31 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2022
    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.

  2. Jan 2022
    1. https://takingnotenow.blogspot.com/2007/12/critique-of-zettelksten.html

      archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20201021193157/https://takingnotenow.blogspot.com/2007/12/critique-of-zettelksten.html

      Manfred Kuehn looks at Karl Kraus' criticism of the idea of a zettelkasten as a tool which can be misused.

      Of course this begs the question of what one is using their index card catalog for? Are you using it as a rhetorical thinking and creation device or simply a second memory?

    2. We should be careful that we do not become our own tools.

      Compare and contrast this admonition and extension with

      Life imitates art. We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us. — John M. Culkin, “A Schoolman’s Guide to Marshall McLuhan” (The Saturday Review, March 1967) (Culkin was a friend and colleague of Marshall McLuhan)

    3. In this spirit he castigated Alexander Harden as "an enemy of the spirit that was fed by a small mind with a large card index," taking up what appears to have been a common criticism of the author, who because of his style that relied overly much on quotations [Die Fackel, Heft 360-62 (1912)].

      Some of this critique relates to my classification about the sorts of notes that one takes. Some are more important or valuable than others.

      Some are for recall and later memory, some may be collection of ideas, but the highest seems to be linking different ideas and contexts together to create completely new and innovative ideas. If one is simply collecting sententiae and spewing them back out in reasonable contexts, this isn't as powerful as nurturing one's ideas to have sex.

    1. Seneca on Gathering Ideas by Manfred Kuehn on Monday, December 24, 2007 https://takingnotenow.blogspot.com/2007/12/seneca-on-gathering-ideas.html

      archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20201021191724/https://takingnotenow.blogspot.com/2007/12/seneca-on-gathering-ideas.html

      A quick look at how some of the ancient ideas of rhetoric may affect one's note taking and thinking. I love that this is one of his first posts on a blog on note taking. Too many miss this history.r

    2. Reading "refreshes," but it must lead to writing. Neither activity should be pursued at the exclusion of the other. "Continuous writing will cast gloom over our strength, and exhaust it," while continuous reading "will make our strength watery and flabby. It is better to have recourse to them alternately, and to blend one with the other, so that the fruits of one's reading may be reduced to the concrete form by the pen" (277).

      Almost like saying that "man cannot live by bread alone"...

    3. Francis Bacon, for instance, thought that "some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention."

      An interesting classification of books which fits a fair amount of my own views, particularly looking at the difference between fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.

      Source?

    4. Seneca gives an account of his ideas about note-taking in the 84th letter to Luculius ("On Gathering Ideas"). [1]The letter starts from what "men say" (ut aiunt), namely that we should imitate the bees in reading. As they produce honey from the flowers they visit and then "assort in their cells all that they have brought in" (277), so we should, Seneca himself says "sift (separare) whatever we have gathered from a varied course of reading" because things keep better in isolation from one another.

      Cross reference origin in

      Seneca (2006) Epistles 66-92. With an English translation by Richard G. Gummere. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (Loeb Classical Library), 277-285.

    1. Serious reading will require just as much effort as it has always required.

      Reading is hard to disrupt.

      Speeding up and dramatically improving the reading process is incredibly difficult. No one has yet made really huge strides in this space. Google has made it imminently more accessible to the masses, but it still requires a lot of physical work and processing on our part.

    1. https://takingnotenow.blogspot.com/2007/12/planning-for-unexpected-discoveries.html

      archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20201021185408/https://takingnotenow.blogspot.com/2007/12/planning-for-unexpected-discoveries.html

      Manfred Keuhn reflects on serendipity in note taking and how Niklas Luhmann's system helped to produce it.

      This general thesis is similar to that of Raymond Llull's combinatorial thought which forces the juxtaposition of disparate ideas to shake out new ones.

    2. He also quotes another scientist, who speaks of "controlled sloppiness" as a principle that "permits the occurrence of fruitful accidents", tracing this idea to the fact that scientific work is never without loose ends and that in the absence of a rigid plan it is possible to pay attention to the untidy ends, which ultimately "may turn out to be of considerable importance." Indeed, "compulsive tidiness in experimentation" may be even more crippling than in other areas of life (193).

      Merton, Robert King and Barber, Elinor (2004) The Travels And Adventures Of Serendipity : A Study In Sociological Semantics And The Sociology Of Science Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2004

    3. The crowning reward of general planning is that it will preserve a freedom of inquiry, a freedom of opportunity, that it is not only rational and efficient, but is also a part of a good way of life" (192).

      Merton, Robert King and Barber, Elinor (2004) The Travels And Adventures Of Serendipity : A Study In Sociological Semantics And The Sociology Of Science Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2004

    1. The mere scribe and the mere compiler have disappeared (almost completely), and the mere commentator has become very rare. Each exists only insofar as any author in creating his own work cannot do without some copying, some compiling (or research), and some commenting.

      The digital era has made copying (scriptor) completely redundant. The click of a button allows the infinite copying of content.

      Real compilators are few and far between, but exist in niches. Within social media many are compiling and tagging content within their accounts.

      Commentators are a dime a dozen and have been made ubiquitous courtesy of social media.

      Content creators or auctors still exist, but are rarer in the broader field of writing or other contexts.

    2. St. Bonaventura (1221-1274) found that there are basically four ways of 'making books' (modi faciendi librum):"A man might write the work of others, adding and changing nothing in which case he is simply called a 'scribe' (scriptor).""Another writes the work of others with additions which are not his own; and he is called a 'compiler (compilator).""Another writes both others’ work and his own, but with others’ work in principal place, adding his own for purposes of explanation; and he is called a 'commentator' (commentator) …""Another writes both his own work and others' but with his own work in principal place adding others' for purposes of confirmation; and such a man should be called an 'author' (auctor).’"
    1. MK said... No problem. I follow the development of the Zettelkasten closely, as you may know.Manfred Kuehn February 27, 2009 at 10:08 AM

      In this comment, Manfred Kuehn outs himself as the author of this blog.

    2. The Notetab-Zettelkasten has several major advantages over the paper-implementation: 1. It is much more difficult to misplace slips 1. It has a powerful search function

      Most digital note taking systems have two major advantages of paper versions:

      • It's harder to misplace material unless one's system has major flaws or one accidentally deletes content
      • Digital search is far more powerful and efficient than manual search
    3. But this is not the main reason. The other three programs try to achieve the connection or linking between different topics or cards (mainly) by assigning keywords. But this is not what Luhmann's approach recommended. While he did have a register of keywords, this was certainly not the most important way of interconnecting his slips. He linked them by direct references (Verweisungen). Any slip could refer directly to the physical and unchanging location of any other slip.

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

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

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


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

  3. takingnotenow.blogspot.com takingnotenow.blogspot.com
    1. What we Remember by Manfred Kuehn https://takingnotenow.blogspot.com/2007/12/

      archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20201021192005/https://takingnotenow.blogspot.com/2007/12/

      Dutch psychologist Wilem Wagenaar conducted memory related experiments on recollecting what, where, who, and when for the most interesting experiences of his days. It turned out that the "What?" was most useful followed by where? and who?, but that "when?" was "useless in every instance".

      p.116 of Stefan Klein, The Secret Pulse of Time: Making Sense of Life's Scarcest Commodity, Marlowe & Company, 2007, New York.

      Despite this, timestamps might serve other functions within a note taking system. The might include conceiving of ideas, temporal order of ideas presented, etc.

  4. Dec 2021
  5. takingnotenow.blogspot.com takingnotenow.blogspot.com
    1. Not sure why Manfred Kuehn removed this website from Blogger, but it's sure to be chock full of interesting discussions and details on his note taking process and practice. Definitely worth delving back several years and mining his repository of articles here.

  6. Aug 2021
    1. This blogpost by Manfred Kuehn is one of the earliest posts about Zettelkasten I've seen referenced on the early web. It dates from 2007-12-16.

    2. Christian Tietze said... I'm interested in the Markdown source for http://scriptogr.am/kuehnm/post/2012-12-22-111621 -- I think there are some markup quirks in the HTML since part "III" doesn't even have its own line.Also, I'm writing and currently editing a long-ish article on creating a Zettelkasten. I'd like to know your opinion, really, but I don't think it'd be appropriate if I spammed your blog with comments. Your ConnectedText-based approach is somehow different to mine. Ultimately, I'd like to know more about your workflow and our differences.Please drop me a line if you want to help out a bit!christian.tietze@gmail.comYou'll find the article on my website at http://christiantietze.de in a few days. May 24, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      Somewhat fascinating to see Christian Tietze, the creator of zettelkasten.de, pop up in the comments of this blogpost from 2007-12-16, though it wasn't until almost six years later.

    3. There are no privileged places in the note-card system, every card is as important as every other card, and no hierarchy is super-imposed on the system. The significance of each card depends on its relation to other cards (or the relation of other cards to it). It is a network; it is not "arboretic." Accordingly, it in some ways anticipates hypertext and the internet.

      Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten system doesn't impose a heirarchy upon it's contents and in some ways its structure anticipates the ideas of hypertext and the internet's structure.

    4. Luhmann also described his system as his secondary memory (Zweitgedächtnis), alter ego, or his reading memory or (Lesegedächtnis).

      Stumbled back upon this article almost a year and change later. Great to see that I'm at least consistent in what I would highlight. ;)

  7. Oct 2020
    1. Luhmann also described his system as his secondary memory (Zweitgedächtnis), alter ego, or his reading memory or (Lesegedächtnis).

      Some interesting words in German for secondary memory and reading memory.