Zettelkasten Forum


Friendly "Hello!" from a scholar of social science, photographer and university teacher

As I am roaming through this forum for some months now and benefitted from the various posts, insights, workflows, concepts and interpretations of the ZK method as a "silent reader", I thought it might be time to take the opportunity to wave a friendly "hello!". Sorry for putting it off for so long.

My name's Chris and I am a scholar in Social and Political Science as well as a (graduated) photographer and currently work at a university as researcher and teacher. My main topics (as for now) are political participation, diversity and urban and social movements. However, my interests are certainly not limited to these fields and span interdisciplinary across multiple areas. My mind is a messy place where I keep (and keep to forget) so many things. I hope to load some of that mess off into my ZK some day.

I mainly use my digital ZK1 to gather knowledge I stumble across my (nonfictional as well as fictional and cineatic) readings and link these ideas to other Zettels (I think that's the main idea of the process).2 For example, as I am also reading on postcolonialism and imagery, I think I can also use it to develop my photographic projects. In practice, I am currently working on my dissertation (or its preparation), the preparation of my seminars and other outputs.

What currently strikes me most when working with my ZK is that I can dump a quote from, let's say, StarTrek and take it as an (geeky) example for Classic Intercultural Education and integrate it into my seminar presentation. One day I hope I can even develop my own thoughts out of this knowledge.

As I made the same rookie mistake as many other before (and after) me, I first saw the ZK method as something fixed and "has to be" while I realised too late that I had to start small and focus on my own workflow first. I am currently in a stage where I review my first Zettels and rewrite and relink them into Structure Zettel/Notes (which, in fact, grow in numbers the more I progress) and force me to think about the introduction of Hub Notes. I think you can say: Progression is pain and key to your workflow and routine.

What I actually want to say is: I am glad to have found this dynamic and active forum/community and I hope that soon I can contribute to your discussions as well, as I have already gained so much from your interactions among each other.


  1. The Archive on steroids (Keyboard Maestro macros). ↩︎

  2. The plain text world is nothing new to me, though. Since my M.A. thesis, I was diving into this whole world of GTD, task management, organisation, going paperless (I guess everyone here went that path and most of you are still walking it). For some time now I am using TaskPaper for my Task Management and a modified version of the Eisenhower-Matrix macro. I am coming to realise that I need to tweek my workflow a bit but that's another story for 2021. ↩︎

Post edited by analogue_man on

Comments

  • @analogue_man, Chris, welcome to the forums. We're glad you've come out of hiding.

    I'm unfamiliar with the term "Strukturzettel". Please tutor me.

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

  • @Will said:
    I'm unfamiliar with the term "Strukturzettel". Please tutor me.

    Sorry, it's simply the German Word for Structure Note/Zettel. I should have adopted. I'll edit it in my opening post :)

  • edited December 2020

    Welcome to the forum, Chris :smile:

    @analogue_man said:
    As I made the same rookie mistake as many other before (and after) me, I first saw the ZK method as something fixed and "has to be" while I realised too late that I had to start small and focus on my own workflow first.

    aren't the fixed concepts the ones that support a small start? I would assume that it is best to start with the dogmatic form of a Zettelkasten to gain fundamental practice. The pragmatic use of a customized and optimized form is much more complex.

    I am still a beginner and always guide myself on the conventional workflow. That's not to say i am afraid of trying out new things, much to the contrary.

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • edited December 2020

    @zk_1000 said:
    aren't the fixed concepts the ones that support a small start? I would assume that it is best to start with the dogmatic form of a Zettelkasten to gain fundamental practice. The pragmatic use of a customized and optimized form is much more complex.

    You are right. Maybe I took it one step too serious. With "I should have started small" I mean that I went "all in" from the beginning and applied tags just for the sake of tags (no concept at all, mainly loose topic tags), filed notes right away without reflecting on its content and got confused by structure note, content zettel, literature note, fleeting note. Now I think of it in more flexible terms as "content" with slightly different/overlapping purpose.

    Then, I also introduced backlinks to my notes and my ZK got even messier (from my perspective). I had a lot of notes and had no idea what was their content (as I did not reflect on it). My tags turned out to be useless as there was no concept, I am now trying to use my tag system for output types (I forgot to write down who suggested it but it makes sense to me). I am also trying to apply this system to my Bibdesk library. I should have just taken one step at a time and not becoming overwhelmed by the nitty gritty concepts all at once. :) I think I just got – and still get – overexcited :)

  • Welcome! I think this is the most active and amazing community! I hope you have a nice time here.

  • @analogue_man said:
    I should have just taken one step at a time and not becoming overwhelmed by the nitty gritty concepts all at once.

    this is good advice everyone should follow. I think that "How to take smart notes" is far too complex as a recommended read for beginners. I was disappointed with the book in the beginning but have read it since multiple times. Sascha's 2nd revision for his book on ZKM is much needed.

    It reads like you've made much progress so far, that's great :blush:

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • @zk_1000 said:
    this is good advice everyone should follow. I think that "How to take smart notes" is far too complex as a recommended read for beginners. I was disappointed with the book in the beginning but have read it since multiple times. Sascha's 2nd revision for his book on ZKM is much needed.

    I agree with you. Reading that book complicated things for me a lot.

  • edited December 2020

    So true. It's fun to read and yet a lot to process before grasping the "How will I use my ZK?"-process. I'll definitely read it again and integrate the knowledge into my ZK when there is the time. Also looking forward to Sascha's book.

    btw.: thanks to all for the warm welcomes! :)

    Post edited by analogue_man on
  • Very cool, keep us updated as you go along! I have very similar interests with my zettelkasten (photography & social sciences), so curious to see how our zettelkastens are similar and different over time.

  • @analogue_man A belated “welcome” to the forum. I’ve been hanging out here for 6 months (so just a neophyte), but I’ve found the advice and discussion superb.

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