I think we should have a discussion of the approach offered by Roam Research. On the one hand, it's a tool for Zettelkasten-style work. On the other hand, it brings its own conventions to the table—which may provide useful reflection on what we're doing here.
The basic approach, as I understand it so far:
- A journal, containing a freeform nested outline of ideas.
- Each line of the outline can link to various Concept Pages.
- Each Concept Page has a collected search of all the statements made about it.
- Each Concept Page can have summary-type statements.
This is more complex to describe than it is to use. Some things I like:
- Lines as the atomic units of meaning. This is mostly how I use my note system now, but Roam makes it the explicit basis of the interface. More significantly, the system itself searches at the line level, instead of just the note level.
- Using [[double-bracket]] search as linking. Essentially, every phrase in double-brackets is a tag. To click on any double-bracket phrase is to see:
- The structure note for that phrase
- All the other bracketed uses of that phrase
- All the other unbracketed uses of that phrase.
- Concept Pages collect all of these together. For example, on the concept page for the "Monad", it would show any summary statements, any statements linking to the "Monad" concept, and any statements using the term "Monad" informally.
- Because these are collected together—and yet clearly distinguished—this adds a lot of value to Concept Pages over regular search.
Thoughts about Bracketed Search:
Of particular concern to me is data portability. Currently, when you export from Roam, it gives you a Markdown-style outline, with double-brackets intact. This works in a general way, but once outside of Roam, this becomes fragile to future changes in verbiage.
This makes me wonder if we could work towards a more general "industry-wide standard" for Zettel links. The general practice here (and what I do) seems to be linking notes like this:
[] The Monad
While Roam exports them like this:
It would be nice to allow some kind of both-and, such as:
[[201912032209 The Monad]] or
[[The Monad 201912032209]]
But this currently seems inadvisable in The Archive, as that performs an AND search, rather than an OR or fallback search.
Ideally, it seems like you should use a format like [[The Monad 201912032209]], but the search should work something like [[201912032209 XOR (title: "The Monad")]].
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