class projects

Doing Things with Novels: Final Project (aka Catalogers as Authors, Metadata as Annotation or how Jenna and Lauren used ZineCat to write a paper using catalog records)

Two cats, Lightning Butt and Grampy Doodle, preparing for the St. Pete Zine Fest by sleeping on top of open notebooks and half-made zines.

Jenna and Lauren have come to the end of another semester at the Graduate Center and have had another opportunity to investigate the importance and purpose of the Zine Union Catalog, this time from a textual studies perspective.  For this semester, they both took a course called Doing Things with Novels where they created an audiobook, an annotated digital edition using and played a novel (Nella Larsen’s Passing) using a literary role playing game: Ivanhoe.  One could also say they are doing things with Digital Humanities.  

It wouldn’t be a complete experience for them if they did not use use the tools and theories they’re learning and discussing to look at ZineCat.  So, what they did this time around is to grapple with big questions regarding metadata and the role catalogers/librarians/archivists play in creating metadata.  As many of you may know, metadata is a big part of what is going to make the Zine Union Catalog so awesome, but what you may not know is that Jenna and Lauren haven’t quite figured out all the answers to the big questions regarding zine metadata!  We’re getting closer…

The project is called: Catalogers as Authors, Metadata as Annotation.  They worked a lot this semester with authors and annotation, so they tried to keep with the theme.  They’re not sure if they did strictly adhere to literary analysis or if they really explained how catalogers are authors and metadata can be equated to annotation, but they had a lot of fun creating metadata and working in Collective Access, and as always: working together.  What you will find in the Zine Union Catalog now is a set of catalog records for a collection called: Doing Things with Novels Final Project.  The types of records fall into the following categories that are essentially different parts of our project (or could be interpreted as different sections of our “paper” listed alphabetically and not necessarily in order of how you should read through the project):

  • The Acknowledgements
  • Annotated Citations
  • Comparative Analysis (Jenna looked closely at the same zine record that is described by six different collections within ZineCat while Lauren looked closely at the collections).  This entry is related to the Record Readings.
  • Conclusions
  • Introduction – Content
  • Introduction – Methodology
  • Project Description
  • Record Reading (analysis of each zine and contributing collection).
  • Reflection – General
  • Works Considered (Bibliography)

Jenna and Lauren worked together, but not together on this project.  They had in person meetings before and after class, and collaborated on a google doc, while also posting and receiving comments on the course blog and via email.  They’ve also started to comment on each others entries within ZineCat and encourage visitors to leave comments too (account required to add them to ZineCat and can be arranged by sending an email request) or to email or tweet directly at them: or @zinecat.  They’ll continue to comment on each other’s work. They’re both really busy with work and school and their schedules don’t always coordinate so well to work in person on the same days, or even in the same city. Nevertheless, they both have contributed to this project collaboratively with the great help of a Collective Access fairy (CAf) that Jenna gives a great acknowledgment to in her Acknowledgements entry in ZineCat (you should read it!).  

They suggest that you start here within the collection after you’ve familiarized yourself with the assignment description, then go here for an overview of how the project evolved, and end up with the conclusions and reflections catalog records after you’ve navigated through annotations and close readings of records and collections.  It’s possible you’ll follow that, but it’s also possible you’ll make your own way through the collection (alphabetically, by person, by collection, or by term which means the genre of the type of entry–see list above) or just search and browse; however you navigate through is just fine since everyone comes at information seeking a little differently!  If you want to just see all the content related to this project, click here.

Thanks for reading.  With Warmth and Respect.

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