Zettelkasten Forum


Structure Notes, Please help...

I am still in the trial and error phase of my Zettelkasten and need help on Structure notes. I have been reading some posts on them and get the general concept though am having difficulty in practice. I know the structure note is taken from the entry point note Luhmann used. My question is how do you formulate the structure note? How do you determine which note should be the entry point? Thank you.

Comments

  • Create a new note. :)

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast please elaborate. I am a noob noob. Haha

  • edited August 13

    I would suggest writing your first few notes on 'note-taking'. If I look back to the first notes in my Zettelkasten, the first 8 are notes on note-taking.

    The best you can do is:
    1) Consume all publicly available sources on structure notes.
    Good Post - https://zettelkasten.de/posts/three-layers-structure-zettelkasten/
    Less about structure notes, but since its video, there are many practical tips -
    Good discussion - https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/909/how-to-take-smart-notes-structure-note

    2) Experiment on your own (this takes time), and form your own opinions through practice.

  • edited August 13

    @sfast so in trying to conceptualize the ZK I thought of being a chef. So a chef is in search of many recipes. He finds them from books, websites, blogs, videos etc. He then stores them in a box for future use (I know for reading you are writing your own thoughts from the original material). Though he wants to start to create his own recipes (an end product with your own thoughts) so he goes into this recipe box and starts to take ingredients from various recipes (linking notes) that would taste good together.
    The ZK is for producing, otherwise it becomes a graveyard of notes. Correct?

    I may be way off so please tell me if I am.

    Back to a structure note. What would a structure note look like here in this situation?

  • @VDL1516 I use structure notes as a sort of top layer in my Zettelkasten. This top layer includes books, classes, research material, and 'hub' interests. Most of the 'meat' is in the child layers and beyond.

    The first thing I do when zettelkasting a book, for example, is to create a blank note named with the title of the book and its cite key. Then I start copying verbatim my notes and highlights and quoting relevant parts. As this gets verbose and I begin to see where distinct and separate ideas are expressed I cut and paste them into new notes leaving behind a link. This note starts off being a draft containing all the notes and highlights, sometimes a thousand words or more, and is slowly converted into an outline of links to the ideas captured. During this process, I ask questions like,

    1. What is essential here?
    2. How does this connect with the rest of my Zettelkasten?
    3. Are there other sources I should consider?
    4. Am I writing clear enough for my future selves to understand?

    Here is part of a "Structure Note" I'm currently working on that shows this process. This shows the note at the very early stage. It is tagged with #inbox to signify current work. It is currently just a collection of web clipping. (About an esoteric detail of Zen meditation practice but could be about anything)

    Here is part of a different "Structure Note" that is completely processed. It is an entry point in a long series of child nodes (currently 146).

    I hope this helps. But you'd be better served if you just jumped in and made some notes. I went from Nov. 2018 to Mar. 2019 without making a single structure note but eventually learned. I'm a slow learner, rode the short bus to school as a kid. You'll only get to a point of making and understand structure note if you start and struggle through your confusion. We're here to help.

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

  • @brian thank you. Yes you are correct, experiment, trial and error. @will thank you. This definitely clarifies my thinking and seeing an example of it is excellent. Am I wrong in saying that you are categorizing in a sense? Again you make a great point when you say to just start and struggle. I guess since my ZK is small right now I want to do it right from the beginning though I won’t know what is right until I start.

  • @VDL1516 said:
    I am still in the trial and error phase of my Zettelkasten and need help on Structure notes. I have been reading some posts on them and get the general concept though am having difficulty in practice. I know the structure note is taken from the entry point note Luhmann used. My question is how do you formulate the structure note? How do you determine which note should be the entry point? Thank you.

    The following article has an excellent discussion of structure notes, with a supporting image that is quite helpful. The article is a bit long and the info on structure notes is towards the end:

    https://leananki.com/zettelkasten-method-smart-notes/#comment-198

  • @GeoEng51 thank you!!!

  • @VDL1516 said:
    @sfast please elaborate. I am a noob noob. Haha

    A Structure Note is basically a note on the relationships between other notes. You already have notes and relationships. Therefore, you need a new note that gives you access to this structure (notes and their relationship).

    The TOC-Style Structure Note you see me often refering to is one way to give order. It brings the notes in accessable order, so I can work on a topic. My Structure Note on the Zettelkasten is a perfect example. It is really a idiosyncratic (specific to my use) table of contents of this part of my Zettelkasten.

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast thank you for your input.

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