Zettelkasten Forum

I'm confused. Help getting started.

I am confused about the Zettle.

Do the quotes and passages from books belong in their own Zettlekasten, separate from my own thinking?

Or do I add the citation and my thinking to the prompt as part of my Zettlekasten, like this: https://zettelkasten.de/posts/baseline-zettelkasten-software-reviews/201403291138_example.png


  • I'm using just a single Zettelkasten ("filing cabinet") for all zettels (notes).

    But within the one Zettelkasten I sometimes have zettels with just quotes or citations on them. And sometimes I'm mixing quotes and citations and my own thoughts on the same zettel.

  • Thanks, ralfw!

    Do you keep a separate bibliography?

  • edited January 2019

    No, not in general.

    If I create a zettel I add bibliographical information as needed. Maybe the zettel revolves around a subject where two books, a print article, and several web articles are relevant. I then include references to all of them in the zettel.

    But then I also create zettels regarding just one book or article. If this source later is pertinent to another zettel, I include a reference to its zettel.

    Sometimes, though, there might be a zettel which is dedicated to just bibliographic references regarding a certain topic.

    And sometimes I realize I've referenced a source several times. Then I might extract it to a zettel of its own - and redirect the references in several zettels to that new zettel.

    Maybe that all sounds complicated - but to me it's right the opposite ;-) I'm trying not to overthink how to create zettels. I let patterns emerge and the re-structure part of my zettelkasten (maybe). Or just do things differently from then on forward.

  • @ralfw pointed out some principles already: Zettel notes should be sufficiently self-contained so they stay portable and don't become useless when for example your external reference manager file gets corrupted and all its data is lost. How much info you want to enter is up to you, really, but this principle of self-containment is very useful.

    I markup my notes with MultiMarkdown and use BibDesk to manage my references. I copy short MultiMarkdown-compatible reference links from there into my Zettel, like in this quote:

    And the underlying BibTeX record (that's the plain-text format BibDesk uses to store its file data):

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

  • There is a very good book which is worth a read in my opinion.

    'How to Take Smart Notes'

    by Sönke Ahrens

    ISBN - 10: 154 286 6502
    ISBN - 13: 978 - 154 286 6507

    Available on Amazon.

    Hope this helps.

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