Just started, already lost in clutter. How do you prevent to get lost in so many notes and links?

Greetings,

I started experimenting with ZK and Markdown.
After about 30 notes I got lost as I saw them so cluttered that prevented me to go on.

Here's how I set the notes:

• each note starts with timestamp YYYYMMDDHHmm, then the title
• I insert the UID of other notes when needed
• I insert some hashtag

Since I take lot of atomic notes from a single source, I soon found myself spending more time in arguing how to take the next snippet of text, where to put it, how to link to the previous ones and which one, than reading, studying and reflecting upon them.

As for retrieving the infos, I found myself lost in so many (only 30!!!) notes...

I know there are Apps that enable backlinks and related, but I'd like to stay the more platform agnostic as possible.

Any tips?

Thank you!

«1

• I have accumulated more than 900 notes so far and I find it surprisingly easy to navigate - still.

1. I'm not sure how your workflow looks like, but I personally split capturing and filing my notes into two different workflows at different times. I don't capture and file a note at the same time. This helps to make it less overwhelming. Since you need to have a 'soft focus' when filing notes, so you can see connections and when capturing, you need to 'hard focus; on the material you are consuming right now.

2. When I file my notes, I look at my inbox and then search for an appropriate 'endpoint' to connect to. A place where I want to find them later. My notes have often one forward link and one backlink. And some cluster notes have a ton of forward-links because I keep branching out from a topic.

3. I use Luhmann's original numbering system. This way I can group them together. These groups are not specific topics, it's just easier to see what belongs together and where to look for end-points. Like I start with 1/1 -> 1/2 -> 1/3 and branch out with 1/1a -> 1/1b -> 1/1c, etc. After the number, I have a title, which is quite descriptive and long. I group them together into folders like '0001' contains all notes which begin with "1".

4. I'm using NotePlan there I have a simple quick search function using CMD+J shortcut, so I can quickly search for end-points. Since my notes have long titles, I often have a handful of results that I scan for appropriate connections. This way I don't have to look through each note in random order.

Hope this helps!

• @EduardMe said:
1. I'm not sure how your workflow looks like, but I personally split capturing and filing my notes into two different workflows at different times. I don't capture and file a note at the same time. This helps to make it less overwhelming. Since you need to have a 'soft focus' when filing notes, so you can see connections and when capturing, you need to 'hard focus; on the material you are consuming right now.

Maybe may mistake is to merge collecting and filing.
I mean: I usually find something worth noting, so I take note and think of its place inside my ZK.

1. I use Luhmann's original numbering system. This way I can group them together. These groups are not specific topics, it's just easier to see what belongs together and where to look for end-points. Like I start with 1/1 -> 1/2 -> 1/3 and branch out with 1/1a -> 1/1b -> 1/1c, etc. After the number, I have a title, which is quite descriptive and long. I group them together into folders like '0001' contains all notes which begin with "1".

Organizing into folders is a good suggestion to keep a sort of structure.
But don't you fear your ZK will be too rigid?

1. I'm using NotePlan there I have a simple quick search function using CMD+J shortcut, so I can quickly search for end-points. Since my notes have long titles, I often have a handful of results that I scan for appropriate connections. This way I don't have to look through each note in random order.

I see.
I think I'll use Apple Notes since I'm full Apple right now, and with the MacOS App Exporter I can export all the notes into .md files.
Tested and it works since I don't insert other files than images.
So I have the best of Notes (great syncing, notes are searchable right into Spotlight), and it's future proof, as I can export them in Markdown files if and when I'll want to move to something else.

Hope this helps!

Indeed it helped, thank you very much.
I wait for other feedbacks, in the meantime I'm going to test your suggestions.

• @IvanFerrero I believe the challenge you face is to design a system that brings calm to the process. This takes some time and reflection. The design of any system for the externalization of our thoughts can be a complicated endeavor, however, it can be a more straightforward process if you find a good starting point. For me, it was a lot of trial and error. Today there are quite a few guides. For example, The book How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens (2017) was useful in helping me refine and reflect on my methods, and I recommend it to anyone starting out on a note-taking journey.

I've been creating a mix of paper and digital notes for about twenty years now, and what I've found to be the key is to design a system through an iterative process that works in concert with your particular needs and is simple to use with a focus on findability AND facilitating finding new connections between notes along the way. The concept of one idea per note is valuable, and I might include a link at the start, "Spawned from [title-of-other-note] and if there are other notes that are directly related, I'll add See also: [title-of-another-note], but I have found the best way to access a thematic cluster of related notes is to make sure they have related hashtags.

Designing a system for the generation of hashtags is another critical challenge. I've chosen to use a controlled vocabulary for my hashtags, so before I create a new one I check my list to see if I already have a suitable hashtag. For example, I add #F&RM to notes related to my current documentary, #VBA to notes related to my video basics class, #media_ecology for any note related to media ecology, #flusser to notes related to Vilém Flusser, #handout for notes that contain materials I use for crafting handouts, etc. I start meeting, lecture, and seminar notes with the date in a consistent format, e.g. 2020.10.12, so those notes always sort by name chronologically. I use these same hashtags in Zotero when I add bibliographic items. Each note has a unique title (the numbers don't work for me visually) with a hierarchy in the name so related notes sort together.

Right now I have hundreds of plain text notes and 1465 bibliographic entries in Zotero. With note titles that make sense and sort in a meaningful way in the index when I scan the titles, I don't feel overwhelmed by my notes, and I attribute this to the use of hierarchical note titles and a controlled vocabulary for my hashtags. For example, sometimes I'll have a lot of notes on a book, and the note titles all start with a consistent name using the pattern Author TITLE, e.g. "Flusser TAPOP" for any notes on Vilém Flusser's Towards a Philosophy of Photography. This way, if I want to look through all notes that are connected with the book, the titles will cluster together, e.g. "Flusser TAPOP information surface", "Flusser TAPOP camera apparatus", "Flusser TAPOP functionary vs. artist" etc. Many people suggest it is better to use the date and time for the name of the note, but the hierarchical name scheme is more useful to me. The point here is to design a system that supports your thinking processes.

As long as you keep your notes in plain text or markdown, and the names of the notes are unique and relatively short, you'll be able to move your notes from one system to another with ease. I made the mistake of moving my notes to Evernote, seduced by the ability to have them available to me across platforms and on the web. But I found the interface cluttered and the cost unjustified. And when I discovered I could not easily export my notes with embedded images to another system, I went looking for simplicity. So I'm back to plain text notes, using The Archive for most of my reading and writing, and Typora when I want WYSIWYG editing and easy insertion of images with drag and drop.

I hope this long rambling response was useful in some manner.

Very insightful.

I believe the challenge you face is to design a system that brings calm to the process. This takes some time and reflection.

I agree, and I realize I have to split the collection from the filing, and out implies finding time to calm down, get beck to the temporary notes I took along the day, and organize them.
Taking time for it means get back in control of my time, something I'm working on from many months.

The book How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens (2017) was useful in helping me refine and reflect on my methods, and I recommend it to anyone starting out on a note-taking journey.

I see this book is always recommended. I'll have a look.

The concept of one idea per note is valuable, and I might include a link at the start, "Spawned from [title-of-other-note] and if there are other notes that are directly related, I'll add See also: [title-of-another-note], but I have found the best way to access a thematic cluster of related notes is to make sure they have related hashtags.

Again, something I'm able to do if I take time to focus on organizing the notes.

Designing a system for the generation of hashtags is another critical challenge. I've chosen to use a controlled vocabulary for my hashtags, so before I create a new one I check my list to see if I already have a suitable hashtag.

Something I tested, but I've found myself lost in too many hashtags.
Maybe the issue here is I had too many specific hashtags.

With note titles that make sense and sort in a meaningful way in the index when I scan the titles, I don't feel overwhelmed by my notes, and I attribute this to the use of hierarchical note titles and a controlled vocabulary for my hashtags.

As for academic papers, I may insert something like "Ferrero2020" to each note related to that research, and the full citation as the footer.
Then I create a "Ferrero2020" note where I write citation and other metadata.

Many people suggest it is better to use the date and time for the name of the note, but the hierarchical name scheme is more useful to me.

Agreed. If your notes don't rely on time, I think there are better ways than timestamp.

I made the mistake of moving my notes to Evernote, seduced by the ability to have them available to me across platforms and on the web. But I found the interface cluttered and the cost unjustified. And when I discovered I could not easily export my notes with embedded images to another system, I went looking for simplicity.

Same boat here.
I started with Evernote (many years of Premium account).
It's a good service, but I felt the need for something more minimal in order to declutter my mind.
Now I'm testing TiddlyWiki, that is great, but again I feel a wiki is too overwhelming for me, so I looked for something even more minimal: just text.

• What is the nature of your studies?

What application(s) are you currently using to facilitate your studies?

• @IvanFerrero Hi Ivan and welcome to the forum. Your questions are entirely normal for someone new starting out. Trying to figure out how to "organize" (or at least, access) your notes takes some experimentation to find a way that works for you (i.e., is sensible and logical for the way you think).

The Zettelkasten system is quite flexible, which means there are multiple ways of doing the same thing. So experimenting with different ways is part of the journey.

I particularly like using tags for my notes, which allows me to access the notes quickly in the future. Some of my tags connect to tens of notes (the most has about 50 connections). These act as high-level subjects. Here are examples of a few:

"#Personal_memories" (on 16 zettels)
"#Relationship_skills" (on 11 zettels)
"#Spiritual_principles" (on 46 zettels)
"#Story_Ideas" (on 25 zettels).....etc.

Most of my tags access only a few notes (say 1 to 5) and they are meant to be quite specific. An example of some of these:

"#Listening" (on 3 zettels)
"#Perserverance" (on 5 zettels)
"#Self-Awareness" (on 3 zettels)

Obviously, if I chose to focus on any of these areas and write a number of other zettels, one of my specific tags could easily become a subject tag. So the distinction between the two types of tags is somewhat arbitrary and more a reflection of the present state of my ZK than anything else.

I'm using about 80 tags right now; the list of tags acts as an index of sorts to my ZK and the number of notes on which they occur tells me whether a particular tag is a general subject or a specific topic.

Some people explicitly create an index for their ZK and list the UIDs for associated zettels, in the same way an index to a book would list page numbers. I like the idea but I haven't tried using it (for the reason stated immediately above).

People also use something called a structure note for organizing their ZK. A structure note may or may not contain an idea, but in all cases it refers to a list of related notes, i.e., a structure note acts as a type of subject card. For instance, I have one structure note called "Risk" which discusses the general concept of risk and then lists a number of zettels that deal with different aspects of risk. The following images show the first part and the last part of my risk structure note:

Just FYI, these two images also illustrate a couple of other practices I have showing metadata on each zettel. This is just the way I do it; you are free to develop your own approach:

1. The first line is always the title of the note.
2. The second line is always the note UID. One reason for including this is that when you click on the note UID, The Archive shows all linked notes (forward and backwards) in the left column.
3. I like showing all my tags up front (near the beginning of each note). You will note in the above example that I added the tag "#Structure" to this structure zettel; clicking on that tag allows me to quickly find all the structure notes in my ZK.
4. At the end of each note, I include internal links (to other zettels) and external links for things like web pages and, for me, referenced to books, articles, etc. Other people, who need to track references more formally and even generate citations, handle references differently.
5. Also included in this particular zettel is the "old" way of referring to external files (stored elsewhere on your computer - in this case, an image). @ctietze has recently issued a beta version of The Archive which allows in-line image viewing and the manner of referencing those images is a bit different.

I suggest you read through the getting started section of the ZK blog and then experiment to see which way you like organizing things. But be patient - it may take you a few months and accumulating more zettels before you get comfortable with a particular approach. I've been doing this now for about 6 months, have about 200 zettels, and I'm still learning new ways to organize my ZK - thanks to the ongoing comments in this forum.

• edited December 2020

Ivan, welcome to the forums.

@IvanFerrero said:
Since I take a lot of atomic notes from a single source, I soon found myself spending more time arguing how to take the next snippet of text, where to put it, how to link to the previous ones and which one, than reading, studying and reflecting upon them.

Consider how blessed you are to have a plethora of notes to work with. The opposite would be quite sad.

@EduardMe said:

1. I'm not sure how your workflow looks like, but I personally split capturing and filing my notes into two different workflows at different times. I don't capture and file a note at the same time. This helps to make it less overwhelming. Since you need to have a 'soft focus' when filing notes, you can see connections, and when capturing, you need to 'hard focus; on the material you are consuming right now.

Ivan, Eduard gives great advice. I personally split the creation into three workflows. Depending on mood and time, there could be a day or a month gap in these stages. I might do these all in the same work session.

1. When I file my notes, I look at my inbox and then search for an appropriate 'endpoint' to connect to. A place where I want to find them later. My notes have often one forward link and one backlink. And some cluster notes have a ton of forward-links because I keep branching out from a topic.

An #inbox is imperative. Some staging area where notes can be safely 'off-loaded' and easily returned to. This requires developing the disciplined practice of looking at what is in the #inbox and factoring the notes into your archive. Always striving for #inbox zero.

As Eduard points out, the requirements for focus are different at different times of note creation. You don't want to interrupt capturing a magical thread and do something as clerical as add a cite key reference.

Post edited by Will on

Will Simpson
The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
kestrelcreek.com

• WOW thank you very much for your kind replies.
I merge my reply into just none post, in order to prevent fragmentation and to many notifications ;-)

@s41f

What is the nature of your studies?
What application(s) are you currently using to facilitate your studies?

I'm a Cyberpsychologist.
I teach parents and teachers how to manage the digital life of their kids, and I run classrooms in order to teach kids how to live the digital environment in a safe and more responsible way.
I also write on my blog and many guest posts, run a podcast and a YouTube channel, along many other channels.

So I mainly archive items such as:

• academic papers : quotes, stats, citations
• quotes from many sources
• my articles, videos and other content (outline, links, citations, etc...)
• my projects (structure, activities, etc...)
• contacts

@GeoEng51

I particularly like using tags for my notes, which allows me to access the notes quickly in the future.

I tested hashtags some time ago, but I soon felt overwhelmed because too much of them.
I found myself spending lot of time staring at the list searching for the right ones.
Your suggestion is good anyway, maybe I have to refine my list.

Also, inserting the UID below the title is a great idea: since I work also in my phone, inserting the timestamp at the beginning of the title made the title truncated on the screen, preventing me to have a glance at the topic of the note.

@Will

I personally split the creation into three workflows

Now I realize I should as well :-)

An #inbox is imperative. Some staging area where notes can be safely 'off-loaded' and easily returned to.

I see.
It will make the collection process smoother, letting me in the flow.
The flow and smoothness is very important to me since I read and collect along my daily adventures: I work mainly on the road, moving from a location to another one, so it's a step I'd do on mobile.

• I participate in the Tinderbox forums and the DEVONthink forums as well as dropping in here, and there is usually a fair amount of discussion about working methods. I have a background in psychology, so I am not just interested in the methods people propose! One thing I find fascinating is just how different people are. And I get the impression that the methods people describe say a great deal about the field they work in (or have been trained in) as well as their personal characteristics (and people usually choose fields of work that mesh in some way with their personal traits). So philosophers might work in one way, and engineers in another.

I say this because I am a bit of a "maverick", and just take notes on whatever I feel I want to, when I want to. There is no "Inbox", no particular strategy, no template for what a note looks like (or should look like), no preconceived categories, etc. In part, this comes from having been involved in qualitative data analysis -- see https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Qualitative_Data_Analysis.html?id=3CNrUbTu6CsC&redir_esc=y. Miles and Huberman describe qualitative work as a continual iterative process, and that is how I see note-taking. This conceptualisation has been reinforced by the concept of incremental formalisation, which I stumbled on in the Tinderbox forums -- forum.eastgate.com/t/user-attributes-or-tags/1069/4.

In short, my approach is not to try to impose a structure from the beginning (which is equivalent to imposing preconceived ideas about the data) but to allow structure (and understanding) to emerge from working with the data. So I would say that if a person is confused at the beginning, that is a good thing. It means there is an opportunity to discover new things in the data. Having a plan will inevitably take you down that particular path, and may lead you to miss things that you would otherwise see, and will also lead to confirmation bias.

If you are working on a specific limited project to a timetable, then you might well need a plan. If not, there may be advantages to a "messy" approach.

• @MartinBB it was my first plan.

I say this because I am a bit of a "maverick", and just take notes on whatever I feel I want to, when I want to. There is no "Inbox", no particular strategy, no template for what a note looks like (or should look like), no preconceived categories, etc.

In short, my approach is not to try to impose a structure from the beginning (which is equivalent to imposing preconceived ideas about the data) but to allow structure (and understanding) to emerge from working with the data. So I would say that if a person is confused at the beginning, that is a good thing. It means there is an opportunity to discover new things in the data. Having a plan will inevitably take you down that particular path, and may lead you to miss things that you would otherwise see, and will also lead to confirmation bias.

I agree, but how do you recall your notes for, say, a project?
For example: you have stored many notes without a real structure, then someone asks you for an article about fake news.
How do you recall the notes to write the article?

• edited December 2020

@IvanFerrero said:
How do you recall the notes to write the article?

The search function. Just as I might use a search engine on the net in an initial sweep for information, I search my archive. If I see a note that seems relevant I would probably tag it -- a quick way to do that is to put qq or some such piece of text in the note, so that I can return to it later (there are no words in English that contain qq, as far as I am aware, other languages may had a unique letter combination that would work better). If I have time and inclination I might look at the notes from the initial search and tag them with other things as I go along. I don't mind having lots of tags because I don't consider them as items to browse. They are links of a sort -- part of the creation of a network of ideas. Searching for tags is a way of making the network appear, and searching for combinations of tags makes the network smaller. It took me a long time to realise that I shouldn't browse -- I should search, using the search tools.

You cannot know what article you might be called on to write in a year, so you cannot know what your search criteria will be in advance. So you have to be prepared to search for anything.

• @IvanFerrero said:
How do you recall the notes to write the article?

The search function. You cannot know what you may be asked to write in a year, so you cannot necessarily predict what notes you will need in advance. So you need to be able to search for anything. I would just do an initial search of my archive as I might do a search of the net, and see which of my notes seem relevant. I would then tag those something like #article. As I go along I would add other tags as I thought useful. I don't mind having lots of tags. To me they are one of the links between notes, and part of creating a network of ideas. I don't browse them, I use them in search functions.

• @MartinBB said:

The search function. You cannot know what you may be asked to write in a year, so you cannot necessarily predict what notes you will need in advance. So you need to be able to search for anything. I would just do an initial search of my archive as I might do a search of the net, and see which of my notes seem relevant. I would then tag those something like #article. As I go along I would add other tags as I thought useful.

Still trying to understand.
How do you find notes related to, say, fake news, using the search function, if not all the notes have the word "fake news" in them?
Taking the Web metaphor, we are able to find content because we search by keywords and we find content with those keywords in it.

• @IvanFerrero said:
Taking the Web metaphor, we are able to find content because we search by keywords and we find content with those keywords in it.

Actually, I don't do that -- assuming you mean searching for metadata when you use the term "keywords". I certainly use combinations of words that I hope may yield useful hits when I search the Web. And I would do much the same with my archive of notes. Would you just search for "fake news" on the Web if you were researching an article for it online? I think I would search for a range of things that might be associated with "fake news" and pick out the most useful of them -- irrespective of whether or not they actually had the words "fake news" in the text. But I suppose I expect my note archive to be organic or networked, rather than linear.

As to practicalities, I don't usually try to do any linking of notes when I am taking them (by which I mean using the [[double bracket syntax]]). I just put in hashtags and leave explicit linking till later if it is needed. At the moment my archive has about 350 notes and about 450 hashtags. I've no idea if some of the hashtags will ever be used for finding stuff, but they don't cost anything. To me, they are a way of organising material thematically, linking notes together in networks, etc. But they are also very useful for finding stuff

• @MartinBB said:

Actually, I don't do that -- assuming you mean searching for metadata when you use the term "keywords". I certainly use combinations of words that I hope may yield useful hits when I search the Web. And I would do much the same with my archive of notes. Would you just search for "fake news" on the Web if you were researching an article for it online?

It makes sense, and it's a good starting point for me.
So searching for the right notes becomes a creative activity itself: I like it.

As to practicalities, I don't usually try to do any linking of notes when I am taking them (by which I mean using the [[double bracket syntax]]). I just put in hashtags and leave explicit linking till later if it is needed.

So the takeaway for me is: don't worry about linking when you collect infos.

In the meanwhile put words or expressions you think they are going to help you when you'll eventually look for a particular topic.
Linking will happen after as I'll need those notes for practical projects.

• @IvanFerrero said:
So the takeaway for me is: don't worry about linking when you collect infos.

In the meanwhile put words or expressions you think they are going to help you when you'll eventually look for a particular topic.
Linking will happen after as I'll need those notes for practical projects.

That is the way I do it. Just to give an example, this is the whole of a note I originally made four years ago:

>The mind, to #Freud, was a battleground for the warring factions of instinct, reason and conscience; the term #psychodynamic refers to this struggle. See Carlson page 598.

Date: 2016-10-15 12:42:33

---

#psychoanalysis #psychodynamic #Freud


You can see that I have hashtagged Freud and psychodymanic in the text, though I could still find those with a normal search, and I have added a tag at the bottom which is a word that does not appear in the text. Very quick and simple. I will eventually return to this and put in a full reference to the source, but I don't need to at the moment because I can tell what it is by looking at the author's name. For quick capture, that is about all I need. Elaboration can come later if it is needed.

• @MartinBB agreed.

As for the Web metaphor you're right: we don't always search by just strictly related keywords.
Nor inside our notes.

For example, there is project of mine that changed name so many times that I never remember the title.
So when I need to find that note I search by the name of my co-worker, and I find that note ;-)

• @IvanFerrero said:
So when I need to find that note I search by the name of my co-worker, and I find that note ;-)

Memory is associative

An observation from personal experience: all the working methods I have tried in the past have failed from having too much complexity built in at the start. Now I tend to look for the least I can get away with. I allow complexity to grow if it needs to. But I avoid it to begin with.

• @MartinBB said:
An observation from personal experience: all the working methods I have tried in the past have failed from having too much complexity built in at the start. Now I tend to look for the least I can get away with. I allow complexity to grow if it needs to. But I avoid it to begin with.

That makes sense, it's one of the reasons why Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web took off and Ted Nelson's Xanadu was never finished, while Nelson tried to build a cathedral anticipating every need in advance, Lee simply implemented the minimum viable capabilities needed to implement hypertext documents shared across servers. This is why iterative design is often more successful since it reflects the crucible of experience.

• @cinemakinoeye said:
That makes sense, it's one of the reasons why Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web took off and Ted Nelson's Xanadu was never finished, while Nelson tried to build a cathedral anticipating every need in advance, Lee simply implemented the minimum viable capabilities needed to implement hypertext documents shared across servers. This is why iterative design is often more successful since it reflects the crucible of experience.

Good statement.

I'd add: just give people the framework, and let them discover how to shape it according to their single needs ;-)

• @MartinBB said:

As to practicalities, I don't usually try to do any linking of notes when I am taking them (by which I mean using the [[double bracket syntax]]). I just put in hashtags and leave explicit linking till later if it is needed. At the moment my archive has about 350 notes and about 450 hashtags. I've no idea if some of the hashtags will ever be used for finding stuff, but they don't cost anything. To me, they are a way of organising material thematically, linking notes together in networks, etc. But they are also very useful for finding stuff

@IvanFerrero, I want to underscore the method outlined above can help you simplify the process. What @MartinBB refers to as "linking notes together in networks" is what I think of as "thematic clusters" and this process follows note writing (though I'm not implying the process is always linear). This is explained quite well in the Scaling your note archive section in the Overview.

• @cinemakinoeye said:
"linking notes together in networks" is what I think of as "thematic clusters" and this process follows note writing (though I'm not implying the process is always linear).

I see.
I started taking note this way: I put the less elements as possible, leaving the linking and organizing only if and when needed.

• The interactive model of data collection and analysis, from Miles and Huberman, Qualitative Data Analysis. Collection obviously comes first!

• @MartinBB said:

The interactive model of data collection and analysis, from Miles and Huberman, Qualitative Data Analysis. Collection obviously comes first!

WOW! Now...how does it translate in the everyday life? ;-)

• @IvanFerrero said:
WOW! Now...how does it translate in the everyday life? ;-)

I suppose you could translate this into Zettelkasten terms by thinking of finding the texts you want to read (collection), making notes (data reduction), arranging the notes, or the text of the notes, in some way (data display), then looking at the notes and analysing what you have (conclusions: drawing/verifying). Explicit linking would probably come at the last stage. Obviously this model was not meant to describe working on a Zettelkasten, but there is some similarity, and I thought it worth posting.

• @MartinBB said:
I suppose you could translate this into Zettelkasten terms by thinking of finding the texts you want to read (collection), making notes (data reduction), arranging the notes, or the text of the notes, in some way (data display), then looking at the notes and analysing what you have (conclusions: drawing/verifying). Explicit linking would probably come at the last stage. Obviously this model was not meant to describe working on a Zettelkasten, but there is some similarity, and I thought it worth posting.

Got it! Thank you for the explanation.
You're right it's a good graphic.
Thank you for posting, I save it.

• edited December 2020

With regards to reduction, I have a ZK in The Archive, and a direct replica in the physical format, using 6x4 note cards.
I make notes on paper, transfer over to The Archive, then try to summarise further so I can fit the main points onto an index card. I guess this is “progressive summarisation” of sorts (as per Tiago Forte), but it was never really intended this way. I am doing this as it forces me to condense and pick out the key elements.

I’ll then go back and reduce what I have in The Archive unless I absolutely need to have a larger block of text in there to help understand the content.

I know I could do all this reduction directly in The Archive, but using the index cards helps me remember the content more. Plus I just like having the physical pen to paper thing going on. I enjoy it. There’s something about seeing your ZK growing in size physically that’s very satisfying...

• edited December 2020

@sepuku, thank you. Something you said has sparked my imagination.

this is “progressive summarization” of sorts (as per Tiago Forte), but it was never really intended this way.

It likely was not intended this way, by you or Tiago. I blame the morning coffee, my mood, my philosophical nature.

I am the product of my “progressive summarization” even though I "never really intended this [to end up this] way."

The meager skills I've progressively/incrementally acquired Zettelkasting have slowly evolved by stealing ideas from here and seeing how they fit. Some I try for a week or two then find them not as useful as I thought. Some have molded my archive to the beast it is today. It has been a slow rewarding process.

Post edited by Will on

Will Simpson
The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
kestrelcreek.com

• I go for "incremental formalisation" myself

• My dad used to tell me to be suspicious of words with more than two syllables. “Progressive summarization” and "incremental formalization" are the polysyllabic obfuscationalization for what is actually going on.

"Slowly getting better."

Will Simpson
The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
kestrelcreek.com