Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday Funny

EndNote Users?

Anyone out there using EndNote for their dissertation? I'm finding it very useful--you can "cite while you write," and it will put in references in the format of your choice automatically. You can reformat the citations at any time--so say you're publishing a version of a chapter as an article and the publisher requires a different style than your university does--EndNote makes it a fairly painless process (at least in theory--I have yet to test it out.) I'm also using EndNote for my figures and illustrations, though that is a bit more frustrating. The program only lets you put in one illustration per reference. So if you got a couple of different pictures from one source, you have to input two separate bibliographic entries to use them. But the advantage is that it will renumber my figures automatically if I add or delete others.
Another thing that's frustrating me is that I don't know how to add a page number for a reference when first using the reference. I'll add the footnote and it puts a period at the end of the citation, and then I put in the page number after that manually. I can't just erase the last period. There must be a way to do this right. At least I hope. I'll post again about this if I figure it out....

Use this website!

This website was a huge help to me when I first started writing: PhinisheD.org.

It's extremely helpful in a number of ways. First of all, the people on the site are very encouraging and there's none of the pettiness you may find in your peers in your own department. Second, there is the 'Daily Board' where you can post daily goals and people will actually cheer you on throughout the day to help you achieve those short-term goals. There's also a place to post long-term goals. Next, you can see that other people are actually finishing--this kind of group mentality is really helpful because you see that achieving this degree can actually be done, plus you realize you're not the only one suffering! There are also many many links to useful tools and information databases.

Use it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Whee!

So I just got confirmation that my dissertation is ready to go to my committee in preparation for the defense! It feels fantastic!

I can't believe that it took me two months to get the document to this final stage after finishing the writing back in May. A word of warning: this end part is not very fun. There is a lot of tediousness in terms of word processing, bibliographical stuff, getting images together, conforming the document to the university's specifications... I used MS Word's 'master document' feature and it was freaking scary. I can't believe I managed to do it without blowing up the computer, losing work, or putting big holes in the walls with my head. Just a word for all you dissertaters reading this to know that even though there is a huge sense of relief when the research and writing is over, there is still this really irritating part at the end.

So what's next? I have to schedule my defense for the second week of September and go back to Boston for that. With five people on my committee, it won't be easy to get them all in the same place at the same time, but since I'm coming across the freaking country for the defense, I hope they'll be accommodating.

Wheeeeeeeeee! Yayayayayayay!

Sorry, I'm totally giddy and hopped up on coffeeeeeeeeee!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Publishing Your Dissertation

I just found the website dissertation.com, which will publish your dissertation as an e-book and in paperback on demand, distributing it through Amazon.com and other major booksellers. You get royalties, and you don't have to sign an exclusive publishing agreement with them--you retain all your rights. Hmmm....there's a link at the top right corner that has a NY Times article on them. Has anyone heard of this before? Thoughts?

Diminishing Need for Complaint

I think it's a good sign I haven't posted much in here. I actually have been *working.* No actual pages written, but lots of notes. Things are becoming more concrete. I fantasize about finishing and it doesn't seem so much like the impossible dream. Well, at least not some hours of the day. I have to finish by December. I have to! At this point I'm pretty sure they'll just take just about anything I write. Maybe they'll act a bit tough in the defense...but my advisor pretty much said they at this point just want ANYthing. Volume. So often I feel paralyzed because I think I have to get this perfect, I have to write everything there is to say about my subject and in a brilliant way. And that seems so unreachable. But right now, I'm actually considering writing some fluff. Hopefully it won't be inane fluff, but it might not be as theoretically complex as what I had previously envisioned, and maybe that's OK. I'm going to keep on writing. One page at a time. There is only one page to write. Just one.