Renumbering my index cards

When I started building a new index card note box, I followed Scott Schepard’s lead and used the Wikipedia Academic Disciplines as the overarching structure. I’ve come to dislike that system. It’s too dependent on hierarchy, and one I don’t really follow. So, this morning, when trying to install a new note about Libertarianism (topical!), I became frustrated and renumbered everything.

I’m now using a simpler, more Luhmann-like card numbering system. (Some would call it Folgezettel”, but I’ll stick with numbering system”).

Each new card gets a number, with the first being 1.1. If a subsequent idea plays directly off the first, it gets 1.1a. If it’s on the same general topic, but unrelated to the first, it gets 1.2. The next completely unrelated idea gets 2.1, etc. If I stick to this, I’ll end up with numbers like 134.3a1b and that’s just fine because I know what’s nearby and I always have the index to fall back on.

Bob Doto does a nice job of explaining all this in How to Use Folgezettel in Your Zettelkasten.

Now I don’t need to worry whether Libertarianism” falls under Political Science” or Mythology”. I can just file it somewhere behind my existing thread on, say, Selfishness”.

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March 14, 2023