A Notebook Zettelkasten
I've been lurking on this forum for a while, playing around with methods and generally absorbing information. A few months ago I was away from my computer and experimented with a Zettelkasten method in a notebook. This is what I came up with. It still works, and I still use it on when I'm on the go, but I do move, consolidate and otherwise improve my notes before putting them in a digital archive. In fact the whole "system" I created on an airplane. If you find yourself on a desert island with nothing but a pencil and a pile of notebooks, or suddenly transported back to 1775, then you can still write atomic notes that link to one another with tags and stuff.
Implementing a notebook Zettelkasten is as easy as attaching an identifier to individual notes on individual pages, and allowing for space underneath each to note to write down links to other notes on other pages. Additionally, one can create a tagging concept by implementing an index of tags at the back of the notebook, with a list of all note identifiers that belong to that tag.
Take a notebook off the shelf. If the pages are pre-numbered as in the case of a Leuchtturm, then we have a good starting identifier for how to find a note. But the page alone is not good enough, unless you plan to write one idea per page, which seems like a waste of paper.
Whenever you write a new note on a new page, number the note starting with 1. The note id for this note is 1:1. The next note on the page is note 2, with and id of 1:2 and so on. On the next page start over again with 1, so that that first note on page 2 has an id of 2:1.
This is not enough. In order to make it work across notebooks, you would need to indicate which notebook contains which note. To accomplish this, label each notebook with a number. The first notebook you do this with will be Notebook 1.
In this way, the first note on the first page of your first notebook has a note id of 1:1:1. The next note has an id of 1:1:2. The 3rd note on page 220 of your 2nd notebook has the id of 2:220:3.
Earlier I mentioned leaving enough space between notes to allow for linking. Usually a few lines will do. To link to another note, simply write its address underneath the note. You will know to find your 11th notebook, page 134, and locate note 2 if you see a link to 11:134:2.
Structure notes are relatively easy to imagine. Write a new note (probably on a fresh page), and start to structure a more comprehensive outline of the topic, with links to the notebook, pages and notes that should be included in your structure note. This is perhaps something akin to creating a "Collection" in Bullet Journal parlance, but with links to other notes rather than a lot of content.
Tags might prove difficult, especially across notebooks, but one could create a concept similar to it by not writing the tag on the note, but writing the name of the tag on a new page or index, and including the note id of the tag. So you might have:
living simply - 1:233:3, 1:228:1, 1:229:4
stoicism - 1:224:1, 1:228:1
As you can see these are notes in the same notebook. It would be very hard to update a tag index across all notebooks, so instead one could look at the tag index of notebooks for the ones that contain a particular tag, and pull those aside when you want to review those notes. Alternately you could have a separate notebook that acts only as a Tag and Structure note repository, which you update with note ids from all of the notebooks which contain those kind of notes.
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