Tinderbox Forum

Zettelkasten in Public?

I’m not sure this is a Tinderbox topic. Maybe it is, behind the scenes.

I’m in the early (early!) stages of organizing a web project that will involve short articles (500 words or less) on a fairly wide range of topics (climate-related: the potential space is vast). The content is likely to be somewhat non-linear and re-entrant, in that it will revisit topics over time, looking at them from different angles, with deeper levels of insight, and so on.

Which – no doubt partly because I’ve been reading about Zettelkastens – starts to sound like a public-facing Zettelkasten-type “thing,” with tags and/or index pages offering a route into the content that’s distinct from the inherently chronological arrangement of a blog/magazine/newsletter.

From a maintenance perspective, there are clear advantages in having the backend tools used to create this thing reflect the public-facing structure. Which is where Tinderbox (potentially) comes in.

Has anyone here attempted something like this? Any thoughts about tools and approaches?

A zettel-style static Web site is quite possible in Tinderbox.

David Kolb’s SPRAWLING PLACES project is perhaps the most sophisticated and best known exemplar. He wrote a prize-winning hypertext paper about the project, which involved a book and a Web hypertext: http://www.dkolb.org/twin.media.ht04/covershe.html

George P. Landow’s massive, sprawling Victorian Web deserves careful study. Begun in the mid-1980s, its style differs from Zettelkasten but is not incompatible with it. It might be your best exemplar. See also McGann’s Rosetti Archive and Crane’s Perseus. I’m less familiar with ToposText but it’s exciting and its progenitor, Brady Kiesling, is the real deal.

Howard Oakley has done a number of very thoughtful art-historical essays in Storyspace which resemble what you have in mind — most notably a study of Ovid in painting and sculpture. https://eclecticlight.co

1 Like

Love all of @eastgate’s references. I could certainly see these being of immense value, but at the same time, I personally find them a bit daunting. It will take time to read them all. Personally, I’m going to try to do it in parallel. I have a similar project, like @kderbyshire but for a different domain, and have found jumping in to be the best approach (at least, that is what has worked for me).

What I’ve found is the aTbRef and this community are my [your] friends. You can just get started with your project. Start throwing in your notes, organizing them in map and outline view, start writing, and nesting your stories. As you go through this process you’ll think of methods and outputs that you want. You’ll have those “I wonder if…” questions come up. What I’ve found is that about 90% of my “I wonder if…” questions can in fact be done with Tinderbox, but maybe not in the way I initially thought, upon referring to and teasing part the aTbRef and getting help from the community.

The first month was a lot of me “getting” asking the community for stuff and not giving a lot back. The second month was doing my work. By the third month, I found that my learning really accelerated (not just with Tinderbox, but with writing, metadata-thinking, meta-thinking, input vs. curation vs. output thinking, coding, and so much more), once I started documenting what I learned. Using Tinderbox, I’ve started turning around explanatory case examples so that others might benefit from the learning and so others more advanced than me can modify the examples and help me see other methods for doing the same thing. For example, her is one example use case Use Case - Managing meeting notes (parsing names & emails from text to attributes using .replace or runCommand). I got distracted with this one, so I’m behind on the rendering example I promised the community earlier this month. I’ll get to this soon. I have a lot more in the works too.

Good luck with your project, I can’t wait to see how it evolves.

1 Like