Zettelkasten Forum

Some questions concerning the "structure" of the ZK.


I am really new to this topic and I have some questions concerning the structure of my ZK. I recently posted another question about the ZK and got a great advice from someone to create parent notes. My questions now have to do with something similar.

So I currently have notes that are built like this:
Production method x

  • Production method x definition
  • Fields of use of production method x
  • Thoughts on production method x
    • thoughts on production method x concerning production method y

Something like that (not exactly). All of these notes are currently linked to a "field of research" which in this example could be called "production methods in ..." so when I want to see everything that has something to do with "production methods in ..." everything shows up.

My question now is should I just tag or rather said link the "parent note" to the field of research or should I link every note (sub notes from the parent note)? If I link everything I have all thoughts and all things there which could be useful in other fields too but what gets on my nerves is that I see the parent note then as well as the sub notes.

I hope someone understands my problem and could help me with it :smiley:
Thanks in advance :)


  • edited December 2020

    I recently find a highly structural book in mathematics. Even at the
    paragraph level, I still find that the content can be interpolated as
    a structure note.

    This structure note intends to include everything in Mathematics.

    At the top level, it has eight sub headings.

    Part I Introduction
    Part II The Origins of Modern Mathematics
    Part III Mathematical Concepts
    Part IV Branches of Mathematics
    Part V Theorems and Problems
    Part VI Mathematicians
    Part VII The Influence of Mathematics
    Part VIII Final Perspectives

    In a sub headline, e.g. Part IV Branches of Mathematics, it has such
    a structure note:

    IV.1 Algebraic Numbers
    IV.2 Analytic Number Theory
    IV.3 Computational Number Theory
    IV.4 Algebraic Geometry
    IV.5 Arithmetic Geometry
    IV.6 Algebraic Topology
    IV.7 Differential Topology

    In a sub-sub headline, e.g. IV.21 Numerical Analysis, there are 7 headlines:

    1. The Need for Numerical Computation
    2. A Brief History
    3. Machine Arithmetic and Rounding Errors
    4. Numerical Linear Algebra
    5. Numerical Solution of Differential Equations
    6. Numerical Optimization
    7. The Future

    Jumping into the final structure, e.g. Numerical Solution of
    Differential Equations, the ideas are still not very atomic in my

    It talks about Gauss Newton, Runge phenomenon, Clenshaw-Curtis
    quadrature, and finite element method etc.. It also talks about the
    solution of ordinary differential equations, which can be explained
    in another book. At the end, it talks about application in today's
    science and engineering. All these ideas can be explained in another

    • Gowers, T., Barrow-Green, J., & Leader, I. (2008). The princeton
      companion to mathematics. : Princeton University Press.

    Regarding your question, when I really do not have a clear vision of the
    structure my notes, I pay attention to the relation between the new
    note to my old notes in my Zettelkästen. Only when the gaps become
    obvious in the next step, it is time to fill them up.

  • I don't necessarily know what you are asking, but it appears to me like a tagging/linking question. If I am wrong about your intentions, just let me know, but this is what I will go on for now.

    So you have a few notes, "parent" and "child" alike linked to a field of research by means of another note or a tag. This problem you're facing might be a matter of your own methodology of using links/tags.

    For the zettelkasten, the money is in the links, but they need to be meaningful, and that is determined mainly by you believe is useful to you. So if you don't want to link/tag all of them, then don't. :smile: Luhmann sure didn't tag or reference to every other note (not at the same time, at least). These links and tags are like entry points of opportunity to new ways of seeing. If you feel like all of them don't need to be linked to that field of research note/tag, then don't link them all.

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