Zettelkasten Forum


The way one writes zettels evolves – how to approach?

When watching @ctietze and @sfast discussing Zettelkasten in their videos and also reading here on the forum, it seems like the way you start writing your zettels isn't the same way you structure them after 1, 3, 5 years. Both your style and the metadata might change.

What lessons can you longtimers share to make this evolution over time as smooth as possible when one are about to start?

Comments

  • If you switched to a plaintext-approach already: Don't give a fuck. I change the style along the use of my archive. :smile: It is not complicated.

  • @sfast said:
    If you switched to a plaintext-approach already: Don't give a fuck. I change the style along the use of my archive. :smile: It is not complicated.

    Do you return to old notes and change the structure for your metadata?

  • I've made changes to the structure/formatting of my notes at least two or three times over the years. Each time, I came up with regular expressions that captured those those changes and then used BBEdit to apply them to my whole notes folder. Much better than changing hundreds or thousands of notes by hand. :smile:

    As @sfast put so delicately: If you are already using plain text files for your notes, they are so much easier to work with, and making batch changes is much easier than if the notes were trapped in some kind of proprietary format. If you are not already familiar with regular expressions, situations such as these are a great opportunity for getting your feet wet with them. It's a pretty useful skill to have. And if you got stuck, I'm sure someone here would be happy to help you out.

  • Never thought about the possibility to batch process using regex! Thanks.

  • edited July 16

    I'd focus on the links between notes, primarily. Create structured notes as you work on specific topics, linking nodes together in clusters or hubs. I think the idea behind structural notes, as blogged about here is very useful.

    The genius behind the original Zettelkasten, Niklas Luhmann, said that it was unavoidable that some notes would be lost, never to emerge again from the archive. The most crucial, he emphasized, was to link notes together: only through links can notes surface again -- that was probably more true with the tangible Zettelkasten with slips of paper, now we have full text search. Anyway, links are were it's at.

  • @thoresson said:

    @sfast said:
    If you switched to a plaintext-approach already: Don't give a fuck. I change the style along the use of my archive. :smile: It is not complicated.

    Do you return to old notes and change the structure for your metadata?

    I do it on the fly. When I use an older note I change it.

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