276 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2021
    1. I think it’s valuable to add some initial thinking and reflection when I bookmark an article or finish reading a book, but haven’t yet figured out a process for revisiting recent notes to find connections and turn that into longer or more complex thought.

      This is definitely the harder part of the practice, but daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual reviews can definitely help.

      To start I primarily focused on 3-5 broader sub-topics of things I felt were most important to me and always did those first. This helps to begin aggregating things and making a bigger difference. The rest of my smaller "fleeting" notes I didn't worry so much about and left to either come back to later or just allow them to sit there.

      I think Sonke Ahrens' book How to Take Smart Notes was fairly helpful in laying this out.

      Incidentally the spaced repetition of review is also good for your memory of the things you find important.

    1. it came out, mechanically, just by doing the calculations. (By calculations, I mean: The steps of the notebook system- applying the introspection.)

      Fundamental value(s) of considered note-making = introspection, intellectual synthesis, connection...

    1. I love this outline/syllabus for creating a commonplace book (as a potential replacement for a term paper).

      I'd be curious to see those who are using Hypothes.is as a communal reading tool in coursework utilize this outline (or similar ones) in combination with their annotation practices.

      Curating one's annotations and placing them into a commonplace book or zettelkasten would be a fantastic rhetorical exercise to extend the value of one's notes and ideas.

    1. Then, later, when I had finished reading the book, I went back and wrote notes on each of the Post-Its. (Since I put notes on nearly every page of the book, I needed some easy way to find the information I might want in the future.) Doing so required me to reread the passage I put the note on, and then to figure out what about it had caught my eye, then to come up with a few words to put on the note. This is generally how I annotate books I read, but in this case I was also, inadvertently, demonstrating a couple of the book’s principle ideas: most people learn and remember best when they can turn their knowledge into artifacts, give it some physical presence, and make their attention (and memory) loop through information recursively rather than trying to learn in a linear way.

      Matthew Cheney has a slightly different method of annotating books. He marks the pages/sections, but then revisits them afterwards to add notes.

      However one does this, a lot of the power is in actually revisiting one's notes and thoughts and doing two things, reviewing them, extending them, and saving them for later use and review.

    1. In this episode I discuss my experience with the niche and extremely powerful note-taking system known as the Zettelkasten.

      The word "niche" here provides a window into how much of our cultural history we've really lost.

    1. https://fs.blog/2021/07/mathematicians-lament/

      What if we taught art and music the way we do mathematics? All theory and drudgery without any excitement or exploration?

      What textbooks out there take math from the perspective of exploration?

      • Inventional geometry does

      Certainly Gauss, Euler, and other "greats" explored mathematics this way? Why shouldn't we?

      This same problem of teaching math is also one we ignore when it comes to things like note taking, commonplacing, and even memory, but even there we don't even delve into the theory at all.

      How can we better reframe mathematics education?

      I can see creating an analogy that equates math with art and music. Perhaps something like Arthur Eddington's quote:

      Suppose that we were asked to arrange the following in two categories–

      distance, mass, electric force, entropy, beauty, melody.

      I think there are the strongest grounds for placing entropy alongside beauty and melody and not with the first three. —Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, OM, FRS (1882-1944), a British astronomer, physicist, and mathematician in The Nature of the Physical World, 1927

    1. https://fs.blog/2021/08/remember-books/

      A solid overview of how to read. Not as long or as in-depth as Mortimer J. Adler, but hits all of the high points in an absorbable manner.

      Definitely worth re-reading...

    2. Schedule time to read and review these notes.

      This is an incredibly important part of the process for absorbing, creating links, and remembering one's notes. A sad pity that it's a single sentence in its own paragraph.

      This should have been underlined.

    3. There are endless ways of organizing your notes—by book, by author, by topic, by the time of reading. It doesn’t matter which system you use as long as you will be able to find the notes in the future.

      Or by all of the above... Library card catalogues did all three, but most digital systems will effectuate all of them as well.

    4. Another effective technique is to start your notetaking by writing a short summary of each chapter and transcribing any meaningful passages or phrases. If you are unsure how to simplify your thoughts, imagine that someone has tapped you on the shoulder and asked you to explain the chapter you just finished reading. They have never read this book and lack any idea of the subject matter. How would you explain it to them?

      The so-called Richard Feynman technique, n'cest pas?

      From whom did he crib it? Did he credit them, or was it just distilled into part of the culture?

      This is also similar to the rubber duck method of debugging a program in some sense.

    5. Most of us were taught as children to treat books as something sacred—no folding the page corners, and no writing in the margins, ever.

      Most Medieval manuscripts specifically left wide columns of space to encourage readers to mark up their texts.

      cross reference: Medieval notepads - Khan Academy

      <small>Detail, London, British Library, Harley MS 3487 (13th century)—[source](http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=16790)</small>

    6. Adapt your notetaking system to suit your goals.

      More solid advice. Seems basic because it is.

    7. The best technique for notetaking is whichever one works for you and is easy to stick to. While there are hundreds of systems on the internet, you need to take one of them and adapt it until you have your own system.

      Solid advice. Advice I've given before.

      Pick a system, use it, refine it. Don't over-engineer it. You'll find that many parts of it you'll never reuse.

    8. How does the book relate to topics you’re already familiar with?


      Some people think and endeavor to read a book once and take such great notes that they'll never have to read it again. They're fooling themselves if they think they can do this. The context of what's in the book compared to the context of what they already know is ever-changing. The new you that re-reads a book years or months later will notice new and different things. Make new and interesting connections. Much like Heraclitus's river, we ourselves are ever-changing, and our changing contexts will allow us to get different things from what we're reading on subsequent visits.

    9. can help you retain more and make deeper connections.

      Often forgotten in the reading and learning processes is creating connections between our new content and what we already know. This is some of the power behind the basic idea in zettelkasten of creating links between knowledge.

    10. Before beginning this piece I'm reminded to note some advice given to me by Rick Kurtzman at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) on reading scripts: If you're not going to act on having read (a script), then why bother having read it in the first place?

      He meant to make notes, write coverage, create writer lists for rewriting, producer lists for selling, director list for directing, casting lists. One should tell people about the (good) things one read. Make your reading produce something.

  2. Aug 2021
    1. in De discipline scholarum, a guidebook made in the 1230s for students and teachers at the University of Paris, it is explained how a student should bring such slips of parchment to class for taking notes. Interestingly, some of these slips have survived because they were pasted in a student’s textbook, like the one seen in the image above. These are truly the medieval equivalent of our “yellow sticky notes.” The practice of bringing scrap material into the classroom was a much broader medieval phenomenon, as is shown by the famous birch bark notes that survive from 13th-century Russia.

      Students used offcuts (or scraps) of parchment for writing notes on in class.

    2. The most common and sensible location for putting down thoughts, critique or notes was the margin of the medieval book. Consider this: you wouldn’t think so looking at a medieval page, but on average only half of it was filled with the actual text. A shocking fifty to sixty percent was designed to be margin. As inefficient as this may seem, the space came in handy for the reader. As the Middle Ages progressed it became more and more common to resort to the margin for note-taking.
    3. Connecting a marginal remark to the relevant passage in the text was usually done with a duplicated symbol, called a signe de renvoi: one was placed in front of the marginal note, the other near the word or passage that the remark commented upon.

      Evolution of footnotes

    4. there are very few medieval scenes in which someone is reading but not writing—where books are present but pens are not. In part, this has to do with medieval study practices. Readers would usually have a pen nearby even when they were just reading. After all, remarks and critiques needed to be added to the margin at the spur of the moment. “Penless” images, while rare, often show a crowded desktop.

      Images of Medieval reading practices generally pictured pens along with books. In the rare cases where pens were not included, the desks pictured were messy and thus covered up the pens involved.

    1. The De disciplina scholarum, a student guidebook from Paris, stipulated that wax tablets or tiny slips of parchment be taken into the classroom for note-taking. These notes were later added to the margins of students’ textbooks.
    1. Media and the Mind: Art, Science and Notebooks as Paper Machines, 1700-1830 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2022), 550 pp + 60 figures.

      I can't wait to read Media and the Mind: Art, Science and Notebooks as Paper Machines, 1700-1830 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2022)!

      I see some bits on annotation hiding in here that may be of interest to @RemiKalir and @anterobot.

      If you need some additional eyeballs on it prior to publication, I'm happy to mark it up in exchange for the early look.

    1. https://collect.readwriterespond.com/how-to-remember-more-of-what-you-read/

      Some useful looking links here. Thanks Aaron.

      I've been digging deeper and deeper into some of the topics and sub-topics.

      The biggest problem I've seen thus far is a lot of wanna-be experts and influencers (especially within the Roam Research space) touching on the very surface of problem. I've seen more interesting and serious people within the Obsidian community sharing their personal practices and finding pieces of that useful.

      The second issue may be that different things work somewhat differently for different people, none of whom are using the same tools or even general systems. Not all of them have the same end goals either. Part of the key is finding something useful that works for you or modifying something slowly over time to get it to work for you.

      At the end of the day your website holds the true answer: read, write, respond (along with the implied "repeat" at the end).

      One of the best and most thorough prescriptions I've seen is Sönke Ahrens' book which he's written after several years of using and researching a few particular systems.

      I've been finding some useful tidbits from my own experience and research into the history of note taking and commonplace book traditions. The memory portion intrigues me a lot as well as I've done quite a lot of research into historical methods of mnemonics and memory traditions. Naturally the ancient Greeks had most of this all down within the topic of rhetoric, but culturally we seem to have unbundled and lost a lot of our own traditions with changes in our educational system over time.

    1. https://kimberlyhirsh.com/2018/06/29/a-starttofinish-literature.html

      Great overview of a literature review with some useful looking links to more specifics on note taking methods.

      Most of the newer note taking tools like Roam Research, Obsidian, etc. were not available or out when she wrote this. I'm curious how these may have changed or modified her perspective versus some of the other catch-as-catch-can methods with pen/paper/index cards/digital apps?

    1. https://kimberlyhirsh.com/2019/04/01/dissertating-in-the.html

      A description of some of Kimiberly Hirsh's workflow in keeping a public research notebook (or commonplace book).

      I'd be curious to know what type of readership and response she's gotten from this work in the past. For some it'll bet it's possibly too niche for a lot of direct feedback, but some pieces may be more interesting than others.

      Did it help her organize her thoughts and reuse the material later on?

    1. How To Do Sketchnoting (Even If You "Can't Draw"!)

      a lesson with Emily Mills of the Sketchnote Academy


      Types of Sketchnotes

      • Lecture based
      • Experience based

      Skills for sketchnotes

      • Listening
        • looking for ideas, high level
      • Writing
      • Drawing

      Pairing images and words together to be dynamic and memorable.

      One doesn't need to be the greatest artist to do sketchnotes.

      memorable >> masterpiece recognizable >> realistic big ideas >> nitty gritty

      Basic drawing

      Seven building blocks for drawing

      • dot
      • straight line
      • crooked line
      • curvy line
      • circle
      • triangle
      • square


      • The fewer elements, the easier
      • Rearrange rotate, reorient shapes


      • standard stick person
      • A person
      • oval person
      • star person

      Containers and connectors

      Boxes are boring, so add frames or more interesting Use containers to separate information that is different from the rest or to highlight.

      • boxes
      • frames
      • nails/thumbtacks
      • star "pow" outline
      • box with a shadow

      Tell people where to read next

      • Create a really clear header
      • help people with connectors (dotted lines, arrows, numbering)

      Start out small first as it's more intimidating to use bigger formats


      • Sketchone marker (thin point ink, pigment or permanent and not water-based, otherwise bleedover in coloring)
      • Tombow dual brush markers for color
        • two grey tones, one lighter and one darker
        • small handful of colors (red, blue, yellow, green)

      How to Sketchnote

      • Step 1: Header
      • Step 2: Layout (top to bottom/left to right is usually more intuitive) Pre-plan this. Think about connectors.
      • Step 3: Consistency
        • headers, characters, size of writing,
      • Step 4: Refine
        • check spelling
        • whiteout for mess ups (gellyroll white gel pen)
        • ensure connectors are obvious
      • Step 5: Guiding shapes (to help flow of information on page)
        • stippling
        • cloud outlines
        • lines in the negative space (also creates contrast)
      • Step 6: Coloring in
        • greys first, dark then light
        • highlighting connectors
        • shadows on boxes, ribbons, connectors
        • color should be more of a highlight than a background filler (it's not a coloring book)

      Higher contrast notes are better


    2. Anecdotal mention here of someone using sketchnotes or doodling as a mnemonic device.

      Sketchnotes could be a means of implementing visual method of loci in one's note taking. Like creating a faux memory palace. Also somewhat similar, expecially in the case of the leaf doodle mentioned above, to the idea of drolleries, but in this case, they're not taking advantage of the memory's greater capacity of imagination to make things even more memorable for long term retention.

    1. Sketchnotes by Chad Moore and Chris Wilson


      Sketchnotes are ideas not art.

      Squiggle birds - take squiggles and give them beaks, eyes, and bird feet. (Idea apparently from Austin Kleon.)

      How you might take notes if you'd never been told how to.

      • There is no particular app or platform that is the "right" one.

      Common elements:

      • Headlines and sub headlines are common
        • Elegant text / fancy text
      • Icons
      • containers - ways of holding information together
        • this can be explicit or via white space
      • flow of information (arrows)
      • arrangements or layouts of how information is displayed
        • top to bottom, circles, columns, stream of flow of ideas
      • people
        • emotions, perhaps using emoji-like faces
      • shadows, highlights


      Simple can be better. Complexity may make understanding more difficult.


      A few they pulled off of the web

      Sketchnote Selfie

      Goal: Create an info rich portrait with character. Portrait, name, info, location, passions, hobbies, interests, social usernames, now section, etc.

    1. https://mentalpivot.com/solutions-for-taking-notes-when-listening-to-podcasts/

      I definitely need a better way of doing this myself. Not a fan of paying $5/month for NoteCast. Airr is iOS only.

      Sharing the link from the app with timecode seems the best, but it would be nice to have the transcription piece as well.

    1. http://www.connectedtext.com/manfred.php

      A nice essay about note taking in general, the author's long history using many methods including index cards and a variety of digital versions. Ultimately he settled on a private desktop wiki called ConnectedText.

      He talks about Luhmann's zettelkasten and some of the pros/cons as well as things that can be left out when implemented in a digital version like ConnectedText.

      He's reasonably connected to the tradition of note taking, though doesn't seem to be as steeped in the Renaissance traditions of commonplace books specifically.

    2. Beatrice Webb, the famous sociologist and political activist, reported in 1926: "'Every one agrees nowadays', observe the most noted French writers on the study of history, 'that it is advisable to collect materials on separate cards or slips of paper. . . . The advantages of this artifice are obvious; the detachability of the slips enables us to group them at will in a host of different combinations; if necessary, to change their places; it is easy to bring texts of the same kind together, and to incorporate additions, as they are acquired, in the interior of the groups to which they belong.'" [6]


      Webb 1926, p. 363. The number of scholars who have used the index card method is legion, especially in sociology and anthropology, but also in many other subjects. Claude Lévy-Strauss learned their use from Marcel Mauss and others, Roland Barthes used them, Charles Sanders Peirce relied on them, and William Van Orman Quine wrote his lectures on them, etc.

    3. A wiki allows one to build increasingly more complex relationships between what might appear to be at first unrelated bits and pieces of information. The motto that characterizes this approch is: "It's not the data, it's the relationship" and it certainly rings true for me in the context of note-taking.
    1. The first step in translating experience, either of other men's writing, or of your own life, into the intellectual sphere, is to give it form. Merely to name an item of experience often invites you to explain it; the mere taking of a note from a book is often a prod to reflection. At the same time, of course, the taking of a note is a great aid in comprehending what you are reading.

      on the purpose of taking notes, annotating one's reading, or commonplacing

      highlight is a quote from

      C. Wright Mills' profound "Appendix: On Intellectual Craftsmanship," as found in his book on The Sociological Imagination.[16]

    2. I should perhaps also note that I try, whenever possible, not to collect raw quotes or information simply copied from the Internet or from books, but to write excerpts or summaries in my own words on the basis of my reading. Luhmann called this "reformulating writing" and argued that such an approach is most important for one's own intellectual life. But this idea is not a new discovery Luhmann made. In fact, the idea that excerpts should be used to keep on's research goes back to at least the Renaissance when people first began to make extensive excerpts on paper.

      This is also related to the ideas of invention as well as the analogy of the bee in relation to commonplaces. Link this to the bee analogy of Seneca the Younger and Macrobius in Saturnalia.

    1. Some thoughts about leaving space in new notebooks, especially for one's future self:

      • contact information in front in case of loss
      • space for a future table of contents to come
      • space for page numbers and dates
      • space in the back for house keeping, indices, etc.


    1. Müller-Wille and Scharf ‘Indexing Nature’, also points out that Linnaeus interleaved blanksheets into his texts so that he could take notes. Cooper points out that this had been a common practice in natural historysince at least the late seventeenth century (Cooper, Inventing the Indigenous, 74–5).

      Apparently interleaving blank sheets into texts was a more common practice than I had known! I've seen it in the context of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) using the practice to take notes in his Bible, but not in others.

    2. For example, his erasable writing tablet is referenced inW. Blunt, Linnaeus: The Compleat Naturalist(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), 70.

      What form did Carl Linnaeus' erasable writing tablet take?

    3. First, what were the economies of attention thatguided his commonplacing techniques? Second, what type of impact did his note-taking skillshave upon the way that he arranged information in texts?

      The two questions addressed in this article.

    1. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-05-08-reagan-notes-book-brinkley_n.htm

      An article indicating that President Ronald Reagan kept a commonplace book throughout his life. He maintained it on index cards, often with as many as 10 entries per card. The article doesn't seem to indicate that there was any particular organization, index, or taxonomy involved.

      It's now housed at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA.

    1. " Havens' inclusive approach and argument for a broad definition of the commonplace book responds to previous scholarship whose scope has been restricted to documents that fit classical theories of the commonplace. In Havens' view, this exclusivity obscures much of the actual history and personal practices of compilers of commonplaces, particularly because it focuses on Renaissance humanist compilations that were made for print.

      I take this more inclusive approach to note taking as well.

    1. One might weU see a further example of this process in the incorporation into Alsted's Consiliarius académicas et schohsticus (1610) of a category of random, day-to-day observations and reading notes ("ephemerides" or "diaria").

      Is this similar to the mixing of a daily journal page with note taking seen in systems like Roam Research and the way some use Obsidian?

  3. Jul 2021
    1. To be informed is to know simply that something is the case. To be enlightened is to know, in addition, what it is all about: why it is the case, what its connections are with other facts, in what respects it is the same, in what respects it is different, and so forth.

      The distinctions between being informed and enlightened.

      Learning might be defined as the pathway from being informed as a preliminary base on the way to full enlightenment. Pedagogy is the teacher's plan for how to take this path.

      How would these definitions and distinctions fit into Bloom's taxonomy?

      Note that properly annotating and taking notes into a commonplace book can be a serious (necessary?) step one might take on the way towards enlightenment.

    2. the more active the reading the better.

      How much more active can it be than also actively annotating and note taking?

    1. Highfive Notebook indexing method

      A clever method for creating an index or tracking system in a bound notebook by creating an index and then marking the edge of the page for related pages.

      Could also be used for tracking one's mood or other similar taxonomic items.

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>u/mor-leidr </span> in Has anyone used this indexing system? Curious what you think : commonplacebook (<time class='dt-published'>07/30/2021 12:29:53</time>)</cite></small>

    1. This is all too correct. Sadly the older methods for writing, note taking, thinking, and memory have fallen by the wayside, so most literate moderns don't have the tradition most of (elite educated) Western culture has had for the past 2000+ years. The long tradition of commonplace books and their related versions including waste books, florilegium, sudelbücher, scholia, glossae, notebooks, anthologies, sylvae, table books, vade mecum, memoranda books, diaries, miscellanies, pocket books, thesauruses, etc. underlines your thesis well. The Zettelkasten, exactly like almost all of these others, is simply an iteration of the commonplace book instantiated into index card form. One of the reasons that Umberto Eco's advice on writing seems so similar to the zettelkasten method is that he was a medievalist scholar who was aware of these long traditions of writing, note taking, and memory and leveraged these for himself, though likely in a slightly different manner. Would anyone suggest that he didn't have a voluminous output or an outsized impact on society and culture? If one really wants to go crazy on the idea of backlinks and the ideas of creativity and invention, perhaps they ought to brush up on their Catalan and read some Ramon Llull? He was an 11th century philosopher and polymath who spent a lot of time not only memorizing much of his personal knowledge, but who invented combinatorial creative methods for juxtaposing his volumes of information to actively create new ideas. I guarantee no backlinking system held a match to his associative methods. Now if someone wanted to mix some mysticism into the fray, then perhaps there might be a competition... Many who are now writing so positively about Zettelkasten or backlinks are doing so in much the same way that humanist scholars like Desiderius Erasmus, Rodolphus Agricola, and Philip Melanchthon did when writing about and re-popularizing commonplace books in the 1500s. The primary difference being that the chance that they leave as lasting a legacy is much smaller. Worse many of them are crediting Luhmann for the actual invention of the Zettelkasten when his is but one instantiation on a long evolution of many note taking devices over literal millennia. I'm still waiting for folks to spend more time talking about Carl Linnaeus' revolutionary invention and use of the index card. Or John Locke's system for creating a new indexing system for commonplace books. Generally we don't talk about these innovations because their users spent more of their time using their systems to get other more important things done for their legacies. In the end, the message seems clear, anyone can be incredibly productive; most of it boils down to having some sort of system of reading, thinking, note taking, and new production and sticking with it for a while. Have a system; use your system; evolve it slowly to work well for you and the way you think and work.

    1. https://forum.obsidian.md/t/epub-support/1403

      Some interesting resources here, though none currently suit workflows I'm keen to support yet. There is a reference to FuturePress' epub.js which could be intriguing, though even here, I'm more likely to stick with Hypothes.is for annotating and note taking to keep context.

    1. In the Western tradition, these memory traditions date back to ancient Greece and Rome and were broadly used until the late 1500s. Frances A. Yates outlines much of their use in The Art of Memory (Routledge, 1966). She also indicates that some of their decline in use stems from Protestant educational reformers like Peter Ramus who preferred outline and structural related methods. Some religious reformers didn't appreciate the visual mnemonic methods as they often encouraged gross, bloody, non-religious, and sexualized imagery.

      Those interested in some of the more modern accounts of memory practice (as well as methods used by indigenous and oral cultures around the world) may profit from Lynne Kelly's recent text Memory Craft (Allen & Unwin, 2019).

      Lots of note taking in the West was (and still is) done via commonplace book, an art that is reasonably well covered in Earle Havens' Commonplace Books: A History of Manuscripts and Printed Books from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century (Yale, 2001).

    1. https://bzawilski.medium.com/using-zettelkasten-and-obsidian-to-learn-more-effectively-333ac90d001a

      Facile overview article that touches on the basics but looses sight of the longer flow of history.

      Don't recommend.

    2. the idea is to render very clear the connections between ideas with as little friction as possible.

      The goal of note taking and tools for it is to make capturing ideas and creating connections between them as easy and friction free as possible. This allows note taking come closer to actual thinking with better long term retention.

    1. https://dev.to/tmhall99/beyond-taking-notes-or-how-i-joined-the-roamcult-22k3

      Lots of resources on the topic to start down a rabbit hole, but no clear outline or thesis of what is going on or why it's useful. At best a list of potentially useful links for getting started.

    1. This is pretty slick and looks pretty in its published form. Great to see others are using clever set ups like this as posting interfaces.

      I have a feeling that other TiddlyWiki users would love this sort of thing. While TW may not seem as au courant, it's still got some awesome equivalent functionality and great UI which is what most of the users in the note taking space really care about.

      I do still wish that there was a micropub set up for Hypothes.is to make this sort of thing easier for the non-technical users.

    1. A note is only as useful as the context you place it in. A note’s true value unfolds in its network of connections and relationships to others.You don’t have to use your brain anymore to find separate ideas from different books related to each other. In a Zettelkasten, you don’t file notes in the context you found them but in the context in which you want to discover them.

      Notes often require some context to give them value and more meaning, but when collecting them, placing them in contexts where they might be discovered in the future and connected to other ideas can give them additional value.

    1. Feature Idea: Chaos Monkey for PKM

      This idea is a bit on the extreme side, but it does suggest that having a multi-card comparison view in a PKM system would be useful.

      Drawing on Raymond Llull's combitorial memory system from the 12th century and a bit of Herman Ebbinghaus' spaced repetition (though this is also seen in earlier non-literate cultures), one could present two (or more) random atomic notes together as a way of juxtaposing disparate ideas from one's notes.

      The spaced repetition of the cards would be helpful for one's long term memory of the ideas, but it could also have the secondary effect of nudging one to potentially find links or connections between the two ideas and help to spur creativity for the generation of new hybrid ideas or connection to other current ideas based on a person's changed context.

      I've thought about this in the past (most likely while reading Frances Yates' Art of Memory), but don't think I've bothered to write it down (or it's hiding in untranscribed marginalia).

    1. Best Bible Note-Taking System: Jonathan Edwards's Miscellanies


      Overview of Jonathan Edwards Miscellanies system along with a a few wide-margin bibles. Everhard apparently hasn't heard of the commonplace concept, though I do notice that someone mentions the zettelkasten system in the comments.

    1. While the programming part creates a lot of flexibility, the creation of this system seems awfully heavy and kludgy.

      I wonder about the long term stability and data ownership, but it seems so heavy I'm already turned off.

    1. Most of this is material I've seen or heard in other forms in the past. It's relatively well reviewed and summarized here though, but it's incredibly dense to try to pull out, unpack and actually use if one were coming to it as a something new.

      3 Productivity hacks

      • Zen Meditation (Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryū Suzuki
      • Research Process -- Annotations and notes, notecards
      • Rigorous exercise routine -- plateau effect

      The Zen meditation hack sounds much in the line of advice to often get away from what you're studing/researching and to let the ideas stew for a bit before coming back to them. It's the same principle as going for walks frequently heard from folks or being a flâneur. (cross reference Nassim Nicholas Taleb et al.) The other version of this that's similar are the diffuse modes of learning (compared with focused modes) described in learning theory. (Examples in work of Barbara Oakley and Terry Sejnowski in https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn)

      I've generally come to the idea that genius doesn't exist myself. Most of it distills down to use of tools like commonplace books.

      Perhaps worth looking into some of the following to see what, if anything, is different than prior version of the commonplace book tradition:

      The Ryan Holiday Notecard System @Intermittent Diversion - https://youtu.be/QoFZQOJ8aA0

      Article On Notecard System [1] https://medium.com/thrive-global/the-notecard-system-the-key-for-remembering-organizing-and-using-everything-you-read-4f48a82371b1 [2] https://www.writingroutines.com/notecard-system-ryan-holiday/ [3] https://www.gallaudet.edu/tutorial-and-instructional-programs/english-center/the-process-and-type-of-writing/pre-writing-writing-and-revising/the-note-card-system/

    1. On the difference for writing for one's self and for others. Of course there's also the need to be able to re-decifer one's notes again in the future. It may be best to keep more detailed for your future self as if you're writing for the public.

      I like the idea of distance in "communication space" which comes up in the comments. This is related to context collapse and shared contexts which are often too-important in our communication with regard to being understood in the far future.

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Matthias Melcher</span> in Commonplace Book | x28's new Blog (<time class='dt-published'>07/06/2021 11:13:34</time>)</cite></small>

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Matthias Melcher</span> in About | x28's new Blog (<time class='dt-published'>07/06/2021 11:09:19</time>)</cite></small>

    1. Which makes them similar to “commonplace”: reusable in many places. But this connotation has led to a pejorative flavor of the German translation “Gemeinplatz” which means platitude. That’s why I prefer to call them ‘evergreen’ notes, although I am not sure if I am using this differentiation correctly.

      I've only run across the German "Gemeinplatz" a few times with this translation attached. Sad to think that this negative connotation has apparently taken hold. Even in English the word commonplace can have a somewhat negative connotation as well meaning "everyday, ordinary, unexceptional" when the point of commonplacing notes is specifically because they are surprising or extraordinary by definition.

      Your phrasing of "evergreen notes" seems close enough. I've seen some who might call the shorter notes you're making either "seedlings" or "budding" notes. Some may wait for bigger expansions of their ideas into 500-2000 word essays before they consider them "evergreen" notes. (Compare: https://maggieappleton.com/garden-history and https://notes.andymatuschak.org/Evergreen_notes). Of course this does vary quite a bit from person to person in my experience, so your phrasing certainly fits.

      I've not seen it crop up in the digital gardens or zettelkasten circles specifically but the word "evergreen" is used in the journalism space) to describe a fully formed article that can be re-used wholesale on a recurring basis. Usually they're related to recurring festivals, holidays, or cyclical stories like "How to cook the perfect Turkey" which might get recycled a week before Thanksgiving every year.

    2. Note that such careful treatment applies only to a certain kind of my notes. While many project-related notes go straight to simple folders of the operating system, the notes that don’t fit in one of the folders, deserve special attention. I don’t know yet where I might deploy them — possibly in multiple places.

      I like that you've got such a fascinating system. It's very similar in form and substance to one that I use, but which relies on a wholly different technology stack: https://boffosocko.com/2020/08/29/a-note-taking-problem-and-a-proposed-solution/

    3. One thing expected from the note-taking tools, makes me particularly skeptical: their collaborative/ public use. I think the lifecycle of notes cannot be continuous from capturing to communication, unless I forgo the possibility of cryptic, sloppy, abbreviated shorthand meant just for the “me later” that Magdalena Böttger depicted so aptly in 2005.

      Some of the value of notes being done and readable in public means that one typically puts a bit more effort into them at the start. This can make them much more useful and valuable later on. It also means that they usually have more substance and context for use by others in collaboration or other reuses.

      Short notes are often called fleeting notes which may or may not be processed into something more substantive. The ones that do become more substantive can more easily be reused in other future settings.

      Sonke Ahrens' book How to Take Smart Notes is one of the better arguments for the why and how of note taking.

    1. Is it useful to the person writing to know that what’s written may be readable by others and that spurs deeper thought in reflection – or is that more blog-like than note-like?

      I often find that doing the work in public ups the quality and effort I put into the thing because I know there's at least the off-hand chance that someone else might read it.

      Generally this means a better contextualized product for myself when I come back to revisit it later, even if no one else saw it. Without it, sometimes my personal scribbles don't hold up when I revisit them, and I can't tell what I had originally intended because I didn't flesh out the idea enough.

    1. nvALT 2 is a fork of the original Notational Velocity with some additional features and interface modifications, including MultiMarkdown functionality. It has been developed by Elastic Threads (David Halter) and Brett Terpstra, and made available for free (donations accepted).

    1. Notational Velocity is an application that stores and retrieves notes.

  4. Jun 2021
  5. dash.eloquent.works dash.eloquent.works
    1. An interesting tool for taking notes from Jeremy Ho. Designed with Roam Research in mind.

      The Eloquent tool is available to install! Capture ideas in-context with:<br>• On-page highlighting<br>• Nested bullets<br>• /snippets<br>• [[braces]] and #tag syntax<br>Quick capture is a hotkey away. Bonus hotkey sends your highlights/links to @RoamResearch pic.twitter.com/vLLbPX4zwW

      — Jeremy Ho (@jeremyqho) July 21, 2020
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      I wish it could save data as a local text or markdown file so it would also be easier to use with Obsidian or other note taking tools. It's similar in nature to the Roam Highlighter extension.

      Details at https://www.notion.so/Eloquent-Resource-Center-72f95c2a71d34c5181e4907edf7a96e1

    1. Panel: The Future of Note Taking (FoNT) Speakers engaged in reimagining the technology and practices of digital note taking will discuss their work and engage each other and attendees in conversation. The panel will be moderated by Dan Whaley (Hypothesis) and feature speakers Ward Cunningham (FedWiki), Daniel Doyon (Readwise), Bastien Guerry (Org-mode), Eduardo Ivanec (Agora), Oliver Sauter (Memex), Conor White Sullivan (Roam), and Junyu Zhan (Logseq).

      For this panel I think it might have been useful to have someone like Maggie Appleton participate for her perspective with respect to some of the history, design, and even anthropology of this space.

      Anne-Laure Le Cunff might have been an interesting participant for her leadership and writing on use and UI as well as thinking about "why" note taking.

      I'd also nominate Argentina Ortega Sáinz for her work on academic integrations of Zotero with tools like Obsidian.

      Perhaps worth noting when revisiting this topic next year? cc: @dwhly @nateangell @hypothesis

    1. A privacy-first, open-source knowledge base

      Logseq is a joyful, open-source outliner that works on top of local plain-text Markdown and Org-mode files. Use it to write, organize and share your thoughts, keep your to-do list, and build your own digital garden.

      Note taking/annotation tool discussed on day two of I Annotate 2021.

    1. A GNU Emacs major mode for convenient plain text markup — and much more. Org mode is for keeping notes, maintaining to-do lists, planning projects, authoring documents, computational notebooks, literate programming and more — in a fast and effective plain text system.

      A note taking tool discussed by [[Bastien Guerry]] at I Annotate 2021.

    1. Write and cite, research and re-search, and never get lost in Databyss. Welcome to your new word processor.

      Ran across this in the closing party session of IAnno21.

    1. Too many “Digital Gardens” end up as not much more than a record of someone dicking around with their note-taking workflow for a couple of months.

      I've seen this pattern. I suspect some of the issue is having a clean, useful user interface for actually using the thing instead of spending time setting it up and tweaking it.

    1. Synopsis of two different methods for creating a Zettelkasten in Roam Research:

      • page based method
      • block reference method

      Nothing earth shattering here, though one must wonder about import/export of notes into other potential useful systems.

      Nothing dramatically new here.

  6. May 2021
    1. Innos seems like an interesting note taking app in the vein of Obsidian, but the lack of ability to own the raw data is a deal killer here for me.

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Ton Zijlstra</span> in Man at Knowledge Work – Interdependent Thoughts (<time class='dt-published'>05/26/2021 13:35:30</time>)</cite></small>

    1. he is focusing on the tensions that what he read causes with other things he knows and has read. He’s not just lifting things out that chime with him, but the things that cause friction. Because in that friction lies the potential of learning.

      Dissonance of juxtaposed ideas, and particularly those just at the edge of chaos, can be some of the most fruitful places for learning.

      Attempting to resolve these frictions can generate new knowledge.

      This is what commonplace books are meant to do. Record this knowledge, allow one to juxtapose, and to think and write into new spaces.

      It's also important to look more closely at things that don't cause dissonance. Is it general wisdom that makes them true or seem true? Question the assumptions underneath them. Where do they come from? Why do they seem comfortable? How could one make them uncomfortable. Questioning assumptions can lead to new pathways.

      An example of this is the questioning the final assumption of Euclid (the "ugly" one) which led mathematicians into different geometry systems.

    1. One of the toughest parts of note taking systems can be moving from one to another, particularly digital ones, as the technical overhead is almost never easy and typically requires a huge amount of work. Wouter's description here may seem facile, but I'm sure it wasn't simple, not to mention the fact that he's got more facility with coding than the average person ever will.

      I do like the idea of basic text or markdown files that can be used in a variety of settings with relatively easy wiki mark up.

      Of the systems I've seen, this seems to be the most portable format, but it also requires software that supports it at the base level, but which still provides search and other useful functionalities.

    1. AS PAPER became ever more abundant from the fourteenth century onward, note-taking proliferated, expanding from erasable wax tablets (the method used by Cicero and medieval wool merchants) and erasable donkey skin to permanent slips of paper and notebooks. An early-modern term for notes was “scraps.” Piles of them were called scrap heaps, and tragically for historians, most notes ended up there. Yet notes made in the margins of great printed books survived, and they are like rare seashells in the sands of the libraries.

      Early versions of annotations. Sad to realize that most of them likely perished.

      Interesting to think of this problem of note taking actually coining the phrase "scrap heap".

    2. In effect, Too Much to Know is a reference book about reference books, containing chapters on early “information management,” note-taking, reference genres and “finding devices,” compiling, and the impact of reference books.

      I love all of these various topics.

    1. Media theorist Markus Krajewski has devoted a book specifically to the paper machinery of cards and catalogs. He traces the origins of this machinery back to sixteenth-century attempts at indexing books, and through the twists and turns of library technology in Europe and the U.S. over the following centuries.
    1. Thanks for an awesome post. I think that I have quite similar ideas to how you think about notes and note-taking, although the terminology is different. But even so, you raised several points that were not only linked to my own thinking, but gave me new thoughts and ideas to work with. Cheers for that.

      I was just about to ask you what your system looked like Michael, but then I realized that you've tucked many of them into Hypothes.is at https://via.hypothes.is/https://www.zylstra.org/blog/2020/11/100-days-in-obsidian-pt-4-writing-notes/

    2. Ton delineates his ideas between notions, notes, ideas, and work notes. It's not too dissimilar to the ideas others like Maggie Appleton have written about various smaller pieces being built up from small "seedlings" into larger evergreen pieces within a digital gardens framing.

      I do like the idea of emergent outlines he notes over Ahrens' speculative outlines.

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

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

  7. Apr 2021
    1. Millions of those displaced have one or multiple disabilities.

      Millions of people affected by humanitarian disasters experience disabilities.

    1. Here are two examples from about 5,000 that I have accumulated since medical school: JG061210        m         AP Abscess I&D     “Pus Volcano” AR090808       f           Fever Cellulitis US-guided IV   in IVDU            Forgot to listen for murmur

      Example of the author's notes. JG probably the initial of patient, followed by the date m is the gender/sex AP abscess is the diagnosis The second line is the learning point, procedure, or a piece of the patient's story. The third is freestyle.

    2. every patient I see gets two or three lines in a pocket journal. The first line lists the patient’s initials, gender, date seen, and chief complaint or diagnosis. On the second line, I’ll note a learning point, any procedure I performed, and one other piece of the patient’s story. The more random the better—captured correctly, a strange component of the interaction can jog my memory of the entire encounter.

      Interesting structure. Might be able to start from here.

    3. SOAP only dictates an order of information, not content or style. The writing task’s transition from labored struggle (for students) to automatic function (for senior residents) is accompanied by improved readability.

      Important. SOAP only dictates an order, not style nor content. The quest is to improve readability and transfer information as objective as possible, without losing any important narrative transmitted orally from our patient. It includes how we take notes for our future self.

  8. Mar 2021
    1. In the attached YouTube video Dan talks through his post as usual, but he has the added bonus here of showing a split screen of his annotated copy of the book with his Obsidian notebook open. We then see a real time transcription of his note taking process of moving from scant highlights in the book to more fleshed out thoughts and notes in his notebook. We also see him cross referencing various materials for alternate definitions and resources.


  9. Feb 2021
    1. Others on the page here (specifically Dpthomas87's A, B, C) have done a great job at outlining their methods which I'm generally following. So I'll focus a bit more on the mechanics.

      I rely pretty heavily on Hypothes.is for most of my note taking, highlights, and annotations. This works whether a paper is online or as a pdf I read online or store locally and annotate there.

      Then I use RSS to pipe my data from Hypothes.is into a text file in OneDrive for my Obsidian vault using IFTTT.com. I know that a few are writing code for the Hypothes.is API to port data directly into Roam Research presently; I hope others might do it for Obsidian as well.)

      Often at the end of the day or end of the week, I'll go through my drafts folder everything is in to review things, do some light formatting and add links, tags, or other meta data and links to related ideas.

      Using Hypothes.is helps me get material into the system pretty quickly without a lot of transcription (which doesn't help my memory or retention). And the end of the day or end of week review helps reinforce things as well as help to surface other connections.

      I'm hoping that as more people use Hypothesis for social annotation, the cross conversations will also be a source of more helpful cross-linking of ideas and thought.

      I prefer to keep my notes as atomic as I can.

      For some smaller self-contained things like lectures, I may keep a handful of notes together rather than splitting them apart, but they may be linked to larger structures like longer courses or topics of study.

      If an article only has one or two annotations I'll keep them together in the same note, but books more often have dozens or hundreds of notes which I keep in separate files.

      For those who don't have a clear idea of what or why they're doing this, I highly recommend reading [[Sönke Ahrens]]' book Smart Notes.

      I do have a handful of templates for books, articles, and zettels to help in prompting me to fill in appropriate meta data for various notes more quickly. For this I'm using the built-in Templates plug-in and then ctrl-shift-T to choose a specific template as necessary.

      Often I'll use Hypothes.is and tag things as #WantToRead to quickly bookmark things into my vault for later thought, reading, or processing.

      For online videos and lectures, I'll often dump YouTube URLs into https://docdrop.org/, which then gives a side by side transcript for more easily jumping around as well as annotating directly from the transcript if I choose.

      I prefer to use [[links]] over #tags for connecting information. Most of the tags I use tend to be for organizational or more personal purposes like #WantToRead which I later delete when done.

      When I run across interesting questions or topics that would make good papers or areas of future research I'll use a tag like #OpenQuestion, so when I'm bored I can look at a list of what I might like to work on next.

      Syndicated copies: https://forum.obsidian.md/t/research-phd-academics/1446/64?u=chrisaldrich

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

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

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

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

    1. cultural capital

      Introduced by Pierre Bourdieu in the 1970s, the concept has been utilized across a wide spectrum of contemporary sociological research. Cultural capital refers to ‘knowledge’ or ‘skills’ in the broadest sense. Thus, on the production side, cultural capital consists of knowledge about comportment (e.g., what are considered to be the right kinds of professional dress and attitude) and knowledge associated with educational achievement (e.g., rhetorical ability). On the consumption side, cultural capital consists of capacities for discernment or ‘taste’, e.g., the ability to appreciate fine art or fine wine—here, in other words, cultural capital refers to ‘social status acquired through the ability to make cultural distinctions,’ to the ability to recognize and discriminate between the often-subtle categories and signifiers of a highly articulated cultural code. I'm quoting here from (and also heavily paraphrasing) Scott Lash, ‘Pierre Bourdieu: Cultural Economy and Social Change’, in this reader.

  10. Jan 2021
    1. Remember that notes are only an intermediate step towards understanding. Having a beautiful set of perfectly written notes is useless if you don’t understand the subject you are trying to learn.

      too many people forget this simple fact