Cascading Idea Relationships

      One might analogize these sorts of note taking interfaces to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). While there is the perennial question about whether or not CSS is a programming language, if we presume that it is (and it is), then we can apply the same sorts of class, id, and inheritance structures to our notes and their meta data. Thus one could have an incredibly atomic word, phrase, or even number(s) which inherits a set of semantic relationships to those ideas which it sits below. These links and relationships then more clearly define and contextualize them with respect to other similar ideas that may be situated outside of or adjacent to them. Once one has done this then there is a variety of Boolean operations which might be applied to various similar sets and classes of ideas.

      If one wanted to go an additional level of abstraction further, then one could apply the ideas of category theory to one's notes to generate new ideas and structures. This may allow using abstractions in one field of academic research to others much further afield.

      The user interface then becomes the key differentiator when bringing these ideas to the masses. Developers and designers should be endeavoring to allow the power of complex searches, sorts, and filtering while minimizing the sorts of advanced search queries that an average person would be expected to execute for themselves while also allowing some reasonable flexibility in the sorts of ways that users might (most easily for them) add data and meta data to their ideas.


      Jupyter programmable notebooks are of this sort, but do they have the same sort of hierarchical "card" type (or atomic note type) implementation?

    1. Der Nachlass ist aber nicht nur ein wissenschaftshistorisches Dokument, sondern auch wegen der Rückseiten interessant: Jungius verwendete Predigttexte und Erbauungsliteratur, Schülermitschriften und alte Briefe als Notizpapier. Zudem wurde vieles im Nachlass belassen, was ihm irgendwann einmal zugeordnet wurde, darunter eine Reihe von Manuskripten fremder Hand, z. B. zur Astronomie des Nicolaus Reimers.

      machine translation (Google):

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

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


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

    1. Film making is like note taking

      Incidentally, one should note that the video is made up of snippets over time and then edited together at some later date. Specifically, these snippets are much like regularly taken notes which can then be later used (and even re-used--some could easily appear in other videos) to put together some larger project, namely this compilation video of his process. Pointing out this parallel between note taking and movie/videomaking, makes the note taking process much more easily seen, specifically for students. Note taking is usually a quite and solo endeavor done alone, which makes it much harder to show and demonstrate. And when it is demonstrated or modeled, it's usually dreadfully boring and uninteresting to watch compared to seeing it put together and edited as a finished piece. Edits in a film are visually obvious while the edits in written text, even when done poorly, are invisible.

    1. 4. Cite Card Icon : Hat (something above you)Tag : 5th block Quotation, cooking recipe from book, web, tv, anything about someone else’s idea is classified into this class. Important here is distinguishing “your idea (Discovery Card)” and “someone else’s idea (Cite Card)”. Source of the information must be included in the Cite Card. A book, for example, author, year, page(s) are recorded for later use.

      Despite being used primarily as a productivity tool the PoIC system also included some features of personal knowledge management with "discovery cards" and "citation cards". Discovery cards were things which contained one's own ideas while the citation cards were the ideas of others and included bibliographic information. Citation cards were tagged on the 5th block as an indicator within the system.

      Question: How was the information material managed? Was it separate from the date-based system? On first blush it would appear not, nor was there a subject index which would have made it more difficult for one to find data within the system.

    1. How to link between Cards The "date" and "time" stamp of a cards define their "absolute name". This is why the time stamp must be unique, but not necessary to be accurate. In addition, it is easy to find a specific card, according to the stamp, if all cards are kept in chronological order. This technique was first introduced on the 2-channel.

      The PoIC system allows linking of cards using date/timestamps for indexing/finding. Interestingly they were all kept in chronological order rather than in idea order as in Luhmann's zettelkasten.

      What are the pros/cons of this?<br /> - more searching and hunting through cards certainly is a drawback for lack of "threaded" ideas - others...

      hawkexpress apparently learned this technique on the 2-channel.

    1. I’m with Iris (and Jane) about the PoIC system — I don’t understand how the system works once it is set up. It’s a shame as it might be very useful. Ideally, I’d like to set it up with notebooks in Evernote instead of actual index cards and boxes (the last thing I need in my life is more paper clutter). That way it would be easily searchable, too).

      As is apparently often in describing new organizing systems (commonplace books, zettelkasten, PoIC, etc.), not everyone is going to understand it the first time, or even understand what is going on or why one would want to use it.

      This post by Susan is such an example.

      Susan does almost immediately grasp that this might be something one could transfer into a digital system however, particularly for the search functionality.

    1. Much like Umberto Eco (How to Write a Thesis), in the closing paragraphs of his essay, Goutor finally indicates that note cards can potentially be reused for multiple projects because each one "contains a piece of information which does not depend on a specific context for its value." While providing an example of how this might work, he goes even further by not only saying that "note-cards should never be discarded" but that they might be "recycled" by passing them on to "another interested party" while saying that their value and usefulness is dependent upon how well they may have adhered to some of the most basic note taking methods. (p35)

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/jqug2tNlEeyg2JfEczmepw

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

    3. Goutor only mentions two potential organizational patterns for creating output with one's card index: either by chronological order or topical order. (p34) This might be typical for a historian who is likely to be more interested in chronologies and who would have likely noted down dates within their notes.

    4. Thesis to bear out (only tangentially related to this particular text):

      Part of the reason that index card files didn't catch on, especially in America, was that they didn't have a solid/concrete name by which they went. The generic term card index subsumed so much in relation to library card catalogues or rolodexes which had very specific functions and individualized names. Other cultures had more descriptive names like zettelkasten or fichier boîte which, while potentially bland within their languages, had more specific names for what they were.

    5. Goutor recommends cross-referencing or linking ideas between cards "at the bottom of the note-card, as soon as the note itself is completed." Links shouldn't be trusted to memory and should be noted as soon as possible. Further he recommends periodically sorting through cards and adding adding additional cross references as one ruminates. While he indicates that cross-referencing may seem "cumbersome at first sight, experience will show that it enhances the usefulness of the card file when the time comes to retrieve the information it contains." (p32-33)

      Beyond this he doesn't indicate any additional benefits of creativity or serendipity that have been seen in similar treatises.

    6. ...the usefulness of a note-taking system has an ultimate limit beyond which it becomes self-defeating. [...] After all, the ultimate purpose of the exercise is not to produce beautiful notes displaying the researcher's technical prowess, but rather usable notes to build the mosaic.<br /> —Jacques Goutor (p33)

    7. Goutor breaks down the post-processing of notes into two phases: "coding" (tagging or categorization) and "cross-referencing". (p31).

    8. Goutor mentions that the innovation of photocopying, while potentially useful in some cases, isn't a replacement for actual reading and proper note taking. (p30) These same sorts of affordances and problems might be similar in the newer digital/online realm for people who rely on either whole scale copy/pasting or highlight capturing of texts, but who don't do the actual work of reading, processing, and creating good notes.

      Some of the benefits like portability, ease of access, ability to work with delicate primary materials, better facsimiles of things like maps or tables, etc. are still true.

    9. For the second time Goutor mentions using different size cards for different note types, but doesn't specifically advise for it or provide a reason. Perhaps his advice for consistency and card size applies only to cards of particular types? (p28)

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/XPphjkNZEe2s3i9VV4qt1g


      Incidentally he also specifically mentions 7x9" cards here too. How frequently used were these as a standard?

    10. Unlike many note taking manuals, Goutor advises for consistency in method and use as a means of improving efficiency. He extends this specifically to choosing card sizes (though this only goes as far as particular note types: i.e. bibliographic notes versus content notes), card colors, layout of cards, and card classification. (p28)

      It's frequent in practice, however, that many people make small incremental changes in their workflows and systems over time. In some cases, people have been known to make dramatic changes, like changes in platforms, or start over from scratch (example: that of Luhmann who started ZKII after many years of building ZKI).

    11. The design of Goutor's note taking method is such that each note should have "a life of its own, so that it can stand independently of every other one in the file." (p28) This concept is broadly similar to the ideas of both atomic notes and evergreen notes in related contexts.

      Goutor says that a note's life stems from its identity by means of its bibliographic source, its unique content, and its ultimate purpose. Here he uses the singular "purpose" and doesn't explicitly use "purposes" thereby indicating that an individual note can have multiple potential lives in different places within one's lifetime of work. It seems most likely that he may not have thought of using ideas in multiple different locations, but again, his particular audience (see: https://hypothes.is/a/8jKcTkNPEe2sCntTfNWf2Q) may have also dictated this choice. One could argue that it would have been quite easy for him to have used the plural to suggest the idea simply and tangentially, but that his use of the singular here is specifically because the idea wasn't part of his note taking worldview.

    12. Goutor recommended using subject headings as a marginal annotations on one's note cards to "indicate[s] the preliminary coding to be used in classifying" a note. (p21)

    13. While he previously recommended using note cards of the same size, the examples in Goutor (1980) have 3x5" cards for bibliographic notes and 5x7" or larger cards for content notes. (p19, 21)


      Is there a reason stated anywhere here for this discrepancy or change? One would ostensibly keep them in different places/sections of one's card index, but does the size difference help to differentiate the two to aid in sorting? Is the larger card intended to hold more long form writing?

      Goutor is in Canada, so were 5x7" cards more common or standardized there in the late 1970s and early 80s?

      A5 measures 148 × 210 millimeters or 5.83 × 8.27 inches, so is a bit larger than 5x7".

      5x7" is a more standard photo size, so was this chosen as the result of storage options from the photography space?

      5x7" is scantly available in America in 2022, but only from Hamilco. A few others make cardstock in that size but not specifically as index cards.

    14. Noting the dates of available materials within archives or sources can be useful on bibliography notes for either planning or revisiting sources. (p16,18)

      Similarly one ought to note missing dates, data, volumes, or resources at locations to prevent unfruitfully looking for data in these locations or as a note to potentially look for the missing material in other locations. (p16)

    15. When interviewing subjects, one should not only note the date, time, and location, but get (preferably written) permission to (record) or quote them. Notes about their memory, recall, or behavior may be useful, if nothing else as a reminder for crossing checking their information with other potential sources.

    16. Not mentioned in any other sources I've consulted (yet), Goutor recommends adding notes about the physical location of bibliographic sources to bibliographic notes. This should include details about not only the library and even call numbers, to minimize needing to look them up again in the future, but to have notes about arrangements and contacts which may needed to revisit harder to access resources. (p14) This can also be useful for sources like maps which may be needed for higher quality reproduction in the final text. (p15)

    17. Goutor recommended the use of bibliographic cards not only for their standard uses as sourcing, information, and footnotes, but for creating potential scopes of work and research for planning purposes, especially in planning out one's reading and note taking using various archives and resources to make more effective and productive use of one's time. (p13) This can be potentially very useful for visiting archives and sources for which one does not have easy or frequent access.

    18. Having an easily repeatable, mechanical process of note taking can free up the cognitive space one might otherwise spend on making sure that it works for them in the long run.

      Simple and sometimes dull activities like always starting by writing down sources of material in full, can save one immeasurable amounts of time in tracking down these pieces at a later date when they will be needed, especially in relation to the miniscule time and effort doing so takes upfront. (p12)

    19. Perhaps in large part because of his narrow local audience of amateur historians, Goutor's detailing of note taking method included several pages on early research preparation before taking any notes at all. Some of this was to ensure that extant potential materials for one's subject actually existed, in cases where a researcher might run into issues of availability. It also took into account the public audiences they might be serving and what those audiences would expect in terms of level of detail, resources, photos, maps, charts, etc. (p 9-11)

      This is in marked contrast with the broader audiences of writers like Eco and Ahrens who presumed either extended research needs for either masters or Ph.D. theses, or, in Ahrens' case, life long researchers at universities or journalists, though Eco did make a nod in this direction at the end of his work. With a broader area of applicability, one's collection of notes might also help to guide their particular interests into a variety of tangential or related areas. Goutor either didn't see this longer term value, or curtailed his efforts here because of the scope of his audience.

    20. There is a difference between various modes of note taking and their ultimate outcomes. Some is done for learning about an area and absorbing it into one's own source of general knowledge. Others are done to collect and generate new sorts of knowledge. But some may be done for raw data collection and analysis. Beatrice Webb called this "scientific note taking".

      Historian Jacques Goutor talks about research preparation for this sort of data collecting and analysis though he doesn't give it a particular name. He recommends reading papers in related areas to prepare for the sort of data acquisition one may likely require so that one can plan out some of one's needs in advance. This will allow the researcher, especially in areas like history or sociology, the ability to preplan some of the sorts of data and notes they'll need to take from their historical sources or subjects in order to carry out their planned goals. (p8)

      C. Wright Mills mentions (On Intellectual Craftsmanship, 1952) similar research planning whereby he writes out potential longer research methods even when he is not able to spend the time, effort, energy, or other (financial) resources to carry out such plans. He felt that just the thought experiments and exercise of doing such unfulfilled research often bore fruit in his other sociological endeavors.

    21. The goals of a note taking system or method should be that the resulting notes are clear, concise, complete, searchable, and easily manipulated for creating end-products.

      If these criteria aren't met, then the work involved in making them may be wasted or require additional (unnecessary) time and effort to make them manageable and useful.

      (p7)

    22. For physical note taking on index cards or visualizations provided by computer generated graphs, one can physically view a mass of notes and have a general feeling if there is a large enough corpus to begin writing an essay, chapter, or book or if one needs to do additional research on a topic, or perhaps pick a different topic on which to focus.

      (parts suggested by p7, though broadly obvious)

    23. Goutor comments, like many before him, that it is common to take notes on notebook paper in longer form, but that this is inadvisable as it is much harder to impose a useful order or classification on such work. He does mention scissors as a means of cutting up such notes, but comments that "a mass of slips of paper of varying sizes [can be] difficult to arrange and potentially useless unless care has been taken to note the source of each separate entry."

      He also repeats the frequent admonitions that one should take notes only on one side and to use cards of a uniform size.

      (p6)

    24. The act of note taking acts as a filter between original sources of information and the potential outputs the individual note taker may have an interest in creating.

      (rephrasing from p4)

      me: This level of interest and filtering for potential outputs is part of what creates the individuality of each person's ultimate notes, and in part, is why attempts at creating some sort of universal excerpting project are doomed to failure in the end. No one can excerpt all the pieces from a text that future readers may find interesting, intriguing, or particularly useful, especially when future interests may not yet be delineated or even known at the time of excerpting.

    25. Note taking is a means of rendering large volumes of non-portable sources of information into a nearly infinitely portable source. This is particularly true when done in digital form.

      (p4, Why take notes?)

    26. Goutor's description is offered as an outline of a mechanical method which he hopes will provide a greater level of efficiency, but which might be adapted to each researcher's work and needs. He also specifically offers it as a method to be used for "constructing some sort of final product". He considers it as serving the functions of gathering, organizing, storing and retrieving information.

      (p3, Introduction)

    1. Posted byu/Kshkn16 hours agoRate my idea for a new product

      One might suggest that the freedom, flexibility, and customization of these systems is actually an unuseful time suck for many users which only encourages shiny object syndrome. From a design perspective, try starting out building a system that works for you before beginning on design for others. Research and looking at the user interfaces offered by the competition will helpful as well. Which are the most popular? fun to use? Why? What actual affordances do those interfaces and functionalities allow? are they truly productive?

      Possibly more productive, what sorts of standards can you leverage to make people's pre-existing notes more useful? Can you take pre-existing stores of .txt or .md files and provide different views or perspectives on them? This will allow people to pick and choose which applications might work with their stores of data to provide different views or perspectives on them. Why reinvent a text editor or tools like Logseq or Obsidian when you can leverage the local stores of data to provide the sorts of services you're not seeing in the broader space? For example, on the "social media" side, there are existing solutions for taking your locally stored notes, putting them into the cloud and displaying them on the web, but the various steps are highly technical and require a relatively large amount of work and admin tax to maintain. A service that allows one to point at their local store of data and automatically host it on a website and keep it synced would be a major boon for the non-technical user.

      Separately, Matuschak did not invent evergreen notes. The first clear cut instantiation I've seen in the literature is from Konrad Gessner in 1548, and honestly even his idea really stems from a longstanding tradition of working with commonplace sententiae preceding his work. (see https://hypothes.is/a/uEboYlOwEeykkotYs594LA) Matuschak simply applied the definition/idea of "evergreen" (meaning easily reusable) articles or content from journalism to describe his notes which could be reused in various contexts. (Example: Why rewrite an article on how to decorate and entertain for the holidays, when you can reuse the same article you've been publishing for years, perhaps along with some updated photos?) "Atomic" notes is another variation on this same theme, but is one which underlies the ability to re-use notes in combination with one or more other notes to generate new ideas.

    1. Pardon my use of English. I'm curious if you ultimately found the best research method for yourself? Did you publish it? Being interested in reading practices and annotation myself I can't wait to read your thesis, though it may take some time given the dreadful state of my French capabilities.

      Thank you for your reflection on Barthes' particular method (and especially the photos)! If you're interested to dig further I found a few references that expand significantly on Barthes' fichier boîte method in the following short journal articles: - Hollier, Denis. “Notes (On the Index Card).” October, vol. 112, no. Spring, 2005, pp. 35–44. - Wilken, Rowan. “The Card Index as Creativity Machine.” Culture Machine, vol. 11, 2010, pp. 7–30.

      Having delved into it reasonably, it stems from the commonplace book tradition which moved to slips of paper (index cards) in the late 1500s with Konrad Gessner. Ernst Bernheim (German) and shortly after Charles Langlois & Charles Seignobos (French) wrote about some of their research methods in popular textbooks about historical method in the late 1800s. Paul Chavigny also wrote a manual in French in the early 1920s. One of the best versions of this method I've seen is by Umberto Eco (How to Write a Thesis (1977, 2015) though there are also German and English editions of Ahrens' How to Take Smart Notes (2017) which describes a similar zettelkasten method used by prolific German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, about whom there is a significant archive: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/. It would be helpful to have more written methods like these, but apparently much of these traditions is handed down orally. Having glanced at some of your other methods posts, it almost looks like you've recast the general tradition using colorful Post-It Notes.

      If you did finally outline your ultimate method, I'd love to read it.

      Thanks again!

      syndication link

    2. Il y a un point, en particulier, qui me frappe chaque jour davantage : ce que l’archive du chercheur d’hier peut apprendre au chercheur d’aujourd’hui, sur le plan de la méthodologie.

      Translation:

      There is one point in particular that strikes me more every day: what the archive of yesterday's researcher can teach today's researcher, in terms of methodology.

      With the rarer exceptions of writers like Erasmus, Melanchthon, Agricola, U. Eco, and G. Weinberg who wrote manuals or others like John Locke (on Indices), E. Bernheim, Langlois/Seignobos, and B. Webb who tucked reasonable advice on research and note taking methods in their texts or appendices one of the benefits of of researcher archives is not just the historical record of the researcher's evolving thought, but to actually show specific types of methodology and changes through time.