Digital Garden


Zettelkasten is a method of note taking developed by Niklas Luhmann, a German scholar. The original sytem predates computers and operated on a sytem of index cards. The intention of Zettelkasten is to produce a system of note taking that allows connections between diverse topics by organizing concepts in a flexible manner that avoids silos and rigid hierarchies. In this manner it prefers the usage of bidirectional linking over tags or folder structures.

The Writing Cooperative and Andy Matuschak give a series of steps towards producing good notes using this system:

  1. Notes should be atomic, covering only one idea
  2. Notes should be self contained. Reference external sources, but incorporate them into the note.
  3. Notes should be densely interlinked
  4. Allow organization to occur organically rather than through hierarchy
  5. Notes should be conceptual rather than topical
  6. Notes should take advantage of the gneration effect, they should sumamrize and not quote.
  7. Notes are open for addition, not closed.
  8. As notes grow add narrative notes that link interconnected ideas as well as notes that index related ideas.

Linked References