Zettelkasten Forum

If Luhmann Had Google

I wonder....would he have used it in any way to supplant his process? Or perhaps to increase his access to source material that had been digitized and otherwise unavailable? Or to search for good NSFW memes? I can't help but wonder.


  • do you mean Google or an internet access? We can only make assumptions (i don't even know if Luhmann had internet). Having an internet access has advantages and disadvantages. Based on the knowledge gap hypothesis he would have had more information.

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • I guess I should have written "If Luhmann had access to a powerful search engine riding over the interwebs"

  • He would probably not be famous in 2020. A lot of people have such a misunderstanding of the necessity of personal Zettelkästen because it is so similar to a knowledge database at first glance. The interaction both begins with querying some information. You type keywords in google, whereas you have an idea that you want to develop. Google returns the related information using singular value decomposition (SVD) or similar matrix factorization technique, whereas you find relevant ideas based on your knowledge web in your Zettelkästen. Interacting with Google is efficient to find information but the rewording feeling is less than interacting with one's own Zettelkästen. Interacting with Zettelkästen is an enjoyable process with the side effect of accumulating his unique knowledge.

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