Mid-Semester Project

You have a choice for your mid-semester project: Institutional Critique or Artist Profile.

Both projects are due by the beginning of class on March 29. You must either submit your work via Google Docs (see below for instructions), or send me a link to your work online. Your mid-semester project is worth 20% of your final grade.

Institutional Critique

Over the course of the semester we’ll take a few field trips to local libraries and archives – but there are dozens (nay, hundreds!) of fantastic local institutions that you can visit on your own. Choose one site (I’ll keep a list of recommendations on our website, but you’re welcome to go “off-list” as long as you discuss your plans with me before proceeding) that exemplifies either consonance or dissonance among its institutional mission, its physical space, its collection, and its use by staff and patrons. Examine how the physical space supports, or fails to support, the institution’s core information provision and public service functions. You’re encouraged to address theories and issues we’ve read about and discussed in class and on our field trips.

You might pretend to take on the role of (1) an architectural critic who also happens to be well versed in media studies and library/archival science (or a media critic who knows something about architecture…or whatever); or (2) a consultant who’s been commissioned by the institution to write a report on the condition of its facilities.

Your 2000- to 2500-word critique can take the form of a traditional typewritten paper (double-spaced, and submitted via Google Docs; see below for instructions) or a website. Please include support media (e.g., images, video, audio, etc.) and provide proper citations. You’re welcome to experiment with formatting and design.

Artist Profile

Throughout the semester we’ll be studying various artists who work with library or archival materials, who take the library and/or archive as their subjects, or who play with practices of collection or classification. You’re encouraged to study the work of an artist or designer we haven’t focused on in class – perhaps someone mentioned in one of our readings – and to discuss his or her work in light of the theories and issues raised in our readings, field trips, and discussions. I’ll keep a list of relevant artists on our class website, but you’re welcome to go “off list” as long as you consult with me before you proceed.

Your 2000- to 2500-word critique can take the form of a traditional typewritten paper (double-spaced, and submitted via Google Docs; see below for instructions) or a website. Please include support media (e.g., images, video, audio, etc.) and provide proper citations.


Reading Response

**Presentation Schedule Here**

Each student will present one reading response. Here’s the trick: you’ll be presenting your response in Pecha Kucha format. Why? Because I’ve discovered, after experiencing 10+ years’ worth of student presentations, that Pecha Kuchas are especially effective in ensuring that we all keep our presentations succinct and exciting. See Olivia Mitchell’s “Five Presentation Tips for Pecha Kucha or Ignite PresentationSpeaking About Presenting [blog post], and check out some videos of sample Ignite presentations. As you’ll see, Pecha Kuchas typically involve presentations consisting of 20 slides, with 20 seconds dedicated to each. In the interest of time, we’re going to limit our presentations to 12 slides at 20 seconds each, for a total of four minutes.

Here’s what you need to do: Prepare a 12-slide, automatically advancing (timed) presentation that (1) briefly identifies a few of the major themes that connect the week’s readings, and then, drawing on those themes, (2) focuses on one, two, or three specific themes or topics that you find particularly interesting, and that you’d like us to explore further during our class discussion. You’re welcome to incorporate audio and video clips – as long as they’re limited to 20-second bites.

Yes, it’s reductive. But who cares? These presentations are intended simply to give you an opportunity to quickly and creatively reflect on the readings – and to serve as an exciting conversation kick-starter for the rest of us.

You will not be graded. You’ll either get full credit for doing it, or no credit for not doing it. Your presentation is worth 10% of your final grade.


Final Project Proposal

See below for more on the format of the final project. You should begin thinking about potential topics early in the semester. Before our class on April 12 (you needn’t wait until April 12; you can submit any time before then!) I’d like for you to submit via Google Docs a formal 600- to 900-word project proposal. This proposal must include (1) a problem statement, research question, or project description; (2) a discussion of your topic’s relevance to our class and its significance and/or timeliness (in other words, why is it worth exploring, and why now?); (3) a discussion of your proposed research methodology or production plan; and (4) a tentative bibliography containing at least ten sources, half of which must be scholarly sources. Please be expected to share your proposal in-class sometime during the following weeks. You’ll have an opportunity to revise and resubmit the proposal if necessary. Your proposal is worth 10% of your final grade.


Final Project

This research-based project can take the form of a 4,500- to 6,000-word paper, either typewritten (to be submitted via Google Docs) or presented in an online format, or a theoretically-rooted creative project (of a scope that’s appropriate for a final project) with a 600- to 900-word accompanying text. Regardless of the format of your final project, its relevance to our course material must be apparent, and you must properly cite all resources. Final projects are due at the beginning of class on May 3, and everyone will present their work either that week or the following week. The project and the presentation together constitute 40% of your final grade.

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