The mnemonic medium can be extended to one’s personal notes

In using a Spaced repetition memory system, you’ll fill it with notes on what you’re learning, observing, and thinking. Unfortunately, Existing spaced repetition systems discourage evergreen notes. A memory system will help you retain and continuously engage with what you write, but it won’t much help you build on those ideas over time. An Evergreen notes system will help you build on your ideas over time, but it won’t help you retain and continuously engage with those notes (outside of Evergreen note maintenance approximates spaced repetition). So you’re stuck either duplicating your efforts messily in two separate systems, or giving up one system’s benefits.

The Mnemonic medium solved a similar problem for published prose: The mnemonic medium gives structure to normally-atomized spaced repetition memory prompts. One can use the same approach to give structure to one’s personal spaced repetition prompts, within one’s personal notes. We can call this a {personal mnemonic medium}.

For example, one could imagine creating a {cloze deletion} prompt within one’s personal notes by {wrapping it in curly braces}.

And one might create a traditional two-sided prompt like this:
Q. If one only took notes in Anki, what key limitations might one experience?
A. (e.g. no serendipitous note-finding when note-writing, no way to easily evolve notes over time, limited connections between notes, difficult to “read through” one’s notes on a subject, etc)


See My implementation of a personal mnemonic medium.

There are a few pre-existing implementations of something like this idea:


Nielsen, M. (2018). Augmenting Long-term Memory.

I start to identify open problems, questions that I’d personally like answered, but which don’t yet seem to have been answered. I identify tricks, observations that seem pregnant with possibility, but whose import I don’t yet know. And, sometimes, I identify what seem to me to be field-wide blind spots. I add questions about all these to Anki as well. In this way, Anki is a medium supporting my creative research. It has some shortcomings as such a medium, since it’s not designed with supporting creative work in mind – it’s not, for instance, equipped for lengthy, free-form exploration inside a scratch space.