My Digital Garden

Literature notes

How to take better literature notes


How to take better literature notes (Jeffery Webber, YouTube)


Worth reviewing as there seem to be few "how to" on taking good literature notes online that go beyond the mechanics of using with specific tools.

In so far as the video goes I agree with what is said, however there is a risk that it falls into the tautology of making notes about making notes.

The concept of the right amount of friction would be worth exploring further.


Use a template, consider relationship to existing knowledge, add context.

Towards the end of the video Jeffery Webber introduces the importance of the right amount of friction in note-taking - too much and you don't capture enough, too little and you fill up your system with low-quality notes

0:45 - use a consistent template

1:20 - consider tagging/metadata to support searches

2:00 consider tagging/metadata for novelty (to you) of the idea

3:37 - what did I find interesting about this source?

4:00 - do I agree with the source?

  • agree/disagree? why?
  • remember to capture more than the idea I agree with
  • think about what gaps this suggests
  • personal reflections and observations