On Tuesday we will begin with a guest lecture on social science research methods from Prof. Maura Smale, Chief Librarian and Library department chairperson at City Tech. We will also discuss the themes and topics that are emerging from your site reports and site and archive visits; these will help guide your midterm presentations. Before Tuesday’s class, please read the overviews of survey research and interview research and view a short video comparing empirical studies using qualitative and quantitative research methods.
Thursday is our class visit to the Map Division of the New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. We will meet at 3pm in front of the Map Room, room 117. Please come prepared to study, sketch, document, and take notes about historical maps with pencils/sketchbooks, your charged cellphone, and a printed copy of the site report #2 template. Patience and Fortitude are the lions who have flanked the entrance to the Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library since 1911. Their names are good attributes to bring with you when embarking on research in special collections and archives.
Fortitude, guarding the NYPL entrance. By User:PFHLai – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link
In class today we discussed last week’s site visit, reviewed the site report template, and discussed your blog posts in response to the essay Due North and observing while walking in the city.
To get a taste of archival research, we viewed NYC tax photos of familiar buildings (maybe even your apartment building) from the 1940s and 1980s, and used NYCityMap to look up block and lot info to facilitate searching. Field research visits in March will be all about searching for, finding, and using primary sources and other materials from archives and special collections.
On Thursday, we’ll embark on site visit #2, leaving from our classroom promptly at 2:30, so do not be late. Site report #1 is due on Thursday, February 28, posted to the OpenLab.
Today we recorded our observations of the classroom and library, learned about blind contour drawing and one-point perspective, and sketched interior spaces in the City Tech library. We also reviewed the site report template. Become very familiar with it in advance of our first site visit, next Thursday, February 14. We will depart from our usual classroom promptly at 2:30 so please be on time. Bring your phone (charged and ready to take photos), a sketchbook or notebook and pens/pencils to document, take notes, and sketch.
For next Thursday, February 14, please read the essay Due North by Garnette Cadogan and post a 100-word reflection. Cadogan writes of his observations walking between two boroughs and his serendipitous encounters with others as a New York City pedestrian. The next time you walk from one place to another, even if it is simply between transit and your home consider these questions: What city walking experiences do you have in common with the writer? What in your experience is different from what he wrote about? What do you think of the power of serendipity to “expose our commonalities,” as he puts it?