MediaWiki Patterns for a Zettelkasten: Monthly Template Pattern

Posted in Zettelkasten


This post is part 3 of a series.

What is a Zettelkasten?

See Part 1 of this series for a little more background on what we're talking about! But basically:

  • A zettelkasten is a system of note-taking, where notes are kept simple and tags, or categories, are added to notes to interlink them and create a network of connected notes that aid in discovery and memory.

  • MediaWiki (the software that runs Wikipedia) is a mature PHP software package for creating a wiki, that has many built-in features that make it very amenable for use as a zettelkasten.

The Monthly Template Pattern

We cover the monthly template pattern in full detail here:

This blog post is a summary of what's on that page.

What is the Monthly Template?

The monthly template is a MediaWiki template (a bit of text that can be dynamically inserted into other pages) that inserts links to all daily pages for a given month. The monthly template is called something like [[Template:January2016]]. All daily pages in January 2016 would dynamically include this monthly template by having the text {{January2016}} at the end of the note.

We have mentioned before (Part 2) that interlinks between different pages are crucial to making the wiki easy to navigate; the monthly template is a way to make navigation easier by inserting links for all daily pages in a given month.

What's in the Monthly Template?

Each monthly template consists of a box with the following links:

  • List of links to all other daily pages in the given month
  • Links to the previous month's template and the next month's template
  • Links (direct links) to view or edit the monthly template

The last bullet point seems minor, but we have found it enormously useful to include with all templates.

Example Monthly Template

We've set up an example monthly template on our public wiki (which is not a zettelkasten!) for a hypothetical January 2016:

We hope the example shows the monthly template in action and helps clarify some of the details in this post.

More Details

For more details, see the full writeup on our (public non-zettelkasten!) wiki here:

Tags:    zettelkasten    mediawiki    note taking    memory