100 - Niklas Luhmann was a German sociologist during the 20th century who is known for his prolific writing and work towards creating a theory of society. He created two zettelkastens over his career, starting the first one as a response to the need for an effective way to organize notes for the long term (Johannes F.K. Schmidt, 2018).
The reason he is so popular among the zettelkasten community is because his zettelkasten is public, the focus of a long term university research project, was part of his prolific output, and has a book written about it.
1B1 - Prolific Output
Note box I: 7 extracts with notes from the period from approx. 1952 to 1963, a total of approx. 23,000 pieces of paper
The notes were largely written during the time when Luhmann worked as a legal trainee in Lüneburg or as a member of the government at the Ministry of Culture in Lower Saxony and document his reading of administrative, political, philosophical and increasingly also organizational-theoretical and sociological literature.
Note box II: 20 extracts with notes from the period from 1963 to the beginning of 1997, a total of approx. 67,000 pieces of paper.
The notes are characterized by a clearly sociological-conceptual, theoretically and methodologically controlled access to a large number of publications from a wide variety of scientific disciplines. In terms of theoretical history, the new beginning with the development of a theory of administration may have taken place; The programmatic formulation on the first slip of this collection is paradigmatic for a fresh start:
The overview created by the NL Archives is based on the structure of the collection with its 108 thematic departments (as well as the four register departments) specified by Luhmann and provides a further breakdown within the individual thematic departments based on Luhmann’s priorities on the respective notes.
Therefore, the number structure does not represent a hierarchical structure. The departmental overviews do not claim to be complete (thematic or numerical).
Luhmann himself has not created a detailed overview of the contents of the collection. For ZK I there is only a department overview without further internal differentiation
Summary - It looks like Luhmann did not use detailed categories but instead had a somewhat vague overview of the different departments. What keeps it from going into the realm of traditional categories is that he did not further differentiate with subcategories.
- Note Box Introduction (Niklas Luhmann Archive)
- Luhmann on Arbitrary Branching
- Luhmann on Possibility of Linking
- Luhmann on using an Index
- Luhmann’s Note Taking Problems
Questions I have about Luhmann’s Zettelkasten