Consume Content that Interests You Take Notes In Your Own Words Refine Your Notes and Number Them Collect Bibliographical Information Link Notes and Build a Keyword Index
Great books and articles tend to have great references.
jot down notes in your own words about the things that interest you most
Luhmann had two slip-boxes: a reference slip-box for bibliographical information and an idea slip-box for collecting notes and generating ideas from them
The first of Luhmann's slip-boxes contained bibliographical information or references for each book, article or other content from which he generated notes
Each slip in the reference slip-box contained bibliographical information on one side and brief literature notes about its contents on the other side.
Although purely empirical, I do believe there is an important effect to be aware of here. You will tend to generate more notes early on than you will later
You become a better writer over time, notes become more efficient and the slip-box alter ego forces you to be ever more selective as it grows and matures.
Luhmann would routinely review literature notes, consider them in relation to his interests and compare them to what already existed in his second slip-box, the idea slip-box
Each note in the idea slip-box contained an insight or comment related to one idea
Luhmann would add additional slips as necessary to extend an idea. A mature slip-box forces you to determine what is relevant and what is not
Each note should be treated as a completed manuscript that others might read. Keep them concise, grammatically correct, polished and coherent. Always strive for simplicity and directness.
Luhmann concedes that the resulting structure of notes is a fragmented form of the original text, but the numbering system allows one to easily reconstruct it
you can follow any branch through the sequence of notes to construct a linear argument worthy of publishing
Internal note to note links and backlinks Links between notes and bibliographical information Links between an index and notes that serve as an entry point to a particular topic or line of inquiry
you enrich each note in the act of linking them
Since slips with bibliographical information in the reference slip-box are also numbered, they can easily be linked from notes in the idea slip-box in much the same way
Luhmann created an index for his idea slip-box on slips that contained keywords linked to notes. He limited each keyword to one or two notes, because those notes served as entry points, main topics or lines of inquiry to his network of related ideas
Considering the absence of a systematic order, we must regulate the process of rediscovery of notes, for we cannot rely on our memory of numbers. The alternation of numbers and alphabetic characters in numbering the slips helps memory and is an optical aid when we search for them, but it is insufficient. Therefore we need a register of keywords that we constantly update.
Topics or lines of inquiry are not set in stone and evolve with the introduction of new, related notes
The concept of keywords as a way to rediscover notes, as opposed to simply categorizing or archiving them, may be new to you
When forming your own index, just ask yourself this question: "How can I best describe this new line of thinking in a simple phrase such that I am more likely to stumble across it in the future?"
I have a system for highlighting that takes advantage of coloring to denote regular highlights, quotes, principles/definitions and notable people I would like to research further. Here
For an actual book, a video or audio, you can take literature notes directly in your favorite note-taking app. Be sure to capture the page number or time for each note, so that you can easily jump to it again in context or reference it directly in your own published works.
each idea for review later when you have the time, and if you are otherwise indisposed, repeat the idea over and over in your mind or out loud to imprint it in short-term memory. Most of us have a so called "smart" phone literally attached to our foreheads, so it won't be long before you can toss that new idea into your digital inbox for later review.
The following note is in my reference slip-box. It contains bibliographical information and literature notes. Just a few of the literature notes are shown here. Notice how I link each note to a page number. The location links actually open up the Kindle Reader app and take me directly to the source in context
The following excerpt is from my index. This is the un-rendered form in markdown so you can see what a link looks like (the double brackets) between two notes.
e following excerpt is from my index. This is the un-rendered form in markdown so you can see what a link looks like (the double brackets) between two notes
The hash symbol denotes a tag. You can see a link to the reference from which the note was inspires. It is common to see many links in a gateway note like this. For example, this one has fifteen links. When I think about small change, I currently enter this gateway note first and then follow the internal links.
This next note is one of the internal links from the gateway note. Although not always the case, most of my internal notes link to other internal notes as seen here.
There is a gravity that builds with these notes and the links between them. The further I develop a line of inquiry, the stronger the pull on my mind — a mind that enjoys its time here
Set aside time to read and write literature notes for at least half an hour each day. Set aside additional time each day, week or after completing a particular piece of content (e.g., book, article, video, podcast) to transfer your literature notes into a bibliographical reference and permanent notes
Treat your slip-boxes like prized gardens. Tend them regularly, prune the weeds and keep out unwanted guests.