Zettelkasten Forum


Titling naming convention trials

I've been asked to share my meager and evolving insight into using extended ASCII characters and various user codes, so-called "categorization conventions" in the titles of my zettels.

I'm no expert. I hope to remain Bayesian. Open to new ideas and corrections in my thinking. I like throwing many approaches at my Zettelkasten and keeping what sticks and discarding the chaff. My current naming scheme is becoming more helpful as the Zettelkasten grows.

I find that I am looking more and more at the "Note List" and it is growing for any given search. Knowing what type of notes are in the note list before opening them is helpful. As an example, in the following note list, I can see at a glance a couple of course structure notes (Materials Engineering and Writing), some class notes, and what I call literature structure notes mixed in with atomized zettels. Knowing this in advance tells me several things. First, it tells me if my search criteria have reached deeply into my zettelkasten or not. It can tell me at a glance if and where I might find references and deeper links. Sometimes I want to review notes from class and this lets me Identify them quickly, some times I want to avoid academic thinking and I can see where that is likely to be.

Sure this all can be done with tags but you'd have to open each note and view the tag before you know whether or not you were looking at a note on a book or a class or a hub note or a base Zettel.

The naming convention I use is evolving. I stole the inspiration for this from @sfast. My application is a bit different. I think he uses a similar naming convention to sort his note list. I use mine in the way described plus as a tool in creating "Saved Searches".

202006231614 U1 MSE101
202006230752 Ontology
202003250754 Luhmann's Numbering System
202006191522 Heroism Of Rodeo Clown
202006091108 Noticing The Particular
202001211808 H1 Abundance Of Essayists
202004202101 Use Cases For Zettelkasten
202006090936 Descriptive Repetition
201903011645 • The intelligent use of space
202006040859 L1 Gradual Construction Of Thoughts During Speech
202005242035 Books Don't Transfer Knowledge
202005240910 Well-trained mind brings happiness
202005191029 Marking Used During Reading
202005111721 Ode To Walking-sauntering
202005111628 L1 Fire Season
202005060844 Writerly Notes
202004231348 CN April 23, 2020
202005210851 U1 ENGL316

Here is a reference note I keep

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

Comments

  • edited July 29

    Thanks so much for this @Will. As always, your posts provoke a firestorm of ideas and connections in my own thinking about my 'zetteling'. I've always been shy about dumping my extensive collection of class notes (gathered from 20+ years in the classroom) into my ZK. I guess I've taken the atomicity and 'complete sentences' principles a little too literally, in the process making the perfect the enemy of the good. These files have until today lingered in Dropbox in Word format, walled off from one another in the traditional way within various hiearchized folders.

    Now, however, my notes can start to speak to one another. I've taught a lot of American literature classes, and it feels very satisfying to begin to liberate my ideas by connecting all the different iterations of my many approaches to authors/their literary works and the different groupings of readings I've created to serve different contexts.

    I'm realizing too, as I play with your schema, that using the categorization conventions in the zettel names destroys once-and-for-all any justification for the 'separate ZK archives' debate that's bubbled up here from time-to-time. The different category identifiers in the note name in the note list function as a really useful sorting mechanism.

    Thanks again!

    Phil

    Started ZK 4.2018. "The path is at your feet, see? Now carry on."

  • edited July 29

    Great to hear from you. I finish reading and integrating into my Zettelkasen David Loy's "Ecodharma" using the Idea Index workflow and boy was that fun! (Funny how us geeks get our fun!) I'm grokking @Sasha's admonition around there being less value of connecting notes vs the superior value of connecting ideas and this workflow has helped. I'm trying it again on a library book "Practice of the Wild" by Gary Snyder. So far I'm ⅓ through the first read creating my Idea Index as I go.

    @Phil said:
    ... I've always been shy about dumping my extensive collection of class notes (gathered from 20+ years in the classroom) into my ZK. I guess I've taken the atomicity and 'complete sentences' principles a little too literally, in the process making the perfect the enemy of the good. These files have until today lingered in Dropbox in Word format, walled off from one another in the traditional way within various hiearchized folders.

    I haven't "dumped" my old class notes into my Zettelkasten. I'll leave them where they are which is mostly on paper in a box in storage. I have adopted the philosophy of starting fresh with my zettelkasting practice. It seems too onerous and too much like a file clerk's busy work rather than knowledge building work to look for, and organize old notes and try to integrate old stuff into my Zettelkasten. I lean towards progress rather than the historical. This might be is a personal shortcoming. But that is just me. YMMV.

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

  • Well, "dumped" is a bit of a blunt metaphor. In my notes--many of which are discussion prompts--I wrote a lot of nice summaries and contextual frames for various authors/styles/genres/time periods in Am. Lit. and literary theory (another of my long standing teaching gigs). These deserve to breathe and communicate with all the other notes in my ZK, so I've started adding them and linking them which, were I to continue at the pace I've been doing this lunchtime, will probably take me the rest of the year to finish. But it can be an ongoing side project.

    Fortunately, I digitized most of my paper notes about ten years ago, so that makes the task a bit easier. And although I might dispute your neat binary of 'progress' versus 'history' (the latter enframes the former imho in ways that enable us to see the former as developmental), I appreciate the feedback, as ever.

    And it's interesting to me how we are traveling on separate but similar paths in terms of our reading. I finished Snyder's book earlier this summer, but haven't yet got round to taking notes.

    Started ZK 4.2018. "The path is at your feet, see? Now carry on."

  • @Phil said:
    Well, "dumped" is a bit of a blunt metaphor. In my notes--many of which are discussion prompts--I wrote a lot of nice summaries and contextual frames for various authors/styles/genres/time periods in Am. Lit. and literary theory (another of my long standing teaching gigs). These deserve to breathe and communicate with all the other notes in my ZK, so I've started adding them and linking them which, were I to continue at the pace I've been doing this lunchtime, will probably take me the rest of the year to finish. But it can be an ongoing side project.

    Maybe this is something the Keyboard Maestro could help speed up?

    Fortunately, I digitized most of my paper notes about ten years ago, so that makes the task a bit easier.

    Luck you! That is where a lot of tedium would occur in my case.

    And although I might dispute your neat binary of 'progress' versus 'history' (the latter enframes the former imho in ways that enable us to see the former as developmental),...

    Warning - Inside Baseball

    This is pretty profound. And when I pause and consider I see I was too binary in my thinking/writing. I need a dope-slap! Our mutual friend Dogen spells this all out in "Uji". Here is a note I took after watching the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (recommended). I think it applies to our conversation about the "former as development". We substitute future for progress and past for history and really work into Dogen's Uji.

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

  • edited July 29

    Thanks @Will for the recommendations!

    Inside inside baseball. Here's our friend, making a similar point in "Genjokoan":

    Firewood becomes ash, and it does not become firewood again. Yet, do not suppose that the ash is after and the firewood before. You should understand that firewood abides in the phenomenal expression of firewood, which fully includes before and after and is independent of before and after. Ash abides in the phenomenal expression of ash, which fully includes before and after. Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it is ash, you do not return to birth after death.

    History and progress. Firewood and ash.

    I really need to up my KM skills!

    Started ZK 4.2018. "The path is at your feet, see? Now carry on."

  • Here are my thoughts on the different types of titles you can use and how I frame titles within a notes program

  • @Nick said:
    Here are my thoughts on the different types of titles you can use and how I frame titles within a notes program

    Apologies if you've already seen these but the following by @pseudoevagrius might be helpful, on hooks, braids, and concept notes:

    Link 1
    Link 2
    Link 3

    Started ZK 4.2018. "The path is at your feet, see? Now carry on."

  • Another great use case for adding a special character or code when titling a note is when you have a natural ordered group. For example, notes describing all the forms of polystyrene and their co-polymers or notes describing digestive enzymes. These are natural candidates for a pre-pended code that would visually differentiate them in a search.

    Another great use case for adding a special character or code when titling a note is when you have a writing project. Non-fiction or fiction. In the case of fiction, if the note names had a ƒ prepended you would be able to visually sort them for work or to avoid depending on the current work task.

    I worry that all this might become cumbersome. I already keep a legend of all the codes and I have only 12. I don't refer to it yet and I can keep them straight so far. I have to think of a way to embed in the title a way to tell what type of note it is in such a way as to not need a 'legend'. I see where some of these may go away or change as my experience grows and interests shift.

    I like this workflow because, with plain text and Regex, and tools like MassReplaceIt, I can make all kinds of changes to the titles of my notes and quickly change them or revert back to the original.

    Color-coding the notes in the note list seems to limit the number of such visual groups. We'd have a hard time distinguishing the color spectrum of more than 8 or 12 colors. I know I wouldn't be able to quickly distinguish even this many colors. (Old and color-blind.) Using extended ASCII characters and plain text codes provides limitless opportunities.

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

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