Zettelkasten Forum


Hack for not losing unassociated notes in your digital Zettelkasten

Here's my newish-user (1 month) hack for when I don't yet know where/how a Zettel connects with other notes (which will someday be created, I'm sure.):

In my "Related Notes" section of the card, if I don't have a specific entry, I list this instead: #_

It's my "missing stuff" tag. I use it for absent (or as yet unknown) related notes, incomplete citation information, etc.

Every week I do a search for #_ and add the connections/missing info! Super easy, barely an inconvenience!

Comments

  • This seems like a good idea. :smile: Tagging is a flexible tool for this. I similarly mark the literature notes I've taken on works that I haven't finished reading so I can quickly find a list of unfinished reading and notes.

  • @jeannelking

    Hi - I use two tags - #unfinished and #unlinked, and include them in the "saved searches" bar, so that I can check them quickly.

  • My hack is to not create unlinked notes as Luhmann advised. :)

    But the "#_" is nice. It feels close to the issue of something is missing.

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast said:
    My hack is to not create unlinked notes as Luhmann advised. :)

    Hee! :^)
    I know. However, sometimes I have an idea that doesn't yet have a connection in my ZK because it's just getting started. The #_ is a bit of a "it doesn't yet exist here yet, but I know it's going to so here's the start" marker. Makes space for novel thoughts joining in.

    @prometheanhindsight - great idea about tagging unfinished reading! Thank you!
    @GeoEng51 - great idea about the saved search! Totally going to do that.

  • @jeannelking Then I recommend that you just make it happen. It forces you to think interconnected and will accelerate the progress you will make in being a lateral and creative thinker. :)

    Sometimes, creating the connection is more time consuming than the actual creation of the note itself.

    I am a Zettler

  • @jeannelking said:
    Hee! :^)
    I know. However, sometimes I have an idea that doesn't yet have a connection in my ZK because it's just getting started. The #_ is a bit of a "it doesn't yet exist here yet, but I know it's going to so here's the start" marker. Makes space for novel thoughts joining in.

    I have this a bit in my ZK, but as I'm using a physical ZK, I just add the card under an "Unsorted" section right at the front of the box. I try and make sure I go back and revisit within a day or two, and either try and associate it with an already existing entry, or actually try to expand on it.
    I guess its a similar way of doing it to you, only mine is physically visible, instead of having to make extra searches in my software ZK, so I can immediately see if there's something there that needs working on/thinking about/expanding.

  • This is a great comment; I'm going to take the advice myself.

    @sfast said:
    @jeannelking Then I recommend that you just make it happen. It forces you to think interconnected and will accelerate the progress you will make in being a lateral and creative thinker. :)

    On one level it appears to be an encouragement towards adopting a methodology, but on another (deeper?) level it's also an encouragement towards utilizing methodology for intentional cognitive development.

    This cognitive development, however, comes at a cost of both time and effort:

    Sometimes, creating the connection is more time consuming than the actual creation of the note itself.

    Thanks for the insight @sfast!

  • Duly noted and appreciated! Thanks for the nudge, @sfast!

  • @Darryl said:

    @sfast said:
    @jeannelking Then I recommend that you just make it happen. It forces you to think interconnected and will accelerate the progress you will make in being a lateral and creative thinker. :)

    On one level it appears to be an encouragement towards adopting a methodology, but on another (deeper?) level it's also an encouragement towards utilizing methodology for intentional cognitive development.

    Those are just two sides of the same coin. Cognitive development is part of the methodology. The more you use it the more you yourself will benefit from it.

    This cognitive development, however, comes at a cost of both time and effort:

    Sometimes, creating the connection is more time consuming than the actual creation of the note itself.

    Just short term. It is a long-term investment. It is just another case of doing the hard work now to safe double the amount later.

    I am a Zettler

  • I connect notes usually through a keyword search. So if a new note has no place to go - it's time for a new keyword :smiley: But this happens rarely, I can usually connect it to at least one other note. Also, I keep my new notes at the top for a few days before I file the permanently, so even if I don't find good links immediately, within a few days links will be there eventually.

  • @ethomasv said:
    I connect notes usually through a keyword search. So if a new note has no place to go - it's time for a new keyword :smiley: But this happens rarely, I can usually connect it to at least one other note. Also, I keep my new notes at the top for a few days before I file the permanently, so even if I don't find good links immediately, within a few days links will be there eventually.

    I start 96.3% of my notes from a structure note so it starts from a link and has a place in my zettelkasten. :) If a new note doesn't fit on an existing structure note then I create one. I, like you, have a process of reviewing notes created or modified in the last few days and often find additional linking opportunities along with fruitful edits.

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

  • edited August 31

    @ethomasv said:
    I keep my new notes at the top for a few days before I file the permanently

    I tend to do the same, because it sometimes feels like switching between two different cognitive processes and two different scales of thinking, to go from the focused thinking entailed in composing a note to the more expansive connective/networked thinking required of placing a note into the ZK.

    To bridge the divide, if I am not inclined to place a new note right away, I will still make fleeting notes at the end of a new note, to suggest possible points of connection to my future self, so when I come back in the right frame of mind---a sorting/organizing frame of mind---to place any unplaced notes, I have some starting points.

    I don't use a tag, but just write at the bottom of the note CONNECT:, followed by ideas about where to connect (but not actual note links).

    By giving a little space of time between composing a note and placing it into the ZK I feel like I can give better attention to the work of connecting, rather than just making whatever connection occurs to me in the moment of composition, just to be done with it.

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