A newcomer with a question

I'm a veteran writer but new to ZK, and I like the concept a lot. (I also like steep learning curves, so ....)
One thing confuses me: How is each note actually linked to others? And can that be made cloud-ish? In other words, I can create a word doc that links to another word doc as long as I stay local - but can I link from one note to another in a way that that link will work no matter where I am?
I'm sorry if this is too primitive a question but to me it's hard to get started until I can understand that. I'd really like to do this in a way that doesn't introduce five new apps, if y'all know what I mean.
Thank you.

• edited August 2020

I have a few ways to link to other notes, images, pdfs, directories, websites.

These are a few examples of what I do;

Citing a pdf anywhere on my computer or cloud;

• "This is a brief quote from a larger message"
• See original message the-filename-.pdf.

Mentioning another plain text txt file;

• See also MICROTIPOGRAPHY CASE STUDY LEFT ALIGNED. These examples from several magazines show left aligned tipography with great use of hyphenation and tracking adjustments [[AJ20200807a08-microtype-case-study]]

Refering to a directory full of images;

• For screenshots of the website see also the-folder-with-images/.

For an online course;

• Notes taken from Grid systems in Typography (11 min 06 s). 12-type-grid-systems.mp4.

I use iA Writer because my zettels (plain text .txt. notes) are written in markdown and display images with the preview feature. All other files are easily found by searching their filename, in my case using spotlight in macOS.

• I keep all my notes in DropBox, which means I can access them from desktop, laptop and phone.

I tend not to link to external documents, except online resources. My notes are in that respect self-contained.

• @mbitty said:
I'm a veteran writer but new to ZK, and I like the concept a lot. (I also like steep learning curves, so ....)
One thing confuses me: How is each note actually linked to others? And can that be made cloud-ish? In other words, I can create a word doc that links to another word doc as long as I stay local - but can I link from one note to another in a way that that link will work no matter where I am?

First, welcome to the ZK universe and to this forum in particular.

I'm not entirely sure what you are asking, but only because you haven't provided a lot of detail. Are you saying that you want to create each note in a separate Word file and then have links between those files?

There are several reasons for not using Word, which I won't go into here. But the difficulty in linking the files is one.

Many people use plain text files for each "note" (or "Zettel"). If you need some simple formatting in a plain text file, you can do that using Markdown + a program that knows how to interpret the Markdown designators.

There are a number of programs that are suitable for managing plain text files meant to be part of a Zettelkasten. Each one manages the linking between the plain text files in some manner, perhaps in slightly different ways. The Archive does it by inserting a unique ID (UID) enclosed in double square brackets. The default UIDs are date/time stamps, so one UID might look like:

[[202008011754]]

Note that there is nothing magical about this text string. If you are reading the file with a simple plain text editor, it just looks like a number inside of brackets. But The Archive knows what to do with that number inside double square brackets - it highlights it as a link and if you click on it, it looks for another plain text file with that number as part of the file name (I think) and takes you to it (that's my simplistic description; keep in mind I'm fairly new to this as well).

As far as storing your notes in the cloud somewhere, The Archive will allow any directory with a group of Zettelkasten notes (each an individual file) to be stored anywhere on your computer, on an external drive, or in a cloud service. Like many here, I store mine in a Dropbox folder.

Hopes this helps. If not, please explain your question a bit more.

• Welcome to the forums.

@mbitty said:
I'd really like to do this in a way that doesn't introduce five new apps, if y'all know what I mean.

I'm not sure what you mean?
I plead ignorance about Word and have never heard of it being able to link from one doc to another.

As I see it to create a fully functional Zettelkasten at a minimum you'd want:

1. an editor and file manage (could be the same app or different apps)
2. a reference manager (for storing references and creating citations, I use BibDesk)
3. devise interoperability app (I use Dropbox)

This is just a start. I've used these among others.

• IA Writer
• terminal
• Keyboard Maestro
• Kindle
• Scribd
• Evernote
• pandoc

Will Simpson
I'm a zettelnant.
Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
kestrelcreek.com

• @Will said:

As I see it to create a fully functional Zettelkasten at a minimum you'd want:

1. an editor and file manage (could be the same app or different apps)
2. a reference manager (for storing references and creating citations, I use BibDesk)
3. devise interoperability app (I use Dropbox)

I want to clarify @Will's point #2 above - in my opinion, a reference manager (e.g., Zotero, which I use for my technical work) is important if you are a researcher or someone writing a technical paper or book. However, if you are not using your ZK for that purpose, a reference manager may not be necessary at all. This situation applies to me - I am now retired and using a ZK for purposes other than technical writing. I find on the very odd occasion when I want to include a full reference, I do it right in a Zettel (note). So I use The Archive for #1 and Dropbox for #3, and nothing for #2.

• edited August 2020

I cannot speak for Microsoft Word, as I don't use it, but I am familiar with open source Software that basically copies the functionality of Word, namely OpenOffice and LibreOffice (these two are basically identical).

These word processor allow you to create master documents. They support automated backlinking to multiple file types. Even simple word documents allow you to set references to pages, headlines, bookmarks, paragraphs both inside the document or in other documents of the same file type. You can also link to other files and fully or partially embed them.

LibreOffice has its own reference manager. It supports autocompletion, autotext, autocorrection, templates, table of contents, bibliography, macros, plug-ins, etc.

It can be used with zotero, as well.

A word processor also allows you to set keywords.

There is also no vendor lock in, as its document format is open source. Its usage is the opposite of simple and therefore, not recommended. If you dominate your word processor well enough I see no technical reason why not to use it, though.

@mbitty said:

I can create a word doc that links to another word doc as long as I stay local - but can I link from one note to another in a way that that link will work no matter where I am?

In LibreOffice the links are absolute paths as a default setting, but it is possible to make them portable. It was not easy to figure that out but I got it working, but surely you can do the same with Microsoft Office. The file location must be relative to each other in this case.

Post edited by zk_1000 on

my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

• @zk_1000 said:

they don't. I thought automated backlinking was something else. What I meant is it automatically synchronizes changes in both directions (content, formulas, etc).

my first Zettel uid: 202008120915