Zettelkasten Forum


Relationship between literature notes and permanent notes

I am trying to understand the relationship between literature notes and permanent notes. My doubts are the following:

  1. Is it a matter of creating a permanent note for each literature note? That is, the relationship is one to one?

  2. What happens if when I try to create a permanent note I don't have any new ideas in addition to what the literature note contains? Does this mean that I should not create the permanent note or that I should just reclassify the literature note as a permanent note?

I hope you can guide me.

Comments

  • @zappino4 welcome to the forums.

    A bit of a guide and a bit of my philosophy of the zettel. Advice depends on what one's goals are for a zettelkasten. Are you a Rocket Propulsion Ph.D. candidate or a Creative Nonfiction Writer? It matters.

    All the chatter about different types and styles of notes can be confusing at best and off-putting at worst. As humans, we tend to refine and chop up and make an idea more and more into a specialization. That is what we've done with note/zettel types.

    The goal is to have notes that help and speak to you now and, more importantly, in the future. My advice is to make notes and see where they lead you. By that, I mean, see how you feel about your notes tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. Be Bayesian and modify your ideas as new evidence presents itself.

    Let's dispel the idea of a "permanent note" as a note with some special seniority. Each zettel/note should be Bayesian, updated as new knowledge, and new information becomes known. I like @prometheanhindsight's explanation **“Permanent,” just meaning “permanently useful.” Not “unchanging/fully formed.” **

    Just get the idea of some holy grail/permanent note ideal out of your head. I don't even think this is possible. All notes are malleable.

    All that as background notes evolve from fleeting scratches on the back of an envelope towards something that is a valuable reference in your thinking. You can't get to the former without the prior. So my suggestion is to capture everything. Set up a mechanism for review and modify and improve the notes. Those that can be improved will advance on, and those that don't improve will still be there for support, and who knows where they might lead? Over this last week in my review and improvement sessions, I worked with 4 notes from 2018 and 28 notes from 2019, and 31 notes from this year. Making in some cases, small tweaks and, in a few cases, almost total rewrites.

    Sometimes my notes are fully formed from the book or paper. Sometimes I have lots of my own ideas about a topic in a book or paper. Both types of notes get put in my zettelkasten with an initial equal weight. As time progress, don't worry. One of these notes will be added to, modified, more deeply linked than the other. And still, I wouldn't overvalue one more than the other.

    @zappino4 said:
    1. Is it a matter of creating a permanent note for each literature note? That is, the relationship is one to one?

    The relationship between ideas sparked by reading is often many to one. An author may write about an idea in the first chapter, then return to it later. Both can be combined into a single note/zettel.

    1. What happens if I try to create a permanent note, I don't have any new ideas, and what the literature note contains? Does this mean that I should not create the permanent note or that I should reclassify the literature note as a permanent note?

    Don't be too restrictive on what you put in your zettelkasten. Put stuff in your zettelkasten. It wants to be feed ideas. Some will be great and lead forward. Some will be flat and stiff. Don't worry, and you'll have both. Celebrate the flat, stiff notes.

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

  • Thank you very much @Will for your kind and complete response. With this I think I will be able to move forward quite a bit with my ZK.

  • @Will, I would upvote your response if the forums had such a feature. This was brilliant. @zappino4, thanks for articulating a question like this. I had been thinking about it but hadn't gotten to quite such direct questions.

    Observations logged here: write.as/via-poetica

  • edited October 19

    @Will You can add my upvote as well - your points are nicely stated (you must have a few zettels on that topic :) )

    This question keeps coming up in the forum - there should be a short article about it on the Getting Started page.

    @ctietze and @sfast Any chance of an upvote feature in the forum?

  • @GeoEng51 said:
    @ctietze and @sfast Any chance of an upvote feature in the forum?

    Better than that. :smile:

    I am a Zettler

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