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THE ROCHESTER LABOR HISTORY eMAP

 

On May 1, 2009 the Rochester Labor History eMAP is published on this web site as an updated and more accessible version of the print Map/Guide.

 

Key features of the eMAP include:

  • A complete list of sites, color-coded by category
  • Site-specific texts
  • Site-specific images, which can be enlarged
  • A zoom function to make the sites easy to locate
  • GPS information showing the site in real-time
  • Capacity for periodic updating
  • A way for users to suggest modifications

 

Go to the eMAP »

While the copies of the original print version are still available by contacting info@rochesterlabor.org, the eMAP addresses several caveats listed in the print publication:

  • Completeness: Apart from the inherent incompleteness of any such publication, page limitations prevented much information from being included in the original Map/Guide. While users were encouraged to identify, research and add other sites to their own tours and to share such additions with the authors, there was no practical way for such additions to be incorporated on an ongoing basis. In contrast, eMAP users can suggest additional material directly to the authors who will periodically update the publication.
  • Accuracy: Information from many sources — some of it incorrect, conflicting, or inconclusive — led to inaccuracies in the original text. Author errors compounded them. Again, while there was no mechanism short of reprinting the original to correct such errors, the eMAP enables users to draw attention to and remove inaccurate text.
  • Location: As each map in the print publication was hand-drawn, the location of each site was necessarily approximate. Site location for the eMAP, however, is computer-generated through a GPS google map function and is therefore more precise.
  • Timeliness: The eMAP encourages modifications required by real-world changes, such as changes to institutions (e.g. the Douglass Museum, which had just opened in 2000 but closed within a year) and organizations (such as Metro Justice, which relocated its office).
  • Images: While space and budget limitations made it impractical to include more than a few images in the original print publication, the eMAP contains a large number of images, to which users can suggest additions.
  • Accessibility: Several advantages over the original print publication make the eMAP more available to users, including students and union members: it can be accessed anywhere and at any time; information on it can be downloaded, copied, or printed; access to it is open and free.

As historian James Loewen noted in Lies Across America (NY, 1999), “what a community erects on its historical landscape not only sums up its view of the past but also influences its possible futures.” Prior to publication of the original Map/Guide, Rochester’s historical landscape was notably devoid of traces of workers’ lives, struggles and contributions. With its publication, Rochester joined a growing number of American cities seeking to discover and commemorate the history of their workers.

The authors, Linda H. Donahue and Jonathan Garlock, hope that by restoring labor to Rochester’s historical landscape, the Rochester Labor History eMAP may influence our community’s possible futures.

Acknowledgements: production and publication of the eMAP was made possible with the assistance of DaysWork, for web design; the Ronald G. Pettengill Labor Education Fund and a Legislative Initiative grant through the New York State Department of Education; and cited image sources including, especially, Monroe County’s digital archive of historical images.

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