Advice on Method of Note managing

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Posts 367
Michel Pauw | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Nov 8 2020 7:56 AM

Let's say you are in college and you want to use Logos for note taking. 

You take a course in History of Western Philosophy and each session in the course focus on a certain philosopher or stream of philosophers: two lectures on pre-socratic philosophy, one on Plato, one on Aristotle, etc. 

How would you go about with your note taking? 

  • Create a notebook with the title of the course 'History of Western Philosophy' and then one note for each particular lecture? In this case each note represents / summarizes one lecture. 
  • Or would you rather create a notebook 'Philosophy' in which you put all your notes about Philosophy (whether they are notes from this course, or from studying Acts 17 or from reading another book outside of the course, then create different notes per lecture and tie them together using the same tags (e.g. a tag for the course title) for the related notes? 

I would love to hear some best practices on your note taking!

Posts 831
Kevin | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 8 2020 10:11 AM

For review purposes I would keep notes from one course/seminar/series/subject whatever in one notebook. The reason being that even if I do not intend to share the notebook, I find it easy to scroll through the list of notebooks using the scroll bar rather than clicking 'more' to scroll down tags, which are then not alphabetical. It just seems to me to be a longer process, but quite likely many people like it, and there is the search box.

How I would keep the notebooks organised, would be to decide in advanced to prefix all notebooks with a 3 digit number, as the notebooks are sorted by numeric then alphabetic order.

So as in your example, I would say that all my Theology notes will be in the range 001-099. language notes 100-149, philosophy notes in the range 150-199, Apologetics 201-249,...800-849 Church Sermon Series etc just as a quick example that I would take quite a bit of planning. This would mean that I would very quickly be able to scroll down the notebooks to find the notebook I would want for review, or to add to.

You could then subdivide, eg Theology could be split into 001-009 - Doctrine of Revelation, 010-019 Doctrine of God, 020-029 The Trinity etc etc as required. So in the list of notebooks for example, there might be a notebook called '004 - Special Revelation'

Tagging would be useful for overlapping subject searching, so I would still tag.

The think main benefit of notebooks over tags is to be able to share them, although it would be relatively easy to quickly create a notebook from tagged items and share that. I have not tested however whether or not you have to then keep the notebook, I don't think you would have to once the other person duplicates it.

I am not an academic however so this might be not a great way I just thought I would share. I am looking forward to see other peoples ideas.

Posts 551
Liam Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 8 2020 3:16 PM

Great question, Michel. My general approach is to, within reason, allow Logos to do the heavy lifting for you and by that, I mean, I would make use of search and tags rather than create tons of notebooks. With notes, a good clear first line title, tags down the bottom for top 3 key words (perhaps also the module name and the module number in your case) and anchors where appropriate (bible verse, key readings, etc.) is half the battle.

Personally, I work hard to always ensure i have as few notebooks as possible. My mainstays are: 

1. 'Bible Notes' for anything dealing a biblical text (fairly self-explanatory). 

2. General reading. All of my book reading highlights go here that way my other notebooks are kept uncluttered and free for text-based notes. 

3. Sermon/Studies/conferences, etc. Again, fairly self-explanatory. All of my notes taken when listening to a sermon, all my bible study notes (as leader or participant, conference notes, training, etc.) all end up here. Titled, tagged (3 max), and anchored (where appropriate). 

I will however, create short-term task dependant notebooks too. For example, I am currently working through 1 Samuel with my small group so all of my studies and any other notes relavent to this series go in a '1 Sameul Studies' notebook (I do the same for sermons I am working on). However, when I complete this series the studies will get moved to #3 and any notes anchored to passages will go to #1. 

Applying all that to a college scenario, this is how I might adapt the above situation: 

First I would create a folder called 'Formal Education' or 'Training' or something similar (a generic title allows for greater use in the future). This would be the eventual destination of all the notes I take in my college course but also any notes I take during future training. 

I would then create a temporary notebook for the current module, in this case, 'History of Western Philosophy'. Whilst I am studying this module all my notes for classes and assignments would go in here. Titled, tagged, anchored where appropriate. Once the module was comeplete and I had sumbitted the assignment. Notes that were specifically tied to a Bible Passage would go into 'Bible notes', everything else (lecture notes, assignment left overs, notes, etc.) would then go into my 'Fromal Education' folder. 

If then at a later date, I want to recall something I learned about Plato's view of creation, I don't have to remember what module it was in or if a large amount of time as passed, which period of my studies. Instead, I simply select my 'Formal Education' folder and type in the search bar 'Plato Creation' and boom Logos does the hard work for me. 

Logos Notes are, in my view, not a filing cabinet system, they are simply big pools of data for Logos - your digital research assistant - to work with. So rather than spending ages creating a complex system of notebooks that you may have to then change at a later date, instead allow Logos to do the hard work of finding notes for you.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask follow ups.

Carpe verbum.

Posts 610
Gregory Lawhorn | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 8 2020 7:19 PM

I would create a notebook for each class, with separate notes as required, and then tag the notes "School" and then specific subjects, so that I could find "Philosophers" or "Plato" in any school-related notebook, and also have them specific to the class at hand.

Posts 367
Michel Pauw | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 9 2020 3:21 AM

Great responses so far. I have a lot of notebooks at the moment, but it is tedious to constantly find/change notebooks if a note belongs to a particular one. That's why I tend towards going Liam's way. However, I had not yet seen someone having such an approach. 

Anybody else with a minimal number of notebooks? What's your experience? 

@Liam, why do you only use 3 tags and not more? 

Posts 551
Liam Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 9 2020 5:08 AM

Michel Pauw:
@Liam, why do you only use 3 tags and not more? 

Great question, two reasons primarily. 

The first is simply time. I firmly believe that any notes system that requires a lot of regular maintenance has fallen at the first hurdle - namely, it is supposed to save you time not absorb it! If I have to be adding seven or eight tags to every note, that is going to soon feel like a time burden.

In your case, I would most likely fire off a couple of tags at the start or the end of the class, which is incidentally a period of intense time pressure (i.e. get them down before the lecture starts, or before I pack up and move to the next room). Either way, I don't want to be trying write down a 5+ tags in that moment. The rush is likely to mean that they end up A, not being consistent (typos, variations, etc.) B, not very useful. maybe, I could create all my class notes the night before and properly tag them but I know that for me, that this is such a time sync that it is not practical in the long term (see also first line about falling at the first hurdle). And often isn't needed, which brings me too...

The second is practical. Remember that Logos indexes all of your notes for you just like your other resources. That means that if you over tag, a bunch of them are likely to be unnecessary. For example, if your lecture is on Plato's view of matter, being, and forms. There is absolutely no point tagging the note with 'Matter', 'Being' or 'Forms' as the note's body will contain those key words (probably more than once) as a result simply searching for those keywords is likely to pull up the note you are looking for.

Also, by limiting myself to 3 tags I am more likely to tag notes with key information that is not in the notes body already and so use tags as another layer of organisation. For example, in your case, I might tag the note with an abbreviated module title (Eg. 'HWP' for The History of Western Philosophy) and then the year (e.g. 2020) and 'Assignment' or 'Test' (if relevant to a specific assessment). This allows me to filter much more efficiently and tag notes quickly under time pressure. Then when time comes to work on my essay or revise for a test, I can find the notes I need instantly by opening the Notes tool and filtering by 'HWP' and 'Assignment' or 'Test'.

Does that answer your question? Obviously, this is all highly subjective - what works for me might be a nightmare for someone else. What do you think? Might this work in your scenario?

Carpe verbum.

Posts 610
Gregory Lawhorn | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 9 2020 5:26 AM

Looking back through notes that contain a single keyword, like 'Matter', would be a nightmare. Ultimately it doesn't (ahem) matter whether you create a formal "tag" for a note or simply include a key phrase that remains constant for that topic. With that said, I would approach it this way.

• The first text in the note will become a label in the sidebar, and so instead of the name of the class, it should be the topic: not "Theology of the Reformation" but "Luther's Theology". That allows you to skim the sidebar quickly looking for results. 

• I would also include the same key phrase in each note, which would then be searchable. During a class discussion (or study period) I would type "Luther's Theology" or "Zwingli's Theology", etc. 

My view is that the student is going to have to put in the work at some point, either in creating the notes in the first place, or finding them weeks or months later. An extra minute at the creation of the Note might well save you thirty minutes of frantic searching later on.

Personal note: This is as true for me today as a preaching pastor, 27 years after graduation, as it was my first day of graduate school. Being essentially lazy, I recognize that a moment of time invested today will save me far more time and effort later on. 

Posts 551
Liam Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 9 2020 6:45 AM

Gregory Lawhorn:
Looking back through notes that contain a single keyword, like 'Matter', would be a nightmare. Ultimately it doesn't (ahem) matter whether you create a formal "tag" for a note or simply include a key phrase that remains constant for that topic.

Ok, so 'Matter' might not have been the best example...  especially if one searched for that key word alone. But searching 'Matter' alongside 'Plato' plus any other keyword is going to pull up the notes in question (plus a couple of red herrings). The likelihood of finding the correct increases still if the tag filter is set to the respective class e.g. 'HWP'.

Here's a personal example. I have 830 entries in my 'Bible Notes' notebook. If I want to find a note reflecting on how prayer relates to love for Jesus but I can't remember the passage I anchored it too. I could simply search for 'Love' but that returns 186 results or prayer but that returns 35. Obviously, it would be a pain to skim through all of these looking for the one note I need. But enter 'Love Jesus prayer' suddenly the results drop to 7. Much more manageable.

All that aside, I think we are essentially agreeing on the same point. Namely that when it comes to finding notes quickly, key words/key phrases > tags

Gregory Lawhorn:

• The first text in the note will become a label in the sidebar, and so instead of the name of the class, it should be the topic: not "Theology of the Reformation" but "Luther's Theology". That allows you to skim the sidebar quickly looking for results. 

• I would also include the same key phrase in each note, which would then be searchable. During a class discussion (or study period) I would type "Luther's Theology" or "Zwingli's Theology", etc. 

  

This is good advice. Personally, I would opt for a both/and approach. Searching "Luther's Theology" is great but you may still have to shift through a bunch of notes, especially if you've had to do prior reading. That was my case when using Logos to make notes during my Reformation Texts module during Seminary. Writing "Luther's Theology" at the top of each note would have been a helpful habit to get into back then, but searching 'Luther's theology' alone would still have returned a bunch of notes - many of which I may not have needed for that particular class discussion. So, searching 'Luther's Theology' plus a key word such as 'righteousness' is better still.

Again, I think we are agreeing on the same point but from different angles. Essentially, we are both seem to be saying, better use of search terms (either key words and/or key phrases) = less notes to skim = finding the information faster = happy user. Is that fair?

Gregory Lawhorn:
My view is that the student is going to have to put in the work at some point, either in creating the notes in the first place, or finding them weeks or months later. An extra minute at the creation of the Note might well save you thirty minutes of frantic searching later on.

Great point. I agree.

Carpe verbum.

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