Project Phaedra: Preserving Harvard's Early Data and Research in Astronomy

Posted by digitalfutures
Digital Futures Discovery Series, Events

October 4, 2017
11:45am - 12:45pm
Discovery Bar @ Cabot Science Library, Harvard Science Center

Please join us for the second event in the Digital Futures Discovery Series, a year-long program led by Harvard's Digital Futures Consortium that explores the ongoing transformation of scholarship through innovative technology. Daina Bouquin will discuss Project Phaedra: Preserving Harvard's Early Data and Research in Astronomy.

Material originally produced during 19th and early 20th century by researchers at the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) was recently re-discovered in the HCO Astronomical Plate Stacks collection. This material helps represent the history of the HCO and acts as an irreplaceable primary source on the evolution of observation methods and astronomy as a science.

The material is also relevant to the history of women in science as the collection contains logbooks and notebooks produced by the Harvard Computers, women who have come back into the spotlight due to the recent release of books like "The Glass Universe," "Rise of the Rocket Girls," and movies like "Hidden Figures".

To ensure that this remarkable set of items is as accessible and useful as possible Wolbach Library, in collaboration with many partners, is working to catalog, digitize, and preserve the entire collection. And here's where you can help! The material also needs to be transcribed by volunteers through the Smithsonian Transcription Center in DC. This will allow the collection to be full-text searchable in the NASA Astrophysics Data System and for the notebooks to be linked to their original source material: 500,000 glass plate photographs representing the first ever picture of the visible universe.

More info:
Project PHaEDRA
Smithsonian Transcription Center PHaEDRA notebooks
PHaEDRA Finding Aid on OASIS
SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System
Harvard College Observatory Plate Stacks
PHaEDRA on Twitter
PHaEDRA on Instagram

Following the presentation, please join us in sharing your ideas and questions. We look forward to meeting you.

Daina Bouquin is the Head Librarian of Wolbach Library at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. At the CfA, Daina's work focuses primarily on lowering social and technical barriers that impact the astronomy community’s ability to create and share new knowledge. Some of her specific topics of interest include open science, research software preservation, data visualization, machine learning, and the history of science.

Digital Futures Consortium

  • Digital Futures Consortium

A GitHub Pages port of