A Zettelkasten for Psychical Research

What is it?

A zettelkasten is actually a personal method or tool for thinking and writing. it has become established as quite an effective knowledge management system and is well suited for research or general learning. The system has features that allow the ideas or notes to be inter-onnected in such a fashion, that provides a web of content. Which means you can connect each and every idea or note to another in various manners.

Zettelkasten is German and translates into ‘note box’ or at least there abouts I believe. So, a zettel is a single note, think of it as a post-it note or similar. Each idea or thought is captured onto a single note or zettel to be stored and referred to later. The ‘kasten’ part transletes to box, so this is the box we store our notes in. As such those notes are organised and categorised within the box in such a manner that they are linked together where appropriate.

So, its simply a way of organising your thoughts, ideas and general notes all in one place.

The zettelkasten method was devised by Niklas Luhmann, a German sociologist. Luhmann produces over 70 books and 400 scholarly articles in his lifetime. Bearing in mind he founded the system and likely utilised it for producing those articles, you can see the benefit in using the system for your own research and general aspects of the paranorma.

Why I am using this system and sharing it on my website

Whilst the zettelkasten method is more of a personal system for writing and research, something which I will certainly be using it for myself; I believe that I can still use it to share information that I learn on my website for others to use also for their own work.

Granted the system is not exactly designed for this, but I actually think the structure of a blogsite like mine may help with that. From time to time as I pick up pieces of information, I can add them as posts under the Psychical Zettelkasten category on my site and link them to other notes too. Gradually building up a large information management system around the paranormal.

With any luck it will help with my own psychical research and writing on the subject.

How will my version work?

As often as I can I will add some simple blog posts, each representing an idea, a note on some area of psychical research. These are our zettels. Each of them will be reduced as much as possible to focus on the simple area being discussed alone without expanding too much into other areas, as other notes can be produced on those and then linked together.

Eventually, as the body of knowledge grows I can connect the notes together using the next level up of notes which will be structure notes. A structure note covers a larger concept by linking the individual notes together. From time to time I will post a structure note to tie smaller notes into a particular concept. Then there will be Index posts to link the structure notes together too. So, it becomes a little like the contents of a book referring to the chapters, which are our structure notes, which contain the pages or our general notes.

A zettelkasten is about capturing ideas, thougths and snippets of information; as my notes will be a little more in-depth they will not be exactly like the method intends, but should still work. So, its a slight variation on the concept.

Of course in comparision to my usual posts, theses Psychcial Zettelkasten posts will be a lot shorter for simple quick consumption and use. More practical and to the point than anything else.

I hope you enjoy it and its of use to you.

To use it on my website;

  • Select ‘Research’ from my website menu.
  • Then select ‘Psychical Zettelkasten’
  • The latest entries will be displayed below the menu then.

Otherwise you can simply search a keyword as ever from any post.

Feel free to let me know what you think and how I could improve it moving forwards.

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