One certain piece of “unavoidable delay” for those of us who are either on soft money or would like to be on it is keeping an updated curriculum vitae. Granting agencies want them, but so far the granting agencies haven’t gotten together to agree on what they want. And sometimes what is desired is not an academic CV at all, but rather a resume’.
If you are like me, you’ve got a series of versions of a CV or resume’ based on the requirements of the moment, and it’s a chore to make sure that the latest published paper, or the most recent conference talk, gets properly entered so that you can find it again when making the next CV version.
I had pretty much switched to using [tex]\LaTeX[/tex] for my CV, using the currvita.sty style, but hadn’t realized until this evening the broader implications of using a programming system as my CV repository. What I’ve done in the past few hours is turn my CV into a modular document, with conditional compilation determining the content that goes into each variant version that I might want.
The first thing is to declare the “ifthen” package and create some handy commands:
% Declare the type of CV or resume desired here by setting ONE of the following to `true’
The command names just need to not overlap anything else in the TeX namespace.
The currvita.sty style prints a heading on the first page, which should be either “Curriculum Vitae” or “Resume'” as appropriate. This is where I first applied the “ifthen” environment:
The currvita.sty style also set up the cvlist command, which allows for an arbitrary number of items with data in left and right columns. I already had my information in cvlist groupings, so what I had to do was then encapsulate each such section in its own definition. Doing this defers actually treating each section as output. For example, my education section became:
\item[08/1978–08/1982] B.S. (Zoology), University of Florida,
\item[08/1986–08/1989] M.S.C.S. (Computer Science), University of
Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
\item[08/1993–08/2003] Ph.D. (Wildlife \& Fisheries
Sciences), Texas A\&M University, College Station, TX
Now, there is a command, “\clvedu”, that must be given to cause that section to be output.
I will list the full and short version sections:
%% Full CV — Give them everything and to heck with the page length
%% Short CV — Brief information for academically-oriented recipients
TeX treats the “%” sign as a comment character, so that anything following on a line is not treated as possible output. You will see that various of the commands are commented out in the short version. Even more are commented out for the definition of resume’.
So now I look forward to maintaining just one file in order to take care of CV and resume’ production. If I need a specialized form, I can just declare another command for it and set up the defining template for it, which means that I’ve eliminated several sources of error in making these sorts of documents. This is something that either isn’t possible or is much, much harder to do in word processing packages like Word or WordPerfect.
To get [tex]LaTeX[/tex], you should visit the Comprensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN). There are versions for a variety of platforms. I’ve used the TeXLive distribution for Windows before. Both Diane’s dissertation and mine were produced using that distribution. I am now set up with the Protext distribution, which is based on MikTeX. If you haven’t heard of [tex]LaTeX[/tex] before, what you need to know is that it is a professional typesetting system that is both freely available and very hard to beat for how pretty the text comes out on the far side. Yes, there is a steep learning curve. It was substantially easier to learn [tex]LaTeX[/tex], though, than to get either Word or WordPerfect to format a dissertation within the guidelines laid down for dissertations. Oh, and if you like to typeset equations, chances are that you will sneer at any other system that claims to provide “equation editors” and the like.
I’ve used the following books as references in order to surmount that steep learning curve:
LaTeX: A Document Preparation System (2nd Edition) by Leslie Lamport and
The Latex Companion by Goossens, Mittelbach, and Samarin.