Zettelkasten Forum

Do you use ZK in parallel to org mode, Tiddlywiki, Tinderbox?

I'm new to this forum but not to the quest of taking notes digitally, on the contrary, I belong to the sad group of people who are continually perfecting their note taking strategies rather than getting any work done (but secretly enjoying the process). That was a bit harsh but perhaps you understand where I am coming from.

I was wondering what the motivation might be to use a Zettelkasten (The Archive, to be precise) in addition to other solutions that might be used for digital note taking in general and, indeed, even as a Zettelkasten. Why would somebody who was even fluent in emacs and org mode (that can be made to do almost anything) embark on a journey and develop a Zettelkasten software for his own use? And why do some of you whom I know as avid users of other software tools use The Archive, too?

I do not doubt for a second that any of the tools mentioned so far can be used (either - or) effectively for note taking but rather my question is: why both and what for? Personally I am using a mix of org mode, Tiddlywiki, Tinderbox and some other programs but the question might be extended to the parallel use of The Archive and any other Zettelkasten-esque software. in your arsenal.

I am not hoping to start a flame war, instead I'd be highly interested in your motivations and personal stories.


  • @Christoph My motivation to develop a Zettelkasten is pretty simple - it appears (as far as I understand it so far) to be a better way of capturing and connecting ideas, in a way that I can later use - practically and to gain new insights on beloved or new topics. I'm less fussed about the software, but I believe The Archive suits my needs in creating a Zettelkasten perfectly.

    Do I use other software for other note-taking tasks? Yes, of course. I use 1Writer (mostly to edit ZK notes from iOS), iA Writer sometimes to take general notes, and more recently NotePlan to keep my life organized and more recently to replace what I am putting in iA Writer. Oh - and when I'm in a mood to hand write notes instead of type them, I use GoodNotes or Nebo. I used to use Bear, which is an elegant, beautiful app - but I find myself hardly touching it now. I've tried Tiddlywiki and while I'm impressed, I haven't felt a need to use it for anything.

    I guess one only has so much time and energy, and in the end one defaults to using a few tools that are practical and fill a need. In regard to note-taking, that for me now is mostly The Archive, 1Writer, NotePlan and GoodNotes.

  • I use org-mode and The Archive.

    Nothing beats org-mode for structured writing. I also like adapting the tool to my needs. So why use The Archive as well?

    For me, it comes down to speed, interface, and limitations.

    The Archive is lightning fast. I use zetteldeft in Emacs, and The Archive's search is much faster than Deft. I explore my notes more freely in The Archive, which encourages atomized knowledge - such as how to restart the Mac camera from the command line, which I refer to weekly.

    I like Mac apps. I love The Archive's simple design. I like working in Emacs as well, it just has a different vibe. I focus more in Emacs, and am more relaxed in The Archive.

    Most importantly, The Archive has limitations, whereas Emacs is endless. Perhaps I will configure Emacs to be faster and prettier one day. That presents a challenge: do I use time to adapt the tool to my work, or do the work? The Archive works well for me out of the box, and has clear edges. The only way to proceed is to continue to work. It's the writing that has no edges.

    Ultimately I find that I write more when I use The Archive as my main work area. When it's time to produce something to communicate with others, I use org-mode.

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