ZettelKasten

Updated: Mar 14, 2020 by Pradeep Gowda.
Tagged: writing

ZettelKasten(ZK) method is a method of optimizing workflow of learning and producing knowledge.

Zettelkasten — How One German Scholar Was So Freakishly Productive is a good introduction to the method.

Here is twitter therad by the creator of roam research. See also these two essays by Niklas Luhmann who was the originator of this method .

A paper on ZettelKasten - Project MUSE - Life without Toothache: Hans Blumenberg’s Zettelkasten and History of Science as Theoretical Attitude. Hans Blumenberg’s use of ZK system (a historian and philosopher of science and technology).


Talk How to take smart notes by Sönke Ahrens.

Niklas Luhmann (1927-1998)

Specifics / core features:

Status quo of higher education / writing:

  1. Find topic / research question (brainstorming)
  2. research / find literature
  3. read and take notes
  4. draw conclusions / outline text
  5. write
  6. hit or miss your deadline
  7. start all over with the next project.

“the above makes sense intuitively” (subtext: but does not work very well in practice)

ed: invert, always invert!

Status quo: note taking

  1. collect notes for each course in one place, in sep notebook or section of a notebook… this only arranges the material in chronological order.

The difference between the methods makes the difference:

If you can’t explain it your own words, you have not understood it – Richard Feynman.

What happens when you use the ZK system:

Mentions “Inbox” by David Allen’s GTD. difference is, this is not goal oriented, but “insights”.

What works What doesn’t
Spacing Cramming
Interleaving One thing at a tie
Connecting Compartmentalizaton
Self-testing Underlining and cpying
Elaboration Re-reading

Recommended books:

“real experts dont make plans, they become experts in making informed decisions in the context they are in”.


How to Take Smart Notes | Zettelkasten Method in Roam Research - YouTube:


My ZettelKasten setup

[work in progress; Sat, Mar 14, 2020]

How I would like to use zettelkasten:


Software