Zettelkasten Forum


Formatting a structure note

If you've seen any of my posts from the past month, you know I recently started a new MS program. I always study with both a notebook and The Archive open.

I've set it up that my #glossary and #GIS OR #cartography are saved searches. This typically works.

Today I realized that I need my first significant structure note. I have sufficient notes and note-strings that I need a way to see how some of the pieces fit together. But I have no idea what this note should look like.

Questions:

  • Does a structure note still get a time-based ID? (Most of my notes are YYYYMMDD Name of Idea)
  • How do I set it up so that my note ends up near the top of the list for my #cartography saved search, above?
  • Is it advisable to link the structure note to glossary entries, which were originally built so that I could build my vocabulary for the field, or would that make the note too bloated to be useful?1

  1. i.e., the glossary is useful for study, but due to spaced repetition, I'm gaining fluency with a lot of concepts and don't reference some entries as much unless reviewing etymologies of the terms. I still intend for the glossary to be a key part of my ZK, especially since it crosses boundaries of the several academic fields I am a part of. ↩︎

Observations logged here: write.as/via-poetica

Comments

  • @Sociopoetic said:
    Today I realized that I need my first significant structure note. I have sufficient notes and note-strings that I need a way to see how some of the pieces fit together. But *I have no idea what this note should look like.

    You are so lucky to be learning a new path of knowledge and fitting it into your Zettelkasten. Cartography and GIS are in my estimation one of the keystones of knowledge building.

    I'll offer suggestions on how I'd approach this. Caveat Emptor!

    Questions:

    • Does a structure note still get a time-based ID? (Most of my notes are YYYYMMDD Name of Idea)

    Yes. I keep the UID with the structure note because they are so useful. I use a Special Character prefix to signify a note is a Structure Note that way when I am doing a search for say Grave Peak and a note is in the note list 201904150937 • North Idaho Fire History I quickly know this particular note will be rich with lots of connected knowledge links. (I precede the note's title with a "•" to signify a structure note. Some precede the UID with a 'µ' to provide a certain sorting.

    • How do I set it up so that my note ends up near the top of the list for my #cartography saved search, above?

    Currently, you can't save a sort order with a saved search. This has been requested.
    What are you trying to accomplish? You want a note list the sorts the Structure Note near the top of a list of notes that contain #cartography. Two tips. I'd create separate saved searches for all structure notes and a separate one for (#cartography and GIS) and put those tags in the structure note. Second, I tend to keep The Archive in the sort mode in the "Modification Date - Newest First" mode. This puts the most currently worked notes at the top and because I am always starting a note from one of my structure notes, this keeps the particular structure note near the top of the note list.

    If I don't have a structure note to attach to a new note, like say 201904150937 Medieval Leather Shoe Production then I create what some have called a speculative structure note and will see if it develops into something.

    • Is it advisable to link the structure note to glossary entries, which were originally built so that I could build my vocabulary for the field, or would that make the note too bloated to be useful?[^1]

    Yes. Or maybe I might say I would link the structure notes to the glossary entries and let The Archives backlinking work for you. Add the appropriate glossary notes to the appropriate structure notes. This will slowly make some structure that can be followed in research questions.
    As an example. Important note: Don't limit yourself to one or two Structure notes. As one gets large and unwieldy, refactor it into two separate note linking them together.

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

  • @Will you have such detailed answers, I feel like you should keep a public wiki that you can link people to for understanding common zettelkasten problems! B) a public wiki developed with a zettelkasten. Or a public wiki developed with a public zettelkasten :o

  • @Will,
    This is quite helpful. Thank you. I had never considered the use of a special character even though I do that all the time in my (handwritten) notebooks. I'm also going to adjust the sort-order setting; I think that will accomplish my goal there.

    As for splitting a large structure note, I'm already considering if I should have one for GIS in general terms and another for cartography specifically. (I'm in the analytics and visualization track for my program.) From there I wouldn't be surprised if a third specifically on informatics emerged, but I'm trying to take an generative, bottom-up approach.

    Since I'm fresh to The Archive, too, can you explain how the backlinking would work? Lately I've just been manually adding them, which is tedious.

    Observations logged here: write.as/via-poetica

  • @Sociopoetic said:
    As for splitting a large structure note, I'm already considering if I should have one for GIS in general terms and another for cartography specifically. (I'm in the analytics and visualization track for my program.) From there I wouldn't be surprised if a third specifically on informatics emerged, but I'm trying to take a generative, bottom-up approach.

    This is good. Let things emerge naturally. My suggestion is not to impose a limit on the number of structure notes that might emerge. We can not predict this nor should we pre-determine how our structure will be in advance. By the same token, we shouldn't pre-determine that we should have only one or two or three structure notes - let then generate naturally however many eventually emerge.

    Since I'm fresh to The Archive, too, can you explain how the backlinking would work? Lately, I've just been manually adding them, which is tedious.

    I only very occasionally place "backlinks" in notes. I let TA and the Note List work for me.
    I hope this is helpful and I can explain this well enough.

    I always include in every zettel a "self-referential" link. I limit mine to the UID but this is not necessary, use whatever you use for a link. In the example below, this "self-referential" link is highlighted. If I want to see the "backlinks" I select this link and all the notes displayed in the Note List are have links toward this zettel. I've had to do nothing but link one time from 202005210851 • ENGL316 to 202006041628 Come Away With Me - no backlinking.

    Notice that there are no outbound links in this note, only 3 inbound links (backlink).

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

  • @Sociopoetic If you look at @Will 's example, you will see how to do this, (which I only understand because of one of his previous posts). I now follow the same pattern:

    Put the title of the note in the first line, without the UID.
    Put the UID for the present note in the second line, surrounded by double square brackets.

    The latter serves two purposes:
    1. It tells you the UID for the note you are in (the same as if you put it in the title line).
    2. It is a self-reference. If you click on it, you will see a list of both forward links and backward links in the left-hand pane, (i.e., in the note list).

    That way, you don't have to add backward links to all your notes.

  • Wow. @Will and @GeoEng51 , that's brilliant. Alright, I know how I'm spending part of my time tomorrow!

    Seriously, I cannot imagine surviving school right now without a ZK.

    Observations logged here: write.as/via-poetica

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