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  1. Last 7 days
    1. KWoCurr 1 point2 points3 points 5 hours ago (0 children)I actually do use Dewey!

      reply to https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1c4kaps/giving_you_notes_a_unique_id_the_debate_continues/kzop2yh/

      I'm with you on some of this, but let me play devil's advocate for a moment, so that we might hew closer to the question u/atomicnotes has posed:

      If a Dewey Decimal Number is equivalent to a topic heading or subject, then what is the difference between using these subject/category/tag headings and forgoing the work of translating into a DC number (a task which is far less straightforward for those without a library science). If there is a onto to one and onto correspondence there should mathematically be no difference.

      And how does one treat insightful material on geometry (516), for example, which comes from a book classified about political science (320-329)?

      In a similar vein, why not use Otlet's Universal Decimal Classification which more easily allows for the admixture of topics as well as time periods?


      Separately, I'll echo your valuable statement:

      "I think everyone stumbles into a system of their own. I suspect the best practice here is the one that works for you!"

    1. scihuy 0 points1 point2 points 2 hours ago (1 child)Hi, Can you point out any articles on note-taking in the sciences as opposed to history or social sciences? Any pointers would be very helpful

      reply to u/scihuy at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1c2b2d6/note_taking_in_the_past/kzcg3qa/

      I posed your question to my own card index:

      Generally scientists haven't spent the time to talk about their methods the way those in the social sciences and humanities are apt to do. This being said, their methods are unsurprisingly all the same.

      If you want to look up examples, you can delve into the nachlass (digitized or not) of most of the famous scientists and mathematicians out there to verify this. Ramon Llull certainly wrote, but broadly memorized all of his work; Newton had his wastebooks; Leibnitz used Thomas Harrison's Ark of Studies cabinet; Carl Linnaeus "invented" index cards for his work (search for the work of Staffan Müller-Wille and Isabelle Charmantier); Erasmus Darwin and Charles Darwin both used commonplace books; physicist Mario Bunge had a significant zettelkasten practice; Richard Feynman used notebooks; engineer Ross Ashby used a combination of notebooks which he indexed using a card index.

      For historical reasons, most used a commonplace book method in which they indexed against keywords rather than Luhmann's variation, but broadly the results are the same either way.

      Computer scientist Gerald Weinberg is one of the few I'm aware of within the sciences who's written a note taking manual, but again, his method is broadly the same as that described by other writers for centuries:

      Weinberg, Gerald M. Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method. New York, N.Y: Dorset House, 2005.

      I identify as both a mathematician and an engineer, and I have a paper-based zettelkasten for these areas, primarily as I prefer writing out equations versus attempting to write everything out as LaTeX. I'm sure others here could add their experiences as well. I've previously written about zettelkasten from the framing of set theory, topology, dense sets, and have even touched on it with respect to the ideas of equivalence classes and category theory, though I haven't published much in depth here as most don't have the mathematical sophistication to appreciate the structures and analogies.

  2. Mar 2024
    1. Hi Muhammed, Thank you so much for the workshop friday. It was Nice to hear others geek out and talk about the Zettelkasten principle and with interactive exercises it was wonderful. I have done my PhD with inspiration in Luhmann’s system for knowledge creation so I am quite familiar with it. Still I have a question for you that I am sad I didn’t get around to discuss with you in person at the summit. Instead I thought I could ask it here and hope you would still see it. Are you doing your Zettelkasten in obsidian - and if so why do you still number them? Best Agnes

      /reply at Digital Fitness in response to Agnes Lausen about folgezettel

      Hey Agnes, thanks a lot for attending. I rlly loved the energy and loved doing the workshop. As to your question, yes I do use obsidian for my zettelkasten. As to the numbering, it gives me a few benefits. Firstly, it forces me to make a link. If I am going to import a new note, I will have to link the note to another note, because I have to give an ID (number). This prevents orphan notes. And, it gives me a visual sense of what is going on in my zettelkasten. I can see at a glance if a section has more notes than others (my section 4, for example, has more notes.) Both the ID and the statement title, for me, gives me so much context just seeing the title without looking at the contents.

    1. You need to understand and learn the basic ideas, from scratch.ZK is a lifetime job.

      reply to u/Aponogetone at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1bideq7/comment/kvjwhzf/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      I'm not 100% sure I understand your first point from a contextual perspective. What are you trying to get across here with this comment? Generally I tend to learn and understand the basic ideas of a text on my initial inspectional read. Often these are so basic as to not require any real note making at all. The second, more analytic read of the material usually clarifies anything missing and this is typically where I create some of my most valuable notes.

      While I philosophically appreciate your second point, and over time it can build some intriguing insights, one should remember, that like many systems, it's only a tool and is thus useful for the timespan and project(s) for which that tool is fit for purpose. Holding onto ideas like this too tightly don't allow enough space for future creativity and flexibility. The executives at the buggy whip factory also felt that theirs was a lifetime job once.

    2. in literature notes, do you write all of the stuff from a single article/book/whatever in one note, or do you split them all into individual notes of their own, one little piece on each card/note?

      reply to u/oursong at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1bideq7/literature_notes_question/

      My bibliographic/literature notes are my personal (brief) index of what I found interesting in the book. I can always revisit most of what the book contained by reviewing over it. When done I excerpt the most important and actionable items on their own cards with a reference back to the book and page/loc number. Depending on my needs I may revisit at later dates and excerpt other pieces from my indexed items if it turns out I need them.

      From an efficiency perspective, I find that it seems like a waste of time to split out hundreds of lower-level ideas when I may only need the best for my work.

    1. How to start a commonplace book .t3_1bfu16h._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #edeeef; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #6f7071; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #6f7071; }

      Colleen Kennedy has a nice primer: https://www.academia.edu/35101285/Creating_a_Commonplace_Book_CPB_

      It may also help to have an indexing method so you can find things later. John Locke's method is one of the oldest and most compact, though if you plan on doing this for a while, having a separate book for your index can be helpful. You can also create your index using index cards the way that Ross Ashby did; see: https://ashby.info/index.html

      For John Locke's method try: - https://archive.org/details/gu_newmethodmaki00lock - https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/john-lockes-method-for-common-place-books-1685/

      If you're into history, development, and examples of how people did this in the past, Earl Haven's has an excellent short book:<br /> Havens, Earle. Commonplace Books: A History of Manuscripts and Printed Books from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century. New Haven, CT: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 2001. https://www.oakknoll.com/pages/books/99718/earle-havens/commonplace-books-a-history-of-manuscripts-and-printed-books-from-antiquity-to-the-twentieth

  3. Feb 2024
    1. Let's reframe things here in part because it's highly illustrative of both the phrases as well as the specific question you raise.

      Imagine Andy Matuschak reading Sonke Ahrens' How to Make Smart Notes (CreateSpace, 2017) and making notes on what he feels is important. As he reads, he does what is prescribed, namely, he restates the idea in his own words based on what he's read. In doing this he takes the idea of "evergreen" content from journalism settings (and later SEO settings) which he was familiar with and applies that name to what Ahrens called permanent notes to expound on his understanding of Ahrens! (An evergreen article in newspaper work is an article which was written for a particular recurring holiday, event, or story and is regular. Why spend huge amounts of staff time writing that truly original Valentine's day article? The broad stories about gifts to give and restaurants to visit really don't change from year to year. Just dust it off and reprint it, as readers are unlikely to have saved or remembered it and it becomes free re-purposable content.)

      Of course, in rewriting this definition, Matuschak adds in some additional baggage for those who aren't carefully reading his work. He adds some additional emphasis on revisiting one's ideas and rewriting them over time, which is certainly fine, but I think the novice note maker puts too much emphasis on this portion thinking that each permanent or evergreen note must eventually become polished to perfection. In practice, most seasoned writers don't and won't do this. In fact, I suspect if you looked at Matuschak's note on evergreen notes, you'd find that it probably hasn't changed since the day he wrote it other than agglutinating links from other notes.

      This doesn't mean that one can't modify or change their ideas over time, this is certainly useful and good, but I suspect that the majority aren't doing it the way that might be imagined by Matuschak's original statement or the way that his idea was picked up by the (niche) digital gardening community and spread primarily in the work of Maggie Appleton. It's some of this evolution of Matuschak's definition which bled into digital gardens, which have some overlap with zettelkasten and the note taking realms, which have muddied the waters. As a result, one should take it as general advice and apply it to their own situation, needs, and practice.

      For those who use their own notes for writing, one will often mark their cards/notes to indicate that they've used those ideas in various projects so that they're not actively repeating themselves ad nauseum. Some of the additional tweaks one might make to their notes from a style or context specific perspective are also left to the editing portion rather than being done in the notes themselves. As a result of some of this, unless there is a dramatic flaw in a note, there isn't generally a lot of additional work one would come back to it to revise it. If it does require that sort of major revision, then perhaps the better method would be to make a new note and linking it to the original along with an explanation of the error. I typically wouldn't recommend polishing individual notes to some Plationic idea of perfection. Doing so is often just make-work which distracts from one's time which could be better spent doing additional reading or actual thinking. If you're going to do that sort of polishing work, do it at the end when you've got a longer piece of writing you're including your note in.

      The real question now, is how are you personally going to define permanent notes, evergreen notes, or other related phrases like atomic notes? This practice is called by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren "coming to terms" with an author's work and is part of their analysis for how one should read a book to get the most out of it. I highly recommend reading How to Read a Book (Simon & Schuster, 1972 or Touchstone, 2011) as a companion to any of the usual note taking manuals.

      If you want to continue the experiment on a better unified definition of permanent notes, evergreen notes, atomic notes, etc., you can find a pretty solid bibliography of note making, writing, and reading manuals to peruse at https://boffosocko.com/2024/01/18/note-taking-and-knowledge-management-resources-for-students/#Recommended%20reading.

      While one could certainly go down the rabbit hole of reading all these resources, I would recommend only looking at one or two and spending your time working on actual practice. It's through practice that you're more likely to make actual progress on your own problems and questions.


      reply to u/franrodalg at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1azoo9m/permanent_vs_evergreen_notes_am_i_thinking_about/

    1. If you're into music producers and creativity, Brian Eno and his collaborator Peter Schmidt created and sold a custom "zettelkasten" called "Oblique Strategies" which Eno frequently used in the recording studio during live sessions when he hit creative walls. There are various digital versions of his card set online for playing around with in your own creative work.

      Thanks for this mini-review. I've had Rubin in my reading pile for a while, specifically to see what he says with respect to the idea of combinatorial creativity. Perhaps it's time to bump him up the list?

      syndication link

    1. Your zettelkasten, having a perfect memory of your "past self" acts as a ratchet so that when you have a new conversation on a particular topic, your "present self" can quickly remember where you left off and not only advance the arguments but leave an associative trail for your "future self" to continue on again later.

      Many thoughts and associations occur when you're having conversations with any text, whether it's with something you're reading by another author or your own notes in your zettelkasten or commonplace book. For more conversations on this topic, perhaps thumb through: https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=tag%3A%27conversations+with+the+text%27

      If you view conversations broadly as means of finding and collecting information from external sources and naturally associating them together, perhaps you'll appreciate this quote:

      No piece of information is superior to any other. Power lies in having them all on file and then finding the connections. There are always connections; you have only to want to find them.—Umberto Eco in Foucault's Pendulum (Secker & Warburg)

      (Reply to u/u/Plastic-Lettuce-7150 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1ae2qf4/communicating_with_a_zettelkasten/)

  4. Jan 2024
    1. It's original purpose was definitely to create unique output but you can definitely use it for other reasons!

      reply to u/chasemac_ at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/19ep9rc/comment/kjempeu/

      I'm curious from where you draw your "original purpose" claim? This presupposes having identified a zettelkasten progenitor who has clearly made such a statement. (If you're thinking Luhmann, you're missing the mark by centuries. And even if you're thinking Luhmann, where did he say this specifically?) While Konrad Gessner seems to have been an early progenitor in 1548, the broader idea goes much further back. Even in the early days of the commonplace book, the primary analogy was using them as "storehouses" for collecting treasure (thesaurus) aka knowledge or wisdom.

      Even Luhmann's framing of his zettelkasten as his "second memory" was old by the time he wrote it:

      In a short academic dissertation on the art of excerpts, Andreas Stübel described the card index as a ‘secondary and subsidiary memory’ (‘memoria secundaria and subsidiaria’), summing up in just three words the dilemma scholars had been struggling with for two centuries with respect to the use of commonplace books. As far as I know, Stübel was the first among contemporaries to speak of secondary memory. —Alberto Cevolini in “Where Does Niklas Luhmann’s Card Index Come From?” Erudition and the Republic of Letters 3, no. 4 (October 24, 2018): 390–420. https://doi.org/10.1163/24055069-00304002.

      If we look even further back we read Seneca the Younger in Epistulae morales, writing positively about collecting with respect to classic rhetoric:

      "We should follow, men say, the example of the bees, who flit about and cull the flowers that are suitable for producing honey, and then arrange and assort in their cells all that they have brought in;

      Without a clear originator, I might suggest that historically the first purpose was for memory followed closely by learning and then accumulating wisdom and knowledge (sententiae). Using them for output only came much later.

      Why is there so much bad ink in the zettelkasten space about about "collecting"? (a la the "collector's fallacy") If you collect nothing, you'll have nothing. You have to start somewhere. Collecting happens first before anything useful comes out of the enterprise. Where are all these "people [who] do nothing but boast about the amount of cards in their box"? I'm not seeing lots of evidence of them in fora or online certainly. Show us your collection of examples of those to back up the claim. Are there index card hoarders out there who honestly have tens of thousands of notes with absolutely no purpose? I suspect it's rare.

      If you're a collector, collect away! Take solace in the words of historian Keith Thomas:

      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.

    1. Reply to @Denny @richnewman @patrickrhone at https://beardystarstuff.net/2024/01/16/i-finished-reading.html

      I started reading Parable of the Sower exactly one year to the date mentioned at the start of the book at the public library in Pasadena where she grew up. As a 49 year old father of a 12 year old daughter, it was a much more visceral and eerie experience than I could ever have expected. She has forever changed the perspective I have driving down the streets of our shared neighborhood.

      I'm not sure if they'll have open remote registrations for it or if it will only be broadcast locally, but the local Octavia Butler Book Club has an upcoming zoom session on Feb 24 which can be found in the Pasadena Public Library's newsletter (.pdf). It will feature Dr. Kendra Parker via Zoom from Georgia to present her lecture: "Walking a Mile in Her Shoes: Exploring Octavia Butler's Archives."

      The nearby Huntington Library houses her papers and some of her materials there may be accessible online.

    1. read [[Dan Allosso]] in Peer to Peer?

      Not sure if you've seen/found it before, but as academia has been having bigger problems with granting tenure over the past 20 years, there's been a rise of discussion of alternate academia pathways, often under the term #AltAc in social media and other locations. Careers in writing in other spaces have certainly abounded here.

    1. JasperMcFly 10:38AM Flag I guess we need to collectively decide what the default meaning of "Zettelkasten" is. Given that Luhmann's version, and its digital variants are popular now, I would vote that the use of Zettelkasten therefore means the Luhmann version- as that is what most people are referring to at this point. Which begs the question: What are the sine qua non features of a Luhmannian Zettelkasten and related workflow? What features from his analog workflow and systematic numbering and linking and indexing must be present in hybrid or digital instantiations to qualify as a "Luhmannian Zettelkasten"?

      reply to https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/19278/#Comment_19278

      @JasperMcFly I'll presume that given the time differential, you may have missed my post just before yours which touches on the frivolity of the proposition of creating a single definition?

      Most on this forum are going to presume that zettelkasten is precisely a slipbox in a similar form to that of Luhmann, but in practice some here and many elsewhere aren't going to see the distinction (or care). Some will unpopularly insist that a zettelkasten cannot be digital in form, but they'll also do so while simultaneously (heterodoxically and confusingly?) suggesting that one should use Wikipedia's Academic Outline of Disciplines, an idea which didn't exist during Luhmann's life.

      You can make an attempt to force a definition, but I guarantee that it's a losing proposition as in practice people are going to use the word in almost any way they want—whatever you do, don't trust Humpty Dumpty's definition. It's the difference between prescriptive and proscriptive definitions. It can be seen in your very question if you look closely at your own phrase "beg the question", which in classic rhetoric means something very specific going back centuries, but in common use it has a dramatically different meaning. As ever, context will always be the king on these questions of definition, though some of us are still converging on a happy commonality.

      For a bit more history here, try The Two Definitions of Zettelkasten.

  5. Dec 2023
    1. Andy 6:32AM Flag Shouldn't the title be "Chris Rock's Zettel output process" instead of "Chris Rock's Zettelkasten output process"? Wo ist der Kasten? (Where's the box?) I can see @Sascha shaking his head: "Das ist kein Zettelkasten."

      reply to Andy at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/19108/#Comment_19108

      I've got no evidence for nor against the presence of a box for these or any idea what the earlier portion of his process looks like at present. The bulletin board slips pictured were held up with pins and those on the table appear to be taped down, ostensibly to prevent accidental movement. Given their temporary nature and placement in this context, and the fact that they were highly portable for at least the span of the five shows he was preparing for in the documentary, there was certainly some container (even if it was as simple as a binder clip or a simple rubber band). Having seen shows like this roll in and out of venues before, I'm reasonably sure it was in a box at some point, so only a pedant would worry about it.

      Box aside, the point here is that it shows a version of how he manufactures his output and manages his arrangement—portions of an overall process which are less frequently discussed and incredibly rarely visualized or pictured within the general community, much less in mass popular culture.

      Many have argued that Eminem didn't have a zettelkasten either, and he definitely had both slips and a box. There's obviously no winning here... I won't worry too much about it until the naysayers' own Zettelkasten can manage to help them sell out Jones Beach Theater, The Prudential Center, PNC Bank Arts Center, Barclays Center, and Madison Square Garden.

      Caveat pedanticus: Anyone talking about "Chris Rock's box" in public, might be held up to ridicule in his next sold-out tour. After Headliners Only and the Will Smith incident, I'm not taking any chances. 😜🃏🗃️

    1. Your having said "Friends of the Library" makes me think that your set likely isn't actually ex-Library (reference or otherwise), but likely was privately owned and donated directly to the library or their friends, who then sold them to raise money for the library itself. This is a common pattern in libraries across America and explains how you've gotten such a pristine copy.

    1. Best Organization/Index System? .t3_18aggj9._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/whiteo3 at https://www.reddit.com/r/commonplacebook/comments/18aggj9/best_organizationindex_system/

      One of the most common methods may be using John Locke's indexing system. https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/john-lockes-method-for-common-place-books-1685/ (And, yes, it's THAT John Locke...)

      You could have a single notebook you use as your index which indexes the rest. Not sure how you number pages (or not), but you could keep a running page number from one notebook to the next to make differentiating notebooks a bit easier.

      W. Ross Ashby was known to keep running page numbers across notebooks like this, however, instead of a notebook-based index, he actually used index cards to index them (the way libraries used to index books by subject, but instead of indexing books, he was obviously indexing quotes, ideas, and notes). So you could use a card with your index word on it with page numbers (and potentially brief notes). Then just file the category headings alphabetically to find them later. His collection has been digitized, so you can view it online to see what he was doing: http://www.rossashby.info/journal/index.html

      If you want to do hybrid paper/digital you could look at https://www.indxd.ink/, a digital, web-based index tool for your analog notebooks. Ostensibly allows one to digitally index their paper notebooks (page numbers optional). It emails you weekly text updates, so you've got a back up of your data if the site/service disappears.

      I've used Obsidian in combination with Hypothes.is and documented the way I created a subject index out of it: https://boffosocko.com/2022/05/20/creating-a-commonplace-book-or-zettelkasten-index-from-hypothes-is-tags/

      I've also used WordPress as a commonplace of sorts and documented what I did to make an index for that: https://boffosocko.com/2021/09/04/an-index-for-my-digital-commonplace-book/

      Searching the entire sub may also unearth other options to get your creative indexing juices flowing: https://www.reddit.com/r/commonplacebook/search/?q=index&restrict_sr=1

      Good luck!

    1. How to fold and cut a Christmas star<br /> Christian Lawson-Perfect https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S90WPkgxvas

      What a great simple example with some interesting complexity.

      For teachers trying this with students, when one is done making some five pointed stars, the next questions a curious mathematician might ask are: how might I generalize this new knowledge to make a 6 pointed star? A 7 pointed star? a 1,729 pointed star? Is there a maximum number of points possible? Is there a minimum? Can any star be made without a cut? What happens if we make more than one cut? Are there certain numbers for which a star can't be made? Is there a relationship between the number of folds made and the number of points? What does all this have to do with our basic definition of what a paper star might look like? What other questions might we ask to extend this little idea of cutting paper stars?

      Recalling some results from my third grade origami days, based on the thickness of most standard office paper, a typical sheet of paper can only be folded in half at most 7 times. This number can go up a bit if the thickness of the paper is reduced, but having a maximum number of potential folds suggests there is an upper bound for how many points a star might have using this method of construction.

  6. Nov 2023
    1. Lovely. I guess what I'm trying to define is some methodology for practicing. Many times I simply resort to my exhaustive method, which has worked for me in the past simply due to brute force.Thank you for taking the time to respond and for what look like some very interesting references.

      reply to u/ethanzanemiller at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/185xmuh/comment/kb778dy/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Some of your methodology will certainly depend on what questions you're asking, how well you know your area already, and where you'd like to go. If you're taking notes as part of learning a new area, they'll be different and you'll treat them differently than notes you're collecting on ideas you're actively building on or intriguing facts you're slowly accumulating. Often you'll have specific questions in mind and you'll do a literature review to see what's happing around that area and then read and take notes as a means of moving yourself closer to answering your particular questions.

      Take for example, the frequently asked questions (both here in this forum and by note takers across history): how big is an idea? what is an atomic note? or even something related to the question of how small can a fact be? If this is a topic you're interested in addressing, you'll make note of it as you encounter it in various settings and see that various authors use different words to describe these ideas. Over time, you'll be able to tag them with various phrases and terminologies like "atomic notes", "one idea per card", "note size", or "note lengths". I didn't originally set out to answer these questions specifically, but my interest in the related topics across intellectual history allowed such a question to emerge from my work and my notes.

      Once you've got a reasonable collection, you can then begin analyzing what various authors say about the topic. Bring them all to "terms" to ensure that they're talking about the same things and then consider what arguments they're making about the topic and write up your own ideas about what is happening to answer those questions you had. Perhaps a new thesis emerges about the idea? Some have called this process having a conversation with the texts and their authors or as Robert Hutchins called it participating in "The Great Conversation".

      Almost anyone in the forum here could expound on what an "atomic note" is for a few minutes, but they're likely to barely scratch the surface beyond their own definition. Based on the notes linked above, I've probably got enough of a collection on the idea of the length of a note that I can explore it better than any other ten people here could. My notes would allow me a lot of leverage and power to create some significant subtlety and nuance on this topic. (And it helps that they're all shared publicly so you can see what I mean a bit more clearly; most peoples' notes are private/hidden, so seeing examples are scant and difficult at best.)

      Some of the overall process of having and maintaining a zettelkasten for creating material is hard to physically "see". This is some of the benefit of Victor Margolin's video example of how he wrote his book on the history of design. He includes just enough that one can picture what's happening despite his not showing the deep specifics. I wrote a short piece about how I used my notes about delving into S.D. Goitein's work to write a short article a while back and looking at the article, the footnotes, and links to my original notes may be illustrative for some: https://boffosocko.com/2023/01/14/a-note-about-my-article-on-goitein-with-respect-to-zettelkasten-output-processes/. The exercise is a tedious one (though not as tedious as it was to create and hyperlink everything), but spend some time to click on each link to see the original notes and compare them with the final text. Some of the additional benefit of reading it all is that Goitein also had a zettelkasten which he used in his research and in leaving copies of it behind other researchers still actively use his translations and notes to continue on the conversation he started about the contents of the Cairo Geniza. Seeing some of his example, comparing his own notes/cards and his writings may be additionally illustrative as well, though take care as many of his notes are in multiple languages.

      Another potentially useful example is this video interview with Kathleen Coleman from the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. It's in the realm of historical linguistics and lexicography, but she describes researchers collecting masses of data (from texts, inscriptions, coins, graffiti, etc.) on cards which they can then study and arrange to write their own articles about Latin words and their use across time/history. It's an incredibly simple looking example because they're creating a "dictionary", but the work involved was painstaking historical work to be sure.

      Again, when you're done, remember to go back and practice for yourself. Read. Ask questions of the texts and sources you're working with. Write them down. Allow your zettelkasten to become a ratchet for your ideas. New ideas and questions will emerge. Write them down! Follow up on them. Hunt down the answers. Make notes on others' attempts to answer similar questions. Then analyze, compare, and contrast them all to see what you might have to say on the topics. Rinse and repeat.

      As a further and final (meta) example, some of my answer to your questions has been based on my own experience, but the majority of it is easy to pull up, because I can pose your questions not to my experience, but to my own zettelkasten and then quickly search and pull up a variety of examples I've collected over time. Of course I have far more experience with my own zettelkasten, so it's easier and quicker for me to query it than for you, but you'll build this facility with your own over time.

      Good luck. 🗃️

    2. Taking notes for historical writing .t3_185xmuh._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } questionI'm trying to understand how to adopt parts of the Zettelkasten method for thinking about historical information. I wrote a PhD in history. My note-taking methodology was a complete mess the whole time. I used note-taking to digest a book, but it would take me two or three times longer than just reading. I would go back over each section and write down the pieces that seemed crucial. Sometimes, when I didn't know a subject well, that could take time. In the end, I would sometimes have many pages of notes in sequential order sectioned the way the book was sectioned, essentially an overlay of the book's structure. It was time-consuming, very hard, not useless at all, but inefficient.Now consider the Zettelkasten idea. I haven't read much of Luhmann. I recall he was a sociologist, a theorist in the grand style. So, in other words, they operate at a very abstract level. When I read about the Zettelkasten method, that's the way it reads to me. A system for combining thoughts and ideas. Now, you'll say that's an artificial distinction, perhaps...a fact is still rendered in thought, has atomicity to it etc. And I agree. However, the thing about facts is there are just A LOT of them. Before you write your narrative, you are drowning in facts. The writing of history is the thing that allows you to bring some order and selectivity to them, but you must drown first; otherwise, you have not considered all the possibilities and potentialities in the past that the facts reveal. To bring it back to Zettelkasten, the idea of Zettel is so appealing, but how does it work when dealing with an overwhelming number of facts? It's much easier to imagine creating a Zettelkasten from more rarefied thoughts provoked by reading.So, what can I learn from the Zettelkasten method? How can I apply some or all of its methodologies, practically speaking? What would change about my initial note-taking of a book if I were to apply Zettelkasten ideas and practice? Here is a discussion about using the method for "facts". The most concrete suggestions here suggest building Zettels around facts in some ways -- either a single fact, or groups of facts, etc. But in my experience, engaging with a historical text is a lot messier than that. There are facts, but also the author's rendering of the facts, and there are quotes (all the historical "gossip"), and it's all in there together as the author builds their narrative. You are trying to identify the key facts, the author's particular angle and interpretation, preserve your thoughts and reactions, and save these quotes, the richest part of history, the real evidence. In short, it is hard to imagine being able to isolate clear Zettel topics amid this reading experience.In Soenke Ahrens' book "How to Take Smart Notes," he describes three types of notes: fleeting notes (these are fleeting ideas), literature notes, and permanent notes. In that classification, I'm talking about "literature notes." Ahrens says these should be "extremely selective". But with the material I'm talking about it becomes a question. How can you be selective when you still don't know which facts you care about or want to maintain enough detail in your notes so you don't foreclose the possibilities in the historical narrative too early?Perhaps this is just an unsolvable problem. Perhaps there is no choice but to maintain a discipline of taking "selective" literature notes. But there's something about the Zettelkasten method that gives me the feeling that my literature notes could be more detailed and chaotic and open to refinement later.Does my dilemma explained here resonate with anyone who has tried this method for intense historical writing? If so, I'd like to hear you thoughts, or better yet, see some concrete examples of how you've worked.

      reply to u/ethanzanemiller at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/185xmuh/taking_notes_for_historical_writing/

      Rather than spending time theorizing on the subject, particularly since you sound like you're neck-deep already, I would heartily recommend spending some time practicing it heavily within the area you're looking at. Through a bit of time and experience, more of your questions will become imminently clear, especially if you're a practicing historian.

      A frequently missing piece to some of this puzzle for practicing academics is upping the level of how you read and having the ability to consult short pieces of books and articles rather than reading them "cover-to-cover" which is often unnecessary for one's work. Of particular help here, try Adler and Van Doren, and specifically their sections on analytical and syntopical reading.

      • Adler, Mortimer J., and Charles Van Doren. How to Read a Book: The Classical Guide to Intelligent Reading. Revised and Updated ed. edition. 1940. Reprint, Touchstone, 2011.

      In addition to the list of practicing historians I'd provided elsewhere on the topic, you might also appreciate sociologist Beatrice Webb's short appendix C in My Apprenticeship or her longer related text. She spends some time talking about handling dates and the database nature of querying collected facts and ideas to do research and to tell a story.

      Also helpful might be Mill's article which became a chapter in one of his later books:

      Perhaps u/danallosso may have something illuminating to add, or you can skim through his responses on the subject on Reddit or via his previous related writing: https://danallosso.substack.com/.

      Enough historians and various other humanists have been practicing these broad methods for centuries to bear out their usefulness in researching and organizing their work. Read a bit, but truly: practice, practice, and more practice is going to be your best friend here.

    1. Can you provide any more information about how this method works in detail?

      reply to u/ethanzanemiller at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1843k2w/comment/kb4d882/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Presuming you came into this from a search on "history" or a related topic rather than long time experience in this sub?

      A card index, fichier boîte (French), or zettelkasten (German) is broadly the use of index cards (or digital versions) for research and writing. (I generally frame it as an extension of keeping a commonplace book.)

      But some of it is best described within the area of "historical method" by practicing historians themselves, so also try these texts written by historians on the subject:

      Allosso, Dan, and S. F. Allosso. How to Make Notes and Write. Minnesota State Pressbooks, 2022. https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/.

      Barzun, Jacques. The Modern Researcher. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 1992. http://archive.org/details/modernresearcher00barz_1.

      Dow, Earle Wilbur. Principles of a Note-System for Historical Studies. New York: Century Company, 1924.

      Eco, Umberto. How to Write a Thesis. Translated by Caterina Mongiat Farina and Geoff Farina. 1977. Reprint, Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2015. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/how-write-thesis.

      Gottschalk, Louis Reichenthal. Understanding History: A Primer of Historical Method. 1st ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1950. https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-History-Louis-Gottschalk/dp/B001OY27L6.

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

      Langlois, Charles Victor, and Charles Seignobos. Introduction to the Study of History. Translated by George Godfrey Berry. First. New York: Henry Holt and company, 1898. http://archive.org/details/cu31924027810286.

      Margolin, Victor. The Process of Writing World History of Design, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxyy0THLfuI.

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

      Maybe start with Keith Thomas and Margolin which are short and then jump to either Goutor or Allosso (first half of that text) which are slightly longer but still quick reads. Umberto Eco may be the dean of studies here, though Barzun has been fairly influential. If you prefer, you can practice Luhmann's method, which is very similar though with a twist, and laid out at https://zettelkasten.de/posts/overview/.

    2. Who uses a card index? Top historians, that's who

      reply to u/atomicnotes at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1843k2w/who_uses_a_card_index_top_historians_thats_who/

      Nice finds u/atomicnotes.

      We can add them to the list of other known historians who used zettelkasten including: - Barbara Tuchman - Victor Margolin - S.D. Goitein - Gotthard Deutsch - Jacques Barzun - Henry F. Graff - Keith Thomas - Jacques Goutor - Umberto Eco - Frederic L. Paxson - Earle W. Dow - Aby Warburg - Frederick Jackson Turner - Theodor Mommsen - Charles Victor Langlois - Charles Seignobos - Ernst Bernheim*

      Certainly there are several hundreds (thousands?) I've missed. Those marked with a (*) have written texts covering note taking or historical method.

    1. I appreciate they're anagrams, but Adler wrote about syntopical reading, not synoptical reading. Syntopical = same topic. Show less Read more 15

      reply to RichardCarter, timbushell8640, _jared, et al at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laXcJyx9xCc&lc=UgwDgpIktVi8yFDjEVZ4AaABAg

      I see you @timbushell8640 and @RichardCarter. ;)

      Let's be clear that synoptic (meaning "seen together") is certainly a useful word apart from syntopic. Quite often it's used to describe the books Matthew, Mark, and Luke of the New Testament which are sometimes placed together on the same page to compare the stories, particularly for historical analysis. This sort of reading, not too dissimilar to syntopical reading, is a fantastic analytical tool as well and is described well by Bart Ehrman in one of his more scholarly works. Reading these books this way shows that the so-called synoptic gospels are anything but consistent (talk about crosses to bear....) Given the increase in the number of biblical scholars in the late 1800s doing this specific sort of reading (synoptic) may have influenced Adler's choice of neologism to describe that particular reading method. For those that haven't seen a synoptic book presentation, Throckmorton's version is a fairly good/popular one, though others certainly exist, including versions for translators which have side by side versions of books in Hebrew, Latin, Greek, etc. These can be found by searching for books with "interlinear", "parallel" and/or "polyglot" in their titles, especially with respect to bibles. They're somewhat similar to the layouts of the Loeb Classics collection, though those only have Greek/English or Latin/English in parallel.

      Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Second Edition. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Chapter 6, "The Synoptic Problem and Its Significance for Interpretation", pp76-83.

      Throckmorton, Jr., Burton H. Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels, New Revised Standard Version. 5th Revised edition. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1992.

    1. http://richardcarter.com/sidelines/a-good-reason-not-to-write-in-books/

      That book annotating monster Adler indicated that if he read books second and subsequent times that he would generally purchase a new copy and mark it up afresh. Doublemonster!

      See: How to Read a Book. Los Angeles: KCET Los Angeles, 1975. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_rizr8bb0c. It was one of the later episodes as I recall.

    1. level 2Apprehensive_Net5630Op · 3 hr. agoI've come to think the thousands category is kind of superfluous. Instead of starting 2000, just start a card "2 management" and then create a card "25 leadership" and add below, e.g. "251 blah blah", "252 blah blah"2ReplyShareReportSaveFollowlevel 3marco89lcdm · 2 hr. agoMmm.. interesting .. Although I think is too late as I’m already well into the “2000” category and the problem presented once I’ve started to do some leadership cards. Those are 3 or 4 and I can still amend the ID number, but the management one are almost 30 already, I don’t feel like changing everything while so well advanced.. this could put me off from keeping doing it completely. Maybe worth knowing that I didn’t have an exhaustive index yet.. because of the fact that IDing the card is not clear for me

      reply to u/Apprehensive_Net5630 and u/marco89lcdm at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/17m7ggz/comment/k83bou9/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Don't sweat the difference as there is a one-to-one and onto (or bijective) relationship between what you're doing and what u/Apprehensive_Net5630 suggests. Mathematicians would call the relationship homomorphic (ie: of the same shape), so other than the make-work exercise, you'd end up with the same exact thing with the same ordering in the end.

    2. Cannot get it either to be honest. I want to use the antinet method for 2 main topics: Management and Personal growthIn management, for sure needs to add notion of leadership for example: how to approach the coding identification? I’ve assigned 2000 to management: shall I assign 2500 to all cards related to leadership? This is just an example, it’s a bit unclear for me so far.

      reply to u/marco89lcdm at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/17m7ggz/comment/k839k22/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      The way you're currently thinking is a top down approach in which you already know everything and you're attempting to organize it to make it easier for others who know nothing about the ideas to find them. The Luhmann model supposes you know nothing about anything to begin with and you're attempting to create order from the bottom up, solely by putting related ideas you're building on close to each other and giving them numbers so that you might find them again when you need them.

      If your only use is for those two topics and closely related subtopics and nothing else, then consider not using a Luhmann-artig model? Leave off the numbers and create two tabbed cards with those headings (and possibly related subheadings) and then sort your related cards behind them. (This is closer to the commonplace book tradition maintained on index cards and used by those like Mortimer J. Adler et al., Robert Greene, Ryan Holiday and Billy Oppenheimer. Example: https://billyoppenheimer.com/notecard-system/)

      Otherwise the mistake you may be making is mentally associating the top level numbers with the topics. Break this habit! The numbers are only there so you can index ideas against them to be able to find them again! These numbers aren't like the Dewey Decimal system where 510.### will always mean something to do with math. You'll specifically want to intermingle disparate topics, so the only purpose the numbers provide is the ability to find what you're looking for by using the index which will give you a neighborhood in which you'll find the ideas you know are going to be hiding there or very near by.

      Cards that are near to each other (using the numbers as an idea of ordering and re-finding) create a neighborhood of related ideas, even if they're disparate in topics. This might allow you to intermingle two related ideas, one which is in anthropology and another from mathematics for example, but which would otherwise potentially be thousands of cards away from each other if done in a Dewey-like system.

      Or to take your example, what do you do with an idea that relates to both management AND personal growth? If it's closer to an idea on management you might place it near a related idea on that branch rather than in the personal growth section where it may be potentially less useful in the future. (You can always cross index them if need be, but place it where it creates the closest link and thus likely the greatest value for building on top of your previous ideas.)

      For more on this, try: https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/27/thoughts-on-zettelkasten-numbering-systems/

      I suspect that Scheper suggests using the Academic Outline of Disciplines as a numbering structure because it's an early choice he made for himself and it provides a perch to give people a concrete place to start. Sadly this does a disservice because it's closer to the older commonplace topical method rather than to the spirit of the ordering that Luhmann was doing. It's especially difficult for beginners who have a natural tendency to want to do this sort of top-down approach.

    1. What do you do for a calendar? I'm considering moving from a moleskine GTD system to index cards for reasons you mention (waste paper, can't re-order), but love my 2-year calendar at the front

      reply to verita-servus at https://www.reddit.com/r/gtd/comments/15pfz8o/comment/k7iqjwa/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Last year I had a Field Notes card with the year's calendar on it that I kept with my daily cards when necessary. (I think it came included with their "Ignition" edition.) Many companies give these sorts of calendars away as PR.

      This year I used a Mizushima Perpetual Calendar Stamp to create my own custom card with the coming years' dates. (I also often use this stamp for individual months on other types of cards.) I'm sure you could also find something online to print out or draw your own if you wish. These index card specific templates might give one ideas: https://www.calendarsquick.com/printables/free.html.

      Pretty much any spread one might make in a bullet journal can be recreated in index cards. Some of the biggest full page spreads or double page spreads are still doable, they may just need to be shrunk a bit or broken up. I've also printed things onto larger 8x12" card stock and then folded them down to 4x6" before to use as either larger notes or mini-folders as necessary. Usually I do this for holding the month's receipts.

      This set of calendar cards from Present & Correct which are done in letterpress looked nice if you wanted to go more to the luxe side as well as to the larger side.

      Given the sticker market for Hobonichi and other similar planners, you could also buy some custom decorative stickers which you could attach to cards as well. And there's nothing keeping you from just writing it all out by hand if you wish.

      Options abound.

    1. Analog zettelkasten for natural sciences .t3_17kui2u._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      Reply to u/Wooden-School-4091 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17kui2u/analog_zettelkasten_for_natural_sciences/

      Given that Carl Linnaeus "invented" the standardized 3x5 inch index card and used it heavily in his scientific work (read Isabelle Charmantier and Staffan Müller-Wille's works for more on his practice), and a variety of others including me, use it for mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, etc., Zettelkasten can certainly be used for STEM, STEAM, and any of the natural sciences.

      See also, notes and links at: https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=tag%3A%22zettelkasten+for+studying%22

      If I were using it for classes/university/general studying via lectures, I'd base my practice primarily on Cornell Notes in combination with creating questions/cards for spaced repetition and/or a variation on Leitner's System.

      Some of the best material on spaced repetition these days can be found via:

      and other material on their sites.

      Beyond this, I'd focus my direct zettelkasten practice less on the learning portion and more on the developing or generating ideas portion of the work. Some of my practice with respect to mathematics can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17bqztm/applying_zettelkasten_for_math_heavy_subjects/

      For those interested, it may bear mentioning that Bjornstad, an engineer at Remnote, has a TiddlyWiki-based zettelkasten at https://zettelkasten.sorenbjornstad.com/#PublicHomepage:PublicHomepage which he demonstrates with a walk through at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjpjE5pMZMI

  7. Oct 2023
    1. Value of the "Graph" .t3_17jscyk._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      I have been curious what their Great Books project would have looked like if they'd kept it up since 1952. Adding additional layers of additional great books as well as seminal books from the 20th century onward. With digital humanities projects abounding as well as digitization of various zettelkasten like structures (aka databases), it would be interesting to see what a digitized version of the Syntopicon would look like today. u/AllossoDan, are you cutting it back up into digital chunks?! Need help? 😁🗃️

    1. reply to Mark Dykeman in A mystery I would like to solve 2023-10-25

      In addition to the 5-6th century invasion of Angles and Saxons from roughly Northern Germany into Southern England, there was a large movement of Scandinavian peoples (Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, etc. weren't even a glimmer of countries then), with the Viking invasions of England in the 7-11th centuries. Many of these peoples settled along the coasts and intermarried and brought their customs, traditions, language, and most importantly in your quest, their names. A lot of these peoples immigrated into Northumbria which was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is now Northern England and south-east Scotland. Perhaps this history may "solve" some of the distal mystery for you? Kenneth Harl's "Vikings" may give some broad strokes of the history here if you're curious: https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/vikings. (Naturally there may have been migration after that time too.) England is far more diverse in its roots than the majority give it credit for, though the branching from Celtic roots may mean that genetically traceable differences may largely be a wash for most. Some from the broader UK will find only a single broad "genetic smear" of Celtic ancestry with a 1-2% hint of Italian ancestry, often resulting from intermarriage at the time of the Roman invasion in the first century.

    1. Is there a list of every possibility a Latin verb can take on, and it's English meaning? .t3_17hvr75._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      I've not used Mango before, but if it's like other similar apps (Duolingo, Babel, etc.) which focus primarily on spoken language and general understanding over grammar (and you've never learned other languages or had a good grounding in grammar) you're likely going to be a tad lost. These apps usually focus on spoken fluency over reading/writing which is how most Latin grammar books and high school/college courses are traditionally laid out.

      You've got options:

      • ignore your question(s) and move on with what the app presents and you'll slowly/eventually catch on naturally, which is how many apps geared toward fluency are meant to be done. Trust that eventually your questions will be cleared up, or
      • pick up a Latin grammar and begin working your way through the structured reading/writing approach, or
      • do a little of both approaches depending on what your focus for reading, writing, and speaking Latin may be.

      Your question will become much clearer to you when you've seen how verbs are parsed within a grammar textbook (using person, number, and tense) as they're very logically and rigidly structured outside of a handful of irregular verbs. (Most books present these as a grid of two columns (by number: singular/plural) and three rows (first, second, third person).) As a beginner, you'll be glad to know there hasn't been a huge jump in the state of the art in Latin for several hundred years, so even inexpensive, used copies of Wheelock, Allen & Greenough, or Jenny/Scudder/Baade or a trip to the library for one of them should help you along your way. Once you've seen some of the grammatical structure of verbs and how they work, you'll come to understand that a list like what you're looking for isn't really what you're looking for.

      You could, likely, in a couple of days have a rote memorization of most of the forms of almost all verbs such that when you encounter them, but in practice this means that you have to pick each one apart like a formula as you encounter them. You may be better off practicing/drilling each of the ones you encounter to make it an elemental part of you. This way you'll be able to sight read or listen and respond much more quickly and much faster than anyone who learns from standard grammars.

      Good luck!

    1. Yeah, I want back in search history and see Sascha started around 2014. There are hardly any references to ZK before 2012.

      reply tu u/sscheper and u/Barycenter0 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17gmrj8/before_2021_who_here_was_using_a_luhmannian/

      Before 2021, who here was using a Luhmannian analog Zettelkasten?

      This blogpost by Manfred Kuehn dating from 2007-12-16 is one of the earliest posts about Luhmann's Zettelkasten I've seen referenced on the early web (at least in an English language setting). You'll notice that Christian Tietze, the creator of zettelkasten.de, pops up in the comments, though it wasn't until almost six years later.

      Daniel Lüdecke was also obviously reading Kuehn by 2013 and making his digital version of ZKN3. His post has a reference to a 2001 web post in German, but sadly it's not archived. One might presume he tried physical index cards prior to implementing his digital solution.

      German speakers may be better versed to indicate a greater number of potential users in the 80s through the 00s as Luhmann's paper and method were relatively well known, though physical index cards were obviously going out of fashion during that time period. It's most likely that it was academics using it. By the late 00s into 2015, there were probably several dozens of people doing this practice, but identifying/contacting them will require a lot of legwork.

      The zettelkasten.de forum and blog posts may indicate quite a number of users prior to 2021, but I'll leave that work to others. Christian and Sasha may have better approximations for that time period.

      Given the number of digital users who are probably all mostly Luhmann-adjacent in their practices (at best), there likely still aren't a lot of people (digital or analog) who are following his particular recipe or method. Most of what I see discussed in zettelkasten and zettelkasten adjacent spaces online these days could best be described as a mélange of commonplace book and wiki-esque methods with a focus toward smaller atomic level notes. Most practices vary across a pretty wide spectrum.

    1. reply to Our Journey, Day 84 by Dan Allosso at https://danallosso.substack.com/p/our-journey-day-84

      There's already a movement afoot calling for schools who are dramatically cutting their humanities departments to quit calling what they're offering a liberal education. This popped up on Monday and has a long list of cuts: https://www.insidehighered.com/opinion/views/2023/10/23/liberal-education-name-only-opinion I was surprised that Bemidji wasn't listed, but then again there may be several dozens which have made announcements, but which aren't widely known yet. The problem may be much larger and broader than anyone is acknowledging.

      Cutting down dozens of faculties into either "schools" or even into some sort of catch all called "Humanities" may be even more marginalizing to the enterprise.

      Apparently, the Morlocks seem to think that the Eloi will be easier to manage if there isn't any critical thinking?

    1. Anyone use a FiloFax or similar for a commonplace book? .t3_17drtzn._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/practicalSloth at https://www.reddit.com/r/commonplacebook/comments/17drtzn/anyone_use_a_filofax_or_similar_for_a_commonplace/

      For centuries, many have kept their commonplace books on index cards or slips of paper) rather than on book/notebook pages just like you're suggesting. They then indexed them against topic words and filed the ideas alphabetically rather than writing them in books and indexing them separately.

      Some popular versions of the practice which are described/viewable online include:

      Others with index card or small slip-based commonplaces include Ronald Reagan, Phyllis Diller (whose commonplaced joke file is now at the Smithsonian), and Joan Rivers.

      In German, this general practice was called zettelkasten (which translates as slip box), there are lots of people doing versions of this in r/Zettelkasten following some of Niklas Luhmann's method. Many more are using digital platforms like Obsidian, Logseq, etc. for this.

      Certainly putting it into a FiloFax is a flexible and doable option.

      I've written a bit about the mistaken identities and differences between Niklas Luhmann's practice which has become popular in English speaking countries over the last decade and index card-based commonplaces: https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/22/the-two-definitions-of-zettelkasten/.

      Perhaps some of the examples will give you some ideas for how to best do your own. Good luck!

    1. ZK system for Project and Task management? .t3_17dp8nl._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      Reply to u/Hileotech at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17dp8nl/zk_system_for_project_and_task_management/

      They don't have the same structure as Luhmann's zettelkasten (they don't really need to and may frankly work better without them), but index cards were heavily used in business and project planning settings for decades prior to the popularization of the computer.

      I've documented one productivity method from 1903 called the Memindex which was a precursor to things like the Hipster PDA, the Pile of Index Cards, and 43 folders methods which have been popular since the early 2000s. Details and pointers can be found at The Memindex Method: an early precursor of the Memex, Hipster PDA, 43 Folders, GTD, BaSB, and Bullet Journal systems. Addition details can also be found at A year of Bullet Journaling on Index Cards inspired by the Memindex Methodas well as in the comments.

      Index card-based project management techniques with items broken out by task can be used to create physical Kanban boards or even arranged in Gantt chart-like fashion on walls, bulletin boards, or tables.

    1. More toward the notes in the video themselves (I'm more in media studies and far less conversant in theater studies): from my own zettelkasten on the live nature/immediacy of performance subject, I've seen how some older cultures (ancient Greeks and all sorts of Indigenous peoples, including modern Australian indigenous) use(d) their associative memories in ways we don't generally today, and as such would have been able to "re-live" performances which have occurred in the past without modern recording tools. Perhaps it's been explored previously, but if it's of interest to you and your current work or perhaps post-Ph.D., Lynne Kelly's Knowledge & Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture (Cambridge, 2015) may be helpful along with the supporting works of Milman Parry, Albert Lord, and Walter J. Ong (esp. Orality and Literacy; Methuen, 1982). If you really want to spelunk this area, there are some additional explorations of these in the overlap of Frances Yates' (1966) discussion of memory theaters in Western culture.

      Robert Kanigel's "Hearing Homer's Song: The Brief Life and Big Idea of Milman Parry (Knopf, 2021), may provide a quick/fun (audiobook available) non-technical introduction into Milman's work on Homer for those who haven't come across it before and are interested in early performance techniques. It provides an intriguing and entertaining detective story on multiple fronts.

      As ever, thanks for sharing your notes and the fascinating references within them... 🗃❤

    1. Any recommendations on Analog way of doing it? Not the Antinet shit

      reply to u/IamOkei at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17beucn/comment/k5s6aek/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      u/IamOkei, I know you've got a significant enough practice that not much of what I might suggest may be helpful beyond your own extension of what you've got and how it is or isn't working for you. Perhaps chatting with a zettelkasten therapist may be helpful? Does anyone have "Zettelkasten Whisperer" on a business card yet?! More seriously, I occasionally dump some of my problems and issues into a notebook, unpublished on my blog, or even into a section of my own zettelkasten, which I never index or reconsult, as a helpful practice. Others like Henry David Thoreau have done something like this and there's a common related practice of writing "Morning Pages" that you can explore. My own version is somewhat similar to the idea of rubber duck debugging but focuses on my own work. You might try doing something like this in one of Bob Doto's cohorts or by way of private consulting sessions. Another free version of this could be found by participating in Will's regular weekly posts/threads "Share with us what is happening in your ZK this week" at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/. It's always a welcoming and constructive space. There are also some public and private (I won't out them) Discords where some of the practiced hands chat and commiserate with each other. Even the Obsidian PKM/Zettelkasten Discord channels aren't very Obsidian/digital-focused that you couldn't participate as an analog practitioner. I've even found that participating in book clubs related to some of my interests can be quite helpful in talking out ideas before writing them down. There are certainly options for working out and extending your own practice.

      Beyond this, and without knowing more of your specific issues, I can only offer some broad thoughts which expand on some of the earlier discussion above.

      I recommend stripping away Scheper's religious fervor, some of which he seems to have thrown over lately along with the idea of a permanent note or "main card" (something I think is a grave mistake), and trying something closer to Luhmann's idea of ZKII.

      An alternate method, especially if you like a nice notebook or a particular fountain pen, might be to take all of your basic literature/fleeting notes along with the bibliographic data in a notebook and then just use your analog index cards/slips to make your permanent notes and your index.

      Ultimately it's all a lot of the same process, though it may come down to what you want to call it and your broad philosophy. If you're anti-antinet, definitely quit using the verbiage for the framing there and lean toward the words used by Ahrens, Dan Allosso, Gerald Weinberg, Mark Bernstein, Umberto Eco, Beatrice Webb, Jacques Barzun & Henry Graff, or any of the dozens of others or even make up your own. Goodness knows we need a lot more names and categories for types of notes—just like we all need another one page blog post about how the Zettelkasten method works by someone who's been at it for a week. Maybe someone will bring all these authors to terms one day?

      Generally once you know what sorts of ideas you're most interested in, you take fewer big notes on administrivia and focus more of your note taking towards your own personal goals and desires. (Taking notes to learn a subject are certainly game, but often they serve little purpose after-the-fact.) You can also focus less on note taking within your entertainment reading (usually a waste) and focusing more heavily on richer material (books and journal articles) that is "above you" in Adler's framing. You might make hundreds of highlights and annotations in a particular book, but only get two or three serious ideas and notes out of it ultimately. Focus on this and leave the rest. If you're aware of the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule, then spend the majority of your time on the grander permanent notes (10-20%), and a lot less time worrying about the all the rest (the 80-90%).

      In the example above relating to Marx, you can breeze through some low level introductory material for context, but nothing is going to beat reading Marx himself a few times. The notes you make on his text will have tremendously more value than the ones you took on the low level context. A corollary to this is that you're highly unlikely to earn a Ph.D. or discover massive insight by reading and taking note posts on Twitter, Medium, or Substack (except possibly unless your work is on the cultural anthropology of those platforms).

      A lot of the zettelkasten spaces focus heavily on the note taking part of the process and not enough on the quality of what you're reading and how you're reading it. This portion is possibly more valuable than the note taking piece, but the two should be hand-in-glove and work toward something.

      I suspect that most people who have 1000 notes know which five or ten are the most important to where they're going and how they're growing. Focus on those and your "conversations with texts" relating to those. The rest is either low level context for where you're headed or either pure noise/digital exhaust.

      If you think of ideas as incunables, which notes will be worth of putting on your tombstone? In other words: What are your "tombstone notes"? (See what I did there? I came up with another name for a type of note, a sin for which I'm certainly going to spend a lot of time in zettelkasten purgatory.)

    2. This is great and yes it makes perfect sense, thank you!The comment on reading is super helpful. As I've mentioned on here before I've come ti PhD straight from industry, so learning these skills from scratch. Reading especially is still tricky for me after a year, and I tend to read too deeply, and try to read whole texts, and then over annotate.It's good to be reminded that this isn't how academic reading works.

      reply to Admirable_Discount75 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17beucn/comment/k5nzic6/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      If you've not come across it before you'll likely find Adler & Van Doren (1972) for reading a useful place to start, especially their idea of syntopical reading. Umberto Eco (2015) is also a good supplement to a lot of the internet-based and Ahrensian ZK material. After those try Mills.

      Adler, Mortimer J., and Charles Van Doren. How to Read a Book: The Classical Guide to Intelligent Reading. Revised and Updated ed. edition. 1940. Reprint, Touchstone, 2011. https://amzn.to/45IjBcV. (audiobook available; or a video synopsis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_rizr8bb0c)

      Eco, Umberto. How to Write a Thesis. Translated by Caterina Mongiat Farina and Geoff Farina. 1977. Reprint, Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2015. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/how-write-thesis.

      Mills, C. Wright. “On Intellectual Craftsmanship (1952).” Society 17, no. 2 (January 1, 1980): 63–70. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02700062.

      Should it help, I often find that audiobook versions of books or coursework sources like The Great Courses (often free at local libraries, through Hoopla, or other sources), or the highest quality material from YouTube/podcasts listened to at 1.5 - 2x speed while you're walking/commuting can give you quick overviews and/or inspectional reads at a relatively low time cost. Short reminder notes/keywords (to search) while listening can then allow you to do fast searches of the actual texts and/or course guidebooks for excerpting and note making afterwards. Highly selective use of the audiobook bookmarking features let you relisten to short portions as necessary.

      As an example, one could do a quick crash course/overview of something like Marx and Communism over a week by quickly listening to all or parts of:

      These in combination with sources like Oxford's: Very Short Introduction series book on Marx (which usually have good bibliographies) would allow you to quickly expand into more specialized "handbooks" (Oxford, Cambridge, Routledge, Sage) on the subject of Marx and from there into even more technical literature and journal articles. Obviously the deeper you go, the slower things may become depending on the depth you're looking to go.

    3. Knowledge that is excluded from synthesis... .t3_17beucn._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } questionOr... what do you all do with expansive lit notes that have been taken from a textbook for future reference and broad understanding of a methodology, rather than for its direct relevance to research and synthesis of new ideas?It's too unwieldly to keep in current form - six chapters of highlighted paras + notes on how I might apply certain approaches, but it resists atomisation/categorisation. Maybe just chapter summaries?Not suggesting there's 'A' way of doing this, but interested in others' approaches to directly applicable/foundational 'textbook' knowledge that is unlikely to evolve.(Someone really should do a PhD in the epistemology of Zettelkasten!)Cheers,Chris

      reply to u/Admirable_Discount75 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17beucn/knowledge_that_is_excluded_from_synthesis/

      What is your purpose/need/desire to turn all this material into individual zettels or atomic ideas? If you've read the material, taken some literature notes, and reviewed them a bit, don't you broadly now know and understand the methodology? If this is the point and you might only need your notes/outline to review occasionally, then there's nothing else you need to do. If you're comparing other similar methodologies and comparing and contrasting them, then perhaps it's worth breaking some of them out into their own zettels to connect to other things you're working on. Perhaps you're going to write your own book on the topic? Then having better notes on the subject is worthwhile. If you don't have a good reason or gut feeling for why you would want or need to do it, taking hundreds of notes from a book and splitting them all into interconnected atomic notes is solely busy work.

      It's completely acceptable to just keep your jumble of literature notes next to your bibliographic entry for potential future reference or quick review if necessary. Perhaps you've gotten everything you need from this source without creating any permanent notes? Or maybe only one or two of the hundreds are actually valuable to your potential long term goals?<br /> It's really only the material you feel that is relevant to your longer term goals, research, and synthesis needs that's worthwhile breaking out into permanent notes/zettels.

      syndication link: https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17beucn/comment/k5lr0mz/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Just as Adler and Van Doren (1972) suggest that most books are only worth a quick inspectional read and fewer are worth a deeper, analytical read, most (fleeting) notes, highlights, and annotations you make are only worth their quick scribble while vanishingly few others are worthy of greater expansion and permanent note status. You might also find by extension that some of the most valuable work you'll do is syntopical reading and the creation of high value syntopical notes which you can weave into folgezettel (sequences of notes) that generate new knowledge.

      Don't fall into the trap of thinking that everything needs to be a perfect, permanent note. If you're distilling and writing one or two good permanent notes a day, you're killing it; the rest is just sour mash.

      As ever, practice to see what works best for your needs.

    1. I've been struggling with duplicate notes within my Zettelkasten. .t3_17ajd34._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/Flubber78769 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17ajd34/ive_been_struggling_with_duplicate_notes_within/

      This is the value of actually indexing your content. You can do a quick search around the index entries which provides a natural check against duplication, but importantly it'll let you think about those ideas again and spend your time more profitably by expanding upon them instead.

      Occasionally I'll find duplication from one source to the next which provides some support about an idea's value or spread over time, especially when I'm tracking usage of a thing, so it's not always the case that duplication is automatically a bad thing.

    1. Should I use zettelkasten? .t3_172ujnk._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } questionI am a student in college in the UK studying A levels (Advanced levels), this includes mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics. I dont really take notes for mathematics so I wont be using any type of note taking system for that but for the sciences IDK what to do.

      reply to u/Wooden-School-4091 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/172ujnk/should_i_use_zettelkasten/

      This comes up fairly frequently. See https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=tag%3A%27zettelkasten+for+studying%27 and related links for other variations and advice on this theme.

    1. Zettelkasten courses and teachers

      Having someone who is experienced, cares, and knows the entirety of their space can be invaluable to speed you on your way to having at least an idea of the space in general and then give you pointers on your particular practice and needs. There is tremendous amount of ink spilled on the idea of zettelkasten, some of it good, some of it remarkably bad, and most of it painfully generic and useless.

      Most of those I know who have serious practices have spent an inordinate amount of time reading and refining to come to where they are. They, and I, would all probably think that a good teacher and class on the subject could have saved them hundreds (thousands?) of hours of time and in exchange for a couple of hundred dollars. How much is your time worth in the balance? Can you read a cheap book or two on the topic? A few blog posts? Certainly, and many have, yet there are still lots of very basic questions which pop up here and elsewhere. Buying a book isn't the end-all either as you've still got to spend the time reading and distilling what's in it. A good instructor can boil down Ahrens' work into twenty minutes and get you up and working a lot more quickly, not to mention distilling down even a fraction of all the other potentially relevant sources.

      Most of the questions in this sub-reddit are people asking for pointers either about where to start or examples of specific things they're having trouble with. Of course in the majority of the cases they could simply search this or one or two other sources to find almost exactly what they need, yet here they are posting one of the same 10 questions over and over. (I also generally get the impression that they're only thinking about the system in a theoretical fashion and aren't actually practicing it for themselves.) It's nice to have pointers like the one that u/WM2D2 provides, but how is someone new to the space supposed to find this or other specific sources without the prior knowledge? Simple search is unlikely to uncover the best sources. In my experience, a lot of the best material on zettelkasten practice doesn't even contain the word "zettelkasten" to allow one to find it via search. And what to do if or when it doesn't answer all their questions? Instructors are usually good at distilling down the particulars into a more coherent whole. This is what you're paying for.

      Of those who are well-practiced, even fewer have expanded on their own individual practice to look at how others have practiced for a variety of very disparate use cases. Where is this experience to be found? Having looked at and read many sources over the years, it's definitely hard won knowledge. And what about taking the theory and turning it into actual practice? This is where a good teacher will come in handy to help you actually do the work to become better much more rapidly than any book ever could. The rules are easy, it's the practice to turn those rules into a practicable art that is the tougher road.

      This being said, there is definitely a spectrum of experience and teaching ability. There are certainly only one or two people I can imagine recommending as a teacher in this specific area. Because this may be some of the most hard won knowledge to come across, I'll mention that u/taurusnoises is one of those I would recommend if you're looking to save your time and come to a useful practice for yourself without spending lots of time floundering around.

      written in response to u/IamOkei at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/1728f1n/why_are_people_paying_thousand_of_dollars_on/

    1. I like paper with "weird" rulings. What's your favorite notebook/company that produces unique/niche paper organization rulings?

      reply to u/Seaborn63 at https://www.reddit.com/r/notebooks/comments/170iiax/i_like_paper_with_weird_rulings_whats_your/

      Japanese notebooks can have some interesting grids in addition to the Kokyuo notebooks mentioned by others. There are a variety of grid sizes for practicing kana and kanji. You can find many by searching for Genkouyoushi as well as some with alternate gridding which is used for furigana. Some of the more sophisticated adult versions have horizontal lines which also have small hash marks for creating a sort of vertical grid for those who wish it. These are intended for those who write on the page from top to bottom rather than horizontally, but this doesn't mean they couldn't be used in other ways.

    1. @chrisaldrich thank you for this detailed response about your use of Obsidian and organization for digital Zettelkasten. I am not sure if this is the current forum or discussion to ask this but I would be curious to see how you have integrated or coordinated your analog Zettelkasten and notetaking with what you describe here. I've followed your posts about the use of index cards for a long time. I'd love to see how you use the very different affordances of these environments together.

      reply to u/wtagg at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16wgq4l/comment/k356507/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Perhaps the easiest way to frame things is that I use my digital note taking as scaffolding in the learning and research process and the zettels in the digital space are the best filtered outcomes from some of that. If you compare my practice to that of Luhmann's one might consider most of my digital practice to be equivalent to his ZKI. Most of my analog practice is more highly focused and deliberate and is more closely limited to a small handful of topics related to my specific areas of research on memory, orality, intellectual history, Indigenous studies, education, anthropology, and mathematics (and is potentially more like Luhmann's ZK II). As a result, in hindsight—thanks for asking—, I'm simultaneously building my ZK I and ZK II instead of switching mid-career the way Luhmann did. But to be clear, a lot of my ZKII material filters (or digests, if you prefer that analogy) its way through the ZKI process along the way.

  8. Sep 2023
    1. I'm a huge fan of digital over paper but what would you want on the custom stationary. A typical paper Zettle has:A unique identifier line or boxA content section (I'd assume that can be most of the front and all the backA related notes section.I'd think a typical 5x7 index card with (3) in the top area, (1) in the lower left and (2) on all the rest does the trick.The main place I could see stationary helping is if you want the identifier to have distinguished sections. For example lots of people are using the Dewey Decimal System or Britanica Propedia classification for simplicity ... while I think Library of Congress classification makes more sense since it is available and agreed by the publisher. You could potentially use both in the ID section.

      reply to u/JeffB1517 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16ulsye/comment/k2mb8s2/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      I've only seen some modest discussion of DDC and outside of Joseph Voros, vanishingly little discussion (much less usage) of Propædia as classification systems for zettelkasten id numbering. I'm wholly unaware of anyone actively using the Universal Decimal Classification, but would love to see examples of it in action if they exist. From where are you drawing your sampling of "lots of people"? Do you use Library of Congress classification for your own, and if so, can you provide an example of numbers and titles of half a dozen cards to demonstrate your specific method? Given the prevalence of its use in filing/ordering, I'd more likely place the ID at the top of the card over the bottom and put other links at the bottom. Is there a particular affordance that would encourage you to do it the opposite?

      Perhaps you're including it in the idea of "related notes", but I also keep a separate reference section on each card for the source or related context of the main idea or excerpted quotation.

    1. Hi, I just started to use Zettlr for my thoughts, in stead of just individual txt-files. I find it easy to add tags to notes. But if you read manuals how to use ZettelKasten, most seem to advice to link your notes in a meaningful way (and describe the link). Maybe it's because I just really started, but I don't find immediate links when I have a sudden thought. Sometimes I have 2 ideas in the same line, but they're more like siblings, so tagging with the same keyword is more evident. How do most people do this?

      reply to u/JonasanOniem at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16ss0yu/linking_new_notes/

      This sort of practice is harder when you start out in most digital apps because there is usually no sense of "closeness" of ideas in digital the way that is implied by physical proximity (or "neighborhood") found in physical cards sitting right next to or around each other. As a result, you have to create more explicit links or rely on using tags (or indexing) when you start. I've not gotten deep into the UI of Zettlr, but some applications allow the numbering (and the way numbered ideas are sorted in the user interface) to allow this affordance by creating a visual sense of proximity for you. As you accumulate more notes, it becomes easier and you can rely less on tags and more on direct links. Eventually you may come to dislike broad categories/tags and prefer direct links from one idea to another as the most explicit tag you could give a note . If you're following a more strict Luhmann-artig practice, you'll find yourself indexing a lot at the beginning, but as you link new ideas to old, you don't need to index (tag) things as heavily because the index points to a card which is directly linked to something in the neighborhood of where you're looking. Over time and through use, you'll come to recognize your neighborhoods and the individual "houses" where the ideas you're working with all live. As an example, Luhmann spent his life working in sociology, but you'll only find a few links from his keyword register/subject index to "sociology" (and this is a good thing, otherwise he'd have had 90,000+ listings there and the index entry for sociology would have been utterly useless.)

      Still, given all this, perhaps as taurusnoises suggests, concrete examples may help more, particularly if you're having any issues with the terminology/concepts or how the specific application affordances are being presented.

    1. There are hints here of what Bob Doto was writing about recently with respect to literary theory development, lots of which wouldn't have been seen/known by Adler/Van Doren in 1972. You might appreciate the ideas in intertextuality and rhizomatic philosophy he touches on. There are also hints of connections to Whitney Trettien's work in Cut/Copy/Paste which I'm reminded of as well.

      Doto, Bob. “Inspired Destruction: How a Zettelkasten Explodes Thoughts (So You Can Have New Ones).” Writing by Bob Doto (blog), September 13, 2023. https://writing.bobdoto.computer/inspired-destruction-how-a-zettelkasten-explodes-thoughts-so-you-can-have-newish-ones/.

      Trettien, Whitney. Cut/Copy/Paste: Fragments from the History of Bookwork. University of Minnesota Press, 2021. https://manifold.umn.edu/projects/cut-copy-paste.

    1. We're getting an "accurate" depiction of their ideas in print, when in an oral culture we'd be getting ideas that may have originated with people in the distant past but have been altered (even if just by curation) in their process of making it to the present to be recited.

      There's some interesting work on the "archaeology of orality" which indicates that there's much better continuity of oral traditions than Westerners may admit, in large part because we're only familiar with how our memories are trained versus how oral societies actually operate. Transmission methods are much stronger/better than we might generally think and go back further than our literary records.

      Here's an interesting recent article that provides a bit of flavor here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440323000997

      And a popular press synopsis: https://www.unimelb.edu.au/newsroom/news/2023/august/tasmanian-aboriginal-oral-traditions-among-the-oldest-recorded-narratives

    1. I wonder what you think of a distinction between the more traditional 'scholar's box', and the proto-databases that were used to write dictionaries and then for projects such as the Mundaneum. I can't help feeling there's a significant difference between a collection of notes meant for a single person, and a collection meant to be used collaboratively. But not sure exactly how to characterize this difference. Seems to me that there's a tradition that ended up with the word processor, and another one that ended up with the database. I feel that the word processor, unlike the database, was a dead end.

      reply to u/atomicnotes at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16njtfx/comment/k1tuc9c/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      u/atomicnotes, this is an excellent question. (Though I'd still like to come to terms with people who don't think it acts as a knowledge management system, there's obviously something I'm missing.)

      Some of your distinction comes down to how one is using their zettelkasten and what sorts of questions are being asked of it. One of the earliest descriptions I've seen that begins to get at the difference is the description by Beatrice Webb of her notes (appendix C) in My Apprenticeship. As she describes what she's doing, I get the feeling that she's taking the same broad sort of notes we're all used to, but it's obvious from her discussion that she's also using her slips as a traditional database, but is lacking modern vocabulary to describe it as such.

      Early efforts like the OED, TLL, the Wb, and even Gertrud Bauer's Coptic linguistic zettelkasten of the late 1970s were narrow enough in scope and data collected to make them almost dead simple to define, organize and use as databases on paper. Of course how they were used to compile their ultimate reference books was a bit more complex in form than the basic data from which they stemmed.

      The Mundaneum had a much more complex flavor because it required a standardized system for everyone to work in concert against much more freeform as well as more complex forms of collected data and still be able to search for the answers to specific questions. While still somewhat database flavored, it was dramatically different from the others because of it scope and the much broader sorts of questions one could ask of it. I think that if you ask yourself what sorts of affordances you get from the two different groups (databases and word processors (or even their typewriter precursors) you find even more answers.

      Typewriters and word processors allowed one to get words down on paper quicker by a magnitude of order or two faster, and in combination with reproduction equipment, made it easier to spin off copies of the document for small scale and local mass distribution a lot easier. They do allow a few affordances like higher readability (compared with less standardized and slower handwriting), quick search (at least in the digital era), and moving pieces of text around (also in digital). Much beyond this, they aren't tremendously helpful as a composition tool. As a thinking tool, typewriters and word processors aren't significantly better than their analog predecessors, so you don't gain a huge amount of leverage by using them.

      On the other hand, databases and their spreadsheet brethren offer a lot more, particularly in digital realms. Data collection and collation become much easier. One can also form a massive variety of queries on such collected data, not to mention making calculations on those data or subjecting them to statistical analyses. Searching, sorting, and making direct comparisons also become far easier and quicker to do once you've amassed the data you need. Here again, Beatrice Webb's early experience and descriptions are very helpful as are Hollerinth's early work with punch cards and census data and the speed with which the results could be used.

      Now if you compare the affordances by each of these in the digital era and plot their shifts against increasing computer processing power, you'll see that the value of the word processor stays relatively flat while the database shows much more significant movement.

      Surely there is a lot more at play, particularly at scale and when taking network effects into account, but perhaps this quick sketch may explain to you a bit of the difference you've described.

      Another difference you may be seeing/feeling is that of contextualization. Databases usually have much smaller and more discrete amounts of data cross-indexed (for example: a subject's name versus weight with a value in pounds or kilograms.) As a result the amount of context required to use them is dramatically lower compared to the sorts of data you might keep in an average atomic/evergreen note, which may need to be more heavily recontextualized for you when you need to use it in conjunction with other similar notes which may also need you to recontextualize them and then use them against or with one another.

      Some of this is why the cards in the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae are easier to use and understand out of the box (presuming you know Latin) than those you might find in the Mundaneum. They'll also be far easier to use than a stranger's notes which will require even larger contextualization for you, especially when you haven't spent the time scaffolding the related and often unstated knowledge around them. This is why others' zettelkasten will be more difficult (but not wholly impossible) for a stranger to use. You might apply the analogy of context gaps between children and adults for a typical Disney animated movie to the situation. If you're using someone else's zettelkasten, you'll potentially be able to follow a base level story the way a child would view a Disney cartoon. Compare this to the zettelkasten's creator who will not only see that same story, but will have a much higher level of associative memory at play to see and understand a huge level of in-jokes, cultural references, and other associations that an adult watching the Disney movie will understand that the child would completely miss.

      I'm curious to hear your thoughts on how this all plays out for your way of conceptualizing it.

    2. But I’m increasingly inclined to the view that the genius of ZK is the simple fact that it forces its user to continually interact with, and create connections among their thoughts and the thoughts of others.To the extent that’s correct, the work that ZK demands is not a drawback at all. It is in fact ZKs primary benefit; it’s a serious feature and not at all a bug.

      reply to u/TeeMcBee and u/taurusnoises at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16njtfx/comment/k1ic0ot/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      And two more big yeses.

      There is a growing amount of literature in the educational social annotation space in which teachers/professors are using it specifically to encourage their students to interact with class material and readings. The mechanics on the front end are exactly the same as in most ZK set ups, the difference is what happens with the annotations one makes.

      An entry point into some of this research:

    1. What a lovely example of H5P! I keep my eye open for them floating around in the wild, but don't often see them.

      It reminds me of a 1906 advertisement I ran into earlier this year. I should have thought to make my own H5P out of it. https://boffosocko.com/2023/03/09/satelite-combination-card-index-cabinet-and-telephone-stand/

      Syndication Link

    1. I’ve been flitting around loads of note taking platforms - each time, I bask in the glory of a new tool then about 3-4 weeks later I’m done.The one lasting tool is Roam, which I still like despite it being tossed aside by many for other tools. I use TickTick for my task management.I’ve recently returned to journaling or writing things down for that I’ve done and what I want to achieve. I still have an online and mobile task list but I really find writing useful for reflecting.Getting into Zettkekasten, I’m about to use a paper card based approach to do a spell of studying. Im looking forward to the analogue experience but almost feel like I’m being disloyal to the modern digital way. I’m looking forward to seeing if this method helps digest the learning and seeing where this takes me.

      reply to u/FilterGrad6 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16iwdep/newbie/

      Digital is just a tool. Why necessarily chose it over analog unless you can specifically identify affordances which dramatically improve your experience or output?

      As you've discovered, shiny object syndrome may prevent you from collecting enough into one place to be truly useful and valuable. Pick one that seems to work for you and build from there.

      If paper was good enough for the practices and outputs of Carl Linnaeus, Konrad Gessner, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz, John Locke, Hans Blumenberg, Roland Barthes, Beatrice Webb, Jacques Barzun, Niklas Luhmann, Gertrud Bauer, Marcel Mauss, Phyllis Diller, and so many others is there any reason it shouldn't work just as effectively for your work?

    1. Thank you!, am trying to make sense of what you are suggesting. It sounds like I could put categories, numbers, images, colors, objects, etc around the wheel and place the cards based on those different things.An interesting wheel I found is from the following site. I could make paper triangles like the ones in Figure T for (1) beginning, middle, end, (2) difference, concordance, contrariety, (3) majority, equality, and minority. Other triangular sequences might be possible. In the study of acting, there's also objective-action-obstacle.Still trying to make sense of how I would use the inner concentric circles.

      reply to u/DunesNSwoon at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16ad43u/comment/jzb9ekq/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      The ideas is similar to Marshall Kirkpatrick's triangle thinking (see details here: https://hyp.is/slQufuwwEeyYVz9NwPNInA/thrivingonoverload.com/marshall-kirkpatrick-source-selection-connecting-ideas-diverse-thinking-enabling-serendipity-ep14/), but allows for multiple levels of ideas being juxtaposed simultaneously and then rotated and viewed again. I've not read into the specifics, but you might also appreciate the example of Jackson Mac Low's dance instruction poems entitled The Pronouns: A collection of forty dances for the dancers from 1964. See: https://voiceisalanguage.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/jackson-mac-low/

    2. Even though I commented earlier i have to side with Chris. A ZK is best suited for argumentative and essay like work, not creative one like poetry.Maybe this is something that we need to discuss as a community as hole: it’s seems that a lot of people try to fit their needs to a system that (in my opinion) it’s neither intended or works for those kinds of projects.

      reply to Efficient_Eart_8773 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16ad43u/comment/jzaas4l/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Though depending on your needs and desires, you can really do both to effectuate the outcomes you'd like to have. The secret is knowing which affordances, structures, and methods suit your desired outcomes. (Of course if you're going to dump your box out and do massive rearrangements or take large portions out and want to refile them for other needs, then you're going to have to give them numbers and do that re-filing work.)

      I've seen snippets of saved language in Thoreau's journal (commonplace) which were re-used in other parts of his journal which ultimately ended up in a published work. As he didn't seem to have a significant index, one can only guess that he used occasional browsing or random happenstance delving into it to have moved it from one place to another.

      As ever, what do you need and what will best get you there?


      Link to:<br /> What Got You Here Won't Get You There

    3. My main purpose for using note-cards is to form lines of poetry into actual poems. Currently it's specifically erotic poetry that I'm writing, so it seems like there is a limited number of categories that I keep coming back to in regards to content: beauty, fashion, movement, relationship, etc, which I've put on the top of my index cards. This is based off of Ryan Holiday and Robert Greene's index card systems. I've also added subcategories: for example, beauty and myth, beauty and plant associations, etc. Going deeper, I might write B-P-F in the corner for Beauty-Plant-Flower, and then have BPF-1, 2, etc. If I organize these alphabetically with tabs, it seems like it would be easy to find the subject I'm looking for at a glance. One problem might be if I want to start making additional notes about which cards stand out for their structure: rhyme, alliteration, etc. Have various ideas for this.My questions are: what is the benefit of having an alphanumeric indexing system where you label subjects with 1, 2, 3, and then going deeper with 1a, 1a1, etc. when it seems like it would be harder to remember that science is #1 and philosophy is #2 vs. just putting science under S and philosophy under P? Is the Zettelkasten (alphanumeric) method better for creating a wide-ranging general knowledge database in a way I'm not realizing? Would there be any benefit for my narrower writing purpose? Any responses are appreciated.

      reply to u/DunesNSwoon at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16ad43u/zettelkasten_alphanumeric_method_vs_alphabetical/

      Allow me an iconoclastic view for this subreddit: Given what you've got and your creative use case, I'll recommend you do not do any numbering or ordering at all!

      Instead follow the path of philosopher Raymond Llull and create what is sometimes referred to as a Llullian memory wheel. Search for one of his diagrams from the 11th century. Then sift through your cards for interesting ones and place one of your cards at each of the many letters, numbers, words, images, or "things" on the wheels, which were designed to move around a central axis much like a child's cryptographic decoder wheel based on the Caesar cipher. Then move things about combinatorically until you find interesting patterns, rhymes, rhythms, etc. to compose the poetry you're after.

      Juxtaposing ideas in random (but structured) ways may help accelerate and amplify your creativity in ways you might not expect.

      They meant them to be used on a slower timescale, but Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt's Oblique Strategies are not too dissimilar in their effect. You might find them useful when you're creatively "stuck". As a poet you might also create a mini deck of cards with forms on them (sonnet, rhymed couplets, villanelle, limerick, etc.) to draw from at random and attempt to compose something to fit it. Odd constraints can often be helpful creative tools.

    1. Love this general set up. The months (12) and days (31) tabs broadly are similar to a 43 folders set up as well. I've written a bit about the history of similar productivity systems which are based in index cards for those exploring/experimenting with various methods and potential outcomes: https://boffosocko.com/2023/03/09/the-memindex-method-an-early-precursor-of-the-memex-hipster-pda-43-folders-gtd-basb-and-bullet-journal-systems/

  9. Aug 2023
    1. Personally I often used #type/sketchnote and #type/question. But I will spend a little time and effort to build up an improved architecture for tagging.

      reply to Edmund at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/18550/#Comment_18550

      @Edmund since I don't do such a thing myself, I'm curious what sort of affordance your #type/NoteName tagging provides you with (especially if you're using more than just those two)? Do you use them regularly for search or filtering, and if so for what reason? How does it help?

      To me it look likes extra metadata/work, but without a lot of direct long term value in exchange. Does doing this for long periods of time provide you with outsized emergent value of some sort that's not easy to see from the start?

    1. Hipster PDA phone case .t3_jjlkh3._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } Advice neededAre there nany phone cases that can store some index cards (and preferably a pen)? I need one because I often forget to bring my Hipster PDA, while I almost never forget to bring my phone.

      reply to u/smaczek at https://www.reddit.com/r/notebooks/comments/jjlkh3/hipster_pda_phone_case/

      If you or others are still looking, I've been using an A6 Flatty case which easily fits several dozen 4x6" index cards along with my phone and a pen. It's probably a better hand carry (esp. with a pen inside), but will fit into my back pocket. Details:

      https://boffosocko.com/2023/04/20/review-of-king-jim-a6-size-horizontal-flatty-works-case-5460/

      Alternately, I've looked at Rickshaw Bags' Traveler's Notebook case for this as well: https://www.rickshawbags.com/travelers-notebook-case

    1. light-enables-creation

      This looks like the sort of structure note I might often make as I am a day or two into a literature review for a new area. It definitely helps to scaffold new ideas and identify specific areas which I may want to delve into more specifically. It's definitely been useful for me to begin linking things into other portions of my ZK to find areas of overlap with these new areas, so it's great to see you doing that with your Prometheus note already.

      Coming from the science area you may want to look at cells or animals with autofluorescence or areas like green fluorescent protein (GFP) if that is of interest in the area of creatures which produce their own light.

    1. BookmarkTypes and uses of PKM

      Almost every well known writer/composer/creative throughout history had some sort of note taking or knowledge system of one sort or another (florilegium, commonplace books, notebooks, diaries, journals, zettelkasten, waste books, mnemonic techniques, etc.), which would put them into your "active" category. I think you'd be hard put to come up with evidence of a "sudden" emergence of an "active" PKM system beyond the choice of individual users to actively do something with their collections or not.

      If you want to go more distant than Eminem, try looking closely at Ramon Llull's practice in the 11th century, or Homer in the c. 8th century BCE. Or to go much, much farther back, there's solid evidence that indigenous peoples in Australia had what you call both passive and active PKM systems as far back as 65,000 years ago. These are still in use today. Naturally these were not written, but used what anthropologists call orality. (See Walter Ong, Milman Parry, Lynne Kelly, Margo Neale, Duane Hamacher, et al.)

    1. BookmarkZettelkasten for historical research?

      @pgrhowarth @MartinBB @tevka and other historians (and sociologists, anthropologists, humanists, etc.) who want to delve into some of the ideas of historical method, zettelkasten, note taking, intellectual craftsmanship outside of Luhmann's version, I've compiled a list of various primary sources who have written on a variety of related methods throughout the past few hundred years: https://www.zotero.org/chrisaldrich/tags/note%20taking%20methods/items/KTZXN3EV/item-list

      Historians in particular have used indexing their notes as a means of creating analog databases for individual facts outside of their other writing/compiling practices. Thus a mixture of methods may suit your working needs.

      To help frame it one might also consult the following: * Thomas, Keith. “Diary: Working Methods.” London Review of Books, June 10, 2010. https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v32/n11/keith-thomas/diary. * Blair, Ann M. Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age. Yale University Press, 2010. https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300165395/too-much-know.

      I've got a relatively short overview of some of these methods and examples of users at https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/22/the-two-definitions-of-zettelkasten/.

    1. Zettelkasten for Normies: What Normies Really Need to Know .t3_15sqiq2._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/SunghoYahng at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/15sqiq2/zettelkasten_for_normies_what_normies_really_need/

      u/SunghoYahng, some of your article sounds like a pared down digital version of a commonplace book which allows for links, so it fits into the older zettelkasten tradition, just not into the more Luhmann-artig version on which this subreddit is generally more focused. Perhaps yours is closer to a digital version of the analog commonplace using index cards that Billy Oppenheimer describes having learned from Ryan Holiday and Robert Greene?

      Often people focus too much on Luhmann's prodigious output and then immediately imply or say you should adopt his very specific system without describing what his system did or why it worked so well for him and his particular needs. Very few focus on what it is that they want to accomplish and how they might use his system or the thousands of variations on it throughout history to come to those goals as quickly and easily as they can.

      You commit a version of this sin in your opening lines:

      The content about Zettelkasten is mostly too long and practically useless. The purpose of this text is to write only what normies really need to know.

      Who are these so-called "normies" and what specifically are they trying to accomplish? You don't define either of them, and possibly worse do it in a negative framing. The system you're describing might be a great one, but for whom? What do you expect them to use it for? What will they get out of it?

      Many people talk about the "magic" of a zettelkasten and then wave their hands at some version of a workflow of what they think it is or what they think it should be. Perhaps what we all really need is a list of potential affordances that different methods allow and how one might leverage those affordances. How might they be mixed and matched? Then users can decide what outcomes they wish to have (writing, thinking, aggregation, bookmarking, collecting, creativity, artificial memory, serendipity, productivity, wiki, spaced repetition, learning, time wasting, etc., etc.) and which affordances are necessary within their workflow/system to effectuate those specific goals? Finally they can pick and choose a specific version of a methodology/workflow and either an analog substrate (index cards, notebooks, memory palace, etc.) or digital tool/application (Obsidian, Roam Research, The Archive, etc.) to save it all in. Of course once you've chosen that analog or digital tool, does it actually have the affordances you want or need in actual practice? Are they easy to use? Practical? Do they save you time? Are they simple or over-engineered? What happens when they scale to a year of regular use or even a lifetime?

      As a simple example, many writers would love a seriously good outliner functionality in their system to pull out the materials they want to work with and then appropriately order them for a potential final written output. In practice, index cards on a big table are fantastic for this process while most (all?) current digital tools are miserable at it. And of course once you've gotten the outline you like in an analog space you have to type it all out to print/publish in a final form, something which the digital affordance of cut and paste would make much simpler. Who wouldn't love a tool that could give you all of these affordances, presuming you needed them?

      While we're on outlining, very few talk about the ease-of-use that some professional outliners like Dave Winer's Drummer or Little Outliner have versus some of the more text-editing focused tools like Obsidian which are generally poor as outliners (if you could even call them that) in comparison.

      If you're interested in folgezettel and outlining, you might appreciate some subtleties in Bob's piece: https://writing.bobdoto.computer/folgezettel-is-not-an-outline-luhmanns-playful-appreciation-of-disfunction/

      cross reference https://hypothes.is/a/OhcWSjxyEe6V8DP9P6WNQQ

    1. Why is the index card half full?

      reply to u/ManuelRodriguez331 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/15ehcy5/why_is_the_index_card_half_full/

      There has been debate about the length of notes on slips since the invention of slips and it shows no signs of coming to broad consensus other than everyone will have their personal opinion.

      If you feel that A6 is is too big then go down a step in size to A7. One of the benefits of the DIN A standard is that you can take the next larger card size and fold it exactly in half to have the next size smaller. This makes it easier to scale up the size of your cards if you prefer most of them to be smaller to save space, just take care not to allow larger folded cards to "taco" smaller cards in a way they're likely to get lost. If you really needed more space, you could easily use an A1 or A2 and fold it down to fit inside of your collection! (Sadly 4x6 and 3x5 cards don't have this affordance.)

      Fortunately there are a variety of available sizes, so you can choose what works best for yourself. Historically some chose large 5x8", 6x9", or even larger "slips". Some have also used different sizes for different functions. For example some use 3x5 for bibliographic cards and 4x6 for day-to-day ideas. I've seen stacked wooden card catalog furniture that had space for 3x5, 4x6, and 8.5x11 in separate drawers within the same cabinet. Some manufacturers even made their furniture modular to make this sort of mixed use even easier.

      One of the broadly used pieces of advice that does go back centuries is to use "cards of the same size" (within a particular use case). This consensus is arrived at to help users from losing smaller cards between larger/taller cards. Cards of varying sizes, even small ones, are also much more difficult to sort through. Slight of hand magicians will be aware of the fact that shaving small fractions of length off of playing cards is an easy way of not only marking them, but of executing a variety of clever shuffling illusions as well as finding some of them very quickly by feel behind the back. Analog zettelkasten users will only discover that smaller, shorter cards are nearly guaranteed to become lost among the taller cards. It's for this reason that I would never recommend one to mix 4x6, A6, or even the very closely cut Exacompta Bristol cards, which are neither 4x6 nor A6!

      I once took digital notes and printed them on paper and then cut them up to fit the size of the individual notes to save on space and paper. I can report that doing this was a painfully miserable experience and positively would NOT recommend doing this for smaller projects much less lifelong ones. Perhaps this could be the sort of chaos someone out there might actually manage to thrive within, but I suspect it would be a very rare individual.

      As for digital spacing, you may win out a bit here for "saving" paper space, but you're also still spending on storage costs in electronic formatting which historically doesn't have the longevity of physical formats. Digital also doesn't offer the ease of use of laying cards out on a desktop and very quickly reordering them for subsequent uses.

      There are always tradeoffs, one just need be aware of them to guide choices for either how they want to work or how they might work best.

      Personally, I use 4x6" cards because I often write longer paragraphs on them. Through experimentation I found that I would end up using two or more 3x5 cards more often than I would have had mostly blank 4x6 cards and used that to help drive my choice. I also find myself revisiting old cards and adding to them (short follow ups, links to other cards, or other metadata) and 3x5 wouldn't allow that as easily.

      As ever, YMMV...

      See also: [[note lengths]] and/or [[note size]].

  10. Jul 2023
    1. Isn’t it too much time and energy consuming? I’m not provoking, I’m genuine.

      reply to IvanCyb at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/1587onp/comment/jt8zbu4/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3 Asking broadly about indexing methods in zettelkasten

      When you begin you'll find yourself creating lots of index entries to start, in part because you have none, but you'll find with time that you need to do less and less because index entries already exist for most of what you would add. More importantly most of the entries you might consider duplicating are likely to be very near cards that already have those index entries.

      As an example if you have twenty cards on cultural anthropology, the first one will be indexed with "cultural anthropology" to give you a pointer of where to start. Then when you need to add a new card to that section, you'll look up "cultural anthropology" and skim through what you've got to find the closest related card and place it. You likely won't need to create a new index entry for it at all.

      But for argument's sake, let's say you intend to do some work at the intersection of "cultural anthropology" and "writing" and this card is also about "writing". Then you might want to add an index entry for "writing" from which you'll branch off in the future. This will tend to keep your index very sparse. As an example you can look at Niklas Luhmann's digitized collection to notice that he spent his career in the area of "sociology" but there are only just a few pointers from his index into his collection under that keyword. If he had tagged every single card related to "sociology" as "sociology" in his index, the index entry for it would have been wholly unusable in just a few months. Broadly speaking his entire zettelkasten is about sociology, so you need to delve a few layers in and see which subtopics, sub-subtopics, sub-sub-subtopics, etc. exist. As you go deeper into specific topics you'll notice that you branch down and out into more specific subareas as you begin to cover all the bases within that topic. If you like, for fun, you can see this happening in my digital zettelkasten on the topic of "zettelkasten" at https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=tag%3A%22zettelkasten%22. The tool only shows the top 50 tags for that subject in the side bar, but you can slowly dig down into subtopics to see what they look like and a bit of how they begin to overlap.

      Incidentally, this is one of the problems with those who tag everything with top level topic headings in digital contexts—you do a search for something important and find so much that it becomes a useless task to try to sift through it all. As a result, users need better tools to give them the ability to do more fine-grained searching, filtering, and methods of discovery.

    1. I'm using LaTeX to create my Zettel notes. .t3_158gy35._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/AndreSanch at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/158gy35/im_using_latex_to_create_my_zettel_notes/

      This sort of thing has certainly been done before by many. Be careful of going overboard.

      If you don't already have a list of most of the common LaTeX math symbols, here's a good starter list, but make sure that your assigned meaning to them from an argumentation perspective is either "standard" or you've written it down for later use/memory. (There's nothing worse than a 10 year old note whose symbols you no longer remember.)

      If you haven't done a course in philosophy or logic (something along the lines of Elements of Logic), then that may also help you in terms of many of the common uses/meanings, though there are a variety of meanings to various symbols through time, so take care.

      Scribes and scholars over time have used a variety of symbols and annotations to mean various things, some of which were standardized in various contexts. For more on this take a look at some of Evina Stein's work and research on historic texts. Some of this might include:

      Steinová, Evina. “Nota and Require. The Oldest Western Annotation Symbols and Their Dissemination in the Early Middle Ages.” Scribes and the Presentation of Texts (from Antiquity to c. 1550). Proceedings of the 20th Colloquium of the Comité International de Paléographie Latine, 2021, 473–89. https://doi.org/10.1484/M.BIB-EB.5.124987.<br /> ———. Notam Superponere Studui: The Use of Annotation Symbols in the Early Middle Ages. Brepols, 2019.<br /> Steinova, Evina. “Technical Signs in Early Medieval Manuscripts Copied in Irish Minuscule.” In The Annotated Book in the Early Middle Ages: Practices of Reading and Writing, edited by M. J. Teeuwen and I. Van Renswoude, 37–85. Brepols, 2017.

      For those interested in scratching the surface of some possibilities and history, I might recommend:

      Scheinerman, Edward R. Mathematical Notation: A Guide for Engineers and Scientists. CreateSpace, 2011.

      Your note about Forte, while cute and clever doesn't necessarily mean that he's an old man, however, so take care about your propositions and what you draw from them or else your system won't hold up for long.

    1. Overloaded with notes .t3_15218d5._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } A few years ago I moved from Evernote to Obsidian. Evernote had this cool web clipper feature that helped me gather literary quotes, tweets, Wikipedia facts, interview bits, and any kinds of texts all around the web. And now I have a vault with 10k notes.I am trying to review a few every time I open Obsidian (add tags, link it, or delete) but it is still too much.Did someone have the same experience? How did you manage to fix everything and move to a bit more controllable system (zettelkasten or any other)?Cus I feel like I am standing in front of a text tsunami

      reply to u/posh-and-repressed at https://www.reddit.com/r/ObsidianMD/comments/15218d5/overloaded_with_notes/

      Overwhelm of notes always reminds me of this note taking story from 1908: https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/24/death-by-zettelkasten/ If you've not sorted them, tagged/categorized them or other, then search is really your only recourse. One of the benefits of Luhmann's particular structure is that it nudged him to read and review through older cards as he worked and filed new ones. Those with commonplace books would have occasionally picked up their notebooks and paged through them from time to time. Digital methods like Obsidian don't always do a good job of allowing or even forcing this review work on the user, so you may want to look at synthetic means like one of the random note plugins. Otherwise don't worry too much. Fix your tagging/categorizing/indexing now so that things slowly improve in the future. (I'm sitting on a pile of over 50K notes without the worry of overwhelm, primarily as I've managed to figure out how to rely on my index and search.)

    1. Evernote as a business seems to have problems

      For those who are Obsidian users, earlier today they released a plugin for converting/importing one's Evernote notes as markdown files: https://obsidian.md/plugins?id=obsidian-importer

      See also: https://obsidian.md/blog/free-your-notes/

      Those who don't use Obsidian might consider using it temporarily to convert their files to markdown (.md) format for use in other programs.

    1. Converting Commonplace Books? .t3_14v2ohz._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/ihaveascone at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/14v2ohz/converting_commonplace_books/

      Don't convert unless you absolutely need to, it will be a lot of soul-crushing make work. Since some of your practice already looks like Ross Ashby's system, why not just continue what you've been doing all along and start a physical index card-based index for your commonplaces? (As opposed to a more classical Lockian index.) As you browse your commonplaces create index cards for topics you find and write down the associated book/page numbers. Over time you'll more quickly make your commonplace books more valuable while still continuing on as you always have without skipping much a beat or attempting to convert over your entire system. Alternately you could do a paper notebook with a digital index too. I came across https://www.indxd.ink, a digital, web-based index tool for your analog notebooks. Ostensibly allows one to digitally index their paper notebooks (page numbers optional). It emails you weekly text updates, so you've got a back up of your data if the site/service disappears. This could potentially be used by those who have analog commonplace/zettelkasten practices, but want the digital search and some back up of their system.

    1. How do you use pocket sized notebooks? .t3_14to50w._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to u/peaberryxo at https://www.reddit.com/r/notebooks/comments/14to50w/how_do_you_use_pocket_sized_notebooks/

      I generally carry one all the time and use it as a convenient "waste book". I quickly collect fleeting ideas or notes throughout the day so I don't forget the tidbits that are important. When I'm back at my desk or at the end of the day/week, I will transfer things into my calendar/planner, my primary to do list, copy out more fleshed out ideas or quotes into my commonplace book or add particular ideas and sources to my zettelkasten. It's really there for quick convenience and nothing more. If it's important it always goes somewhere else.

    1. Inserting a maincards with lack of memory .t3_14ot4na._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } Lihmann's system of inserting a maincard is fundamentally based on a person's ability to remember there are other maincards already inserted that would be related to the card you want to insert.What if you have very poor memory like many people do, what is your process of inserting maincards?In my Antinet I handled it in an enhanced method from what I did in my 27 yrs of research notebooks which is very different then Lihmann's method.

      reply to u/drogers8 at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/14ot4na/inserting_a_maincards_with_lack_of_memory/

      I would submit that your first sentence is wildly false.

      What topic(s) cover your newly made cards? Look those up in your index and find where those potentially related cards are (whether you remember them or not). Go to that top level card listed in your index and see what's there or in the section of cards that come after it. Find the best card in that branch and file your new card(s) as appropriate. If necessary, cross-index them with sub-topics in your index to make them more findable in the future. If you don't find one or more of those topics in your index, then create a new branch and start an index entry for one or more of those terms. (You'll find yourself making lots of index entries to start, but it will eventually slow down—though it shouldn't stop—as your collection grows.)

      Ideally, with regular use, you'll likely remember more and more, especially for active areas you're really interested in. However, take comfort that the system is designed to let you forget everything! This forgetting will actually help create future surprise as well as serendipity that will actually be beneficial for potentially generating new ideas as you use (and review) your notes.

      And if you don't believe me, consider that Alberto Cevolini edited an entire book, broadly about these techniques—including an entire chapter on Luhmann—, which he aptly named Forgetting Machines!

    1. "I keep a dated diary of sorts on index cards, though they rarely go past one card a day."This is something I haven't heard of before. So, you journal/diary on index cards, one per day?

      reply to u/taurusnoises (Bob Doto) at tk

      Yep, for almost a full year now on 4x6" index cards. (Receipts for the kids: https://boffosocko.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/wp-1688411021709-scaled.jpg)

      Previously I'd used a Hobonichi Cousin (page per day) journal for this. (Perhaps I should have stayed with the A6 size instead of the larger A5 for consistency?) Decades ago (around 1988ish?) I had started using a 2 page per day DayTimer pocket planners (essentially pre-printed/timed index cards spiral bound into monthly booklets which they actually shipped in index card-like plastic boxes for storage/archival purposes). Technically I've been doing a version of this for a really long time in one form or another.

      It generally includes a schedule, to do lists (bullet journal style), and various fleeting notes/journaling similar to the older Memindex format, just done on larger cards for extra space. I generally either fold them in half for pocket storage for the day or carry about in groups for the coming week(s) when I'm away from my desk for extended periods (also with custom blank index card notebooks/pads).

      I won't go into the fact that in the 90's I had a 5,000+ person rolodex... or an index card (in the entertainment they called them buck slips) with the phone numbers and names of \~100 people I dealt with regularly when early brick cell phones didn't have great (or any) storage/functionality.

    2. reply to Bob Doto at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/14lcb4z/using_diaries_and_journals_as_source_material_for/

      Ross Ashby kept his notes in notebooks/journals but he did cross-index them by topic using index cards. Rather than reference them by notebook (name/title/date) and page number, he kept a set of handwritten running page numbers across the entirety of his notebooks, so instead of Notebook 15 page 55, 1952 he'd simply write "3786" for page 3786. This can be seen on his index card for the indexed word "determinate" as an example.

      For other examples, see: http://www.rossashby.info/journal/index/index.html

      My own notebooks are usually titled by year and date spans along with page numbers, so I'll use those roughly as Bob describes. This has made it much easier to not need to move all my older notes into a card-based system, but still make them useable and referenceable.

      For those with more explicit journaling, diary, or other writing habits, Ralph Waldo Emmerson makes an interesting example of practice as he maintained at least two commonplace books (a poetry-specific one and a general one) as well as a large set of writing journals where he experimented with writing before later publishing his work. Since there are extant (digitized and published copies) and large bodies of scholarship around them, they make an interesting case study of how his process worked and how others might imitate it.

      On the diary front, of the historical examples I've seen floating around, only Roland Barthes had a significant practice of keeping his "diary" in index card form, a portion of which was published on October 12, 2010. Mourning Diary is a collection published for the first time from Roland Barthes' 330 index cards focusing on his mourning following the death of his mother in 1977.

      Not as extensive, Vladimir Nabokov recorded a "diary" of sixty-four dreams on 118 index cards beginning on October 14, 1964 as an experiment. He was following the instructions of John Dunne, a British philosopher, in An Experiment with Time. The results were published by Princeton University Press in Insomniac Dreams: Experiments with Time by Vladimir Nabokov which was edited by Gennady Barabtarlo.

      Presumably if one keeps a diary or journal in index card form in chronological order, they can simply reference it by date and either time or card X of Y, if there are multiple card entries for a single day. I keep a dated diary of sorts on index cards, though they rarely go past one card a day.

    1. CPB vs Reading Notes .t3_14li1ri._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } Does anyone separate their reading notes from their common place Notebook? I’ve always used a notebook to combine my Bullet Journal, reading notes, and Common Place. It’s been a mesh of words and I’ve been ok w that, but I just got the Remarkable 2 and I’m trying to figure out how to set it up. Any ideas?

      reply to u/Nil205 at https://www.reddit.com/r/commonplacebook/comments/14li1ri/cpb_vs_reading_notes/

      I have a similar and differently formed, but still simple system compared to most here. Rather than a traditional commonplace book, I keep all my notes on index cards. I keep all my reading notes for a particular book on a series of index cards that I staple together with a citation card for the book and then file them by author and title.

      When I'm done, I'll excerpt the most important parts each individual note (highlight/annotation) and expand on them on its own index card which I file away and index. In your case you might equivalently have a reading notebook where you might keep a section of notes as you read a book and then excerpt the most important or salient parts into your main commonplace. Some may prefer, especially if they own the book in question, to annotate (put their reading notes into) the book directly and then excerpt either as they go or at the end when they're done and can frame their ideas with a broader knowledge of the area in question. Sometimes at later dates you may realize you read something useful which you don't find in your commonplace book, but you can find the gist of it in your reading notes which you can reference, refresh your memory, and then excerpt into your commonplace.

      For more on my sort of card index or zettelkasten (German: slip box) practice you might take a look at one or more of the following which explain the broad generalities:

      If it's useful/inspiring as an example, Ross Ashby had a lifelong series of notebooks, much like a commonplace, and a separate card index where he cross-indexed all of his ideas to make them more easily searchable, findable, and cross referenceable. You can see digitized versions of the journals and index online which you can explore at http://www.rossashby.info/journal/index.html.

    1. Anyone here use a method like Pile of Index Cards? .t3_7wtz59._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      It's been a while since this was asked, but in case folks stumbling across it are interested, there are a few useful examples and resources: - Original Pile of Index Cards set up: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hawkexpress/albums/72157594200490122/ (Be sure to click on some of the example card photos which have descriptions of set up/use.) - 43 tabs: https://web.archive.org/web/20110714192833/http://pileofindexcards.org/wiki/index.php?title=43Tabs_System - Lifehacker Article: https://lifehacker.com/the-pile-of-index-cards-system-efficiently-organizes-ta-1599093089 - Uncluterer: https://web.archive.org/web/20140708133632/http://unclutterer.com/2014/06/17/the-pile-of-index-cards-poic-system/ - Some historical systems (esp. Memindex which preceded the PoIC): https://boffosocko.com/2023/03/09/the-memindex-method-an-early-precursor-of-the-memex-hipster-pda-43-folders-gtd-basb-and-bullet-journal-systems/

    1. Zk for analyzing components

      reply to u/graidan at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/14n5131/zk_for_analyzing_components/

      I'm intending to use some of my zk for analysis of components for their uses. Specifically, for looking at materia magica (magical ingredients) across authors / books / systems / etc. For example, all the ways that dandelion is used, looking for consistent commonalities and reasoning.

      How would you do this in a ZK system? Create a branch per items under investigation? I feel like a digital solution like notion might work best, but I'd like to incorporate into my analog if I can figure out a good way to do it.

      I like u/taurusnoises' description and understand it, but perhaps an alternate perspective and some examples of how others have done these things may be helpful?

      One feature/affordance that a Luhmann-esque zettelkasten emphasizes is the ability to build on knowledge from the bottom up while older commonplace book and non-Luhmann zettelkasten traditions have a more top-down and/or categorical-first approach. Either of these methods can be tried in your use case to good benefit, but it helps to think about what is happening over the long run. Bottom up approaches are more useful when you're encountering new material and aren't always sure how to categorize it or know where things may be heading. These also tend to encourage greater admixtures of disparate topics, especially over use with time. Top down approaches are potentially better when you've got a broad idea of fields and sub-fields to begin with and know exactly where new ideas will best fit. Because of this they don't naturally tend to mix disparate fields of knowledge as easily, though this can be done with foresight.

      It sounds like you're well-acquainted with your area (of magical ingredients) already, so you're more likely to appreciate a top down approach as a result. A Luhmann-esque zettelkasten is certainly workable here, but you'll be able to scaffold some of your material more easily from the start. You know in advance some of the structure of where you're going and what sorts of questions you'll want to ask of your notes, so you can structure it to be more helpful from the start.

      As an example, in your materia magica case (for which I'll make some broad assumptions without any knowledge of the field), you might have a branch for dandelion. Under dandelion you can aggregate notes on what various authors have to say about specific uses and features. Over time you'll have a variety of notes which will allow you to quickly compare and contrast what those authors have to say about the topic. You can repeat this for other herbs, mushrooms, etc. This may make your writing on this particular area much easier.

      Of course, potential complications may occur later when you may have different questions about the ideas you've collected. Perhaps you'll ask something like, how did practices differ in different geographical areas? Was practice with dandelions the same across different regions or across time? Did practices for other herbs show similar patterns? This may require additional sets of notes which can cross reference time spans and areas. To better handle this with your initial notes branching according to herbs, you may want to make project notes (maps of content, hub notes, structure notes, or whatever you want to call them) on each of these criteria with links back to the originals for studying and comparing these differences.

      To make this easier, you can pull out all the original notes and reorder them accordingly and then make your project notes by noting the original card identifiers/numbers. Or perhaps you just use them to write the particular section directly. Once you're done, you can use the original numbers to file them back into the appropriate places for later use.

      The broader ZK community doesn't talk as frequently or as in-depth about adding metadata relating to time, place, etc. for sorting/resorting or searching for material. Having actual index cards may make doing all of this a lot easier.

      As illustrative examples, Beatrice Webb talks a bit about her use of collecting notes/data across a variety of dimensions for her sociology work as "scientific notetaking" in Appendix C of her book My Apprenticeship (1926). Broadly speaking, she's using her notes as an early form of searchable database. Similarly, Victor Margolin has a short video about his process for writing about history of design and there he's using his notes along the lines of both location as well as time. In both of these examples, we're looking at non-Luhmann-artig practices (somehow it seems more appropriate to use the German -artig than the French -esque), but I'm sure they would have worked just as well with a Luhmann structured practice as well.

      And of course if none of this still makes any sense, I highly recommend you try it anyway. Your experience will assuredly bear out results and you're sure to find the answers you're looking for, and probably a little more to boot. Let us know what you find.

  11. Jun 2023
    1. I just can't get into these sort of high-ritual triage approaches to note-taking. I can admire it from afar, which I do, but find this sort of "consider this ahead of time before you make a move" approaches to really drag down my process.But, I do appreciate them from a sort of "aesthetics of academia" perspective.

      Reply to Bob Doto at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/14ikfsy/comment/jplo3j2/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3 with respect to PZ Compass Points.

      I'll agree wholeheartedly that applying methods like this to each note one takes is a "make work" exercise. It's apt to encourage people into the completist trap of turning every note they take into some sort of pristine so-called permanent or evergreen note, and there are already too many of those practitioners, who often give up in a few weeks wondering "where did I go wrong?".

      It's useful to know that these methods and tools exist, particularly for younger students, but I would never recommend that one apply them on a daily or even weekly basis. Maybe if one was having trouble with a particular idea or thought and wanted to more exhaustively explore the adjacent space around it, but even here going out for a walk in nature and allowing diffuse thinking to do some of the work is likely to be just as (maybe more?) productive.

      It could be the sort of thing to write down in your collection of Oblique Strategies to pull out when you're hitting a wall?

    1. BookmarkNew book - Personal Knowledge Graphs, by Ivo Velitchkov

      https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/2597/new-book-personal-knowledge-graphs-by-ivo-velitchkov#latest

      For some additional context the work can be found through https://personalknowledgegraphs.com/#/page/pkg. It also has portions of the building of the book which exist as a knowledge graph, though it doesn't appear that they put up the entirety of the book as a linked knowledge graph the way they had initially planned. I've read a few parts in draft form, including Flancian's chapter whose ideas are tremendous, but I have yet to read the remainder of the published work.

      [Disclosure: I had submitted and had been accepted to write an early, historical-flavored chapter for this volume, but ultimately fell out, as did many others, over disagreements regarding their editing and/or publishing process. I'm close with Flancian and appreciate his experimental programming work on https://anagora.org/index, which one might call a multi-layered wiki of personal wikis, commonplace books, zettelkasten, diaries, notes, and other similar forms of personal knowledge. If you've got a public, digitally available version of a zettelkasten you'd like to add to his project, do reach out to him to interconnect it with the Agora and others' work there.]

    1. Personal Website

      reply to u/GlitteringFee1047 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/147yj2b/personal_website/

      I've got a personal site at https://boffosocko.com which I've had for many years and used in part as a digital commonplace book/pseudo-zettelkasten. I've been an active member of the IndieWeb community for many years as well and happy to answer any questions about those experiences. To bring things closer to the overlap of that and this particular community, folks may appreciate the following related material:

    1. @electricarchaeo@scholar.social My mother, on hearing that my first book had been declined by the press that had been considering it because the marketing guys weren't sure how to sell it: “You mean they were planning on making money off of your book?”

      reply to

      my daughter, when very young, once said to me ‘when are you going to write something that people want to read?’ and i am continually haunted —Shawn Graham @electricarchaeo@scholar.social https://scholar.social/@electricarchaeo/110503595819290672

      and to Kathleen Fitzpatrick at https://hcommons.social/@kfitz/110503673214772574

      @kfitz @electricarchaeo@scholar.social My friend P.M. Forni was always saddened when he spoke about his life's scholarly work only being read by "at most 4 people". But he felt kindness, civility, and generosity were the telos of life. He didn't want his students to be Renaissance experts and then be rude to an old woman in the street, so he wrote "Choosing Civility". He was thrilled when an Oprah appearance we got him garnered it instantaneous audience and overnight best seller status. He still sweated it out for his four readers. I'm certain his advice to you would to not be haunted, but keep sweating it out with kindness. You're influencing more people than you'll ever know. Thank you both for your arete and generosity.

    1. These links to these threads are priceless. Two questions: How can I connect with these Reddit users? Never mind, I’m sure I can find the answer myself. Second question - how do you keep these thread references so handy? Is this hypothes.is ? Zotero? Raindrop.io? I have no idea how to capture this kind of info and keep it accessible.

      reply to u/coachdan007 at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/13ygoz9/comment/jn80a7z/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Mostly these references were using Hypothesis, though I do have some material in Zotero. I don't use Raindrop. IIRC, I knew I'd seen the topics before and did a search for the tag bible and then narrowed it down my adding on zettelkasten and it popped up immediately. A large number of my replies here are just querying my digital ZK and spitting out pre-packaged answers or pointers to relevant material. I also occasionally do the same thing with my analog version, though with those I have to type them out. I follow roughly the same process for doing my own queries and writing. You get surprisingly good at it after a while, particularly when you know it's in there somewhere. Of course r/ has it's own internal search function too, so you could check out: - https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/search/?q=bible&restrict_sr=1 - https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/search/?q=bible&restrict_sr=1

      and have a slightly wider net to get the fishes and loaves you're seeking. With the proper notes at hand, perhaps you'll soon be able to turn water into wine? Interestingly, I think you're the first who's ever asked this question here (or other related fora). I hope people don't think I spend all my time writing all these custom answers when I'm just tipping out my zettelkasten. (Though I do always keep my original answers too in the eventuality that I ever want to turn all of these thoughts into an article or book.)

    2. Thank you, Chris. I have been watching Dan Alosso's antinet book club. So, it's nice to have a face to the name. I just subscribed to your newsletter this morning from an article you wrote.This is probably not the correct place, but I'd like to learn more about your use of Hypothes.is.I think someone else mentioned a branch for each book, as well. I'll read the threads you cited. I am sure there will be some good stuff in there.@Chrisaldrich - have you heard or come across the "Encyclopedia Puritannica Project"?https://www.publishepp.com/This is kind of what I have in mind for my antinet. The ability to cross-reference authors to various topics ot themes or doctrines while also linking them to the specific verses or passages they use to make a point. AND to look up a Bible verse and see what authors in my antinet cite these verses and where. AND, lastly, to look at a theme and see which Bible verses map to that theme and which author wrote on that theme.I think the antinet is a good tool for this. Certainly not in a comprehensive way but in a way that interconnects my own studies and readings. But I suspect that I'll have to do some hard thinking over how to accomplish this.

      reply to u/coachdan007 at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/13ygoz9/comment/jn6fwzr/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Thanks u/coachdan007. I've heard of the EPP, but never delved heavily into it. There's still a lot of digging I want to do into Edwards' Miscellanies, but I just haven't had the time, sadly. Perhaps I'll find it over the summer? While you're searching around you might also find it interesting/useful to have an interleaved bible as well to give you bigger "margins" to write in as you go. This may make some of the direct thinking on the page a bit easier. Don't think too hard about some super custom method, just start practicing something that makes sense and evolve it as you go and as you need to.

      As for Hypothesis, following my account or reading past notes may be useful/helpful. For the day to day, I've documented pieces of it along with tips and tricks over time on my site at https://boffosocko.com/tag/hypothes.is/. Some of the older posts when I was first starting out are probably more interesting as more recent ones can be sort of meta.

    1. Tipps for purchasing a Dictation Device

      reply to Sascha at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/2583/tipps-for-purchasing-a-dictation-device#latest:

      I've got an older Livescribe Pulse pen I love with a small pocket notebook or Post-It Notes. It has an optical character reader and special paper but also records audio and links it to the written text (either before or after the fact). I primarily use it for longer lectures where I'll take scant notes, but have the ability to add to them based on the recorded audio later. They've also got some 3rd party OCR solutions that will take your handwriting and convert it to digital text later. While they do larger sized notebooks and a variety of other papers as well (including printing your own), the small pocket size and ease of use has been fantastic. I've owned one version or another for more than a decade and really love them for this sort of audio on-the-go functionality. Since it's a digital pen, it's also unobtrusive in meetings. The added ability to share pdf documents with embedded audio after the fact isn't bad for classmates or meeting attendees.

    1. I have read that a Maincard's Keyword usually is not a word that is used in the thought that you wrote on the card.

      reply to u/drogers8 at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/13wlfbs/how_to_select_a_keyword_for_your_main_card/

      I'm don't think I've ever seen that advice anywhere in my own reading. I've been doing this for ages and would suggest that it's actively bad advice. Use a keyword that seems useful, beneficial, and which you're likely to have the most interest in in the future. What do you suspect the future you will use to search for that card or a branch on that idea in the future? Use that.

      Also, don't overthink this stuff. Just practice. You're going to make some mistakes, but with a small number of cards you'll start to figure it out on your own before things get too large. Your practice today is not going to look like your practice in 6 months and it'll change again 6 months after that.

  12. May 2023
    1. @chrisaldrich, I appreciate your feedback. Indeed there is magic in making notes which comes not only from finding connections in the ZK but also from making connections in mind. Maybe I'm confused. A mindset that makes note-making fun is one way to recruit the body's dopamine mechanism. This creates a positive feedback loop. More mote-making turns to more dopamine which turns to more note-making. Maybe even some notes on dopamine. (I have 11 already!) My sense of Luhmann's phrase "second memory" is a rehashing of an idea—a continued exploration. Using the ZK method is one way of formalizing the continued review of ideas. Without a formal process, it is too easy to fall into old bad habits and not work towards "the serendipity of combinatorial creativity. "

      Reply to Will Simpson at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/17939/#Comment_17939

      There should be more conversation about zettelkasten as both a "ratchet" as well as a "flywheeel". Sometimes I feel like it's hard to speak of these things for either lack of appropriate words/naming and/or having a shared vocabulary for them.

      Even Luhmann's "second memory" has a mushiness to it, but I certainly see your sense of it as a thing which moves forward. I have the same sort of sense with the Aboriginal cultural idea of a "songline" which acts as both a noun as well as having an internal sense of being a verb to me. The word "google" has physically and specifically undergone the transition from noun to verb in a way which "second memory" and "songline" haven't, though perhaps they should? The difference is that the word google is much more concrete and simple while second memory and songline have a lot more cultural material and meaning sitting with them if you know them and their fuller attendant practices.

    2. @Will Thanks for always keeping up with your regular threads and considerations.

      I've been keeping examples of people talking about the "magic of note taking" for a bit. I appreciate your perspectives on it. Personally I consider large portions of it to be bound up with the ideas of what Luhmann termed as "second memory", the use of ZK to supplement our memories, and the serendipity of combinatorial creativity. I've traced portions of it back to the practices of Raymond Llull in which he bound up old mnemonic techniques with combinatorial creativity which goes back to at least Seneca.

      A web search for "combinatorial creativity" may be useful, but there's a good attempt at what it entails here: https://fs.blog/seneca-on-combinatorial-creativity/

    1. https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/13tv9ls/question_how_fast_did_you_name_your_antinet/

      Mine was a bit into the process, but not until I got the filing cabinet where they'll all ultimately live: https://boffosocko.com/2022/08/08/55808119/#Naming

      See examples of people naming them here including: - Cvrie (Fallout 4 reference) - torspedia (after username on MediaWiki installation) - Todd (Bad Words reference to study binder) - Plumeria (after 4 months) - Hamilton after video - Epictetus (meaning "to acquire" from stoicism) - Zeke (short for Ezekiel) - Stewie (personal communication, Scheper's nickname, not mentioned on this page)

    1. @chrisaldrich I think the is an underated idea more broadly. I would love to see this done with other authors books that use an index card system, like Robert Greene. I think it would be a useful illustration to help people better understand the research and writing process. I've been wanting to and created a few experimental vaults where I do a similar thing except for a podcast (all of Sean Carroll's Mindscape transcripts are free) or a textbook (Introduction to Psychology). But I never followed through on the projects just because of how much work it takes to due it right. This also makes me wish for a social media type zettelkasten, where a community can keep a shared vault, creating a social cognition of sorts. I know this was kind of happening with the shared vaults Dan Alloso was experimenting with but his seemed more focused than random/chaotic. I'm also not sure if he continued it for later books.

      Reply to Nick at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/17926/#Comment_17926

      Some pieces of social media come close to the sort of sense making and cognition you're talking about, but none does it in a pointed or necessarily collaborative way. The Hypothes.is social annotation tool comes about as close to it as I've seen or experienced beyond Wikipedia and variations which are usually a much slower boil process. As an example of Hypothes.is, here's a link to some public notes I've been taking on the "zettekasten output problem" which I made a call for examples for a while back. The comments on the call for examples post have some rich fodder some may appreciate. Some of the best examples there include videos by Victor Margolin, Ryan Holiday (Robert Greene's protoge), and Dustin Lance Black along with a few other useful examples that are primarily text-based and require some work to "see".

      For those interested, I've collected a handful of fascinating examples of published note collections, published zettelkasten, and some digitized examples (that go beyond just Luhmann) which one can view and read to look into others' practices, but it takes some serious and painstaking work. Note taking archaeology could be an intriguing field.

      Dan Allosso's Obsidian book club has kept up with additional books (they're just finishing Rayworth's Doughnut Economics and about to start Simon Winchester's new book Knowing What We Know, which just came out this month.) Their group Obsidian vault isn't as dense as it was when they started out, but it's still an intriguing shared space. For those interested in ZK and knowledge development, this upcoming Winchester book looks pretty promising. I'd invite everyone to join if they'd like to.

    1. Wittgenstein, Luhmann, Conrad Gessner, Leibniz, Linnaeus and Walter Benjamin are some I can think of off the top of my head.

      reply to u/muhlfriedl by way of reply to u/chounosumuheya at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/13s6dsg/comment/jlpt8ai/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Examples of zettelkasten users

      S.D. Goitein, Beatrice Webb, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Harold Innis, Victor Margolin, Eminem, Aby Warburg, Antonin Sertillanges, Jacques Barzun, C. Wright Mills, Gotthard Deutsch, Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, Vladimir Nabokov, Gerald Weinberg, Michael Ende, Twyla Tharp, Hans Blumenberg, Keith Thomas, Arno Schmidt, Mario Bunge, Sönke Ahrens, Dan Allosso for a few more. If you go with those who used commonplace books and waste books, which are notebook-based instead of index card-based, there are thousands upon thousands more.

      Historically the easier question might be: what creators didn't use one of these systems and was successful?!? The broad outlines of these methods go back much, much farther than Niklas Luhmann. These patterns are not new...

      Personally, I've used my own slip box to write large portions of the articles on my website. I also queried it to compile this reply.

    1. What do you recommend when using a commonplace book or creating a bibcard? Which contexts are more suitable to use one or the other?

      reply to u/ricardosilvabr at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/13qzgjs/comment/jlmurbf/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      The zettelkasten and commonplace traditions are broadly the same (especially after John Locke's indexing method, you'd just index ideas against page number and maybe line if you want to go that far in a commonplace). The primary affordance is that you can more easily rearrange individual ideas on cards, which may make outlining and juxtaposing disparate ideas easier for subsequent composition.

    1. Those are good points.

      Reply to Dan Allosso at https://danallosso.substack.com/p/what-value-do-i-add-to-the-substack/comment/16463063

      I just saw this morning that Jillian Hess, a professor/researcher/writer at a community college in New York, is also contemplating some of the same territory and trying to balance out the necessaries: https://jillianhess.substack.com/p/introducing-ps-a-new-paid-subscriber

      I see that she's using both Amazon and Bookshop affiliate accounts and links in her stream. Have you delved into this for supplementation (albeit probably small)? I've done it for years and it never nets enough to even cover my hosting costs, though it makes the hobbyist portion of the outlay a bit more comfortable.

      Beyond this, you might appreciate her particular Substack on note books and note taking or her new book: Hess, Jillian M. How Romantics and Victorians Organized Information: Commonplace Books, Scrapbooks, and Albums. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022. https://amzn.to/3VY4RU7

      You're probably beyond needing them, but Substack has been building their writer resources and tips for helping to build paid audience. Details at https://on.substack.com/s/resources and https://on.substack.com/s/office-hours

    1. Cleaning out a building and found this typewriter. Not in the best shape, the keys push but kind of get stuck on each other sometimes. Don’t know if or how I can fix it or what I can do with it. Looked it up; here’s one that looks like the same on eBay that looks about the same. Thoughts???? Wondering if this is a good find.

      It's got some serious Austin Powers 60s/70s swagger, but obviously will need some TLC and a new ribbon. Is it worth hundreds, even in good shape? Probably not, but I'll bet it could be cleaned up/repaired and bring someone lots of joy (either fixing it or using it regularly). YouTube has lots of starter videos of people cleaning/fixing older machines that will give you some ideas. If it's not your sort of hobby, pass it along to someone who might enjoy it, or sell it to your local repair shop or maybe on eBay for a few dollars. Someone could bring it back to life.

    1. Perhaps you're conflating too many things? Ask first, what value do I add to the world? (Arguably loads.) Then ask: How do I (best) distribute this value? To this perhaps one of your answers is Substack, which may or may not be one of many tools you use for this purpose. Then the follow on question is what value do you get back from it?

      Given HCR's numbers (especially in comparison with Twitter) and her time on the platform, I suspect she may have (or at this point had) some sort of special platform deal with Substack which isn't publicly known beyond the basics of what the typical person could get. It's probably the modern digital equivalent of the sort of deal a highly visible academic might get from a magazine like The Atlantic. The pay scale may be different but we can obviously see that the daily output is wildly different too. If you're not aware, when Substack started they reached out to a wide variety of famous/semi-famous people and helped them to build a quick audience that would have taken them far more time and effort than they would otherwise have ever invested. Part of this was providing initial payment/seed money which was really their early investment for getting lots of quality content on the platform as a means of drawing the masses to come to the platform to both read and create as well. Unless you're a massive name working with them directly, you're unlikely to get this sort of deal today, and this means a tougher up hill slog for the "rest of us" as the platform doesn't need to pay for this sort of scaling/network effect now. If nothing else, knowing these early economies of Substack (and really lots of other social platforms, Medium certainly followed this script as an example) will help you to have a broader perspective and better compare your apples to others' oranges.

    1. Although Niklas Luhmann used zettelkasten on the basis of his academic works, I have seen very few sources on the academic use of zettelkasten, except for a few videos. Is there any source you can recommend on this subject?Another question I have is about the academic reuse of notes. After Luhmann used a note in one academic text, how did he use that note again in another work? Or in general, how can we avoid self-plagiarism in the academic use of zettelkasten?

      reply to u/edumanos at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/13p0myn/academic_using_of_zettelkasten/

      The Luhmann's method was very specific to him, but the broader slip box method has been in wide use in academic settings for centuries, particularly in the humanities. I most often recommend Umberto Eco's book in conjunction with Adler/Van Doren's How to Read a Book, but below are a small selection of manuals on very closely related note taking methods. These can be found in a handful of languages and some even more specific to particular areas of study, though broadly they're all useful to almost any area. You'll note that some are available for free on archive.org as they're out of copyright, have been scanned, or are open educational resources. I've tried to link most of these for convenience.

      If this list isn't enough, or you're looking for something written for a specific subfield (sociology, for example), let me know as I'm sure there are a plethora of others, or even some fun short pieces like: - Thomas, Keith. “Diary: Working Methods.” London Review of Books, June 10, 2010. https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v32/n11/keith-thomas/diary. - Mills, C. Wright. “On Intellectual Craftsmanship (1952).” Society 17, no. 2 (January 1, 1980): 63–70. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02700062.

      My favorite short/overview video is that of Victor Margolin's process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxyy0THLfuI.

      As for self-plagiarism, some have used a red pencil or other means to mark cards (notes) they've used in specific works as they write so that they know they've been used and can then self-cite their prior works to avoid self-plagiarism or to up their citation count.

      Good luck!

    1. I've been using index cards for tracking reading notes (lit or bib notes now) and I want to change this topic of index cards over to the Z system. In the past, the main section was "writing" and two subsections, "nonfiction" and "fiction". They are all how-to. I have some main notes but most are from every writing book published which I've read in the last 10 years (yep, shelves full). Approx. 3000 index cards, maybe more, with lots of sub-subsection, etc. I've been teaching writing for the last 10+ years and would love to connect the dots easier now than I have in the past. On the list, I couldn't find the recommended category to place these under. Maybe productivity is in there somewhere. I'm working on a mind map structure now. Any thoughts or advice on this? Anyone else done this?

      Has your prior system not been working for you? What do you want to gain from making the change? What list are you looking at that you don't see a category? Isn't the category "writing", "fiction writing", "nonfiction writing", etc.?

    1. Obsidian for teachers .t3_13khuxs._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      This is great. I'll put it into my collection along with Shawn Graham who has some prior work for teaching with Obsidian (https://shawngraham.github.io/hist1900/#the-big-idea) as does u/danallosso who has also used it quite bit for both classes as well as Open Education Resources. If you search for Dan's YouTube & Substack, you're likely to find some of his writing/resources there.

    1. Is the paper really that great? I've got my own self-printed stationery cards that I've used for ages, but lust after that lovely designed wood. Would standard index cards work in that base or would the rounded corners get in the way? I totally commiserate with the collecting productivity systems like Pokémon! I'm still looking for someone to recreate the original 1903 Memindex system...