Zettelkasten Forum


Need an advice: How do you handle quotes and your comments?

Hi,
I'm new to ZK, so I don't build my system completely. Now, when I read a book (theory or fiction) I have

Heading which explain note

after that, I paste quote in note like

block quote

and write my comments in normal text beneath it (like this)

After that I have

Links

and

References

Tags, note ID (date), note title, origin note etc are in YAML section at the beginning of note.

The question is: do you keep quotations in separate note and link your comments to them or keep both in one note.

An also I'll be thankful if you comment my system.

Comments

  • @damaskin said:

    The question is: do you keep quotations in separate note and link your comments to them or keep both in one note.

    Hello and welcome to the forum!

    I'm a relative newcomer as well. I put quotes and my comments in the same Zettel. However, I don't include a lot of quotes, believing that the main purpose of the Zettel is to record my own thinking about an idea, even if it is just restating a concept in my own words. But sometimes a quote is so good that I want to include it, so I do. Maybe only 10% of my Zettels contain quotes and they are usually short. I also add a reference to the quote at the bottom of the Zettel, where I place both internal links (to other Zettels) and external links (to web pages, references to books, etc.).

  • Hi @GeoEng51, thanks for answer.

    believing that the main purpose of the Zettel is to record my own thinking about an idea, even if it is just restating a concept in my own words.

    This is exactly my dilemma. From one hand it's quite useful to have quotation and your thoughts in one zettel, from the other hand, that's against the basics of ZK.

  • @damaskin said:
    The question is: do you keep quotations in separate note and link your comments to them or keep both in one note.

    Sometimes I keep the quote in the note, as the example below shows, and sometimes I remove it after I milked the quote dry. Depends on my mood and the quality of the quote. The quote below is Rocket Fuel so I kept it.

    @damaskin said:
    This is exactly my dilemma. From one hand it's quite useful to have quotation and your thoughts in one zettel, from the other hand, that's against the basics of ZK.

    Warning! Danger ahead! Metaphors galore!

    Who said it was against the basics of ZK to annotate someone else's thoughts or arguments in a zettel? We don't consider 'quoting' a chemistry or math formula against the basics of ZK. You may find after creating a zettel, that you've sucked all the nectar our a quote that the quote itself can be tossed to the compost heap . Sometimes the note ideation is lessened if the quote is jettisoned. I think the basics tell us to be very careful in the area, not to slip into the lazy habit of just collecting quotes, and to look closely at the quote and fit it in or fit the idea into our zettelkasten. Why would this be different for chemistry and math formulas?

    I confess that in my early notes when I included quotes, were 70% just collected quote and 20% annotated quotes and 10% were fully digested with the thought squeezed out of the quote. Now, I've worked my way to maybe 10% collected, 60% annotated, and 30% fully digested. For me, this process is a process of learning and practice. It is a skill I wasn't born to and sometimes struggle with.

    Don't worry too much about the Zettelkasten gods. Strive to get better but don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

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

  • edited August 23

    Don't worry too much about the Zettelkasten gods. Strive to get better but don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    That is nice and straight. I like Voltaire, too. :-)
    My problem is more practical. I'm in humanities and I have a lot quotations from fiction I write about. And it's nice to have quotation + my thoughts in one zettel. From the other hand, if I have several ideas/interpretations/etc for one particular quote writing them in one zettel make crowd. Well, I'll have to decide, nothing is ideal...

    EDIT:

    confess that in my early notes when I included quotes, were 70% just collected quote and 20% annotated quotes and 10% were fully digested with the thought squeezed out of the quote. Now, I've worked my way to maybe 10% collected, 60% annotated, and 30% fully digested.

    This is my case, when I deal with quotes from faction.

  • edited August 23

    @damaskin. I am also in the humanities field. I give quotes I want to keep around their own note:

    This way you can add links to other notes with interpretations/uses of the quoted material.

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

  • edited August 23

    I keep my comments next to the quotes because it gives them context. Otherwise it will just be a collection of random quotes. When I keep the comments is easier to read the note after a long time and still understand why it exists in my notes (zettelkasten).

    If you got several quotes from the same source it might be a good idea to keep them separate according to a broader topic, and maybe create a structure note (a list of links to other notes) where you organize all the quotes as you find convenient. It's your choice and is good to try and see if it works, worst thing that could happen is you deleting a note because you don't want it anymore.

  • edited August 23

    @damaskin said:
    My problem is more practical. I'm in humanities and I have a lot quotations from fiction I write about. And it's nice to have quotation + my thoughts in one zettel. From the other hand, if I have several ideas/interpretations/etc for one particular quote writing them in one zettel make crowd. Well, I'll have to decide, nothing is ideal...

    I also study mostly in the humanities. (Creative Non-Fiction Writing) and quoting is my way of creatively stealing so I feel it is important to paraphrase, learn style, absorb ideas, and imitate the quotes that capture me and I capture. Your use case I sense is a bit different. Writing about fiction may lead to many ideas about a single quote. I see a spoke and hub connections emerging. A quote with many links to it. Here I'd suggest keeping the quote in a separate note with a signifier prepended to the note name like for example 202008131131 Ω Voltaire - Enemy of the Good. In the note, I'd have all the backlinks that reference this quote. In each "ideas/interpretations/etc" note I'd of course reference the quote with a link. This would be the start. Links to other threads will naturally surface over time.

    This would accomplish separating visually the pure quotes from your zettels in the note list, and it atomizes in a way that makes future linking fruitful.

    Tagging each note and creating 'saved searches' from the tags could also be helpful. I would suggest that you not limit yourself to one workflow. Some quotes may just need one note, the "ideas/interpretations/etc" alongside the quote. Some may start out one way and later have to be refactored. Let the forms emerge out of your work and don't force things.

    This is my humble advice.

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

  • @damaskin said:

    Don't worry too much about the Zettelkasten gods. Strive to get better but don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    That is nice and straight. I like Voltaire, too. :-)
    My problem is more practical. I'm in humanities and I have a lot quotations from fiction I write about. And it's nice to have quotation + my thoughts in one zettel. From the other hand, if I have several ideas/interpretations/etc for one particular quote writing them in one zettel make crowd. Well, I'll have to decide, nothing is ideal...

    Quote for analysis are a different kind of beast than quotes that contain concepts and ideas that are to be set free by processing them.

    You don't need to adhere to some kind of orthodoxy and have both:

    1. For quite dense material you have the quote on one note and link to all the various interpretations and analytics.
    2. If material is not so dense just have the quote and your ideas on one note.

    But nothing holds you back from just have longer notes. If you find yourself having trouble with linking to parts of the note then you can always break them into smaller notes. The principle of atomicity aims to make idea referencing possible. Linked atomic notes make a web of thought possible. But if you want and need a web of annotated quotes, well.. then create that.

    Or even: Some parts of the Zettelkasten can be webs of thoughts and others can be webs of annotated quotes.

    I do this myself. Quotes by Nietzsche always have their own note that sometimes evolve into structure notes. However, most notes on fiction will have the quote and the processed ideas if the wording is something to be stored (my favourite authors get this honor quite often).

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast said:

    But nothing holds you back from just have longer notes. If you find yourself having trouble with linking to parts of the note then you can always break them into smaller notes. The principle of atomicity aims to make idea referencing possible. Linked atomic notes make a web of thought possible. But if you want and need a web of annotated quotes, well.. then create that.

    I think this is the right path. Thank you, @sfast !

Sign In or Register to comment.