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How to make research on the web more productive

I would like to be able to quickly record the
context in which I arrived at a certain link that I want to remember.
Maintaining a log to record ideas, insights, and other things helps but should
be more tightly integrated with browsing, email, calendar, bibliography
databases, and paper annotations.

I would like to be able to quickly record the
context in which I arrived at a certain link that I want to remember.
Maintaining a log to record ideas, insights, and other things helps but should
be more tightly integrated with browsing, email, calendar, bibliography
databases, and paper annotations. It is interesting to observe some of the tools
famous authors and researchers have used and written about. The German
sociologist Niklas
Luhmann
used “ZettelkŠsten
(slip registers) which are collection of notes ordered in some systematic way
(see also Robert
Pirsig
and the description of his system in Lila).

Luhmann’s ZettelkŠsten is an
obviously very successful example of a personal information management system
that didn’t require modern computer technology. What made it so successful?
What system did it use to avoid time consuming re-indexing work and instead be
maintainable by one person only? Superficially, ZettelkŠsten could be
greatly improved by computers and modern database technology. But a little
closer look might show that some of the apparently cumbersome manual retrieval
procedures happen to also provide valuable “brain priming”, i.e. the procedure
helps retrieve the context of the target item and provides a path that
stimulates valuable thinking patterns in the
retriever.

While writing this I
discovered that Markus
Krajewski
has built “synapsen“, an electronic
version of Niklas Luhmann’s Zettelkasten. How does this differ from Wikis? There
is even more on
this
on the German Wikipedia.

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