Zettelkasten Forum

Lurker stops lurking and says hello

Hello everybody!

I am a musicologist who have been reading the blog- and forumposts for some years now.
After several failed zettelkasten behind me and testing alot of software, I now have a system that works for me.

  • I use plain text and search
  • I don´t agree with the notion of a "second brain", but lean more towards the notion of a "extended mind".

Thank you for all your insights and looking forward to take part in the discussions!
And to bother you with some of my own questions and ideas.


  • @Skriveleif

    Welcome to the forum - always good to have new people engage in the ongoing conversations and sharing of experiences. Can you tell us a little more about your ZK? What software do you use? What features does it have that meet your needs? What is your primary way of accessing information in your ZK?

  • Welcome to the forums.

    I am a Zettler

  • @GeoEng51 @Sascha
    Thank you!

    Good questions and I will try answering without writing too much.

    I´ve always been a notetaker, but my zettelkasten came to be after some years at uni and a long period of intense frustration on how my notes accumulated to nothing. The more I had, the less i could do anything meaningful with it. And unless I quickly packaged it into something, an essay for example, the less it could stand the test of time. As castles made of sands or as Roy Batty in Blade Runner says - "All those moments will be lost in time, as tears in the rain".

    I thought there has to be another way of doing it and set the following goals:

    • A way to materialize my thoughts and understanding so I can think about my own thinking.
    • To uncover my own biases, assumptions and misconceptions
    • To support synthesis and development of my ideas and knowledge
    • To be able to work with the big picture and the nuts and bolts of things
    • That nothing goes to waste
    • To be able to focus on one thing at the time without distractions
    • And that the notes i write can be used as is, and help me become better at writing

    And it comes as no suprise that this led me to Luhmann and the zettelkasten. My zettelkasten is mainly filled with stuff about musicology, art, pedagogy, learning, draftmanship and more. And the often unavoidable: notes about taking notes. :wink: For the time being I´m testing how it works for my game design projects and incorporating mulitmedia as drawings and music.

    When it comes to software I have tried among other things Roam, LogSeq, Notion, Obsidian, Zettlr, TiddlyWiki, TheArchive, things in beta and github stuff. There are alot of creative and skilled people making these softwares, but I think it's unavoidable that one has to work within the ideals of those who built the software. And what I've come to realize is that the main feature I need is freedom to build my own framework and tools which supports how I work and supports my goals. The Archive seemed like a perfect fit, but funnily enough it is too fast and effective for me. I need just a little more friction when creating notes, slower processing and traversing in my zettelkasten. I also need a seperation of writing and reading, and that it works cross-platform. So I have taken inspiration of the features of TheArchive and kinda seperated them. The thought behind it is that I want it to work as a digital equivalent to working with pen and paper.

    • Folders = boxes
    • Plain text = sheets of paper
    • Text-editor = pen
    • Search, spotlight = flipping thorugh the zettelkasten
    • Preview and quicklook = reading

    On mac I use finder's search, spotlight, quicklook and uFocus as a texteditor - https://desairem.com/wordpress/ufocus/
    On PC i use powertoys for spotlight, QuickLook app, File Explorer to search and AppyText as a texteditor. Everything is saved on sync.com.

    I would like to parse out the answer to your last question in future discussions. :)

  • Welcome to the forums. @Skriveleif. I hope some of what we discuss you'll find helpful. If you have questions, fire away!

    Will Simpson
    My zettelkasten is for my ideas, not the ideas of others. I will try to remember this. I must keep doing my best even though I'm a failure. My peak cognition is behind me. One day soon, I will read my last book, write my last note, eat my last meal, and kiss my sweetie for the last time.

  • @Skriveleif

    Thanks for that detailed answer. I’ve been on holidays for a while and disengaged from the Zettelkasten forum - nice to get back to it and see all the new posts. It’s interesting that you have tried out so many bits of software in search of something that fits your way of creating a Zettelkasten. I’ve tried a smaller subset and ended up with The Archive for one of the reasons that perhaps you find it less suitable to your needs - basically, it’s simplicity and speed.

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