Zettelkasten Forum


Reviewing your Notes

One of the pieces of the Zettelkasten method that I cannot find information on is what does your review process look like Do you review your notes weekly, monthly etc. to find new connections. Input would be appreciated.

Also do you make connections to other notes as you go or do you go back at a later date and make additional conenctions?

Comments

  • These are good questions -- and you are right, there's not always clarity here. First, Sascha's Introduction to the Method is worth reading and bookmarking. It doesn't get at your questions exactly, but it will offer a lot.

    Second, I'll speak from my experience. For reviewing notes, I make it a habit of "playing" in my ZK every day. This means that as a part of my daily writing/thinking/studying, my ZK is open. Often this means that new notes are created, but almost just as often, new links are made.

    To speak to your second question, when I was doing some review for my classes (using a "recommended but not required" text), I rarely made new notes, but I did create dozens of new links as concepts from different courses coalesced well. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the linking is where the real engine of the ZK is -- otherwise it's only a digital stack of index cards. In other words, atomic ideas are powerful, but molecules of knowledge/learning are where the real energy is -- and that's in the links.

    Moreover, I find that I ask myself certain questions when doing this sort of ZK work: "How does x connect to y?" Or "Why do I need to find this note later?" (the latter question helping me select the best tags, develop precise titles, or adding a new note to an existing structure note). A note in your ZK that can't be found is not very useful compared to one that is found often.

    Good luck!

    Observations logged here: write.as/via-poetica

  • @dtp81390 I use the tags "#unfinished" (zettel in rough form only) and "#unlinked" (less than 3 connections to other zettels), and then create saved searches on those two terms. Once every week or so, I check back and work on those zettels, either to tidy up the text or make more connections.

  • @dtp81390 said:
    One of the pieces of the Zettelkasten method that I cannot find information on is what does your review process look like Do you review your notes weekly, monthly etc. to find new connections. Input would be appreciated.

    There is no regular review process part of the method. Technically, the workflow is not part of the Zettelkasten Method itself but part of your habits that governs your knowledge work.

    Also do you make connections to other notes as you go or do you go back at a later date and make additional conenctions?

    Make connections when you see the possibility. Ignore time.

    I am a Zettler

  • edited January 21

    @sfast said:
    Make connections when you see the possibility. Ignore time.

    Exactly what I thought when I saw this thread. I'm completely unsystematic. I think I regard ALL of my notes as unfinished. At least, I hope they are.

    Edit: this study on tidiness vs messiness is perhaps relevant, and is certainly interesting: https://psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/tidy-desk-or-messy-desk-each-has-its-benefits.html

  • Teaching. Teaching keeps life going. If I do not recall anything
    from the topic, then it is time to write a new note. If I do have a
    note, then I will try to see if I can directly copy paste the
    content to the student request. Most of the time, it is not. I need
    to do a little bit more to connect the question the student asks and
    that is one way and perhaps the best way to review my notes.

  • edited January 21

    @learning_ran said:
    Teaching. Teaching keeps life going. If I do not recall anything
    from the topic, then it is time to write a new note. If I do have a
    note, then I will try to see if I can directly copy paste the
    content to the student request. Most of the time, it is not. I need
    to do a little bit more to connect the question the student asks and
    that is one way and perhaps the best way to review my notes.

    This.

    I am currently pouring ideas and content into my Zettelkasten because I am preparing classes, follow up on students‘ questions and read a lot. Also having a topic to work with (like a paper or an interest) helps. Also, by this, I am constantly searching for and modifying existing Zettels and reconnect/connect them to others, rearrange them in Structure Notes etc.

    Someone also posted a very neat KM Macro some time ago that pulls random Zettels out of the ZK for review. When I find it I’ll post the link. (I think it was @will but I’m not sure anymore)

  • edited January 22

    @analogue_man said:
    Someone also posted a very neat KM Macro some time ago that pulls random Zettels out of the ZK for review. When I find it I’ll post the link.

    No idea why I cannot edit my post. Doesn't matter: I found the "random zettel macro" which i regularly use to "play around and see": https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/2495/#Comment_2495

    Credits go to @Will

    I modified it a bit to also include zettels that link to that particular zettel. But I might change it back to its original function.

    Post edited by analogue_man on
  • As part of my "Monk Morning Habit," I print "Zettelkasten Stats" in my journal, and they include

    1. A reminder about the notes in the "Inbox."
    2. A link to all the notes created on this date one and two years ago, using an Omni Bar search query.
    3. What was created and modified in the last 24 hours.
    4. A random note, just cuz.

    I review each of these as a review to iterate them and correct any grammar, spelling, syntax errors. I may look for linking opportunities or add an #inbox tag if I'm inspired to refactor an older note. It helps with a sort of spaced repetition for enhanced learning. This usually amounts to about 20 notes, and because most notes are atomic, it takes only about 15 min. for the whole process.

    I relish the times I get absorbed in a past note thread, and I find this time some of the most valuable time I spend with my archive.

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

  • Every night on wednesday, saturday and sunday I spend some time working on notes to make them permanent. I work with three tags to make progress more efficient with my notes.

    Whenever I create a new note (zettel) I add a tag for fleeting note. With no exception, all my notes initially have that tag. Then I decide on a few notes to work and I re-tag them to fleeting sprint. The notes I'm working have a in progress tag.

    I will have unfinished notes for the rest of my life and that's something I accepted already. However, I can make progress on many and make them permanent. So I have to prioritize which notes deserve my time first.

  • @Will said:
    As part of my "Monk Morning Habit," I print "Zettelkasten Stats" in my journal, and they include

    1. A reminder about the notes in the "Inbox."
    2. A link to all the notes created on this date one and two years ago, using an Omni Bar search query.
    3. What was created and modified in the last 24 hours.
    4. A random note, just cuz.

    I review each of these as a review to iterate them and correct any grammar, spelling, syntax errors. I may look for linking opportunities or add an #inbox tag if I'm inspired to refactor an older note. It helps with a sort of spaced repetition for enhanced learning. This usually amounts to about 20 notes, and because most notes are atomic, it takes only about 15 min. for the whole process.

    I relish the times I get absorbed in a past note thread, and I find this time some of the most valuable time I spend with my archive.

    Maybe you've talked about this elsewhere, but I'm very interested to hear how you generate these stats.

  • @prometheanhindsight, I use a Keyboard Maestro macro. It's a bit tweaked from this earlier version. But you'll get the idea. When I went looking for this post I found that I've been using this macro most days for over a year now. This surprised me.

    https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/812/journaling-zettelkasten-stats

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

  • @Will said:
    @prometheanhindsight, I use a Keyboard Maestro macro. It's a bit tweaked from this earlier version. But you'll get the idea. When I went looking for this post I found that I've been using this macro most days for over a year now. This surprised me.

    https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/812/journaling-zettelkasten-stats

    Very cool! Thanks for this. I don't have Keyboard Maestro, but I'll have to see if I can do something similar with Alfred. Or maybe I need to give in and finally get Keyboard Maestro!

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