Zettelkasten Forum


Greetings from Another Existence (Georgia)

Any tips for starting out? I am going to use index cards, and a small box to keep them in .

I do want to try software, but too many choices.

One man's constant is another man's variable.

Comments

  • Welcome to the zettelkasten forums @atticus_de_fury.

    I'd recommend reading the Introduction to the Zettelkasten Method
    by @sfast.

    THen grabbing a card, putting the number 1 in the upper left corner, and writing the first atomic idea that comes into your head. Then repeat, you'll find a grove. Don't get hung up on technicalities at first but added them as you gain confidence and feel comfortable.

    Both these users are skilled at using and demonstrating zettelkasten with cards. Highly recommend searching the forums for their discussions about physical card-based zettelkasten. If you think you'd want to explore digital, I recommend The Archive.

    @jeannelking PhD Student Reporting What It's Like to Use a Zettelkasten for Classes

    @ethomasv Eva Thomas on Zettelkasten

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @atticus_de_fury said:
    Any tips for starting out? I am going to use index cards, and a small box to keep them in .

    I do want to try software, but too many choices.

    I'd just echo Will's advice. It may sound simple but it is profound and based on years of practise.

  • edited October 2020

    @Will said:
    Welcome to the zettelkasten forums @atticus_de_fury.

    I'd recommend reading the Introduction to the Zettelkasten Method
    by @sfast.

    THen grabbing a card, putting the number 1 in the upper left corner, and writing the first atomic idea that comes into your head. Then repeat, you'll find a grove. Don't get hung up on technicalities at first but added them as you gain confidence and feel comfortable.

    Both these users are skilled at using and demonstrating zettelkasten with cards. Highly recommend searching the forums for their discussions about physical card-based zettelkasten. If you think you'd want to explore digital, I recommend The Archive.

    @jeannelking PhD Student Reporting What It's Like to Use a Zettelkasten for Classes

    @ethomasv Eva Thomas on Zettelkasten

    @Will what about the index/reference sheet?

    Post edited by sfast on

    One man's constant is another man's variable.

  • @atticus_de_fury said:
    What about the index/reference sheet?

    If you are determined to have a physical card based zettelkasten, others might be in a better position to help but I think you are referring to two different things here.

    References - this would be the citations for the books, papers, videos, etc studied. Make a card with the citation info on it, one reference per card, and store these in a separate box. Each card would have an ID on it. When making a zettel about the reference, add the references ID to it.

    Index - I don't know. I don't have any index. Maybe this is something that is special about physical cards. I've heard about something called a key word index that Luhmann had but I don't know how he used it or created and maintained it. With a digital zettelkasten there is no need for indexing as you have high speed boolean full text search. This is going digital's advantage.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @atticus_de_fury said:
    @Will what about the index/reference sheet?

    Hi, @atticus_de_fury. Like you, I knew I wanted to use physical cards. Also like you, I was overwhelmed with all the digital choices. I tried a few digital options and landed on Archive because of how straight-forward it was and how it was designed with digital longevity in mind (the platform is designed to outlast any whimsical software changes that may occur).

    As a result, I chose to use physical cards and Archive (digital repository) for my hybrid ZK. One of the benefits of doing this is that my Archive becomes an easily-searchable index/reference sheet, if you will. (Also an easily copy-and-paste-able content and reference repository.) Here's how it works:

    • I read and take fleet notes on paper
    • I process those notes into physical zettels
    • I enter those zettels into Archive
    • I search across my entire zettelkasten using Archive
    • I search within a specific category using my physical cards
    • I play with the initial structure of a paper using my physical cards the same way I'd think with sticky notes - lay them out, move them around, flesh out ideas, etc.
    • I copy zettel content with associated and pre-formatted references from Archive into my paper when it's time to write.
    • I use both physical and digital searches to further flesh out my paper's content as I write.
    • The actual writing process takes WAY less time than it did before I worked this way.

    So, while this process of maintaining physical zettels and my Archive may sound like some work, what I'm really doing here is writing my papers as I create my zettel entries. When it's time to actually pull an assignment - or my qualifying essays - or my dissertation - together, this pre-work pays off like you wouldn't believe. For me, it only really works by combining the slower and more tactile process of creating physical cards with the blazing fast search-ability and content-ripping of Archive.

    Plus, it's kinda cool that my zettelkasten is a cyborg.

  • @jeannelking said:

    Plus, it's kinda cool that my zettelkasten is a cyborg.

    Haha! Good one.

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