Luhmann’s card index consists of approximately 90,000 handwritten cards in A-6 format organized intwo collections. The first collection, approximately created between 1951 and 1962, a time when Luhmannwas on his way from a legal expert with interests especially in constitutional law and administrative sci-ences to a systems theoretical sociologist, is based primarily on his readings in political science, adminis-trative studies, organization theory, philosophy, and sociology. It consists of approximately 23,000 cards,which are divided into 108 sections by subjects and numbered consecutively, two bibliographies compris-ing about 2,000 titles, and a keyword index with roughly 1,250 entries. The second collection (1963–1997),now clearly reflecting a sociological approach,6is divided into eleven top-level sections with a total of about100 subsections. It consists of approximately 67,000 cards, including a sizeable but obviously incompletebibliographical apparatus with roughly 15,000 references and a keyword index with 3,200 entries
The first is that if you have any sizable job of specific material gathering to do it is useful to learn the card-index method of doing it.This is simply to get yourself a supply of those little 3 X 5 ruled white cards and use them to write down the items of specific information as you gather them.
If you do this, one item to a card, after a while you can begin to classify them by sections of your subject. Eventually you will have a whole file box of them, neatly classified.