Bullet Journals and Academic Otters

So, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of bullet journaling.  I’m finding it to be a great way to organize myself in analog, which so far seems far more effective than any digital approach I’ve taken.  It was actually some of my students last year who introduced me to the concept of bullet journaling, as this was the approach they took to helping people at their field site get their stress under control by getting their schedules under control.

If you’re interested in learning more about the topic, here are a few links:

Ryder Carroll’s Original Bullet Journal System

Beginner’s Guide to Bullet Journaling | How to Start a Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal 101 Playlist from Boho Berry

Why the Bullet Journal is the Best Planner for ADHD Brains

A couple of bullet journalists that I follow on YouTube shared the way they use the bullet journal system as educators/academics.  As someone newish to having to plan out and balance the “three legs of the academic stool” (teaching, scholarship, and service), I decided this might be a very good thing to explore.

Bullet Journal Setup for Educators, Teachers, and Academics

Flip Through | Teacher Bullet Journal

2017 Plan with Me! | Academic Bullet Journal

As I’ve been brainstorming how I want to set up my shiny new A4 Academic Bullet Journal, one idea that I had was to create a collection page for those things you tend to run across as you’re researching one thing that aren’t quite what you need but you reallyreallyreally want to chase them down and just can’t right now.  I decided I was going to call this my “Recycle Bin.”  And then I watched the last video linked above, the 2017 Plan with Me, and was introduced to the concept of “academic otters.”

If you’re familiar with the phrase “plot bunny,” well, this is the academic equivalent.  It’s that idea that takes up residence in your brain, running around and demanding all your attention until you at least give it something to keep it quiet for now while you focus on what you currently need to be doing.  In the world of fiction, particularly fan fiction, these persistent (often to the point of annoying) ideas are called “plot bunnies.”  Liz Gloyn over at Classically Inclined coined the parallel term, “academic otters,” which is absolutely perfect.  She also gives some suggestions on how to keep said otters relatively tame and controlled so they do not take over and derail what you are working on, aka “The Care and Feeding of Academic Otters.”

My current thought is that I’ll probably stick with the collection idea.  Collections, as a bullet journal tool, are perfect for exactly this sort of thing.  Stuff needs a home?  Give it a page, label it and index it so you can find it later, and you’re golden!  No more sorting or organizing needed.  Yet.  Then, when it comes time to review what I have in the works and what I want to take on next (and have forgotten all about these otters who are now merrily chasing each other around in their collection river) I can see which otters are ready to come out and play ideas are most viable to move into the pipeline.

Have you used a bullet journal or similar approach to organize your academic pursuits?  Do you have a different way of handling your academic otters?  (Can we get everyone to please start using the phrase “academic otters” throughout academia?)  Let me know in the comments!


Paperpile and this blog

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted much in the way of new content here.  Tumblr seems a more logical venue for random ramblings, and Paperpile has become my go-to for organizing and tagging articles that I am referencing in something I’m working on, have referenced in the past, or think I will likely want to reference in the future.

That was sort of this blog’s raison d’etre.   And duplicating that work here is not, I think, particularly useful.  In any case, I don’t have the time to do both.  So this blog is likely to remain quiet, with the occasional reblog/signal boost (though that, too, is more a Tumblr-ish thing).

Help with Predatory Online Open-Access Journals

Some important considerations when deciding where to publish.


As some of you know, librarian Jeffrey Beall’s ScholarlyOA web site (which provided Beall’s running list of “possibly/probably predatory online journals”) was shut down earlier this year.

In its absence, these suggestions are also helpful (from here: http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/49862/title/Identifying-Predatory-Publishers/ )


Get started early. While it’s often an afterthought, consider where to submit your manuscript early on, says Andy Pleffer of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. “Think about it up front so you’ve got a longer lead-in time and you can create a longer list of where you might publish. Especially if you’ve got a particular journal on your radar, they might have a special issue coming up that ties in quite neatly with your particular expertise.”

Scan the TOC. Are there any familiar names in the journal’s table of contents? Do you recognize any members of the journal’s editorial advisory board? If the answers to both are…

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Virtual Journal Club – Gender queer: Politics is killing us — GLMA Nursing

One thing we’ve decided to try is to have a virtual journal club in which we discuss an article related to LGBTQ health, and for our first article, it seemed like a good idea to start with this article by Laura C. Hein and Mary F. Cox. The topic is timely, and the lead author […]

via Virtual Journal Club – Gender queer: Politics is killing us — GLMA Nursing

The first of what will hopefully be a biweekly series of journal article discussions.

Just Some Good Ole Boys

So, we’re out at a local bar that has an “open mic night” on Mondays, and the spousal unit requested the old Dukes of Hazard theme song “Good Ole Boys.”

I’m seriously conflicted about how much I like this song.  When I watched it as a kid, Bo and Luke Duke were all about standing up to the corrupt establishment. Specifically Boss Hogg, who represented every corrupt cop everywhere. And it was made explicitly clear (though I don’t know how often) that they were about fairness to everyone regardless of societal prejudices.

Today, as an adult, I’m far more conflicted about enjoying that song. They drove a car called the “General Lee” for Gods’ sakes.  It had a Confederate flag on it, and wtf is that about? In-universe, however, I absolutely accept that Bo and Luke Duke, and their Uncle Jessie and cousin Daisy, were only in favor of fairness against the establishment.  In fact, I probably can credit them with some of my present-day SJW tendencies.

But .. the General Lee. The Confederate flag. Those symbols mean something. There’s a reason people have been pushing to get them taken down.  There’s a reason I strongly support that.

I told the spousal unit, this is why I’m conflicted about liking this song, as opposed to outright hating it. Life isn’t simple. Ever.

This is the stuff we need to impart to our front-line patient-care staff.  It;s never simple.  It’s never textbook.  If you focus on what the patient needs, and respect their wishes, you’ll do your job well. If you let your explicit or implicit biases guide you, you will not. I guess that’s the point.

Working Towards LGBTQ Health Equity

Great post on equality versus equity in healthcare!

GLMA Nursing

In health care, we inherently understand that care must be tailored to individuals, as patients have different needs. For example, if a patient walks in with an ear infection and another patient comes in with a broken arm, we treat each patient differently, according to their needs, in order to provide the best care possible.

For some reason this logic fails us when we are working with patients across marginalized identities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals. This, mostly unconscious, bias in favor of majority identities perpetuates health disparities. For example, LGBTQ individuals are “significantly less likely than others to have health insurance, are more likely to report unmet health needs, and, for women, are less likely to have had a recent mammogram or Papanicolaou test.”

When training health professionals, I’ve heard folks at various levels (medical assistants, nurses, providers, etc.) say that they don’t need training on LGBTQ patient…

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Stand with the ANA

So glad to see the ANA responding so promptly to this! Advocating for our patients is one of the biggest responsibilities in nursing, and this legislation would hurt so many.


Today, within hours of the US House of Representative acting against the health and well-being of all Americans, the American Nurses Association issued a strong statement opposing this action. While many nurses do not belong to the ANA, it is an important organization with a strong voice for nursing. Here is the press release:

For Immediate Release
May 4, 2017
Contact: Veronica Byrd

David L. Allen

American Nurses Association Disappointed with the

Passage of the American Health Care Act  

SILVER SPRING, MD – The American Nurses Association (ANA) strongly opposed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and is deeply disappointed with the passage of this legislation by the United States House of Representatives.

ANA, which represents the interests of more than 3.6 million registered nurses, has expressed serious concerns throughout negotiations about the critical impact the AHCA would have on the 24 million people who…

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