Zettelkasten Forum


Meet Wolff (yours truly)

I consider myself a "knowledge hoarder", and this became a problem during the years. I normally try to keep everything in my head, but knowledge does take space despite the popular saying. Back in 2013 during my Masters in Security and Peace Affairs at the University of Coimbra, and being obliged to deal with huge amount of information, I knew I needed a better plan.

I tested all the tools and systems you can imagine (including paper), tools like DevonThink and ConnectedText, but I always ended up having a pile of documents, pictures, files, and spreadsheets here and there, scattered in computers, pen drives, and boxes. A huge pile of mess one could say.

You see, I do have the capability to store a lot of information in my head, from citations to movies including the lines, but that is definitely not efficient. The problem is not to store the information, is to retrieve it. Our brain does store a lot of information, but our perception of reality can change the data, and that is a problem.

I needed a long term system, one that I could carry out for many years, and that system would need to be simpler and reliable. I started my research, and for the first time I read about the Zettelkasten system, and I thought, that's is it! It's simple, based on text and can be easily used as a hub to store and retrieve information. Text files allied with MMD have a lot of power, and that's why I am excited about this project.

Nowadays I use a combination of Nvalt, DEVONthink Pro and 1Writer, to keep everything synced. I do think that The Archive has a cleaner interface and hopefully will become the main system to keep all my information. I system developed by Brett is awesome, but it's time for something more focused, like The Archive.

Thanks, Christian and Sascha for the opportunity to be a beta.

All the Best,

Leonardo W

Comments

  • You are happily welcomed. :smiley:

  • Welcome, @wolff!

    "Knowledge hoarder", yeah, that rings a bell :) Although I hoard the mememtos to trigger the recall. But I think once you go fall the rabbit hole of wanting to learn stuff, having this condition is to be expected.

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

  • Any thoughts on the pros and cons of The Archive vs. DEVONthink, or more broadly plain text/Markdown vs. rich-text-and-everything-else, for Zettelkasten management? Plain text has lots of advantages, but I'm starting to use Tiago Forte's "progressive summarization" technique described here and I don't think it would work nearly as well without rich text formatting. Plus I want to make more use of DT's "AI" features.

  • @Eurobubba said:
    Any thoughts on the pros and cons of The Archive vs. DEVONthink, or more broadly plain text/Markdown vs. rich-text-and-everything-else, for Zettelkasten management? Plain text has lots of advantages, but I'm starting to use Tiago Forte's "progressive summarization" technique described here and I don't think it would work nearly as well without rich text formatting. Plus I want to make more use of DT's "AI" features.

    I have also been reading a lot of Tiago's work. PARA, progressive summarization, batch work. I wonder how it can all fit together with a Zettelkasten.

  • One thought I had is that progressive summarization could be a use case for Folgezettel. (Remember the Great Folgezettel War of 2015?)

  • Great post - thank you. I'd love to hear more, though, about how you integrate nvAlT/The Archive with DevonTHINK. I've been toying with the idea of starting to use that latter, but don't want to let go of my plain text Zettelkasten. Any suggestions or comments gratefully received.
    Thanks again, Wolff.

  • Cool, I don’t know much of Tiago’s stuff, yet. Could you post a few interesting links and what you think about that in a new discussion, @Eurobubba & @enzhmzy?

    DEVONThink works with plain text, too, so I wonder if you folks talk about 2 fronts here: benefits of RTF over plain text, and DEVONThinks clever search over manual labor.

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

  • Unfortunately a lot of Tiago's best thinking is behind a paywall ($5/month so not a huge expense). I included a link to one second-hand description of some of his ideas in my comment above. His free blog posts are here. He's familiar with Luhmann and knows about your work here on the Zettelkasten concept, although AFAIK he hasn't mentioned it explicitly in any of his writing.

  • Hi @jemscott, thanks for the feedback and sorry for taking so long to answer. I was using a combination of Nvalt + DTPO + 1Writer.

    At this moment, I'm transitioning to a combination of The Archive + DTPO + DT2GO (The DEVONthink app for iOS), so I keep using Nvalt as a backup while The Archive still in beta. Since I use the data every day, I want to avoid hiccups.

    The setup is fairly simple and automated, and all the input happens in The Archive.

    The Archive Workflow
    The first thing I did was create an account at box.com. You can use any cloud provider. I use Box because I had a free 50GB account and I like the interface.

    All my Zettels are stored under 2 folders:
    1. /zettelkasten (will store the Zettels)
    2. /media (will store pdf's, jpg's) related with any Zettel.

    When I need to embed a picture into a Zettel, I just paste the link from the media folder.

    The DEVONthink Workflow
    The first I did was create a Database called Zettelkasten, then I simply use the index function under File tab to index the Zettelkasten folder. When I want to do a search using DTPO I simply limited my search to the comment and use the tag I want to look for.

    The DEVONthink 2GO Workflow
    I really like this little app, especially because it will sync using guess what, Box... and now my life is easy.

    With this workflow, I keep everything in handy and I like it because I only use text. I aim for the longterm, that's why unless needed I'll always avoid any other format.

    I hope this is helpful, English is not my main language so if something slipped just let me know and I'll try to make it clearer.

    Best,

    Wolff

  • @Eurobubba said:
    One thought I had is that progressive summarization could be a use case for Folgezettel. (Remember the Great Folgezettel War of 2015?)
    @Eurobubba said:
    Any thoughts on the pros and cons of The Archive vs. DEVONthink, or more broadly plain text/Markdown vs. rich-text-and-everything-else, for Zettelkasten management? Plain text has lots of advantages, but I'm starting to use Tiago Forte's "progressive summarization" technique described here and I don't think it would work nearly as well without rich text formatting. Plus I want to make more use of DT's "AI" features.

    The idea of progressive summarization used by Tiago Forte reminds me the method used by Wittgenstein. I'm not totally aware of Tiago's methodology, yet, but when I read "RichText" and knowledge management on the same phrase, it's a red flag, needless to say, that I have a bias though.

    A little story: a loooooong time ago, I used to work as a programmer, programming in C. I was a kid, and I remember one day my boss stormed into the room saying some crazy dude from the USA invented a software that would never work and had a ridiculous name.. Windows ... some may say my boss was right .. especially if you use Mac :wink: , but a lot of things have changed, including Mr.Gates net worth, but the text I used to write code back them still works today, that's why I like text format. Perenniality

  • @wolff said:
    A little story: a loooooong time ago, I used to work as a programmer, programming in C. I was a kid, and I remember one day my boss stormed into the room saying some crazy dude from the USA invented a software that would never work and had a ridiculous name.. Windows ... some may say my boss was right .. especially if you use Mac :wink: , but a lot of things have changed, including Mr.Gates net worth, but the text I used to write code back them still works today, that's why I like text format. Perenniality

    This story is gold :smile:

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