Here’s a quirky story with a happy ending.
In April 2007, I wrote a blog post about the Internet’s ‘long tail.” A researcher had found me online and requested a copy of my college thesis — a long tail request if ever there was one. Flattered, I posted the thesis on my blog, where it lived in obscurity for the next 15 years.
In 2022, I migrated my blog over to a new platform. I dropped tons of old content — including, unbeknownst to me, my thesis. And that was a problem. Because, also unbeknownst to me, a number of websites out there were linking to it. Twenty-some years later, people were actually READING the damn thing!
This all came to my attention last week, when another gentleman, Roger Arevalo, requested my thesis. Alas, the digital file was nowhere to be found. So I dug out my only hard copy, took it to Kinkos and paid $30 to scan it. I reposted the thesis online that night, $30 poorer but tickled pink that my old research might still be useful.
But that’s not the happy ending! After sharing the thesis with Roger, he shot me back a note: “I’m reading it again now, and just so you know, pages 2-4 are missing.”
He was right. In fact, not just pages 2-4, but numerous pages had disappeared. I dug the hard copy back out. The pages were missing from there, too. Simply gone. How or why, I cannot say.
What a blow! After all that work, and feeling so proud, I was defeated by bad file-keeping habits from 20 years ago.
I racked my brain for a solution. I tried every search term I could think of in Google, hoping someone else had downloaded and posted a full version. Nothing. The Way Back Machine offered a glimmer of hope — it had preserved a PDF of my thesis back in 2011 (yay!) but was missing all the same pages (boo!).
In a last ditch effort, I emailed the administrative staff at my alma mater. Brown’s Education Department was always a warm and supportive place. Maybe I’d find my way to someone who could help? At 12:28pm today, I sent my entreaty, fully expecting nothing back.
At 3:06, an original digital copy of my thesis — my FULL thesis — arrived in my inbox. Which I now post here: Tate Hausman Free School Thesis, and will also link to from my former blog post.
You’d be surprised at how happy this ending makes me.