Time Cards by voodooangel on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/voodooangelmg/2500002611/

We’ll be thoroughly and publicly documenting our process — the break-throughs, the triumphs, the frustrations, the dead-ends. This documentation is in keeping with the Digital Humanities’ mission to promote transparency – not only for the benefit of our collaborators in this class, but also in an attempt to welcome other publics into the scholarly process. Our class will be pilot-testing a new mapping tool, the Urban Research Tool, that we’re developing in concert with the Parsons “URTingNYC” class; we intend for this map to serve as a platform for future urban-related faculty and student work at The New School. Therefore, we need to think of our work as laying a foundation. In our project documentation we can not only explain how we’ve developed the tool throughout the fall semester, but also make recommendations for those who come after us, encourage others to conduct new research on specific topics that will bridge existing student projects; direct our successors to promising collections we found in local archives, but just didn’t have the time to review; make recommendations for future tech developers to add new features to the platform so that it’s better able to accommodate the methods we want to employ; etc.

Each student will contribute to our collective “process blog.” If you already have your own blog, you’re welcome to post your UMA work to your own blog, but you’ll need to use the tag “UMA_Fall2010 so that we can aggregate all relevant external blog posts to our central UMA blog. All other students are welcome to post directly to the UMA blog.

If you have an epiphany, if you stumble upon an amazing special collection or interview subject, if you find yourself questioning your topic selection or your mapping techniques, if you have a cartographic break-through, if you hit a brick wall – if anything significant happens that you think offers an occasion for “critical self-consciousness” (Johanna Drucker 2004) or an opportunity to “illuminate the shadowy process of critical thinking, encouraging readers not only to digest finished works, but also to learn from and evaluate the mechanisms of their creation” (Avi Santo and Christopher Lucas 2009) – blog it, please. Each student will be expected to post regularly – at least five times throughout the semester, and at least once every three weeks; at least one post should reflect on your finished, or near-finished, semester project. Your posts should be substantial (roughly 300 words) and, if appropriate, should include relevant media. Make sure to keep the tone professional – not confessional. Please make sure, too, to address the relevance of the class readings and in-class discussions and activities. Your blog contributions are worth 20% of your final grade.