[ILUG] LaTeX training
theirishmole at gmail.com
Thu Nov 30 11:12:37 GMT 2006
At the beginning you said the training is for research students.
Given that i presume they will be writing papers?
Because from my experience some conferences will insist on a word
template being used while other will insist on a latex class file
being used. They often want the end paper in pdf, but its a pain the
ass to write a doc in latex when given a word template or vice veras.
Now i don't know if this will be the case in the humanities, do they
write much papers? will the conference or whatever they submit to
require latex or word?
In that context it may be useful to note that some people, such as
IT/Comp Sci research students, will need to use latex and word.People
are more inclined to put effort in when the know thay will need to
learn the stuff.
As far as word is concerned, i find it fairly easy to use, never had
any problems with toc, figs etc. I use whichever is easier for what
i'm doing. If a class file is provided i use latex, if not i use word.
On 11/30/06, Cian Davis <davisc at skynet.ie> wrote:
> Gavin McCullagh wrote:
> > I think that's over-stating things a little. I would be a LaTeX advocate,
> > but I recognise that MS Word or OpenOffice are perfectly capable for many
> > people's day-to-day word processing needs. Most of my colleagues did their
> > theses in Word without any grave incidents.
> I helped a friend with his thesis recently (written in Word). The table
> of contents, table of figures, headers etc. were a *nightmare*.
> Positioning graphics is particularly infuriating - you move it slightly
> and it jumps a page. And even when you get it right, it screws up the
> rest of the document.
> > I'd be a little cautious about advocating LaTeX as an alternative to word
> > processors for everyone. Non-technical people will probably have used word
> > processors a lot and LaTeX will seem rather arcane.
> I'm not advocating it for everyone nor for everything. The specific case
> that I'm referring to is writing a thesis. And I do want to show there
> is an alternative to Word. Both have their intricacies. And ideally, I'd
> like to foster a support community within UL to support it. Bear in mind
> that theses take over 6 months to write up. Because of this, it could
> well be worth someone's while to learn it.
> > The IT research students probably shouldn't need such a course, but it's no
> > harm to offer it to them and it might get them moving quicker which is
> > good. They will also benefit from LaTeX's excellent math support and the
> > learning curve will be relatively low. For them, this course is a good
> > idea.
> That is a point. Equation editor is good, but not great. Formatting
> in-line references for equations is also pretty poor. On a related note
> with regard to technical theses: Word support for embedded Excel graphs
> is, ironically, crap. They often are illegible. I'm looking around for
> alternatives to use for mine. SigmaPlot has been suggested but it seems
> expensive. Have downloaded Grace for Cygwin so will give that a go.
> > Most humanities people are likely to need support if they are to use LaTeX.
> > If the support's not there, you'll likely get a >97% drop-out rate who will
> > go back to word processors. You may be happy that they gave it a try, but
> > forever more, they'll have a bad view of LaTeX. Will the cost of the
> > course have been worth it then?
> > First up they're going to have to get it installed on their own computer.
> > This is not hard, but it's not trivial for someone who may not be used to
> > installing software. Then they'll need to choose an editor (Winedt,
> > WinShell, Emacs, etc?) or a Wysiwyg thing like LyX (which if you ask me is
> > not that much of an improvement over a word processor unless you know how
> > to edit the LaTeX where necessary). Then they need to get started with a
> > first document. After about 5 minutes, they'll try to compile with a
> > missing } and they'll get an error. If they persevere, they'll try to do a
> > table, insert images (pdf, png or eps only), etc. These simple tasks will
> > all seem very hard. These people have probably never programmed or written
> > HTML. Who will create an appropriate style file and install the extra
> > fonts they need?
> I accept that and it will be necessary to point out the fundamental
> differences from the get go. Also, I accept that there is a ton of
> resources out there to self teach. Problem is, students will see it and
> run from it without giving it a chance. I'd like someone who can explain
> the differences and then show the basics and methods of LaTeX more than
> anything. Once you have that, digging for your own support is easier.
> I have considered LyX but there is a bit of a fundamental debate there
> about whether it's better to do it in stages (Word -> LyX -> LaTeX) or
> go the whole hog and teach from the ground up. I have a concern that LyX
> looks a bit too like Word that people will expect it to function in the
> same manner and then get pissed off when it (obviously) doesn't.
> Kile seems to do what I want on Linux.
> I've found WinShell extremely easy to install. Granted, LyX asks a few
> questions that would scare non-IT people but not too bad.
> > Sorry to be negative, but most people will go for low learning curve over
> > reliability and quality every time,
> In fairness, there's no point going forward with something like this with rose-tinted glasses and think it's a solution to all our problems. Much better to get both sides of the argument first.
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