[Computational Complexity] Microfiche
A graduate student complained that Indiana University requires him to pay $60 to make a microfiche copy of his Ph.D. dissertation.
Many universities have various hidden fees they charge you just as you are about to graduate. Usually these fees total in the $100 range, low enough so that you just cough up and pay them as $100 doesn't mean too much in the grand scheme of life. Still there should be some warning, perhaps in the admissions letter.
Be aware that after you have fulfilled all the requirements, written and successfully defended your thesis, you will not receive a Ph.D. until you have also paid the following fees…But why Microfiche? Wouldn't an electronic copy of the thesis make more sense. Several universities require a bound paper copy, partly for tradition and part just in case the PDF files of today cannot be read by next century's computers. I doubt the last part—there are too many PDFs around today for us not to have a way to look at them in the future.
I was a microfiche wizard in high school. When I did reports on 20th century history, I would go back to the original New York Times articles to get a first hand perspective. But with the Internet and back articles available electronically, microfiche is an aging technology. In the past decade I've used microfiche exactly once—to track down a box score of a baseball game I went to long ago.
I suspect microfiche will go the way of sliderules and typewriters. Before they die, someone (Google?) will scan in the old microfiche and covert them to PDFs. Wouldn't it be better for the Indiana University library to get a free high-quality PDF now instead of an expensive scanned PDF in the future?
Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 11/21/2006 08:02:00 PM