Skip to Main Content


Executive Summary: Why Use the Zettelkasten Method?

The Zettelkasten notetaking method is meant to help researchers:

  • More tightly integrate reading, thinking, and writing
  • Integrate all the words and media they are consuming, into something closer to a cohesive, personal knowledge base
  • Supercharge creativity and speed publishing

A Zotero Workflow for Zettelkasten

1.Daily – Take fleeting notes on paper or a smartphone app
2.Daily/every few days – Take source notes on paper or as Child Notes in Zotero
3.Eveningsconvert selected fleeting notes to numbered notes, which are Standalone Notes in Zotero; keep these Standalone Notes in a dedicated folder in Zotero.*
4.Weekly or more often – break down source notes into numbered notes, which are Standalone Notes in Zotero *
5.When you convert notes to numbered notes, add Tags and/or Related items. For source notes, add a citation using [+] in Zotero’s Note interface.
6.When writing, gather related notes together by pulling out of your ordered, numbered list, looking at all the notes with the same tag, or simply searching your Zettelkasten folder.
7.Use Insert Note in the Zotero toolbar in Word to insert a group of notes (and embedded citations) into Word and start editing.

*Numbering notes is recommended but not necessary, if you tag and connect notes well in other ways.

Using Zotero With Zettelkasten Notetaking

More About Zettelkasten