Zettelkasten Forum


Hi there, I am Christian, a researcher from Germany with a focus on climate change. I have been following this forum for a while - I think the folks here seem particularly nice, so I registered today.

I have been following a rather loose approach to the Zettelkasten for a couple of years, mixing all kinds of notes (reading notes, technical documentation, meeting notes, various lists, ...) in one folder. More recently, I started to follow the rigorous approach advocated by Luhmann and pruned the "core Zettelkasten" to only research-specific Zettels. Much better (i.e. focused) now.

After using Emacs for my Zettelkasten for years (I adapted Deft mode to the workflow Sascha and Christian propose), I found the searching does not scale well (and I was tinkering constantly), and I effortlessly switched the The Archive. One of the great benefits of a tool-agnostic approach!

But I wish, The Archive would support multiple folders at the same time in different windows - that way I could maintain different topical Zettelkästen more easily, without having to close and switch folders every time.

Keep up the good work and all the best! Cheers, Christian


  • Hi Christian,

    welcome to the community!

    I have all my thinking in my archive (personal thoughts, dream diary, scientific work, etc.). No problem at all. Can you elaborate what the source of your problems of having a "totalen Zettelkasten" was?

    I think this problem feeds directly into your feature request. It's a strange problem to seperate some things in the Zettelkasten. I wouldn't seperate topical domains and create different archive. They can benefit from each other (like Luhmann had jokes, thoughts on his Zettelkasten, systems theory, history and more in his Z).

    But there will be something similar implemented you asked for. It is about having more than one window and being able to only have a specific selection of notes in one window. :smile:

    Best to You

    I am a Zettler

  • The main problem of the "totaler Zettelkasten" (what a term!) occurred when trying to get some connections out of it using statistical approaches. I am using a concordance-based similarity analysis (in R) to find related notes. Here, I am most interested in connections related to my research questions, not so much in relations to other notes and lists. I.e., the signal/noise ratio is narrower with topical separation. But while writing this, I start thinking about just filtering out specific tags before concordance analysis... BTW if "The Archive" one day supported external scripts for creating custom filter views... ;-)

  • Welcome to the club! :)

    BTW if "The Archive" one day supported external scripts for creating custom filter views

    Please elaborate, that sounds potentially interesting :)

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • edited April 2018

    Sure: consider I am looking at Zettel 201804251452. Now I want to know which notes are similar to this note because I used similar words in similar frequencies. I have a script that takes "201804251452" as input and spits out a list of Zettel IDs that refer to similar Zettels according to my analyses*. This is not search in a strict sense, but some kind of external filtering via text mining. It would be awesome for The Archive to accept external filters like this one and make the filtered list accessible like any other search from the search bar to be able to quickly skim the results.

    *Basically, a bit like the "magical hat" in DevonThink, but with a transparent and customisable approach (in fact, I had been using DevonThink's "AI" for a while to this end, but switched to Linux for a couple of years and wanted similar functionality).

  • When scripting support is added, that should work (like piping the request through your command to produce a list of notes). Looking forward to see your script when that's ready :)

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • Great, that's good to hear. So I polish my script to have it ready for sharing once that feature is available.

  • How many notes do you have?

    I am a Zettler

  • Definitively not enough to justify this level of obsession :) At this stage, it's more about "structured procrastination", I guess... But the described method seems to work fine with a few hundred notes.

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