Project 3

New York: A Social Knowledge Experiment 

Our end-of-the-semester project will be a collaborative experiment to make a social, digital edition collecting a variety of writing, images, and maps of and about New York relevant to our experiences as a class and as individuals. After evaluating other digital projects for pros and cons, we will work to design, edit, and reframe New York/Queens spaces for a contemporary audience of future students and scholars. You may undertake this project individually or in a group (one collective grade).

This project is open-ended and vague by design. There are only three requirements:

  • You must include a digital component
    • This may be a map, a timeline, digitized/edited text, recorded and edited video, a website or blog, digitally-recorded and edited sounds (e.g. interviews, music, noise), Instagram or Twitter profiles, or other technology of your choice
  • You must document a New York space, preferably one that is meaningful to you
    • This can be your local community, a neighborhood that you frequent or enjoy, or a space that has a rich history about which you’d like to know more
  • Your work must include at least 5 entries (and you’re encouraged to do even more)
    • This will vary depending on what you’re proposing, e.g. five locations on a map, five interviews, five texts, five photos, five posts, etc. Each entry should be accompanied by a one-two sentence caption/description.

We will primarily be using the online tool Story Map to publish and document our work. I will be talking about it in class for those interesting in making their work directly on Story Map and your can also follow these simple tutorials on YouTube (3 links to click), but you can use other tools if they are more relevant for your project (pending approval).

In addition to your digital project, you will write a 3-4 page reflection that explains the details of your project from concept to final product. You should also provide a rationale for your choices in tool and entries. A brief outline of the reflection:

  1. Introduce your project, its goals and the neighborhood/space you chose to document. Explain why you chose that space. (1/2 page)
  2. Discuss the tool you selected for this project and your customization choices (i.e. color, design, name, images or logo) (1/2 page-1 page)
  3. Explain the context behind at least three of your entries (2-2 1/2 pages). What is the history of this space? What kinds of research did you have to do in order to produce the information in this entry? What do you expect your reader to gain from reading/viewing this entry?
  4. Conclude by briefly reflecting on your work for this project. What did you learn? What challenges did you face?

Project Inspiration


  • Week 12: Proposal due. Schedule a one-on-one meeting with me to discuss your ideas for the project. Formal proposal due at the meeting (hard copy; 1 page explaining your choice of place and your plan for what and how you want to document, self-assigned deadlines for when you need to collect data, perform research, design your project)
  • December 4: Peer Review. At least 2 entries completed for perusal and feedback.
  • December 11: Full project due (presentations)


  • New York Public Library: visit the rare books room (through the right-side of Rose room in the back, on the second floor) to talk to a librarian about your research. They are very helpful and will show you some great materials!
  • New York Historical Society Library: tons of digital archives and even more resources if you visit in person!
  • Queens Historical Society: make an appointment to visit their library or attend one of the exhibitions for material and inspiration
  • Brooklyn Historical Society: visit their library or make an appointment to conduct in-depth research
Note: your project does not need to be archival or historical in nature. You are welcome to research and document present-day locations, people, materials, art, or any other NY aspect of your choice.

Rubric (250 points)

  • Project Proposal and Conference (10 points): Student attended conference on time with completed proposal draft
  • Choice of Digital Tool (30 points): Digital platform is appropriate for the kinds of materials the project showcases and takes into consideration a clear target audience
  • Research and Citations (15 points): Where appropriate, student has consulted reliable sources and cited them accordingly. This is also applicable to interviews and use of photography taken by others. Links and captions are acceptable as citations.
  • Peer Review (10 points): Student performs careful and detailed review of peers’ work, offering concrete suggestions for improvement.
  • Content (85 points): Student includes at least five entries with information relevant to the project; content represents NYC in a unique and engaging perspective; text is proofread for errors, written clearly, and clarifies issues of permissions and privacy where applicable (e.g. real names have been omitted; information has been provided with permission, etc)
  • Reflection (100 points): Reflection attends to the elements outlined above, demonstrating the student’s rationale for the project and providing relevant context for sample entries. Reflection demonstrates the student’s understanding of the project, its argument and/or cultural impact, and the importance of making this project as an open, digital artifact.

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