# How to approach an "updated stance" in your Zettelkasten?

Hello Zettelkasten friends,

Say you have accumulated a lot of notes from different books. But after reading the primary sources rather than the books, you now have a different view as compared to your existing atomic notes where you just relied on an author's interpretation.

Do you:

• Create a new one and link to the existing?
• Create structure note that generalizes both?
• Do both #2 and #3?

Thanks!

• The most honest answer: A mix of everything.

I don't have to do this often in my day-to-day stuff, so the most vivid instance of an update like this is at Unviersity when I read stuff by Kant and couldn't understand half of what was going on. It was then that I began to notice, but not quite realize in full, that 'atomic' concept definitions can survive change much better than mushy notes about a lot of things at the same time. I didn't understand Kant's definition, sometimes I couldn't even figure out what was supposed to be the section that defined a concept. So I started with secondary sources. I collected some of them, and sometimes I noticed a common theme that finally got me started thinking and eventually I could recognize the definition in the original (more like: find similar words in the original and look around for a while). -- And sometimes in the process I had to revise my understanding.

It can be more work with interpretative pieces of text. If you read author A and B and C in that order, and after each author process all the notes, you would be recreating A's perspective first, then B's perspective wouldn't fit and you would have to change the absolutes to relatives, and then C comes along and makes everything worse. -- Old links that relied on the absolute stance of your notes after you read author A would require revision, too. There's many approaches to deal with this, but here's one for illustration:

2. You create note 111111 The one true meaning of bananas
3. You link to 111111 from another note
5. You realize you need to revise your note but at the same time don't want to break links; so
• You rename the note to 111111 Meanings of bananas
• You extract author A's definition into 222222 Meaning of bananas Author A and leave a link 111111→222222
• You create author B's definition in 333333 Meaning of bananas Author B and link 111111→333333
• You leave existing links as they are

You could adjust step 5 to update links from 111111 to 222222, or change the link context from referring to A's definition to referring to your structure note about definitions.

You could also adjust step 5 by leaving 111111 as it is and make 222222 the structure note. That works best if you are certain that you meant to refer to author A's definition exclusively. This works less well if you realize you meant to refer to a general definition of the concept.

I imagine a large Wikipedia page like Freedom. If you know nothing about the term/concept, you would start anywhere. Over time, you can differentiate between what Wikipedia calls 'personal and social' and 'physical' etc. -- Once you realize there's so many different meanings, you will eventually need to update your links to clarify where you merely want to point to 'freedom' in general, and where you talk about 'physical freedom' etc.; if you don't do that, understanding a link eventually becomes guesswork.

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

• @alcantal said:
Do you:

• Create a new one and link to the existing?
• Create structure note that generalizes both?
• Do both #2 and #3?

Yes. When I can be bothered!

• @ctietze If I got it correctly, then the context of the "old" note must remain and these kind of conflicting (or interfering?) stances should form a web of some sorts. It's far more simple than the options I had thought of! Thanks

@MartinBB said:
Yes. When I can be bothered!

But we're always uninterruptible...