[OS X TeX] Setting up dissertation text

Charilaos Skiadas cskiadas at gmail.com
Tue Apr 8 22:06:34 EDT 2008

On Apr 8, 2008, at 6:00 PM, Salvatore Enrico Indiogine wrote:

> Brian:
> On 08/04/2008, brian at pongonova.net <brian at pongonova.net> wrote:
>> Don't be so sure of this :)  I had to fight very hard to have my
>>  committee accept PDF files generated via LaTeX (I'm working on my  
>> EdD,
>>  and the education folks simply did not have the slightest clue of  
>> what
>>  I wanted to do, even after explaining it to them several
>>  times...they typical response was "What?  No Microsoft Word? How can
>>  you possibly write a dissertation without Word?")
>> I've noticed many of the list participants here are math/CS
>> related...I would imagine LaTeX has a much higher level of  
>> recognition
>> in these programs than in liberal arts programs...
> I am in the College of Education and I feel your pain.  Using
> spreadsheets is advanced here, and if you have a Mac then you are
> super-advanced.  The IT people here only support XP and lock the
> machines down so much that they are worthless.  Unless you use Word,
> that is.
> They use Word for everything, and I mean everything. They even embed
> images in Word and the send it as attachment instead of just attaching
> the image file!
> Ciao,
> Enrico

(Warning, possible rant following)

First off, I would have to take offence (in a friendly manner that  
is) at not including mathematics in the liberal arts. According to  
our universal source of knowledge these days (http://en.wikipedia.org/ 
wiki/Liberal_arts), mathematics accounts for three of hte originally  
7 "liberal arts".

But to get back to the point, I was assuming that the dissertation  
format requirements are college-wide, the same across disciplines, in  
which case I would hope, for their shake, that the math department at  
Brown has already solved this problem in a way that everyone can  
benefit, instead of reinventing the wheel. So I would suggest  
contacting someone there. If the dissertation format requirements are  
different across disciplines, then I wish you good luck with it.

Going back off-topic, I feel it is partly our duty to educate our  
colleagues about the benefits of using latex, especially for large  
projects, and the productivity benefits that arise from this. I think  
there was a thread here on this in the not too distant past. I too am  
in an environment where the mac and anything not starting with micro  
are dirty words, and I use every opportunity I get to educate my  
colleagues. Frankly, I would think that simply seeing a single page  
justified on both sides, and how it looks in LaTeX versus that other  
thing, should be evidence enough.
I actually would consider it very oppressive to force you to use what  
is an inferior product that reduces your productivity for what is  
essentially your life's work. You should have the freedom to select  
your working environment for the production of your thesis, and this  
is very much part of this environment. I consider would forcing you  
to use Word just as restrictive, or probably even more restrictive,  
than, for instance, preventing you to check books out from the library.

Anyway I'll probably stop here, I could rant for quite a while on  
this topic, because I am sick and tired of people using something  
simply because they don't want to consider the alternatives, which is  
a mentality I hate to see in academics, but I should probably stop  
since I am likely preaching to the choir here.

> -- 
> Enrico Indiogine
> Mathematics Education
> Texas A&M University
> hindiogine at gmail.com

Haris Skiadas
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Hanover College

More information about the MacOSX-TeX mailing list