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What?! A whole book about notes? Yes. Please hear me out. Notes extend our minds. They offload our memories and allow us to think through complex issues.
Of course, note-taking isn’t new; people have amplified their cognition using notes for a long time. But something is new: hyperlinks. Mindfully linked notes create networks that extend our minds in powerful new ways.
But, you may argue, hyperlinks aren’t new either. The web has been around since the early 90s, and there were hypertext systems well before then. Ted Nelson started formulating the concepts behind project Xanadu in the 1960s. So, what has changed?
Availability. There are now consumer-grade tools such as Notion that allow anyone to tap the power of hypertext note-taking. Even Apple Notes— the default note-taking app on iPhones — gives users the ability to tag notes and automatically save contextual references.
The possibilities for expanding our cognitive abilities are tremendous. But fully exploiting these capabilities requires discipline and structure. A little bit of information architecture can go a long way towards building a powerful personal knowledge system.
There’s a real need for a book on this subject. We’re all dealing with more information every day and more people are exploring the power of “smart” note-taking. I can help, given my experience architecting information environments — including my personal “knowledge garden.”
Of course, this project will take a lot of my time over the next year. I plan to continue working, teaching, podcasting, and producing my newsletter. But something’s gotta give, and it’ll be this blog. While I’ll continue posting periodically over the next year, it’ll be less frequent than the last few years.
You’ll also see changes to the newsletter. Expect more focus on note-taking, personal knowledge management systems, tools and techniques, etc. Of course, all will be rooted in information architecture since that’s the book’s essence: IA for our personal information.
Practicing IA has helped me become a better note-taker. I can help others do this as well. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned. If you want to follow along, subscribe to my newsletter.