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After I submitted my thesis recently, I discovered that I made a very silly mistake in typing the title of my thesis; I missed one letter. Instead of implementation I typed "implemenation". The thesis is now printed and submitted.

I was very cautious but still, this typo slipped my attention, probably due to some technical issues that I had with my LaTeX editor and using separate files for title and body. Now the typos is there and I want to fix it. I found similar questions (here and there) but it looks like my problem is different. Do you have any suggestions? For example, can I submit an erratum?

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    By the thesis is now published I mean it is printed, and the bound copies are prepared – AlFagera Jun 10 '15 at 6:25
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    People will probably blame the printer anyway... but yes, you should correct it so future copies don't have the unnecessary "errer". Typographical errors happen. Spellcheckers help. Having friends proofread the document before you turn it in helps more. Call it another lesson learned. – keshlam Jul 1 '15 at 13:21
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+250

First and foremost, I would strongly advise you to not worry too much about the printed copies. Printed copies of any literature, not just your thesis, are largely vestigial these days: it is the electronic copy that people looking for literature will be able to discover, and it is the electronic copy that they will be generally capable of accessing. In my experience, the current purposes of the printed copy are:

  1. Fulfilling depository requirements of libraries, where paper is still the best known method for long-term archival storage (even plain text files rot quickly---ever heard of EBCDIC?). In all likelihood, nobody will ever access these paper copies.
  2. Giving "trophy" copies to people that you personally know, like your advisor, your family, or other mentors who have helped you.

Neither of these really needs correction: the library depository copies are likely write-only artifacts, and the trophy copies are going to people who already know you and are likely to laugh and sympathize with you over your typo rather than hold it against you.

What I think is worth getting corrected is any electronic version. For that, you need to talk to whoever is in charge of maintaining the electronic depository at your institution. Often, this is the librarians, and they will generally have a procedure for fixing errors---your error will by no means be the first or the most severe that they have dealt with.

  • Neither of my MSc thesis actually have any physical existence any more, just the electronic version. So, the electronic copy at the University library is definitely the one to correct. Also the easiest. – ALAN WARD Jul 7 '15 at 13:09
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I just thought it appropriate to reflect on what was done in this situation before we had word processors and text editing tools. At that time a University regulation/procedure for correcting an error in a thesis specified cut and paste. Real cut and paste. You typed up the word for the correction, cut it out of the paper with scissors or a craft knife and pasted it into the thesis over the offending error. Book binders even had a method of correcting typos made in the gold embossing used on the spine or cover.

The university library, and other parts of the university responsible for a thesis, I am sure, will be pleased to take an errata which can be pasted inside the thesis, but may also permit you to actually do cut and paste on the paper copy. They would want the copy preserved for all time to be correct.

However, like the other answerers, I would not be too concerned about this fault. It is very minor. I recently had the experience of OCR text recovery of my own thesis which was done before the days of word processing. I was shocked at the number of small typos that the OCR discovered that had been missed by the examiners, proof readers and myself. I have to live with the knowledge that all the typos are then in the paper copy in the library vaults for all time.....

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Regardless of whether your thesis is published in print form or electronic one, I think that you can and should contact the publisher and your university and/or school (usually, either one and/or both maintain university- and/or school-wide electronic repositories of defended dissertations and theses, which are considered as unpublished artifacts in a traditional, peer-reviewed outlet, sense) with request to make the appropriate correction or publish an errata.

In addition to that, if your thesis has been submitted to nationwide or global e-repositories, such as ProQuest (AFAIK, it's pretty much a standard, at least for US academia, for maintaining and distributing Ph.D. dissertations, not so sure about other geographical destinations and Master's theses), you can and should contact them as well with the same request as one, mentioned above.

  • By the thesis is now published I meant printed (sorry for that), which mean no publisher should be contacted. If I want to contact the university, should I inform the Dean or the Dept. chairman; or neither ? Does it mean I'll need to reprint the thesis again (the title page might be enough, I guess), how to tackle this after I the binding process is done? – AlFagera Jun 10 '15 at 6:23
  • @AlFagera: No problem - I understand, hence I listed that option as well. I'm not intimately familiar with details of the publishing process, but I would think that it makes no sense to contact the publisher, if the whole circulation has been published, otherwise it makes sense IMHO. As for this problem in the context of your university, it is difficult to advise on that, as it is most likely very university- or graduate school-dependent. However, I don't see any harm in asking. In any case, don't be too worried about it - if your thesis otherwise is of good quality, you should be fine. – Aleksandr Blekh Jun 10 '15 at 6:38
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    If it is in the electronic repository, you can probably just directly contact whoever maintaibs the repository and ask to correct it; they're unlikely to mind if you explain it's an embarrassing typo & can provide a corrected version of the final file. – Andrew Jun 10 '15 at 7:37
  • @Andrew: Correct, that is what I said in my answer. Perhaps, you wanted to direct your comment to the OP - in that case, you should have either directly commented on the question, or mentioned the OP here. – Aleksandr Blekh Jun 10 '15 at 7:41
  • @AleksandrBlekh I think I may have used the wrong box in the SE app; it's a small screen :-) – Andrew Jun 10 '15 at 9:13
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You should contact your thesis advisor and state briefly and clearly your mistake. They are the only person who can authoritatively tell you how to proceed and whether this could affect your grading at all.

Most likely, they will tell you to do nothing and regard the typo as a silly but minor mishap that could have occurred to anyone. As long as the rest of your thesis is flawless, don't fret.

If you worry about your thesis being published on a repository or university archive etc. with the flawed title page, your advisor can tell you whether it is possible to correct the "proof" before publication.

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I don't think you need to worry: "implemenation" is similar enough to "implementation" that I don't think anybody will have any problem understanding what you intended (which is probably why nobody noticed the error earlier!), so I would leave it as is. If the typo is only on your front page, you can correct it by hand if you don't have too many copies to fix.

  • I've just distributed 7 copies out of 11. With cover page made form cardboard the title is written in large bold font, I don't how to mange this. Aside form writing it again on the abstract of each copy along with my name in default 12pt font. – AlFagera Jun 10 '15 at 7:44
  • I really wouldn't worry about it, then. If it was a typo that would confuse your audience, then I'd be concerned, but since it's very clear what you mean, I don't think it'll be a problem. – Gaurav Jun 10 '15 at 9:20

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