Friday, April 6, 2018

The Archive

I have more or less given up on the Mac. The Mac Mini will probably not be updated again, and running ConnectedText on Parallels became more and more difficult. (More precisely Parallels became more difficult. Every time my Internet connection broke, Parallels would not start. I eventually got it to work, but I never understood what it was that made it work. My best guess, it had to do with the keychain function of OSX). But whatever may have been the reason, I now use a NUC7i5BNK with 8 GB of memory and Windows 10 (64 bits) and have no problems.

I can still run the Mac mini I have (It's hooked up to the same monitor as the NUC), but I rarely do. Therefore, I have not tried The Archive and I cannot review it myself. But there is a very informative review on Welcome to Iherwood. As far as I can see, the most important feature of The Archive is
The Archive will automatically set a unique number to each note you create in the format of yearmonthdayhourminute that the note was first made. Call that the note ID. You can append a note title to provide a clue as to the content of the note. Together those will make up the file name of the note — each note is saved as a separate plain text file in the designated folder.
As people who regularly read this blog know, I think the unique number is superfluous in modern database systems. I use direct links to entries (in ConnectedText). Luhmann who used unique numbers in his paper-based system, thought the numbers were in themselves beneficial because they allowed for branching and continuation of notes.[1] He may have been right, but the simple unique numbering of the Archive does not seem to allow for this—unless there is something I miss.

It is, by the way, fairly easy to furnish a program like ConnectedText with this capability through AtoHotkey. I think that some users have adopted "yearmonthdayhourminutesecond for this purpose (to allow for notes that are only seconds apart).

As I said, I don't find I need it, but I understand that different people have different needs.

I recommend the review.[2] And, on the base of it, the program (as long as you understand what you get into.[3]

1. See also Different Kinds of Links on this blog.
2. One nitpick: Luhmann did not "invent" or "develop" the slipbox. He only developed a numbering system for the notes (that is most certainly intriguing.
3. But see also the newest post (on the three layer structure of notes in: The Archive. "My archive became opaque like the sea: You can see a couple inches into the deep but you know there is much more that you can’t access. You can dive deep, but still you just see a couple of inches at any time. Therefore, I thought of it in terms of unexplored territory for which I need mapping methods and such." It would be my claim that direct links to topic names would be less opaque, even though it also benefits from structural notes.


Stephen Zeoli said...

Thank you for linking to and commenting on my The Archive review. I'm not very conversant in the Zettelkasten method, so it is good to have someone knowledgeable to clarify a my errors and omissions. In general, I feel that the method is a little too rigid for me -- that is, it requires more discipline than I can muster.

MK said...

Thank you for your review. I always enjoy them. I am not a fan of "the Zettelkasten method". The name is of rather recent vintage. A slip box which is all "Zettelkasten" really means [(Zettel=small piece of paper) and Kasten=box)] can be sorted in a variety of ways, i.e. alphabetically, sequentially numbered, "Luhmann-numbers", thematically, etc. A two-pane outline is structured like a systematically ordered slipbox, for instance. What is the main advantage of an electronic version is the ability to arbitrarily link pieces of information—at least in my viww.

I wouldn't worry about my nitpicking!

xywriter said...

Sonke Ahrens Note Umlaut in first name: Sönke, as there is a similar author name] has a book (self published ?) on the Luhmann's system.
"How to take smart notes: one simple technique to boost writing, learning and thinking" / Sönke Ahrens
Description: "The key to good and efficient writing lies in the intelligent organisation of ideas and notes. This book helps students, academics and nonfiction writers to get more done, write intelligent texts and learn for the long run. It teaches you how to take smart notes and ensure they bring you and your projects forward.
The Take Smart Notes principle is based on established psychological insight and draws from a tried and tested note-taking-technique. This is the first comprehensive guide and description of this system in English, and not only does it explain how it works, but also why. It suits students and academics in the social sciences and humanities, nonfiction writers and others who are in the business of reading, thinking and writing.
Instead of wasting your time searching for notes, quotes or references, you can focus on what really counts: thinking, understanding and developing new ideas in writing. It does not matter if you prefer taking notes with pen and paper or on a computer, be it Windows, Mac or Linux. And you can start right away."
from in German or English
Amazon UK offers the German edition alsoönke-Ahrens/dp/374312498X

I see that there are folding-pockets for the cards systems as in

The book is an ePub also on Library Genesis at