Zettelkasten is a system for storing and accessing notes invented by Niklas Luhmann. I am very fascinated by its underlying philosophy and approach which I would love to take advantage of, but I am still learning and, above all, maintaining it well enough to fully unleash its usefulness requires a lot of time and dedication. I have none.
The word does not quite describe a topic whose meaning is much deeper and more complex than the mere concept of linking one’s own notes. The most insightful writing I read, that best tackles the obnoxious dilemmas Personal Knowledge Management poses is Synthesizing Bonsai
The problem of Zettlekasten is that there is a worrying risk (at least, for me) to end up spending a ridiculously great amount of time collecting and organizing thoughts and knowledge, and less and less time actually learning something valuable or formulating intelligent ideas.
Either one can find an equilibrium among the two—but it requires very strong self-awareness and intelligence—,or she is better off dropping this knowledge management system.
The most suited—yet exaggerated—example to express my feeling is what happened to Aby Warburg. Enthusiastic and psyched about his plan to create Atlas Mnemosyne, he got overwhelmed with a tremendous amount of inputs, and he ended up schizophrenic.
- The Zettelkasten Manifesto
- My highlights on Wtf is a Zettelkasten?
- Zettelkasten on Wikipedia
- The Zettelkasten Philosophy, based on the principles of autonomy and atomicity
- A great explanation video
- Obsidian, a fresh, recent, powerful and intriguing Zettlekasten-centered app. It’s not open source, there have been a lot of discussions about this, yet it’s arguably the best.
- Neuron, a great open-source app to manage Zettelkasten notes from CLI.
- Quartz, the best implementation of a digital garden I found on the web up to now