Friday, February 14, 2014

Thesis Nuts and Bolts: Part 3: Printing and Binding FINAL COPY

This is the final blog in my trio this week on Thesis Nuts and Bolts. 

Now if you're in Adelaide and you ask your predecessors where to get your thesis bound, you'll probably hear that William Harley & Son Bookbinders is the only place in Adelaide which does thesis binding. It is in an old converted house just out of the city in Thebarton with a teeny reception window. I did try to look further; there are some interstate places that you could email your pdf to for printing and binding which I've heard do good work, but I was too nervous to trust Australia Post with My Precious or to trust colour choice when I couldn't see the materials in real life. 

Because we all know colour choice is the most important decision.

My mantlepiece-dweller
The other decisions you can make:

- Paper type/quality
- Title just on spine or extra for it on the front as well 
- A myriad of extra options: embossing, flourishes etc etc. 

The important thing is that it's a 24 hour service. No more no less. So if you drop it off at 3pm you can't pick it up at 9am the next day. (A student in front of me in the line wanted his sooner).

I got them to print as well as bind. Firstly because I wanted the final copy to be professionally printed and secondly because I was no longer at uni to exploit the printing facilities. I did get quotes from both WHarley and Whiteslaw (first link that appears if you google "thesis binding") so I could decide how many copies to get. I even made a spreadsheet (my dad was proud). At a rough count, of the 281 pages in my thesis, only 41 pages were black and white if I kept the coloured headings. This includes blank pages. However if I changed the headings to black, it would be 190 pages black and white, with 91 colour. It's a substantial difference. 

I changed the headings to black and white. 

I must say I was very happy with the result. It's quite lovely. Looks subtly better than the examination copy I printed on normal paper with the university printer.

Though this may be just part of the pregnancy analogy of thesis writing: I'm quietly convinced my thesis is prettier than anyone else's. 

I went to the printer's two days before I intended to submit. I took my brother along to help choose the colour, so the blue above is largely his choice, otherwise I would've been there for hours saying  "Blue? ... or Green? Blue?... or Green? Green? ... or Blue?" I took the file on a USB key (which I hung around my neck on a necklace to keep it close to my heart*) and when I copied it onto their computer, I opened it and scrolled through it for no particular reason. I then found a random university shield (presumably from one of the appendices) had replaced the label on an early figure. For no apparent reason. I panicked momentarily, considered leaving it, then confirmed I could email them the pdf to them that night and still get it in time.

Moral: It is worth going more than 24 hours before you need to. Because shit happens.

I was quietly convinced something would go horribly wrong, but nothing did. 

Another very important thing for the University of Adelaide students to be aware of is the THESIS ALLOWANCE.

Yes! They will reimburse you $840 for a PhD or $420 for a Masters for the printing and binding!
If you submit within candidature and if you were on a scholarship. 

The catch? You have to find the form! 

A colleague reminded me of it (thanks Margareta!) so I went looking. Could not find it for the life of me! So here's a direct link at the time of publishing. If however that doesn't work, search for "Thesis Allowance Claim Form" on the website. It ended up being located in the Grad Centre page (okay) under Forms & Information (makes sense) then under Nomination and Payment of Examiners (... WTF?!)

So even printing and binding five copies, with 91 colour pages per copy, the reimbursement covered my full costs.

Huge relief. Again I was quietly convinced my claim would be rejected even though there was no reason. 

Electronic version and copyright

The last important point to make is about the final electronic version. The part where you stick a pdf copy of your thesis on a CD, I'm sure you can handle. The tricky part is the copyright.

In my thesis I had diagrams that I'd either scanned in from books, or replicated, or adapted, or downloaded from the website (thanks LCT!). But more importantly I had oodles of music notation copied from the texts of the students I had studied. OODLES!

The tricky thing is that it's YOUR responsibility to obtain copyright permission for the online version. Finding out how to do that, and how that applied to notation students had transcribed of a bass line was hard. I asked around: three people referred me to a fourth who had referred me to the three people in the first place. Nobody really knew.

The clearest information I could find was this page from Monash University. Thanks Monash!

Top tip 1: Start researching any copyright permission you a) might need b) might be able to get earlier rather than later. After you submit your examination copy but way before you get your results. Because it can take months to obtain.

Top tip 2: If you can't, some anonymous librarian will remove the copyright material from your thesis pdf. You just have to give them a list.

In the end, the following contained content to be completely or partially removed from the online version of my thesis for copyright reasons:
  • 11 of 51 Tables
  • 20 of  39 Figures
  • 12 of 13 Examples
  • 2 of 21 Appendices
You see why I suggest you should look at it early.

It also means if you access the online version of my thesis, it will extensively discuss the multimodality of music notation without displaying any music notation. So if you're really interested, drop me an email and I'll send you a copy. 

So that's what I did for printing and binding. I hope that helps some of you Adelaideans know what to expect. If you have any questions drop me a line!

*true story.


  1. Thanks for your advice - perfect! The note about copyright was also really appreciated - I was super stressed that I would have to change an appendix! Thanks!

    ps. Monash page requires login

    1. Oh no! It didn't require login two years ago! Hopefully there's something similar out there - it gave me serious headaches trying to figure out.

      Good luck with your submission! May all the pages print smoothly and may there be no typos!