Zettelkasten Forum

Breadcrumbs in Your Archive

edited May 14 in Blog

Breadcrumbs in Your Archive

The Zettelkasten note-taking method has made book writing and writing scientific papers easy for hundreds of years already.

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  • Say more about the process of leaving timestamps in your notes. I feel like this may suggest further clarity around how notes ought to be handled, etc.

  • Thanks for the tip. I often edit, commentate on, or add to notes. I never, till now, considered that I might what to know the chronology of the changes to a note. I can see now where I might. Added a date stamp is a great addition to my workflow. In fact I just made a macro that easily inserts the date. Could be a feature request too.

    Thanks for the pointer to Heinrich von Kleist. Interesting.

    Will Simpson

  • Regarding Kleist: There's a summary for reference on German and French Wikipedia: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Über_die_allmähliche_Verfertigung_der_Gedanken_beim_Reden

    @Will: Originally, I went overboard on this. I tried to treat notes as immutable. Once "done", I wouldn't add content to them but instead create a duplicate and put the changes there, leaving a link between versions. This manual version control of notes didn't pay off as long as I tried. Cannot recommend. I got this idea from my favorite article of Douglas Barone about PKM: he links to the Literature & Latte forums where AmberV talks about Boswell, e.g.:

    After about a quarter of a year of steady usage I did finally get it. It’s strange not being able to delete things, profoundly. You make a mistake, you want to get rid of it. But Boswell rightly asks, why?

    Try not to delete stuff you don't like anymore; keep it in your archive. But manual version control, don't try that at home :) It's a pain to implement and undoing it is even worse. Try daily git commits instead for automatic version control.

    @micahredding I don't annotate every change to my notes, because that doesn't make sense most of the time. I do leave timestamps when I want to track historical events, like in the example from the blog post. I treat these like notes written in the margins of a book and use a human-readable form, like 2019-05-15. If I find I want to link to the comment itself and insert an ID -- then I stop and reconsider, since that indicates the comment is a good candidate for a new commentary note.

    I find myself in a weird situation here: I anticipate e.g. zealous people new to the method to now put timestamps everywhere. This is no hidden trick. I just did this a couple of times for some reason. That's part of the organic development of the note archive. And since it's all digital, I can cut the timestamped comment from note A and put it into a new note B and then link both. I don't think it makes sense for the note on von Kleist's concept. I want the note itself to be searchable for the words I put in there. It's less "clean" or "pure" than creating a new note with all the searchable words and then linking to the von Kleist note. But it's pragmatic. It does the job. I found the note :)

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • http://christiantietze.de/

  • @ctietze Yes, you've pegged me right. I'm one of the " zealous people" you refer to. Trying to be more relaxed. I don't want full version control. I want to free to edit and comment and split notes at will. Just putting a timestamp on an added comment now and then is enough version control for me. My Zettelkasten is a knowledge tool and I have enough on my plate with tracking and developing current knowledge to be worried about what I used to consider in previous versions. My motto is "Be Bayesian" update thinking based on current knowledge and move forward.

    I have to say that this is one of the KeyStone features of this forum, the fact that @sfast and you push for the "organic development of the note archive." I've taken this to heart and liking where this is going. Thanks, both you.

    Will Simpson

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