Permanent notes are the third type of note in the Zettelkasten system, and make up the long-term knowledge that gives the slip-box its value. This step starts with looking through the first two kinds of notes that you’ve created: Fleeting Notes and Literature Notes. Sönke Ahrens recommends doing this about once a day before you completely forget what they contain.
As you go through them, think about how they relate to your research, current thinking, or interests. The goal is not just to collect ideas, but to develop arguments and discussions over time. If you need help jogging your memory, simply look at the existing topics in your slip-box, since it already contains only things that interest you. Ask me a few questions to turn fleeting and literature notes into permanent notes:
- How does the new information contradict, correct, support, or add to what I already know?
- How can I combine ideas to generate something new?
- What questions are triggered by these new ideas?
- As answers to these questions come to mind, write down each new idea, comment, or thought on its own note. If writing on paper, only write on one side, so you can quickly review your notes without having to flip them over.
- Keep it short and succinct (Derek Sivers!).
- Make sure only one idea at a time, otherwise break them apart and make several out of them.
- Reference my wikis and literature notes (🗃/📖)
- Connect related topics expressively
- Write these permanent notes as if you are writing for someone else
❗️ Once this step is done: Throw away (or delete) the fleeting notes from step one and file the literature notes from step two into your bibliographic Zettelkasten.
An awesome explanation that elaborates more on permanent notes are How often are you making permanent notes? — Zettelkasten Forum.