Benchmarking Your Memex

The first Assessment is coming up for your memex. Remember what we're looking for this first time:

  • have at least five sources adequately translated into note form
    • notes with the bibliographic info, general summary
    • atomic notes as appropriate
    • interlinkages
    • a map of content note providing some initial structure, an initial 'way in' to your memex


Having these elements present in your memex is the bare minimum for what a 'satisfactory' might be.

If you'll recall, a 'satisfactory' is somewhere in the range of a C or a B. Go have a look at this online memex: What grade would you give it?

You'll see that it does have

  • five sources
    • each source has the bibliographic info
    • each source has summary and key take aways
    • there are a few atomic notes, but there are still a whole bunch of annotations to process
    • there are interlinkages; there is a sensible structure with sources and thoughts in separate folders (atomic notes and idea notes are clumped together in thoughts which is ok, since every atomic or idea note is tagged, making them easy to find) and each subfolder has its own index note
    • there is a map of content note providing a way into the memex.

So everything we asked for is there. What makes this more of a C- than a B is that :

  • there are very few observation/atomic notes
    • the student has extracted them from Zotero where they did the annotations but they are mostly just quotes, just highlights. The student needs to do a bit more gardening and figure out why they highlighted what they did, what the observation is that they're making
    • there is no coherence to the sources; they seem to be grabbed at random (perhaps there is a rhyme/reason to them, but if so, that should be explained perhaps in the map of content)

Things that we really like that we didn't ask for as part of the minimum requirements that push this back towards a B:

  • the student has generated some key phrases based on their observations and make a search at which they then link to, as something they'll do in the future
  • in their 'thoughts' subfolder, their index note separates out the atomic notes from the idea notes
  • in the source note for As We May Think, the student also makes a link outwards to the Wikipedia article that details Bush's life; links alone are handy, and it would be better if there was an indication as to the why of that linking
  • used the tag todo to signal things that need to be finished.

So we're looking here at a C+.

Things the student could do to push this example memex towards a B+ or an A (keeping in mind the extra things they already did):

  • fully process the annotations
  • make the why behind these sources in particular apparent
  • finish the #todos

Things the student could do to push this towards an A:

  • all of the above, plus (amongst other things and not necessarily limited to this):
  • use the canvas feature to visually mindmap how ideas/observations/sources interrelated
    • our online memex doesn't support canvas, so the student would have to take a screenshot and then add that screenshot to the memex, then embed it in a note with ![[canvas screenshot file.png]]
  • a use of the graph feature to visualize the linkages that exist; again, it'd have to be screenshotted
  • thoughtful linkages to other students' memexes as appropriate
  • thoughtful linkages to and/or embedding of other web resources, including video, audio, podcasts, the blogposts of academics or research projects, etc.

Inclusion of your lecture notes from this class, meaningfully integrated and also tagged with #lecture etc might also push you towards a bit of a bonus; inclusion of lecture notes from other classes and similarly tagged are worthwhile too. Also, sources that bring a canadian perspective are particularly welcome.


A word about aesthetics: You'll notice that the actual look of your memex isn't uppermost in our mind, or part of grading criteria. We do encourage you to think at least about line spacing - things that look ok in Obsidian sometimes don't translate well to the online version. Most of the time, just adding space between paragraphs and headings will solve the issue (see the screenshot below). There are things you can do to improve the look and feel of your memex - adding images, adjusting the CSS, adjusting the mkdocs.yml file and so on. These are the things you might choose to do in addition that might lead to a bit of a bonus; you might make a note of what you've done and include that. WARNING: Do not adjust the mkdocs.yml file unless you know what you're doing.

As we move forward, you'll receive feedback on your memex, and so demonstrating that you've taken that feedback on board will also become one of the considerations that we use in evaluating your work.



The highlighted file and subfolders get dragged-and-dropped into your docs folder on your github repository, remember.