Zettelkasten Forum


Aspiring political philosopher needs a better note-taking system.

Greetings! I am a doctoral student hoping to gain insights about the Zettelkasten system. It is my hope to develop a system that allows me to write productively for my field and accrue a vast body of knowledge along the way. From what I have read thus far on the forum, articles about the Luhmann's numerical system have piqued my interested because I do want to use it in my system; however, I am still trying to grasp exactly how the new UID, aside from Luhmann's numerical one, is used for linking to other notes in the digital slip-box. I am currently deepening my understanding of this system by reading How To Take Smart Notes.

Pertaining to software, I am in need of advice. I have both Obsidian and Zettlr downloaded, having used Obsidian in the past for note taking but not as well organized as I would have liked. The latter software is a recent find; I have no experience with it. Yet I am open to suggestions concerning other applications available for Linux.

With regard to my studies, I am in the midst of my coursework and trying to figure out my niche, but I do have an affinity for Plato and Spinoza. What led me to the field in the first place was the Islamic philosophers, namely Al-Farabi and Ibn-Rushd (Averroes). Anyhow, I look forward to perusing the forum for past insights and discussions.

Comments

  • edited July 29

    however, I am still trying to grasp exactly how the new UID, aside from Luhmann's numerical one, is used for linking to other notes in the digital slip-box.

    The luhmann ID is a necessary tool in the physical zettelkasten because you needed to be able to add new note cards at any point in the collection. With digital zettelkasten's you don't need to do that, but some people still use them because it is a way of visually keeping related notes together. Which is what hashtags are in note-taking also, a way of grouping a set of notes around a particular topic.

    If you decide not to use the Luhmann ID, you still need a way to reference other notes (e.g. See Note 4a, 5b3, etc). One common solution to that is to create a timestamp or time ID (e.g. 202107290917) because if you do it down to the minutes /or seconds then you will always have a unique number.

    Another common solution to just have notes with unique titles (what I do), but people on this forum advocate against that because it makes changing the title difficult (depending on the software) and you might get confused from notes with too similar of titles. The advantage of this method is that you don't have to do the above time IDs and the title gives you an immediate understanding of what the note is about.

    Often times people will combine the above methods, where you have a time ID followed by a title. I don't use the zettelkasten.De program because I'm on Windows, so I'm not sure how it works exactly. I wonder if they are coming out with a mobile version at some point.

    Obsidian in the past for note taking but not as well organized as I would have liked

    That isn't enough information to go on for recommending software. Since Obsidian is a pretty robust note-taking tool now (swiss army knife), what about it is not as well organized? Zettlr is also a solid piece of software that I've played with in the past. The only problem with it is that it gets developed very slowly because it is one guy's side project I believe. But the core of it is there and you should have no problem creating a zettelkasten within zettlr.

  • That isn't enough information to go on for recommending software. Since Obsidian is a pretty robust note-taking tool now (swiss army knife), what about it is not as well organized?

    I meant that my note-taking ability was disorganized, not that Obsidian was. I do apologize for the confusion.

    I do appreciate the reply. Having a read much on the internet, and this forum, I have decided to use Luhmann's ID and the time stamp as a linking mechanism for my future notes. Pertaining to software, I am going to stick with Obsidian because I know how to navigate it and customize it the way I prefer.

    Also, I do have a question about the literature notes. Should these be integrated in to the Zettelkasten system, or should they remain in a separate folder for easy reference?

  • @Odyssian_Voyager said:

    Also, I do have a question about the literature notes. Should these be integrated in to the Zettelkasten system, or should they remain in a separate folder for easy reference?

    The answer depends on what you mean by "literature notes". If you can describe that a bit, you may get a more detailed answer.

    One comment you will often see, though, from a lot of people on the forum is that a note in your ZK is just a note. A lot of people new to the system want to differentiate between all sorts of different kinds of notes, but then over time realize that notes are just notes, and their format / usage can be quite flexible.

    Not everyone, mind you - there is also a solid group that likes to differentiate.

    Anyway, I wouldn't get too hung up about it. Try out some different ways of creating notes, and including / not including ideas in your ZK. You will quickly find out what works for you.

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