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  1. Last 7 days
    1. What's your opinion on the note card system? Do you personally use it? .t3_ugqnle._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; }

      https://www.reddit.com/r/commonplacebook/comments/ugqnle/whats_your_opinion_on_the_note_card_system_do_you/

      For commonplace items, I've found notebooks with good indices more valuable. Note cards are better if you're taking atomic notes that you plan on actively reusing in your writing work which is more of a zettelkasten feature/functionality cards are easier to move around, re-arrange, and create outlines for your writing when you get to that point. Historically it was the ability to re-arrange and reuse one's commonplace items that helped to spawn and popularize the idea of zettelkasten, which are often more frequently used by writers, researchers, and academics for creating new content. Historically it was the ability to re-arrange and reuse one's commonplace items that helped to spawn and popularize the idea of zettelkasten, which are often more frequently used by writers, researchers, and academics for creating new content.

      Some of the difference can be personal choice, practicality, ease-of-use, and the functionality you hope to get out of one method or the other. Honestly there's no reason you couldn't do both if you chose, but it may help to have a common index which will allow you to search for and find things you need. A set of useful historical examples can be found in the mid-twentieth century comedians including Bob Hope (pages he kept in files), Phyllis Diller (index cards), Joan Rivers (index cards), and actor/politician Ronald Reagan who maintained what some might call a commonplace book of quotes which he kept on index cards, but held in a notebook-like binder similar to a photo album with pages that he could place the cards in, but still allow him to move them around (both from slot to slot, or move whole pages at a time). The loosest system I've yet seen is that of Eminem who kept ideas and lyrics written on hotel stationery or random slips of paper which he kept wholly unorganized and unindexed in a cardboard box in a method he called "stacking ammo." Do what you think will work best for you and try it out for a while. You can always change methods later on if your needs change.

    1. ZK II: Zettel 9/8j 9/8j Im Zettelkasten ist ein Zettel, der dasArgument enthält, das die Behauptungenauf allen anderen Zetteln widerlegt. Aber dieser Zettel verschwindet, sobald manden Zettelkasten aufzieht. D.h. er nimmt eine andere Nummer an,verstellt sich und ist dann nicht zu finden. Ein Joker.

      9/8j In the slip box is a slip containing the argument that refutes the claims on all the other slips.

      But this slip disappears as soon as you open the slip box.

      Ie he assumes a different number, disguises himself and then cannot be found.

      A joker.

      An example of a jokerzettel.


      Link this to the Claude Shannon's useless machine (based on an idea of Marvin Minsky) of a useless machine whose only function is to switch itself off. see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useless_machine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNa9v8Z7Rac

    1. Direct access to the list box: table of contents , directly to ZK I: List 1 or ZK 2: List 1 – or to the "Jokerzettel" ?

      Niklas Luhmann kept a portion of his note taking system (ZK II Note 9/8j) specifically for joke related slips. It has been referred to as his jokerzettel.

      This would seem to be in keeping with other examples kept in America by Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, George Carlin, and a wide variety of comics like Adam Sandler et al. who have moved to using notebooks.


      This is the first time I've seen the word/phrase jokerzettel in print.

    1. Are you scanning all your analogue note cards?

      I do scan them, though in a somewhat different workflow than the batch processing that some might imagine. The broad outline and some of the specific details can be found here: Handwriting my Website with a Digital Amanuensis. The comments section of that post has some useful tips for folks on other platforms.

    2. If you're in software development, start your zettelkasten by documenting the step-by-step instructions to fresh install your development environment. Windows Utilities, Dev Tools, IDE, all those config options not already in your dotfiles, etc...I promise it'll be useful and get you started

      I tend to take a much narrower view of the use and function of a zettelkasten for the reuse of atomic ideas. As a result, from experience I'd recommend these sorts of details are probably better suited for future search in your blog, a personal wiki, or even a commonplace book format than for use in your zettelkasten. I've outlined some of the broad idea for this in an article: Zettelkasten Overreach. On the other hand, if an outline form of these things is imminently abstractable for future very active reuse in other programming environments, then perhaps it's worthwhile, but then you'd need to reach the appropriate level of abstraction for this reuse and you may have lost the more specific details for direct recreation needed as reminders for your future self.

    3. For Eco on using something like a ZK, see his short book How to Write an Essay. Basically, he writes about making something that we could say is like a ZK, but one card system for each writing assignment.

      Umberto Eco's book How to Write a Thesis (MIT Press, 2015, #) can broadly be thought of as a zettelkasten system, but it advises a separate system for each project or writing assignment. This is generally good advice, and potentially excellent for students on a one-time basis, but it prevents one from benefitting from the work over multiple projects or even a lifetime.

      In some sense, a more traditional approach, and one seen used in Niklas Luhmann's example is to keep different sections separated by broad topics.

      Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten #1 had 108 broad topics (along with a bibliography and a subject index), and zettelkasten #2 had 11 broad topics. (Cross reference: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/zettelkasten/inhaltsuebersicht)

      The zettelkasten structure allowed a familiar "folder" like top level structure, but the bibliographic and subject indices allowed them to interlink ideas from one space to the next for longer term work on multiple projects simultaneously.

    1. https://www.otherlife.co/pkm/

      The PKM space has gotten crazy, but mostly through bad practice, lack of history, and hype. There are a few valid points I see mirrored here, but on the whole this piece is broadly off base due to a lack of proper experience, practice and study. I definitely would recommend he take a paid course to fix the issue, but delve more deeply into recommended historical practices.

    2. That people show off these illegible globs in public only makes sense from a signaling perspective: They are saying, “look at how many nodes I have in my brain, amazing nodes, I have so many nodes that a peon such as yourself can’t even guess what’s going on here!”

      I have tongue-in-cheek posted a massive graph indicating that it was only a "few days work" to see what sort of reaction it would get. No one batted an eyelash, which makes me think that too many are "collectors" and aren't actually building something or using their system correctly.

      There is a dearth of solid examples of these systems online for people to look at and evaluate critically. This is killing the space slowly.

    3. and link me to a paid course, no doubt

      I will agree that there are far too many "influencers" and "gurus" out there selling something in the note taking space. Almost none of them know what the hell they're talking about.

    4. I tried using Roam for about two weeks once. I used Roam and only Roam, diligently. After only two weeks, my knowledge graph was utterly unintelligible and distressing.

      While one can take a lot of notes in two weeks, even just six quality notes a day (Niklas Lumann's pace was six per day while Roland Barthes was closer to 1 and change per day) only provides about 84 cards or zettels. This isn't enough to make anything distressing or unintelligible. It's also incredibly far short of creating any useful links to create anything. He should have trimmed things down and continued for about 24 weeks to see any significant results. (Of course this also begs the question: what was his purpose in pursuing such a system in the first place?)

    5. The concept of the Knowledge Graph deserves the classification of bullshit because its allure derives primarily from the false impression that it can mechanistically deliver—or substitute for—the brute, linear willfulness that defines all non-trivial writing.

      In watching the space and seeing the sorts of conversations and questions I see online in Twitter, Reddit, and other fora, I too often see people talking about the system(s) and not actually using the systems. Very few get to a critical mass of well written notes, which I estimate to be about 500 to 1000 before they give up. Most aren't taking good notes and are imposing far more structure on them as if they're writing wiki articles instead of taking notes. Too many things go wrong in their processes before they're giving up and moving on. This has the effect of making the enterprise appear to be a failure.

      I suspect that the author of this piece is in this last group and instead of thinking about why they're failing, they're lashing out about the hype in the space. Certainly there is way too much hype, and that isn't necessarily a good thing. But there's also not nearly enough practice and that is far worse.

    6. Many writers have devised lots of little systems, and the fact that everyone into PKM mentions this one guy supports my argument. What percentage of history's greatest and most prolific writers did not use a Zettelkasten? More than 99%, probably. Luhmann is an exception that proves the rule.

      There is a heavy availability heuristic at play here. Most people in the recent/modern PKM space are enamored with the idea of zettelkasten and no one (or very few) have delved in more deeply to the history to uncover more than Luhmann. There definitely are many, many more. If we expand the circle to include looser forms like the commonplace book then we find that nearly every major thinker since the Renaissance kept some sort of note taking system and it's highly likely that their work was heavily influenced by their notes, notebooks, and commonplace books.

      Hell, Newton invented the calculus in his waste book, a form of pre-commonplace book from which he apparently never got his temporary notes out into a more personal permanent form.

      A short trip to even the scant references on the Wikipedia pages for commonplace book and zettelkasten will reveal a fraction of the extant examples.

    1. name means a slit box in german as in like a slip of paper a box containing such slips of paper it was invented or at least the modern form was described by a sociologist 00:02:32 named nicholas lumon

      Another example of someone misattributing the invention of the zettelkasten to Niklas Luhmann. At least Soren Bjornstad modifies the attribution to say modern form, but I suspect that this is more of a verbal hedge more than being backed up with actual evidence, though perhaps the video will bear out more detail?

      The availability heuristic is so strong in Luhmann's case, that he is attributed the invention. I find that few people can point to or ever mention any others who used the method.

    1. Luhmann realised his note-taking was not leadinganywhere. So he turned note-taking on its head.

      Here Ahrens doesn't say that Luhmann invented the zettelkasten, but he comes pretty close and is heavily implying it rather than delving into the ways which Luhmann may have been taught this practice.

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

    1. Other popular terms for such a system include Zettelkasten (meaning “slipbox” in German, coined by influential sociologist Niklas Luhmann), Memex (aword invented by American inventor Vannevar Bush), and digital garden(named by popular online creator Anne-Laure Le Cunff)

      Zettelkasten existed prior to Niklas Luhmann, who neither invented them nor coined their name.

      The earliest concept of a digital garden stems from Mark Bernstein's essay Hypertext Gardens: Delightful Vistas in 1998.

      Anne-Laure Le Cunff's first mention of "digital garden" was on April 21, 2020

      Progress on my digital garden / evergreen notebook inspired by @andy_matuschak🌱<br><br>Super grateful for @alyssaxuu who's been literally handholding me through the whole thing — thank you! pic.twitter.com/ErzvEsdAUj

      — Anne-Laure Le Cunff (@anthilemoon) April 22, 2020
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      Which occurred after Maggie Appleton's mention on 2020-04-15 https://twitter.com/Mappletons/status/1250532315459194880

      Nerding hard on digital gardens, personal wikis, and experimental knowledge systems with @_jonesian today.<br><br>We have an epic collection going, check these out...<br><br>1. @tomcritchlow's Wikifolders: https://t.co/QnXw0vzbMG pic.twitter.com/9ri6g9hD93

      — Maggie Appleton 🧭 (@Mappletons) April 15, 2020
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      And several days after Justin Tadlock on 2020-04-17 https://wptavern.com/on- digital-gardens-blogs-personal-spaces-and-the-future

      Before this there was Joel Hooks by at least 2020-02-04 https://web.archive.org/web/20200204180025/https://joelhooks.com/digital-garden, though he had been thinking about it in late 2019: https://github.com/joelhooks/joelhooks-com/blob/36c21b34f02ade14d4e67915ff412462030282cd/content/blog/2019-12-08--on-writing-more~~qG38AKqxq/index.mdx

      He was predated by Tom Critchlow on 2018-10-18 https://tomcritchlow.com/blogchains/digital-gardens/ who quotes Mike Caulfield's article from 2015-10-17 as an influence https://hapgood.us/2015/10/17/the-garden-and-the-stream-a-technopastoral/amp/

      Archive.org has versions going back into the early 2000's: https://web.archive.org/web/*/%22digital%20garden%22

    1. https://wordpress.org/plugins/slippy/

      This WordPress plugin looks like it's a solid custom post type for creating a digital zettelkasten. Looks like it relies on tags/categories for linking, though has a custom link function. This in combination with Webmention could be a useful bi-directional link set up.

    1. Does anyone know of someone's public Zettelkasten somewhere on the internet? I am trying to write literature notes and permanent notes, and am trying to refine my own system but do not really think I am doing things all too well. I have read a decent amount of content on how one should write literature and permanent notes, but I think I am at the point where reading through someone else's Zettelkasten to get inspiration for how I create my own would be useful. However, I cannot find a good specific Zettelkasten one. I saw on github a list of digital gardens but most did not seemed geared towards the Zettelkasten approach, and the only one I saw that fit the bill was in Spanish...

      There are lots of people writing/saying they've got a digital zettelkasten online, but few actually are in the mold you're actively looking for. Most are wikis, digital gardens, commonplace books, or simply webpages or more blog-like in form.

      This IndieWeb wiki page has some of the few useful digital examples I'm aware of: https://indieweb.org/Zettelk%C3%A4sten

      I've got the start of a potential online site with some sample cards, though they're not all properly interlinked, online at https://notes.boffosocko.com. My Hypothes.is account is relatively zettelkasten-like in many of the ways you might be considering, though individual notes aren't heavily interlinked in the way one would like, though they are reasonably well indexed with keywords: https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich. Many notes may be more fleeting in nature, so look for the journal articles/books that have 10 or more annotations versus documents with under 5. Generally these all get moved into a digital system where they're further refined and interlinked.

  2. May 2022
  3. Apr 2022
    1. it starts with 00:32:31 this one kind of thing called single finger and these are all just variations or practice styles [Music] 00:32:45 and then octave double stop skills [Music] and you know just down the list but you know these things are all developed 00:32:59 through the practice the daily practice but then once once they've been developed then i can just plug them into songs and and create so that's just i'm really excited about this form like the fiddle wrong is because

      Jason Kleinberg takes basic tunes and then has a list of variations of practice styles which he runs through with each one (eg. single-finger, octave double stops scale, old-time, polkafy, blues, etc.) and he plays those tunes in these modified styles not only to practice, but to take these "musical conversations" and translate them into his own words. This is a clever way of generating new music and potentially even new styles by mixing those which have come before. To a great sense, he's having a musical conversation with prior composers and musicians in the same way that an annotator will have a conversation in the margins with an author. It's also an example of the sort of combinatorial creativity suggested by Raymond Llull's work.

    1. https://blog.sjm.codes/202204231657

      Nothing new or earth shattering to me, but I did manage to squeeze out a few literature notes that may be useful later.

    2. Zettelkasten notes are little atomic Feynman Technique experiences.

      The creation of literature notes for one's zettelkasten are atomic instances of the use of the Feynman technique to test one's understanding.

    3. The Zettelkasten System is a Superset of the Feynman Technique

      Not exactly my specific framing, but I've noted this correspondence before. Glad to see others have the same perception.

    1. http://ratfactor.com/cards/

      Dave Gauer has nascent digital zettelkasten on his website though he calls them a virtual box of cards "(as opposed to 'zettelkasten' or 'wiki' or 'notes')".

      Given it's limited extent, the collection presents in a more wiki like fashion with such limited functionality (on the front end) that it appears more like a loose collection of web pages.

      What are the generally accepted distinctions between all these forms?

    1. Don't worry, Niklas Luhmann never 'got' the whole evergreen vs. fleeting notes thing either. They're Ahrensian inventions. They're not Zettelkasten concepts, they're Ahrenskasten concepts.

      Ahrens uses the phrase permanent notes and never uses the words evergreen notes. Evergreen notes stems from Andy Matuschak's reading of Ahrens, likely with a side reference to the idea of evergreen articles which is a closely related commonplace idea in journalism.

      The difference between the permanent(evergreen) and fleeting comes from where one chooses to put the actual work into their system. One can collect thousands of fleeting notes in their system, but it's more likely that it will eventually collapse on itself and do the author no good. Better is to put as much work in up front to get to a good permanent note that is reusable in potentially many contexts.

      Much of this stems back at least as far as Vincentius Placcius in De Arte Excerpendi: Of Scholarly Book Organization (1689) where he offers a contemporary set of instructions on excerpting knowledge from books as well as a history of the subject of note taking. In the book, he warns specifically against the practice exhibited by Joachim Jungius (1585-1657) who left behind approximately 150,000 slips (or scraps) of paper (zettels). Because there was no index to it or links between the notes Jungius' collection was ostensibly useless following his death. His scraps were literally a "scrap heap".

    1. Do you manage “wiki”-type notes and permanent notes separately? .t3_uapyj9._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; }

      I personally and always recommend people keep separate folders for zettelkasten and wiki like patterns primarily because you could and should be using each of them in dramatically different ways. If you're putting your zettelkasten notes into a wiki setting, then you're starting to actively place those notes into a final written form (Ahrens calls these "projects" in his book How to Take Smart Notes as a catchall for articles, chapters, books, or other long form writing.)

    1. What do I need to see to believe that the zettelkasten method is working? .t3_uc59sc._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; }

      Luhmann is not an outlier, he's just the only example known in English social media and the blogosphere over the past couple of years. Try searching for "card index" (English), "fichier boîte" (French), or even "commonplace book" (a simplified version of and predecessor of the zettelkasten) and you'll find lots of examples. Over the past year or so I've been working at improving the number of examples available. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zettelkasten. Recently I've just uncovered Roland Barthes (12,250+ index cards) and Vladimir Nabokov (author of Lolita fame: https://www.openculture.com/2014/02/the-notecards-on-which-vladimir-nabokov-wrote-lolita.html).

      Some of the common things I see people doing wrong are not putting in the work and particularly not creating links between their cards. Others don't have a clear reason why they're actually doing the practice. Based on anecdotal evidence from people who are well practiced at it and have done it a while, it can take from 500 to 1000 cards to see the sort of fun serendipity and value in having a zettelkasten. Having something specific or even an area in which you actively want to write as an end goal can be very helpful. If you're writing even 1-3 solid cards a day, that is the leverage in productivity. Barthes averaged about 1 and change compared to Luhmann's 6 cards a day. Once you have lots of cards that are all linked together, pick your favorite up with all the ones that go with it and you've got a solid article or even the start of a book.

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

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

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

    1. French theorist, philosopher, and writer Roland Barthes (1915 – 1980) kept a fichier boîte or card index file beginning in 1943 until his death. Curator Nathalie Léger has indicated that there are 12,250 slips in Roland Barthes' bequest at the Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC).[16][17] Louis-Jean Calvet explains that in writing Michelet, Barthes used his notes on index cards to try out various combinations of cards to both organize them as well as "to find correspondences between them."[18][19] In addition to using his card index for producing his published works, Barthes also used his note taking system for teaching as well. His final course on the topic of the Neutral, which he taught as a seminar at Collège de France, was contained in four bundles consisting of 800 cards which contained everything from notes, summaries, figures, and bibliographic entries.[18] In his autobiographical Roland Barthes par (by) Roland Barthes, Barthes reproduces three of his index cards in facsimile.[20] Published posthumously in 2010, Barthes' Mourning Diary was created from a collection of 330 of his index cards focusing on his mourning following the death of his mother. The book jacket of the book prominently features one of his index cards from the collection.[21] In a well known photo of Barthes in his office taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1963, the author is pictured with his card indexes on the shelf behind him.[22][16]

      French theorist, philosopher, and writer [[Roland Barthes]] (1915 – 1980) kept a ''fichier boîte'' or card index file beginning in 1943 until his death. Curator Nathalie Léger has indicated that there are 12,250 slips in Roland Barthes' bequest at the [[Institute for Contemporary Publishing Archives|Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC)]].<ref name="Hollier">{{cite journal |last1=Hollier |first1=Denis |title=Notes (On the Index Card). |journal=October |date=2005 |volume=112 |issue=Spring |pages=35–44 |url=https://www.jstor.org/stable/3397642 |access-date=23 April 2022}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Krapp |first1=Peter |editor1-last=Chun |editor1-first=W. H. K. |editor2-last=Keenan |editor2-first=T |title=New Media, Old Theory: A History and Theory Reader |date=2006 |publisher=Routledge |location=New York |pages=359-373 |chapter=Hypertext Avant La Lettre}}</ref> [[Louis-Jean Calvet]] explains that in writing ''Michelet'', Barthes used his notes on index cards to try out various combinations of cards to both organize them as well as "to find correspondences between them."<ref name="Rowan">{{cite journal |last1=Wilken |first1=Rowan |title=The card index as creativity machine |journal=Culture Machine |date=2010 |volume=11 |pages=7–30 |url=https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-card-index-as-creativity-machine-Wilken/ffeae0931cc269da047d0844a6bef7e1c7424b46 |access-date=23 April 2022}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Calvet |first1=Louis-Jean |title=Roland Barthes: A Biography |date=1994 |publisher=Indiana University Press |location=Bloomington, IN}}</ref> In addition to using his card index for producing his published works, Barthes also used his note taking system for teaching as well. His final course on the topic of the Neutral, which he taught as a seminar at Collège de France, was contained in four bundles consisting of 800 cards which contained everything from notes, summaries, figures, and bibliographic entries.<ref name="Rowan"></ref> In his autobiographical ''Roland Barthes par (by) Roland Barthes'', Barthes reproduces three of his index cards in facsimile.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Barthes |first1=Roland |title=Roland Barthes |date=1977 |publisher=Macmillan |isbn=978-1-349-03520-5 |page=75}}</ref> Published posthumously in 2010, Barthes' ''Mourning Diary'' was created from a collection of 330 of his index cards focusing on his mourning following the death of his mother. The book jacket of the book prominently features one of his index cards from the collection.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Barthes |first1=Roland |title=Mourning Diary |date=2010 |publisher=Macmillan |url=https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374533113/mourningdiary}}</ref> In a well known photo of Barthes in his office taken by [[Henri Cartier-Bresson]] in 1963, the author is pictured with his card indexes on the shelf behind him.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Yacavone |first1=Kathrin |title=Interdisciplinary Barthes |date=2020 |publisher=Oxford University Press |isbn=978-0-19-726667-0 |pages=97–117 |url=https://doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197266670.003.0007 |chapter=Picturing Barthes: The Photographic Construction of Authorship}}</ref><ref name="Hollier"></ref>

    1. The project's structure is idiosyncratic. The convolutes correspond to letters of the alphabet; the individual sections of text— sometimes individual lines, sometimes multi-paragraph analyses —are ordered with square brackets, starting from [A1,1]. This numbering system comes from the pieces of folded paper that Benjamin wrote on, with [A1a,1] denoting the third page of his 'folio.'[3] Additionally, Benjamin included cross-references at the end of some sections. These were denoted by small boxes enclosing the word (e.g., ■ Fashion ■).[4]

      It's worth look looking into the structure of Walter Benjamin's Arcade Project as the numbering system that he used on his zettels is very similar to that of both Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten as well as the street numbers of 1770 Vienna.

      link to - https://hypothes.is/a/4jtT0FqsEeyXFzP-AuDIAA - https://hypothes.is/a/lvGHJlNHEeyZnV-8psRNrA

    1. In 1934, Marcel Duchamp announced the publication of his Green Box (edition of 320 copies) in a subscription bulletin — an enormous undertaking since each box contains 94 individual items mostly supposed “facsimiles” (Duchamp’s word) of notes first written between 1911 and 1915, each printed and torn upon templates to match the borders of the scribbled originals for a total of 30,080 scraps and pages.

      Marcel Duchamp announced his project the Green Box in 1934 as an edition of 320 copies of a box of 94 items. Most of the items were supposed "facsimiles" as described by Duchamp, of notes he wrote from 1911 to 1915.

      How is or isn't this like a zettelkasten or card index, admittedly a small collection?

    1. He continues by comparing open works to Quantum mechanics, and he arrives at the conclusion that open works are more like Einstein's idea of the universe, which is governed by precise laws but seems random at first. The artist in those open works arranges the work carefully so it could be re-organized by another but still keep the original voice or intent of the artist.

      Is physics open or closed?

      Could a play, made in a zettelkasten-like structure, be performed in a way so as to keep a consistent authorial voice?

      What potential applications does the idea of opera aperta have for artificial intelligence? Can it be created in such a way as to give an artificial brain a consistent "authorial voice"?

    2. Umberto Eco makes a distinction between these kind of works, which are "open" in their interpretation, to the musical works from the beginning, which are open in their structural sense.

      If Umberto Eco makes a distinction between the works which are open in interpretation and works like music which are open in their structural sense, what would he have made of viewing a work like a zettelkasten which could potentially be open in both respects?

      link to: https://hyp.is/dBTiCsDWEeyyn7dYEp3oUA/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_text

    3. In this essay, Umberto Eco describes a special kind of musical works that can be organized and re-organized by the performers before they are played to the audience.

      Is the zettelkasten potentially an example of one of the most open texts one can create?

      I believe Umberto Eco kept one or had a note taking system similar to it.

    1. A filing system is indefinitely expandable, rhizomatic (at any point of timeor space, one can always insert a new card); in contradistinction with the sequen-tial irreversibility of the pages of the notebook and of the book, its interiormobility allows for permanent reordering (for, even if there is no narrative conclu-sion of a diary, there is a last page of the notebook on which it is written: its pagesare numbered, like days on a calendar).

      Most writing systems and forms force a beginning and an end, they force a particular structure that is both finite and limiting. The card index (zettelkasten) may have a beginning—there's always a first note or card, but it never has to have an end unless one's ownership is so absolute it ends with the life of its author. There are an ever-increasing number of ways to order a card index, though some try to get around this to create some artificial stability by numbering or specifically ordering their cards. New ideas can be accepted into the index at a multitude of places and are always internally mobile and re-orderable.

      link to Luhmann's works on describing this sort of rhizomatic behavior of his zettelkasten


      Within a network model framing for a zettelkasten, one might define thinking as traversing a graph of idea nodes in a particular order. Alternately it might also include randomly juxtaposing cards and creating links between ones which have similarities. Which of these modes of thinking has a higher order? Which creates more value? Which requires more work?

    2. Not unlike Duchamp’s door that is both open and closed at thesame time, the card file resists the syntagmatic closure of the sentence by sustain-ing the openness of the paradigm.

      Resisting syntagmatic closure

      Ideas placed into a card file or zettelkasten resist syntagmatic closure. Even well-formed structures in a card file can accept, expand, and integrate new ideas.

      Is a zettelkasten ever done?

    3. In his practice, Leiris wrote,Duchamp demonstratesall the honesty of a gambler who knows that the game only has meaningto the extent that one scrupulously observes the rules from the very out-set. What makes the game so compelling is not its final result or how wellone performs, but rather the game in and of itself, the constant shiftingaround of pawns, the circulation of cards, everything that contributes tothe fact that the game—as opposed to a work of art—never stands still.

      particularly:

      but rather the game in and of itself, the constant shifting around of pawns, the circulation of cards, everything that contributes to the fact that the game--as opposed to a work of art--never stands still.

      This reminds me of some of the mnemonic devices (cowrie shells) that Lynne Kelly describes in combinatorial mnemonic practice. These are like games or stories that change through time. And these are fairly similar to the statistical thermodynamics of life and our multitude of paths through it. Or stories which change over time.

      Is life just a game?

      there's a kernel of something interesting here, we'll just need to tie it all together.

      Think also of combining various notes together in a zettelkasten.

      Were these indigenous tribes doing combinatorial work in a more rigorous mathematical fashion?

    1. continuing curricular innovation

      I have never expanded my digital literacy via any curriculum process. In the classroom I have taught students how to raise and answer research questions with both digital and analog tools. I don't feel the need to have a separate curriculum for the tools. For example, I use Zotero as my digital database. It helps me seek, make sense of, and share answers to questions, but I could do quite the same with 3X5 cards just like Niklas Luhmann did with his zettelkasten method. Because there are so many glaring inequalities in digital spaces, I always teach analog and community processes first and digital literacies second. You never know when the electrons will fail.

    1. the card indexis the quintessential structuralist tool in that it simultaneouslycombines the paradigmatic (selection) with the syntagmatic(combination) in one mechanism.
    2. published under the title‘An Almost Obsessive Relation to Writing Instruments’, which firstappeared in Le Monde in 1973, Barthes describes the method thatguides his use of index cards:I’m content to read the text in question, in a ratherfetishistic way: writing down certain passages,moments, even words which have the power tomove me. As I go along, I use my cards to writedown quotations, or ideas which come to me, asthey do so, curiously, already in the rhythm of asentence, so that from that moment on, things arealready taking on an existence as writing. (1991:181)

      In an interview with Le Monde in 1973, Barthes indicated that while his note taking practice was somewhat akin to that of a commonplace book where one might collect interesting passages, or quotations, he was also specifically writing down ideas which came to him, but doing so in "in the rhythm of a sentence, so that from that moment on, things are already taking on an existence as writing." This indicates that he's already preparing for future publications in which he might use those very ideas and putting them into a more finished form than most might think of when considering shorter fleeting notes used simply as a reminder. By having the work already done, he can easily put his own ideas directly into longer works.


      Was there any evidence that his notes were crosslinked or indexed in a way so that he could more rapidly rearrange his ideas and pre-written thoughts to more easily copy them into longer articles or books?

    3. Krapp argues that, despite its ‘respectablelineage’, the card index generally ‘figures only as an anonymous,furtive factor in text generation, acknowledged – all the way into thetwentieth century – merely as a memory crutch’ (361).2 A keyreason for this is due to the fact that the ‘enlightened scholar isexpected to produce innovative thought’ (361); knowledgeproduction, and any prostheses involved in it, ‘became and remaineda private matter’ (361).

      'Memory crutch' implies a physical human failing that needs assistance rather than a phrase like aide-mémoire that doesn't draw that same attention.

    4. Over the course of his intellectual life, from about 1943 until hissudden death in 1980, Barthes built a card index consisting of morethan 12,250 note cards – the full extent of this collection was notknown until access to it was granted to the manuscript researchers ofthe Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC) inFrance (Krapp, 2006: 363).3

      Roland Barthes accumulated a card index of more than 12,250 note cards beginning in 1943 which were held after his death in 1980 at the Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC) in France.

      Barthes' dates 12 November 1915 – 26 March 1980 age 64

      He started his card index at roughly age 28 and at around the same time which he began producing written work. (Did he have any significant writing work or publications prior to this?)

      His card collection spanned about 37 years and at 12,250 cards means that was producing on average 0.907 cards per day. If we don't include weekends, then he produced 1.27 cards per day on average. Compare this with Ahrens' estimate of 6 cards a day for Niklas Luhmann.


      With this note I'm starting the use of a subject heading (in English) of "card index" as a generic collection of notes which are often kept in one or more boxes. This is to distinguish it from the more modern idea of zettelkasten in the Luhmann framing which also connotes a dense set of links between the cards themselves, though this may not have been the case historically. Card index is also specifically separate from 'index card' which is an individual instance of an item that might be found in a card index. At present, I'm unaware of a specific word in English which defines the broader note taking context or portions thereof relating to index cards in the same way that a zettelkasten implies. This may be the result of the broad use of index cards for so many varying uses in the early 20th century. For these other varying uses I'll try to differentiate them henceforth with the generic 'index card files' which might also be used to describe the containers in which cards might be found.

    5. Walter Benjamin employed a similar technique (Benjamin, 2006,2007).

      Walter Benjamin used a zettelkasten like note taking technique.

    6. Wittgenstein from his ‘Zettel’, a box containing over 700 textfragments (or ‘scraps’) and other loose pages (Krapp, 2006: 362).

      Ludwig Wittgenstein had a box, which he apparently called his 'Zettel' in which he kept over 700 text fragments or scraps and other loose pages.


      Double check this reference for a translation error from German as Zettel is the 'slip' and kasten is the 'box', 'crate', or 'container'.

    7. In a remarkable essay on precursors to hypertext, Peter Krapp(2006) provides a useful overview of the development of the indexcard and its use by various thinkers, including Locke, Leibniz, Hegel,and Wittgenstein, as well as by those known to Barthes and part of asimilar intellectual milieu, including Michel Leiris, Georges Perec,and Claude Lévi-Strauss (Krapp, 2006: 360-362; Sieburth, 2005).1

      Peter Krapp created a list of thinkers including Locke, Leibniz, Hegel, Wittgenstein, Barthes, Michel Leiris, Georges Perec, and Lévi-Strauss who used index cards in his essay Hypertext Avant La Lettre on the precursors of hypertext.

      see also: Krapp, P. (2006) ‘Hypertext Avant La Lettre’, in W. H. K. Chun & T. Keenan (eds), New Media, Old Theory: A History and Theory Reader. New York: Routledge: 359-373.

      Notice that Krapp was the translator of Paper Machines About Cards & Catalogs, 1548 – 1929 (MIT Press, 2011) by Marcus Krajewski. Which was writing about hypertext and index cards first? Or did they simply influence each other?

    8. Calvet, J.-L. (1994) Roland Barthes: A Biography. Trans. S. Wykes.Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

      Includes some research on the use Roland Barthes made of index cards for note taking to create his output.

    9. I am speaking here of what appear to be Barthes’ fichier boîte or indexcard boxes which are visible on the shelf above and behind his head.

      First time I've run across the French term fichier boîte (literally 'file box') for index card boxes or files.


      As someone looking into note taking practices and aware of the idea of the zettelkasten, the suspense is building for me. I'm hoping this paper will have the payoff I'm looking for: a description of Roland Barthes' note taking methods!

    10. In the background is office shelving, housing varioushanging files, and, above these, a series of smaller wooden boxes.

      Could this be a zettelkasten or similar sort of note keeping device?!

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Wp6q5hUdtA

      Nice example of someone building their own paper-based zettelkasten an how they use it.

      Seemingly missing here is any sort of indexing system which means one is more reliant on the threads from one card to the next. Also missing are any other examples of links to other cards beyond the one this particular card is placed behind.

      Scott Scheper is using the word antinet, presumably to focus on non-digital versions of zettelkasten. Sounds more like a marketing word that essentially means paper zettelkasten or card index.

    1. On Zettel 9/8a2 he called the Zettelkasten "eine Klärgrube" or a "septic tank;" (perhaps even "cesspool"). Waste goes in, and gets separated from the clearer stuff.

      Niklas Luhmann analogized his zettelkasten to a septic tank. You put in a lot of material, a lot of seemingly waste, and it allows a process of settling and filtering to allow the waste to be separated and distill into something useful.

    1. https://herbertlui.net/8-lessons-from-800-note-cards-in-the-zettelkasten

      A writer with over 800 note cards positively describes some of his experience in using the zettelkasten note taking system.

    2. Some passages practically scream to be put into the Zettelkasten so I’ll indulge them. Sometimes I’ll have dozens of things I wrote on cards without identifiers or places in the Zettelkasten yet, and I’ll spend 30–60 minutes putting them in and finding places for them. In case I haven’t said it enough, this regular review process is the most important key to making all of this work.

      The linking of one zettel to another can be a lot of work, but it is also the thing which improves the creativity and serendipity of the enterprise.

    3. The originator of the Zettelkasten method, sociologist Niklas Luhmann, averaged six note cards per day.

      ugh...

    1. 2. What influence does annotating with an audience have on how you annotate? My annotations and notes generally are fragile things, tentative formulations, or shortened formulations that have meaning because of what they point to (in my network of notes and thoughts), not so much because of their wording. Likewise my notes and notions read differently than my blog posts. Because my blog posts have an audience, my notes/notions are half of the internal dialogue with myself. Were I to annotate in the knowledge that it would be public, I would write very differently, it would be more a performance, less probing forwards in my thoughts. I remember that publicly shared bookmarks with notes in Delicious already had that effect for me. Do you annotate differently in public view, self censoring or self editing?

      To a great extent, Hypothes.is has such a small footprint of users (in comparison to massive platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that it's never been a performative platform for me. As a design choice they have specifically kept their social media functionalities very sparse, so one also doesn't generally encounter the toxic elements that are rampant in other locations. This helps immensely. I might likely change my tune if it were ever to hit larger scales or experienced the Eternal September effect.

      Beyond this, I mostly endeavor to write things for later re-use. As a result I'm trying to write as clearly as possible in full sentences and explain things as best I can so that my future self doesn't need to do heavy work or lifting to recreate the context or do heavy editing. Writing notes in public and knowing that others might read these ideas does hold my feet to the fire in this respect. Half-formed thoughts are often shaky and unclear both to me and to others and really do no one any good. In personal experience they also tend not to be revisited and revised or revised as well as I would have done the first time around (in public or otherwise).

      Occasionally I'll be in a rush reading something and not have time for more detailed notes in which case I'll do my best to get the broad gist knowing that later in the day or at least within the week, I'll revisit the notes in my own spaces and heavily elaborate on them. I've been endeavoring to stay away from this bad habit though as it's just kicking the can down the road and not getting the work done that I ultimately want to have. Usually when I'm being fast/lazy, my notes will revert to highlighting and tagging sections of material that are straightforward facts that I'll only be reframing into my own words at a later date for reuse. If it's an original though or comment or link to something important, I'll go all in and put in the actual work right now. Doing it later has generally been a recipe for disaster in my experience.

      There have been a few instances where a half-formed thought does get seen and called out. Or it's a thought which I have significantly more personal context for and that is only reflected in the body of my other notes, but isn't apparent in the public version. Usually these provide some additional insight which I hadn't had that makes the overall enterprise more interesting. Here's a recent example, albeit on a private document, but which I think still has enough context to be reasonably clear: https://hypothes.is/a/vmmw4KPmEeyvf7NWphRiMw

      There may also be infrequent articles online which are heavily annotated and which I'm excerpting ideas to be reused later. In these cases I may highlight and rewrite them in my own words for later use in a piece, but I'll make them private or put them in a private group as they don't add any value to the original article or potential conversation though they do add significant value to my collection as "literature notes" for immediate reuse somewhere in the future. On broadly unannotated documents, I'll leave these literature notes public as a means of modeling the practice for others, though without the suggestion of how they would be (re-)used for.

      All this being said, I will very rarely annotate things privately or in a private group if they're of a very sensitive cultural nature or personal in manner. My current set up with Hypothesidian still allows me to import these notes into Obsidian with my API key. In practice these tend to be incredibly rare for me and may only occur a handful of times in a year.

      Generally my intention is that ultimately all of my notes get published in something in a final form somewhere, so I'm really only frontloading the work into the notes now to make the writing/editing process easier later.

    1. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Roland Barthes, 1963. © PAR79520 Henri CartierBresson/Magnum Photos.

      A photo of Roland Barthes from 1963 featured in Picturing Barthes: The Photographic Construction of Authorship (Oxford University Press, 2020) DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266670.003.0007

      There appears to be in index card file behind him in the photo, which he may have used for note taking in the mode of a zettelkasten.

      link to journal article notes on:

      Wilken, Rowan. “The Card Index as Creativity Machine.” Culture Machine 11 (2010): 7–30. https://culturemachine.net/creative-media/

    1. “Adversaria” was an actor’s term for reading notes, which highlighted the factthat reading notes stood in relationship to another text (without any connota-tion of that relationship being adversarial).45

      Do all these sentences in this paragraph have any cohesion? The author seems to be rambling a bit to put all of these ideas together. Makes me wonder at what their note collection looks like and how they're using it. This paragraph is a particularly awkward stringing together of what might be disparate, but vaguely related zettels. ("You can see where one card ends and the next begins...)

    2. One of his last works, the Aurifodina, “The Mine of All Arts and Sci-ences, or the Habit of Excerpting,” was printed in 1638 (in 2,000 copies) andin another fourteen editions down to 1695 and spawned abridgments in Latin(1658), German (1684), and English.

      Simply the word abridgement here leads me to wonder:

      Was the continual abridgement of texts and excerpting small pieces for later use the partial cause of the loss of the arts of memory? Ars excerpendi ad infinitum? It's possible that this, with the growth of note taking practices, continual information overload, and other pressures for educational reform swamped the prior practices.

      For evidence, take a look at William Engel's work following the arts of memory in England and Europe to see if we can track the slow demise by attrition of the descriptions and practices. What would such a study show? How might we assign values to the various pressures at play? Which was the most responsible?

      Could it have also been the slow, inexorable death of many of these classical means of taking notes as well? How did we loose the practices of excerpting for creating new ideas? Where did the commonplace books go? Where did the zettelkasten disappear to?

      One author, with a carefully honed practice and the extant context of their life writes some brief notes which get passed along to their students or which are put into a new book that misses a lot of their existing context with respect to the new readers. These readers then don't know about the attrition happening and slowly, but surely the knowledge goes missing amidst a wash of information overload. Over time the ideas and practices slowly erode and are replaced with newer techniques which may not have been well tested or stood the test of time. One day the world wakes up and the common practices are no longer of use.

      This is potentially all the more likely because of the extremely basic ideas underpinning some of memory and note taking. They seem like such basic knowledge we're also prone to take them for granted and not teach them as thoroughly as we ought.

      How does one juxtapose this with the idea of humanist scholars excerpting, copying, and using classical texts with a specific eye toward preventing the loss of these very classical texts?

      Is this potentially the idea of having one's eye on a particular target and losing sight of other creeping effects?

      It's also difficult to remember what it was like when we ourselves didn't know something and once that is lost, it can be harder and harder to teach newcomers.

    3. anadvocate for the index card in the early twentieth century, for example, called forthe use of index cards in imitation of “accountants of the modern school.”32

      Zedelmaier argues that scholarly methods of informa- tion management inspired bureaucratic information management; see Zedelmaier (2004), 203.

      Go digging around here for links to the history of index cards, zettelkasten, and business/accounting.

    4. Starting in the Renaissance notes weretreated less as temporary tools than as long-term ones, worthy of considerableinvestment of time and effort, of being saved for reuse and in some cases sharedwith others (collaborators in a project or one’s colleagues or heirs). Collections ofnotes were valued as treasuries or storehouses in which to accumulate informa-tion even if they did not serve an immediate purpose. This stockpiling approachto note-taking also required greater attention to organization and finding devicessince the precise uses to which the notes might be put were not clear from theoutset and the scale of accumulation hampered memorization.

      Summary tk


      Modern note taking has seen a reversion to pre-Renaissance practices in which they're much more temporary tools. Relatively few students take notes with an aim for reusing them past their immediate classroom settings or current term of study.

      The revitalization of the idea of the zettelkasten in the late 2010s seems to be helping to reverse this idea. However, there aren't enough online versions of these sorts of notes which allow them to be used with other publics or even to be used and shared with other collaborators. There are some growing spaces seen in the social media note taking space like the anagora.org or the digital gardens space where this seems to have some potential to take off. There's also a small community on Hypothes.is which seems to be practicing this as well, though direct links between various collections of notes is not commonplace.

    5. Referencebooks also typically offered a larger collection of excerpts than most individualscould amass in a lifetime.

      This makes me wonder if it would be a useful product to have a highly linked note collection to sell to others in a modern context? It could be done entirely in text files for compatibility with Roam Research, Obsidian, Logseq, et al. Ideally it would be done in a more commonplace way with quotes and interlinked and could be expanded upon by the purchaser.

    1. I had to admit that once again my attempts to disrupt thinking with a technology of note-taking had only resulted in an enormous, useless accumulation of busywork.

      I am starting to think the Zettelkasten is impossible for most people. Luhmann worked on his manically, as do I. That isn't sustainable or the goal for most, increased magical efficiency is, and is does not seem that technology has been able to make it more accessible.

      Still though, I cannot believe that their note taking practice produced no value. Even if it failed to write the dissertation, where would they have been without it? I guess that they wish they had spent their time on something different, but what would that have been and would if have inspired them like their professor's note archive?

    1. If a thought is to be placed in the Zettelkasten, first consider which topic it fits to. Then this topic must be sifted through, after which a note can be incorporated - be it as a new “initial note”, as a continuation or as a branching off of a note

      Folgezettel required finding the place where a thought fits, which is quite a bit of work and can be meaningful.

    1. Links or references do not emphasize the relationship between notes (ideas, content). The context of connections usually remains unclear due to arbitrary relationships. Folgezettel, however, create specific relationships – adding manual links (references) to these relationships create relationship of relationships, the core aspect of Luhmann’s working principle

      I think the distinction between Folgezettel and direct links isn't useful. The real distinction is between connections that are defined relationships, and connections that are undefined.

  4. Mar 2022
    1. Luhmann stated that working with the Zettelkasten consumed most of his time, not the actual book writing. That gives us a hint, that it is the manic work with the Zettelkasten that results in such a high productivity.

      For those who want to match Luhmann's productivity they need match his work ethic

    1. If you don't like Zettlekasten (I have my "own" version of Zettlekasten that I use so it's not 100% the original, but it's very heavily based on it - if you hate Zettlekasten this really isn't going to work). 

      https://elizabethfilips.podia.com/validation-cohort-muse

      Elizabeth Filips is running a validation cohort for a course (presumably called MUSE, the marketing name for her "system" as well) on how to take notes and build a zettelkasten (or a second brain—there's evidence that she's taken Tiago Forte's course). She's got some indications that she's using a zettelkasten-like method for creation, but her burgeoning empire also appears to be firmly centered in the productivity porn space. I'm curious how she views her Muse system being different from a zettelkasten?

      She's got an incredibly focused sales funnel web presence here.

    1. Would maintaining a multi-user, potentially public zettelkasten have positive outcomes? Would it face the issue of becoming a scrap heap for those who don't work with it regularly? There might be an issue of trust for individual assertions which aren't properly cited our sourced.

      Tummelling and solid design would probably be necessary to prevent toxicity as seen in many areas of social media.

    2. nicholas lerman is a sample of one 01:09:54 and if the zerocarton is a tool for thinking there are all these other thinkers out there who are thinking um and do we know how they're thinking how their 01:10:07 how you know what note systems are they using i'd like to i'd like to be able to place lerman yeah amongst all these others and and sort of in the zerocast and 01:10:23 see what others are doing as well and yeah i mean if there was one project i would have loved to do is going around 01:10:36 asking everyone i whose work i admire how do you do it how do you do it exactly what do you do in the morning how do you sit down how do you digest the books you're reading 01:10:48 um i was obsessed with the idea and it's just because i'm too shy to follow up on that

      Some discussion of doing research on zettelkasten methods and workflows.


      What do note taking methods and processes look like for individual people?


      What questions would one ask for this sort of research in an interview setting (compared to how one would look at extant physical examples in document-based research)? #openquestions


      Link this to the work of Earle Havens on commonplace books through portions of history.

    3. it's 00:59:37 a lot about unlearning and that is sometimes more difficult [Music] and it's probably one of these 00:59:50 simple but not easy easy things

      Using a zettelkasten is a bit about unlearning how you used to do things, but most importantly it requires the work input and following the process to get the "magical" outputs.

    4. sometimes it's 00:55:43 not the actual information bit but in a combined order that this is what it's all about and that often makes a difference between yeah you understand it and 00:56:00 you really understand it and um so maybe that's a good reminder that when we write it's it's not so much about new information and yeah don't have to 00:56:15 be too worried about not having the new information but about making this difference to really understanding it as something that 00:56:28 a significant or makes a difference

      For overall understanding and creating new writing output from it, the immediate focus shouldn't be about revealing new information or simple facts so much as it's about being able to place that new information into your own context. Once this has been done then the focus can shift to later being able to potentially use that new knowledge and understanding in other novel and enlightening contexts to create new insights.

    5. but i i think the first couple of hundred notes are more like a collection and you look 00:34:29 for um connections and there are some but you remember them because yes the amount where it's where it doesn't surprise you 00:34:43 uh it's more you know where they are and i think the from 500 on um there's a shift um and then you need to uh figure out how to um 00:34:58 find them again so the index or some kind of system becomes more important and i think a couple of thousand notes and uh you're 00:35:12 automatically turning to your set of custom [Music] as the place where you will likely find some kind of connection

      Q: How many permanent notes did it take before you felt you had a communication partner?


      Sönke Ahrens has indicated that the first couple hundred notes are more of a static collection. Then from five hundred notes onward there is a shift and having an index becomes more important. It's only at about one thousand notes that one begins automatically turning to the zettelkasten to find connections. Perhaps it's at this point that the tool begins to look like a communication partner.


      link this to the few other examples from others.

    6. it is a tool for productivity um but i think it's a technology that forces you to [Music] engage more deeply with 00:29:06 the text you're reading

      The zettelkasten is a tool for thought that forces you to engage more deeply with what you're reading.

    7. i knew that that this is that might be different but no i of course you you don't connect it 00:27:44 that much with your own book it's more about that you see the idea and the idea is lumens idea and you're trying to describe it as good as possible

      Even Sönke Ahrens has indirectly attributed the idea of the zettelkasten directly to Niklas Luhmann.

      2022-03-24

    8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO7-wEc5dnc

      Quit watching at around 1:40:00 where it devolved into a love fest for the club itself.

    1. Human minds are made of memories, and today those memories have competition. Biological memory capacities are being supplanted, or at least supplemented, by digital ones, as we rely on recording—phone cameras, digital video, speech-to-text—to capture information we’ll need in the future and then rely on those stored recordings to know what happened in the past. Search engines have taken over not only traditional reference materials but also the knowledge base that used to be encoded in our own brains. Google remembers, so we don’t have to. And when we don’t have to, we no longer can. Or can we? Remembering and Forgetting in the Age of Technology offers concise, nontechnical explanations of major principles of memory and attention—concepts that all teachers should know and that can inform how technology is used in their classes. Teachers will come away with a new appreciation of the importance of memory for learning, useful ideas for handling and discussing technology with their students, and an understanding of how memory is changing in our technology-saturated world.

      How much history is covered here?

      Will mnemotechniques be covered here? Spaced repetition? Note taking methods in the commonplace book or zettelkasten traditions?

    1. We’re building a knowledge base, so if one writer collects information for an article, their research is made available to the other writers in the collective. 

      How does one equitably and logically build a communally shared knowledge base for a for-profit space?

      How might a communal zettelkasten work? A solid index for creating links between pieces is incredibly important here, but who does this work? How is it valued?

    1. Beyond the log, I’m still trying to find the best mix between a traditional personal "knowledge base" in the form of a text file wiki versus a zettelkasten (wikipedia.org) versus this website.

      Example of someone thinking about the differences between their wiki, a zettelkasten, and a website.

    1. How does it fit into my existing knowledge? Does this piece of information conflict with my previous understanding?

      Questions to ask after making a zettel

    2. Short - Short note is easier to read and keep it on a single topic. I try to keep my notes about four paragraphs or less. Atomic - The note contains one idea or fact, making the notes easier to link and deduplicate. Densely-linked - When the note uses another thought or fact, you don’t repeat it but refer (link) to it. ** Optimised for reading** - You spend more time writing and polishing the note because you expect to read it over and over again as opposed to the write-and-forget style.

      characters of zettel

    1. As someone from a tech background, this can be unintuitive, but it’s okay to repeat yourself! If you have two notes that are related, X and Y, it’s okay to write about how Y is related to X in X, and how X is related to Y in Y. Imagine trying to follow the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principle here: you’ll end up “refactoring” the X and Y notes by linking them to a note Z that talks about how X and Y are related. Then you can’t read either X or Y without going to read Z!

      Zettels should be Atomic

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wiol2oJAh6c

      Nothing new here for me. She's at least a reasonably good example of what's going on here and is looking at things from a bottom up perspective rather than a top down.

      I like that she talks about structure instead of using the idea of MOC.

    1. it is called the zettelkasten method and this was originally used by nicholas lumen in the 1960s

      They don't say outright that Luhmann invented the zettelkasten, but it's implied with the words "originally used".

    1. I also maintain a public Zettelkasten (others use the similar terms digital garden or second brain), in which I keep thoughts about everything under the sun. You can visit it to virtually “pick my brain” about some topic without bothering me, or to explore what I’m currently working on.

      Soren Bjornstad has a public zettelkasten which is in the vein of a traditional one though he indicates that others might call it a digital garden or second brain. This shows the conflation of many of these terms.

      What truly differentiates digital gardens from wikis and zettelkasten?

    1. Transferring ideas into the external memory also allows us toforget them.

      While placing our ideas into external memory devices like notebooks or zettelkasten may allow us to forget them, mnemotechniques allow us to perform a similar task, but provides us hooks upon which they might be hung by means of association with other ideas. These hooks and association can be reactivated at later times when the ideas may be needed.

      The zettelkasten allows us to do multiple things. It encourages us to clarify our ideas by writing them down, we extend them by linking them to other contexts, we actively write towards a multitude of interesting goals, by writing, we can forget the original ideas which we can later serendipitously re-link to new concepts.

    2. Make a Career One Note at a Time

      Ahrens compares the writing output of Anthony Trollope to Niklas Luhmann and suggests that Luhmann wins hands down because the zettelkasten provides some additional leverage above and beyond the basic linear output of Trollope.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjpjE5pMZMI

      Nice overview of using TiddlyWiki for an online zettelkasten. Some obvious influence by Andy Matuschak in here.

      Some of the work looks a little bit Wiki like, but seems to stay within bounds. Would have been nice if he showed how he used it as a tool once he's got the pieces together, especially if he actually does it this way.

    1. https://www.newsletter.rikagoldberg.com/p/40-we-need-quality

      This meanders a lot and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to get from it...

      Based on the original context:

      Hey all. I have a love/hate relationship with digital gardening/zettelkasten-ing, but I understand that it's normal. More recently, my work has become very knowledge heavy, as I've started to write full time about technical things, so I've decided to try my hand, again, at a Zettelkasten. I wrote up the reasoning behind my decision here. If this post resonates with you, I'd love to hear your thoughts. https://www.newsletter.rikagoldberg.com/p/40-we-need-quality

      I'm thinking she's conflating the ideas of wiki and zettelkasten, which I've seen lead many people into trouble.

  5. Feb 2022
    1. Purple Numbers are a clever hack because you can work them into many existing kinds of systems. You don’t have to reinvent the document format, or cut it up into many pieces. You just stick a few ID tags in useful places. It’s like dog-earing the page of a book to find your way back.

      As permanently identified paragraph level locations, purple numbers might allow one to combinatorically rearrange sets of notes or facts in a variety of different ways.

      This pattern might be seen in earlier instantiations of note taking tools like the German zettelkasten.

      Documents might be generated by creating playlists of purple numbers in particular (useful) orders.

    1. 9/8g Hinter der Zettelkastentechnik steht dieErfahrung: Ohne zu schreiben kann mannicht denken – jedenfalls nicht in anspruchsvollen,selektiven Zugriff aufs Gedächtnis voraussehendenZusammenhängen. Das heißt auch: ohne Differenzen einzukerben,kann man nicht denken.

      Google translation:

      9/8g The Zettelkasten technique is based on experience: You can't think without writing—at least not in contexts that require selective access to memory.

      That also means: you can't think without notching differences.

      There's something interesting about the translation here of "notching" occurring on an index card about ideas which can be linked to the early computer science version of edge-notched cards. Could this have been a subtle and tangential reference to just this sort of computing?

      The idea isn't new to me, but in the last phrase Luhmann tangentially highlights the value of the zettelkasten for more easily and directly comparing and contrasting the ideas on two different cards which might be either linked or juxtaposed.


      Link to:

      • Graeber and Wengrow ideas of storytelling
      • Shield of Achilles and ekphrasis thesis

      • https://hypothes.is/a/I-VY-HyfEeyjIC_pm7NF7Q With the further context of the full quote including "with selective access to memory" Luhmann seemed to at least to make space (if not give a tacit nod?) to oral traditions which had methods for access to memories in ways that modern literates don't typically give any credit at all. Johannes F.K .Schmidt certainly didn't and actively erased it in Niklas Luhmann’s Card Index: The Fabrication of Serendipity.

    1. Steven Johnson indicates that the word processor is a terrible tool for writing because it doesn't have usable affordances for building up longer pieces from one's notes or basic ideas.

      He discusses his specific workflow of note taking and keeping ideas in Scrivener where he arranges them into folders and outlines which then become the source of his writing.

      Different from the typical zettelkasten workflow, he's keeping his notes hierarchically organized in folders based on topic keywords and only later when creating a specific writing project making explicit links and orders between his notes to create longer pieces. It's here that his work diverges most dramatically to the zettelkasten method described by Sönke Ahrens.

    2. In the research phase, you’re just creating a disorganized pile of cards, with quotes, ideas, links, fragments, hunches. There’s no order, no sequence; just a non-linear collection of vaguely related ideas. But as the project takes shape, certain themes begin to emerge, and those become folders housing other cards. Eventually those themes start to map onto actual sections of the book, or individual chapters. At this point, sequence does begin to matter, but you can change the sequence just by dragging cards and folders around in the left hand outline view.

      Example of writing advice that builds the links in after-the-fact instead of cross-linking ideas into initial networks as they're finding them. Compare/contrast this to the creation of these networks in the zettelkasten tradition as well as Sönke Ahrens description.

      There's less upfront work in creating these links at the start than there is in reloading the context in one's brain to create these links after the fact. Collecting ideas without filing, linking, or organizing them upfront also means that one is more likely to only use these ideas in the context of specific projects which one already has in mind rather than keeping them for a lifetime's work which might also create generative projects one hadn't expected.

    3. Every Scrivener document is made up of little cards of text — called “scrivenings” in the lingo — that are presented in an outline view on the left hand side of the window. Select a card, and you see the text associated with that card in the main view.

      zettels:zettelkasten::scrivenings:Scrivener::index card:index card file

      Example of a neologism ("scrivenings") used specifically for marketing a feature of a technology product.

    4. In fact, my allegiance to Scrivener basically boils down to just three tricks that the software performs, but those tricks are so good that I’m more than willing to put up with all the rest of the tool’s complexity.Those three tricks are:Every Scrivener document is made up of little cards of text — called “scrivenings” in the lingo — that are presented in an outline view on the left hand side of the window. Select a card, and you see the text associated with that card in the main view.If you select more than one card in the outline, the combined text of those cards is presented in a single scrolling view in the main window. You can easily merge a series of cards into one longer card.The cards can be nested; you can create a card called, say, “biographical info”, and then drag six cards that contain quotes about given character’s biography into that card, effectively creating a new folder. That folder can in turn be nested inside another folder, and so on. If you select an entire folder, you see the combined text of all the cards as a single scrolling document.

      Steven Johnson identifies the three features of Scrivener which provide him with the most value.

      Notice the close similarity of these features to those of a traditional zettelkasten: cards of text which can be linked together and rearranged into lines of thought.

      One difference is the focus on the creation of folders which creates definite hierarchies rather than networks of thought.

    1. https://every.to/superorganizers/the-fall-of-roam

      A user talks about why they've stopped using Roam Research.

      I suspect that a lot of people have many of the same issues and to a great extent, it's a result of them not understanding the underlying use cases of the problems they're trying to solve.

      This user is focusing on it solving the problem of where one is placing their data in hopes that it will fix all their problems, but without defining the reason why they're using the tool and what problems they hope for it to solve.

      Note taking is a much broader idea space than many suppose.

    1. In the early chapters Ahrens outlines the general form and method for taking notes for a zettelkasten, though he's not overly descriptive of the method and provides no direct examples.

      In the middle chapters he talks broadly about learning research and how the zettelkasten method dovetails with these methods.

      He does this almost as if he's a good teacher showing the student an outline of what to do and why, but leaving it up to them to actually do the work and experimentation to come up with their own specific methods of use to best suit their purposes. This allows them to do the work themselves so that they have a better chance of following a simple, but easy set of rules, but in a way that will allow them to potentially more quickly become an expert at the practice.

      “The one who does the work does the learning,” writes Doyle (2008, 63) [Section 10.5]

      In some sense, he's actively practicing what he preaches as a teaching device within his own book!

      I think that this point may be actively missed by those readers who aren't actively engaging with and converting his ideas into their own and doing the work which he's actively suggesting.

    2. Working with the slip-box, therefore, doesn’t mean storinginformation in there instead of in your head, i.e. not learning. On thecontrary, it facilitates real, long-term learning

      The forms of thinking, writing, and elaboration that go into creating permanent notes for a slip box are natural means of facilitating actual, long-term learning.

    3. he best-researched and mostsuccessful learning method is elaboration. It is very similar to whatwe do when we take smart notes and combine them with others,which is the opposite of mere re-viewing (Stein et al. 1984)Elaboration means nothing other than really thinking about themeaning of what we read, how it could inform different questions andtopics and how it could be combined with other knowledge

      Elaboration is thinking deeply about the meaning of what we've read, how it could inform or answer different questions, and how it can be linked or combined with other knowledge. It is one of the best-researched and most successful learning methods. While it seems to have some subtle differences, it sounds broadly similar to the Feynman technique and is related to the idea of writing questions based on one's notes in the Cornell note taking method.

    4. This is why choosing an external system that forces us todeliberate practice and confronts us as much as possible with ourlack of understanding or not-yet-learned information is such a smartmove.

      Choosing an external system for knowledge keeping and production forces the learner into a deliberate practice and confronts them with their lack of understanding. This is a large part of the underlying value not only of the zettelkasten, but of the use of a commonplace book which Benjamin Franklin was getting at when recommending that one "read with a pen in your hand". The external system also creates a modality shift from reading to writing by way of thinking which further underlines the value.

      What other building blocks are present in addition to: - modality shift - deliberate practice - confrontation of lack of understanding

      Are there other systems that do all of these as well as others simultaneously?


      link to Franklin quote

    5. Probably the best method is to take notes – not excerpts, butcondensed reformulated accounts of a text.

      What is the value of reformulating texts and ideas into one's own words rather than excerpting them?

      In the commonplace tradition, learners were suggested to excerpt knowledge and place it into their commonplace books. Luhmann (2000, 154f) and Ahrens (2017, 85) suggest that instead of excerpting that one practice a form of progressive summarization of texts into their own words as a means to learn and expand ones' frames of reference and knowledge.

    6. Separate and Interlocking Tasks

      Chapter 9 of How to Take Smart Notes looks at some of the psychology research involving attention, multitasking, decision making, willpower, concentration, expertise, planning, to highlight the value of the design and structure of the zettelkasten as a positive tool for helping one to be more productive in their thinking and writing work.

    7. Unfortunately, the most common way people organise their writingis by making plans. Although planning is almost universallyrecommended by study guides, it’s the equivalent of putting oneselfon rails.Don’t make plans. Become an expert.

      Planning and especially overplanning your writing work can be counter-intuitively non-productive. A smarter reading and note taking approach can allow one to be playful and creative in a way that more focused, goal-oriented writing would never allow. It's also an incredibly valuable tool for when one becomes "stuck" and working on something else seems easier or more profitable.

      An example of this is the Ahren's extended use of the shipping container metaphor with respect to the zettelkasten. By having a variety of ideas stewing in his zettelkasten, a simple search or link using the word box allowed him to create a fantastic metaphor for reshaping one's note taking practice. It's a bit sad that he didn't take a moment to point this out explicitly (though perhaps this isn't the way things came about?)

    8. The slip-box provides not only a clear structure to work in, but also forces usto shift our attention consciously as we can complete tasks inreasonable time before moving on to the next one.

      Ahrens provides a quick overview of some research on distraction, attention, and multi-tasking to make the point that:

      The simple structure and design of the zettelkasten forces one's focus and attention on small individual tasks that cumulatively build into better thinking and writing.

      (Summary of Section 9.2)

    9. Theseemingly pragmatic and down-to-earth-sounding advice – to decidewhat to write about before you start writing – is therefore eithermisleading or banal.

      Properly framed note taking methods are themselves a hermeneutic circle for thinking and creating.

    10. Every intellectual endeavour starts from an already existingpreconception, which then can be transformed during further inquiresand can serve as a starting point for following endeavours. Basically,that is what Hans-Georg Gadamer called the hermeneutic circle

      (Gadamer 2004).

      All intellectual endeavors start from a preexisting set of ideas. These can then be built upon to create new concepts which then influence the original starting point and may continue ever expanding with further thought.


      Ahrens argues that most writing advice goes against the idea of the hermeneutic circle and pretends as if the writer is starting with a blank page. This can prefigure some of the stress and difficulty Ernest Hemingway spoke of when he compared writing to "facing the white bull which is paper with no words on it."

      While it can be convenient to think of the idea of tabula rasa, in practice it really doesn't exist. As a result the zettelkasten more readily shows its value in the writing process.

    11. Project-related notes can be: · comments in the manuscript· collections of project-related literature· outlines· snippets of drafts· reminders· to-do lists· and of course the draft itself.

      Project notes can be kept in folders either inside or outside of the zettelkasten itself, but they technically shouldn't be a permanent part of it. Perhaps it's better to think of them as a workbench or play space for ideas as they're forming into a finished piece of writing. Once the piece is done, the play space has served its purpose and can be cleaned up.

    12. In hindsight, we know why they failed: The ship owners tried tointegrate the container into their usual way of working withoutchanging the infrastructure and their routines. They tried to benefitfrom the obvious simplicity of loading containers onto ships withoutletting go of what they were used to.

      Ahrens makes a useful analogy: the reason that early attempts at shipping containers failed was because their users tried to fit them into their own way of doing business instead of reorganizing their businesses to accommodate the shipping container. Similarly one needs to consider how one's note taking method fits into their work in a more integrative way. Without properly integrating it into one's workflow seamlessly the system will fail.

    13. Students should not only learn to write papers, butalso learn facts, be able to discuss their ideas in seminars and listencarefully to lectures

      I wonder if there are any labs which not only have journal clubs, but have a shared note taking system or zettelkasten as well to keep as a community resource.

      I'm sure there are probably a few lab wikis in existence.

      Are professors keeping public note collections that they share with students or fellow researchers?

    14. You can look up for yourself some ofhis notes on their website.[12] Soon, you will be able to access thewhole digitalised slip-box online.

      For those interested in looking at a system in English but with a slightly different form, but ostensibly similar, try W. Ross Ashby's digitized note collection: http://www.rossashby.info/

      Perhaps not coincidentally, Ashby was a research colleague of Luhmann's.

    15. Academic writing in itself is not a complicated process thatrequires a variety of complicated tools, but is in constant danger ofbeing clogged with unnecessary distractions. Unfortunately, moststudents collect and embrace over time a variety of learning andnote-taking techniques, each promising to make something easier,but combined have the opposite effect.

      Not highlighted in this context but it bears thinking about, Ahrens is looking at writing in particular while many note taking techniques (Cornell notes, SQ3R, SQ4R, etc.) and methods geared at students are specific to capturing basic facts which may need to be learned, by which I mean memorized or at least highly familiar, so that they can later be used in future analysis.

      Many of these note taking concepts are geared toward basic factual acquisition, repetition, and memorization and not future generative thought or writing applications.

      It's important to separate these ideas so that one can focus on one or the other. Perhaps there are contexts within which both may be valuable, but typically they're not. Within the zettelkasten context the difference between the two may be subtly seen in the conception of "literature notes" and "permanent notes".

      Literature notes are progressive summarizations which one may use to strengthen and aid in understanding and later recall. These may include basic facts which one might wish to create question/answer pairs for use in spaced repetition programs.

      Permanent notes have a higher level of importance, particularly for generative writing. These are the primary substance one wants to work with while the literature notes may be the "packing peanuts" or filler that can be used to provide background context to support one's more permanent notes.

      Compare this with: https://boffosocko.com/2021/12/22/different-types-of-notes-and-use-cases/

    16. Iwonder how long it will take until the advantages of Luhmann’s slip-box and work routines become equally obvious to everyone. But bythen, everyone will already have known it all along the way.

      Ahrens focuses almost exclusively on Niklas Luhmann in his book How to Take Smart Notes. Sadly he misses that many others used not only the zettelkasten but other closely similar techniques including the commonplace book as a means of knowledge gathering and productivity.

      There are thousands of productive researchers and writers who have broadly used many of these techniques to great advantage. In fact, it's almost hard to find famous writers or thinkers in the early Renaissance or since who did not use these systems.

      Certainly Luhmann's system was one of the most refined of the group and his success is heavily underlined by his gargantuan output, but by not highlight other users of these systems, we're missing a lot more of the power of these systems.

    17. Schmidt, Johannes F.K. 2013. “Der Nachlass Niklas Luhmanns –eine erste Sichtung: Zettelkasten und Manuskripte.” SozialeSysteme 19 (1): 167–83.

      I'd like to read this but suspect there isn't an English translation lying around.

    18. a system is neededto keep track of the ever-increasing pool of information, which allowsone to combine different ideas in an intelligent way with the aim ofgenerating new ideas.

      The point of good tools of thought is to allow one to keep track of the ever increasing flood of information that also allows them to juxtapose or combine ideas in novel and interesting ways. Further, this should provide them with a means of generating and then improving upon their new ideas.

    1. The Workflow: How to Use the Zettelkasten Method

      The entire basis and process of the Zettelkasten method. - Capture - Elaborate - Connect

    1. qbatten annotates on Jan 11, 2022:

      Why note-taking is bad. Why you shouldn't take notes. Taking notes shouldn't be the end in itself!

      I'll agree that "taking notes shouldn't be the end in itself", but they've drawn the completely wrong conclusion about note taking being bad or that this flimsy argument indicates that one shouldn't take notes.

      Not everyone who wields a hammer is going to be a master craftsman and it's even less likely that someone who tinkers with one for a few months or even a few years will get there without some significant help. There's no evidence here of anything but desire for methods to work. Where was the deep practice, research into these systems described?

      From the start, the featured image in the original article of a crazy person's conception of a massive collection of piles of paper to represent the process is highly illustrative of so many misconceptions.

    2. 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. In the Viennese university library, reopened in 1777, instructions for arranging the “ trea-sury of knowledge ” (Leibniz) advise installing books according to a “ sys-tematic plan of the sciences, and consequently according to the future library sections, ” so that every book can be found by means of the code Roman numeral / Roman letter / Arabic numeral (for example XIV.B.12). 2
      1. Rautenstrauch 1778, p. 172. The evident software command follows a deductive logic: the Latin numeral denotes a box, the Latin letter the drawer in the box, and the Arabic numeral the place of the book in the drawer.

      The numbering system for books in the Viennese university library reopened in 1777 had a code system using a Roman numeral / Roman letter / Arabic numeral.

    2. By 1777, the government of Lower Austria starts a renewed numbering of houses. “ As many new houses were built after the last conscription which have no number yet, this is also an opportunity for the rectifi cation of the house numbers. ” New entries are to be treated as follows: “ If for instance three new houses are found between numbers 12 and 13, the fi rst is to be 12a, the second 12b, the third 12c. ” 7 Moreover, the conscription decree further increases the depth of addressing, including “ women, Jews, and farm animals. ”

      Starting with a decree by Her Majesty Maria Theresa on December 24, 1770 to create conscription numbers on Viennese houses and expanded in 1777, the government of Lower Austria created a number system to identify all houses as well as to men, women, Jews, and farm animals. Because new houses had been built since the beginning of the system houses built between whole numbered houses were assigned address including the whole number along with an alphabetic letter a, b, c, and so on depending on the number of new spaces.

      It can't escape one's notice that this is substantially similar to the numbering system which Niklas Luhmann used for his zettelkasten.

    3. For a comprehensive history of conscription and house numbers in Europe, see Tantner 2007a,b.
    1. Based on that lived, visceral experience, I’ve tried to pay more attention to the feeling of momentum when I get it, and really lean into it.

      Not everyone has a job where they can drop what they're doing and go work on something more interesting. But being able to switch gears to lean into creative momentum can help to increase and encourage productivity with respect to creative work and endeavors. This switching can be dramatically facilitated by having a wealth of alternate interesting options to delve into.

    1. I "communicate" with it when I tell it things like, "today, my throat was a little store."

      This is not the same sort of "communication" with an external tool that Niklas Luhmann was talking about in Communicating with Slip Boxes.

    1. Ahren’s book and ideas are not his original creation, but based on the method of Niklas Luhman referred to as the Zettelkasten. I see various references to Luhman’s ideas lately and predict this will become “a thing” in education.

      Another example of how much we've forgotten of our commonplacing and note taking traditions in rhetoric, and this from someone who's actively used note cards in the past.

      Luhmann did not invent the zettelkasten. (I should make bumper stickers...)

      Oops: https://www.zazzle.com/niklas_luhmann_bumper_sticker-128462770354241554

  6. Jan 2022
    1. note or a (smaller) subject area thatis not linked to the web of references becomes lost irretrievably in the bulk of notes

      Unlinked notes in paper-based knowledge systems can become lost in the shuffle. This is much harder to do in digital systems which have visual checks that highlight unlinked notes.

    2. Three types of linking can be distinguished:a) References in the context of a larger structural outline: When beginning a major line of thoughtLuhmann sometimes noted on the first card several of the aspects to be addressed and marked themby a capital letter that referred to a card (or set of consecutive cards) that was numbered accordinglyand placed at least in relative proximity to the card containing the outline. This structure comesclosest to resembling the outline of an article or the table of contents of a book and therefore doesn’treally use the potentials of the collection as a web of notes.b) Collective references: At the beginning of a section devoted to a specific subject area, one can oftenfind a card that refers to a number of other cards in the collection that have some connection withthe subject or concept addressed in that section. A card of this kind can list up to 25 references andwill typically specify the respective subject or concept in addition to the number. These referencescan indicate cards that are related by subject matter and in close proximity or to cards that are farapart in other sections of the collection, the latter being the normal case.c) Single references: At a particular place in a normal note Luhmann often made a reference to anothercard in the collection that was also relevant to the special argument in question; in most cases the re

      ferred card is located at an entirely different place in the file, frequently in the context of a completely different discussion or subject.

      Niklas Luhmann's index card system had three different types of links. Direct links to individual notes, outlines with links to cards (similar to tables of contents or maps of content), and what Schmidt (2018) refers to as "collective references". These collective references sound a lot like search queries for related topics that have links to a variety of resources/cards related to a particular topic and sound like a table of contents, but without a specific hierarchy.

    3. One could say: there must be a local solution (i.e. connection or internal fit)only. This indicates, accordingly, that the positioning of a special subject within this system of organizationreveals nothing about its theoretical importance — for there are no privileged positions in this web of notes:there is no top and no bottom

      While it may be important that there are no privileged positions, hierarchies, or immediate structures within Luhmann's (or others') zettelkasten, this belies the value of making (even by force) at least one link from each new note to the other notes. This helps begin to create the valuable interconnections of the system which are crucial for later use. Without this "linking hierarchy" one is left with just a pile of notes which will need the aforementioned additional work and context.