More help with breaking up notes?

I hope I’m not driving anybody crazy; it’s easier for me to work with concrete examples. What I’m finding is likely to work best for me, for book notes, is to keep taking all the notes in a single note, like I have been, broken down by headings so I can link to sections, and then breaking sections off to their own notes only as needed. So my notes look something like this:

(This is actually notes I made from a book I read a while ago, so it’s kind of a hybrid between the “highlights” I was doing before and some new attempts to summarize.)

I have two main questions here.

  1. If I break one of these sections off to become its own note, would you recommend that I put a link in its place as a placeholder, or an embed (and why)?

  2. Am I correctly understanding SmartNotes to think that I now want to take these two sections and go make a note about “freedom with responsibility”?

Personally, I think it’s importnt to differentiate between Ahrens’ ideas and those of Luhmann; the book isn’t always clear about the distinction. I’d take the Luhmann position and ask “Do you want to?”. You either have something you want to say, or express in a more personally meaningful way or you don’t. If you don’t then making yourself do it is simply make work.

If working with long notes and headings suits you, then why do you want to break a bit off? An atomic note is an atomic note, whether it is in a file on its own or under a heading in a bigger file.

So, if I have more thoughts triggered by that note, I’d write them and then link back to the starting point note. That would be closer to the folgezettel system.

“Do you want to?”

I don’t know. LOL Maybe I’m not properly understanding how literature notes and permanent notes are meant to interact; that’s what I’m trying to get a good grasp of. In my mind, those two clippings, although they aren’t consecutive in the book/in my original note, are really part of the same idea. So if I want to be able to combine them (and if I have any other notes that similarly touch the same idea – offhand I’m not sure whether I do), then I nee to break them out, right?

Or do I not break them out, necessarily, because I should leave the literature notes intact, and just “duplicate” that information in the permanent note about freedom with responsibility (thus linking back to both of those sections)?

That’s what I’d suggest, but don’t “duplicate” - write a new note with your present thought or understaanding.

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This, to me, is the whole jam. If you’re working within a zettelkasten context/practice, then really it’s just a matter of “do you have anything you’d like to say on this idea, and does that something relate to anything else stored in your zettelkasten?” I take lots of notes that never make it into my ZK, simply because I don’t have much else to say about the idea, or I don’t see myself ever writing about it.

Ahrens’ take on Luhmann’s bibliographic/reference notes—what Ahren’s calls “literature notes”—can be a bit confusing, imo. Schmidt’s bibliographical/reference notes are, to me, more straight forward. Here’s my take on how they all relate based on how Luhmann worked (according to Schmidt):

  1. Luhmann didn’t write in his books. He wrote notes on index cards that contained page numbers and brief jots as to what was interesting on a page. This is so-called “lit note” aka the bibliographic/reference note.
  2. Luhmann would then go through these jots and see if he had anything to add to what the notes were referencing, and if this addition could speak to something else in his zettelkasten.
  3. At that point, Luhmann would create a new note with his own idea as it related to another note in his zk, make a reference to the biblio/reference/lit note from which is germinated, and add this new note to the zk behind the one he was building off of.
  4. Luhmann didn’t create notes for ever citation on the lit note. He only made new notes if he was called to say something on the matter.

So, you see, you’re not “breaking” the lit note. You’re simply using it as a reference for the new ideas you create off the lit note. Everything “stays” on the lit note. You just create new notes, in your own words, in the context of trains of thought already included in your zk, and refer these back to the lit note, which contains the bibliographic info, as well as the page numbers, etc.

Hope that helps!