Schedule + Readings


WEEK 1: January 28

Introductions & Overview
Getting Acquainted with TNS’s Archives
Engaging Administrivia (Or, Having Fun with Bureaucracies’ Detritus)


WEEK 2: February 4

Institutional Memory & Mnemonic Structures
Archives & the Discipline of Organizing
LAB: Organizing Personal Archives


WEEK 3: February 11

Meet in Kellen Archives @ SW corner of Lobby in 66 5th Ave. 
Our Own Archives & Institutional Memory[1]
History of Media Studies @ TNS
Guests: TNS Archivists Wendy Scheir & Liza Harrell-Edge
Guests (@5:30): Kit Laybourne and Peter Haratonik, Founding Faculty of the Media Studies Program

About the Readings: Don’t freak out! It looks like a lot, but you’re reading only short excerpts from some texts, and much of the archival material is browsable.   


    • Herbert Croly, “A School of Social ResearchThe New Republic (June 8, 1918): 167-171 [Envisioning an infrastructurally-light, faculty driven institution committed to “social science [that] is useful in supplying a technique of social progress.”]
    • A Statement by Charles A. BeardThe New Republic (December 29, 1917): 249-251 [Katznelson mentions the “Columbia University firings… and resignations”; this piece reveals the boring institutional politics behind the “academic freedom” origin myth!]
    • Ann Snitow, “Refugees from Utopia: Remembering, Forgetting and the Making of The Feminist Memoir Project” In Yifat Gutman, Adam D. Brown & Amy Sodaro, Memory and the Future: Transnational Politics, Ethics and Society (New York: Palgrave, 2010): 144-148 [On women central to The New School’s early years].



WEEK 4: February 18

Understanding the Finding Aid
Field Trip
 (4 to 5:15): NYPL w/ Thomas Lannon, Assistant Curator, Manuscripts and Archives, NYPL (meet in Astor Hall, the main lobby off the 5th Ave entrance, near the south staircase)

LAB: (5:30-6:45, back in the classroom): Imagin(ary)/itive Finding Aids Brainstorm 

Again, about the readings: yeah, it’s a long list — but you’re reading only excerpts from most of these texts, and most are filled with illustrations. 



WEEK 5: February 25

Understanding Metadata & Encoded Archival Description
Guest (4 to 5:15)
: Archivist Jenny Swadosh

Collective Access
Guests (5:30 to 6:45): Seth Kaufman, Lead Developer; & Julia Weist, Senior Consultant, from Collective Access

Supplemental [Warning!: this might make your head explode!]:


WEEK 6: March 4

Envisioning an Archival Commons, a Living/Animated Archive
Guest (4 to 5:30):
Ben Vershbow, Manager, NYPL Labs




WEEK 7: March 11

Revisiting the New School Archive & Considering Final Project Options

  • Look more closely at the New School Archives & Special Collections’ “Archives of Individuals + Organizations,” “University History Collections” + “Digital Archives
  • Review your three assignment options, described in the “Assignments” section of the syllabus, above; and begin formulating ideas for your own final project; you’ll be submitting a proposal next week.
  • Shannon Mattern, “Interface Critique, Revisited: Thinking About Archival Interfaces” Words in Space [blog post] (January 22, 2014) [This piece, which you might regard as an extension of our readings on archival finding aids, will ideally help you to think of your final project as an “interface” to the archive, and will help to prepare you for your interface critique on April 1.]
  • Browse through the wiki for the “CURATEcamp Exhibition: Exhibition in and of the Digital Age” unconference (April 2013). You’ll find links to GoogleDoc notes for some sessions within the schedule grid. [You'll notice that I moved this text, and the following one, up from April 1.]
  • Jennifer Mundy & Jane Burton, “Online Exhibitions” MW2013: Museums and the Web 2013 Conference, Portland, OR, April 2013.


WEEK 8: March 18

Guest (4-4:15): Liza Harrell-Edge [to discuss Collective Access's "lightbox" feature]
Final Project Proposals Due: Short (Seriously!) Presentations of Proposals In Class
LAB: Platforms Overview & Group Critiques

  • As TNS’s archives aim to open up their collections to other classes, and as their further digitization efforts make possible the creation of “multimodal” scholarly projects by more and more scholars, practitioners, and students, both internal and external, the library and archives staff hopes to identify scalable, sustainable, compatible platforms for these online scholarly activities. As Jennifer Vinopal, NYU’s Librarian for Digital Scholarship Initiatives, said in a recent interview with Library Journal, “For a number of years, we were trying to help scholars build websites in a way that was custom built for their needs, and after doing that for years, we realized that if you’re building one-off websites, there’s no way to make them scalable and sustainable. So we learned from that that we have to be clearer about what we can do and the importance of building reusable infrastructures.” We need to help the NS Archives and Special Collections identify platforms that allow for the dynamic presentation and contextualization of archival materials and are also sustainable and compatible with the archives’ existing infrastructure.
    ……….Possible platforms to consider include: Omeka; WordPress; Scalar; Racontr; Zeega; Microsoft’s Rich Interactive Narratives + Digital Narratives; Stanford’s new Spotlight (see this and this, too). Please come to class with some ideas regarding what platforms — from among my list, or via your own suggestions — we should seriously consider for our own projects. To identify other options, you might try searching for online archival exhibitions – e.g., the National Archives’, Columbia University Libraries’, Harvard Libraries’, MoMA’s – and identify what platforms they use. In our next class we’ll critique the execution of individual online finding aids and exhibitions. We’ll complete our critique in classthe only thing you need to do in advance of class is think about what platforms are worth investigating.



March 25: No Class: SPRING BREAK


WEEK 9: April 1


  • Recall the readings from March 11.
  • Review some sample interface critiques: Joey Marburger and Sarah Sampel, “A Design Critique of HealthCare.GovWashington Post (October 6, 2013) + Alexis Madrigal, “How Facebook Designs the ‘Perfect Empty Vessel’ for Your MindThe Atlantic (May 2, 2013).
  • Now, choose an exemplary online archival interface or finding aid, or an online exhibition using archival material, and tell us what we can learn from it – either what to do or what not to do.  You’ll find more detailed instructions in the “Assignments” section of the syllabus, above.

You’ll preset your 10-minute critique in class on April 1 and take notes on the ensuing discussion, and then you’ll have one week – until April 8 at 11:59pm – to post a roughly 900-word critique (containing at least three screenshots) to our class website.


WEEK 10: April 8

Field Trip: 4:00-5:30: Visit to ArtStor, 150 5th Ave., 5th Floor, with Mary Finer and Siân Evans
LAB: Tutorials as needed
Shannon out of town



User Experience in the Archive / Public Engagement with the Archive
Jane Pirone, Faculty, Design & Technology
LAB: Designing a Usability Test for Collective Access


    • Christine L. Borgman, “Why Are Digital Libraries Hard to Use” & “Making Digital Libraries Easier to Use” In From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure: Access to Information in the Networked World (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000): 117-168.

TO DO: Conduct Usability Testing on Your Own Project


WEEK 12: April 22

LAB: Pecha Kucha
Guest Critics:
Orit Halpern, Peter Asaro & Alex Kelly


WEEK 13: April 29

LAB: Independent Work & Consultations


WEEK 14: May 6

LAB: Independent Work & Consultations


WEEK 15: May 13

Final Presentations
Guest Critics:
Wendy Scheir, Liza Harrell Edge & Others To Be Confirmed


[1] I must thank the brilliant and generous Julia Foulkes for her advice regarding appropriate readings for this section.



One thought on “Schedule + Readings”

  1. Hi,
    All of the broken-linked New School bulletins assigned for this week are viewable in Collective Access–here are links to each:
    Feel free to write us at if you have any trouble accessing these and we’ll make sure to get them to you another way.

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Spring 2014 Studio @ The New School. With Shannon Mattern