Principles of Luhmann’s Zettelkasten


  • Write (small) notes, using note sequences to develop an idea or topic
  • Where possible or necessary (i.e., if an idea can be considered as “start” of a new note sequence, but does fit into the current linear argumentation), branch off a new idea-path
  • Check if similar topic or “story line” has been written down elsewhere; if yes, add manual links / references
  • Identify relevant notes that function as “starting” point and tag these notes

(from Daniel Lüdecke [2] )

[0] Overview
[1] Communicating with Zettelkästchen

Principles of Luhmann’s Zettelkasten

Personal Knowledge Base Features




[0] Discussion on FAQT
[1] Designing a PKB
[2] A list of services
[3] Designing a PKB
[5] Zettelkasten
[6] Migrate from Zettelkasten to Plain Text
[7] Johannes Schmidt: Der Zettelkasten als Zweitgedächtnis Niklas Luhmanns

Personal Knowledge Base Features

How to learning efficiently

  • State-dependent memory
  • Train your brain to get into the mental state of studying:
    • sit at your study area
    • turn on your study lamp
    • after 25 min (the typical time you can learn) get up and rest for 5 min
    • avoid distractions (avoid the living room, kitchen)
  • The more active you are in your learning, the effective
  • Concepts are more important than facts
  • Study groups are great
  • Rote learning
  • Pomodoro technique
How to learning efficiently