First off, thanks to Shannon, Rory, and everyone in the class. I thought it was a valuable experiment in design-led research, and I was super impressed by how engaged and collaborative and supportive everyone was.

In terms of my project evaluation, I think I still need a little time to process more fully — but overall it’s been a really positive experience.

The data collection process
I learned a lot about zine collections: how they were formed (primarily through trades or donations), catalogued (primarily alphabetically by title but also according to provenance), and archived (varied greatly). From a methological perspective, one of the biggest challenges I encountered was the particular challenge of finding/cataloguing zines, many of which lack clear bibliographic information.  I also realized that despite a seeming resurgence of popular interest in zine culture, scholarly works on — and clear definitions of — zine culture are still hard to find. For instance, many of the records that ended up in my database didn’t show up through a search for “zine,” but did show up insearches for fanzine, periodical, newsletter, magazine etc.


It was also amazing to  talk to the librarians and archivists at ABC No Rio, Barnard, and NYU, who not only gave me access to a rich array of material, but showed me that the zine community is still alive and kicking!  I only wish that I’d had more time to meet with them more, and to also reach out to the individual zine creators I referenced in my project to get their take. Ultimately, it would be really great if the site could be populated by content from members of the zine community themselves.  The most important thing I’ve learned with this project is that zines provide incredibly valuable primary sources for research.

Final Thoughts/Areas for Improvement

Overall, I’m happy with how my project turned out. I think the linked records give a good sense of the interconnectedness of the zine network, and that the interface allows the user to click (from zine to zine center to related site) in a way that provides structure while allowing for discovery.  I was also pleased with the variety and richness of the arguments I was able to draw from the data (even though I had so much more that I didn’t upload!)   If I were going to make any changes at this stage, it would be to try and visualize these networks and connections more clearly in the map itself.  I think I accomplished this in part with the network and distribution diagrams I posted about in my last post — but I also think I could have done a better job by using a more coordinated tagging system.

I was so impressed with how everyone’s projects came together in the end, and how resourceful and creative people were with their arguments.  I learned a lot from you all!