30 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2022
  2. Apr 2022
    1. https://www.themarginalian.org/2011/06/20/inside-notebooks/

      There are a number of books which feature the sketchbooks and notebooks of famous writers, researchers and artists. However, most of their work is presented as art in and of itself. Rarely are the messiest and ugliest pages pictured. Most of the layouts in these books are laid out as art. Frequently missing are the structural parts and interviews with the original authors talking about their process. How do they actually use these notebooks in practice? How do ideas move from their heads into the notebooks and from there into their practical work? The notebooks only capture raw ideas as a scaffolding for extending the user's brain and thinking, but it doesn't capture the intangible ideas and portions of process which are still trapped within their brains. To be able to evaluate these portions, the author needs to talk or write about those missing portions of the process otherwise the way they create genius is wholly missing. A viewer of such notebooks would be no closer to creating genius for themselves by attempting to follow the same patterns without these additional structures. It's like the indigenous peoples who talk with rocks as part of their cultural practice—so much of what is happening is missing from the description of "talking with rocks" that most people wouldn't even know where to begin, but for the initiated, the process would be imminently crystal clear.

      Which of these books actually delves into the process and does interviews as well?

      This article actually lays out the notebooks as their own form of art rather than centering the idea of creative process as a means of helping others to follow these same patterns. We need the book that does for the art and design area what Sönke Ahrens' book How to Take Smart Notes does for the note taking space. It's interesting to see Niklas Luhmann's collection of 90,000 index cards, but without knowing how he used them and what purpose they served, the enterprise is lost. Similarly the depiction of Roland Barthes' index cards in Roland Barthes has a similar function. Showing them is not equivalent to actually understanding them.

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/3SOmoMcMEey8n9dSUWhPJw

    1. https://www.themarginalian.org/2012/11/19/joan-didion-on-keeping-a-notebook/

      A nice little advertisement for Joan Didion's essay "On Keeping a Notebook". Mostly it's pull quotes from the piece without any additional commentary. I've downloaded a copy of the book to read the piece in full myself.

    2. Joan Didion on Keeping a Notebook “We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.”
    1. The Jesuit Francesco Sac-chini, in contrast, commended the interruption in reading that resulted fromstopping to copy a passage into one’s notebook: it slowed down reading and aidedretention.44
    2. Pedagogues considered marginal annotations as the first, optional step towardthe ultimate goal of forming a free-standing collection of excerpts from one’sreading. In practice, of course, readers could annotate their books without takingthe further step of copying excerpts into notebooks.

      Annotations or notes are definitely the first step towards having a collection of excerpts from one's reading. Where to put them can be a useful question though. Should they be in the margins for ease of creation or should they go into a notebook. Both of these methods may require later rewriting/revision or even moving into a more convenient permanent place. The idea "don't repeat yourself" (DRY) in programming can be useful to keep in mind, but the repetition of the ideas in writing and revision can help to quicken the memory as well as potentially surface additional ideas that hadn't occurred upon the notes' original capture.

    3. Early modern scholars referred most often to merchants as exemplars for theirhabit of keeping two notebooks: a daybook (or journal) to record transactionsin the order in which they occurred and a ledger in which these transactionswere sorted into categories, as in double- entry bookkeeping
  3. Feb 2022
    1. One of the biggest disadvantages of digital gardens, to me, is exactly the fact that it’s structured. That is, articles—whether they are blog posts or wiki pages do not matter—are still mainly text-based. You can’t quickly draw rectangles or arrows next to your notes. You can’t draw an eukaryote and point to its nucleus to explain that that’s where the DNA chromosome strings are coiled up (sorry, I’ve been doing some yeast cell research). You can’t print photos or cut out parts from newspapers to paste it besides a schematic. You can’t grab your watercolor paint and brighten up a page. You can’t paste your cat’s whisker in your notebook (for research purposes, of course!). You can’t smear out a blueberry or wet tea leaf to try and capture its smell and color.

      A list of disadvantages of digital gardens versus paper-based notebooks.

    1. Gerben and Brendan Howell created PenPub which connects with a Moleskine/Neo smartpen via bluetooth, turns the lines into an SVG file, uploads that to a static web server, and thereby creates a ‘paper website’ that is a live reflection of your notebook (with a few seconds delay)

      syndicated copy

    1. Companies like Palantir and i2 Analyst’s Notebook have made a killing over the last 15 years selling link chart technologies to the intelligence community (even if, in the case of the former, the relationship has cooled).
    1. Make fleeting notes. Always have something at hand to write withto capture every idea that pops into your mind.

      Fleeting notes are similar to the sorts of things one would have traditionally kept in a waste book.

      Francesco Sacchini recommended the use of two notebooks:

      “Not unlike attentive merchants... [who] keep two books, one small, the other large: the first you would call adversaria or a daybook (ephemerides), the second an account book (calendarium) and ledger (codex).” —Francesco Sacchini "Chapter 13". De ratione libros cum profectu legendi libellus. Wurzburg. p. 91. (1614).

      (See also Blair, Ann M. (2004). "Note taking as an art of transmission". Critical Inquiry. 31 (1): 91. doi:10.1086/427303.)

      The root word ephemeral in this context is highly suggestive of the use and function of fleeting notes.

      The Latin word "ephemerides" can also be translated as "newspaper", useful for only a short period of time.

      Recall also that in a general sense Cicero contrasted the short-lived memoranda of the merchant with the more carefully kept account book designed as a permanent record.

      Reference: Cicero (1930). Pro Quinto Roscio comoedo oratio,"The Speeches". Translated by Freese, John Henry. Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp. 278–81.

    1. In a general sense Cicero contrasted the short-lived memoranda of the merchant with the more carefully kept account book designed as a permanent record.[7]

      Cicero (1930). Pro Quinto Roscio comoedo oratio,"The Speeches". Translated by Freese, John Henry. Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp. 278–81.

      (Not sure if I had this in my notes already from other reading, but adding again just in case.)

  4. Nov 2021
    1. Reporter John Dickerson talking about his notebook.

      While he doesn't mention it, he's capturing the spirit of the commonplace book and the zettelkasten.

      [...] I see my job as basically helping people see and to grab ahold of what's going on.

      You can decide to do that the minute you sit down to start writing or you can just do it all the time. And by the time you get to writing you have a notebook full of stuff that can be used.

      And it's not just about the thing you're writing about at that moment or the question you're going to ask that has to do with that week's event on Face the Nation on Sunday.

      If you've been collecting all week long and wondering why a thing happens or making an observation about something and using that as a piece of color to explain the political process to somebody, then you've been doing your work before you ever sat down to do your work.

      <div style="padding:56.25% 0 0 0;position:relative;"><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/169725470?h=778a09c06f&title=0&byline=0&portrait=0" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></div><script src="https://player.vimeo.com/api/player.js"></script>

      Field Notes: Reporter's Notebook from Coudal Partners on Vimeo.

  5. Sep 2021
  6. Aug 2021
    1. https://somethingdelightful.com/mj5-4791dg

      C.R. Gibson Dot Grid Bonded Leather Journal - Black

      Item Number: MJ5-4791DG $12.00

      • 240 dot grid pages
      • Leather cover
      • Elastic closure
      • Interior back pocket
      • Ribbon marker
      • Measures 5 1/4" W x 8 1/4" H
    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. I am also interested in the work and method of Ross Ashby. His card index and notebooks have been put online by the British Commputer Society. I am fascinated by his law of requisite variety and how variety relates to complexity and its unfolding in general and in relation to design.

      Sounds like Ross Ashby kept a commonplace book here.

      Could be worth looking into: http://www.rossashby.info/ and digging further.

  7. Jul 2021
    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>

  8. Jan 2020
    1. the phenomenal form

      In Fowkes, the 'form of appearance' or the Erscheinungsform.

      Exchange value is the 'form of appearance' of something contained in it, yet distinguishable from it--this 'third thing' will turn out to be 'socially necessary labor time'.

      Book Two of Hegel's Science of Logic, the Doctrine of Essence, begins with a chapter on 'Der Schein,' which appears in A.V. Miller's translation as "Illusory Being" (Hegel, Science of Logic, trans. by A.V. Miller, pp. 393-408).

      Here, Hegel describes "schein" as "reflected immediacy, that is immediacy which is only by means of its negation and which when contrasted with its mediation is nothing but the empty determination of the immediacy of negated determinate being," (p. 396).

      Hegel goes on to remark that "Schein" is "the phenomenon [Phänomen] of skepticism, and the Appearance [Erscheinung] of idealism," (p. 396).

      In describing exchange value as the 'Erscheinungsform' of 'something contained in it, yet distinguishable from it'--which will be labor--Marx is clearly flirting with the terminology surrounding "Illusory Being" in the Science of Logic, which suggests labor as the 'thing-in-itself' of the exchange value. Exchange-value is the reflected immediacy that conceals the congealed labor that it is its essence.

      The passage as a whole is suggestive of how exchange value will wend its way through Marx's demonstration, unfolding from itself determinations of itself.

      Before presenting a long, difficult quotation from Hegel, I think the most straightforward way to present this reference to Hegel is to say present the argument as follows:

      In Kantian idealism, we find that the 'thing-in-itself' cannot become an object of knowledge; consciousness only ever has immediate access to the form of appearance, the 'sensible form' of a 'thing-in-itself' which never presents itself to consciousness. In referring to the value form as the 'form of appearance' of something else which does not appear, Marx is saying that just as idealism subordinates the objectivity of the world to its appearance for consciousness, exchange-value represents immediately an essence that it suppresses, and implicitly, denies the possibility of knowledge of this essence.

      Hegel writes, "Skepticism did not permit itself to say 'It is'; modern idealism did not permit itself to regard knowledge as a knowing of the thing-in-itself; the illusory being of skepticism was supposed to lack any foundation of being, and in idealism the thing-in-itself was not supposed to enter into knowledge. But at the same time, skepticism admitted a multitude of determinations of its illusory being, or rather its illusory being had for content the entire manifold wealth of the world. In idealism, too, Appearance [Erscheinung] embraces within itself the range of these manifold determinateness. This illusory being and this Appearance are immediately thus manifoldly determined. This content, therefore, may well have no being, no thing or thing-in-itself at its base; it remains on its own account as it is; the content has only been transferred from being into an illusory being, so that the latter has within itself those manifold determinateness, which are immediate, simply affirmative, and mutually related as others. Illusory being is, therefore, itself immediately determinate. It can have this or that content; whatever content it has, illusory being does not posit this itself but has it immediately. The various forms of idealism, Leibnizian, Kantian, Fichtean, and others, have not advanced beyond being as determinateness, have not advanced beyond this immediacy, any more than skepticism did. Skepticism permits the content of its illusory being to be given to it; whatever content it is supposed to have, for skepticism it is immediate. The monad of Leibniz evolves its ideas and representations out of itself; but it is not the power that generates and binds them together, rather do they arise in the monad like bubbles; they are indifferent and immediate over against one another and the same in relation to the monad itself. Similarly, the Kantian Appearance [Erscheinung] is a given content of perception; it presupposes affections, determinations of the subject, which are immediately relatively to themselves and to the subject. It may well be that the infinite obstacle of Fichte's idealism has no underlying thing-in-itself, so that it becomes purely a determinateness in the ego; but for the ego, this determinateness which it appropriates and whose externality it sublates is at the same time immediate, a limitation of the ego, which it can transcend but which has in it an element of indifference, so that although the limitation is in the ego, it contains an immediate non-being of the ego." (p. 396-397).

      In Lenin's notebooks on Hegel's Science of Logic, these sections provoke a considerable degree of excitement. Lenin's 'Conspectus of Hegel's Science of Logic' can be accessed via Marxists.org here:


  9. Mar 2017
    1. The paintings of the pointillist Seurat carry the sense of consis-tency between scene and agent to such lengths that his human figures seem on the point of dis-solving into their background.

      Something like organizing Latour's notebooks into some recognizable volume.

  10. Feb 2017
  11. Jan 2017
    1. After all, Archimedes was in need of nothing more than a fixed point to raise the world. Einstein equipped his observers with only a rod and a stopwatch: Why would we require heavier equipment to creep through the dark tiny conduits traced by blind ants?

      The idea of people requiring only the simplest of tools to make an impact on the world is one that makes me connect this piece to the one by Foucault. As this author states, it may be disappointing that the only tools necessary to tackle large issues are notebooks and the ideas within them, making them come off to me more as encyclopedias of past experiences to aid in future ones, or rather they are just a different representation of the self-writing that Foucault mentions.

  12. Aug 2015
  13. Aug 2014
    1. Hupomnemata, in the technical sense, could be account books, public registers, or individual notebooks serving as memory aids. Their use as books of life, as guides for conduct, seems to have become a common thing for a whole cultivated public. One wrote down quotes in them, extracts from books, examples, and actions that one had witnessed or read about, reflections or reasonings that one had heard or that had come to mind. They constituted a material record of things read, heard, or thought, thus offering them up as a kind of accumulated treasure for subsequent rereading and meditation. They also formed a raw material for the drafting of more systematic treatises, in which one presented arguments and means for struggling against some weakness (such as anger, envy, gossip, flattery) or for overcoming some difficult circumstance (a grief, an exile, ruin, disgrace). Thus, when Fundamus requests advice for struggling against the agitations of the soul, Plutarch at that moment does not really have the time to compose a treatise in the proper form, so he will send him, in their present state, the