Author Archives: Anne Leonard

Moving ahead with final projects

Today the OpenLab welcomed the birth of the Vinegar Hill Gang, the new project site you all created and joined. On Wednesday, we’ll vote on a header image, avatar, and a theme for the site. We’ll spend time reviewing report development so far. Remember that we meet in A540, the large e-classroom.

A few people had questions about adding media to the Wikimedia Commons. To add your original photos, start at the Upload Wizard. Be sure to choose a license and assign Categories to the images you share.

Wikipedia Wednesday

Today we reviewed the Wikipedia readings and shared thoughts on the reliability and biases of Wikipedia. We spent some time creating (or trying to) Wikipedia accounts and explored the training modules and Creative Commons licenses. For Wednesday, please create a Wikipedia account and send your username to Prof. Leonard via email or the OpenLab. You can then begin the training modules:

Contributing Images and Media Files

Sources and Citations

Plagiarism and Copyright

On Wednesday our guest lecturers, Prof. Ann Matsuuchi from LaGuardia Community College, and Richard Knipel, president of the Wikimedia Foundation NYC Chapter, will lead us on a workshop on writing, editing, referencing, and creating images in Wikipedia. Bring your questions and a laptop if you like.


Looking ahead to Wikipedia week: April 24 and 26

Today we took part in the library/NYPIRG Earth Day screen print and button making session, and then returned to the classroom to review the Wikipedia assignment guidelines and the final project guidelines.

For Monday, please review the Wikipedia assignment guidelines, begin to think about the article(s) you might improve through editing, writing, or creating references, and the photos or media you will contribute to the Wikimedia Commons.

Also be prepared to discuss the 3 short assigned readings:

Lih, Andrew. “Can Wikipedia Survive?” The New York Times. 20 June 2015. Web.

Postrel, Virigina. “Who Killed Wikipedia?Pacific Standard. 17 Nov. 2014. Web.

Randall, Eric. “How A Racoon Became an Aardvark.” The New Yorker. 20 July 2014. Web.

On Wednesday, April 26 our guest lecturers, Prof. Ann Matsuuchi from LaGuardia Community College and Richard Knipel, president of the Wikimedia NYC Chapter, will lead us in a Wikipedia workshop. We’ll make use of the tablets; it’s fine to bring your own laptop if you like.

Welcome back! And this Thursday 4/20 runs on a Monday schedule

Today we viewed The Happy City Experiment and discussed the spirit of a place. Groups also worked on their outlines. Don’t forget! Tomorrow, Thursday, April 20, the college runs on a Monday schedule. We’ll spend some time reviewing the assignment guidelines for the Wikipedia assignment, which you’ll complete both individually and in your research groups.

Next week we dive deep into Wikipedia, with a writing and editing workshop on Wednesday 4/26, facilitated by Prof. Ann Matsuuchi, Instructional Technology & Systems Librarian at LaGuardia Community College. Please get started on three readings for Monday:

Lih, Andrew. “Can Wikipedia Survive?” The New York Times. 20 June 2015. Web.

Postrel, Virigina. “Who Killed Wikipedia?Pacific Standard. 17 Nov. 2014. Web.

Randall, Eric. “How A Racoon Became an Aardvark.” The New Yorker. 20 July 2014. Web.

Annotated bibliography assignment due April 19, after Spring Break

Today each group presented their hypothesis and received generous feedback from the class — thanks for contributing, everyone. The annotated bibliography group assignment is due by the start of class on Wednesday, April 19. Get in touch with questions early – do NOT wait until the night before it is due! As your group’s research continues, you may find the New York City Research Guide useful. You may also want to search the Brooklyn Eagle and the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections to find additional primary sources to include in the annotated bibliography.  Over the break you may have time to continue your research in the Brooklyn Collection, the New York Public Library, or the New-York Historical Society — in person, rather than solely online.

Don’t forget – on Thursday, April 20, classes run on a MONDAY SCHEDULE. This means we meet Wednesday, April 19 and Thursday, April 20.

Enjoy break, everyone!



Preparing for our visit to the New-York Historical Society on Wednesday 3/29

This Wednesday we are scheduled to visit the library of the New-York Historical Society. Please arrive on time at 1:30 to allow time to check your coats and bags. Our research visit begins promptly at 1:45. The N-YHS is located at 170 Central Park West at W. 77th Street (B/C trains to 81st Street; 1 train to 79th Street).

Before our visit, please read the short blog post How to Make the Most of your Trip to the Archive from the blog Librarian Shipwreck, especially section #2 that describes Finding Aids.

Site report #4 (NYPL Map Division) is due on Thursday, March 30.

NYPL map division wrap-up and preparing for next week

The Map Division is open 6 days a week to the public – and YOU – for further research

We visited the NYPL map division on Wednesday and topic groups studied maps to find evidence for hypotheses. Site report #4, based on the NYPL visit, is due on Thursday, March 30; use the template for #3, and be sure to save it as a reduced size PDF to upload to our course site when you’re ready to submit it.

Looking ahead to next week: on Monday, come prepared to discuss the visit to the Map Division. We’ll also discuss quantitative data sources for research.

On Wednesday, March 29 we visit the library of the New-York Historical Society, Central Park West at 77th Street in Manhattan (B or C trains to 72nd Street; 1, 2, 3 trains to 72nd Street). Our research visit begins at 1:45 sharp, so please plan on arriving by 1:30 to register and check your coats and bags. Please review visitor information and policies in advance of our visit.

Review of Monday 3/20 and preparing for NYPL Map Division trip on Wednesday 3/22

Today we discussed the complexities of maps and representations of geographic and spatial data. Consider these questions: How does geographic information address your group’s hypothesis, or how could information from a map lead you to a solution? What are some potential “lies” or omissions you might encounter when consulting historical maps?

We reviewed the Map Warper, a tool that allows anyone to georectify historical maps over a contemporary street grid. On Wednesday, we meet at the New York Public Library, Map Division. Enter the library at 5th Avenue & 42nd Street. Go up the large central staircase to the second floor. We meet at 1:45 SHARP in room 216. We’re meeting at the main research library, called the Schwarzman Building, at 476 Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. If you see Patience and Fortitude, you’re good!

Before Wednesday, please read About the Map Division from the NYPL website. Remember, site report #3 is due on Wednesday by the start of class.

Review of today, and readings for Monday, March 20

Today we used to visualize hypotheses and related data that support them, including primary and secondary sources. Please bring your mind maps to class on Monday — on your phone is OK. We spent some time reviewing the principles of one-point perspective drawing and practiced sketching the frame, vanishing point, and horizon line to sketch our classroom — and added windows and doors to the room. We then turned the basic sketch into a street scene.

On Monday, March 20 we’ll explore historical maps, and we’ll visit the map division of the New York Public Library on March 22. Please read the following:

Historic Maps as Historian’s Evidence (also the Mapping and Political Power section)
Making Sense of Maps (especially these sections: What is a Map? Where do I begin? Who Made this Map and Why? and How is the data Organized?)

Site report #3 is due on Wednesday, March 22 by the beginning of class (template here). A revised schedule for the rest of the semester’s class meetings can be found here and on the Syllabus page.

Brooklyn Collection and Site report #3 (due 3/22)

On Monday we visited the Brooklyn Collection at the Brooklyn Public Library to examine newspaper articles, photographs, books, historic fire insurance maps, and more. We had a quick introduction to various digitized collections that you can search from home, including city directories, historic photographs, and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. If you missed the class visit, you must visit on your own. Be sure to take photos and document primary sources you find that are relevant to your group’s hypotheses.

Site report #3 is due by the start of class on Wednesday, March 22. Download the template, save with a new filename that includes your last name, and when you’ve completed it, save as a reduced file size PDF and upload to our OpenLab course site.