58 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2024
    1. And here are King’s early thoughts on this biblical passage, written in 1953 as a Ph.D. student:God (Amos)5:21:24—This passage might be called the key passage of the entire book. It reveals the deep ethical nature of God. God is a God that demands justice rather than sacrifice; righteousness rather than ritual. The most elaborate worship is but an insult to God when offered by those who have no mind to conform to his ethical demands. Certainly this is one of the most noble idea ever uttered by the human mind.One may raise the question as to whether Amos was against all ritual and sacrifice, i.e. worship. I think not. It seems to me that Amos' concern is the ever-present tendency to make ritual and sacrifice a substitute for ethical living. Unless a man's heart is right, Amos seems to be saying, the external forms of worship mean nothing. God is a God that demands justice and sacrifice fo can never be a substitute for it. Who can disagree with such a notion?3Notice how King wrote the topic (God) and his source (Amos 5:21:24) at the top of the note card for easy reference.

      example of a note from King's zettelkasten

  2. Oct 2023
    1. The author made visible efforts to put everything down on one page,leaving a generous left- hand margin, presumably to facilitate surveyingand expanding the content. He equipped the page with a circledheading in the upper left corner and hence in an easily identifiable spotthat allowed for efficient retrieval. In this way, he turned his notes intomobile textual units—an excerpt from a historical source, a newspaperclipping, the sketch of a literary character, a part of a dialogue, etc.—that could then be pulled out like slips from a slip box.The archival evidence suggests that Fontane’s most important methodsfor storing his massive amounts of material were the paper sleeves, boxes,and folders, with their slip-box effect
  3. Aug 2023
    1. For context, I don't use a traditional Zettelkasten system. It's more of a commonplace book/notecard system similar to Ryan HolidayI recently transitioned to a digital system and have been using Logseq, which I enjoy. It's made organizing my notes and ideas much easier, but I've noticed that I spend a lot of time on organizing my notesSince most of my reading is on Kindle, my process involves reading and highlighting as I read, then exporting those highlights to Markdown and making a page in Logseq. Then I tag every individual highlightThis usually isn't too bad if a book/research article has 20-30 highlights, but, for example, I recently had a book with over 150 highlights, and I spent about half an hour tagging each oneI started wondering if it's overkill to tag each highlight since it can be so time consuming. The advantage is that if I'm looking for passages about a certain idea/topic, I can find it specifically rather than having to go through the whole bookI was also thinking I could just have a set of tags for each book/article that capture what contexts I'd want to find the information in. This would save time, but I'd spend a little more time digging through each document looking for specificsCurious to hear your thoughts, appreciate any suggestions

      reply to m_t_rv_s__n/ at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/164n6qg/is_this_overkill/

      First, your system is historically far more traditional than Luhmann's more specific practice. See: https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/22/the-two-definitions-of-zettelkasten/

      If you're taking all the notes/highlights from a particular book and keeping them in a single file, then it may be far quicker and more productive to do some high level tagging on the entire book/file itself and then relying on and using basic text search to find particular passages you might use at a later date.

      Spending time reviewing over all of your notes and tagging/indexing them individually may be beneficial for some basic review work. But this should be balanced out with your long term needs. If your area is "sociology", for example, and you tag every single idea related to the topic of sociology with #sociology, then it will cease to have any value you to you when you search for it and find thousands of disconnected notes you will need to sift through. Compare this with Luhmann's ZK which only had a few index entries under "sociology". A better long term productive practice, and one which Luhmann used, is indexing one or two key words when he started in a new area and then "tagging" each new idea in that branch or train of though with links to other neighboring ideas. If you forget a particular note, you can search your index for a keyword and know you'll find that idea you need somewhere nearby. Scanning through the neighborhood of notes you find will provide a useful reminder of what you'd been working on and allow you to continue your work in that space or link new things as appropriate.

      If it helps to reframe the long term scaling problem of over-tagging, think of a link from one idea to another as the most specific tag you can put on an idea. To put this important idea into context, if you do a Google search for "tagging" you'll find 240,000,000 results! If you do a search for the entirety of the first sentence in this paragraph, you'll likely only find one very good and very specific result, and the things which are linked to it are going to have tremendous specific value to you by comparison.

      Perhaps the better portions of your time while reviewing notes would be taking the 150 highlights and finding the three to five most important, useful, and (importantly) reusable ones to write out in your own words and begin expanding upon and linking? These are the excerpts you'll want to spend more time on and tag/index for future use rather than the other hundreds. Over time, you may eventually realize that the hundreds are far less useful than the handful (in management spaces this philosophy is known as the Pareto principle), so spending a lot of make work time on them is less beneficial for whatever end goals you may have. (The make work portions are often the number one reason I see people abandoning these practices because they feel overwhelmed working on raw administrivia instead of building something useful and interesting to themselves.) Naturally though, you'll still have those hundreds sitting around in a file if you need to search, review, or use them. You won't have lost them by not working on them, but more importantly you'll have gained loads of extra time to work on the more important pieces. You should notice that the time you save and the value you create will compound over time.

      And as ever, play around with these to see if they work for you and your specific needs. Some may be good and others bad—it will depend on your needs and your goals. Practice, experiment, have fun.

      Meme image from Office Space featuring a crowd of office employees standing in front of a banner on the wall that reads: Is this Good for the Zettelkasten?

    1. Even the alphabetized categories evoke a laugh: "Science, Seasons, Secretary, Senile, Sex, Sex Symbols, Sex Harassment, Shoes, Shopping..." "Food Gripes, Foreign (incidents & personalities), Foundations (bra & underwear), Fractured Speech, Freeways, Friends, Frugality, Frustrations, Funerals, Funny Names..."

      Topical headings in Phyllis Diller's gag file

    1. each typed on an index card and filed under such prophetic taglines as “Science, Seasons, Secretary, Senile, Sex, Sex Symbols, Sex Harassment, Shoes, Shopping…” and “Food Gripes, Foreign (incidents & personalities), Foundations (bra & underwear), Fractured Speech, Freeways, Friends, Frugality, Frustrations, Funerals, Funny Names…”

      Some of the topical headings in Phyllis Diller's gag file

    1. These index cards are organized alphabetically by subject ranging from accessories to world affairs and covering almost everything in between.

      Phyllis Diller's gag file was arranged alphabetically by subject and ranged from "accessories" to "world affairs".

    1. I he fact is that there arc some three thousand subheadings. So persons who feel that an official ceiling of 102 ideas would cramp their style can breathe freely.

      According to Jacques Barzun (and possibly written in the volumes itself), while the Syntopicon has 102 ideas, there are "some three thousand subheadings."

  4. Jun 2023
    1. Rivers, who wrote gags at all hours, paid close attention to setups and punchlines, typing them up and cross-referencing them by categories like “Parents hated me” or “Las Vegas” or “No sex appeal.” The largest subject area is “Tramp,” which includes 1,756 jokes.

      Joan Rivers card index of jokes is categorized by topical headings like "Parents hated me", "Las Vegas", and "No sex appeal". The largest subject category in her collection was "Tramp" with 1,756 jokes.

    2. In Carlin’s archives, by contrast, the jokes were “mainly scraps of paper organized into Ziploc baggies then put into a folder by topic.”

      quote by Journey Gunderson, the executive director of the National Comedy Center

  5. Apr 2023
    1. Zettelkasten - How Categories Emerge by Nicolas Gatien

      Gatien uses Scheper's suggested top level categories, but shows that it doesn't take long for things to end up in dramatically disparate areas. As a result, why bother with a pre-defined set of categories in the first place?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdHH3YjOnZE

    1. There are two ways for a communication system to maintain its integrity over long periods of time: you need to decide for either highly technical specialisation, or for a setup that incorporates coincidence and ad hoc generated information. Translated to note collections: you can choose a setup categorized by topics, or an open one. We chose the latter and, after 26 successful years with only occasionally difficult teamwork, we can report that this way is successful – or at least possible.

      Luhmann indicates that there are different methods for keeping note collections and specifically mentions categorizing things by topics first. It's only after this that he mentions his own "open" system as being a possible or successful one.

  6. Mar 2023
    1. Yes, you can definitely use a card index for note-taking. In fact, many people find card indexes to be a useful and convenient tool for organizing and storing notes. Here are some tips for using a card index for note-taking:Choose a system: Decide on a system for organizing your cards. You could organize them alphabetically, by topic, by date, or by any other method that works for you.Choose the size of cards: Choose the size of cards that works best for your needs. Common sizes include 3" x 5", 4" x 6", and 5" x 8".Use one card per idea: Write one idea or piece of information on each card. This will help keep your notes organized and easy to reference.Include keywords: Include keywords on each card to make it easier to find relevant information later.Use dividers: Use dividers to separate different topics or sections in your card index. This will help keep your notes organized and easy to navigate.Carry it with you: A card index is a portable tool, so you can take it with you wherever you go. This makes it easy to take notes on the go and to refer to your notes when you need them.Overall, a card index can be a useful and efficient tool for note-taking, especially if you prefer a physical, tangible way of organizing and storing information.

      Q: Can I use a card index for note taking?

      ChatGPT does a reasonable bit of advice on how one would use a card index for note taking.

  7. Feb 2023
    1. Categories mean determination of internal structure less flexibility, especially “in the long run“ of knowledgemanagement and storage

      The fact that Luhmann changed the structure of his zettelkasten with respect to the longer history of note taking and note accumulation allowed him several useful affordances.

      In older commonplacing and slip box methods, one would often store their notes by topic category or perhaps by project. This mean that after collection one had to do additional work of laying them out into some sort of outline to create arguments and then write them out for publication. This also meant that one was faced with the problem of multiple storage or copying out notes multiple times to file under various different subject headings.

      Luhmann overcame both of these problems by eliminating categories and placing ideas closest to their most relevant neighbor and numbering them in a branching fashion. Doing this front loads some of the thinking and outlining work which would often be done later, though it's likely easier to do when one has the fullest context of a note after they've made it when it is still freshest in their mind. It also means that each note is linked to at least one other note in the system. This helps notes from being lost and allows a simpler indexing structure whereby one only needs to use a few index entries to get close to the neighborhood of an idea as most other related ideas are likely to be nearby within a handful or more of index cards.

      Going from index to branches on the tree is relatively easy and also serves the function of reminding one of interesting prior reading and ideas as one either searches for specific notes or searches for placing future notes.

      When it comes to ultimately producing papers, one's notes already have a pre-arranged sort of outline which can then be more easily copied over for publication, though one can certainly still use other cross-links and further rearranging if one wishes.

      Older methods focused on broad accretion of materials into subject ordered piles while Luhmann's practice not only aggregated them, but slowly and assuredly grew them into more orderly trains of thought as he collected.

      Link to: The description in Technik des wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens (section 1.2 Die Kartei) at https://hypothes.is/a/-qiwyiNbEe2yPmPOIojH1g which heavily highlights all the downsides, though it doesn't frame them that way.

    1. With a category you can just bypass idea-connection and jump right to storage.

      Categorizing ideas (and or indexing them for search) can be useful for quick bulk storage, but the additional work of linking ideas to each other with in a Luhmann-esque zettelkasten can be more useful in the long term in developing ideas.

      Storage by category means that ideas aren't immediately developed explicitly, but it means that that work is pushed until some later time at which the connections must be made to turn them into longer works (articles, papers, essays, books, etc.)

  8. Jan 2023
    1. How do you maintain the interdisciplinarity of your zettlekasten? .t3_10f9tnk._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      As humans we're good at separating things based on categories. The Dewey Decimal System systematically separates mathematics and history into disparate locations, but your zettelkasten shouldn't force this by overthinking categories. Perhaps the overlap of math and history is exactly the interdisciplinary topic you're working toward? If this is the case, just put cards into the slip box closest to their nearest related intellectual neighbor—and by this I mean nearest related to you, not to Melvil Dewey or anyone else. Over time, through growth and branching, ideas will fill in the interstitial spaces and neighboring ideas will slowly percolate and intermix. Your interests will slowly emerge into various bunches of cards in your box. Things you may have thought were important can separate away and end up on sparse branches while other areas flourish.

      If you make the (false) choice to separate math and history into different "sections" it will be much harder for them to grow and intertwine in an organic and truly disciplinary way. Universities have done this sort of separation for hundreds of years and as a result, their engineering faculty can be buildings or even entire campuses away from their medical faculty who now want to work together in new interdisciplinary ways. This creates a physical barrier to more efficient and productive innovation and creativity. It's your zettelkasten, so put those ideas right next to each other from the start so they can do the work of serendipity and surprise for you. Do not artificially separate your favorite ideas. Let them mix and mingle and see what comes out of them.

      If you feel the need to categorize and separate them in such a surgical fashion, then let your index be the place where this happens. This is what indices are for! Put the locations into the index to create the semantic separation. Math related material gets indexed under "M" and history under "H". Now those ideas can be mixed up in your box, but they're still findable. DO NOT USE OR CONSIDER YOUR NUMBERS AS TOPICAL HEADINGS!!! Don't make the fatal mistake of thinking this. The numbers are just that, numbers. They are there solely for you to be able to easily find the geographic location of individual cards quickly or perhaps recreate an order if you remove and mix a bunch for fun or (heaven forfend) accidentally tip your box out onto the floor. Each part has of the system has its job: the numbers allow you to find things where you expect them to be and the index does the work of tracking and separating topics if you need that.

      The broader zettelkasten, tools for thought, and creativity community does a terrible job of explaining the "why" portion of what is going on here with respect to Luhmann's set up. Your zettelkasten is a crucible of ideas placed in juxtaposition with each other. Traversing through them and allowing them to collide in interesting and random ways is part of what will create a pre-programmed serendipity, surprise, and combinatorial creativity for your ideas. They help you to become more fruitful, inventive, and creative.

      Broadly the same thing is happening with respect to the structure of commonplace books. There one needs to do more work of randomly reading through and revisiting portions to cause the work or serendipity and admixture, but the end results are roughly the same. With the zettelkasten, it's a bit easier for your favorite ideas to accumulate into one place (or neighborhood) for easier growth because you can move them around and juxtapose them as you add them rather than traversing from page 57 in one notebook to page 532 in another.

      If you use your numbers as topical or category headings you'll artificially create dreadful neighborhoods for your ideas to live in. You want a diversity of ideas mixing together to create new ideas. To get a sense of this visually, play the game Parable of the Polygons in which one categorizes and separates (or doesn't) triangles and squares. The game created by Vi Hart and Nicky Case based on the research of Thomas Schelling provides a solid example of the sort of statistical mechanics going on with ideas in your zettelkasten when they're categorized rigidly. If you rigidly categorize ideas and separate them, you'll drastically minimize the chance of creating the sort of useful serendipity of intermixed and innovative ideas.

      It's much harder to know what happens when you mix anthropology with complexity theory if they're in separate parts of your mental library, but if those are the things that get you going, then definitely put them right next to each other in your slip box. See what happens. If they're interesting and useful, they've got explicit numerical locators and are cross referenced in your index, so they're unlikely to get lost. Be experimental occasionally. Don't put that card on Henry David Thoreau in the section on writers, nature, or Concord, Massachusetts if those aren't interesting to you. Besides everyone has already done that. Instead put him next to your work on innovation and pencils because it's much easier to become a writer, philosopher, and intellectual when your family's successful pencil manufacturing business can pay for you to attend Harvard and your house is always full of writing instruments from a young age. Now you've got something interesting and creative. (And if you must, you can always link the card numerically to the other transcendentalists across the way.)

      In case they didn't hear it in the back, I'll shout it again: ACTIVELY WORK AGAINST YOUR NATURAL URGE TO USE YOUR ZETTELKASTEN NUMBERS AS TOPICAL HEADINGS!!!

  9. Nov 2022
    1. How do you make sure you don’t lose track of cards? I don’t make sure I don’t lose track of cards. As I said above and as some of the people below talk about, one of the joys of the system is when you surprise yourself, when you rediscover, when you find the perfect card while you were looking for something else.

      Oppenheimer doesn't keep track of specific cards (he didn't discuss how he files them, other than loosely together, potentially for specific projects) and finds that this creates a greater amount of surprise for him when searching for ideas within his system.

      Missing here is any sort of topic or subject headings.... double check this as it's a key to most systems.

  10. Oct 2022
    1. He had a separate bibliographical file,kept in six scantily filled drawers in his coat closet, and it is obvious

      that he used it little in later years. His author-title entries usually went into the main file, after the appropriate subject index cards.

      This is a curious pattern and not often seen. Apparently it was Paxson's practice to place his author-title entries into his main file following the related subject index cards instead of in a completely separate bibliographical file. He did apparently have one comprised of six scantily filled drawers which he kept in his coat closet, but it was little used in his later years.


      What benefits might this relay? It certainly more directly relates the sources closer in physical proximity within one's collection to the notes to which they relate. This might be of particular beneficial use in a topical system where all of one's notes relating to a particular subject are close physically rather than being linked or cross referenced as they were in Luhmann's example.

      A particular color of cards may help in this regard to more easily find these sources.


      Also keep in mind that Paxson's system was topical-chronological, so there may also be reasons for doing this that fit into his chronological scheme. Was he filing them in sections so that the publication dates of the sources fit into this scheme as well? This may take direct review to better known and understand his practice.

    2. he three-by-five inch slipsof thin paper eventually filled about eighty wooden file drawers.And he classified the notes day by day, under topical-chronologicalheadings that eventually extended from 4639 B.C. to 1949, theyear after his death.

      Frederic L. Paxson kept a collection of 3 x 5 " slips of thin paper that filled eighty wooden file drawers which he organized using topical-chronologic headings spanning 4639 BCE to 1949.

    1. Further, Deutsch triedto instill a certain chronological, geographical and thematic method of organization. Butthis arrangement is also a stumbling block to anyone who might want to use it, includingDeutsch. ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE JEWS (489 cards), for instance, presents an array ofevents organized not by date but in a surprisingly unsystematic alphabetical order. Insteadof indicating when such accusations were more or less prevalent, which could only beindicated by reorganizing cards chronologically, the default alphabetical sorting, whichshows instances in disparate locations like London (in May, 1921) alongside Sziget,Hungary (from 1867), gives the impression that such anti-Jewish events were everywhere.And even this organization was chaotic. The card on Sziget is actually listed under‘Marmaros’, the publication with which the card’s text began, and an immediately pre-ceding card is ordered based on its opening ‘A long list of accusations . . . ’, not thereference to its source: Goethe’s Das Jahrmarketsfest zu Plundersweilern.

      Lustig provides a description of some of the order of Gotthard Deutsch's zettelkasten. Most of it seemed to have been organized by chronological, geographical and thematic means, but often there was chaos. This could be indicative of many things including broad organization levels, but through active use, he may have sorted and resorted cards as needs required. Upon replacing cards he may not have defaulted to some specific order relying on the broad levels and knowing what state he had left things last. Though regular use, this wouldn't concern an individual the way it might concern outsiders who may not understand the basic orderings (as did Lustig) or be able to discern and find things as quickly as he may have been able to.

  11. Sep 2022
    1. For instance, particular insights related to the sun or the moon may be filed under the(foreign) keyword “Astronomie” [Astronomy] or under the (German) keyword “Sternkunde”[Science of the Stars]. This can happen even more easily when using just one language, e.g.when notes related to the sociological term “Bund” [Association] are not just filed under“Bund” but also under “Gemeinschaft” [Community] or “Gesellschaft” [Society]. Againstthis one can protect by using dictionaries of synonyms and then create enough referencesheets (e.g. Astronomy: cf. Science of the Stars)

      related, but not drawn from as I've been thinking about the continuum of taxonomies and subject headings for a while...

      On the Spectrum of Topic Headings in note making

      Any reasonable note one may take will likely have a hierarchical chain of tags/subject headings/keywords going from the broad to the very specific. One might start out with something broad like "humanities" (as opposed to science), and proceed into "history", "anthropology", "biological anthropology", "evolution", and even more specific. At the bottom of the chain is the specific atomic idea on the card itself. Each of the subject headings helps to situate the idea and provide the context in which it sits, but how useful within a note taking system is having one or more of these tags on it? What about overlaps with other broader subjects (one will note that "evolution" might also sit under "science" / "biology" as well), but that note may have a different tone and perspective than the prior one.

      This becomes an interesting problem or issue as one explores ideas in a pre-designed note taking system. As a student just beginning to explore anthropology, one may tag hundreds of notes with anthropology to the point that the meaning of the tag is so diluted that a search of the index becomes useless as there's too much to sort through underneath it. But as one continues their studies in the topic further branches and sub headings will appear to better differentiate the ideas. This process will continue as the space further differentiates. Of course one may continue their research into areas that don't have a specific subject heading until they accumulate enough ideas within that space. (Take for example Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky's work which is now known under the heading of Behavioral Economics, a subject which broadly didn't exist before their work.) The note taker might also leverage this idea as they tag their own work as specifically as they might so as not to pollute their system as it grows without bound (or at least to the end of their lifetime).

      The design of one's note taking system should take these eventualities into account and more easily allow the user to start out broad, but slowly hone in on direct specificity.

      Some of this principle of atomicity of ideas and the growth from broad to specific can be seen in Luhmann's zettelkasten (especially ZK II) which starts out fairly broad and branches into the more specific. The index reflects this as well and each index heading ideally points to the most specific sub-card which begins the discussion of that particular topic.

      Perhaps it was this narrowing of specificity which encouraged Luhmann to start ZKII after years of building ZKII which had a broader variety of topics?

    1. Tagsare simple yet powerful forms of categorizing used in social mediathat further organize categorical information according to user needsand preferences (Shimic, 2008). Tags help people find and situateideas, providing a mode of peripheral social collaborativeparticipation (Lave & Wenger, 2012). Tags also create flexiblesearch tools, not available with traditional annotation tools, thatsupport reading-for-writing by making the process of retrieval fasterand more straightforward.

      This discussion seems to miss the broader intellectual historical background of tags in prior generations. There's not even a nod to commonplaces, topic headings, subject headings, indices, etc.

    1. But Ms. Rivers did do some arranging. She arranged the 52 drawers alphabetically by subject, from “Annoying habits” to “Zoo.” In the T’s, one drawer starts with “Elizabeth Taylor” and goes as far as “teenagers.” The next drawer picks up with “teeth” and runs to “trains.” A drawer in the G’s begins with “growing older” and ends with “guns.” It takes the next drawer to hold all the cards filed under “guys I dated.” Inevitably — this was Joan Rivers, after all — there are categories with the word “sex,” including “My sex life,” “No sex life,” “No sex appeal.”AdvertisementContinue reading the main storyImage
    1. Here wehave the four categories of time, place, species, andform ; by superposing, then, we obtain divisions ofsmaller extent. We may undertake, for example, tomake a group of all the documents having a givenform, of a given country, and lying between twogiven dates (French royal charters of the reignof Phihp Augustus) ; or of all the documents of agiven form (Latin inscriptions) ; or of a given species(Latin hymns) ; of a given epoch (antiquity, themiddle ages).

    Tags

    Annotators

  12. Aug 2022
    1. For the sheets that are filled with content on one side however, the most most importantaspect is its actual “address”, which at the same time gives it its title by which it can alwaysbe found among its comrades: the keyword belongs to the upper row of the sheet

      following the commonplace tradition, the keyword gets pride of place...

      Watch here the word "address" and double check the original German word in translation. What was it originally? Seems a tad odd to hear "address" applied to a keyword which is likely to be just one of many. How to keep them all straight?

    2. scientists as well asstudents of science carefully put the diverse results of their reading and thinking process intoone or a few note books that are separated by topic.

      A specific reference to the commonplace book tradition and in particular the practice of segmenting note books into pre-defined segments with particular topic headings. This practice described here also ignores the practice of keeping an index (either in a separate notebook or in the front/back of the notebook as was more common after John Locke's treatise)

  13. Jul 2022
    1. Thefirst is tagging eachnote with a keywordthat identifies what the idea described in the note is about.

      What are the potential different affordances allowed by giving cards titles versus giving them topic keywords or other taxonomic links?

      Card titles may be useful in analog settings, but they can be even more valuable in digital settings where one can transclude "cards" (read: ideas) into outlines.


      Both of these two patterns have some similarities. Is Allosso differentiating between them? As his notes don't seem to have titles otherwise, one would presume that he's solely referring to topic categories.

  14. Jun 2022
    1. Tags can overcomethis limitation by infusing your Second Brain with connections,making it easier to see cross-disciplinary themes and patterns thatdefy simple categorization.

      Forte frames things primarily from a digital perspective so he talks about folders and tags, but seems to wholly forget the grand power of having an subject index. While they're broadly the same, it's as if he's forgoing two thousand years of rhetorical tradition to have something that seems new and innovative, but which are paths that are incredibly well travelled.

  15. May 2022
    1. The biggest mistake—and one I’ve made myself—is linking with categories. In other words, it’s adding links like we would with tags. When we link this way we’re more focused on grouping rather than connecting. As a result, we have notes that contain many connections with little to no relevance. Additionally, we add clutter to our links which makes it difficult to find useful links when adding links. That being said, there are times when we might want to group some things. In these cases, use tags or folders.

      Most people born since the advent of the filing cabinet and the computer have spent a lifetime using a hierarchical folder-based mental model for their knowledge. For greater value and efficiency one needs to get away from this model and move toward linking individual ideas together in ways that they can more easily be re-used.

      To accomplish this many people use an index-based method that uses topical or subject headings which can be useful. However after even a few years of utilizing a generic tag (science for example) it may become overwhelmed and generally useless in a broad search. Even switching to narrower sub-headings (physics, biology, chemistry) may show the same effect. As a result one will increasingly need to spend time and effort to maintain and work at this sort of taxonomical system.

      The better option is to directly link related ideas to each other. Each atomic idea will have a much more limited set of links to other ideas which will create a much more valuable set of interlinks for later use. Limiting your links at this level will be incredibly more useful over time.

      One of the biggest benefits of the physical system used by Niklas Luhmann was that each card was required to be placed next to at least one card in a branching tree of knowledge (or a whole new branch had to be created.) Though he often noted links to other atomic ideas there was at least a minimum link of one on every idea in the system.

      For those who have difficulty deciding where to place a new idea within their system, it can certainly be helpful to add a few broad keywords of the type one might put into an index. This may help you in linking your individual ideas as you can do a search of one or more of your keywords to narrow down the existing ones within your collection. This may help you link your new idea to one or more of those already in your system. This method may be even more useful and helpful for those who are starting out and have fewer than 500-1000 notes in their system and have even less to link their new atomic ideas to.

      For those who have graphical systems, it may be helpful to look for one or two individual "tags" in a graph structure to visually see the number of first degree notes that link to them as a means of creating links between atomic ideas.

      To have a better idea of a hierarchy of value within these ideas, it may help to have some names and delineate this hierarchy of potential links. Perhaps we might borrow some well ideas from library and information science to guide us? There's a system in library science that uses a hierarchical set up using the phrases: "broader terms", "narrower terms", "related terms", and "used for" (think alias or also known as) for cataloging books and related materials.

      We might try using tags or index-like links in each of these levels to become more specific, but let's append "connected atomic ideas" to the bottom of the list.

      Here's an example:

      • broader terms (BT): [[physics]]
      • narrower terms (NT): [[mechanics]], [[dynamics]]
      • related terms (RT): [[acceleration]], [[velocity]]
      • used for (UF) or aliases:
      • connected atomic ideas: [[force = mass * acceleration]], [[$$v^2=v_0^2​+2aΔx$$]]

      Chances are that within a particular text, one's notes may connect and interrelate to each other quite easily, but it's important to also link those ideas to other ideas that are already in your pre-existing body of knowledge.


      See also: Thesaurus for Graphic Materials I: Subject Terms (TGM I) https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/tgm1/ic.html

  16. Apr 2022
    1. Amie Fairs, who studies language at Aix-Marseille University in France, is a self-proclaimed Open Knowledge Maps enthusiast. “One particularly nice thing about Open Knowledge Maps is that you can search very broad topics, like ‘language production’, and it can group papers into themes you may not have considered,” Fairs says. For example, when she searched for ‘phonological brain regions’ — the areas of the brain that process sound and meaning — Open Knowledge Maps suggested a subfield of research about age-related differences in processing. “I hadn’t considered looking in the ageing literature for information about this before, but now I will,” she says.
    2. Another visual-mapping tool is Open Knowledge Maps, a service offered by a Vienna-based not-for-profit organization of the same name. It was founded in 2015 by Peter Kraker, a former scholarly-communication researcher at Graz University of Technology in Austria.

      https://openknowledgemaps.org/

      Open Knowledge maps is a visual literature search tool that is based on keywords rather than on a paper's title, author, or DOI. The service was founded in 2015 by Peter Kraker, a former scholarly communication researcher at Graz University of Technology.

    1. Although humanists like Guarino da Verona(1370–1460), Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536), and Juan Luis Vives (1492–1540)explained the principles of the commonplace book that collected phrases worthyof imitation under topical headings, they did not offer detailed practical advice

      in print.33

      1. Moss (1996), 54–55. For Guarino’s methods, see the treatise by his son Battista in Guarino (2002); Erasmus discusses commonplacing in De copia and De ratione studii (Basel, 1512), in Erasmus (1978), 605–6, 636–38, 672; Vives does so in De tradendis disciplinis (1531), in Vives (1971), 108, 133

      Double check what Erasmus has to say as it would seem that Earle Havens contradicts this in Commonplace Books (Yale University Press, 2001). Perhaps its a difference of degree? I seem to recall that he indicated that Erasmus helped to popularize commonplacing practice.

    2. But modern note-taking is more idiosyncratic to each note-taker and no longer follows a set of subject headings that pedagogical practicesand printed reference works helped to standardize.

      Early modern reference works, handbooks, and pedagogical practices created a sort of standardized set of subject headings amongst note takers.

      A similar sort of effort could have been seen in the blogosphere of the early 2000s in which Technorati and their search functionality may have helped to standardize some of these same sorts of taxonomic issues within their product which was widely used at the time.

    1. In the 1740s, Thomas Harrison invented a wooden filing cabinet in which the file cards could be hooked on little tin plates. On each of these plates was written the name of the entry (i.e., the re-spective subject heading), and the plates were arranged in strictly alphabeti-cal order.22

      Thomas Harrison, a TK, invented a wooden filing cabinet in the 1740's for storing slips of paper. Each slip could be hooked onto tin plates which contained the topical or subject headings that were arranged in alphabetical order.

      Harrison's description was anonymously published with corrections and improvements by Vincent Placcius in De arte excerpendi. Vom gelehrten Buchhalten liber singularis (Stockholm/Hamburg, 1689), 124–59, in his hand-book on excerpting systems.

  17. Mar 2022
    1. Topic A topic was once a spot not a subjecttopic. to ̆p’ı ̆k. n. 1. The subject of a speech, essay, thesis, or discourse. 2. A subject of discussion or con-versation. 3. A subdivision of a theme, thesis, or outline.*With no teleprompter, index cards, or even sheets of paper at their disposal, ancient Greek and Roman orators often had to rely on their memories for holding a great deal of information. Given the limi-tations of memory, the points they chose to make had to be clustered in some meaningful way. A popular and quite reliable method for remembering information was known as loci (see Chapter 9), where loci was Latin for “place.” It involved picking a house you knew well, imagining it in your mind’s eye, and then associating the facts you wanted to recall with specifi c places inside of that house. Using this method, a skillful orator could mentally fi ll up numerous houses with the ideas he needed to recall and then simply “visit” them whenever he spoke about a particular subject. The clusters of informa-tion that speakers used routinely came to be known as commonplaces, loci communes in Latin and koinos topos in Greek. The great Greek philosopher Aristotle referred to them simply as topos, meaning “places.” And that’s how we came to use topic to refer to subject or grouping of information.**

      Even in the western tradition, the earliest methods of mnemonics tied ideas to locations, from whence we get the ideas of loci communes (in Latin) and thence commonplaces and commonplace books. The idea of loci communes was koinos topos in Greek from whence we have derived the word 'topic'.

      Was this a carryover from other local oral traditions or a new innovation? Given the prevalence of very similar Indigenous methods around the world, it was assuredly not an innovation. Perhaps it was a rediscovery after the loss of some of these traditions locally in societies that were less reliant on orality and moving towards more reliance on literacy for their memories.

  18. Feb 2022
    1. A zettelkasten is an accumulation of notes in which each successive note is given a number, rather than being placed in a category or topic.

      An example here of a misconception. The zettle may be given a number, but it is also given a topic tied into an index. Because it isn't put into a "folder" or "hierarchy" isn't the same thing as not giving it a topic.

    1. Make permanent notes.

      The important part of permanent notes are generating your own ideas and connecting (linking them densely) into your note system. The linking part is important and can be the part that most using digital systems forget to do. In paper zettelkasten, one was forced to create the first link by placing the note into the system for the first time. This can specifically be seen in Niklas Luhmann's example where a note became a new area of its own or, far more likely, it was linked to prior ideas.

      By linking the idea to others within the system, it becomes more likely that the idea can have additional multiple contexts where it might be used and improve the fact that context shifts will prove more insight in the future.

      Additional links to subject headings, tags, categories, or other forms of taxonomy will also help to make sure the note isn't lost completely into the system. Links to the bibliographical references within the system are helpful as well, especially for later citation. Keep in mind that these categories and reference links aren't nearly as valuable as the other primary idea links.

      One can surely collect ideas and facts into their system, but these aren't as important or as interesting as one's own ideas and the things that are sparked and generated by them.

      Asking questions in permanent notes can be valuable as they can become the context for new research, projects, and writing. Open questions can be incredibly valuable for one's thinking and explorations.

  19. Jan 2022
    1. Drexel recommended pondering the choices of the correct subject-term (caput rei), because it is hard to foresee in the ‘present’ which ‘past’ one might search for in the ‘future’.

      Drexel, Aurifodina, 135

      The question of the correct taxonomies isn't an easy one and certainly isn't new.

    2. Placcius recommended considering the first, the second, and the third letters in the words listed in the subject index in order to avoid spending too much time in searching for an entry;

      Placcius, De arte excerpendi, 84–5;

    1. But this is not the main reason. The other three programs try to achieve the connection or linking between different topics or cards (mainly) by assigning keywords. But this is not what Luhmann's approach recommended. While he did have a register of keywords, this was certainly not the most important way of interconnecting his slips. He linked them by direct references (Verweisungen). Any slip could refer directly to the physical and unchanging location of any other slip.

      Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten had three different forms of links.

      • The traditional keyword index/link from the commonplace book tradition
      • A parent/child link upon first placing the idea into the system (except when starting a new top level parent)
      • A direct link (Verweisungen) to one or more ideas already in the index card catalog.

      Many note taking systems are relying on the older commonplace book taxonomies and neglect or forego both of the other two sorts of links. While the second can be safely subsumed as a custom, one-time version of the third, the third version is the sort of link which helps to create a lot of direct value within a note taking system as the generic links between broader topic heading names can be washed out over time as the system grows.


      Was this last link type included in Konrad Gessner's version? If not, at what point in time did this more specific direct link evolve?

  20. Dec 2021
    1. Usually it is more fruitful to look for formulations of problems that relate heterogeneous things with each other.

      A great quote, but this is likely a nebulous statement to those with out the experience of practice. Definitely worth expanding on this idea to give it more detail.

    2. Considering the absence of a systematic order, we must regulate the process of rediscovery of notes, for we cannot rely on our memory of numbers. (The alternation of numbers and alphabetic characters in numbering the slips helps memory and is an optical aid when we search for them, but it is insufficient. Therefore we need a register of keywords that we constantly update.

      Luhmann indicated that one must keep a register of keywords to assist in the rediscovery of notes. This had been the standard within the commonplacing tradition for centuries before him. The potential subtle difference is that he seems to place more value on the placement links between cards as well as other specific links between cards over these subject headings.

      Is it possible to tell from his system which sets of links were more valuable to him? Were there more of these topical heading links than other non-topical heading links between individual cards?

    1. Through an inner structure of recursive links and semantic pointers, a card index achieves a proper autonomy; it behaves as a ‘communication partner’ who can recommend unexpected associations among different ideas. I suggest that in this respect pre-adaptive advances took root in early modern Europe, and that this basic requisite for information pro-cessing machines was formulated largely by the keyword ‘order’.

      aliases for "topical headings": headwords keywords tags categories

  21. Nov 2021
    1. trancis pacon outlined the two principal methods ofnote taking in a letter of advice to tulke urevilleW who was seeking to hireone or more research assistants in qambridge around ]cggh “ve that shallout of his own ”eading gather [notes] for the use of anotherW must Sas wthinkT do it by spitomeW or obridgmentW or under veads and qommonfllacesY spitomes may also be of ‘ sortsh of any one ortW or part of ynowledgeout of many pooksi or of one pook by itselfY”

      Quoted in Vernon F Snow “Ftrancis Bacon's Advice to Fulke Greville on Research Techniques," Huntington Library Quarterly 23, no.4 (1960): 370.

  22. Oct 2021
    1. Holiday’s is project-based, or bucket-based.

      Ryan Holiday's system is a more traditional commonplace book approach with broad headings which can feel project-based or bucket-based and thus not as flexible or useful to some users.

  23. Aug 2021
    1. Although it is difficult at present to know the precise impact of such filing systems, it is clear thatLinnaeus’s design mirrored the ways in which he arranged heads in his notes and books. The inte-rior space of his cabinet was divided into two open-faced columns, which meant that it was a phys-ical instantiation of a bilateral table.

      The design of Carl Linnaeus' specimen cabinets mirrored that of the bilateral tables and the ways he arranged his heads in his notes and books.

    2. Like the spatial hierarchies presented in the Philosophia botanica, he wanted asimple form of linear order that allowed him to access his sheets quickly. Such a desire led himto reject the spatial divisions featured in many contemporary curiosity and medical cabinets, thatis, closed drawers that were stacked in multiple columns. This rejection was probably linked tothe fact that he had already seen a better way forward in the form of filing systems that werephysical instantiations of commonplace divisions used so often in books.

      Linnaeus used the logic of topical headings in commonplace books as an intellectual framework for designing a better filing system for his physical plant specimens. This was in marked contrast to the sorts of contemporary curiosity and medical cabinets that others were using at the time.

    3. In contrast to the sheets used by other contemporary natural-ists, he refrained from binding his into a proper book and this allowed him to stack them in abespoke cabinet (arca) in a manner that allowed him to insert, remove and reorder them as he sawfit (Figure 9).64 It was for this reason that the Philosophia botanica gave explicit instructions onhow to build the cabinet and how to organize the specimen sheets within it. He recommended thatthe internal space be split into two columns with shelves that were collectively divided intotwenty-four sections, each of which was assigned a numerical head that represented a class withinhis system.65Each class section was filled with select specimen sheets divided by bands intogenera. In his words: If the folding doors are marked with the numbers and names of the genera, with the space on the shelvescorresponding exactly, and linden bands are kept between the spaces, enclosing the same genera andthemselves marked with the number of the genera, then any plant can be pulled out and produced with-out delay.66

      Note here the idea of being able to file things away, reorder them, and find them quickly. Search was a likely motivator.

      He's essentially created an early form of zettelkasten, but for plants.

    4. Ong maintains that this type of spatialization of aphorisms into heads started in the Renaissance. See Ong, Ramus, 315
    5. Since he was writing in Latin, he could arrange the narra-tive of each aphorism so that it began with a head that cued the reader to the content of the subse-quent narrative.

      Oh the times I wish this were easier to do in English without the gymnastics.

    6. In other words, the chapter titles of the Fundamenta botanicawere effectively titularheads which were transferable from one book to another and which served as labels for textualunits that could be moved through the space of the page in a manner that split books into chap-ters and chapters into books.

      In much the way one might move around portions of ideas under heads in a commonplace book, Carl Linnaeus was moving around bigger ideas/chapters within books and moving from one book to another.

    7. when he laid out the early form of his classification method in a pamphletentitled Methodus(1736), he used heads to order the text.16

      Carl Linnaeus' classification method in Systema Naturae, his famous nomenclature system, was informed by the traditional topical headings of commonplace books.

      [16] The content of Methodus and the nature of the heads is addressed in S. Müller-Wille, ‘Introduction’, in C.Linnaeus, Musa Cliffortiana: Clifford’s Banana Plant, translated by S. Freer (Liechtenstein: A.R.G. Gantner VerlagK.G., 2007), 33

  24. Sep 2020
  25. May 2020
  26. Feb 2019
    1. If one's content is logical, it will be easy to remember.

      In this sense, can "logic" be at all subjective? By subjective I mean can the definition of logical different between individuals when organizing information? For example, I think it would be logical to organize my information chronologically, while someone else may think it is most logical to utilize a topical organizational pattern.