Posted by Jason Polak on 25. May 2018 · Write a comment · Categories: life · Tags:

Over the years I have tried many systems to keep math notes: paper notebooks, offline WordPress installation, LaTeX files in folders, and random papers that get left on my desk for too long. None of these were ideal for all purposes. Here are the main drawbacks of each system:

  1. Paper notebooks are actually good for learning things. For reading material like books or papers in detail, paper notebooks are the best system for keeping myself on-track of going through every detail, line by line. However, the linear fashion of notebooks makes them hard to consult for main ideas. Additionally, they take up significant space.
  2. My offline WordPress installation consists of WordPress installed on Apache running on my laptop. I found it pretty terrible for notes. The blog format is good for presenting self-contained ideas over time but not so good for consulting old notes because it is not built for organising systematic knowledge. Note however, that I still use my offline WordPress installation to test-drive posts for this blog before they go live.
  3. Using LaTeX is the obvious solution to writing mathematical notes. And for large works, like complete books or papers, it is the best. However, for a general mathematical notebook, a bunch of random LaTeX documents are not easy to organize or search.
  4. Using random loose sheets of paper works for taking notes to help me learn. In this case, writing is just a tool for learning and not for storing information. After I just recycle them.

However, I've finally found system for taking notes that works. More »