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How do you avoid losing the context if you take such small notes?

Greetings,
since I work with academic research a lot, and other knowledge productions, if I take small notes (maybe one per each idea contained in the academic research), I see I lose the context of the whole research when when I look for a topic and find a Zettel, that is only a part of the whole research.

How do you prevent it?

Comments

  • @IvanFerrero said:
    How do you prevent it?

    By creating a note that has links or references to other relevant notes. A kind of "hub" or central place for a particular idea, theme, or subject area.

    You can do this in The Archive, or you might use a program like Tinderbox, or you could even use Hook, though that would not be my first choice. In the past I have also used iThoughts for this sort of thing.

  • edited February 4

    @IvanFerrero in addition to what @MartinBB said, by creating an entry point for your academic research. My tools allow me to visit this entry point directly (assuming you know how to find your research) or indirectly from a note that is connected to it (assuming you know a note connected to your research).

    In practice, though, i have the same struggle with notes i occasionally wrote, when they are out of context but still needed once in a blue moon. This means i struggle to find the note and once i found it i connect it to something that is easier to find. This is not a logical connection but rather a mnemonic where i remember to find X by searching for Y.

    Additionally, it's not easy to create good structure. @Will's examples are an important reference for me.

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • @MartinBB said:
    By creating a note that has links or references to other relevant notes. A kind of "hub" or central place for a particular idea, theme, or subject area.

    You can do this in The Archive, or you might use a program like Tinderbox, or you could even use Hook, though that would not be my first choice. In the past I have also used iThoughts for this sort of thing.

    I use IA Writer for my notes. Very essential, yet very fast, flexible and powerful.
    So I can create a "hub note" per each academic research, where I store the reference to the individual smaller notes.

    Maybe I create another "meta-note", kind of a list of the research related to a topic.

  • @zk_1000 said:

    In practice, though, i have the same struggle with notes i occasionally wrote, when they are out of context but still needed once in a blue moon. This means i struggle to find the note and once i found it i connect it to something that is easier to find. This is not a logical connection but rather a mnemonic where i remember to find X by searching for Y.

    May I ask you which tools you use?

    Additionally, it's not easy to create good structure. @Will's examples are an important reference for me.

    Agreed: I like how he structures his big notes.

  • @IvanFerrero said:
    Very essential

    Off-topic, but I thought I would say that "essential" is a "false friend" for an Italian speaker. In normal English usage it has more the meaning of "indispensabile". Not always, but in this context I think that is how most native English speakers would understand it.

  • @MartinBB said:

    @IvanFerrero said:
    Very essential

    Off-topic, but I thought I would say that "essential" is a "false friend" for an Italian speaker. In normal English usage it has more the meaning of "indispensabile". Not always, but in this context I think that is how most native English speakers would understand it.

    Eheh I agree it's a false friend.

    Italian "essenziale" = mandatory, required, but also minimal (though the last one is very uncommon).

    I've used "essential" for: minimal .
    Don't know if it's right ;-)

  • @IvanFerrero said:
    I've used "essential" for: minimal .
    Don't know if it's right ;-)

    My knowledge of Italian led me to assume that you meant minimal, but I don't think the average English speaker would have realised (another false friend!) that that was what you intended. Put it this way: in this context, "minimal" would be clear, "essential" would probably be misunderstood. :)

  • I want to push back on the central premise a bit -- one of the goals is to take useful ideas out of their original context and make them yours! Then to make them individually retrievable and reusable. That's not the only point but that's one of the foundational principles.

    Use citations and structure/literature notes to help draw lines back to sources and capture the arguments in the source material. But the most important contexts in the ZK are you and your thinking and your interests.

  • @MartinBB said:

    >

    My knowledge of Italian led me to assume that you meant minimal, but I don't think the average English speaker would have realised (another false friend!) that that was what you intended. Put it this way: in this context, "minimal" would be clear, "essential" would probably be misunderstood. :)

    Got it! Thank you for your tips.
    Always glad to improve my English :-)

  • @jim said:
    I want to push back on the central premise a bit -- one of the goals is to take useful ideas out of their original context and make them yours! Then to make them individually retrievable and reusable. That's not the only point but that's one of the foundational principles.

    Use citations and structure/literature notes to help draw lines back to sources and capture the arguments in the source material. But the most important contexts in the ZK are you and your thinking and your interests.

    Thank you for your reply.
    You got it: my goal is being able to go back to the source and check the whole context of the specific academic research.

  • @IvanFerrero said:
    Greetings,
    since I work with academic research a lot, and other knowledge productions, if I take small notes (maybe one per each idea contained in the academic research), I see I lose the context of the whole research when I look for a topic and find a Zettel, that is only a part of the whole research.

    How do you prevent it?

    What are some of your academic research areas?

    If a hub note was made for each one and started your smaller note by first creating a link on the corresponding hub to the single idea note, then reviewing the hub would show all the links to the single idea notes. Here is where it quickly becomes apparent that good note titles are imperative. Some logic grouping also might help but don't get carried away with the organization.

    I do this as part of my workflow, and I'm not quite sure why? When I ask my zettelkasten a question, I do a full-text search. Learning and using sophisticated search queries has become a topic on my 202004020722 • Coding Hub.

    Another idea is tagging or adding a keyword section to the notes metadata.
    What you are asking is how to make a note discoverable. This is a current topic of interest to me and why I'm replying. This helps clear my thinking. Thank you.

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

  • @IvanFerrero said:
    Thank you for your reply.
    You got it: my goal is being able to go back to the source and check the whole context of the specific academic research.

    I highly suggest you read this comment and this comment for a really useful way to think about citing vs non-citing notes, and a procedure for producing them. The procedure described here is roughly:

    1. Take freeform notes while you read
    2. Write your understanding of the author's ideas in your own words in small notes with citations
    3. Write a note summarizing the work, linking to whatever notes are appropriate

    So you have citation links for crucial ideas from step 2, and you produce a your own answer to "but what's the overall context" in the literature note you write in step 3.

  • edited February 6

    @IvanFerrero said:
    May I ask you which tools you use?

    The entry points are all chosen manually but to navigate in my Zettelkasten i wrote my own scripts. These are then bound to keyboard short cuts to visit a note or list of notes. The rest is search and find. I don't own a Mac so unfortunately i cannot use The Archive, but it would have been my preferred choice. I am missing out especially on the search features like saved searches.

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • @IvanFerrero said:
    Greetings,
    since I work with academic research a lot, and other knowledge productions, if I take small notes (maybe one per each idea contained in the academic research), I see I lose the context of the whole research when when I look for a topic and find a Zettel, that is only a part of the whole research.

    How do you prevent it?

    I make an effort to create areas that are dedicated to structure and overview. They act as a canvas for my thinking about the (atomic) ideas.

    I am a Zettler

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