Obsidian Starter Kit - Zettelkasten Style! (Unfinished)

@sirlaughalot I fully agree with you on that. If you read my comment to @Mises you will see that nowhere do I state there is no good or bad way of writing. I said there is no good or bad way of taking notes. Taking notes and writing - I assume you mean writing for an audience - are not the same. Note-taking is a rather private affair: those notes can be used to produce a piece for an audience, or they can be kept private, as e.g. a journal.

Therefore, there is no good or bad way of taking notes (whether for a zettelkasten or anything else), there is only the personal way. I am aware some people use the Bullet Journal, or the Cornell note-taking system, which could also be applied in Obs, I suppose, but using those is still a personal decision, and filling them is very personal.

I guess we are on the same page when it comes to note-taking. I agree that this is very personal. That‘s why I referred to the output side of things in my initial post. :sweat_smile: ZK / general notetaking content almost never addresses questions on how to use your collected notes productively, although this is the main purpose of all this note-taking. Therefore, I‘d like to see a part on this included in the guide.

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@sirlaughalot I think it is difficult to find a guide, if at all, precisely because note-taking is so personal. I think (sorry to use that term again) the best way is to 1st decide what your note-taking objective is, then to read up about it.

For example, if your objective is to create a zettelkasten, you read up what you can find. If you need an efficient system (time and quality wise) to take notes in class you could read up about the Cornell system, or other systems. If journaling is your objective read up about the Bullet Journal or another one, and so on.

I 1st had 1 objective: a zettelkasten. I read a lot, discussed on the zettelkasten.de forum, then looked for a suitable app. I managed to put together a collection of 400 notes using a number of apps, none of which I was really happy with. I think I have found it with Obs.

While I was collecting those zk notes, I developed a need for a 2nd collection: notes about geopolitical issues and developments. But …… those evolved into rather long notes, so I broke the “atomicity” principle. I am OK with that, although I sometimes wonder if I could get more out of them if they were split into much smaller units. That, however, would take too much time to implement, time I am not prepared to spend so I keep them as they are. When Obs becomes more mature with a few more features I need (e.g. the in-doc ToC for my long notes), I will probably transfer the folders to an Obs vault, because ideally I want to have just 1 markdown note-taking app.

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@lizardmenfromspace Name a few sources for background reading, such as zettelkasten.de.

@Klaas I’m confused why you are suggesting stuff while also trashing the very idea of a guide. :upside_down_face: Why even post in here if you don’t believe there are good and bad ways to take notes?

I suggest you start your own thread on why guides are stupid and you shouldn’t follow any for note taking. Then people can argue with you over there vs. here where I’m trying to get feedback from people who think a guide is a good jumping off point.

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@lizardmenfromspace Whoa! What on earth are you on about?

  1. “Trashing” the idea of a guide? Let me quote myself: “I think it is difficult to find a guide, if at all, precisely because note-taking is so personal.” Trashing it? This even supports your idea of making a guide exactly because there aren’t many, if any !!!
  2. Why do you get upset with my not believing there is no good or bad way to take notes? That has absolutely no bearing at all on the idea of having a zettelkasten. I have a zettelkasten myself that I am happy about. And in any case @sirlaughalot asked me what I meant by “no good or bad way” and then agreed. He did not attacked me without challenging me, which, in my opinion, is the right way to discuss.
  3. I even give some pointers as to how I make notes in my zettelkasten.
  4. You make sweeping statements and attacks without so much as explaining what they are based on.

Now, it is not my intention to spoil your thread by having this kind of discussion, nor by expressing opinions that do go along with yours. If I gave the impression I think guides are stupid I apologise. I also apologise for expression an opinion that does not suit you, and for engaging in a discussion with others who replied to me - I did not know I was not supposed to. Or perhaps I upset you by mentioning other sources? I don’t know.

So, on that note I’ll not bother you with my comments anymore. I humbly suggest, though, that you clearly put the rules of the game at the top of the page to avoid others inadvertently upsetting you.

I do sincerely wish you the best of luck with your guide, I think it is a good idea, and if the guide is good, you’ll have a lot of success with it because there seems to be an increasing interest in people building their own.

1 last suggestion about the content, if I may: it might be useful to discuss the difference between paper notes and digital notes in the zk context, and it might be useful to review a few of the digital apps available. There is one app in particular that you may have heard about, Obsidian, which, for my use case is the best one :wink: and which may well turn into a leader.

P.S. I just realised my comment to @Mises that “there is no point in writing a manual” is what upset you. In all honesty I thought his comment was in reply to my preceding comment, and I would be incapable of writing a decent manual. In any case, I was wrong about @Mises’s address, and apologise for my clumsy reply, there is no excuse. I have left all of this reply in place because, notwithstanding your anger, I believe I have shown I am a supporter of the zettelkasten concept, and do believe if someone wants to write a manual he should do so. But, in spite of a manual, I continue to believe also there is no good or bad way of writing notes, everyone does what suits him/her best.

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@lizardmenfromspace, thanks so much for taking this on! As an ideal audience for your starter kit, feel more than free to use me as your guinea pig for feedback to help you shape the final version.
Very much looking forward to this!

Same here like to help

It’s all personal about naming, but starring at weird computer-generate file names all day long, giving my private notes human names is refreshing.

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Also just want to say thank you for putting the work in! Being fairly new to the Zettelkasten method I am very much looking forward to reading the starter kit and happy to provide initial feedback as well. :slight_smile:

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@sirlaughalot - Hi sir, there is a very good video that addresses exactly your question, I think: Nat Eliason - How to Use Roam to Outline a New Article in Under 20 Minutes. As you see, it’s for roam, but you can use it for obsidian also.

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Thank you, I’ll have a look at it. :slight_smile:

@lizardmenfromspace, I shared my current Zettelkasten + Obsidian workflow in the below forum topic. This might help you find gaps in my approach that can help what you’re working on creating. Or it may be useless, but flagging it here in case it’s anything but totally useless :slight_smile: My Zettelkasten Workflow in Obsidian (feedback requested)

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Would love a get-started-with-obsidian starter guide. I would love to see a functional obsidian setup so I can decide how I can integrate my existing setup with obsidian. A demo obsidian vault would be great too. Thanks for your help!

Now that I’m transfering my notes from my Zettelkasten I’m faced with the same challenge.

Good to hear that you are getting rid of the timestamp. I might change all my notes to a more human readable names also.

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@lizardmenfromspace how is it going? Have you already found a good workflow?

@Mises it is coming along! It just is going to take awhile because I’m building an example Zettelkasten alongside the guide so that requires research and such.

I have to disagree about “Smart Notes” containing no directions of the proper procedures and, more importantly, the principles behind an effective process for creating and maintaining a slip box. I actually thought it was fairly explicit, but just nested amidst lots of anecdotal fluff and details geared more towards providing context and entertainment (which if your book is about note taking, is quite the task). Anyway I mention it only because it might prove useful to fish through it again for the workflow prescriptions.

Also, you bring up a good point about the “Folgezettel” and the dispute over its ultimate importance to the essence of a zkn system. I have to admit, after obsessing over whether or not maintaining the sequencing of zettels is critical or not, with no definitive answer in sight , I too don’t really care and that.

Finally, as far as note templates go, the best I could come up with on my own in Sublime Text and the Archive was a few keyboard shortcuts; for fleeting, Lit., Index, project, synthesis notes, etc. This did the trick for the most part.

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