Interesting discussion... I've responded about zettelkasten in IanB's discussion on OneNote, but here are a couple of thoughts from loosely following this thread:
Having loosely followed the zettelkasten idea for a few years, I believe you're correct in noting that's a little more process oriented than tool-oriented.
Back a few posts there was some discussion about ideas vs facts. Don't know if you've read the post on the Collector's Fallacy: https://zettelkasten.../collectors-fallacy/
I find this very true and something I fight against continually. It is so important to collect why the fact was interesting.... and try to relate it to other things. A jumble of other people's text bits is meaningless to me. A file system of my own thoughts continues to show it's power, again and again.
I've "started" a zettel several times now, with tree-based information managers, with markdown textfiles, and now with Dokuwiki. My biggest piece of advice: just start capturing information, attempting to always write why you found the information important. Eventually, YOUR OWN system will come into being and things will flow more smoothly.
Random thoughts, I know, but hopefully something will prove stimulating!
Aside: the tagging discussion (and this entire discussion in general) reminds me of a debate about tags vs links. Here is a critique of tags:
"Tags are vague. They’re a very primitive way of spelling out how things relate to each other. A tag on a news article says “this article has something to do with this concept or thing”. But what exactly? A tag doesn’t tell you whether an article is a critique of a person, an interview with a person or whether it just mentions that person in passing. A tag doesn’t even tell you if the reference to Samuel Adams is about the person or about the kind of beer (which is why we so desperately need vocabularies). A tag can’t tell the difference between an event that merely took place at the local café and an event that the aforementioned pub actually organized." http://debrouwere.or...07/tags-dont-cut-it/
Instead, use meaningful relationships (links with explanations). Some like to call it "tight" vs "loose" linking (http://takingnotenow...sus-tight-links.html
). With a zettel, you're trying to link things tightly, not just throw things into your garage randomly.