Behind the Scenes: Adding Notes

After writing my notes from the first chapter of Chomsky and Waterstone’s Consequences of Capitalism, I went through the endnotes in the Kindle version of the book I read. I followed the links to online articles, deciding to keep a few. And I made a folder in Zotero, where I stored the pdfs, web links, and citation information of books I ordered via ILL. There were also a few books which my university library already had, so I made a note of those so I could pick them up when I go in (which at this point is several times a week).

There were several really promising books cited in the notes. Maybe the main one was Gramsci’s Common Sense, by Kate Crehan. This was especially attractive because I hesitate to begin reading The Prison Notebooks right now, but I’d appreciate an explanation that covers what a Gramsci scholar considers the important highlights around the topics of cultural hegemony and common sense. There were some other provocative statements in the text that caught my eye, that referred to the writing of Paul Bairoch and Zygmunt Bauman, so I requested their books too. I also began a Research Rabbit “collection”, which allowed me to scroll through the later works tha cite some of these books. I don’t want to get too far over my skis, so I didn’t add a lot of these to the collection yet. As I read and make notes on the articles and books I’ve already queued up, I’ll add them to this collection and see what the app suggests based on that. I have a Zoom meeting scheduled for tomorrow with some of the Research Rabbit folks, so I’ll probably be able to say more if I learn more about how it works.

Another thing I like to do, once I’ve read a bit and written a bit, is to go back through the note and add content to links I made along the way. As I’ve mentioned, I think of the Obsidian vault as sort of a permanent work in progress. And I think returning to notes is a good way to continue pushing forward on those topics. I added some content to some of the names and terms I had double-bracketed while I was writing my notes on the Chomsky-Waterstone chapter. This is an ongoing process, and in several cases the notes I made on these terms led to new terms and notes. Some of these circle back around to the original, others don’t. Over time, the connections will become denser.

I should mention that I typically view my graph with “Exisiting Files Only” turned off. That means that around many of my nodes, I can see clusters of little purple empty notes. These are ideas, names, and terms that I think are relevant, but I haven’t taken the time to fill in yet. Over time I’ll come back to these and add content and links. For a while, I had these turned off because I felt like I was “cheating” and padding my graph if I included them. But then I decided that they provide information. A cluster of purple around a topic is a reminder that there area lot of interesting ideas there, even if I haven’t explored and reported on them all yet. OTOH, if a topic’s sattelites remain purple forever, that suggests that maybe it wasn’t really as interesting to me as I had thought, or at least it wasn’t on a “front burner”.

This isn’t meant to be a conclusive “how-to”, but rather a look at what I did in the course of working on this topic. I’ll do more of these behind the scenes videos from time to time, in addition to more formal step-by-step types of views.

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