Thursday, October 11, 2007

Today's little hurdle

One of the problems with getting my thesis bound was that they don't do hard binding anywhere in this city (despite it being the nation's capital and all). So it turned out that I'd need to send the dissertation to Sydney, and allow a few weeks for binding. I didn't really have time for this, and the university allows soft or hard binding for examination copies anyway, so I decided on soft binding.

The next problem was that no one else in my department seems to have ever done this, which meant that no one knew things like what sort of binding is usually used, what should go on the front cover, etc. Everyone reassured me, though, that the printery handles plenty of these things, and are really helpful, and they'll be able to tell me what is usual.

I took my thesis in to be bound today.

"Hi!" I said. "I have six copies of a dissertation here that I would like to have soft-bound, please."

"What sort of binding do you want?" asked the receptionist.

"Well, I don't know much about the different types of binding. What do most people get?"

"I wouldn't know."

"Okay... What would you recommend?"

"You can just get it comb-bound."

I looked at the sample she showed me. The plastic comb binding was falling apart and the paper was torn in several places.

"That doesn't look very robust to me," I said. "What are the other options?"

She sighed. "There's spiral binding and tape binding."

Tape binding is what I did for my MA thesis. So I asked for that.

"I don't think we can do tape binding," she said. (Now she tells me.) "We are out of supplies."

"Okay, then. I guess it's spiral binding."

Just then someone from the office next door stuck their head around the door. "We have enough supplies left to do eight tape-bound theses."

So I asked for tape binding after all.

"So just a clear plastic cover then?" She asked.

"Um... actually, I was thinking of having card covers."

"Good," she said. "Plastic looks dreadful." (So why exactly did she suggest it?)

"And I'd like the title and my name on the front, of course."

"Oh!" she said. "Well! We'll have to copy the title page you printed out." This has all the extra wording required by the university, as well as the title and name, so I think it would look kind of weird on the front cover.

"Really?" I asked. "Um, okay."

She filled out a form and started to move away. I asked about colour options for the cover.

"It will have to be white if you want a title on it," she said, which also surprised me. You'd think with new-fangled modern technology they could manage to print on coloured card.

"And when can I pick it up?" I asked.

"When do you need it by?" She replied.

"I'm submitting tomorrow afternoon, but I'd like to pick it up well in advance of that."

"Tomorrow? Really? Well!"

"I called last week and you said you can do same-day binding," I pointed out, with an obvious glance at my watch, which said 9am.

"Well then, I suppose we can manage it," she replied. "Four o'clock today."

And then I went outside and felt like shit.


Kelly said...

You shouldn't feel like shit! You're at least four months ahead of me! You should be jumping up and down, and rubbing it in my face, and generally being HAPPY that you've gotten as far as the bindery without someone realizing my worst fear: running up to me and saying "OK, the joke's up; you can go home now. We know you don't know enough for a PhD. We thought we'd tell you before you put yourself through the ridiculous process of submission and defense."

Enjoy yourself! Go out to dinner! Do fun things with Geekman and parrots (though preferably not together). Be relieved! :)

canuck_grad said...

That sucks that you have to get copies for your defense bound! At my university the defense copies are just in file folders, nothing to hold them together or anything! Then after your defense you submit the final copies to the grad office, and they send them off to be hard bound for you by whoever the university deals with, and you pay them a fee for that.

Congrats though on getting them bound and submitting tomorrow!!

Anonymous said...

wow, you are like done! and yah, had those people sound like need a copy of photocopying for dummies.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I suppose it is clear why other people send theirs off, huh?

Congrats! Don't let a small person get in the way of your celebration. You've worked way too hard for that.

StyleyGeek said...

Thanks, everyone.

Canuck_grad, these aren't for a defense: we don't have one of those. But they have to be mailed overseas to examiners and then probably sit on their shelves for months and have coffee spilt on them and so on, so I guess the university requires that they are bound so that bits don't get lost. Also the examiners get to keep them, so it's nice to have them in a format where they can put them on a shelf. I guess that's part of why some people get them hard bound at this stage.

The Scientist said...

yay for the bureaucracy at these crazy little institutions we work at...

i remember enrolling was somewhat similar :)

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

I agree with the other commenters - you should be celebrating! Sometimes people suck, but in the grand scheme of things it's just a minor irritation.

post-doc said...

I was disappointed for you, but I agree with your other commenters. Congratulations on being at this stage! Yay for you! (But, seriously. Stupid binding receptionist woman. Her incompetence made me sad.)

Ronin said...

I can say one thing for sure, you have the incredible talent of attracting all the stupid people to bump into you and make ur life just one tad bit more miserable... lol.... keep going girl.

physics*chick said...

I feel your pain about the copy shop. When I went to submit my MSc thesis I was in a different city and didn't have access to department printers. When I started calling around about getting it printed NONE of them could do it in the same day. No one could print a pdf file double sided 3 times within ONE DAY??? Open, increment copies to 4, click print. Done. I mean seriously.


VWXYNot? said...

I feel your pain... when I submitted the soft-bound examination copies of my PhD thesis, the staff in the admin office made me feel the same way. They basically just tossed them on a pile in the corner, and gave me a really hard time when I asked for a receipt (I didn't get one). Your whole life is bound up in this thing and they don't even bother to say congratulations.

I have to say though that when I took in the final, corrected, hard-bound copy they were a wee bit nicer. One of them almost smiled.