Zettelkasten Forum


Structure notes and second brain

Hello!

I just watched the following video and it gave me the feeling that they are rediscovering the use of a structure note to manage all the notes and information of a project within a second brain.

What do you think? Do you use structure notes in your second brain? Or just for your Zettelkasten?

Comments

  • Yes, what @nickmilo22 calls maps of content are essentially what are called structure notes here at zettelkasten.de. But I wouldn't say that Nick is "rediscovering the use of a structure note", because the underlying design pattern predates both names. As long as digital hypertext has existed (i.e. since the 1980s), it has been possible to create such maps, and, of course, there are analogues for such maps in the world of paper.

    I don't think Tiago's use of the term "second brain" is starkly separate from the meaning of "Zettelkasten", as this video shows. In the video, Tiago starts to create Zettel-like notes linked from his literature notes, so there is some overlap between the two concepts. (Sascha starkly differentiates "second brain" and "Zettelkasten" in his post "Combining the Zettelkasten Method and Building a Second Brain", but Tiago hasn't made such a systematic differentiation; Tiago's more vague conception of "second brain" could potentially include ZKM techniques.)

    It was fun to watch these two YouTube gurus mess around at such a rudimentary level. They made me feel like a genius! 😝

  • edited January 31

    Yes, I use them, but seldom in the form they are often presented.

    Rarely in my system I have a structure note made all and only of links. I prefer adding some context to them.

    More frequently, I've a note that is half a textual note and the other half is made of few groups of links.

    For example this is a partial view of my "Zettelkasten Note". It has both the roles of giving a high-level-view and structuring the zettelkasten note cluster (but it doesn't contain links for all the notes about zettelkasten).

    It's not a structure note, maybe, but it behaves like a structure notes

    I have sometimes notes that are more similar to classic structure notes, anyway.

    I don't build them "following rules" according to a pre-existing design, they grow organically day by day.
    So, the "index note" about zettelkasten become very different during time from the "index note" about photography.

  • @Andy said:
    But I wouldn't say that Nick is "rediscovering the use of a structure note", because the underlying design pattern predates both names.

    I agree with you, I didn't mean "rediscover" with a bad connotation. What I meant to express was that it was a kind of convergent evolution of the two methods due to, as you say, an underlying design pattern.

    I don't think Tiago's use of the term "second brain" is starkly separate from the meaning of "Zettelkasten", as this video shows.

    I also had that feeling when I watched the video.

    It was fun to watch these two YouTube gurus mess around at such a rudimentary level. They made me feel like a genius! 😝

    Me too :^)

    @andang76 I'm sorry, but I didn't understand the context of that note. Is that note part of your second brain (PARA) or your Zettelkasten?

  • Now, I am trying to improve project management in my second brain. And I think using a structure note to facilitate this work might make a lot of sense.

    But in this case, using a structure note would be pretty similar to using a TaskPaper document as @Sascha does here: https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/2643/separating-task-management-and-project-managament

  • edited January 31

    @FernandoNobel said:

    @andang76 I'm sorry, but I didn't understand the context of that note. Is that note part of your second brain (PARA) or your Zettelkasten?

    I don't know :D
    I mean, I don't use a system that can be identified as a full-featured PARA, or a full-featured Zettelkasten.
    I have goal oriented notes and concept/idea/... notes, but they don't belong to two different systems.

    Figuring both models, I think that it could be used in both. In both you can need something that gives local structures to your note system.
    Suppose you have a project, writing a book about zettekasten, that note could be the main reference note for the subject or theory of your book you have acquired (or you need to acquire) before writing the book.

    Post edited by andang76 on
  • @Andy said:
    Yes, what @nickmilo22 calls maps of content are essentially what are called structure notes here at zettelkasten.de. But I wouldn't say that Nick is "rediscovering the use of a structure note", because the underlying design pattern predates both names. As long as digital hypertext has existed (i.e. since the 1980s), it has been possible to create such maps, and, of course, there are analogues for such maps in the world of paper.

    The history of structure notes is: They organically emerged out of me pushing the boundaries of my ZK. In hindsight, I might have re-invented the wheel. However, it is not the act of creating headlines etc. that is the interesting part, but the correspondence of the underlying knowledge structures that is the interesting part. :)

    I am a Zettler

  • @Sascha, I agree that it's very compelling that you independently discovered structure notes. It points to what @FernandoNobel above called "a kind of convergent evolution". An early example of Zettelkasten software that had an analogue of structure notes was NoteCards (early 1980s), which called them "browser cards". I would bet that neither Sascha nor Nick had heard of browser cards, but they all convergently evolved to analogous structures.

  • @Andy Many thanks for that link.

    You won your bet. :D

    I am not surprised at all that there are such examples, since there is a Systemnotwendigkeit (~ Set Point?). My claim is: There is an objective (real) structure of knowledge, and we can approximate to it.

    I am a Zettler

  • @Sascha, I agree that it is useful to assume something like a Systemnotwendigkeit. As Mario Bunge would put it: if we assume that all things are systems or components of systems, then our knowledge should also be systemic.

    About structure notes (or whatever one wants to call them), the basic structural problem and various solutions were also clearly stated in: Stephen Davies, Javier Velez-Morales, & Roger King (2005), Building the memex sixty years later: trends and directions in personal knowledge bases, technical report CU-CS-997-05, Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, pages 21–22:

    Although graphs are a strict superset of trees, trees offer some important advantages in their own right: simplicity, familiarity, ease of navigation, and the ability to conceal details at any level of abstraction. Indeed, the problem of “disorientation” in hypertext navigation ([Conklin 1987], [Mantei 1982]) largely disappears with the tree model; one is never confused about “where one is” in the larger structure, because traversing the parent hierarchy gives the context of the larger surroundings. For this reason, several graph-based systems have incorporated special support for trees as well, to combine the advantages of both approaches.

    We have already seen one example of this with concept mapping techniques: a generally hierarchical paradigm is prescribed, after which users are encouraged to identify “crosslinks” between distant concepts. When systems using the mind mapping paradigm permit arbitrary relationships between nodes, they are taking the same path.

    One of the earliest systems to combine tree and graph primitives was TEXTNET [Trigg and Weiser 1986], which featured two types of nodes: “chunks” (which contained content to be browsed and organized) and “table of contents” nodes (or “tocs”). Any node could freely link to any other, permitting an unrestricted graph. But a group of tocs could be combined to form a tree-like hierarchy that bottomed out in various chunk nodes. In this way, any number of trees could be superimposed upon an arbitrary graph, allowing it to be viewed and browsed as a tree, with all the requisite advantages. (FN7: Strictly speaking, a network of tocs formed a DAG (directed acyclic graph) rather than a tree. This simply means that a “chunk” could be represented in multiple places in the tree, if two different traversal paths ended up referring to the same chunk. We will revisit this when discussing transclusion, below; a DAG is essentially the result of applying transclusion to the tree model. This is also true of NoteCards.) NoteCards [Halasz, et al. 1987] offered a similar mechanism, using “FileBoxes” as the tree component that was overlaid upon the semantic network of notecards.

    Brown University’s IGD project explored various ways to combine and display unrestricted graphs with hierarchy, and used a visual metaphor of spatial containment to convey both graph and tree structure [Feiner 1988]. Their notion of “link inheritance” simplifies the way in which complex dual structures are displayed while still faithfully depicting their overall trends. Commercially, both PersonalBrain [TheBrain 2005] and Multicentrix [Koy 1997] provide explicit support for parent/child relationships in addition to arbitrary connections between elements, allowing tree and graph notions to coexist. Some note-taking tools, while essentially tree-based, also permit crosslinks between notes (e.g., [MicroLogic 2005], [WJJ 2005]).

  • This is my second brain:

    Like the first one, it doesn't do anything.

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

  • @ZettelDistraction said:

    This is my second brain: [...] Like the first one, it doesn't do anything.

    Throw some structure notes in there and watch what happens!

  • edited February 1

    @Andy said:
    Throw some structure notes in there and watch what happens!

    While I was throwing structure notes into the vat...

    My first brain fell in with the second one

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

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

  • @ZettelDistraction haha! At least you know that there is a separation between your two brains. I don't even know where my second brain begins and ends or whether it is just a subset of my Zettelkasten or the opposite.

  • @andang76 said:
    @ZettelDistraction , is that beer? :D

    No beer--I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs, but I admit to a Zettelkasten addiction.

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

  • I've just viewed the video, nothing... sensational in my opinion. Even banal :-)

    It's a simple tecnique that can be used to form a structure note from a cluster of notes.
    The possibility of arrange links in a note is one of the most important issue that it makes me prefer handmade structure notes instead of using backlinking.

  • @ZettelDistraction said:

    No beer--I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs, but I admit to a Zettelkasten addiction.

    Hi, my name is Andy, and I'm a Zettelkasten addict too.

    I think we just founded the first chapter of ZETTELKASTEN ADDICTS ANONYMOUS (ZAA).

    Perhaps the "Share with us what is happening in your ZK this week" posts can double as weekly ZAA meetings.

  • edited February 7

    @Andy said:
    @ZettelDistraction said:

    No beer--I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs, but I admit to a Zettelkasten addiction.

    Hi, my name is Andy, and I'm a Zettelkasten addict too.

    I think we just founded the first chapter of ZETTELKASTEN ADDICTS ANONYMOUS (ZAA).

    Perhaps the "Share with us what is happening in your ZK this week" posts can double as weekly ZAA meetings.

    I have taken the liberty of doing so, under the acronym ZAAPS, for Zettelkasten Addicts Anonymous Psychological Support group. I hope you don't mind. I'm willing to use the abbreviated acronym ZAA. Or this could be an occasion for internecine battles over naming, in keeping with the long and venerable history of power struggles that afflict such organizations. The possibility of the support group erupting into a dispute over ZAA versus ZAAPS and splintering into two factions is illustrated below.

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

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

  • What was the prompt and tool to get that :)

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

  • @ctietze said:
    What was the prompt and tool to get that :)

    I use ChatGPT4 (it uses DALL-E). There were a series of prompts. It frequently takes a series of prompts that successively create the context for the desired image. In this case, there were five prompts. The first prompt concerned the development of the ZAAPS acronym. I came up with the "PS" portion after ChatGPT offered a few possibilities.

    The second prompt was

    Draw an illustration of a meeting of the members of ZAAPS in which I make the following confession: " As a duly sworn member of Zettelkasten Addicts Anonymous Psychological Support group (ZAAPS), I admit to not taking notes with pen and paper nearly enough. As Leslie Lamport said, "If you think without writing, you only think you're thinking." This week, I am forcing myself to take notes with pen and paper."

    That led to the illustration in @Will's Share with us what is happening in your ZK this week. January 28, 2024.

    The third prompt was an excerpt from this thread:

    Thank you. Here is a discussion on the Zettelkasten.de forum between myself, ZettelDistraction, and forum user Andy. Please analyze.

    @ZettelDistraction said:

    @Andy said:
    @ZettelDistraction said:

    No beer--I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs, but I admit to a Zettelkasten addiction.

    [The rest is not shown here--you can find it up-thread.]

    The fourth prompt was for an illustration I haven't shown--until now. The prompt was

    Please illustrate a potential conflict over the alternative names ZAA and ZAAPS during a meeting of the Zettelkasten Addicts support group.

    The result was

    The fifth prompt for the illustration with the old-fashioned Zettelkasten was the following polite request.

    Please include an old-fashioned wooden zettelkasten with drawers in the meeting, during which the dispute over naming erupts, with the possible splintering of the Zettelkasten Addicts group into ZAA and ZAAPS.

    That illustration might be the first example of correct spelling in a ChatGPT4-generated image.

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

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