Monday, March 14, 2011

Chronicle: Keep the Laptop, Give Back the Dissertation

March 13, 2011
By Don Troop

Jessica Osuna does not consider herself an emotional person, but when she came home one afternoon last December and found that someone had smashed in the door of her Albuquerque home and taken the laptop that contained her dissertation—six years of work—she wept.

"I just broke down," she says. "That was like to lose a child."

A doctoral candidate in ecological sciences at the University of California at Berkeley, Ms. Osuna was not naïve about safeguarding her work. She ran automatic backups of her 15-inch MacBook Pro onto a small external hard drive. Then every other day or so, she copied her work onto a one-terabyte hard drive that she kept locked in a safe, in case of fire. But whoever burglarized her home busted open the safe and took that drive, too.

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