Note taking through the ages - the historian Keith Thomas on making notes

Hi everyone! I’m an academic researcher (medieval history) getting into Zettelkasten and Obsidian the last few weeks (love the latter -such a wonderful piece of software). Came across this the other day - which describes various forms of note-taking through the ages. I think many of you might find the similarities with the Zettelkasten method amusing


Great piece! I loved this paragraph:

Blockquote Prescriptions of this kind reached their apotheosis in the little essay on ‘The Art of Note-Taking’ which Beatrice Webb included in My Apprenticeship (1926). It propounded the famous doctrine of ‘only one fact on one piece of paper’. In his delightful autobiography, Memories Migrating , the late John Burrow records his perplexities when this injunction was conveyed to him by his graduate supervisor, George Kitson Clark: ‘I brooded on this. What was a fact? And what made it one fact? Surely most facts were compound. How would I know when I had reached bedrock, the ultimate, unsplittable atomic fact?

Glad to know I’m not alone in the struggle of making atomic notes!


On a similar note, Beatrice Webb discussion is also interesting p. 467 of the pdf

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