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How the Context-subject Framework Can Help You Organize Your Notes

If you’re looking for a way to organize your notes more efficiently and effectively, the Context-subject framework may be just what you need. This system can be especially helpful if you have a lot of notes that share similar contexts. This can save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to creating new notes and keeping track of the information you already have.

The Context-subject framework is a note-making system that can help organize thoughts and ideas. It can be used to create checklists, sections, and prompts that can be reused in future notes.

With the Context-subject framework, every note has a “context,” which is a fancy word for “where it goes.” So, for example, if you’re taking notes on different blog post ideas, those notes would all go into a “blog post” context. That way, they’re easy to find later when you need them.

The Context-subject framework is made up of a few key parts:

  • a Namesake note is like the main idea or theme of the Context;
  • Subject notes are individual notes that relate to the Context;
  • Context templates are outlines or frameworks that you can use to help organize your Subject notes; and
  • Context scopes are specific views or ways of looking at information relative to the context.

What is a Context? What is a Subject?

In note-making, context is simply a way to group notes that share a similar theme or topic. So, for example, if you were taking notes on different types of animals, you might have a Context for each animal – e.g. Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, etc.

Subjects are the individual notes within each context containing information about that specific topic. So continuing with our animal example, within the Mammals Context you might have notes on different mammal species such as lions, tigers, and bears; within the Reptiles Context, you might have notes on different reptile species such as snakes, alligators, and lizards.

The ‘Context-subject framework’ then is just a way of organizing your notes using these two concepts – i.e. grouping them into related Contexts and then further subdividing them into individual Subject notes within each Context.

The benefits of using this framework are two-fold: firstly, it helps to make your note-making more efficient by allowing you to quickly find and re-use relevant information; and secondly, it provides a template or ‘pattern’ for how each set of Notes should be structured, which makes the content inside the note more useful.

So, what exactly does this mean?

The Context-subject framework helps you create notes with similar contexts so you can easily add structure to your notes and make them more useful.

Benefits of the Context-subject Framework

There are multiple benefits to using the Context-subject framework. But, perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it can save you considerable time when creating new notes in the context. This system can also help you keep track of information more effectively and provide easier access to repeated structure and content. Overall, this system provides an easy way to organize your thoughts and ideas more efficiently.

How the Context-subject Framework works

The Context-subject framework is based on the idea of a canonical note, essentially a master list of information that can be used to create new notes with a given context. This canonical note is like a template for creating new notes and can be customized to your specific needs. Additionally, the canonical note can gain context awareness by using dynamic views, which can help you easily track information.

The framework consists of four elements:

  1. Namesake notes: These are the “parent” notes in a context. They help define and structure the other notes in the context (more on this below).
  2. Subject notes: These are the “child” notes in a context. They inherit properties from the namesake note (more on this below).
  3. Context templates: These are used to create new subject notes, and they contain checklists, sections, and prompts that help users input information in a consistent format.
  4. Context scopes: Dynamic view of subject notes, based on criteria such as date range or keywords.

When to use the Context-subject Framework

When you want to organize a segment of notes that share similar contexts, the Context-subject framework can help make it easier by giving you a way to group notes that share similar contexts. The framework is especially useful when you often need to repeat structures in your notes – like checklists and prompts.

Namesake notes

The key to making Context-subject Framework work is using what’s called a “Namesake note.” This is an overview of the information that persists in every other note in the context. A Namesake note is the starting point for a Context. It’s a central place to hold Context templates, checklists, prompts, and sections for Subject notes.

Namesake notes example

For example, let’s consider a “blog post” context.

  • Your Namesake note is named “+Blog post” and is located in the “blog post/” folder.
  • “+Blog post” describes the purpose: “The purpose of this context is to help create and organize blog posts. The notes contained in it will be blog post ideas, drafts, and published posts.”
  • The “+Blog post” note contains a Context template that might have sections for things like an Introduction paragraph, Main points/arguments, and Conclusion.
  • The Namesake note also has a dynamic view that shows the progress of individual blog posts. This helps keep track of your progress and ensure all your Subject notes are on track.
  • Finally, the Namesake note has an inbox where you can store ideas for future blog posts. This is a great way to keep track of your thoughts and brainstorm new ideas!

Subject notes

Subject notes are the notes that make up the content of a Context. A Subject note is any note that falls under the Namesake note in a Context.
For example, you might have a Context full of recipes, and each recipe would be a Subject note. Or you might have a Context for projects, and each project would be a Subject note.

Subject notes example

In the “blog post” context example, each Subject note should be named after the title of the blog post it represents. For example, if you were writing a blog post about Personal Knowledge Management (PKM), you would name your Subject note “Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) blog post”. When creating your Subject notes, use the template from the “+Blog post” Namesake note to complete checklist items, answer prompts, and fill out sections to ensure that each of your blog posts is structured in a way that is impactful and interesting to your readers.

Context templates

A Context template is a section of the Namesake note that contains a useful repeated structure for making Subject notes. The template helps you quickly create new Subject notes in the same context.
Context templates may contain checklists, prompts, and sections that are useful for creating new Subject notes.

Context templates example

In the blog post context example, every time you want to create a new blog post, all you have to do is fill out the sections and complete the tasks.

  • Research keywords and categories
  • Choose tags
  • Pick a catchy title
  • Write an attention-grabbing opening
  • The introduction of a blog post should give the reader an overview of what the post will be about.
  • The body of a blog post is where you will go into more detail about your topic.
  • The conclusion should summarize everything that was talked about in the post.
  • Include personal stories or anecdotes
  • Cite expert opinions or research
  • Make sure your points are clear and concise
  • End with a strong conclusion
    Voila!—you’ve got a nice and organized blog post draft.

Context scopes

A Context scope is a dynamic view of your Context that allows you to see the progress of individual Subject notes.
When creating a context, you’ll want to consider the different aspects of your notes that you want to keep track of. A Context scope is a dynamic view that can show the progress of individual Subject notes or aggregate outside notes relevant to the context.
This is the part of the Namesake note where you can see all of your ideas for the Context in one place. This is useful because it helps you to keep track of your ideas and makes it easy to find them when you’re ready.

Context scopes example

In the blog post context example, the “+Blog post” note has a dynamic view section called the “Context scope” which shows the progress of individual blog posts.
Using the Context scope, you can easily see which blog post ideas are still in progress, and which have been published. This is especially helpful when you’re working on multiple blog posts simultaneously.

Additional Context Examples

Do you still need some help creating your contexts? Here are some more example contexts.

  • For example, let’s say you’re studying for a history test on World War II.
    • Your Namesake note might contain information about when and where the war occurred. In contrast, your Subject notes would be individual files on different aspects of the war, like specific battles or important people involved.
  • For example, if you were writing about different types of animals, your Namesake note might be about cats.
    • You could then create several Subject notes about different breeds of cats, like Siamese or Persians.
    • These Subject notes would all share the same context – they would be about cats – but would each have its unique information.
  • For example, if you had a programming Context, your Subject notes might be individual program files or pieces of code you’re working on.
  • For example, if you had a personal finance Context, then your Subject notes could be bills or receipts you want to keep track of.

Your Context-subject Framework

A context-subject framework can help you organize your notes to make it easy to find what you need, when needed, to save time and make you more productive.
When creating a new Context, start by thinking about what kind of notes you’ll make. Do they all share a common theme? If so, that’s your Context. The Context-subject framework provides a way to create a canonical note, which acts as a template for creating new notes in the same context.
Now, within this Context, you can create Subject notes. These Subject notes can inherit the template from the Namesake note, making it easy to fill out each section with the relevant information.
Plus, using dynamic views within the Context scopes will allow you to see the Context’s progress and get an overview of all the Subjects in one place.
So if you’re looking for a way to better organize your notes and make it easier to find what you need when working on projects, consider using the Context-subject framework!

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