Zettelkasten Principles

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A Note-Making System

In order to build a functioning Note-Making System, one that is capable of deepening your understanding about your Areas of Interest, you should adhere to a set of principles. These principles make it easier for you to connect your thinking as it develops, creating linked ideas and concepts. This is one of the ways knowldge turns into wisdom.

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Where Do Ideas Come From?

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I write poetry.

Not as well as I’d like.

I would love to write better poetry as I love the art form because of its precision. The best poets can capture something essential about their topic, express what they have to say in a way which is fresh or moving.

As part of my ongoing struggle to be a better poet, I have joined the Poetry Society.

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Lasting Value

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Failing at Personal Knowledge Management

In previous attempts at creating and maintaining Personal Knowledge Management Systems (PKMSs), I have thrown lots of material into my storage facility DEVONthink. I was of course thereby demonstrating that I had fallen prey to the Collectors Fallacy.

Items which were stored in DEVONthink may have passed a threshold of interest, but they were prone to two problems:

  • I may have stored items which were of passing interest, but whose utility was ephemeral
  • there was no obvious retrieval method, or means of linking ideas together, even allowing for DEVONthink’s rather impressive AI.
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Information Flow

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Note-Making Nomenclature

Definition

Information Flow is the identification, capture and processing of an Item of Knowledge which has potential Lasting Value.

 

Information Flow Purpose

The Purpose of Information Flow is to ensure that there is a system in place for recording insights, ideas, thoughts or feelings associated with an Item of Knowledge which has potential Lasting Value.

 

Information Flow Methodology

All information reaches my consciousness in one of these ways:

  1. reading books, articles, news reports etc
  2. visiting websites
  3. receiving emails
  4. listening to podcasts, radio, music
  5. watching TV, opera, movies etc
  6. other apps e.g.
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Information Flow Purpose

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Note-Making Nomenclature

Definition

I designed a methodology called Information Flow that helps me manage what appears in my Note-Making System (NMS).

Information Flow Purpose

  • to deliver a means of sparking abundant creativity for my work as a poet and writer
  • to ensure that there is a system in place for recording insights, ideas, thoughts or feelings associated with an Item of Knowledge which has potential Lasting Value
  • by linking insights, ideas, thoughts or feelings together, I will provide fertile soil for Creativity Activation.
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Information Flow Methodology

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Note-Making Nomenclature

Context

All information reaches my consciousness in one of these ways:

  • reading books, articles, news reports etc
  • visiting websites
  • receiving emails
  • listening to podcasts, radio, music
  • watching TV, opera, movies etc
  • other apps e.g. DailyArt

A Process

This process describes how an Item of Knowledge that has potential Lasting Value is identified, captured and processed in accordance with the criteria described in Information Flow Purpose.

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Evergreen Notes

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What Are Evergreen Notes?

The term ‘Evergreen Notes’ is used by Andy Matushak to describe notes which are more than fleeting.

 

Evergreen notes adhere to the Zettelkasten Principles which makes it easier to do consistently.

I have developed my own terminology. Instead of Evergreen Notes, I use the term Cornerstone Note because I like the idea that they are building blocks of information.

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Definition of a Building Block Note

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I use the word Building Block Note to describe a unique note that I have placed into my Note-Making System.

To get into the Note-Making System, a note must be of potential Lasting Value. Ascribing Lasting Value to a note is my way of cordoning off my attention from items which are merely ‘interesting’ but are likely of no Lasting Value.

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Atomic

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Note-Making Nomenclature

Notes Should Be Atomic

The nature of a Note-Taking System is that it is an interconnected network of your ideas, concepts, thoughts or feelings.

 

Feelings are not normally mentioned, but because I want to test how a Note-Making System can help with Creativity Activation, I am also including feelings in the sorts of items that I collect.

I think it is quite likely that a piece of poetry or prose will engender a similar feeling when I see a great piece of art or when I hear or see something that evokes the same feeling.

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Cornerstone Notes

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Note-Making Nomenclature

Cornerstone notes are the term I use to describe Andy Matushak’s Evergreen Notes

Andy suggests evergreen notes are written to:

  • evolve
  • contribute
  • accumulate, over time
  • across projects.

Principles

A simple note adheres to the same principles defined for any note that finds its way into my Note-Making System:

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