# Video example of essay factoring into my zettelkasten - The Archive

Here is a demo of the initial on-boarding of a paper/essay in my zettelkasten.

I thought this might be helpful. @davecan's skillfully written tour of the process maps onto this video pretty well, I think. He is much more technical and explicit about the mechanics. My approach is relaxed. I love @davecan's approach to titling, the references to Andy Matuschak, and really identify with the honor or lack of honor among thieves ethos.

This is a response to @Senketsu question Should notes in Literature Notes be copy and pasted when making Permanent Notes? and @davecan's detailed and excellent reply.

I'll try using @davecan's terminology to say a little more. This literature note is on its way to being evergreen. It lies on the spectrum much closer to evergreen than literature. It may get retitled, it may be a bit dodgy. I may get refactored more atomically.

This demo only goes so far.
1. There is no atomizing of the note. That may or may not come later.
2. The note is already rescheduled for review.
3. More integration is in the future.
4. Any mistakes and misrepresentations are mine alone.

References
3. paulgraham.com/procrastination.html
4. Highlighted PDF (attached)
5. Find note (attached)

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

• Thanks for sharing Will!

• One thing I didn't show was how I initially created the note. I started by creating a link on the main research hub note for my study of procrastination. This new link was the first link to this note created as I created the note from a template. It set the title. It is how I start all my notes.

Paraphrasing Andy Matuschak, when I create a zettel, I search through my hub notes for an outline that could make use of this zettel. If I don’t find a hub that fits, I start one with this zettel.

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

• Thank you for the very nice words @Will you are too kind. I'm glad my ramblings are useful to someone, and I've greatly appreciated reading your comments here for the past several months as well. This video was enjoyable to watch.

Paraphrasing Andy Matuschak, when I create a zettel, I search through my hub notes for an outline that could make use of this zettel. If I don’t find a hub that fits, I start one with this zettel.

This is very much the way I try to work as well. Not always tied from an outline, but from at least one other evergreen note. In fact I do this with literature notes as well, frequently linking directly to them not only from evergreen notes but also from hub/outline notes where it makes sense. As I accumulate more literature notes on a topic I may create more evergreen notes that encompass common principles and replace some of those hub/outline pointers to the literature notes with pointers to the new evergreen notes instead. (which in turn would point to the underlying literature notes)

Though now that you mention it I probably should start tying every evergreen note to an outline note of some kind...

• @Will, thank you for this; it's fantastic to see someone going through the process!

• @davecan said:
... I'm glad my ramblings are useful to someone

Your rambling is a mere whimper compared to my stumbling yackity-yack!

... Not always tied from an outline, but from at least one other evergreen note. In fact, I do this with literature notes as well, frequently linking directly to them not only from evergreen notes but also from hub/outline notes where it makes sense. As I accumulate more literature notes on a topic, I may create more evergreen notes that encompass common principles and replace some of those hub/outline pointers to the literature notes with pointers to the new evergreen notes instead. (which in turn would point to the underlying literature notes)

Though now that you mention it I probably should start tying every evergreen note to an outline note of some kind...

You are describing the care and feeding of your zettelkasten garden. When notes that are focused around an idea prolificate, it is time to make a hub. They become mature, and new shoots are then tended to. (I'm starting to love the garden metaphor.)

My structure/hub notes are not all outlines of atomized notes. Interspersed are idea fragments, ideas not quite fleshed out in my mind yet, reading references, some not yet refactored book quotes—all kinds of stuff, whatever makes sense.

I can't help but share an example. Some of it looks like an outline, and some it doesn't. This comes from the 400-word hub note G-Zettelkasten Hub.

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

• @bforbes said:
@Will, thank you for this; it's fantastic to see someone going through the process!

Thank you for your kind words. I was inspired to make this by @Senketsu's question "Should notes in Literature Notes be copy and pasted when making Permanent Notes?".

@ctietze also posted a whole series of videos when he processed David Epstein's book Range. Check it out. I'm in awe of his video skills. I can only aspire to one day make a pale imitation.

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

• My structure/hub notes are not all outlines of atomized notes. Interspersed are idea fragments, ideas not quite fleshed out in my mind yet, reading references, some not yet refactored book quotes—all kinds of stuff, whatever makes sense.

This is EXACTLY how I do this as well.

There are no sacred cows in this game – if it improves knowledge acquisition and retention and recovery then it is fair game, no matter how messy it may seem to someone else.

• Nice. I do it in a very similar way. (This is basically creating an excerpt which is a skill teached in history early on in Germany because it helps to digest difficult articles)

I am a Zettler

• @Will said:

Thank you for your kind words. I was inspired to make this by @Senketsu's question "Should notes in Literature Notes be copy and pasted when making Permanent Notes?".

Feels like you've identified a theme here about vulnerability and sharing and also the enhancement of the community's ability to connect ideas, not just individuals!

• Thank you @Will ! Great video!
I'll have a look at PDF Expert since I'm looking for an easy way to export the highlights from PDF to Markdown on mobile.

• @IvanFerrero, thank you for your kind words. PDf expert is available on desktop and mobile. Unfortunately you have to buy it on both platforms to get all the functionality.

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

• Will, I am very impressed, not just by the technicalities of your note-workflow, but even more by your modest, honest and questioning approach to the contents you are dealing with. It is rare to find this blend of humbleness, constructive, good-"will"ed attitude and striking competence! Thank you, you are my human role model!

• @Will Hey, thanks for the follow-up. Your video perfectly answered the question of my post. The comments on that post were great, but I understood the process better thanks to this. Thank you so much!

• @Will Also I noted that you're interested in Dzogchen; I've been studying insight meditation in the Zen tradition but have been thinking about exploring Dzogchen for a while now. Do you use the Waking Up app?

• @bforbes I come to Dzogchen from a Zen background. These two contemplative traditions are complimentary. I can recommend Quintessential Dzogchen: Confusion Dawns as Wisdom
by Tulku Urgyen 2006. Urgyen Rinpoche is the teacher Sam credits with his understanding. I do use the Waking Up app. As you've noticed, I incorporate many of my glimpses into the nature of reality as ideas into my archive.

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

• edited March 22

@Will Great video. One step that I didn't know was exporting highlights from PDF Expert - that was value all by itself! I see it works for inserted comments as well. So - between the two (highlighting and inserted comments) - a great way to track your fleeting thoughts about an article and prepare them for import into a zettel.

• @Will said:
@bforbes I come to Dzogchen from a Zen background. These two contemplative traditions are complimentary. I can recommend Quintessential Dzogchen: Confusion Dawns as Wisdom
by Tulku Urgyen 2006. Urgyen Rinpoche is the teacher Sam credits with his understanding. I do use the Waking Up app. As you've noticed, I incorporate many of my glimpses into the nature of reality as ideas into my archive.

Yes, I noticed- and totally agree that the traditions are complementary! Thanks for sharing.

• edited March 30

Great video, Will, very helpful for this ZK noob to see how you do it and hear your thought process.

Also, helpful to see the tools you use. They look very useful.

And speaking of tools......

Can you list the various tools you used in your video?

Besides web browser, I mostly use MS Office (Word, Excel, PPT, Outlook).

Now realizing there's a whole other world of software productivity tools out there that I've not been aware of and would like to start using......

Wish there was a 'ZK academy' out there that I could attend and get up to speed on all these things! If there is one, let me know, I'm ready to sign up!

In meantime, spending time at this forum site is tremendously helpful.

Thank you!

Mark

Post edited by ArchiMark on
• Mark,

Thank you for your kind words.

Can you list the various tools you used in your video?

The Archive - my zettel repository (macOS only)
PDF Expert - PDF Markup tool (Most any PDF reader will work)
Keyboard Maestro - macro tool (Autokey on Windows might work for similar functionality)
Mail - email reader for the newsletter that started this whole thing.
Screen-o-matic - tool for creating the screencast.

Besides web browser, I mostly use MS Office (Word, Excel, PPT, Outlook).

Now realizing there's a whole other world of software productivity tools out there that I've not been aware of and would like to start using......

You might try Obsidian or Zettlr if you choose to stick with Windows. Both have a learning curve, but this should not be a problem if you can navigate MS Office.

In the meantime, spending time at this forum site is tremendously helpful.

Yes, I agree. @ctietze and @sfast do a great job keeping the tone "tremendously helpful."

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

• Will,

Thank you for sharing all the info and input. Appreciate it!

Good to know about the tools you use.

Best,

Mark

• Thank you for your video! This type of example is exactly what I’ve been trying to find. There is so much great information on this site, but I’m at the point where “a picture is worth a thousand words.” SEEING how it’s done put meat on the bones for me. I hope you (or any other experienced individuals) will continue to make these tutorials.

• Thank you, @laughingmarbles, for your kind words and encouragement. I'm swimming in the deep end with end-of-term essays and reading. Only 3 more weeks! Then ...

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