Zettelkasten

Written by haloboy777 on August 27, 2020

How tags and atomic notes helps to organise and collect data at monumental speed.

The way we organize notes in 'Indian Education System' is just bullshit. From the beginning of my time I was taught to blindly copy the stuff which was written on the classroom board.

To be honest I've struggled with this a lot. I've had so many problems with this method

  • You essentially write down everything that was spoken to you and try to keep up with the teachers ability to read his/her notes. Do try if you're feeling adventurous.
  • The notes you make during your childhood were never meant to be used by the adult you. I find that really frustrating. I mean if by making notes, we are organizing facts and ideas in a way to be used later by the future self, why not make those notes useful for the rest of one's life.
  • Whenever we come across a new PRIMARY SOURCE, we tend to ignore it completely and try to search for some ways where we can find the condensed information regarding that PRIMARY SOURCE, like a guide or summary.
  • And there is little to no way to tell if there has been a update regarding a topic, if the PRIMARY SOURCE was first published in 1863. NO GOES AROUND SEARCHING FOR FOLLOW-UPS. It should be available with the PRIMARY SOURCE linked with it as [Updates].

For the last 3-4 months I've been researching on the ways I can organize my thoughts and findings. I've already looked at the following

  • Have folders within folders to organize hierarchical data.
  • Have lots of files with the ability to search.
  • Have small index card which essentially have atomic information.
  • Or have tags.

Tags have a special ability to link multiple facts and ideas, in a very simple and easy way. Whenever you find/produce a new piece of information, you just need to tag it.

Whether be it a link to a video or a long piece of article you wrote. You can find both of them later on super easily just by looking at a common tag. And these pieces of information can be found somewhere else also if more tags are attached to them.

And to give you some background, the use of tags predates computer storage. Paper data storage devices, notably edge-notched cards, that permitted classification and sorting by multiple criteria were already in use prior to the twentieth century, and faceted classification has been used by libraries since the 1930s.

I've come to terms with the fact that the fastest and easiest way to organize information is by using Zettelkasten and tags.

Both the ideas compliment each other so much that I instantly fell in love with it.

For the uninitiated, Zettelkasten1 is the method of recording information in its atomic form, and linking those bits of information to create whole topic. This way all the complex topics in this world can be boiled down to basic bits of information. And you link those bits of information with direct links and tags.

One can argue that having a global fuzzy search might yield the same result. I agree you might be able to find the specific information/knowledge with a global search but tags offer you much more than that, tags bring networked knowledge to the table.

You can look at a tag and multiple data points come with their own tags and you can then follow them to find insights which you might not have been able to figure out if you just used search.

I still need to research how should one organize tags. Should one use hierarchy to organize them or just organize them alphabetically?

I want to implement tagging for my blog also, it would be fun, I think.

Stay at home. Stay safe.


  1. A good resource for learning more about zettelkasten, is here.