Zettelkasten process followed by luhmann

It is crucial to understand how Luhmann used his Zettelkasten if we are to make his system our own.

While taking his notes Luhmann never copied what that is written by the author. He would take in an idea and look for ways to connect it with his existing notes in the system. These notes are called Permanent Notes.

He treats his Zettelkasten as a conversation partner. In his system, the notes are not limited or boxed-in based on their topic, they are addressed using purely abstract numbers. There was no top-down organisation of notes.

A brief overview of the process he followed when using his Zettelkasten

  1. Capture ideas and information: Luhmann would capture ideas, quotes, and other pieces of information that he found interesting or relevant, and write them on individual index cards.

  2. Assign an identifier: Each card was assigned a unique identifier or keyword, such as a number or phrase, which helped him to organize and search his notes later on.

  3. Link related cards: Luhmann would link related cards together using the identifier system, creating a web of interconnected ideas and concepts.

  4. Review and revise: Periodically, Luhmann would review his notes and revise them as necessary, updating links and adding new ideas or insights.

  5. Generate new ideas: Luhmann used his Zettelkasten as a tool for generating new ideas and insights. By making connections between disparate pieces of information and linking them together in new and interesting ways, he was able to generate new perspectives and understanding of complex topics.

Luhmann’s process was highly iterative and personalised, allowing him to build up a highly detailed and interconnected knowledge base over time. The Zettelkasten system allowed him to manage and make sense of complex information, and to generate new ideas and insights that he may not have arrived at using other methods

Related topics Spaced Repetition Capture Habit Generation of Ideas

Notes mentioning this note

Here are all the notes in this garden, along with their links, visualized as a graph.