External Information

Books, articles, videos, etc. that I consumed and applied minimal to no processing to.

  • The notes in this hierarchy are notes I took while reading a book, an article, watching a video, etc.
  • Essentially all media and resources in the external world that I have decided to actively consume and record the essence of.
  • The content of the notes are either exact copies of the information I got from the source (for easier lookup), minimally processed or summarized.
  • Excluding the subconscious effect of recording only what is important to me, all notes will not contain thoughts of my own.


1. Don't categorize primarily by content type.

  • This means no deep hierarchy going into what the source is.
  • It doesn't matter if it was a book or a video. What matters is that I have actively consumed it, and is recorded here to be potentially queried in other places.
  • If the category is important (it rarely is), lightly note it within the note content.
  • Good:
    • ext.deep-work
    • ext.dr-k-two-solutions-to-anxiety
  • Bad:
    • ext.book.nonfiction.productivity.deep-work
    • ext.video.youtube.mental-health.drk.two-solutions-to-anxitey

2. There should be one entry point to one source of information.

  • A source of information should have a single entry point that you can reliably look up.
  • If the length of the note becomes too unwieldy, divide it up into children notes (sparingly).
  • Good:
    • Notes for the book Deep Work in ext.deep-work
  • Bad:
    • Notes for the book Deep Work in ext.deep-work, your daily journal, and some other note.

3. Don't be compelled to divide everything into chapters and ideas.

  • The primary goal of this hierarchy is to record.
  • Being atomic with your notes has values, but I claim that the overhead is high in the context of this hierarchy.
    • You are spending time ahead trying to come up with a sensible hierarhcy before knowing how the content will be used elsewhere.
  • If there is already a very well defined hierarchy within the source of information, feel free to take that structure and apply it to the notes if necessary.
  • The single reason you would spend time to create a deep structure in these notes, is to make looking up more easy.
  • Good:
    • Dividing ext.deep-work into ext.deep-work.rule-1 ~ ext.deep-work.rule-4 because the book already does it and the content is long enough to deserve it's own page.
  • Bad:
    • Dividing ext.some-random-article into ext.some-random-article.ideas.stuff because you identified multiple ideas within the source that deserves some separation.

4. Reference the notes that gets written in this hierarchy as soon as possible in Cerebrarium, where it is relevant.

  • The notes here are intentionally stripped of deep context in which I have taken it.
  • For these notes to have a purpose, they will have to be used in forming my own thoughts in my Cerebrarium.
    • Try to index them where it is applicable as soon as possible so that the context doesn't get lost. Don't let the effort of writing notes here go to the void.