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Last post Author Topic: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten  (Read 8204 times)

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #100 on: November 02, 2019, 02:29 PM »
For me, the sections and subsections make much more sense of how it works. It means that he had 3 ways into his notes: the sections/subsections, the keyword index and the structure notes (usually, it seems, close to the 'front' of a subsection but also quickly accessed through the index).

The sections/subsections are easily replicated with tags (or folders).
The keyword index not quite so easily. Tags could be used, but the number of words in any index is too many for a reasonable tagging system. Text search will find to many notes unless there's a way or restricting it. Luhmann wrote keywords on the cards; combining that with text search would be able to replicate Luhmann's system (keywords would need a prefix so that they are easily identified).
Structure notes can be done in exactly the way Luhmann used them.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 03:17 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #101 on: November 02, 2019, 03:16 PM »
And the direct links can be conceptualised like this:

-parent(s)-
other linksNOTE source(s)
-child(ren)-

there is a reference link on nearly every (first collection) or nearly every second note (second collection) on average.
Three types of linking can be distinguished:
a)References in the context of a larger structural outline: When beginning a major line of thought Luhmann sometimes noted on the first card several of the aspects to be addressed and marked them by a capital letter that referred to a card (or set of consecutive cards) that was numbered accordingly and placed at least in relative proximity to the card containing the outline. This structure comes closest to resembling the outline of an article or the table of contents of a book and therefore doesn’t really use the potentials of the collection as a web of notes.
b)Collective references: At the beginning of a section devoted to a specific subject area, one can often find a card that refers to a number of other cards in the collection that have some connection with the subject or concept addressed in that section. A card of this kind can list up to 25 references and will typically specify the respective subject or concept in addition to the number. These references can indicate cards that are related by subject matter and in close proximity or to cards that are far apart in other sections of the collection, the latter being the normal case.
c)Single references: At a particular place in a normal note Luhmann often made a reference to another card in the collection that was also relevant to the special argument in question; in most cases the referred card is located at an entirely different place in the file, frequently in the context of a completely different discussion or subject.
-Niklas Luhmann’s Card Index: The Fabrication of Serendipity by Johannes F.K. Schmidt

So the main zettelkasten has one link for every two cards.
There are sub-sequences (not parent-child necessarily, but most will be) where the first card contains something like an outline and look like the draft of a paper. So using the zettelkasten as part of a writing workflow rather than simply thoughts and information.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 05:09 PM by Dormouse »

tomos

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #102 on: November 02, 2019, 06:26 PM »
Like Sphere, I'm following this thread with great interest, but will have to read it more closely.

I'm currently not actively using any app. I used use InfoQube (IQ) for structured work projects -- currently I'm using it as a dumping ground, mostly for web-clippings, or I email it directly with a link, a couple of keywords, occasionally a thought, or a photo of hand-written notes.

Some possible ways of connecting entries/items in IQ:
  • as parent or child or sibling item -- supports multiple parents
  • via tagging -- tags can be hierarchically organised (with parental inheritance; tags can also have multiple [tag]parents)
  • as related items -- related items will show as a list (links) in the info pane -- items can be mutually related

Most of what I save is related to thoughts, ideas, but I have yet to try and structure it meaningfully. The idea of only saving info with related thoughts, or at least an indication of relevance is very logical -- I'll have to try and do that more consistently. Like you here, I have to figure how to go about all this more specifically.
Tom
« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 06:33 PM by tomos »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #103 on: November 03, 2019, 03:26 AM »
I'm sure IQ is one of the programs that is most capable of working a zettelkasten system.
So long as you can adjust yourself to the workflow required.
Once you have worked out what that is in your case. I'm pretty sure that a lot of ways will work, even if they don't tick all the purist boxes. I'm going to try to ensure that all the boxes can be ticked in my method and then just go from there.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #104 on: November 03, 2019, 03:50 AM »
I've gone through a few stages now.

The reading, highlighting is as usual.

Writing fleeting notes about the highlight is easy. I paste the highlight into the note as an extra; no obvious reason why not.

The next notes - the first stage permanent notes - are tedious but straightforward.

But the next stage is hard. Distilling the totality of what has been done into a proper long-term note, one note per thought. Some first stage notes contribute to more than one of these, some combine onto one note. This is the bit that requires concentrated thought. Unfortunately, I think it's essential. The power of the system must come from the thinking here. Working out a way of doing it isn't necessarily easy either. What I'm doing is writing on a single WriteMonkey page (reading the notes in DocFetcher because that is much quicker than opening the files). Headings for each topic/thought. Then writing under each until I have been through everything. Folding the notes so that I only see the headings except when I'm working on an idea. Then pasting each part separately into single notes. I think it is this level that forms the basis of the parent-child sequence.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2019, 11:31 AM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #105 on: November 03, 2019, 03:55 AM »
The need to read selectively is emphasised repeatedly.
I can't help thinking that it's an attempt to make a virtue of a necessity because there's no way this process can be followed with very fast extensive reading.

I'm sure it will get quicker and easier with practice!???

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #106 on: November 03, 2019, 03:04 PM »
ok some more updates....
this is the developer of zettlr, and a nice video explaining some of the methodology and what dormouse talked about regarding luhman's original system and how technology affects it.
https://www.youtube..../watch?v=c5Tst3-zcWI

now, for creative writing:
since creative writing involves fiction and creating a fake world with all the logic and characters....i feel like for something like that, i need to make a separate folder.  it cant be part of my overall single zettel that i use for actual reality and academic type knowledge.  so i can have on zettel for everything in reality, which will be the big, main database.  but for, say, writing screenplays, i need to use a separate sandbox because i dont need those ideas linking to real world ideas.

so in conclusions:
one zettel/folder for everything in real life
separate zettels for creative writing projects

so i might be leaning towards a multi-folder system like dormouse, but maybe structured my own way.  we'll see.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #107 on: November 03, 2019, 04:41 PM »
since creative writing involves fiction and creating a fake world with all the logic and characters....i feel like for something like that, i need to make a separate folder.  it cant be part of my overall single zettel that i use for actual reality and academic type knowledge.  so i can have on zettel for everything in reality, which will be the big, main database.  but for, say, writing screenplays, i need to use a separate sandbox because i dont need those ideas linking to real world ideas.

For me it's all the same. It's all real. Just stuff. Factual and fictional both need to produce an output. I really don't want to go into a separate silo to write fiction. For most sizeable writing projects, I will do a beat sheet and keep in in the Resources folder; templates there too. Makes no difference if it is fact or fiction, there are word targets and structure and pacing to be managed. Admittedly, if I'm intending to cook dinner, and collect recipes and ingredient details, then the output will will be a meal rather than words. I don't expect everything to link to everything, although I suppose there could be a description of a meal in a piece of fiction.

But it's about what makes sense to each of us individually. That's the most important thing. The zettel needs to reflect our own individual thinking.

one zettel/folder for everything in real life
separate zettels for creative writing projects

so i might be leaning towards a multi-folder system like dormouse, but maybe structured my own way.  we'll see.

My folders are only for the convenience of file storage, and knowing what stage a note has reached (ie related to workflow management). I expect to have only one zettel.

With his sections and sub-sections, Luhmann effectively had quite a number of zettels, except all in the same wooden box. Like folders.

The big difference between us is that you intend to use a program and I intend simply to have files. I assume that the program will deal with the workflow stage issue for you.

wraith808

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #108 on: November 03, 2019, 07:04 PM »
ok some more updates....
this is the developer of zettlr, and a nice video explaining some of the methodology and what dormouse talked about regarding luhman's original system and how technology affects it.
https://www.youtube..../watch?v=c5Tst3-zcWI

I watched that video, and came away with the fact that it seems to be a wiki with tags, where the name of the file is the ID.  Is there something more than that I'm missing?

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #109 on: November 03, 2019, 08:50 PM »
ok some more updates....
this is the developer of zettlr, and a nice video explaining some of the methodology and what dormouse talked about regarding luhman's original system and how technology affects it.
https://www.youtube..../watch?v=c5Tst3-zcWI

I watched that video, and came away with the fact that it seems to be a wiki with tags, where the name of the file is the ID.  Is there something more than that I'm missing?
no, i think that's the jist of it.  What i got out of it was that a note can be anything, and the only things to remember are the ID of the note (which doesn't matter since its digital), tags link subjects together, and hard-links are the "zettl" specific links.

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #110 on: November 03, 2019, 09:02 PM »
ok dormouse, i still kind of want to copy your system as my first attempt....this is what i've gathered:
sources
resources
actual zettl
writing
temp
annotated


these are the folders you have mentioned. 
i get the zettl folder is where the actual real notes go, and its just one. 
writing, i think i understand as where you put things together outside of the "one thought, one note" concept.
temp, this is where you put notes before they are processed with all the proper links and maybe even the kind of writing in your own words that you are supposed to do with zettl.
annoted, not sure....this is where you place notes from the temp folder, kind of a staging area, where you add the links right before moving to the zettl?


cool stuff. thanks.
btw, what kind of file naming scheme do you use?

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #111 on: November 04, 2019, 03:34 AM »
ok dormouse, i still kind of want to copy your system as my first attempt....this is what i've gathered:
sources
resources
actual zettl
writing
temp
annotated

That's right.
  • Sources & resources are linked but not part. Exactly the same system Luhmann used.
  • Temp and annotated are just staging areas that help me keep my place. I'd expect them to be unnecessary in many programs which would have their own method of tracking.
  • Writing is where I will put longer pieces or those nearer completion. Again it's a convenience. I may have things to do with these MSS that will be totally external to the zettel. Luhmann must have done something very similar because his MSS were outside the zettel and his unfinished books wre found around his study when he died.


temp, this is where you put notes before they are processed with all the proper links and maybe even the kind of writing in your own words that you are supposed to do with zettl.
annoted, not sure....this is where you place notes from the temp folder, kind of a staging area, where you add the links right before moving to the zettl?

My embryo process is:-
  • read and highlight/copy, making fleeting notes. I try to make these one idea; I could use the same highlight twice if I see two ideas. They go into temp folder.
  • I go through those making my permanent first stage notes. Once I have done that they go into the Annotated folder. (For the moment, I have the excerpt from the source at the bottom, the fleeting note next up, and then the permanent note at the top). They then need tagging and naming.
  • When I have completed that stage for the group, I make second stage notes. This is the stage that takes the most thought, distilling the essence from all I have read. One idea, one thought. Many first stage notes can go together to make one of these, or a first stage thought make be linked to many. I might do a Structure Note. I then put these into a parent-child sequence and add all the links. And move the Annotated notes and these notes into the main Notes folder.

The process is definitely shaped by the fact I'm using document files rather than some other method.

btw, what kind of file naming scheme do you use?

Unique identifier (YYYYMMDDhhmmss) + Anything that will make some sort of sense - something about the note, not its links + tags []

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #112 on: November 04, 2019, 11:11 AM »
THanks!   :Thmbsup:
That definitely gets me going.

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #113 on: November 04, 2019, 11:48 AM »
I am having a hard time understanding what this means (from Zettlr documentation):
The ID RegEx
Zettlr uses regular expressions internally to filter out the ID of a file. It looks for that pattern, and if it finds a string that matches this pattern, it assumes that as the ID of the file. Please note that the first match in a file will be assumed the ID, never the last! This means: If you choose to use only four digits as your ID, the regular expression would also match years inside your file. As Zettlr simply takes the first ID, make sure that the very first thing in your file is the ID of that file.

This makes it sound like for every note or file i have, the first line of each note should be the 14-digit ID.  But, in all the screenshots of the program, i don't see any note like this.  furthermore, most of the notes in the screenshots have titles without the ID in them, like just plain titles.  A little confused.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #114 on: November 04, 2019, 12:08 PM »
Does it mean that it uses the ID to find the file, but doesn't display it?

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #115 on: November 04, 2019, 12:43 PM »
Does it mean that it uses the ID to find the file, but doesn't display it?
I just discovered the answer.  When you have a note file in zettlr, it is looking for that ID pattern to generate the internal db ID.  So usually it is created automatically when the note is created.  However, you can override that and type something else for the file name, like just words, and then there is no id number.  When that happens, zettlr doesn't know or have an ID for that.  So what the instruction is saying is to have that 14-digit number somewhere, either the filename or the first thing in the actual file content, so that it detects the ID.  I just tried it...what happens is if i remove the number from the note AND the filename, the ID of the note disappears in zettlr.   it doesn't know.  when i add the ID to the note, first line, and leave the filename still only words, zettlr gets the ID instantly.  so it is looking to match that pattern.

So what I'm going to do is put the ID as the first line of all my notes, but not the title, because i'd rather have something descriptive in the title.

here is what i'm talking about:
Clipboard-20191104.pngI'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
the first not, i have the ID in the filename, i have the ID in the actual note, and the ID in the program zettlr (gray) is shown.  ID's all over the place
the second one, i have the ID in the filename, no other title in the filename, and the note is blank.  the program detects the ID from the filename
in the third one (test note 123), i have the ID as the first line of the actual note, but not in the filename.  this gets detected right away.  so i like this.  I don't have to have the ID in the filename itself, so the filename can be just the title, which is nice.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 04:22 PM by superboyac »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #116 on: November 05, 2019, 02:00 AM »
However, you can override that and type something else for the file name, like just words, and then there is no id number.  When that happens, zettlr doesn't know or have an ID for that. 

Surely the program should be able to detect notes that have no ID?

i have the ID as the first line of the actual note, but not in the filename.  this gets detected right away.  so i like this.  I don't have to have the ID in the filename itself, so the filename can be just the title, which is nice.

That makes sense. There's no reason to see the note ID in a program: you expect the program to handle that.
I could do that using text search. It would be a more robust solution because it wouldn't be affected by tags being added or removed. But a convoluted solution for opening files from the links. And if I do change the tags, the ID means I can still locate the file from the title of the link - it's just the automatic opening that goes. And once found, I can update the link.
Alternatively, I could put the tags in the note. And use text search to find the tags.
But I'll probably keep it as it is.

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #117 on: November 05, 2019, 12:13 PM »
when you talk about Sources...
do you mean that, like if its a pdf, the ENTIRE thing is in sources?  or just a reference to it?  or just quotes or tidbits?

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #118 on: November 05, 2019, 12:31 PM »
Entire thing. I debate the value of adding entire books, but they usually take up little space.

It's simply convenient, and not a problem since I'm just using the file system.

Of course, sometimes I won't possess the books or papers. I'll only have the clipped sections that I keep as part of the original note. Then there's nothing to put in the Sources folder.

References will be in the relevant note. If I used a system that allowed direct linking to the reference manager, I'd do that but I'm not confident it would work across devices with PaperPile. So I'll just add them manually, which takes very little time. Maybe even less in the end than always adding a direct link.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2019, 12:37 PM by Dormouse »

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #119 on: November 05, 2019, 02:48 PM »
so i just tried doing this...

i had a quote i wanted to address.
I start the note, put the quote.  then i proceed to write all my thoughts on this.  It was a lot, lol.  way more than lurman would put on a note card.  I feel im doing it wrong.  I think im doing more than one thought.  maybe multiple thoughts.  so mentally, i still feel i am not getting it, lol.

tomos

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #120 on: November 05, 2019, 04:08 PM »
i had a quote i wanted to address.
I start the note, put the quote.  then i proceed to write all my thoughts on this.  It was a lot, lol.  way more than lurman would put on a note card.  I feel im doing it wrong.  I think im doing more than one thought.  maybe multiple thoughts.  so mentally, i still feel i am not getting it, lol.
I'm pretty sure Dormouse wrote above about first writing, and then breaking down that writing into notes. (Sorry, I didnt look for the post...) What I like about the system as described is that it encourages you to write rather than just hoard (I do that, or at least I'm slow to do any writing).
Tom

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #121 on: November 05, 2019, 04:37 PM »
I feel im doing it wrong.  I think im doing more than one thought.  maybe multiple thoughts.  so mentally, i still feel i am not getting it, lol.
I don't know that you're doing anything wrong, except being too wordy. It is hard.
  • It will probably be easier when you are more used to it.
  • It will probably be easier when you already have an extensive network and are starting with an idea about the thoughts and where they would fit.
  • But part of the difficulty, I suspect, is making your thoughts tight and precise. I'm not sure how much easier that can get because it does involve intense thinking.

My guess is that what you have done,so far, is what I have been calling first stage notes. I think you need a gap before going over them (iirc, Ahrens said that Luhmann went through them in the evening). At that point you need to split them into their constituent parts and then write new notes carefully, one thought to a note. There may be a sequence to these thoughts (in which case there's a parent-child sequence) and they will all link to your first note.

When I look at posts on zettelkasten.de, I can't avoid the suspicion that most of them aren't doing it right. Too much linking, too many notes, not enough thinking. Luhmann's main (second) zettelkasten was started 1963 and stopped in 1997: that's 34 years. It has 67,000 cards in one, admittedly wide ranging, area of interest. Less than 2000 cards a year. Assuming 250 working days, he averaged 8 cards a day. Eight thoughts that he decided to record. If he was doing a lot of other things, then maybe one thought every half hour. The thinking isn't easy, achieving the precision isn't easy. There's disentangling the thoughts from each other. And composing the words.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #122 on: November 05, 2019, 04:47 PM »
I'm pretty sure Dormouse wrote above about first writing, and then breaking down that writing into notes.
Yes.
First I have the fleeting note, very quick brief comment.
Then my first stage notes where I make an effort to word it.
The the second stage notes where I integrate what I have done so far into a series of single thought notes, trying to be clear and writing with precision. This is the stage where making sensible links first becomes possible. This stage was also very effortful.

But remember, I don't really know what I'm doing. Just puzzling and trying to work it out.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2019, 04:46 AM by Dormouse »

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #123 on: November 05, 2019, 05:05 PM »
I feel im doing it wrong.  I think im doing more than one thought.  maybe multiple thoughts.  so mentally, i still feel i am not getting it, lol.
I don't know that you're doing anything wrong, except being too wordy. It is hard.
  • It will probably be easier when you are more used to it.
  • It will probably be easier when you already have an extensive network and are starting with an idea about the thoughts and where they would fit.
  • But part of the difficulty, I suspect, is making your thoughts tight and precise. I'm not sure how much easier that can get because it does involve intense thinking.

My guess is that what you have done,so far, is what I have been calling first stage notes. I think you need a gap before going over them (iirc, Ahrens said that Luhmann went through them in the evening). At that point you need to split them into their constituent parts and then write new notes carefully, one thought to a note. There may be a sequence to these thoughts (in which case there's a parent-child sequence) and they will all link to your first note.

When I look at posts on zettelkasten.de, I can't avoid the suspicion that most of them aren't doing it right. Too much linking, too many notes, not enough thinking. Luhmann's main (second) zettelkasten was started 1963 and stopped in 1997: that's 34 years. It has 67,000 cards in one, admittedly wide ranging, area of interest. Less than 2000 cards a year. Assuming 250 working days, he averaged 8 cards a day. Eight thoughts that he decided to record. If he was doing a lot of other things, then maybe one thought every half hour. The thinking isn't easy, achieving the precision isn't easy. There's disentangling the thoughts from each other. And composing the words.

Ah!  yes that makes sense.  I can see how this can drastically help not only my thinking, but effective writing.  very cool.  I am rather excited about this.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #124 on: November 06, 2019, 05:02 AM »
I'm pretty sure that the value of the system, still presuming it has one, is in:
  • the depth of thought required
  • the clarity and precise definition required
  • and the thinking required to link that thought to other related thoughts.

Wording well may aid the above, but certainly aids the transfer into a written paper or book.
The atomicity is an essential restriction.

All the rest, all the technical stuff, can be done in many different ways with no effect on outcome.

So, unfortunately, there will be at least two years of effort and hard work before there's any chance of seeing it's really working for you.

very cool.  I am rather excited about this.

I think that could be a very good place to start. I'm more daunted than excited, which does't help the getting going.