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Traits of a Zettelkasten

3 important traits:

  • It’s hyper-textual.
  • It adheres to the Principle of Atomicity.
  • It is personal.


A Zettalkasten puts emphasis on forming relationships, ie, it makes connecting -- not collecting -- a priority.


Each Zettel only contains one unit of knowledge and one only. Referring to an atomic note is unambiguous: when you reference it, you will know what the ‘thought’ is. There should be no room for guesswork. That is what the rule of atomicity means: Make sure that the layer of content and the boundaries between notes match and are well defined. Then and only then can it be a reference to an address identical to referencing a thought.


There is one Zettelkasten per person, and one person per Zettelkasten. Thinking is a different process from communicating with another person. You want your Zettelkasten to be a personal thinking tool.

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