E-thesis final submission

This week, my goal was to make final submission of my thesis. All the actual work on the document was finished. I just needed to figure out how to hand it in. As per instructions on the GPS website, my thesis has to be submitted in PDF/A format.

For those of you who are unaware, a PDF/A is not the same thing as a PDF. What’s the difference? It’s more expensive of course.

The thesis has to be converted to PDF/A using special software to ensure that it can still be opened in the future. So, in order to submit my thesis, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies recommends that I buy Adobe Acrobat Pro, at a cost of $101.38 with tax—and that’s the reduced student price.

And the most frustrating thing about this? According to the instructions, “Standard PDF files will be rejected unless the thesis was written in LaTeX.” For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, you will recall that up until February, I was using LaTeX to typeset my thesis, and it was a painful and scary transition for me to move to Microsoft Word part-way through.

So ultimately, it came down to a choice between trying to convert my thesis back to LaTeX, or spending $100 to avoid all that hassle.

Laziness won, of course.

On Thursday, I went in to the bookstore and bought the software. When I first installed it and tried to convert my thesis, I got an error. Acrobat couldn’t convert my thesis. This seemed strange, since there wasn’t any strange formatting in it. I fiddled with the settings, tried restarting, but the very expensive software wouldn’t do it. Fortunately after a half hour, it auto-installed an update and after that, the conversion went as planned.

So as of yesterday, I have submitted my thesis to McGill. It’s over! Those are all the requirements for my master’s in bioethics! The only thing that’s left is my supervisor clicking “accept.”

By the way, one of the most satisfying things about making final submission of my thesis is the fact that I can take the ugly EndNote app out of my computer’s dock. It was such an eyesore! :P

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The Grey Literature

This is the personal blog of Benjamin Gregory Carlisle PhD. Queer; Academic; Queer academic. "I'm the research fairy, here to make your academic problems disappear!"

6 thoughts on “E-thesis final submission”

  1. Congrats.

    Adobe Acrobat is an example of everything that is wrong with the software industry and I feel your pain for having to use it.

  2. I should send a mass email to all the grad students I know at McGill, offering to convert their theses to PDF/A for only $10. They would save $90 and after 10 grad students, I’d almost make my money back!

  3. Congrats! What a fantastic relief! Now you can actually move onto to more serious debates of if to call someone that you are *collaboratively* working with a client or a patient ;)

    and, you can maybe move the endnote out of your dock… but PLEASE do not get rid of the app. you will MOST definitely be using it during the next 3 years.

  4. Hi, I accidentally get into this blog when I wanna search which software is good for thesis writing. My supervisor said it is not necessary I need to use latex for my thesis, but it would be better if i apply. but i just get to use without looking the manual, it seems to be so not user-friendly. i just want to ask is it difficult to use? i got lotsa equations to type as well. I am more familiar with microsoft word 2011 now.

    i always go for crack, nvr pay for any software like acrobat pro. lol

  5. You’re right, PJ. LaTeX has something of a learning curve, but it is well worth the time to learn it. May I recommend reading “The Not-So-Short Introduction to LaTeX 2e”?


    I found that it’s much nicer to work with LaTeX on large documents, and it’s much better than Word for separating content, comments, formatting and meta-data.

    If you will be typing a lot of equations, LaTeX is the standard for that as well. LaTeX uses a very common markup language for LaTeX equations. You will have to learn the markup, but once you’ve done that, there’s lots of great built-in tools for numbering and formatting your equations within your document.

    Overall, learning LaTeX will save you time (and money, since it’s free). It will also allow you to focus on the content of your thesis without getting distracted by concerns regarding formatting. Not only that, but LaTeX documents force you to think through and organise the structure of your document.

    I could probably have found a crack for Acrobat Pro, but I didn’t want my last action as a master’s student in ethics to be the illegal use of software that doesn’t belong to me.

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