Hello from yet another academic; some doubts about ZK system
Hello everyone! I am an assistant professor in the humanities. I heard about ZK from a fellow academic last week and I’ve been down the rabbit hole ever since. I’m also a little frustrated about an article rejection (gotta love conflicting reviews) and feeling the need to re-inspire myself.
Here is what appeals to me but also what confuses me:
- The idea that ZK is a lifelong storage/connection system for knowledge. Even though my academic discipline is literature, I am interested in a whole bunch of other things like astronomy, physics, art history, etc., and I’m sort of curious (maybe mostly due to magical thinking after hearing people describe ZK) what connections I can make between the various bits of knowledge I pick up.
- I currently have this problem where I have amassed a ton of disconnected knowledge through research about my area of expertise. I can produce well written short essays and articles about one idea, but I haven’t yet published a monograph and I don’t really know what my contribution could be or how I can say anything groundbreaking or useful. It seems like with ZK it will help you identify these things, but I’m not really sure how it works.
Here are my fears with respect to ZK:
- I have a touch of OCD and I fear that when it comes to labeling the notes with connections, I will get stuck trying to "catch" every single connection there is. I already see that I have this problem with tagging in Zotero. I’ll finish reading an article and go to tag it with every single tag that I think applies. If I come up with a new tag, then I think "Oh no, I have to examine all my previously read articles to make sure that this tag doesn’t ALSO apply there." I’m really looking for ways to be more productive and prolific.
- I also tend hop from system to system being somewhat maniacal about sorting and categorizing. I’ve read a couple of posts in this forum from people who seem similar to me. I am willing to admit that I probably do these things out of a tendency to procrastinate and avoid dealing with real issues, but I’m not sure how to quit. Maybe then ZK isn’t right for me after all. To that point, are there other types of organizational systems out there that are more suitable for deep/discursive thinking, but don’t lend themselves to over-thinking? (Or is that just my problem?) I have been searching around and have only found to-do list systems (like GTD and Bullet Journal) and tips for undergraduate note-taking.
I currently already use Zotero for bibliography management (with aforementioned tagging problem, and I also take WAY too many notes and I still can’t remember anything I’ve read), and Scrivener for writing.
(I hope I’m not posting in the wrong place, it seems that "Introduce Yourselves" is also the place for newbies to ask for help.)
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