Zettelkasten Forum

Anyone read Porstmann's Kartei - Kunde: das Handbuch der Karteitechnik?

I've come across Porstmann a few times as the "intellectual father of the A-Series", the "creator of the DIN formats", and the creator of A4 in various contexts. I saw that he wrote an interesting looking handbook in the mid-1920s and was curious if anyone has come across or even read it? It looks like it went into three editions up to the 1950s. I'm not seeing any English translations at present. I suspect it has material on using card indexes as databases and may be focused on business use, but may also have some connections to note taking practices of the time. I've also found several references to Porstmann's work and that of George Christoph Lichtenberg which makes me even more curious about the potential note taking connections.

Porstmann, Walter. Kartei - Kunde: das Handbuch der Karteitechnik. Stuttgart: Verlag fĂźr Wirtschaft und Verkehr, 1928. https://search.worldcat.org/formats-editions/58666432?limit=50&offset=1&orderBy=publicationDateAsc

website | digital slipbox 🗃️🖋️

No piece of information is superior to any other. Power lies in having them all on file and then finding the connections. There are always connections; you have only to want to find them. —Umberto Eco


  • Chris, I read it some 40 years ago when as a school boy I began with my Zettelkasten journey. It is about the technique as well as the intellectuell framework behind it and was surely pointed to business aspects as well as running the civil service but also outspoken to the worker of the mind, the scientist and philosopher. Filing and indexing is crucial to all of these varied aspects of cultural life.
    But don't expect hitherto unknown magical practices to be revealed. It was commune practice then and you could find handbooks on indexing and filing in organisations also in America and England at that time. The new found way of personal knowlegde management just doesn't know about its predecessors with pen, ink, typewriter and other unbeliefable tricks.

Sign In or Register to comment.