Zettelkasten Forum

Sharing an online workshop about Zettelkasten (among others) - Some thoughts ?

Hello, everybody !

Being a long time lurker of the forum, I'm making my first post here in order to share with you a free, online workshop that I've created. Basically, it's about discovering Joplin and other software, along with different methods to manage information and organize in our daily lives. Among these methods is the Zettelkasten method; or, at least, what I understand of it.


The point of this post is two-fold: first, I hope that the workshop might make you discover some interesting things that you might use yourself. In particular, I found it interesting to articulate the P.A.R.A method and the Zettelkasten method together, and using open-source software to wrap it all together.

Second, I would really enjoy having your opinion on how the Zettelkasten method is presented in the workshop. I believe that you all know much more about it that I do, along with having much more experience with it. Therefore, if you feel like I've missed some things, or if you think that it could be explained in a better way (since the workshop is designed for people that have never heard of it), I'd be delighted to hear it. You can share it here, or indicate it as an issue on the GitHub repository of the workshop.

I thank you all for all of your fascinating insights about the Zettelkasten method and your use of it; it has always been a pleasure to come here and read about your experience with it.

Have a nice day !


  • Hi Klemet,

    Thank you for sharing your presentation/workshop.

    I will try to find time sometime soon to go through it and give you feedback.



  • I'm not sure if you address this in the workshop, but one point of incompatibility might be that in the zettelkasten there is minimal folder structure, with there most often being no folders. The reason for this is that using folders silos your notes, which is bad because you don't really know what notes are going to be relevant in the long term.

    This would probably work for programs that can search across multiple folders (e.g. Obsidian) but that may be frowned upon because it is not tool agnostic way of approaching ones zettelkasten. Especially since a lot of what can be achieved with folders can be done by just using a set of hashtags (e.g. #PARA-Projects, #PARA-Areas, etc). I could be misinterpreting the PARA system though, as I only have a glancing understanding of it.

  • Thank you, @ArchiMark : ) ! I'll be glad to have your feedback !

    @Nick : That's a really good point. The workshop spends some time talking about how folders should not be used in the Zettelkasten, unless it is to distinguish between note types, and not note subjects (e.g. "Notes to write later", "Index notes", etc.).

    Since the P.A.R.A method is mostly a way to organize virtual information of different use and formats, the way that I propose to mix the Zettelkasten and the P.A.R.A method is by using the Zettelkasten as the "Resources" area of P.A.R.A. This is proposed with this diagram:

    In that way, the Zettelkasten is where knowledge (and not merely information) should end up in the broader P.A.R.A framework, and should not be organized in folders once it is there. Meanwhile, information related to your projects and areas of responsibilities should go in their respective folders.

    As an example : Let's imagine that you're an elephant biologist. You're working on a project to equip some elephants with GPS trackers for a larger study. On the side, you have the hobby of renovating your house.

    • The planning of your next field session to find elephants is information about your project : it can be put into the same software you use for Zettelkasten (e.g. Joplin), but not in the Zettelkasten folder and format. It will go in your "Project" folder, and "GPS elephants" for example.
    • Scientific literature about how elephants react to GPS collars is knowledge : it should go in your Zettelkasten.
    • Details about how to install the new stove you just bought for your kitchen is information, as it's of no real use once it's installed. It can go into your "Area" and "House renovation" folder, since you'll need it anyway.
    • Comparison between different technologies of solar panels for rooftops is knowledge, and should go into your Zettelkasten. Who knows; it might help you to find the best GPS collars for elephants !

    So in my own view, the biggest difficulty in integrating the Zettelkasten method into the P.A.R.A framework is more about distinguishing what's "information" (mostly single-use and connected to a single, clear goal, and so is better served by being directly tied to a project/area); or "knowledge" (multiple uses and connection possible, might be useful later, and should be as free as possible to be linked with other pieces of knowledge). But even without the P.A.R.A method in the way, I feel like this is still one of the biggest questions of the Zettelkasten. So really, I think that as long as the boundaries of the Zettelkasten inside the P.A.R.A method are well established, both are far from being incompatible with each over ! At least, I haven't encountered much difficulty on that front myself.

Sign In or Register to comment.