For my final process blog, I want to reflect on the process of creating the map itself, specifically on what I learned from the process and from the project, in this final analysis.
There are many aspects of my project that I would amend, if embarking on it now. I did not quickly enough adjust my focus away from the drive towards research. I took the idea that I was building a data set from scratch, and forgot to give equal attention to its direction, or to what exactly I would say once acquiring and organizing the data set. I should have earlier explored the URT program, and realized its potential, then assessed how my individual project could best be part of and compliment that larger project, URT. I should have explored the written archives earlier(the documents from the New York Times)–such a simple thing that occurred to me so late in the semester, but which has added as equally an important element to my project as the images I obsessed on finding. I realize my part in the flaws of my final map and my process; they are disappointing, but I think they can be helpful to future students, as warnings that I myself foolishly ignored.
However, I cannot say that I do not feel a certain satisfaction at the final map as well. The topic of street name signs is not exciting in itself, but what is exciting is creating a new area of research for future students and users of URT. Now it will be possible for someone else to more substantially flesh out the bare(ish) bones of an idea that remains relevant in the city today, as the street name signs prepare to be changed again. Someone might be able to begin a socio-political exploration/excavation proven through the degradation of signage in specific neighborhoods, streets and avenues. Someone might be able to investigate the clearly nostalgic turn that certain neighborhoods today have in their current signage. Someone might be able to critically evaluate the deeper meanings of the historic districts in the city, using my project as a springboard for historical background.
This project, and the process of the project, has been quite enlightening. Of course I wish (and I’m sure I’m not alone) there was more time to add more dimensions to the final map. But as a beginning, even though I did not meet all of my goals, I think the completed work is valuable and may prove itself so for future students and URT users.