Zettelkasten Forum


Integrating new zettels into the Zettelkasten / Zettel rediscovery

I've a fairly good toolset to add individual zettels into my Zettelkasten, mainly by using a combination of Prizmo Go and Drafts on my iPhone/iPad. The bar for entering thoughts into my Zettelkasten is now as low as I want it to be, with low friction when reading in digital texts and printed ones.

But I'm struggling to find a good workflow when integrating new zettels into my Zettelkasten. How to find the best structured notes for a specific zettel? How to find other zettels that I should link? Etc.

I'm curious about how you all do that part – both on a concept level but also very practical, within The Archive. How do you setup the windows in The Archive? How do you "rediscover" existing zettels that might be worth linking?

/Anders

Comments

  • @thoresson said:
    I'm curious about how you all do that part – both on a concept level but also very practical, within The Archive. How do you setup the windows in The Archive? How do you "rediscover" existing zettels that might be worth linking?

    /Anders

    I, too, have an easy way of creating a new zettel. One concept/practice that I find helpful is to separate the creation workflow from the integration workflow. I do this with a #inbox tag and saved search called "Work in Progress" that lives at the top of my saved search list. Then I time slot time each day to refactor the #inbox. The number of notes in the #inbox is on my daily zettelkasten statistics, so this number is always in my face, sort of like the notification bubble on the phone that tells me how many unread messages I have.

    Here I'm searching for the phrase "time and space." In the list, I see a class note "CN," and it spikes my interest.

    I set up my screen with two archive windows. One with the note I'm refactoring and integrating. I highlight terms or phrases that seem relevant and paste them into the other window's Omni Bar. This is where I don't think there are any shortcuts, and this is my main beef with "automatic backlinks." I read and look at each zettel to determine the quality and relevance of the hit. If I feel moved by the reference, I'll link them. I use Prepended Special Characters in from of note titles for some notes, so I know to skip them when looking for links or zero in on them if they appear in the search results. Today I have only 7 notes in the #inbox, Yay!

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @thoresson said:
    But I'm struggling to find a good workflow when integrating new zettels into my Zettelkasten. How to find the best structured notes for a specific zettel? How to find other zettels that I should link? Etc.

    I'm curious about how you all do that part – both on a concept level but also very practical, within The Archive. How do you setup the windows in The Archive? How do you "rediscover" existing zettels that might be worth linking?

    /Anders

    I've one simple idea, (keeping in mind that it comes from a relative newbie).

    Once I've drafted up a reasonably complete, new Zettel (let's call it the "new zettel"), I add some tags. To do that, I open my list of tags and read through them. Any I think apply, I add to the new zettel. Then I click on each of the added tags (one by one of course) and read through the list of associated zettels, seeing if there is anything that should be connected directly to the new zettel. It's easy enough to switch back and forth between the new zettel and another zettel sporting a common tag, so the workflow doesn't get interrupted. I do that for each of the tags that I added to the new zettel.

    Sometimes it's obvious I need one or two new tags, so I add those to the new zettel and I might decide to add one of them to some other zettels as I'm going through the process described above.

    Sometimes I get sidetracked following connections from a zettel related to the new zettel, to still other zettels. That is OK. It interrupts the workflow a bit, but it still provides exposure to other zettels that I might want to connect to the new zettel.

    Hope that all made sense. As I said, it's a simple idea but works quite well for me.

  • Shift your thinking away from "Zettels" and towards to "knowledge". You don't need to integrate notes into the Zettelkasten, nor do you need to link two notes. This is the physical (digital) embodiment of your action but nothing more.

    My personal workflow is starts, for example, at the end of your question:

    How to find the best structured notes for a specific zettel?

    I go to the specific structure note in my Zettelkasten. That's it. And then it is pure association and thinking that manifests through typing. That is not helpful I think. :)

    It is not about the Zettel. I, for example, couldn't integrate any note into your Zettelkasten even with more than a decade of practice. I'd stumble around and would achieve subpar results.

    I am a Zettler

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