# Zettelkasten Forum

edited May 2019

The Zettelkasten note-taking method has made book writing and writing scientific papers easy for hundreds of years already.

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• Say more about the process of leaving timestamps in your notes. I feel like this may suggest further clarity around how notes ought to be handled, etc.

• Thanks for the tip. I often edit, commentate on, or add to notes. I never, till now, considered that I might what to know the chronology of the changes to a note. I can see now where I might. Added a date stamp is a great addition to my workflow. In fact I just made a macro that easily inserts the date. Could be a feature request too.

Thanks for the pointer to Heinrich von Kleist. Interesting.

Will Simpson
“Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
kestrelcreek.com

• Regarding Kleist: There's a summary for reference on German and French Wikipedia: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Über_die_allmähliche_Verfertigung_der_Gedanken_beim_Reden

@Will: Originally, I went overboard on this. I tried to treat notes as immutable. Once "done", I wouldn't add content to them but instead create a duplicate and put the changes there, leaving a link between versions. This manual version control of notes didn't pay off as long as I tried. Cannot recommend. I got this idea from my favorite article of Douglas Barone about PKM: he links to the Literature & Latte forums where AmberV talks about Boswell, e.g.:

After about a quarter of a year of steady usage I did finally get it. It’s strange not being able to delete things, profoundly. You make a mistake, you want to get rid of it. But Boswell rightly asks, why?

Try not to delete stuff you don't like anymore; keep it in your archive. But manual version control, don't try that at home It's a pain to implement and undoing it is even worse. Try daily git commits instead for automatic version control.

@micahredding I don't annotate every change to my notes, because that doesn't make sense most of the time. I do leave timestamps when I want to track historical events, like in the example from the blog post. I treat these like notes written in the margins of a book and use a human-readable form, like 2019-05-15. If I find I want to link to the comment itself and insert an ID -- then I stop and reconsider, since that indicates the comment is a good candidate for a new commentary note.

I find myself in a weird situation here: I anticipate e.g. zealous people new to the method to now put timestamps everywhere. This is no hidden trick. I just did this a couple of times for some reason. That's part of the organic development of the note archive. And since it's all digital, I can cut the timestamped comment from note A and put it into a new note B and then link both. I don't think it makes sense for the note on von Kleist's concept. I want the note itself to be searchable for the words I put in there. It's less "clean" or "pure" than creating a new note with all the searchable words and then linking to the von Kleist note. But it's pragmatic. It does the job. I found the note

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

• @ctietze Yes, you've pegged me right. I'm one of the " zealous people" you refer to. Trying to be more relaxed. I don't want full version control. I want to free to edit and comment and split notes at will. Just putting a timestamp on an added comment now and then is enough version control for me. My Zettelkasten is a knowledge tool and I have enough on my plate with tracking and developing current knowledge to be worried about what I used to consider in previous versions. My motto is "Be Bayesian" update thinking based on current knowledge and move forward.

I have to say that this is one of the KeyStone features of this forum, the fact that @sfast and you push for the "organic development of the note archive." I've taken this to heart and liking where this is going. Thanks, both you.

Will Simpson
“Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
kestrelcreek.com