Zettelkasten

This is a brief overview of my version of the Zettelkasten Method. It is based on my undocumented readings of a variety of sources, of which I may not remember exactly.

The Method

A coming-together of ideas. Ideas represented as individual notes. Notes that link ideas to one another, not bound by categorical boundaries. Over time, clusters of ideas emerge into bigger topics.

The Components

  1. Literature Repository/Library

    • A place to hold references or links to sources such as books, articles, links, media, etc.
  2. Literature Notes

    • Notes derived directly from a source. Can be a dump.
  3. Zettels

    • Atomic ideas derived from Literature Notes, thoughts, or directly from sources.
    • Links should always have context. No dumping of links allowed.
  4. Topic Notes

    • Topics that emerge from multiple Zettels over time. A portal with context. Zettels may belong to 0 or many Topic Notes.

Discovery

I came across the Zettelkasten method back in the spring of 2019. Unfortunately, there weren’t many resources around (although Christian and Sascha over at zettelkasten.de have been a huge help!), so I decided to start the subreddit r/Zettelkasten to provide a place to gather resources and find like-minded people.

The activity was slow to non-existent at the start, but fast-forward one year, and you will find that the activity levels have skyrocketed1

One year ago, I read almost every article I could possibly find on the internet on the Zettelkasten method.

Now, I can hardly keep up with the output!

In order to make sense of all this information, I am currently part of a team maintaining a public Zettelkasten on the Zettelkasten method itself. It’s not perfect and progress is slow-going, but it’s a start, and I hope to keep the momentum going for as long as possible.

References

@ahrens2017HowTakeSmart - My first introduction to the method.

https://zettelkasten.de/introduction/ - A simple primer explaining some key concepts.