Schedule and Readings

Supplemental resources for most of our weekly topics.

Week 1: Aug. 26: Introductions + Historicizing Information Overload

TEXTS REFERENCED IN CLASS  (You needn’t read these, but you’re welcome to!)          

  • Clay Shirky,  “It’s Not Information Overload, It’s Filter Failure” (video) O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo NY (2008).
  • Ann Blair, “Information Overload, Then and NowThe Chronicle Review (November 28, 2010).
  • Daniel Rosenberg, “Early Modern Information Overload” Journal of the History of Ideas 64:1 (January 2003): 1-9.
  • Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel” The Garden of Forking Paths
  • J.G. Ballard, “The Index” The Paris Review 118 (Spring 1991).



Week 2: Sept. 2:  Exploring The Archives

GUEST: Kate Eichhorn, Lang Faculty Member & Author of The Archival Turn in Feminism (Shannon’s out of Town)


  • Please also visit the “Offense and Dissent” exhibition in the Sheila Johnson Design Center, 2 W 13th, before it closes on September 3. We’ll be discussing this exhibition with Radhika Subramaniam on Oct. 28.


Week 3: Sept. 9: What’s in the Archive?

FIELD TRIP: New York City Municipal Archives, w/ Ken Cobb, Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Records and Information Services
Meet at 4:00 at 31 Chambers (@ Centre). Take 4/5/6 (front of train) to Brooklyn Bridge. Please bring picture ID.
The following will help to provide some context for our tour:

We’ll discuss the following when we return to the classroom next week:

We’ll continue our discussion of archival themes – including the relationships between memory and storage, ephemerality and erasure – in our “Databases” unit, particularly when we discuss Vannevar Bush.

Week 4 Sept. 16: Who’s In the Archive?



Week 5: Sept. 23: Archival Aesthetics


  • Breakell, Introduction, “The Archival Impulse: Artists and Archives” (video) Tate Modern (November 16, 2007): search iTunes for “The Archival Impulse” + Tate –> choose Part 1 –> listen from 2:00 to 11:30
  • Susan Stewart, “Wunderkammer: An After as Before” In Ingrid Schaffner & Matthias Winzen, Eds., Deep Storage: Collecting, Storing, and Archiving in Art (New York: Prestel, 1998).
  • Hal Foster, “An Archival ImpulseOctober 110 (Fall 2004): 3-22.
  • David Joselit, “On Aggregators October 146 (Fall 2013): 3-18 [focus on 12-18].
  • Amei Wallach, “A Conversation with Ann Hamilton in Ohio American Art 22:1 (2008): 53-77.
  • Shannon Mattern, “Preservation Aesthetics,” plenary address @ “Digital Preservation 2014” conference, Library of Congress, July 2014.
  • Pamela Lee, “The Whole Earth Is Heavy Artforum (September 2013).



Week 6: Sept. 30: Ordering Media’s “Innumerable Species”[v]

PRESENTATIONS: Laura, Rachel, Nima

  • Georges Perec, “Think/Classify” In Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (New York: Penguin, 1997): 188-205.
  • Roy Boyne, “ClassificationTheory, Culture & Society 23:2-3 (2006): 21-30.
  • Alex Wright, “The Industrial Library” In Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008): 167-80.
  • Barbara Tillett, “What is FRBR?” (Library of Congress Cataloging Distribution Service, 2003).
  • Browse through the resources for Dr. Cristina Patuelli’s “Knowledge Organization” class at Pratt, and Birger Hjørland’s “Lifeboat for Knowledge Organization” – just to get a sense of what LIS students need to know!
  • David Weinberger, “Everything is Miscellaneous” (video) Google Tech Talks (May 10, 2007) [the first few minutes are a little rocky].


Week 7: Oct. 7: Libraries: From Mesopotamia to Madison Avenue

FIELD TRIP: Morgan Library, 225 Madison Ave @ 36th Street, 4-5pm

The following will prepare us for our field trip:


Week 8: Oct. 14: Idiosyncratic and Unorthodox Libraries

PRESENTATIONS: Eishin, Annie, Zack

The Warburg Library

The Prelinger Library


Week 9: Oct. 21: The Future Library

IN-CLASS SCREENING: Holmes Films, The Librarian, 1947; Alain Resnais & Chris Marker, Toute la Mémoire du Monde, 1956


Saturday, October 25, 2:30-6pm

Field trip to the Reanimation Library (534 Union Street, Brooklyn) +
Interference Archive (131 8th Street, Brooklyn)

Please, please, please, please, please come. It’ll be awesome. I promise.


Week 10: Oct. 28: Prep for Spring Semester Exhibition + Planning Final Projects

GUEST: Radhika Subramaniam, Director / Chief Curator, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center


Week 11: Nov. 4: Tabula of Relationships, Orders of Things


  • Michel Foucault, Preface to The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Vintage Books [1970]1994): xv-xxiv.
  • Muhammad Haadi, “The Evolution of DatabaseAll About Databases (October 18, 2010).

Paul Otlet

Vannevar Bush

Week 12: Nov. 11: A Database Episteme

PROJECT PROPOSALS: Everyone shares their final project ideas. Proposals are due next week.


Week 13: Nov. 18: Database Aesthetics

The following is subject to change. There are countless directions we could take our discussion on this topic, so I think we’ll wait to see how your interests evolve before nailing down our specific topics of focus. Take a look at what last year’s class discussed here.


Nov. 25: NO CLASS


Week 14: Dec. 2 – Final Class, 4-7pm: FINAL PRESENTATIONS

Please note alternate location: 79 5th Ave, 16th floor, Media Studies’ “back conference room” (room 1645)

  • Each person will have a total of 10 minutes (including set-up!) for presentation and five minutes for discussion. It’s best that you build in some “buffer” time for the inevitable snafu(s), so I’d recommend that you plan to talk for no longer than eight minutes.
  • There will be pizza. Please bring drinks and other snacks to share.


Week 15: Dec. 9: NO CLASS: Shannon’s Out of Town

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