Using many decks

Patrice's Avatar

Patrice

09 Jan, 2014 07:15 PM

Hello

I just started using Anki, a few weeks ago, and find it very useful.

I am a bit surprised that using many decks is not recommended. As I understand, this is due to the way Anki is built, and not due to a learning process.
In my case, I use Anki, for learning very different subjects as mycology, and music.
The information in mycology is rigidly and strictly ordered and organized, an imbricate file structure is unavoidable (this is not by far a list of words to memorize). See" the tree of life project".
And using multiple decks despite the caveat would be perfect.
Now blending chord progression, with mushroom description only differentiated by fields or tags, may result in a terrible mess (I made for exemple several cards of mycology that were by mistake in the middle of a chord progression for guitar. Crating multiple users could seperate very different learning sources. Has anyone an experience of structuring such cards (as in botanic or medical studies) ?

Thank you for your answers and pieces of advice,

Patrice

  1. 1 Posted by mnhende2 on 09 Jan, 2014 08:19 PM

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    @Patrice: I don't know how many total decks you are talking about, and
    "many" is kind of relative. A number of active users that I'm aware of
    have 50 or so decks and haven't really noticed any performance
    problems. Anki doesn't even post a warning until 25 decks, I guess it
    probably depends on what device you are using it on. Anyhow, I hope
    this info helps a little. Others might post more about tags later.

    Best,

    Matthew

  2. 2 Posted by Patrice on 09 Jan, 2014 09:25 PM

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    Thank you Matthew for your answer. It does help.
    I had effectively a warning by Anki, and I am now at 35 decks. I work on a desktop, (Lenovo thinkpad i5 processors, with windows7 pro). And I intend to work with a Samsung Galaxy S3. For the moment, it is OK. But I am considering extending the mycologcal aspect. This could lead at least to 200 decks (this may vary according to the number of families I want to study in depth). In Europe, there are somehow 2000 different species regarding the "superior" mushrooms I am interested in. As it is a lot of job, I gather some information before lauching the project.
    For the first family I tested it really does a fine job. I use pictures, an OCR program, just great !

    Thank you

    Regards

    Patrice

  3. 3 Posted by Soren Bjornstad on 09 Jan, 2014 09:41 PM

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    Looking at the website for The Tree of Life project, I don't see why you have to organize your cards in Anki using a tree structure. Sure, that's how things are classified, but that doesn't mean it's the most appropriate way to memorize them. Could you give an example of the process you're currently using?

    If your decks are truly different subjects, then you should of course use different decks.

  4. 4 Posted by Patrice on 09 Jan, 2014 11:44 PM

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    Fine Soren, thank you for this question.

    I will take an example to explain my point of view.

    Let's say that we begin with an Order called Ttricholomatale", this order gathers several Families that have identical caracteristics : ex : white or pale spores.
    I choose a family among 10 or more ex : "Hygrophoraceae" : the mushrooms in this family should have among others caractéristics : spaced gills. There is no sub-family, but it is possible in other orders or families.

    This family has several "tribes", for example, all mushrooms of the Hygrcobeae tribe have a particular microscopic structure for the gills.

    And we continue with, Genus, sub- Genus, Gection, sub-Section and the last step in classification : the species, the ultimate target, the mushroom in your hands, you are trying to identify.
    Then the species is accurately described, but belonging to gender, families and so on, the common caracteristics are not explained again. You are supposed to konw them by their affiliation.

    I do not use all levels : I have several levels in a deck or sub-deck : I have kept order, family, genus and species. So at the different levels, you have informations regarding the following level.
    This could be handled through tags, but in the tags there is no hierarchy, meaning that all informations will be equivalent, and to be exact, some level have identical names : ex : Genus hygrocibe, Section hygrocybe. That adds a lot of tags indeed.
    I try to imitate the process used when determining an unknown mushroom. Of course there are shortcuts, but you can start by putting it in the nearest Order, then through the caractéristics you go to the Family, sub-Family, Tribe, Genus and so on (a dichotomy way of progressing).

    I have made a test on a family : it is perfect. If Anki can handle that, I shall make huge progress in memorisation.
    Another reason to use a hierachical (tree) order, is that all books are build on that model, and it is much easier to deal with the datas, and to check the accuracy of the inputs.
    The terms I used are translated from French, and could be different in English (Section, Tribe...but you got the idea)

    If you have any better ideas, do not hesitate to share. Thank you.

    Regards

    Patrice

  5. 5 Posted by Soren Bjornstad on 10 Jan, 2014 03:52 PM

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    Personally I would put everything in one deck; I don't see why it's necessary to organize them this way. The smaller your decks become and the more you end up with, the more predictable the order of the cards become and the easier it becomes to answer the questions from context, making it harder to recall them in other contexts.

  6. 6 Posted by Patrice Messin on 10 Jan, 2014 05:18 PM

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    Thank you Soren, of course, I am not going to study a deck which has only one species described. This hierachy is mainly intended to facilitate maintenance, input and to keep an organization identical to mycology books. Anyway, I'll give a try according to you advice.

    Regards

    Patrice

  7. 7 Posted by Soren Bjornstad on 10 Jan, 2014 08:38 PM

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    I am not going to study a deck which has only one species described

    Right, but when you study a higher-level deck, Anki pulls cards from the subdecks in order, so you will still be getting a predictable order.

  8. 8 Posted by vokietis on 11 Jan, 2014 09:02 PM

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    I suggest you add fields "genus", "tribe" etc. to your mycology notes and put them all in one deck. When studying, you can study all your mycology at once. When using your deck as a dichotomous identification key, you may use the browser and restrict the search to the tribe, then genus, then sub-genus etc.

  9. 9 Posted by Patrice Messin on 11 Jan, 2014 10:07 PM

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    Thank you Vokietis : using fields, seems to be a smart idea. I will try, and see if it is pratical as an identification key.
    Do you know a lot about mycology and did you built something with anki related to this science ?

    All the best,

    Patrice

  10. 10 Posted by vokietis on 12 Jan, 2014 01:49 PM

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    No, I haven’t. Otherwise I wouldn’t hesitate to share my deck.
    I know identification keys mainly in the division of vascular plants, although I did succesfully identify some mosses and myces. I don’t use electronic media very often, so it’d seem impractical to me to use an identification key that’s not in print; but if you own a smartphone, I can imagine how Anki can accelerate your workflow in identification.

  11. 11 Posted by merfy on 15 Jan, 2014 04:57 AM

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    I think the warning is rather inapplicable to certain usage cases. I too study many different, broad subjects, and it's most sensible/efficient to organize decks by quarter::subject::lecture.

    Right, but when you study a higher-level deck, Anki pulls cards from the subdecks in order, so you will still be getting a predictable order.

    This is why I wish the "Show new cards in random order" option, when used on a parent deck, would actually randomize its contents as expected.

  12. 12 Posted by Soren Bjornstad on 15 Jan, 2014 08:17 PM

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    This is why I wish the "Show new cards in random order" option, when used on a parent deck, would actually randomize its contents as expected.

    The current behavior is useful for me, but I wouldn't be opposed to having the option.

  13. 13 Posted by merfy on 15 Jan, 2014 08:59 PM

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    This is why I wish the "Show new cards in random order" option, when used on a parent deck, would actually randomize its contents as expected.

    The current behavior is useful for me, but I wouldn't be opposed to having the option.

    I'm all for options. Currently, the option is / should read "Show new cards in random order within each subdeck". "Random" means every item (including siblings) has an equal chance of appearing.

  14. 14 Posted by marekhappy on 17 Feb, 2014 11:25 PM

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    I am using Anki for several months... so far I am crossing the 200 decks mark. Feel like the structuring of the decks is helping me a lot about staying organised. Also it is a great motivation to see the big picture as my study range grows (feels like scratching the surface still).

    So far i dont mind too much about the nonrandom cards order... but yeah, it would be great to have the control to randomize the higher levels of decks in future.

    Is there any voting/request about this feature already?
    Any volunteer to do so? ;-)

  15. 15 Posted by Aleksej on 18 Feb, 2014 09:13 AM

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    From a video on Incremental reading, SuperMemo has, or has had, a slider to set the relative amounts of "Prioritized" and "Randomized" (so, for example, if you plan to review all the due cards today, you can mix all cards; while if there is a backlog, you can prefer the most important cards).

    There is also a slider to choose between ordinary items and incremental reading ("Proportion of topics"). In this case, what do you think of an add-on that would switch between decks sometimes during reviews, as long as the Browser is not open?

  16. System closed this discussion on 22 Feb, 2016 11:40 PM.

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