Zettelkasten Forum


Q&A #1 - How to start a Zettelkasten


Q&A #1 - How to start a Zettelkasten

Easier said than done. But doing is superior than telling. So do it.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • Great!! I just started to do mine and got a lot of questions. Thanks a lot for doing it.
    I was doing the other way around. Starting with a topic, then write random atomic notes from what I read about it. From those atomic notes, I would realise they are connected in some way and then I would create a structure note with this connection. You think by starting with the structure we can direct the reading to find this connection? Or am I missing something?

  • edited October 2

    @IsaGerheim i was wondering about this, too. It really doesn't matter what your first Zettel is, as there does not exist anything to connect it with. However, i find the advice of creating a structure note as your first Zettel spot on, because it facilitates everything that follows: building a Zettelkasten from bottom up, atomic notes, branching, linking...

    This does not direct the reading, no, but it does make you think how what you just read is related to what has already been written down.

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • edited October 2

    It would have been nice to have a visualization alongside the few tips you give for starting a zettelkasten. But it is also only two minutes long, so maybe not worth it and maybe you plan to include visuals later on.


    @IsaGerheim often times when you are first learning about a subject matter it helps to have an understanding of its structure before diving in. An example of this is my Introduction to Psychology textbook. Its first chapter lays out the structure of the field through the different disciplines, perspectives, themes. By copying over the structure and turning it into a structure note, I give myself something to "hook" new information onto. This is important because I now have a way to track information across the entire semester and beyond. I just don't read my introduction textbook in one sitting.

    Books often give you an example structure note through the "table of contents". The table of contents is the authors structure note. The links in this case are the pointers that you see in every table of contents "Chapter Title (aka idea) page number".

    But not every book needs to be turned into a structure note. This is especially the case when you already have a the concept or field you are studying mapped out. In this case you just add any new dimensions you come across to your existing structure note. This would be like a tree growing a new branch.

    People don't give enough thought to how interconnected the world is because doing so is very cognitively exhausting. This means that overtime, as you learn more, themes will emerge and the interconnections will show themselves. These are examples of the structure notes that emerge bottom up and you can create structure notes for them as they happen. You see the concept of critical mass showing up in both physics and business studies. So after noticing a note about that topic in both of those fields, I go ahead and create a structure note about them, then link to them.

    Post edited by Nick on
  • TL;DR - structure notes should emerge from both top down process (general to the specific, how school works) and bottom up process (notice themes emerge, generalization)

  • @IsaGerheim said:
    Great!! I just started to do mine and got a lot of questions. Thanks a lot for doing it.
    I was doing the other way around. Starting with a topic, then write random atomic notes from what I read about it. From those atomic notes, I would realise they are connected in some way and then I would create a structure note with this connection. You think by starting with the structure we can direct the reading to find this connection? Or am I missing something?

    This:

    @Nick said:
    TL;DR - structure notes should emerge from both top down process (general to the specific, how school works) and bottom up process (notice themes emerge, generalization)

    To answer my question: Hindsight is 20/20. I whish I had started with Structure Notes right from the beginning. It garantuees that there are no or very few orphans, give sandbox-like platforms etc.

    You will see very clearly what I mean in the live demonstrations I plan.

    I am a Zettler

  • Are structure notes a part of Luhmann's original Zettelkasten idea?

  • Maybe. Luhmann had hub notes which served as fast tracks to the most important areas of his ZK. I did not come up with the concept of structure notes because of this but I think the underlying principles are at least overlapping.

    See also: The money is in the hubs

    I am a Zettler

Sign In or Register to comment.