Conflicting orthography "Make literature notes" (plural) vs "literature note" (singular)

In “How to take smart notes (2017)” Ahrens write in Chapter 2.1 Writing a paper step by step:

  1. Make literature notes

My understanding is to make several documents (or notes) linked to the reference.

It’s backed up by this presentation – although the presenter is wrong with her statement of “one note one idea” (that’s for the permanent note). But I guess she understood the book the same way I did.

Now, when I read some forum posts or when I read Der Zettelkasten Niklas Luhmanns.

They talk about a single Literature note (containing several notes with page numbers). I understand that Luhmann has a space constraint with his small paper cards. But I would like to know what’s what?

Did Ahrens adapted the one litterature note (i.e. one single document) of Luhmanns, to several literature notes (several documents) in his book? Is it a poor translation? Maybe my understanding is uncomplete?

To me, it makes more sense to create several literature notes, because the citation plugin’s citekey allows me to link the note easily to the reference. But that’s modern technology.

I want to know the hard fact. Does anybody has an answer on this question: One single literature document or many documents, from Luhman view, and from Ahrens view?

Here’s the skinny on lit notes:

To answer your question specifically: it’s one long note with multiple citations / references to a single media source. It functions as both a way to notate interesting ideas you want to keep track of, as well as a personal index of the source.

The idea that in a digital sense lit notes are “absorbed” into the notes as a whole (from one of the responses on the de forum) speaks more to a misunderstanding of the lit note as only a kind of note, and not as an aspect of the workflow / method as a whole. To put it another way, a lit note is a kind of note, but it’s also a way of taking notes while consuming media.

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Well thanks. I was not expecting any reply anymore. I read your website, and some of the replies you posted on the forum.

It reinforced my impression that I misunderstood Ahrens’ book. It seemed to me that Luhmann used one reference note (lit. note) per book, what you described.

Yes, the replies on the de forum were interesting, but there were not exactly the information I was looking for. Or perhaps, I did not formulate my question well enough?

Side note question: if you write the references and the ideas on a single MD file, the file itself might be very long, say for a >400 pages book. How did Luhmann do with his small paper cards?

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The example I use in my course is one of Luhmann’s longer reference / bibliographic notes, which extends onto at least two slips. I can’t remember off hand, but the book was, I believe, 500-plus pages long. If you scroll through the course landing page, one of these images is shown…

But, there are other factors, from what I can tell. Luhmann took very brief notes on the slips (as you prob saw in my short essay). But, he also “read with a problem in mind.” I find myself doing this at times, as well. Maybe you do too? It’s when you read a book looking for specific kinds of insights or answers to specific questions. In these cases, depending on the book, you might only have a handful of notes because your capture filter is wound very tight. You’re not noting everything that’s interesting (which in some books can literally be every other paragraph. I’m having that issue with a book I’m reading right now!) instead you’re only reading to find out specific things.

So, there’s a few levels in how it all works.

That’s exactly that. From what I understood Luhmann had an analytic mind versed to academic social science, and he tailored a method that supported it. Hence, the method without the mind, won’t generate great results. I think that’s the reason a great deal of YouTube videos, or Web tutorials are misleading. They introduce Zettelkasten as a blueprint sort of thing, what GTD is.

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