Posts on the market are popping up here and there, of course, as it’s the season: Tenured Radical gives her usual good advice; Bardiac offers tips and discusses the timing; and Dr. Curmudgeon contemplates simplifying the logistics. But I have a question.

What’s the actual physical organization of the application reading process? When I was applying, I imagined that they made copies for each committee member, who then got to carry around a load of paper, scribble all over it, etc. So, in consideration of the poor secretary who had to make the photocopies, I only ever used paperclips, not staples, to hold things together, as well as using a header so that my name was on every sheet of paper.

Then I got a job, and while I haven’t officially been on a search committee, I’ve learned that in fact, in my department, all the files are kept in a single location (are our job apps protected under FERPA, as student apps are?). The members have to take time out of their day to go read the files in that location, which makes the whole process a lot more uncomfortable and a bigger hassle and sometimes limited roughly to the business day (although I recall breaking into my chair’s office at midnight just before Christmas in order to skim the shortlisted apps before the MLA). So much for my paperclips.

Anybody? Is there a standard here? Other options than the imaginary and the real I’ve noted?