Zettelkasten Forum


How would you set up a glossary?

Hej,

I'm starting a new graduate program today, in a discipline to which I am fairly new (in a technical sense anyway -- it's long been a hobby of mine). As such, I'm noticing a lot of vocabulary that I'm not entirely conversant. I want to use my ZK to create a glossary of these terms.

Two approaches come to mind. Do you think one of these is correct, or something else entirely?

  1. Create a single Zettel as a Glossary of Cartographic Terms & Concepts, with each definition as a list item. Any elaborations or connections can be made by putting links in each definition as a nested item.

  2. Create individual Zettel for each term or concept, with the definition clearly indicated at the top of the note. Any elaborations can follow under the definition in the single note. Each glossary entry could also have a tag (i.e. #glossary) for searchability.

I'm struck that the former approach resembles a structure note that could then link in with other notes on concepts and readings. This also bears out the advantage that eventually, as I gain fluency with the terms, the glossary note may not be as useful as the hundreds of Zettels that branch off from it and the links formed between those Zettels, too.

On the other hand, having individual entries for each term from the beginning, while not as centralized as a single Zettel, would eventually lead to the same result as above, having a robust ZK with conceptual links between these ideas.

As someone both learning the ZK method and learning a new discipline, I'd welcome the community's thoughts on these approaches or anything else I may have missed.

Observations logged here: write.as/via-poetica

Comments

  • I would be inclined to use the second approach: a separate note for each term and a #glossary tag. It would make it much easier to link to your #glossary note from other notes by using the term itself as a link. And the tag makes it easy to find all glossary notes.

    :wq

  • @Sociopoetic said:
    Hej,

    I'm starting a new graduate program today, in a discipline to which I am fairly new (in a technical sense anyway -- it's long been a hobby of mine). As such, I'm noticing a lot of vocabulary that I'm not entirely conversant. I want to use my ZK to create a glossary of these terms.

    Congratulations! Cartography love. The map room at the University of Idaho is one of my favorite places.

    Two approaches come to mind. Do you think one of these is correct, or something else entirely?

    1. Create a single Zettel as a Glossary of Cartographic Terms & Concepts, with each definition as a list item. Any elaborations or connections can be made by putting links in each definition as a nested item.

    2. Create individual Zettel for each term or concept, with the definition clearly indicated at the top of the note. Any elaborations can follow under the definition in the single note. Each glossary entry could also have a tag (i.e. #glossary) for searchability.

    I'd opt to option 1. Eventually, maybe have more than one note "list". - I'd not go in for a simple list but I'd group the concepts with appropriate terms and I'd annotate or contextualize the concepts a bit around the list. This train of glossary terms seems ripe for what I've come to call hub treatment. Each term or concept is stored in it own note. Each of these would have its own outbound, inbound links, tags, and references. Importantly this becomes the place to start a new term or concept note and to create an entry point to access it later. I'd place them all on one note, the hub note and add it to my HUBS saved search. Think of hub notes as a sort of structure note for facts. These hub notes can be restructured or divided when they get unwieldy, so eventually, you might have a hub note with terms and concepts around just oceanic mapping and another for everything else if that becomes your main interest.

    Kind of like this sample below. Don't look too closely at the terms. I made this quickly to illustrate my points. But you get the idea I hope. The terms and concepts are grouped in whatever way makes sense and this grows and changes over time becoming richer and richer. The concepts have a bit of extra verbiage around the link to help clarify what is hidden behind the link. This hub becomes a quick place of reference with just a little context. Much more useful than a #glossary tag. Especially once you have hundreds of terms and concept notes. Sure, you can use multiple tags but you have to remember what tagging strategy you used the last time you noted, for example, the concept of Surface Temperature Analysis. Or maybe you did already and by starting all terms and concepts in a hub note you'd see the duplicate right away. You would even have to bother tagging the notes #glossary.

    Just my simple thinking. :|

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Rationalism, Zen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • I'd go with single Zettel and maybe a linked outline of those ("structure Zettel"). It might be that a glossary is not even needed if your notes app of choice has a good search functionality.

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