(Paper) Notebook wars: Systems and Shorthand

Please compose all posts in Emacs.

Moderators: phlip, Moderators General, Prelates

What paper notebooks / systems do you use?

College-Ruled Spiral
12
29%
Wide-Ruled Spiral
1
2%
Composition Book
3
7%
Steno Notebook (Gregg-ruled 6"x9")
4
10%
Other Cheap-ass Notebook
6
15%
Moleskin (TM)
3
7%
Field Notes (TM)
0
No votes
Other Luxury notebook
1
2%
3-Ring Binder
4
10%
Bullet Journal System
2
5%
Other System
2
5%
Gregg Shorthand
2
5%
Pitman Shorthand
0
No votes
Teeline Shorthand
1
2%
 
Total votes: 41

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5489
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

(Paper) Notebook wars: Systems and Shorthand

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:35 pm UTC

Me? I'm currently fond of the simple Spiral Notebook with the Bullet Journal system (numbered pages). I'm interesting in learning shorthand to improve my notetaking... but I have no exp. with that yet. Steno Notebooks and Composition books are also useful IMO, and my taste between those seem to jump around.

To me, a notebook is something you write in for a few weeks, and then you throw it away. Its a mid-term memory device that shouldn't last longer than a few months at the most. So the cheap $1 and $2 notebooks represent my use-case far more than the $15+ "luxury" Moleskin or Field Note brands.

With "Bullet Journal", where you number your pages and keep an index... rearranging pages is unnecessary. I tried 3-ring binders and it just doesn't work out too well. I just found keeping "titles", "page numbers" and a table-of-contents / index to be all the arranging that I need. If a particular note needs more pages, I write "continued in page X" and carry on my thoughts there.

Spiral Notebook
Image

Composition Book
Image

Steno Book (Gregg-Ruled 6"x9")
Image

Moleskin
Image

FieldNotes
Image

Bullet Journal System: http://bulletjournal.com/

Gregg Shorthand: Image

BTW: the first line literally reads "Ts Pos Tha succ o mag may". Its an exaggerated example of how short things could get. The manual states that you can use as short a form as you want, but recommends to write things out as much as needed. Only use the short forms if you're confident in being able to figure out what you mean later.

Pitman Shorthand: Image

Teeline Shorthand: Image
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:11 am UTC, edited 4 times in total.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

User avatar
scarecrovv
It's pronounced 'double u'
Posts: 674
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:09 pm UTC
Location: California

Re: (Paper) Notebook wars: Systems and Shorthand

Postby scarecrovv » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:00 am UTC

I usually just use a pad of paper, and maintain up to 3 or so pages of scribbles on my desk. I tear off a new page as necessary, and throw away pages when all the scribbles on them are no longer relevant.

When I do use notebooks though, the only thing that matters is that I can stack several of them flat when they're closed. Spiral bindings are therefore out. I like the glue bound ones with a cloth flap over the spine. Bonus points for perforated pages I can tear out.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5489
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: (Paper) Notebook wars: Systems and Shorthand

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:19 am UTC

scarecrovv wrote:I usually just use a pad of paper, and maintain up to 3 or so pages of scribbles on my desk. I tear off a new page as necessary, and throw away pages when all the scribbles on them are no longer relevant.


I definitely used to do that. I learned that I actually throw things away slightly too early... so I'm more fond of the larger notebooks now. Plenty of pages are "throwaways", but why rip out a page at all when I'm planning to throw away the entire book in a couple of months anyway? Anything that ends up being needed in the "next notebook", I just transcribe and move on.

Keeping all the pages organized is rather simple when you dedicate the first 3 pages of a notebook to an index and number all the pages. All of the notebook systems I've researched seem to agree that indexing / numbering pages is ideal. In my experience so far, it is clearly worth the hassle.

When I do use notebooks though, the only thing that matters is that I can stack several of them flat when they're closed. Spiral bindings are therefore out. I like the glue bound ones with a cloth flap over the spine. Bonus points for perforated pages I can tear out.


Something that I've noticed is that multiple-books don't really work for me. When I consolidated all of my writing to a single notebook... life got better.

I say that... but honestly I've got a total of three books right now. My "home" book (includes notes on home projects like programming, Pathfinder campaigns, game ideas, grocery notes, resin casting notes, finances, calendar reminders... etc. etc.) and my "work" book. (which I leave on my desk at work. Filled with basically the same thing as my "home" book, except its all work related. Meeting notes, programming notes, to-do lists, etc. etc.). I'd rather not mix work and home activities.

A 3rd book entered my car because I often forget my home book, but ideally I wanna just use my home book everywhere I go. (I transcribe most of what goes on in the "car" book onto my home book eventually).

That said, I chose a composition book at home because of the exact reason you've laid out. Composition books are flat when you stack them, easy to carry. I actually chose them because pages are _very_ hard to tear out. However, spiral-notebooks are laid flat when they are open. Composition books around page 30 or so become bulkier to carry around and the "left" page becomes less and less usable. So I've begun to experiment with a different notebook. My work notebook is the classic spiral-notebook (~30 pages now). The left side is still very usable.

Spiral Notebooks in my college / high school days were very fragile. The wire breaks over time, especially as books and other stuff were laid on top of them... and they were carried around campus. But based on the number of pages I use per day... it looks like I'm going to run out of paper in 3 months or so. So I expect to run out of pages before the spiral notebook breaks at work.

I've made my "car" notebook the Gregg-ruled Steno notebook because of its smaller size. It seems to be working out.

So... despite trying to consolidate all of my writing to a single notebook, I'm up to 3 books now in different locations.

-----------

I've begun to attempt to learn Gregg Shorthand. Specifically, Anniversary Gregg, which seems to be the most used American shorthand system right now.Its like a whole damn new language. Anniversary Gregg has a good webpage (although its nearly a century old, invented in 1929... and newer Gregg systems like Diamond Gregg / Series 90 Gregg might be more popular as they were actively taught in the 80s).

Clearly, its going to take over a month of study before I get to the point of using Gregg Shorthand (some pages claim a year of practice before you write at 140+ wpm). But as there are historical records of Anniversary Gregg writers at 250+ wpm with 99%+ accuracy (holy shit) in speedwriting competitions. (Wikipedia claims a max speed of 280 wpm). As far as Gregg vs Pitman... well... I'm choosing the American system. Sorry you Brits, keep your own damn shorthand :-p.

I currently type faster than I write... so my writing speed is definitely my weakest link. Writing faster enables you to think faster. So... I only need to hit some 90wpm before writing is equivalent to my typing speed, and historical records show that average and top-speed of shorthand writers is far above and beyond what I've been able to accomplish through typing. (shorthand typing however wins at 500wpm+... but I'm not going to be carrying around a shorthand typing machine)

But as I've learned... carrying around a notebook with a pen is extremely practical. Carrying around a keyboard (laptop, tablet, whatever) is NOT practical. So... I think shorthand is the only way for me to improve general note-taking speed.
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:48 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

User avatar
freezeblade
Posts: 1061
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:11 pm UTC
Location: Oakland

Re: (Paper) Notebook wars: Systems and Shorthand

Postby freezeblade » Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:55 pm UTC

After looking at the options, Guess other? I get sketchbooks instead of ruled notebooks, due to my profession and intrests (architecture/art, less proper note-taking). I learned, through many a drafting class, how to keep a steady text-line/block without the use of ruled guidelines. I do keep an index in the first few pages, however.

I prefer my books sized approximatly 9x5, not spiral bound, black hardcover, with about 100 pages of a pretty thick (nice textured) paper that can just as happly accept graphite, conte, or some light ink washes (perhaps some minor water color or gouche if needed)
Belial wrote:I am not even in the same country code as "the mood for this shit."

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5489
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: (Paper) Notebook wars: Systems and Shorthand

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:16 pm UTC

freezeblade wrote:After looking at the options, Guess other? I get sketchbooks instead of ruled notebooks, due to my profession and intrests (architecture/art, less proper note-taking). I learned, through many a drafting class, how to keep a steady text-line/block without the use of ruled guidelines. I do keep an index in the first few pages, however.

I prefer my books sized approximatly 9x5, not spiral bound, black hardcover, with about 100 pages of a pretty thick (nice textured) paper that can just as happly accept graphite, conte, or some light ink washes (perhaps some minor water color or gouche if needed)


When I was in art, I was always fond of Vellum. The texture works well with ink of all kinds (from fountain dip pens, to felt tip markers). More impressive however, was how transparent Vellum is, making it very easy to trace older drawings onto new pages.

Vellum doesn't have the rough texture for graphite or conte. (but online... seems to say otherwise). The main problem with Vellum was how expensive it was.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

Derek
Posts: 2136
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:15 am UTC

Re: (Paper) Notebook wars: Systems and Shorthand

Postby Derek » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:01 am UTC

I have a small notebook that I got from school at the start of my freshman year six years ago that I use when I need to scribble some (mostly) math stuff down. Originally it was mostly homework related, but now I still use it when I'm thinking about a math problem. It has 8 pages left. It's kind of interesting, actually, because I can go through it and get a summary of all the math classes I took in college.

User avatar
chasesan
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:53 pm UTC
Location: Walking the orbits of electrons.

Re: (Paper) Notebook wars: Systems and Shorthand

Postby chasesan » Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:40 am UTC

I really fell in love with top bound ring college ruled notebooks after using standard ones for so long. They are overall much nicer as the binding doesn't get in your way and there is less chance of a bad tear.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5489
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: (Paper) Notebook wars: Systems and Shorthand

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:44 am UTC

I talked to a couple of coworkers, and one of them recommended "Engineering Notebooks".

These notebooks are prenumbered in either grid style. Their prices range from $3.00 for their 32-sheet "student" notebooks, to "perfect bound" books, all the way to $20 for stitch-bounded hardcover, numbered 96-sheet books. So its definitely in the "luxury" range, but they look good as far as I can tell. Scientific Notebook Company makes them, although Amazon seems to have a fair number of companies that make this style of notebook.

Image

Image

I'm probably going to use one of these when my current notebook runs its course. They seem to do what I want.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5489
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: (Paper) Notebook wars: Systems and Shorthand

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue May 12, 2015 11:47 pm UTC

I've switched to "Cheap Ass" notebook, and my gosh, pocket cheap notebooks suck a lot.

I've spent a bit of money and switched my primary notebooks to the Scientific Company notebook (in my previous post) as well as Field Notes. The scientific notebook brand is very "large" and bulky, with thick paper. Its good for a "desk" notebook, but is a major hassle to carry it around.

Field Notes is the best "pocket" notebook I've used so far. Add a paper-clip as a bookmark, and it becomes perfect (other notebooks, like Moleskin, have built-in bookmarks. The paperclip is a great addition to Field Notes). I just wish there was something cheaper than $3 for 24-sheets!
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.


Return to “Religious Wars”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests