Keeping it Safe?

In reading a dissertation manual (albeit, IMO, an outdated one), I came across the advice to keep one’s dissertation-in-progress double-sealed in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. This was advocated to protect the manuscript from theft and fire. How preposterous this sounds to me! I can’t imagine printing out and storing my work in a file cabinet, much less in a refrigerator. Instead, I back up my dissertation in multiple places: hard drive, thumb drive, CD-ROM, web-based file storage. Printing out the document seems pointless and wasteful (save the trees, I say).

But am I naive not to store a hard copy?

Have you heard horror stories about dissertations being stolen, lost, or consumed by fire? To what lengths did you go to preserve your manuscript?

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4 Responses to Keeping it Safe?

  1. Eris says:

    I am working on my phd, but have a thesis horror story. My husband took my laptop in to have some work done, as it was hiccupping a bit. I was busy at the library when he went to drop of the computer so he was in charge of making the back up cd of my thesis (which was 100 pages in and was waiting to have committee corrections). Well, he lost the cd and the hard drive on the laptop was wiped. Bye-bye thesis.

    Luckily, I had the hard copies with notes from the committee members. I spent two days retyping the thesis, including all the fun margin and formatting requirements. My husband felt so bad, I mean REALLY BAD. I couldn’t bring myself to be mad at him.

    Needless to say… I keep track of all my stuff now. Love him, but some things are too big to give to anyone else. The fridge sounds like a good idea, speaking from experience, although I don’t think I would make a hard copy of every version, just the big changes.

  2. sarah says:

    In the event of a catastrophic technology-wipe wherein even all your web-based copies are lost, would you still be needing to finish the dissertation? I mean, wouldn’t you more likely be scavenging for food in the wilderness and trying to barter fresh ground coffee for toilet paper?

  3. Jana says:

    Great, Sarah, now I’m thinking that I should fill my freezer with toilet paper, too! (oh, and coffee….).

  4. Jana says:

    Eris: what a nightmare to have to retype and reformat your thesis! I am hoping that backups to googledocs will prevent any local computer crashing issues and emailing the file to myself at my various addresses (yahoo, gmail, campus mail) will also prevent me from every having to retype!