The First Thread on the mighty Zettelkasten 🗂

This thread would serve as a pilot discussion for deeper exploration into the digital zettelkasten system .
For starters , we are going to collaborate with our beloved Zettel Master , from our roam-cult !
Pleased to introduce Beau Haan to you all !

A few words about him :

  • He’s been hard at work developing a novel zettelkasten system , centered around Roam that takes full advantage of it’s block referencing features .
  • The system has been rigorously tested by himself and a few other notable roam-personalities and it stands :crossed_swords: UNDEFEATED :crossed_swords: . He has given an open invitation for people to challenge his workflow/system of zettel and find a weakness ( in good spirit , so that he may perfect the flaws )
  • While , I don’t intend to challenge the system yet , this is a project to understand his ways and procedures . His mission is to get such systems out there to the world , so that no one may suffer from information overload or obesity . He wants people to actually use what they read and he will not rest until he’s let this beast out into the world .

To get acquainted with his works , i suggest you see these two videos :

  1. Roam tour by Robert Haisfield
  2. Live threadapalooza session by Beau Haan about Zettelkasten

Also , check out his threadapalooza here :

My personal favourite feature in his workflow :

  • The ability to nest the zettels and visualise the clusters , just like the analog version .
  • This is quite tricky to achieve in a digital system and i for one , went through a few hoops by using rem references to arrange based on relevance in a separate slip box , while the actual zettel and its references existed elsewhere . He went many steps ahead of me there and has attained a beautiful workflow ! I truly admire the system and wish to decode it with him and document the process here .

@beau - Once you jump in and start posting , i will be granting you higher level access so that you can edit this post into a Wiki :slight_smile:

Let’s goooo !

P.S. I have already figured out one area of improvement in your workflow :wink: I shall reveal it after you have given an official walkthrough of your process ! :smiley:


:wave: Hi!

Glad I can be part of this, does anyone have any specific questions about Zettelkasten in Roam Research that they’d like to talk about?

The entire process of thinking in a Zettelkasten is incredibly powerful and when used with the tool-like aspect of Roam, does some interesting things that I feel like more people ought to know about~


So , i guess i will start with the questions :

  1. What is the difference between fleeting thoughts and literature notes , in your workflow (not in general)
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The First Thread on the mighty Zettelkasten

Ahem, the first thread to get replies. :laughing:

More seriously, I continue to want to quantify the benefit that the rigor of Zettelkasten methodology brings. Because I feel it involves quite some work, even with modern digital incarnations. And I frankly want a way to know it is worth the extra time/effort.

Sometimes I feel like I’m in the minority in already having a system that I think works very well for me to surface both new and old knowledge and interconnect it. And until recently I have been using far more primitive systems than Roam (Quip, Redmine before that, now moving to Obsidian, with a 3 month stopover in Roam before). I don’t use block references or queries really. I do use page links, but only recently (~6 months) started relying on backlinks…

Anyway, my point is for someone who already feels like they have a pretty good system that balances time investment vs. benefit well for their particular needs; for someone who sees their main challenges are not so much “how do I organize” or “how do I connect knowledge”, etc., but more “how do I get content into the system?” and other such problems that Zettelkasten doesn’t really seem (to me) to solve… what would you say to them?

Is your opinion that ZK is a potentially ideal system that everyone should use (or at least try)? Or, if someone is fairly happy with their note-taking and thought distillation already, would you say “Great, stick with it, focus on output” or something?

Glad to have you here @beauhaan, I loved your breakdown with Rob! It was fun seeing his brain explode a little. :grin:

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