Part adventure, part novel of ideas, part spiritual autobiography, The Songlines is one of Bruce Chatwin's most famous books. Set in the desolate lands of the Australian Outback, it tells the story of Chatwin's search for the source and meaning of the ancient dreaming tracks of the Aborigines--the labyrinth of invisible pathways by which their ancestors sang the world into existence. This singular book, which was a New York Times bestseller when it was published in 1987, engages all of Chatwin's lifelong passions, including his obsession with travel, his interest in the nomadic way of life, and his hunger to understand man's origins and nature.
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Niklas Luhmann’s idea of Zettelkasten impinges on some of this, but for a deep dive on how indigenous cultures all over the world did this in a pre-industrial setting look at Dr. Lynne Kelly‘s work. Specifically: Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory, and the Transmission of Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and When knowledge was power (2012, Latrobe University, PhD thesis). She’s got a fantastic bibliography on her website as well.
Her TED talk shows quickly how she did something similar, but with birds and bird identification. Her work has examples of how many other cultures did this as well.