Academic Workflow

An overview of my academic workflow

Links » Note-taking | Exocortex


It all starts with something fascinating I read or hear about. Next, I will either start a note of it directly in my exocortex and/or store the material as a reference in Zotero for later digestion. In order to not forget about all the interesting things in this world, I will usually schedule a time at which I can engage with the material.

At some later point, you have to answer the question of what to do with this material. Am I happy just leaving it as a note in my exocortex? Or do I want to write more extensively about it (i.e. in the form of a paper or a thesis). In making this decision, the following rules by the Italian grandmaster of intellectual endeavours, Umberto Eco, offer some clarity (Eco 2015, 23).

Eco’s Four Rules for Choosing a Thesis Topic

  1. The topic should reflect your previous studies and experience. In other words, do something that you care about and that pertains to your political or cultural experience.
  2. The necessary sources should be materially accessible. Is there material that I can conveniently access in order to research my chosen topic.
  3. The necessary sources should be manageable. Do you have the time, ability and experience to understand the sources.
  4. You should have some experience with the methodological framework that you will use in the thesis.



Emacs org-mode

  • org-roam
  • org-roam-bibtex


  • Zotfile
  • BetterBibTex

    Add accessdate, url for BibTeX, from here

    if (Translator.BetterBibTeX && item.itemType === 'webpage') {
        if (item.accessDate) {
          reference.add({ name: 'note', value: "(accessed " + item.accessDate.replace(/\s*T?\d+:\d+:\d+.*/, '') + ")" });
        if (item.url) {
          reference.add({ name: 'howpublished', bibtex: "{\\url{" + reference.enc_verbatim({value: item.url}) + "}}" });






Eco, Umberto. 2015. How to Write a Thesis. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

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System Administrator & Software Engineer

I am interested in all the ways technology shapes human life.