personal etiquette
Document name
Printed document

Personal etiquette

Please do not send documents or email to me after the evening meal. If you are a night owl, please save your documents until the morning to send to me after breakfast.


I request students not to phone me. Rather, please contact me by email at this address

Normally I request that written work be submitted in printed form, rather than in electronic form, but in time of pandemic and sequestration I am willing to receive work by email. Please do not send email after the evening meal. If you are a night owl, please wait until I have had my breakfast to send your night’s work to me.

I can more easily make notes on the printed text if the text is double spaced or has at least 1.5 line spacing. When working on the bibliography, please provide a text that is 1.5 spaced and with larger font, such as 13 or 14 point font. This will help me make comments.

I prefer to work with students in person, except when sequestration prevents this in time of pandemic. This means that when I am not in Rome, I am not available. It is important to schedule our work so that we may work together in person when I am in Rome. This also applies during time of sequestration. I am available during academic term, not available during holidays or summer from 1 June until 1 October.


If you send your document as an attachment without any text to explain what you have sent, I shall not open the attachment in order to avoid viruses sent by other sources. 

For professional, academic correspondence I prefer a more formal style of written communication. Rather than using text messaging or twitter communication as a model, I prefer the formal email letter.

Because I have several students writing at the same time and I find it confusing to keep everything straight, please identify yourself in each email. 

These are the elements of professional, academic communication:

  • Offer a greeting or salutation.
  • Identify yourself and your project, including:
    • your name, 
    • title of your project: course, seminar, tesina, lectio coram, tesi, 
    • give the title of your work as a reminder of the general topic.
  • Give a progress report stating what we have just completed, such as:
    • thank you for reviewing chapter two. I have considered the suggestions you made.
  • You may have a request for me to consider, such as:
    • Would you please review the corrections I made to chapter 2?
  • Be open about your timeline. While it would not be welcome to give a deadline for my review of your work, it would be helpful to let me know where you are in the timeline of your work, such as:
    • This is the end of my first year and I would like to be prepared to give the lectio coram by the end of the semester, if possible. 
  • Identify any attachments in the body of your letter.
  • Give a courteous closing,
  • followed by your signature.

Document name

When I used to receive printed copies of documents from students, it was easy for me to keep them organised on my desk, but now that I’m receiving them as an attachment to an email, I’m finding it a bit difficult to keep all the files in order. Please help me keep my files in good order by naming them in the following manner. Here are several examples. You may also use these titles as the RE: line of the email.

2020 05 17 Daniel McCarthy Tesi literary analysis of the collect for Good Friday Who does it 1

2020 05 17 2 Daniel McCarthy Tesina literary analysis of the collect for Good Friday Who does it 1

2020 05 01 Daniel McCarthy Lection Coram on the prayers of Good Friday chapter 2 version 3

2020 05 21 Daniel McCarthy Seminar Paper on the blessing of an altar


  • 1. year, followed by a space = 2020 
  • 2. month, followed by a space = 05 
  • 3. date, followed by a space = 01
  • 4. (if this is the second or subsequent version sent on a single day, number them).
  • 5. your name, followed by a space = Daniel McCarthy
  • 6. Level of writing:
    • seminar paper = elaborato
    • Tesina = license tesina
    • Lectio Coram
    • Tesi = doctoral thesis
  • 7. your own description of the contents, such as:
    • Literary analysis of the Good Friday collect
    • proposal
    • chapter 2
    • chapter 2 revised
    • chapter 2 version 3
    • chapter 2 version 4

Each time you send a new document, update to the current date. In this way the latest document will always be on the bottom of the list in your folder on my computer. Also update your description of your document. If you send another version of the document on the same date, change the title so that it will appear on the bottom of the list of documents in your folder.

When I receive a word document, I save it in your folder and then produce a pdf version of your document which I can edit more easily. After making my comments, I produce a summary of my comments which provides your your text on one page and my comments on the facing page with lines connecting my comments to your text. I have found this is a more sure way of communicating when we may be using very different programs.

Printed documents

Analysis of the Latin text of a prayer is best done using electronic documents.

If you wish me to read a proposal for research or the draft of a chapter, please submit it to me in printed form. You may leave your document at the reception desk (portineria) and send an email to me that you have done so, or you may leave it for me with the registrar (Segreteria) with a corresponding email. If your email address is not evident, please include it with the printed text so that I may contact you.

When I receive your document, please help me to situate myself by doing following:

  • include the title page,
  • include the table of contents so that I may have an overview of the project and see how one chapter fits into the whole,
  • format the document according to the norms used at the PIL,
  • number the pages of your document.

If I have already reviewed your chapter, and you are submitting a revision, please indicate on the printed document the parts which you revised so that I may give my attention to it.