Zettelkasten Forum


Greetings from a PhD student!

Hi everyone!

I’ve been lurking for a while now but thought it was time to post and say hello. I’m a PhD student in Archaeology, and I stumbled upon the world of Zettelkasten while trying to find a better way to make notes at the start of my PhD.

I’ve jumped around quite a few different tools over the past year but there’s always been something that’s got in the way - apps were either too bloated or complicated or too buggy, or in some cases had awful font rendering.

My most recent favourite was iA Writer, and I think I was so attracted to it because I’ve learnt that I want something simple, minimal and distraction free.

For me, most options people seem to be using have too many bells and whistles and I want something that just gets out the way and leaves me with my text. iA Writer fit this bill perfectly but I found moving between notes and linking too cumbersome.

SO I’ve purchased The Archive this week and I absolutely love it! Just as minimal and “clean” but with ease of navigation built in.

I’m still in the process of getting familiar with The Archive but it seems to do everything I want it to. Before I was using subfolders but I’m thinking that I’m happy to lean in and just put all my notes in a single folder, and use tools like structure notes and other forms of hypertext to maintain connections and groupings where necessary.

The only thing I’m currently unsure of is how much to keep in my Zettelkasten. For example, my primary use case is academic writing, but I also want to keep notes relating to more personal topics of interest, e.g. notes about personal development, note taking, language-learning, etc. I’m not sure whether to combine everything or whether to keep my other interests separate.

Anyways, looking forward to learning more from you all and getting to grips with the method and The Archive in greater depth. Thanks for all the wisdom I’ve already gained from the forums!

Comments

  • @ajr, Welcome to the forums.

    The complexity of The Archive is just perfect. Speed, linking, active development, and a clean markdown editor. What's not to love.

    The advantage to keeping all your large and small areas of interest, all your creative projects, all your ideas, all your writing projects together is that they can cross-pollinate. When they do cross-pollinate, the blossoms will be spectacular. The exploding blossoms will feel like the discovery of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's army of 8000 terracotta warriors.

    You live one life. Why separate it into different buckets?

    Will Simpson
    “Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @Will said:
    @ajr, Welcome to the forums.

    The complexity of The Archive is just perfect. Speed, linking, active development, and a clean markdown editor. What's not to love.

    The advantage to keeping all your large and small areas of interest, all your creative projects, all your ideas, all your writing projects together is that they can cross-pollinate. When they do cross-pollinate, the blossoms will be spectacular. The exploding blossoms will feel like the discovery of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's army of 8000 terracotta warriors.

    You live one life. Why separate it into different buckets?

    Thank you Will! You echo my current thinking exactly. I often find myself realising something about my work while thinking about something else and vice versa, so leaving things together makes sense. I can always adjust later if I find my personal stuff is getting in the way, but at the minute I don’t think I need to worry.

  • @ajr Welcome to the forum and I echo @Will 's comments. My philosophy is also to keep everything in one ZK.

  • Hi ajr! I'm also a Ph.D. student in humanities, and currently I'm preparing for my comps, that's why I'm looking for an efficient tool to help me navigate through the heavy-load readings. I just started to explore The Archive today, but hopefully, I can figure out the way to embed it into my everyday working procedure. Cheers!

  • @Athenawn

    Also welcome to the forum! ZK is a great tool but it has a learning curve. You can dive in relatively quickly, but then you end up with a lot of questions, for which you can search this forum, read the introductory material on the ZK web site and even ask questions here on the forum. It takes some time to get experience using the system and tailoring it to your needs and the way you think and function.

    All that can detract from the task before you, that is, it can become a very pleasant distraction, but a distraction nonetheless. So my only word of caution is to not get distracted to the point of procrastination of other, more important work. And be patient with yourself and the ZK system - how to use it grows as you try out various possible aspects of the system and gain experience.

  • @GeoEng51 said:
    @Athenawn

    Also welcome to the forum! ZK is a great tool but it has a learning curve. You can dive in relatively quickly, but then you end up with a lot of questions, for which you can search this forum, read the introductory material on the ZK web site and even ask questions here on the forum. It takes some time to get experience using the system and tailoring it to your needs and the way you think and function.

    All that can detract from the task before you, that is, it can become a very pleasant distraction, but a distraction nonetheless. So my only word of caution is to not get distracted to the point of procrastination of other, more important work. And be patient with yourself and the ZK system - how to use it grows as you try out various possible aspects of the system and gain experience.

    Thank you @GeoEng51 !I confess that I did get distracted by the "pleasant distraction" a little bit, because it's so exciting to explore a new way of thinking and creation. I'll try to keep everything on track!

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