I'm slowly adding a light theme to this site. I apologize that some things aren't going to be ideal or perhaps even legible as I make all the changes.

Thanks for understanding!

historical A statement at the end of a book, typically with a printer’s emblem, giving information about its authorship and printing. OED

When you find yourself wondering, “how does one make something like this?,” it’s a good time to look for a colophon. If you make something cool, consider letting others know how.

This Very Site

This page is built with Jekyll, currently hosted on GitHub Pages, and looks like this under the hood. It uses Michael Rose’s Minimal Mistakes theme, with a few of my own modifications.1

Jekyll and GitHub Pages make for a great alternative to WordPress if you’re looking for more control, want to learn more about what is going on behind the magic, or just plain don’t want to pay for hosting while you’re a student or emerging scholar/professional. If those things resonate, I suggest you check out Trevor Jones’s series of posts on setting up a Jekyll/GitHub Pages blog and/or Mike Greiling’s post “Jekyll from Scratch”.2

To the Minimal Mistakes theme, I’ve added Bigfoot.js for the fancy pop-up footnotes, Reveal.js for a splendid presentation alternative to PowerPoint or Keynote, FontAwesome for most of the icons, and James Walsh’s Academicons to supplement Font Awesome with the Open Access lock, Academia-dot-edu, Orcid, and Zotero icons.

The favicon (the little ellipsis in a speech bubble) is “Blog” by Scott Lewis, available with a CC BY-3.0 license from the Noun Project. I chopped and screwed cropped and shrank it into the favicon format.

Whenever possible, I link to WorldCat records for books. Why not work to make library access a default practice?

Writing Formats

I’m a big fan of using Markdown wherever possible. It’s the primary source code for this site, for instance. I constantly use it with Dendron for all sorts of notetaking, as I explain a bit further below. I also use it with Pandoc for academic writing.

If you’re curious about using Markdown with Pandoc, I’d recommend this Programming Historian guide.

Amanda Visconti’s guide to Markdown and Jekyll at the Programming Historian provides an excellent starting point as well.

Journaling and Attention Management

For keeping my mental lines of flight somewhat directed, I use text files that blend blend Ryder Carroll’s “Rapid Logging” Bullet Journal system with aspects of Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique.

I used to create monthly files for this when I did this in the Atom text editor. Now I make weekly notes using VS Code, Dendron, and the BuJo extensions mentioned below.

I explain the monthly version of this system further in my GitHub repo for the monthly planning files, which you’re very welcome to download and adapt for your own brain. I’ll eventually update this guide to match what I do with Dendron.

It’s not a fully-featured project management system with active reminders, of course. For that I’ve used OmniFocus in the past, but currently do this mostly through a combination of text notes, calendar reminders, and regular reviews of my notes.

Notekeeping & Text Editor Programs

VS Code has been my text and code editor of choice since about 2020, when I switched over from Atom. VS Code doesn’t cost any money, and you can customize it with themes and extensions galore, in addition to customizing your settings.

Dendron, a VS Code extension for taking structured notes, was the reason I switched to VS Code. It stores your notes wherever you want, understands Markdown formatting, and is both free of cost and open source. Furthermore, it’s built for scale, with features like hierarchical note structure, templates, and renaming or restructuring batches of notes at a time.

BuJo, another VS Code extension, offers a convenient way of using the Bullet Journal conventions for tasks. You can customize these as well.

Daybreak has become the theme I like using wherever I can. It’s dark and warm, and it provides syntax-based color changes for relevant parts of Markdown, HTML, CSS, and the few other languages I dabble in. (More specifically, I use either the Daybreak Italic or Daybreak Bold variants most of the time.) Daybreak is a variant of Horizon, which unfortunately doesn’t have an official theme extension for VS Code anymore as of mid-2022.

  1. Michael Rose has a page about his various free, open source Jekyll themes in case you’d like to see others. 

  2. I’ll eventually make a separate post about all this, but until I do, here’s a bunch of other useful links for Jekyll things. Michael Rose’s “Going Static”, Mike Greiling’s “Jekyll From Scratch”, & Barry Clark’s “Build a Blog with Jekyll and GitHub Pages” all do the job of introducing Jekyll admirably. Carl Boettinger’s “Learning Jekyll” and W. Caleb McDaniel’s “Open Notebook History” each show how Jekyll- or Git-based sites work well for scholarly notebooks.