138 - Zettelkasten is about Development
Zettelkasten, “note box” in German, is a broad term that can represent a different set of ideas depending on who you talk to. For the purpose of this guide, I am using it to reference both the note taking system of sociologist Niklas Luhmann and my digital interpretation of it.
The zettelkasten system is about introducing a fifth function, that of development. Instead of just structuring material for future reference (e.g. book or wiki), you are structuring it in a way that helps you further develop your knowledge base . Once a section of your knowledge base (zettelkasten) has been sufficiently developed, you can then use it in a couple of ways.
- You can share the knowledge you developed through a research paper, blog post, or book.
- You can formalize the knowledge into a more useful form that can then be referenced later. This would be using your zettelkasten to create an entry in your personal wiki.
- Leave the notes alone and just reference them next time you run into a situation where that set of information would be helpful.
- You can formalize the knowledge into a model that you memorize. This would be akin to creating a sequence of notes about a cooking recipe that you are experimenting with. After you’ve created a sequence of notes on the recipe over a span of 3 years, you memorize the ideal recipe intentionally with a program like Anki or unintentionally by just using the recipe frequently.