Using a Zettelkasten is about optimizing a workflow of learning and producing knowledge. The products are texts, mostly. The categories we find fit the process well at the moment are the following:
Knowledge Management: general information about what it means to work and learn efficiently.
Writing: posts on the production of lasting knowledge, and about sharing it with others through your own texts.
Reading: posts about the process of acquisition of new things and the organization of sources.
Notational Velocity is an application that stores and retrieves notes.
It is an attempt to loosen the mental blockages to recording information and to scrape away the tartar of convention that handicaps its retrieval. The solution is by nature nonconformist.
I typically keep some space in the recall column to write down associated PAO, Major System, etc. images related to the key concepts, dates, and other notes and sometimes include locations along with the images. Sometimes I may make the notes themselves the memory palace by drawing sketches, doodles or other drolleries into the margins. Depending on the information I may also encode details into other pre-existing palaces.
I can then come back to the notes and do spaced repetition over them to strengthen the images, loci, and ideas. Depending on the material, I might transfer the basics of the notes over to Anki or Mnemosyne for more formal spaced review.
I just read an article about how many people with ADHD rely on services like Evernote to keep their tendencies to go off chasing squirrels in check long enough to be productive. In honor of #ADHDAwarenessMonth, we asked ADHD coach @takecontroladhd how she takes control of it with Evernote. https://t...
A post on The Writing Collective about how it’s fruitless to search for the perfect note-taking app because it doesn’t exist caught my eye and got me thinking about my own preferences and habits for taking notes.
Over the past month or so, I’ve been experimenting with some fiction to see what works and what doesn’t in terms of a workflow for status updates around reading books, writing book reviews, and then extracting and depositing notes, highlights, and marginalia online. I’ve now got a relatively quick and painless workflow for exporting the book related data from my Amazon Kindle and importing it into the site with some modest markup and CSS for display. I’m sure the workflow will continue to evolve (and further automate) somewhat over the coming months, but I’m reasonably happy with where things stand.
The fact that the Amazon Kindle allows for relatively easy highlighting and annotation in e-books is excellent, but having the ability to sync to a laptop and do a one click export of all of that data, is incredibly helpful. Adding some simple CSS to the pre-formatted output gives me a reasonable base upon which to build for future writing/thinking about the material. In experimenting, I’m also coming to realize that simply owning the data isn’t enough, but now I’m driven to help make that data more directly useful to me and potentially to others.
As part of my experimenting, I’ve just uploaded some notes, highlights, and annotations for David Christian’s excellent text Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History which I read back in 2011/12. While I’ve read several of the references which I marked up in that text, I’ll have to continue evolving a workflow for doing all the related follow up (and further thinking and writing) on the reading I’ve done in the past.
I’m still reminded me of Rick Kurtzman’s sage advice to me when I was a young pisher at CAA in 1999:
“If you read a script and don’t tell anyone about it, you shouldn’t have wasted the time having read it in the first place.” His point was that if you don’t try to pass along the knowledge you found by reading, you may as well give up. Even if the thing was terrible, at least say that as a minimum. In a digitally connected era, we no longer need to rely on nearly illegible scrawl in the margins to pollinate the world at a snail’s pace. Take those notes, marginalia, highlights, and meta data and release it into the world. The fact that this dovetails perfectly with Cesar Hidalgo’s thesis in Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies, furthers my belief in having a better process for what I’m attempting here.
Hopefully in the coming months, I’ll be able to add similar data to several other books I’ve read and reviewed here on the site.
If anyone has any thoughts, tips, tricks for creating/automating this type of workflow/presentation, I’d love to hear them in the comments!