Do you use headers? Or make small individual notes?

I almost finished the “how to take smart notes” book, and am getting the hang of backlinks. But, I am taking notes on books that I read on one long page and then using headers for each individual thought.

I think this may be a mistake. It doesn’t show up in the graph, so identifying knowledge gaps isn’t that easy.

Should I break each individual thought into a note and then tag it or backlink it each time with the title of the book?

Someone said they take each thought as a ‘fleeting note’ as they read. Then summarize it later. I may start leaning this direction.

What are you doing with taking notes from books?

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Each quote will be attached to its own note.
If, at the end, some notes cover the same ground, they will be combined and the note rewritten.

I never summarise, I only write my own thoughts.

If I have thoughts unrelated to a specific quote, they’re added as separate linked documents.


There’s nothing wrong with having your highlights (I assume) in 1 long note. But, if your intention is to use them to combine them with notes from other books to generate new ideas (as per the zettelkasten principle) then you split off from that long note small “atomistic” notes comprising 1 specific thought, quote, idea. And from there you should interlink them with each other (where appropriate) as well as with other books’ notes.

At the end of the day it all depends what you are compiling those initial long notes for. It’s important to determine that otherwise you’re wasting your time.


Just recently started making evergreen notes and am also currently dealing with the same question. So far I’ve been writing notes on certain processes, which involves a number of ideas and puts them into one note but divided using headers, which creates one long note.

The long note can appear like it’s just one idea because all of the ideas in it seem to just answer the same questions, so I was reluctant to split it. Upon looking at it, it can indeed be split into separate ideas but I’m not sure how useful that can be, and doing so can seem like I decided to transfer some of the paragraphs into a separate note, and that new note would look like it just trailed off from the original note, if that makes sense.

Was supposed to wait and see if future notes would need me to split the ideas into their own notes, but after seeing this post and the replies, I decided to do that and made links to the original note instead. While it makes the long note shorter, I also fear that it’s pointless as I’m not sure if future notes would even connect to these smaller notes or would have just connected fine with the long note.

That said, I’m a bit early in the process of making evergreen notes so it’s a bit much worrying about a problem that I’m not even sure I’ll encounter.

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I’ve been dealing with this same question, especially given all my exported Kindle notes – which are one long note per book by default.

So far, at least, my conclusion has been to use a little bit of a hybrid. I’m converting the note sections to headers by default, so each book note at least has the option of linking to just a particular section. And then I figure that if/as I use a section elsewhere, I can pull it out to be its own note, and replace the content in the original note’s section with a link to the new note.

Because of the way the search feature works, and how thoroughly notes are interlinked, I don’t have any real concern that anything still just in the original book note will get “lost.”

For books, I have 1 note for the book. Then use headings for the chapters and bullet points for my thoughts within each chapter.

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