# Hierarchical Branched Note Taking and The Archive App(is topography important?)

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• @pseudoevagrius said:

In the same way that I have entry points in my zettelkasten, these are names that I look for when browsing the forums.

This may be the most this-forum specific compliment possible. Immensely proud to be on this list, thank you.

• I really like your approach and tend to apply it to my – still tiny but growing – Zettelkasten. However, I don't seem to get the sorting right:

How did you achieve it to get

{1}
{1,1}
{1,1,a}
{1,2}

listed in that order? Neither in The Archive nor KM I manage to achieve that sort order.

@argonsnorts said:
I will respectfully disagree with @Will here and offer a counterpoint.

For the last few months I have been experimenting with a hybrid approach: using "Luhmann-numbering" to organize (structure) my notes, each of which is still assigned with the time-stamp-style Unique Identifier. I end up with notes titled as follows: 202003021623 {2,2,a,1 } The post-Kantian willful self became apparent in 1800s.txt

The use of curly-brackets and comma-separated digits and letters in the Luhmann-number sequences facilitates the KM macros I use to find, sort, and auto-update a full or partial index of these Luhmann-numbered files.

Searching for just an open curly-bracket gives me the full index:

Searching for a few numbers/digits in a sequence gives me a subset:

Pressing enter in this macro automatically appends a list of the selected notes, in order, in what I call my "operating index" file. At the top of the file, I have links to a few key "entry points" into the system (as Luhmann did). At the bottom of the file is where the full or partial list of files is automatically appended. It's where I can get a look at the the "topography" of my notes, as you put it, either as a full index or as a list of a subset of notes that I am currently working on.

This effectively just me experimenting with a different kind of "structure note," one with a bit more structure incorporated. I found that structure notes without Luhmann numbers were becoming undifferentiated lists of notes, with no "topography," as you put it. I'm sure there are other ways of dealing with that problem (more structure notes? structure notes of structure notes?), but this is what I'm trying right now. And I will say, it's been reallllly fun.

It is important to note that these files and indexes exist totally within but are nonetheless totally distinct from the rest of my zettelkasten---which continues to exist and operate just as before. So if this experiment stops working for me, nothing is lost.

• How did you achieve it to get

{1}
{1,1}
{1,1,a}
{1,2}

For me, adding a space before the last bracket results in proper ordering, like this:

{1 }
{1,1 }
{1,1,a }
{1,2 }

• Just following up on some topics of interest after my re-entry to the forums after a period of being away - @argonsnorts do you have any updates on this method? Do you still use it productively? What has it brought you so far? Any changes you implemented?

I am a Zettler, ie 'one who zettles'
research: pragmatism, 4e cognitive science, metaphor | you can't be neutral on a moving train

• edited May 12

@John Thanks for the ping! I too have been away from the forums for a bit. (Finished my dissertation. So now it's Dr. argonsnorts, PhD )

Surprisingly, no significant updates or changes to this method. I'm still just making notes like usual and finding a place for them in the ZK.

To find a place for a new note I typically search for a key term (or two or three) to find an existing note that the new note can be said to "follow," conceptually speaking. And that's it!

So far, it's brought me the ability to see where clusters are forming, independent of my intentionally setting out to form them. For example, it turns out I have a lot of notes that begin with the sequence "{2,5,c", many (but not all) of which circle around a general topic (historical attitudes about and approaches to empiricism). I didn't set out to create a cluster on that topic, it just emerged as a result of my reading and note-taking.

Unrelated, but worth mentioning I think, is the biggest change to my ZK'ing in the last year: using emacs, zetteldeft, and org-mode as my main ZK interface. Probably a topic for a different thread, but the key points are: enhanced search using ripgrep; folding outlines, using org-mode (for literature notes, not so much for regular notes, since they are short); and easy-to-use multiple windows/frames.

• @argonsnorts said:
@John Thanks for the ping! I too have been away from the forums for a bit. (Finished my dissertation. So now it's Dr. argonsnorts, PhD )

Will Simpson
I'm a futzing, second-guessing, backtracking, compulsive oversharing, ZK-maniac, in other words, your typical zettelnant.
Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing, Cognitive Workload, Python, Data Science
kestrelcreek.com

• Yeah, congrats Dr. @argonsnorts!

Started ZK 4.2018. "The path is at your feet, see? Now carry on."

• @Will @Phil thanks! Having so much of my research archived in notes and literature notes helped keep me sane through it all. No more searching for that stray text file or (worse) that one scrap of paper, or wondering "haven't I read this article before?" The ZK just gives and gives. 😁