Zettelkasten Forum

Storing fleeting and literature notes

Where do you store fleeting notes and literature notes before turning them into permanent notes in The Archive?



  • Fleeting notes are generally paper, scraps, post-it notes etc. I use a notebook, but the majority of my fleeting notes end up stuck to the soles of my shoes.

    GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0. Problems worthy of attack / prove their worth by hitting back. -- Piet Hein.

  • @rishabh said:
    Where do you store fleeting notes and literature notes before turning them into permanent notes in The Archive?

    Fleeting notes are, well, fleeting. Keep them in whatever temporary storage container / medium that you want and toss them later.

    Literature notes - well, what do you mean by that? The term means something different to different people. Some people manage them using Zotero or similar, with a link in their permanent notes (zettels). Others just incorporate them into the body of their zettels. Others (like me) quote the most relevant parts and then include a reference to source at the end of each zettel.

    It all depends on what the term means to you and what works best for you.

  • Notes considered fleeting are just that, here today, gone tomorrow. I try to get rid of them before they ferment, stinking up the place. It bothers the wife. The recycling bin is their final resting place.

    The one exception is digital notes and highlights. I import them into The Archive and use them as scaffolding for editing.

    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.

  • @rishabh said:
    Where do you store fleeting notes and literature notes before turning them into permanent notes in The Archive?

    The workflow that I have put together for my doctoral thesis has two steps:

    Step 1. Reading and taking work notes (or "fleeting" as you call them). I take notes in an A5 notebook with 320 numbered pages, which is the equivalent of my obsidian vault, but on an analog level. There I write by hand, make diagrams and underline what will later become a permanent note or feed one of them.

    Since the notebook has an index and the pages are numbered, in the index I place the title of the source, authors and year of publication, and the beginning and end pages of the notes. At the same time, I also include these data as metadata of the digital notes.

    Regarding the type of source of this step, if what I am reading is a scientific article, I go through them one by one. After reading and taking work notes, I move on to the next step. But if what I am reading is a book, I go to the next step by chapters. At the end of the chapter I jump to step 2 and after this I return to step 1 of the next chapter.

    Step 2. I go to obsidian and there yes, with my own words and neatly linking, I feed already existing notes in my doctoral vault or create new notes that I understand significant; emphasizing the criterion of passing my thoughts and contributions on a matter to them and not transcribing information for the mere fact of collecting data.

    From an "economic" point of view, it seems to me that the result has been very good since: (a) I have speeded up reading times a lot by being more concentrated and with fewer internal interruptions caused by going from reading to sophisticated note writing and (b) I think the system turns out to be much more parsimonious by incorporating only relevant and highly processed information.

    Regarding the literary notes, I usually write them down in the analogical process of the notebook and go digital only if it is essential, placing it in a highly contextualized way.

    I'd love to know if anyone else follows a workflow similar to mine and if they think I'm doing well with this method.

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