Zettelkasten Forum


Best practice for creating reference notes

Hi y'all!

I have a question about best practices for where to keep notes about reference information. I've read that the back of a physical note card for a reference (in digital terms, the notes section in my reference management software) should have some basic information about the reference. But I don't know what that means? If I write a short summary of a journal article in my own words, is that what goes there? Is it it better to make it a zettle? If so, what should go on the back of the reference card? Notes about the author?

Thanks a lot!

Comments

  • edited August 27

    I add summaries to their respective items in Zotero as child notes (my reference manager). I then create individual index cards for each thought I find relevant to keep, to embed in my Zettelkasten, and add the reference in markdown-format to the card. There is a bibtex-file in my note folder that has the info of the publication. If I feel productive I also add a direct link to the Zotero item.

    For many papers I keep only the main idea so that's simple, but when I want to keep multiple ideas, they each get their own note.

  • edited August 27

    So summaries to the reference software. The zettles can come from thought processes during the writing of the summaries. No summaries as Zettles. Is that right? I can see that makes sense.

  • I have a 3-step system:

    1. Whilst reading something, attending a talk, watching a webinar etc. I take reference notes that will not end up in my Zettelkasten. I mostly do it with an outliner-software (OmniOutliner) because it makes it easy to move things around whilst taking notes.
    2. In my Zettelkasten, I have notes that summarise the opinion of other people on different questions. I will transfer the resource notes to opinion zettels.
    3. I then try to integrate the opinion zettels into my own thoughts on the different questions, which are on separate zettels in the Zettelkasten.

    In my reference manager, I don't store any notes. I just add links to the associated reference note (if there is one).

    This is for complex resources. If it's just a few lines and easy to understand, I will skip step 1.

  • @Bart said:
    So summaries to the reference software. The zettles can come from thought processes during the writing of the summaries. No summaries as Zettles. Is that right? I can see that makes sense.

    Indeed. This way, I have the summary of a paper attached to the paper, allowing me to quickly see what it was about. This comes in handy when I go back to papers.
    My summaries are often bullet points of the key features of something I read. Those points may go into the Zettelkasten directly.
    I take notes of conferences, meetings and videos in a physical notebook, and review those later to decide what ends up in my ZK.

    Disclaimer: I have only started my ZK a few weeks ago, so I am still greatly integrating it. I have taken notes for a while lot longer.

  • Thanks for the input. It's nice to see what others are doing. I also just started my Zettelkasten but have been taking notes for the rest of my life. Those notes are worthless now, and I certainly can't say I've memorized everything I supposedly learned. My notes are currently about research so my quick notes are on articles. I'm enjoying MarginNote for that at the moment. I can highlight on my tablet, then write handwritten notes attached to the highlights. There's even a way to to view your notes away from the text and connect them up into mindmaps. Regardless of all that, I rewrite my summaries and zettels as the following step. I suppose any quotes worth keeping should stay with reference notes as well.

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