Existing spaced repetition systems discourage evergreen notes

Though notes in a Spaced repetition memory system are atomic in the same way as Evergreen notes (Evergreen notes should be atomic), they’re in many ways too atomized (Traditional spaced repetition memory prompts are atomized). The form discourages incremental synthesis and distillation.

The questions float in an undifferentiated mist, detached from any intrinsically meaningful context and not linked to relevant neighbors (Evergreen notes should be densely linked), and not especially meant to be accessed except within the review experience. They’re not meant to be durable, growing units; they’re meant to be disposable flotsam. All this could be fine, if they had a clear relationship with a separate system for Evergreen notes, but they don’t.

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


Nielsen, M. (2018). Augmenting Long-term Memory. http://augmentingcognition.com/ltm.html

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.

Last updated 2023-07-13.