Zettelkasten Forum

Desk view?

From my limited understanding an important part in Luhmann's workflow was being able to freely (re-) arrange the individual notes in space (i.e. on a desk) – which might (or might not) greatly enhance our visually inclined brain's capabilities to connect thoughts in new/interesting ways.

I understand that up until now that functionality isn't part of The Archive, and I suppose for good reason.
Being familiar with the roadmap, I am wondering if the described plans for a future V2.x implicitly point to the planned inclusion of a virtual desk feature to sort of mimic that stage of the creation process?

I'm also curious: How are existing The Archive users filling that functionality gap in the meantime?

Ich verzettel mich... ¯_(ツ)_/¯


  • I'm wondering the same thing.
    Is there a public roadmap?

  • edited June 2019

    Very good question, thanks for asking!

    I'm struggling with this problem as well – was hoping that @alexchabot's zkviz could help me with at least some of my visualisation issues. Being able to move zettels around freely would be an entirely new level.

  • @mvock Sure, here you go: https://zettelkasten.de/the-archive/roadmap/

    @Vinho and @depraff I think 3rd party scripts like the abovementioned zkviz are a good place to start. When the next milestone is reached, y'all be able to script and interact with the app at a totally different level, too. That should make tasks like "use zkviz to visualize all outgoing links from the current note up to 3 levels deep" much easier!

    We'll announce more concrete details for v2 when the time has come and v1 is more complete.

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

  • That should make tasks like "use zkviz to visualize all outgoing links from the current note up to 3 levels deep" much easier!

    Ty for the answers.

    Will it be easy enough for someone w/ zero coding knowledge?

    Ich verzettel mich... ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • I use my structure notes as a desktop. I use it as an outliner in the same manner I used outlines back in the day, when only windows 3.11 was available to me with word from the 17th century. :smile:

    I am a Zettler

  • edited July 2019

    @depraff said:
    an important part in Luhmann's workflow was being able to freely (re-) arrange the individual notes in space (i.e. on a desk)

    I'm starting to reckon with the possibility that no software will ever save my life—where, by "save my life" I mean "include all the necessary functionality to make knowledge-work a breeze." ;)

    The latest iteration of this reckoning is related to your question, regarding the stage of the knowledge-work process that I (and perhaps others) call "desk-topping"—that is, putting all the notes and drafts and scraps for a project out onto the table, putting them in (an) order, throwing out anything that comes across as extraneous, and compiling a cohesive draft.

    The Archive and the ZK method has seriously streamlined the stage prior to the desk-topping stage, namely, the knowledge-gathering phase of my work, and thereby vastly improved that part of my life. But as you note, The Archive (or anything else I've found) does not feature a close analog to the desktop on which Luhmann would have done his version of "desk-topping." The closest that I've found so far is exactly what @sfast suggests: the structure note.

    Given that all the prior stages of my work have been so fully enhanced and streamlined by virtue of their being digitized, it has been my natural inclination to want the next steps to be streamlined and enhanced as well, through similar digitization.

    But, per the beginning of the post, I'm starting to wonder if that inclination toward desiring a digital solution for every stage is appropriate, or justifiable.

    To be specific, I'm toying with the idea that desk-topping, for me, might always be an analog process.

    For the project I am currently working on, I have printed out all my notes, drafts, and scraps and I am in the process of reading through them and quite literally constructing a draft by hand—rearranging the pages, drawing arrows, making notes, scratching things out, rewriting sections, and sometimes, when it comes to it, using scissors, staples, and tape to piece things together in the right order. I'm finding that the best desktop currently available might be my actual desktop.

    If something promising comes along, I'll certainly try it out. But until then, I'm doing ok with a hybrid approach, and taking a break from looking for salvation in the next update.

    (That being said, maybe v2 will have what it takes to save my life. Looking forward to finding out. ;) Fingers crossed!)

  • I just had an idea and created the following Keyboard Maestro macro. It copies the note titles selected in The Archive, opens the application OmniGraffle and pastes the individual note titles (IDs deleted) into the OmniGraffle document (Test1-Test8 below). These can then be moved around per drag&drop. I'm sure similar things would work with other apps than OmniGraffle.

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