Zettelkasten Forum

Hopeful Theorist

I am a veteran note creator of several decades. I wrote many (management) books and articles on 3” x 5” cards; eventually transitioning to digital devices: HP 100LX; Palm Pilot; Psion; Casio; iPaq; you name it! On the desktop, I deployed apps such as Ecco Pro, Info Select, and other do-it-all PIMs, followed by DEVONThink, NVAlt, and a misguided detour into Evernote (I was one of their beta testers and early evangelists but came running back to plain text). Among many other apps, I have dabbled with Ulysses, Bear, Tinderbox, and Notebooks. And I still tinker with The Brain (and OneNote and Scrivener) for visually interconnected content. But I remain convinced of the power of plain text and its universally accessible ubiquity.

I still have file boxes of 3x5 cards that I am slowly transcribing into digital form. I was prolific in my youth. So there is a fair amount to wade through. Fortunately, in middle age, I am a disciplined editor, so I can rapidly and ruthlessly cull the chaff.

Now a scholar of human development, based in the U.S., I am a grand theorist whose interests span multiple disciplines. My Ph.D. dissertation focused on reconciling disparate psychological theories. I am particularly drawn to "re-discovering," synthesizing, and integrating much of the holistic, explanatory theoretical work from the early to mid-20th century that has since been ignored or forgotten in favor of the academy's present penchant for research that is reductionistic, experimental, or empirical -- examining disjointed slivers of organic human processes.

My text notes number in excess of ten thousand. My bibliographic database (Bookends) weighs in at well over six thousand references. Information management (as is probably evident from the foregoing) has been a life-long pre-occupation and frenemy.

I wish I could remember everything I already have read, thought, and recorded. And then easily integrate and synthesize all that knowledge intelligently on an on-going basis. But I fail at this. Miserably.

As I keep learning, my challenge is remembering and integrating what I already have gathered. So I am now reading more about Luhmann and the Zettelkasten Method and thinking about how this all fits with the systems for information I have evolved over the years.

While I have tried (too) many writing and information management applications, I have become convinced that plain text files -- accessible to any application of my choice at any time (via Dropbox or some other widely accessible platform) -- is of paramount import to my information creation, collection, and storage.

I am delighted to have landed here at the Zettelkasten site. I look forward to using The Archive and participating in and learning from this community.



  • Welcome, Don! Guess you'll feel right at home here :) I have a knack for curious setups, so if you can one day share some pictures of your old notes and how you worked with them, that'd be cool!

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

  • It's great to hear your about your background @DrBop . You're a generation ahead of me and I really do appreciate the perspective on Personal Information/Knowledge Management. Thanks for sharing.

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