These days it seems we hear of “nothing but” the power of associative thinking
in the context of Zettelkasten or digital gardens, driven by the core principle
of breaking ideas down into atomic concepts to support re-combination and
However what many who focus on those current trends ignore (or are perhaps
unaware of) is the very long history of tools that support this way of
working (e.g. wiki, 1995, mind-mapping, 1970 ).
So what, exactly, is the new context added by digital gardens? I’m not sure I
know yet at a technical level. One clear benefit at an information level is
that there is no shortage of discussion on how to use those tools to
support thinking, but I would suggest much of that could be applied to any technology.