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[Zettel feedback] Endnotes require direct access via chapter marks

edited November 2022 in Critique my Zettel

Wanted to share another note, but the book didn't have usable endnotes, so I found myself writing about a prerequisite to making good endnotes instead.

  • I found the direct access/sequential access distinction interesting when I thought of how RAM works; but maybe I've stretched it too thin? In a blog post I'd remove the last subsection, but for my private cesspool I'm inclined to keep it :)

202211261601 Endnotes require direct access via chapter marks

  #endnote #usability

To make book endnotes as usable as footnotes, each page or page spread needs to show all relevant information the reader requires to find the appropriate endnote.

Paperback endnotes are usually not optimized for "direct access" (aka "random access" as in computer RAM[[202211281004]]): Endnotes are often counted from 1 on a chapter-by-chapter basis. Then the endnotes of a book will be sectioned by chapter.

Usability problem

Non-fiction paperback books usually only print the author and book title at the top of pages, so you don't have an easy way to know which chapter you're in.

Example usage of bad endnotes

If you're on page X and want to know what endnote Y is about, you need to page back until you find the beginning of the chapter, or look up the chapter's page range in the table of contents first. Then you can navigate to the approriate section in the endnotes.

Random access vs bad sequential access

"Random/direct access" would be possible if one of the page headers contained the current chapter title to make finding the appropriate section in the endnotes easier. Then you'd have all the information, the complete address, to de-reference the number Y.

If you page through the book, and simultaneously advance the endnote sections and leave a bookmark there, you would get "sequential access" that relies on a process like this.

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

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