Zettelkasten Forum


Formatting a structure note

If you've seen any of my posts from the past month, you know I recently started a new MS program. I always study with both a notebook and The Archive open.

I've set it up that my #glossary and #GIS OR #cartography are saved searches. This typically works.

Today I realized that I need my first significant structure note. I have sufficient notes and note-strings that I need a way to see how some of the pieces fit together. But I have no idea what this note should look like.

Questions:

  • Does a structure note still get a time-based ID? (Most of my notes are YYYYMMDD Name of Idea)
  • How do I set it up so that my note ends up near the top of the list for my #cartography saved search, above?
  • Is it advisable to link the structure note to glossary entries, which were originally built so that I could build my vocabulary for the field, or would that make the note too bloated to be useful?1

  1. i.e., the glossary is useful for study, but due to spaced repetition, I'm gaining fluency with a lot of concepts and don't reference some entries as much unless reviewing etymologies of the terms. I still intend for the glossary to be a key part of my ZK, especially since it crosses boundaries of the several academic fields I am a part of. ↩︎

Observations logged here: write.as/via-poetica

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Comments

  • @Sociopoetic said:
    Today I realized that I need my first significant structure note. I have sufficient notes and note-strings that I need a way to see how some of the pieces fit together. But *I have no idea what this note should look like.

    You are so lucky to be learning a new path of knowledge and fitting it into your Zettelkasten. Cartography and GIS are in my estimation one of the keystones of knowledge building.

    I'll offer suggestions on how I'd approach this. Caveat Emptor!

    Questions:

    • Does a structure note still get a time-based ID? (Most of my notes are YYYYMMDD Name of Idea)

    Yes. I keep the UID with the structure note because they are so useful. I use a Special Character prefix to signify a note is a Structure Note that way when I am doing a search for say Grave Peak and a note is in the note list 201904150937 • North Idaho Fire History I quickly know this particular note will be rich with lots of connected knowledge links. (I precede the note's title with a "•" to signify a structure note. Some precede the UID with a 'µ' to provide a certain sorting.

    • How do I set it up so that my note ends up near the top of the list for my #cartography saved search, above?

    Currently, you can't save a sort order with a saved search. This has been requested.
    What are you trying to accomplish? You want a note list the sorts the Structure Note near the top of a list of notes that contain #cartography. Two tips. I'd create separate saved searches for all structure notes and a separate one for (#cartography and GIS) and put those tags in the structure note. Second, I tend to keep The Archive in the sort mode in the "Modification Date - Newest First" mode. This puts the most currently worked notes at the top and because I am always starting a note from one of my structure notes, this keeps the particular structure note near the top of the note list.

    If I don't have a structure note to attach to a new note, like say 201904150937 Medieval Leather Shoe Production then I create what some have called a speculative structure note and will see if it develops into something.

    • Is it advisable to link the structure note to glossary entries, which were originally built so that I could build my vocabulary for the field, or would that make the note too bloated to be useful?[^1]

    Yes. Or maybe I might say I would link the structure notes to the glossary entries and let The Archives backlinking work for you. Add the appropriate glossary notes to the appropriate structure notes. This will slowly make some structure that can be followed in research questions.
    As an example. Important note: Don't limit yourself to one or two Structure notes. As one gets large and unwieldy, refactor it into two separate note linking them together.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Rationalism, Zen, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @Will you have such detailed answers, I feel like you should keep a public wiki that you can link people to for understanding common zettelkasten problems! B) a public wiki developed with a zettelkasten. Or a public wiki developed with a public zettelkasten :o

  • @Will,
    This is quite helpful. Thank you. I had never considered the use of a special character even though I do that all the time in my (handwritten) notebooks. I'm also going to adjust the sort-order setting; I think that will accomplish my goal there.

    As for splitting a large structure note, I'm already considering if I should have one for GIS in general terms and another for cartography specifically. (I'm in the analytics and visualization track for my program.) From there I wouldn't be surprised if a third specifically on informatics emerged, but I'm trying to take an generative, bottom-up approach.

    Since I'm fresh to The Archive, too, can you explain how the backlinking would work? Lately I've just been manually adding them, which is tedious.

    Observations logged here: write.as/via-poetica

  • @Sociopoetic said:
    As for splitting a large structure note, I'm already considering if I should have one for GIS in general terms and another for cartography specifically. (I'm in the analytics and visualization track for my program.) From there I wouldn't be surprised if a third specifically on informatics emerged, but I'm trying to take a generative, bottom-up approach.

    This is good. Let things emerge naturally. My suggestion is not to impose a limit on the number of structure notes that might emerge. We can not predict this nor should we pre-determine how our structure will be in advance. By the same token, we shouldn't pre-determine that we should have only one or two or three structure notes - let then generate naturally however many eventually emerge.

    Since I'm fresh to The Archive, too, can you explain how the backlinking would work? Lately, I've just been manually adding them, which is tedious.

    I only very occasionally place "backlinks" in notes. I let TA and the Note List work for me.
    I hope this is helpful and I can explain this well enough.

    I always include in every zettel a "self-referential" link. I limit mine to the UID but this is not necessary, use whatever you use for a link. In the example below, this "self-referential" link is highlighted. If I want to see the "backlinks" I select this link and all the notes displayed in the Note List are have links toward this zettel. I've had to do nothing but link one time from 202005210851 • ENGL316 to 202006041628 Come Away With Me - no backlinking.

    Notice that there are no outbound links in this note, only 3 inbound links (backlink).

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Rationalism, Zen, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @Sociopoetic If you look at @Will 's example, you will see how to do this, (which I only understand because of one of his previous posts). I now follow the same pattern:

    Put the title of the note in the first line, without the UID.
    Put the UID for the present note in the second line, surrounded by double square brackets.

    The latter serves two purposes:
    1. It tells you the UID for the note you are in (the same as if you put it in the title line).
    2. It is a self-reference. If you click on it, you will see a list of both forward links and backward links in the left-hand pane, (i.e., in the note list).

    That way, you don't have to add backward links to all your notes.

  • Wow. @Will and @GeoEng51 , that's brilliant. Alright, I know how I'm spending part of my time tomorrow!

    Seriously, I cannot imagine surviving school right now without a ZK.

    Observations logged here: write.as/via-poetica

  • @Will said:
    [...]

    Do you put the zettels' own reference inside a quotation block (>)? If yes, why?

  • I don't.

  • @inquisitiv3 what you are seeing in not a block text symbol > but a › what the Keyboard Viewer calls a SINGLE RIGHT-POINTING ANGLE QUOTATION MARK. Subtle difference.

    I've added this symbol to differentiate the zettel's self-referencing UID from the links to other zettel UID's for the purposes of a Keyboard Maestro macro that populates the Note List with all the depth=0 zettels of the target zettel. I use this tool for review.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Rationalism, Zen, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @Will said:
    @inquisitiv3 what you are seeing in not a block text symbol > but a › what the Keyboard Viewer calls a SINGLE RIGHT-POINTING ANGLE QUOTATION MARK. Subtle difference.

    I've added this symbol to differentiate the zettel's self-referencing UID from the links to other zettel UID's for the purposes of a Keyboard Maestro macro that populates the Note List with all the depth=0 zettels of the target zettel. I use this tool for review.

    Thanks for the explanation!

  • @Will, little tricks like this make me think you should write some sort of essay on how to play with your ZK. Or see if @ctietze would have you as a co-author on the much-asked-for English guide to the Archive.

    Observations logged here: write.as/via-poetica

  • @Sociopoetic said:
    Or see if @ctietze would have you as a co-author on the much-asked-for English guide to the Archive.

    Wat! Who's asking? :) Maybe I'm too often heads-down in the thick of answering individual questions to notice, but I'm not aware of a need to have a guide to the app. If y'all have questions, I suggest opening a new discussion for that to not hijack this thread and add details there.

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

  • Why do you @sfast and @ctietze (or anybody else) write the UIDs before the description text in structure notes?

    For me that feels like the wrong order. Aren't you supposed to first read the description before deciding on whether to click on the link? Isn't having to jump back to the beginning of the list item more cumbersome than just having the link at the end?

  • @inquisitiv3 I don't.

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast said:
    @inquisitiv3 I don't.

    My apologies. I thought that I remembered you writing somewhere on the forum that you did that.

  • @inquisitiv3 Could be that you mix this up with old notes of mine? I often pasted the ID + title combo into lists so I could ignore/"look over" the ID part, just as I do in file listings. Alas, your reasons not to do that are spot on :)

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

  • @ctietze It's probably that I'm thinking of! Couldn't find any examples there you have the UIDs in the beginning.

  • Here's one for you ;)

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

  • edited July 18

    @ctietze said:
    Here's one for you ;)

    Yes, something like that. You've commendable titles!

    Do you include an abstract/a description in your zettels, or do you let the title act as an abstract? I think that if I forced myself to use the title as an abstract, I would write better titles. My file names only consist of the UID, so it shouldn't be any problem with paths.

  • Both! The first and last item in the list have an additional sentence, ad you can see. That provides a bit more context.

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

  • @ctietze said:
    Both! The first and last item in the list have an additional sentence, ad you can see. That provides a bit more context.

    I was thinking of the zettels themselves. Do you have a more detailed abstract in your zettels after the title?

  • @inquisitiv3 said:

    @sfast said:
    @inquisitiv3 I don't.

    My apologies. I thought that I remembered you writing somewhere on the forum that you did that.

    No apology needed. :)

    But I am with you on this. In Structure Zettels, the ID should come last because of the exact reason you gave. It is the correct order because it is the order of evaluating. (First the title and then following the link)

    I am a Zettler

  • As I currently do things, my notes (titles and links) are formatted as as [[UID Title]] and structure notes as [[UID Symbol Title]]. Maybe I misunderstood, but are you advocating removing titles from the links, or simply placing the link at the end of a bullet point, analogous to a citation?

    Observations logged here: write.as/via-poetica

  • @Will said:
    @inquisitiv3 what you are seeing in not a block text symbol > but a › what the Keyboard Viewer calls a SINGLE RIGHT-POINTING ANGLE QUOTATION MARK. Subtle difference.

    I've added this symbol to differentiate the zettel's self-referencing UID from the links to other zettel UID's for the purposes of a Keyboard Maestro macro that populates the Note List with all the depth=0 zettels of the target zettel. I use this tool for review.

    Hi @Will could you elaborate on this method of reviewing zettels? If you could also share the KM macro you're referring to, or direct me to a post/comment where you've shared it I'd be most grateful!

  • @orice said:

    @Will said:
    @inquisitiv3 what you are seeing in not a block text symbol > but a › what the Keyboard Viewer calls a SINGLE RIGHT-POINTING ANGLE QUOTATION MARK. Subtle difference.

    I've added this symbol to differentiate the zettel's self-referencing UID from the links to other zettel UID's for the purposes of a Keyboard Maestro macro that populates the Note List with all the depth=0 zettels of the target zettel. I use this tool for review.

    Hi @Will could you elaborate on this method of reviewing zettels? If you could also share the KM macro you're referring to, or direct me to a post/comment where you've shared it I'd be most grateful!

    I use two macros for this. The first links to get my note list populated with all the outgoing links and a second macro for populating the note list with all the incoming links. I use these a bunch when I review my zettel. With a populated note list, it is trivial to scroll up and down the list.

    Read through the discussion and then ask questions. This turns out to be a very custom and fiddly thing to set up.

    The whole discussion started by @ctietze to make note lists easier to browse.
    https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/1015/idea-for-a-script-to-make-structured-link-lists-easier-to-browse#latest

    My post where I post the Keyboard Maestro macro and show the convoluted way I had to set this up because I didn't follow and stick with a convention in my zettel format that could be used for this function.
    https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/5249/#Comment_5249

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Rationalism, Zen, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @Will I like the character in the title to indicate a structure note. Have you encountered any problems with Keyboard Maestro actions or scripts in macros not recognising it when you search for something or copy/paste things? And could there be any problems with using it in a file name when switching to other operating systems etc. in the future?

  • edited November 21

    @Vinho said:
    @Will I like the character in the title to indicate a structure note. Have you encountered any problems with Keyboard Maestro actions or scripts in macros not recognising it when you search for something or copy/paste things? And could there be any problems with using it in a file name when switching to other operating systems etc. in the future?

    I have not encountered any problems with Keyboard Maestro using this character. All seem happy in filespace land. I have only experience with this in the macOS filesystem but think because this is part of the list of Unicode Character set we're pretty save. If I ran to problems if I was to "witching to other operating systems etc. in the future" I'd use my favorite search and replace tool (MassReplaceit) to switch out the character.

    Here you can see how this looks after a little integration. I can tell in advance of looking at the note what sort of 'structure' the note will present.

    Post edited by Will on

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Rationalism, Zen, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • I don't know what it is that makes these bullet-style characters so awkwardly pretty, but I really like to look at your list of notes and wonder what these hieroglyphs could mean. The old § just doesn't do the same :)

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

  • @ctietze said:
    I don't know what it is that makes these bullet-style characters so awkwardly pretty, but I really like to look at your list of notes and wonder what these hieroglyphs could mean. The old § just doesn't do the same :)

    Exactly my thoughts :smiley:

    @Will Thanks for your reply – will use it from now on then ;) Seeing the note list on your image I'm intrigued now, because I'm currently thinking about what different kinds of zettels I have in my zettelkasten (might write an article about it soon): May I ask what your symbols °, Ω and the diamond (couldn't find it) indicate?

  • I am but a beginner. I've made lots of mistakes and will make many more as I learn. The thing I love about The Archive is that it is so forgiving of my novice mistakes and because it is plain text with notes tied to the file system, I find it easy to make adjustments as I learn new methods.

    @ctietze said:
    I don't know what it is that makes these bullet-style characters so awkwardly pretty, but I really like to look at your list of notes and wonder what these hieroglyphs could mean. The old § just doesn't do the same :)

    Maybe it is the subtlety of a simple dot that is less attention-grabbing.

    @Vinho said:
    Seeing the note list on your image I'm intrigued now because I'm currently thinking about what different kinds of zettels I have in my zettelkasten (might write an article about it soon): May I ask what your symbols °, Ω and the diamond (couldn't find it) indicate?

    This is the current workflow, and it is in flux. I am trying prepending a category of notes using DL for Daily Log. A rough scratch draft of ideas. So far, I've been able to keep it mostly to idea development and avoided it being a diary/journal of random thoughts, which I keep separate in Evernote. We'll see how this goes.

    This seems like it would be more flexible, but without a "Title Only" search, I find I still need a tag or something to get just these notes in a list. This experiment created a place to capture ideas and concepts I want to solidify—a place to accumulate insights. Not every day, only 9 notes in this category since May 1, but this habit is being worked. When rough ideas want flushing out onto the screen, I want a place to work, massage, and see if or how they integrate. I am inspired by Andy Matuschak's display of his morning workflow, much like I was inspired by @ctietze's processing to the Range.

    = Structure or Hub note There 55 notes in this category.
    ° = Notes that contain transcripts from short nondual recordings >200 words. So far, there are 23 notes in this category, and I expect many more. We'll see.
    Ω = Notes related to my current writing project. Around 70 notes in this category.
    = Tag Cloud - This used to be the symbol I used for structure notes, but I felt it made my note list a bit too busy, catching my eye, and change it to the subtler . The diamond remains only on the Tag Cloud and isn't used elsewhere, and is superfluous.
    = retired as it was too eye attracting.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Rationalism, Zen, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

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