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Taking notes for knowledge creation

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Most advice for note taking and maintaining a digital garden focuses on people who has as an objective writing (blog posts, articles, papers, books). For example, this is what Andy Matuschak thinks:

When you write a new note, add it to one or more outlines you’re maintaining, creating a new one if necessary. Substantially-complete writing projects will naturally emerge.

Normally, we start an outline when we start a writing project. This forces us to start with a blank page. By contrast, if we write new notes every day and notice how they relate to each other, these can accumulate into potential writing projects. When an outline feels “ripe,” we can pluck it and turn it into a manuscript without the exerting herculean start-up effort that comes with a blank page.

AM Notes

But approaches on taking notes without content creation in mind are mostly missing. A big part of the notes I take are driven by my need to understand the field in which the customers of Dispertech operate, even if I don't intend to write about these topics. Some other notes I take are about books I read, but again, I don't plan to write about these topics, at best I'll publish a lengthier summary of the book, as I did for /essays/Notes on Working in Public - Nadia Eghbal or /essays/Notes on How to Take Smart Notes, for example.

Therefore I still wonder what is the best approach to maintain a knowledge management system focused on increasing insight and not on producing a material output. Are the lessons of the Luhmann method valid, or should we redefine the structure in order to increase insight even though the eventual writing would be more inconvenient?

Tags: #note-taking #knowledge-management #knowledge-generation


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