Zettelkasten Forum


Zettel Identifier in handwritten ZK

For beginners like me, I'm thinking that a handwritten ZK would be best. Are there serious downsides to this aside from portability? I like the embodied feeling of writing notes and the tangible quality of handling them. But don't want to mess myself up down the road.

Also, for handwritten ZK, do you have to assign a number in advance to what you think will be your first deck/container of cards? If you know 200 can fit in one place, do you designate the deck in the zettel's ID? For example, if it's your first card, would you write 1/1 or 1.1? Or just write 1?

Thank you!

Comments

  • @bforbes, I think the consensus is the first note on an idea should have the id of 1, and a second note related to the first note would have the number 1.1. A second idea would have an id of 2 and the first related note to that would have an id of 2.1

    Check out a long and detailed discussion Definition Folgezettel.

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

  • @bforbes said:
    For beginners like me, I'm thinking that a handwritten ZK would be best. Are there serious downsides to this aside from portability? I like the embodied feeling of writing notes and the tangible quality of handling them. But don't want to mess myself up down the road.

    I was a beginner not too long ago (about 9 months). I didn’t feel the need to start with paper then or now or any time in between. I think the choice between a paper or an electronic Zettelkasten is just personal preference - in which medium are you the most comfortable working? There is one downside of a paper Zettelkasten, though - you can’t search its contents (title or main text). Well, I guess you can “search” visually, but that is not a very efficient search method.

  • @GeoEng51 Thank you for responding.

    You mention, "here is one downside of a paper Zettelkasten, though - you can’t search its contents (title or main text). Well, I guess you can “search” visually, but that is not a very efficient search method."

    I've been really curious about this issue: The fast and thorough searches you can do digitally are great- and I might cave and go digital in the next week (before I have too large a ZK).

    And yet, I'm thinking about the issue of relationality, which is a big ZK theme. I'm thinking there might be something about having to search visually (and of course, in a tactile way) is more laborious, but gives us access to a relational process (reviewing, reading, touching, imagining the zettels) that catalyzes more creativity. So on the one hand maybe you have quick access, and on the other something slower and less immediate, but perhaps more conducive to the connections and surprisals that are the heart of ZK.

    I could be wrong, of course- but this is what I'm pondering.

  • edited March 8

    @bforbes I too enjoy the tangibility of handwriting notes. I do it for the aesthetic experience and the way it constrains me to only jolt down the most important / relevant points in my readings.

    I started off with a time-stamping approach to numbering my notes, but have come to make use of 'Folgezettel' as well. Specifically, I number my notes chronologically by year-month-date-number. So, for example, the first note I took on the 15th of July 2020 would be [200715-01], the second [200715-02], and so on. However, if at the moment of creating a new note I know that it strongly relates to some note or group of notes I created in the past, I'd then 'date' my notes retrospectively to keep them somewhat near each other. However, this sequencing is not an exact science-- I don't assume all the notes related to a note are located around the same 'days'. I also use internal links and index/structure notes to form my notes into networks.

    I'm conscious of the strengths and flaws my ID system entails. Like my thesis, I'm building the plane as I fly it.

    Ps. I actually keep a hybrid system, following this example.

  • @bforbes said:
    I've been really curious about this issue: The fast and thorough searches you can do digitally are great- and I might cave and go digital in the next week (before I have too large a ZK).

    And yet, I'm thinking about the issue of relationality, which is a big ZK theme. I'm thinking there might be something about having to search visually (and of course, in a tactile way) is more laborious, but gives us access to a relational process (reviewing, reading, touching, imagining the zettels) that catalyzes more creativity. So on the one hand maybe you have quick access, and on the other something slower and less immediate, but perhaps more conducive to the connections and surprisals that are the heart of ZK.

    You bring up a good point - at least, theoretically. And it makes sense to people whose thinking includes visual or tactile components, or who appreciate those components. This is just a personal opinion, but I do not believe the paper ZK (supposedly with a more "laborious, relational" process) is any more conducive to insight or creativity than an electronic ZK. I review, manually sort through, and ponder the zettels in my electronic ZK, which I believe promotes insight and creativity in the same way as if I was following the same process with a paper ZK. But I also have the ability to quickly search all zettels, search on tags, and efficiently follow connections between zettels, which also contributes to insight, understanding, creativity and identification of new connections. It is much more difficult to do this in a paper ZK, and I do not see that it has any particular virtue.

    As I said, this is a personal opinion, heavily coloured by the way I perceive and think. It may not work for you in the same way.

  • @GeoEng51 said:

    This is just a personal opinion, but I do not believe the paper ZK (supposedly with a more "laborious, relational" process) is any more conducive to insight or creativity than an electronic ZK. ... But I also have the ability to quickly search all zettels, search on tags, and efficiently follow connections between zettels, which also contributes to insight, understanding, creativity and identification of new connections. It is much more difficult to do this in a paper ZK, and I do not see that it has any particular virtue.

    Point taken! Thank you.

  • @Will said:
    @bforbes, I think the consensus is the first note on an idea should have the id of 1, and a second note related to the first note would have the number 1.1. A second idea would have an id of 2 and the first related note to that would have an id of 2.1

    Check out a long and detailed discussion Definition Folgezettel.

    Thank you for this. I'm going to read a bit more because my understanding is that a note might have the ID of one, but that a second note related to that would be 1a.

    My initial confusion happened when reading that someone numbered their handwritten decks once they got past 100 cards, which added another numbering convention.

    I'll get it eventually! :)

Sign In or Register to comment.