Zettelkasten Forum


Paper Zettelkasten?

Anybody here keeping a physical Zettelkasten? The limitations are obvious, but I love writing on paper with pen and pencil. I love holding notes in my hands.

I also really dig The Archive and love the idea of easy searching and tagging. Just curious if anybody's making it work on good ol' paper.

Comments

  • I personally am flirting with the idea to start a physical Zettelkasten as a side project. Perhaps for a Chose Your Own Adventure

    I am a Zettler

  • I posted about a notebook Zettelkasten not too long ago, which is of course paper: Notebook Zettelkasten. I use this for first drafts and doing stuff on the go, but its not meant to be the long term archive. I would recommend you use note cards and not something like a notebook for the long term if you're going to stick with paper.

    As an aside, and completely off-topic, turns out the internet is a small place. Letter Seventeen thanks you @joegilder for all your work at home studio corner.

  • Haha Small world indeed. My paper system consists of half-letter individual sheets of paper, so it behaves the same way as index cards, but doesn't take up nearly as much space. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • I wrote this yesterday about having a paper-based ZK and still using digital notes with metadata and increase the usefulness of the ZK.

    https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/6995/#Comment_6995

    Hope it works for you

  • I love being able to use different mediums to write my notes - pens, paint, pencil. My note-taking almost always includes art so I too am curious about a paper zettelkasten. Unfortunately, I need a system that would keep my notes mobile in case I need to travel.

    I have both Obsidian and The Archive and I am thinking of simply taking a photo of my paper note and adding it to one of those programs digitally; however, I am afraid that ultimately, having thousands of images attached to these applications will slow them down too much.

    "The Perceived cannot Perceive" - Rupert Spira

  • @Esmeralda I am right there with you, and have been weighing the benefits of digital versus analog ZK. Beyond the creative aspect of analog ZK, I also like to physically manipulate cards on a surface to connect ideas and spark new insights. Tough to do on a digital platform.

    I also have the same concern about scanning and digitally uploading. I could perhaps export digital cards into MURAL, translate them into individual text boxes, and manipulate them on an unlimited canvas, but that brings me back to @joegilder: I love holding the notes in my hands. I would appreciate hearing about the approaches you decide to try.

  • @jeannelking said:
    @Esmeralda I am right there with you, and have been weighing the benefits of digital versus analog ZK. Beyond the creative aspect of analog ZK, I also like to physically manipulate cards on a surface to connect ideas and spark new insights. Tough to do on a digital platform.

    Following your mention, I had a look at Mural. As commonly happens, the price is a bit steep for an individual user (fine if your business supports it).

    But I like the idea of being able to see various "cards" in front of me and move them around on a surface to look for new connections. Do you have any other ideas for how that might be done digitally?

  • @GeoEng51 said:
    But I like the idea of being able to see various "cards" in front of me and move them around on a surface to look for new connections. Do you have any other ideas for how that might be done digitally?

    I am experimenting with an iPad Pro 2020 and ThinkSpace. These experiments are still in a very early stage, but at this moment I am very happy with with it. Moving cards around however is not a practice I use very much, but it is something the app seems to support very well.
    (I am doing mind-mappish things on each card and thus create a mind map of mind maps, which seems to work well for me.)

  • @GeoEng51 - ah yes. I do have access via a business license for MURAL, and use that thing literally every day. The other tool I use quite a bit - particularly for structuring papers - is iMindMap (now known as Ayoa). A colleague of mine likes to use Cardsmith for his Lean work, so itโ€™s sticky-note oriented. Not sure how robust it would be for ZK card manipulation (how much can a sticky note hold in this program?)

    @thomasteepe, as a fellow iPad user I would be curious to learn more about your use of Thinkspace...as well as your mind-maps of mind-maps approach to your cards! #officiallyintrigued

  • @jeannelking said:
    @thomasteepe, as a fellow iPad user I would be curious to learn more about your use of Thinkspace...as well as your mind-maps of mind-maps approach to your cards! #officiallyintrigued

    Here are some building blocks:

    • I start a new canvas for a new topic. If I do not yet have a topic, I will look for one on the first cards.
    • There is a larger red "root" card with the main topic.
    • Left to the root card, there are some summary cards where I collect the main ideas and insightoids.
    • On most cards, I work out a very simplistic mind map with a topic in the center and up to two or three levels of branches - really, nothing elaborate.
    • For the most interesting items in a map card, I start a follow-up card and look for more ideas on that aspect.
    • From time to time, I start follow-up cards that have as their topic a "thinking tool" of somewhat neanderthalian subtlety - like "questions" or "ideas for progress" or "criticism".

    One can arguably imagine a more refined process, but this one seems to work for me, at this time.
    What I like especially is the natural flow of work, the reduced UI, and especially the ease in using graphic elements - I find text-only substrates a bitbrestrictive for a "idea generating sessions", where I would hope for some ideas that I find interesting.
    But it is probably a wise idea to distinguish between engagement notes and memory notes - the ideas above seem to be on the engagement note side.

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