Topic Overview (Zettlekasten)

In Zettelkasten, the topic overview is a note that links to key Permanent Notes within a topic. It is linked to via the index and serves as an entry point for a topic.

It is added when you have accumulated a large enough collections of topic notes that it becomes necessary.

It's also the inbetween point between individual notes and a manuscript, allowing for ordering and extra annotation.

The topic overview is expected to change over time, as you develop a richer understandings. It also shows the growth of a topic.

Luhmann collected up to 25 notes on a single topic.

Ahrens (2017) (pg. 122-125)

An example of how Zettlekasten has Emergent Complexity. In that, it's a simple methodology that can lead to rich and complex topics.

Cover is an example of an index card in Luhmann's slipbox from online database maintained by the University of Bielefeld .


Sönke Ahrens. How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking: For Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers. CreateSpace, North Charleston, SC, 2017. ISBN 978-1-5428-6650-7.