A LaTeX Vita

Hmph. I sat down this morning to do something I have had on my task list for quite some time: to create a version of my vita in LaTeX that looked somewhat the way I would like it to look. The version I have maintained in a word processor for several years now has gotten more and more simple over the years, but it still has a few niceties that do not necessarily come with the basic LaTeX classes of documents nor is it as involved as some of the templates available scattered about the web. (When I am done I will, I hope, host the thing in its own repo for others interested in walking down this path.)

My goal was/is to create a document that is as dependent on as few additions to the basic LaTeX installation as possible and, at the same time, has as clean a set of documentation as I can possibly make it.

This is not as easy as one might like.

The current version uses only the geometry package with the preamble looking like this:

\documentclass[12pt, letter]{article}
\usepackage[margin=1in]{geometry}
\setlength{\parindent}{0em}
\setlength{\parskip}{0.5em}

At the very beginning of the document, I have contact information that I would prefer to look different from everything else, and, historically, I have simply centered it. While I could have, and did for a while during this task, set up an environment for this information, I decided that since it was a once-only occurrence, it was simpler simply to format it in place:

\begin{center}
\openup -0.25em
\textbf{JOHN LAUDUN} \\
Department of English \\
... 
github.com/johnlaudun \\
\openup 0.25em
\end{center}

There’s a colophon at the end of the document that tells readers that I used LaTeX and, when I get it working, that I used open source fonts. (While it too is centered, I still didn’t think it was worth creating an environment for a second instance.)

My next steps will be to determine how to filter lines in the file so that I can create versions of the vita of the last 2, 3, or 5 years — which are the common requests for various endeavors. (This would be easier if it were all in XML: then I could use XQuery and XSLT to filter and format, but I’m going to stick with the LaTeX for now.)

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