From note-taking to note-making

Note-taking has played an important role in human history. Ancient Greeks used the word hypomnema (ὑπόμνημα) to describe what could be translated as a note, a reminder, or an anecdotal record. Before the development of digital devices, people used marginalia and commonplace books to take notes. Of course, note-taking has been central to education. Students …

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How to take smart notes

While there are hundreds of thousands of books on the generic topic of writing, very few concerns themselves with note-taking—perhaps because it’s not considered an intellectually challenging task by many, or perhaps because many people don’t realise how bad they are at taking notes. Looking at a blank page and struggling to find inspiration? Experts …

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A taxonomy of notes

Taking smart notes is one of the most efficient ways to increase your productivity and your creativity. But what kind of notes? Once you start considering all the mediums, techniques, strategies, and formats available to you when taking notes, the combinations are almost infinite.  This attempt at a taxonomy of notes was inspired by a …

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Interview with Conor White-Sullivan of Roam Research: full transcript

The full, unedited transcript of our interview with Conor is only available for Ness Labs members. Members get access to exclusive content, an intimate thinking community, and deals on apps and courses to improve their productivity and creativity. Learn more about the membership or join now.

The science of note-taking

While note-taking feels natural to students, this is something many people stop doing once they start working, either as an employee or for themselves. We may bookmark something to read it later, but the active process of taking notes when consuming content is not a common habit. “It doesn’t matter how you record your notes, …

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