October 24, 2012
National Archives and NOAA Announce Historic Navy Deck Log Digitization Partnership
Innovative project uses citizen scientists to transcribe historic Arctic weather data
Washington, DC…For the first time, the public will have free online access to historic Navy, Coast Guard and Revenue Cutter ship logs between the pre-Civil War period through World War II under a digitization project announced today by the National Archives and Records Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
As a result of this National Archives–NOAA partnership, and with the aid of citizen scientists, anyone, anywhere, with online access can glimpse a wealth of weather data and climate patterns from an age long before the Weather Channel.
In addition to weather data, these logbooks offer invaluable information on U.S. maritime history, military operations, scientific exploration, diplomacy, advances in technology, and near-hourly accounts of dramatic adventures on the high seas, including rescues and shipwrecks.
Digital images of the logbooks will be available on both the National Archives website at www.archives.gov and at www.oldweather.org. This ongoing digitization is part of the Obama-Medvedev Commission, which supports US-Russian relations through cooperation in many areas, including scientific study.
“We are happy to partner with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to bring these historic records to the public,” said David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. “As a Navy man, I find these deck logs of great interest. They are a treasure-trove of information not only for scientists, but for historians, genealogists, and the public.”
“NOAA and the National Archives are partnering with Zooniverse to unlock millions of weather, sea ice and other environmental observations,” said NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco. “Once converted into digital formats, new analysis of these data will help provide new insights into the past state of the Earth’s climate.”
Digitization projects with other government agencies and academic communities further the National Archives’ core mission — to preserve and make accessible the records of the Federal Government. Volunteer “citizen archivists” on-site and online continue to digitize thousands of Civil War widows’ pensions, transcribe 1940 census schedules to make a searchable index, and transcribe and tag documents on the National Archives website [www.archives.gov/citizen-archivist]. These projects make records available both to specialists in their fields and the general public.
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries and online at www.archives.gov.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at www.noaa.gov and join us on Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels. Contact: Linda Joy, 301-734-1165
The Old Weather citizen science project uses crowd sourcing and citizen archivists to
improve reconstructions of past weather and climate across the world by finding and recording historical weather observations in handwritten Navy ship logs. See www.oldweather.org
Zooniverse is the online host for numerous citizen scientist collaborative projects, including Old Weather.org.
The UK Met Office is the UK's national weather service and one of the world's leading providers of climate services. It supports a large number of customers in many different sectors, including civil aviation, defense and industry. It also supplies weather and climate data along with products and services to many countries throughout the world. Online at www.metoffice.gov.uk.
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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.