the annotated arbor

look! over there! scurrying out of the long grasses of the croquet field to lurk in the cool, dark shadows of the arbor... it's the wild annotated bibliography!

in all seriousness, though, the cactus garden has long supported a few basic tenants:

  • we strongly believe in and support interdisciplinary research and the growing open source movement within academia. 
  • we aim to collect and share resource materials, as well as relate our personal experiences, in an effort to help cultivate and nurture the academic community.
  • we strive to encourage reflexivity and humor as tools to foster understanding and inspire conversation.
  • we believe that the themes and ideas explored within academia are not a impenetrable fortress, to be clung closely to or used to exclude so-called non-academics. rather, we endeavor to make our work within the cactus garden interesting and accessible to all readers.  
  • we really like sharks and doctor who (and we think that episode where we got both at the same time was pretty great).


over the past few years, i've been watching academic open source platforms struggle to get off the ground. (which, now that i think about it, is a little ironically punny. cause it's a platform. insert groans and eye rolls here.) some have been more successful than others, some don't seem to understand what "open" source really means. some disappear, never to be heard from again.


the cactus garden is not an academic publisher, or at least, not in the way that serious journals or university presses peer review and publish. many of our works are not final works; they are thoughts in process and each thought reserves the right to grow, to develop, to evolve. 

one of the ways that happens is through the ever-continuous process of learning. we read books, we read articles, we share, we listen, we discuss. and we never stop looking for more.

until now, we have primarily shared our findings through our posts, our ever-growing epicurean cannon of books, our mentionable media movie list, and our links to other websites and projects. however, today we are beginning to branch out (oh! another pun for the garden!) in a new effort to support our underlying beliefs. 


today i'm kind of thrilled (and nervous... i'm human) to announce that we are starting our new project, the annotated arbor: an attempt to create the largest, wildest, most eclectic, open source, annotated bibliography that we can. our focus, in keeping with the rest of the site, is on the social sciences and the humanities, though we welcome all submissions. by posting one annotation at a time, we hope to inspire the sharing of sources and acknowledge the works that have already done so much for all of us.


we'll be getting things rolling with our own annotations, but there is already a submission form on the right side of the annotated arbor's page.

to submit an annotation, you'll need to give us your name, email address, the field of study your source is from, the full citation that accompanies your annotation, as well as the actual annotation. (you kind of really need that last part.) we'd also love to hear what research you were doing when you came across your source, as well as what you appreciate (or don't!) about it. annotations will likely be posted slowly at first as we work out the kinks, but we'll try to keep to a somewhat set schedule. we'll be accepting submissions on a rolling basis, and all submissions will be reviewed fully before posting.


so that's it.

that's our new project. 

we hope it's useful, and we'd love you all to participate.

let's all be friends now and have a glass of wine. or whatever.