Obsidian Zettelkasten

Slip 8.2a On the problem of the historical perspective cf. 33.1d1A4e still ; 57.4e8e.

Slip 8.2b interesting in this context the attempt Freyer to construct s, sociological terms and to bring in a system that simultaneously at certain historical place and at a certain time behaves - generalizable nis each other are fixed and still are. ( Sociology as a science of reality, esp. P. 189ff.)

F. believes that he can deduce this possibility from the dialectical structure of social reality, which has happened on the one hand and on the other hand throws out mentally shaped structures that have a certain permanence. Nevertheless, in my opinion , there is no convincing demarcation of the sociological structural terms from the historical concept. The relatively clearest sentence is:

Slip 8.2b1 p. 197: “But there remains a clear distinction as to whether the conceptualization relates to the chain of the present, in which the social structure has become, and to the question of what has happened and been done in these present, or whether it is based on the building law of the structure is directed and only considers its dynamics as an essential element of its structure.”

The concept of maximum historical saturation binding to a limited hours for its connotation heard the historic moment, which can then formalization and generalization continue to terms that overlap the increasingly longer periods of time, until formal almost, general categories reaches such rule.

Slip 8.2b2 - But whether it makes sense to include the time constraint in this way in the definition of the term is very much a question. Anyway, you can these necessary ness not from the special nature of the subject field of sociology deduce how Freyer says. And it then sets the term from quite heterogeneous inventory of which that of the time constraint share together, never clearly grasped (? From 1750 to 1849) and will never be experimentally controlled.

A detailed criticism of Freyer’s very prescriptive teaching would probably go too far.

24 - Network Graph (Graph View in Obsidian) are information visualizations that shows how notes are connected through the use of nodes and links repented by lines.

The primary use of a Network Graph is to show how notes may be connected that aren’t obvious. I am not talking about the obvious connections that you see through a direct link but instead when two notes are connected through a chain. Think “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” for your notes.

Another common use of network graphs is when they implement clustering, which allows you to see common themes among your notes. This will seem insignificant when your note collection is in its infancy, but when it has been around for awhile it helps show you themes in your notes that you may have forgotten.

Indeed, I hadn’t meant to imply that she was the first to develop the method but that she had given a detailed description of how she used it, and as a sociologist she was a major writer, researcher and theorist in Luhmann’s field.

That was an interesting paper; I hadn’t read that.

26 - Index - is an alphabetical list that you can use to look up the locations of terms. It is an ancient form of information sorting that allowed for easier information retrieval. It operates similar to your memory in the sense that it relies on a retrieval cue in the form of a word.

It is a layer of structure in the zettelkasten that works because it is utilizing a well known model (memorized alphabet) that allows you to narrow your search options. When you go to look up a word (your retrieval cue), you immediately narrow down the options in the index to words that start with your letter and can jump to that section.

27 - Core Note Functions - I see the four core note functions of text management as the “first principles” of note taking, serving as a set of useful lenses to look at the tools and methods of note taking throughout history. They can also be used for thinking about modern note taking. The four core functions are: storing, sorting, selecting, and summarizing (Blair 2010, pg 15). I’ve also added compiling to the list.

The core functions emerge from the main purpose of note taking.

You can analyze how the functions individually have evolved over time and also how they manifested throughout the various mediums of knowledge management. See 5A .

28 - Mediums of Information Management are the different ways we record information or knowledge.

With the emergence of writing, we can now store and share information on mediums that require minimal use of the brain (only for interpretation). Further reading - see Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World

  • Tablets are flat, square or rectangular blocks of material used for inscriptions. Material used to make the tablets tends to be clay, stone, and wood.
  • Scrolls
  • Reference Books
  • Note Boxes (e.g. zettelkasten)

The introduction of the computer has led to an explosion of information sharing and management. Now there are many different ways one can store their notes (important information) digitally.

  • Wiki
  • Note Programs (Obsidian)

Future of Information Storage returns to the roots of reality with the manipulation of DNA and quantum computing for storing information.

  • Qubit is the basic unit of quantum information, with the two states of an electron spin.
  • Digital DNA

A lot of the programs are geared towards information storage and retrieval, basic functions of management. The next step that is being taken and is important to keep in mind for designing note software is tools for knowledge development. How can we help people

  • Connect Knowledge in meaningful ways?
    • Contextual Information that is surprising and useful
    • Structural Connections that illustrate the connections in a model
  • Help facilitate the building of external models through note taking
  • Store Knowledge such that you can find all the relevant information when searching?
  • Make notes shareable through

Unconventional Storage

  • One form of unconventional storage is showcased in the movie Memento, directed by Christopher Nolan. The main character has important information written on his body as a way to overcome anterograde amnesia.

29 - Core Note Functions in Memory - because note taking is a solution to memory, you can see the four functions of note taking (storing, sorting, selecting, and summarizing) happening in our brain’s system.


You start out the memory process by storing new information through the process of encoding and storage. You turn information into a visual, auditory, or semantic format then it gets transferred into long-term memory.


After it has been stored, the memory consolidates, which is akin to the sorting function of information management. Both are functions done to make storage more efficient and retrieval (search) easier (fact check needed/source).


Once a memory has been integrated into long-term storage, you retrieve it when you come across a stimulus that serves as a retrieval cue. In the same way the link serves as a retrieval cue for my notes on retrieval cues.


Overtime our memories re-consolidate, allowing us to forget unimportant details and streamline the memory. People who have extremely good memory, such as Solomon Shereshevsky can easily memorize the contents of a story but struggle with “getting the gist” of it (Myers 2018, pg 895).

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30 - Purpose of Note Taking - Note Taking at its core is an answer to the problem of a restricted human memory system. We do not have the time nor attention span to properly encode and store all the information we think will be important. So we make a note of it, with the intention of referencing it later on after we’ve forgotten the details.

Future reference is the classical use of note taking, whereby the note acts a form of external memory. In its most simplest form, it is offloading a piece of information onto a sticky note so that you don’t have to keep it looping in your short term memory. It serves as a reminder. More permanent notes helps with information that you want to be able to access much later, similar to long term memory.

Over time we moved from private note collections to public versions due to an infoglut in medieval society. People started curating information and offering summaries of worthwhile information in the form of reference books. You see the modern equivalent in websites such as Blinkist.

Notes as a form of External Structure Building - Eventually readers such as Luhmann were looking to get more out of there notes than mere referencing. He did this through the creation of a linking system in a physical note collection. When you introduce linking into a system, it allows for information to be connected and form a structure. For example, neurons link together in your brain to make a structure that takes the form of a “small world network”. Luhmann was building a structure (network of notes) that represented “the entire spectrum of social phenomena” through a grand theory of society (Schmidt, 2018).

31 - Information Workflow - is a framework you can use for thinking about how to deal with incoming information in knowledge work.

One way to deal with new information is to break it down into atomized chunks that allow it to be incorporated into a spaced repetition software for memorization. This is the information that you believe to be important because it is required for a school test or you anticipate high usage. This is important because we store memories for later use.

The second way to deal with new information is to record it in a reference system instead of memorization. Reference systems can take the form of personal wikis, note collections, and reference books. This has been the purpose of note taking throughout much of human history as a way to deal with information overload. In medieval times, reference systems take the form of reference books containing quotes and associations (x plant is good for curing y disease). Some reference books contained collections of summaries which would give readers an idea if a book is worth checking out.

The third way to deal with new information is to integrate it into a zettelkasten, which goes beyond information management (the second way, e.g. a wiki) and works towards knowledge development.

The fourth way to deal with new information is to immediately use. You are constantly doing this throughout life. When you see a car in your rear-view mirror, you immediately incorporate it into your existing model of that roadway.

The final way to deal with new information is to just ignore it. This is what we do with the vast majority of information and stimuli. You don’t memorize all the words in a book, instead you selectively take notes or create an internal abstraction of the books argument.

32 - Goal for my Zettelkasten is to create and further develop models that can referenced during events or internalized for everyday use. My primary focus is on developing models that revolve around knowledge work and improving ones life. Those two concepts are closely tied together because having a good environment and set of habits will help facilitate deep knowledge work.

33 - Interal vs. External Models - External Models (event models) are ones that you go to for advice when a common (e.g. relationship break up) or uncommon (e.g. great depression occurs) event happens. Internalized models are ones you want to memorize after they get sufficiently developed. These are models that you memorize either because you use them frequently (e.g. model of how to drive for your daily drive to work) or they are highly valuable. For example, an emergency room doctor will have obscure information memorized because they don’t have the time to look up information during an emergency. Even if they find themselves not using that set of information/model often.

See also Models

34 - Hubs are collections of note sequences centered around a theme. You create a hub once you notice a bunch of notes in your index centered around a topic.

An example in my own zettelkasten is I had the follow index entries

  • Note Taking, Problems in
  • Note Functions, Core
  • History of Note Taking
  • Public Note Repositories
  • Ideal Note Taking Program

Once I notice 5-10 notes centering around a certain topic (e.g. Note Taking) I will excise them out the index into their own note and then link that new hub note to the index.



List of books and research material that I want to read and integrate into this zettelkasten:

  • Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age by Ann Blair
  • Paper Machines: About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929 by Markus Krajewski
  • The Art of Note Taking by Beatrice Webb
  • The Memory Code by Lynne Kelly
  • A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel
  • The Science of Managing Our Digital Stuff by Ofer Bergman

Zettelkasten Research

Zettelkasten Research

Could share this as an Obsidian Vault please?

@Kuncy I don’t follow, are you talking about the entire zettelkasten or just the bibliography entries?

39 - Abstract Knowledge is information that has gone through the process of generalization to produce knowledge that is highly applicable because of its abstractness (Wozniak 2020).

It is the type of knowledge you typically want to acquire because it is just more useful as you can apply it to a wider set of situations (e.g. General Thinking Concepts).

40 - Generalization “is the process in which you ignore the details to reveal a deeper structure. The term overlaps with abstraction, conceptualization, inductive reasoning, modeling, theorization, categorization, conclusion, unification, colligation, de-concretization, pattern extraction, and pattern separation” (Wozniak 2020).

You also see this process happening with memory, where information disappears as you go from sensory memory → working/short term memory → long-term storage → retrieval from long term storage. See Memory Consolidation.


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41 - Applicability refers to the utility of a rule or model (Wozniak 2020), how much use you can get out of it. You create a mental model of the inside of a car such that when you get into someone elses car you are still able to drive it. You don’t get bogged down in the details and become unable to drive it because the steering wheel is a different color from yours.

In life you want to find the models that have a high applicability because what good is a model if you never use it. Exception being high value internalized models.