Well, “Zettelkasten” is no fraud for it works. Many writers, researchers etc. in the world use one. Niklas Luhmanns Zettelkasten is completely online and exists physically in the Niklas-Luhmann-Archiv of Universität Bielefeld (contrary to a very popular german running joke, Bielefeld probably really exists).
Luhmann in his Zettelkasten distinguished between source notes (references to articles, texts etc.) and thinking notes (my own thinking, but can contain inputs from sources that are then linked to). I put them in different groups, but I actually wonder about it.
What happens at the moment with respect to the hype is the following:
- someone wrote a book about Zettelkasten (Sönke Ahrens), arguing writing is thinking and you should take notes all the time and systematically put them into your Zettelkasten
- many people seem to have the problem of reading alot, but never being able to remember all that stuff, so they want to feed their notes into an external brain (which a Zettelkasten is)
- someone named Thiago Forte wrote a summary about the book by Sönke Ahrens and published it at his own blog for Forte was under medication impacting his memory
- he named it first an external brain, but the hype was on and he now offers very expansive workshops for people to learn how to take notes and write
- athen, he renamed it to Second Brain, which people start to use as the term now (and just like Eric Ries named the term Lean Startup, but actually did not do much thinking about it, for most of the work was done by his Professor Blank, but Ries got more money for terming the term, a similar thing happens here with Ahrens and Forte and Zettelkasten becoming 2nd Brain)
- this all happened at the start of the lockdown, which some people used to get together online and start coding for a solution that is easy to use, allows data transfer etc. (thus Obsidian was created)
- and now the topic is very hot, and personal knowledge management software (or external brain software) is a hot topic which one can earn money with, which is definitely something the team behind Devon Think should focus on, for Devon Think is actually very nicely suited to host a Zettelkasten / 2nd Brain for you)
In any case, my approach involves lots of handwritten notes. So I stick closer to the original Zettelkasten. My Zettelkasten in DT is up to about 500 source notes and 500 thinking notes. I’m using it for about a year and still have handwritten notes lying around to get into my Zettelkasten.
What I feel has happened for me:
- finally found a note taking system that works at least somehow for me
- have not produced a publishable text YET (but have lots of text close to being publishable)
- seem to remember much more stuff than before about certain topics WITHIN my Zettelkasten
So I think it works for me. If that makes me a member of a “full-fledged sect” in your eyes, @suavito, I can’t help it. I wonder if it’s OK if I can still be allowed to ask certain questions in the forum from time to time like anyone else.