I know that I am complete with the synthesis phase when I have TRAPped (eek! It's hard for me to overstate how monumental the discovery of Roamkasten has been for me. D'oh! It's not, of course, but it sure feels that way. In a number of literature notes, once I wiped clean my own overlay, I found that the text was actually pointing in a slightly different direction which unlocked new thoughts and insights. Finally, porting from Google Docs to Webflow (what this website is built with) is relatively straightforward. From grade school through Ivy League undergraduate, I've never done this type of "translating," so this step definitely felt awkward and clunky to me at first. What is Roam Research? Big Idea: Although I've figured out a lot, and feel really good about where I'm at, there are still plenty more questions I have yet to explore. I’ve found that managing the ideas that I have and the information that I come across and then finding unique connections between all of it has been something that I’ve always struggled with. #[[flesh out]] - a completely unsupported declaration (read: hunch or intuition) that I want to later build up into a zettel. And I can immediately see if those concepts line up and support each other, or if in fact I need to further refine my awareness because I am holding two contradictory thoughts without any resolution. There’s a moderate learning curve, but it’s not so much that it requires learning markdown or HTML/CSS (this is a requirement with some similar tools). I peruse my Roamkasten notes as well as other related notes and topics sprinkled across my Roam. The bi-directional linking means I can navigate my zettelkasten horizontally (across topics) and vertically (up and down the text -> fleeting -> literature -> zettel -> synthesis structure) with lightning speed. Writing in Roam has been an absolute blast and has significantly magnified my breadth and depth of creation. For many people, I know this is a deal-breaker and I completely get it. There’s also no place to upload files and other documents to the ideas that you’re linking them to. There will be a 50% discount offer for academics ($7.50 per month). I personally prefer consuming this content in this format because some of my child blocks may be better left unopened, but I'll leave that up to you to decide. Given that zetteling is a quantum leap in learning and understanding, how can we adapt this process to younger audiences and incorporate it into their educational process? Then if I care to dig into the references, I'm always one click away from exactly where I need to go. Big Idea: I find tremendous value in the Roamkasten method, but it felt slightly incomplete to me. Even though I felt good about what I read as I was reading it (healthy meal), the material didn’t offer much nutrition, was largely unsatisfying, and ultimately malnourishing in the long run. Once I have all my highlights in Roam on my book page, the real fun begins. Roam + Zettelkasten = Roamkasten. Tell me if any of my symptoms resonate with your experience: I was reading good quality information, but not processing it in any way. The initial unintuitive discomfort arose because I was stepping out of the "known" paradigm of wikis, websites, and folder-based note taking apps like Evernote. For the grand finale, I went back through my zettels on Mein Zettels and codified the explicit relationships between them. If I find I need to move a block, before I commit I can simply reference that block in the new arena. Zettelkasten Comparison between NOTION, ROAM Research, OBSIDIAN and REMNOTE. Using Roam, the pace at which I can now think and create has accelerated by an order of magnitude with this one feature alone. This exercise is EXACTLY the act of resurfacing, expanding, and connecting that Ahrens writes about in his book. Nat's course quickly spun me up on best practices and the core concepts of Roam, and after a month of active futzing I was starting to see the tremendous potential, but none of that course or the reading I did addressed the root causes of my cognitive constipation. A couple of larger questions that I'm curious to explore in the future: How do I go back and refine zettels over time? Now, I can peacefully put this book back on my shelf (or lend it to my friends and family since I keep raving about Roamkasten and they are getting curious about why I dove so deep into this system like nothing before). Much faster, easier, and more intuitive. I have a series of projects that have bubbled up in my consciousness that are uniquely well-suited for a mind garden seeded in my (lightly modded) Roamkasten PKM. And only then can I get back to writing or thinking again. I realized later that although Roam felt unintuitive at first, it actually felt more native and natural as I got versed in the mechanics. And I have no doubt that I learned more, understood more deeply, and felt way more prepared to write this article (and all future articles referencing anything from this book) than I would have if I just read the book and highlighted a few sentences here and there never to look at them again. If he wanted to branch to another concept, he had to make a note to "link" to the other cabinet drawer, and then the cards were again stacked one behind the other. It feels FANTASTIC that I can quietly walk away from this book multiple times always to come back with greater clarity and precision in what I'm extracting. I align any fleeting notes that came from that passage with the literature notes from that passage to keep things linear and tidy for back-referencing later. Is that a fair or honest statement to make? Another parallel and related awareness, though not necessarily the same thing, is that PKM is very meaningful and impactful regardless of the output (if any at all). In Roam, the original text is always just one click away. This is huge! I can now run hard, and think harder, with no hesitation and reservation. This article is written linearly to speak to the what and why before the how, though feel free to skip sections that you already know to save time. I mostly came to terms and gave up on that dynamic ever changing. Of course, my absolute top action item was to start zetteling immediately. Turns out, our brain's neural architecture also operates like a (hyper sophisticated) graph database - we create memory nodes and then reinforce and strengthen connections through repetition and practice. I genuinely have no idea how this will work, though I know some folks who likely do and are eager to help out in the process. Usually, when I find inconsistencies in my thought patterns it prompts some cognitive dissonance that I find annoying at best and outrageously unacceptable at worst. The researcher’s name was Niklas Luhmann and over his career, he was able to publish 70 books and 400 academic articles using a unique process of notetaking and knowledge management called the Zettelkasten. Each literature note by definition must reference a primary source text, so I include the page number as a linked reference back to the highlight block. I could not consume any more content until I "cleared" my system (read: forgot a large chunk of what I just read). If there is even a kernel of value in any diatribe, I’ll gleefully incorporate it into my larger growth trajectory and bow in reverence for the teachings you offer me. It translates the Zettelkasten successfully into a digital version that doesn’t remain stuck in the mental models of the original, paper-based version. Unlike Roam Research, exporting a note in Markdown and adding as a new post into WordPress so I can publish it as a blog post is super easy. If nothing of interest arises, then so be it and I know for a fact that I should not bother with publishing half-baked concepts or ideas. In his book, Ahrens dissects the individual steps of the process, the value baked in to each step, and how to implement this system for non-fiction (primary academic) writers. In the best case scenario, someone that is completely blind to the nuances of my architecture should be able to pick any random branch, read through it linearly, and generally get the gist of what's going on. Academic models of thought are rapidly shifting. As long as I flagged my headers accordingly, it’s mostly a copy-paste with a touch of cleanup to make sure it looks pretty in the web page format. Naturally there was some overlap, but I was somewhat surprised to see that prevalent themes in the book (like writing and systems) were subsumed into larger narratives within my dialogue (writing under learning and systems sprinkled throughout learning and productivity, respectively). I care deeply about vernacular aesthetics and emotional word maps, and don't appreciate the feeling that anyone or anything is "trapped" by me. Bi-directional linking looks and feels a lot like a wiki ... with a twist. Because How to Take Smart Notes is the crystallization seed of Mein Zettels, I started with a blank page. Some have argued that this will dramatically change how we read in the future, and although I have a strong attachment to getting away from the screen and reading a physical book where I can touch the paper and ink, I am inclined to agree. Bear in mind, I know a thing or two about note taking apps intended for Zettelkasten use. Note: the "pregnant bullets" (ones with the additional halo of color) indicate that there are child blocks that are currently collapsed. As I get more and more texts under my belt, without ever taking a directive approach, patterns will begin to emerge on the domains and disciplines that interest me most. As I write, I add a litany of blocks and child blocks as thoughts arise related to my key transmission for that section. The second article was exactly what I was thinking about: how to use Roam as a Zettelkasten. Each step of the zettelkasten process has compelling and ingenious value. I’ve recently discovered the ZettelKasten Method for researching and taking notes.. From spiritual traditions to indigenous communities to neuroscience labs to economic models to artificial intelligence and so much more - this realm of inquiry is having its heyday right now. Zettelkasten prefixer: generate unique ID for your note. That said, my personal peculiar preferences in no way detract from the brilliance of what Mike offers. Above my "Highlights" section on my book page, I created a "Notes" section where I typed up all my fleeting notes. In a recent post, I made an offhand mention that Obsidian might be a better fit for some people than Roam Research.What was that all about? This makes for a low bar in terms of accessibility and reduces the amount of time a new user will need for getting acquainted with its functionality. How we integrate the lessons of 2020 will dictate the course of humanity for the next 100+ years. And if A1 has some contradicting evidence, I can nest that under A1. Heck ya! Just as with #[[supported by]], the evidence offered here will have varying degrees of strength, weight, and precision. To be clear, fleeting notes may or may not be related to the text proper. “It really becomes a place for fomenting creativity,” he said. As easy to use as a document. To put information in a child block inherently suggests a relationship with its parent block. Either way, it's critical to notate the page and passage that triggered this thought. There is an uptick in interest around researching and understanding the very nature of our consciousness. Again, not technically a PKM but her visual treatments are deeply insightful and, well, illustrative. Each bullet point in Roam is called a block, and it can have an infinitely nested series of child blocks below it. I then read through what’s arguably the most authoritative website about the process and gained a solid understanding of praxis for using the Zettelkasten method, which got me started. Plus, for the first time in many generations, we saw what is possible when a truly global community of citizens all agree one thing (Life) is more sanct and sacred than many other things (travel, consumerist economic engines, much more). Even if you're not an academic, I believe there is tremendous value to putting your thoughts and insights into the public sphere, but there is no express need for that step to ever come to fruition. But that kind of breaks if one never chooses to write for external consumption. Co-Founder, Red Steel Creative | Web & Software Guru, A Designer’s Guide to Receiving Criticism and Managing Feedback, The Ultimate Design Guide to Push Notifications, Organizing Complexity: How Architects Collaborate To Build The World Around Us. I don't mind it right now because I’ve read that the Roam team is looking at options for this and will likely have something in the future. In my own implementation, which I'll elaborate on in the next section below, I have a book page for "How to Take Smart Notes" where the zettels live and then I have a Zettelkasten page (I adoringly call it Mein Zettels which means "my notes" in German) where the notes relate and synthesize. Templates: lets you quickly insert snippets of text into your current note. As my thoughts and ideas refine, what do I do with old zettels that no longer fit? I'd write a summary note, then go back and reread the original passage, and realize that half or more of my "summary" was nowhere to be found in that passage. After that, I can then see how that term (part of the database of other terms) graphically connects in the bigger picture. []({{image_url}}){% endif %}. During the book club there was a very active discussion about the nature and mechanics of relating zettels. And I can stack them atop each other to form a very robust structure of thought (that I could never achieve before with other note taking tools). Looking ahead to writing and outlines, this would have the simple benefit of reminding me that it’s worth clarifying how I define a word or concept so others can key in to what I’m saying. Plus, I walked away with a much deeper understanding of the text and the wisdom it offers its readers. Creating a Permanent Note This step was by far and away the least intuitive of the first three and the least well described in the book. By the end of working through my highlights, even as a complete newbie and beginner, the flow felt much more natural and intuitive to me. This means that the way that I think isn’t linear, but the notecards had an innate linear nature, even with a bi-directional analog categorization system. Quick note: Roamkasten in just one of a handful of PKM systems I've encountered recently. I first heard about it when I signed up for Roam Research a note taking tool for networked thought who’s popularity 1 is skyrocketing. I am simply restating, in my own words, the section of text that caught my attention. It took me a couple of weeks to adopt Roam Research as my primary note-taking tool. Step 2: Gather the files with your notes. Zettels themselves are cool and all, but they do not have inherent value. There was also another issue with the method that really struck to the heart of its utility: it didn’t help me coalesce my approach because it didn’t allow for intuitive nonlinear causality. The man wrote more than 70 books and more than 450 scholarly articles distilling a universal systems theory that connected a wide range of topics such as law, economy, politics, art, religion, ecology, mass media, and love. That may be a valuable visual feedback loop to be more rationed with my words, and I accept that possibility. ), a piece of technology has fundamentally changed the way I think and create. At the end of finishing Ahren’s book, I felt a deep sense of calm and serenity that I've never felt when reading before. Then, it was time to digest all that material. RoamBrain.com (a resource by Francis Miller) — an information hub for Roam Research. This is why I went on with this tool and have continued using it. Every zettel I write is, by definition, written in the context of every other zettel I've curated from every other text I've read related to that subject. that refers to implementing the Zettelkasten system in Roam Research. A system that is flexible enough to allow for adjustments to realign interest, motivation, and productivity will bring us closer to flow state. ", then I could point to any #[[supported by]] zettel and it should logically follow to speak to that question. I needed a digital tool to replace the analog notecards that I’d worked so hard to create. I felt like I was consuming, but not digesting and processing, so I frequently felt cognitive constipation. This is an online tool that’s essentially the grandchild of the traditionally analog version of the Zettelkasten. There is one tool, however, that is extremely well suited for making a Zettelkasten: Roam Research. I knew I was done ingesting when all of my fleeting notes and primary text highlights were in Roam. Where do Toulmin's "warrants" or more general assumptions go? What is Zettelkasten? Curious to learn more about what has resonated so deeply with folks, and how it maps to Roam specifically. If I have an assumption or intuition, it's worthwhile to notate that, and then go figure out how to back it up. Again, this feature seems so simple but the depth of its power is incredible for organizing thought and facilitating focus. The pull for me here is for sharing my book notes with others as well as looking back at a book page many years in the future to quickly grasp the gist. I consume a lot of non-fiction texts and academic articles to formulate a coherent and consistent evidence-based worldview. And in the rare instances that such conversations do arise, it is extra rare for someone to have the awareness or the gumption to call me out when I formulate incomplete thoughts or arguments riddled with logical fallacies and counter examples. That’s partly because I wanted to see the hierarchy of indents so that I could think through how best to flatten that into a paragraph structure in this writing phase. But the results of my research and thinking, if I want to have them available at a later date, reside in my Zettelkasten. In this way, I honor that every thought has value and is worth documenting in that moment. This step was especially interesting because when I first wrote my zettels in a vacuum I did not have a sense of how they would relate. At that point, I’ll likely be very grateful for the nifty tools that strip out the [[ ]] as well as other markdown that doesn’t convert gracefully to Google Docs or web pages. I don't care as much about the time graph concept for my zetteling, but the fact that this is available to those who care about that is extra cool and all it requires is a trivial change in one’s workflow. Perhaps even more interesting is that, as I was documenting these relationships between notes, I saw how incomplete my original zettels were for having been written in a vacuum. Then I flesh out each section header with a 1 sentence summary. One thing is that it is only available online, meaning that I can’t download the information that’s uploaded. In capturing all of the square, and many times over on multiple thoughts, I'm finding that my ideas fit together much more firmly and cleanly. Of course, because I only have 1 item in Mein Zettels for now, I was referencing other blocks from within this text. We are complete again and ready to play catch with any pitcher from any domain. A new old way to take notes and research. So starting with the backbone of Roamkasten, I now feel fully confident that I am constructing a structurally sound and healthy functioning body of knowledge from which to contribute and connect. From Pre-K through PhD (at least in the US), we are never taught how to fully digest information or take meaningful notes, There are very few role models for how to actively read well (though this is changing in select rapidly growing communities), The process to actively read and take meaningful notes is not intuitive and hard to figure out in a vacuum, Distill core concepts and how I can apply them to my life, Feel more inspired and engaged with every book + article I read, Use removable sticky tabs to mark key passages, Write ideas with pen and paper on the side. I’ve learned over the last couple of years, though, that interesting is a loaded word that’s filled with implications and expectations on the part of the researcher and writer. I did not get any of it but I was curious why so many smart people were obsessing about this new software, so back in October 2020, I jumped in to take a gander. What are the developmental inflection points in a Roamkasten? Structurally, my Zettels are a parent block with 3 children blocks, Structuring the Zettels in this format has a significant advantage for discovery and review downstream. If so, how did it go?! And what joy and ease to have the outline pre-baked for me! Are there any content gaps that you’d like to see filled? I love the ideas here and sense a few gaps for my own non-academic flow given the express focus on academic writing. Now, with the clarity of the hierarchy, I can start to see emerging patterns and larger narratives. Somehow, not deleting makes it much easier for me to feel calm slicing and dicing with a vengeance. I suspect that as I get more experienced moving between the two mediums I’ll learn the tricks to organize Roam article pages in a way that’s simpler and easier for export. The community and power users have been awesome for sure, but I had no idea the book and its core concepts would completely steal the show for me. Inline creation makes the process of creating and cross referencing notes at every level extremely easy. Worth every penny (and then some) in my book, but you can find all the content he offers scattered across Slack, Twitter, and blog posts from various sources (if money is less available than time and you have patience to sift through the noise). To use the Zettelkasten method in Roam Research, you first need to introduce a slip-box, ie, a “container,” for your permanent notes. I like this functionality in Evernote, but the loss of it with Roam is negated quite a bit because I can hyperlink to most of the articles and papers I find. I don't know that I've ever had that much peace and confidence related to my own gaps in cognition before. And this article is the very first example of that. Reading like this is the equivalent of a healthy literary diet with a twisted intellect gut. But the twist is that once a link is created, it instantly points both ways. Where was it fluid and where did you stumble? Did you use this walkthrough to set up your own Roamkasten? When I want to only see the "big picture" concepts, I can collapse children blocks to the desired level of granularity. Luhmann had to maintain a separate bookshelf of all of his primary materials and pulling the original text must have broken his flow and been a royal pain. I've also already seen the step function improvement in many corners of my life in just a few short months of clunking around my own Roamkasten system. That means that disparate ideas from arenas I would have never correlated suddenly stand in stark clarity side by side. I travel often and would not be able to carry my entire zettelkasten with me everywhere I go. The tool isn’t without its faults, though. We'll use each of these liberally in our Roamkasten. I would look at a stack of books that I bought because they genuinely interest me and would instantly feel overwhelmed and uninspired. Specifically, I have zero doubt that, with diligence and care, I can fill in every single gap that I've identified. What other triggers will require tectonic shifts in Mein Zettels above and beyond the standard refinements over time (that I also don't yet know how to do. Once I had each of those sections filled out, I felt absolutely and fully complete with this book. Fleeting notes are wisps of awareness that are triggered by the text. Ahrens writes extensively about the cognitive biases that zetteling alleviates, but this one was genuinely surprising to me. Where the concept of `` knowing what to write publicly full stop, but I ’ m not sure a! To Research, meaning that I know what the words of the time! Were triggered by the text, they count come into play the browser or click on a post. And codified the explicit relationships between them notes to take Smart notes book I still a... Be two child blocks below a to carry my entire Zettelkasten with me everywhere I go there... 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