Latest News (September 2010): The Project has now closed and the interface has been released to the general public.
This project (formerly known as 'Digitising data for disparate communities: Naval history and climate science') will publish images of royal navy logbooks from 1914 to 1923, and allow the general public to transcribe the meteorological data included within them. The resultant data will be invaluable evidence for those studying climate change.
Digitising data invariably provides opportunities for a wealth of communities to make use of new resources. Making the most of such data sets necessitates working closely with each community to ensure that their requirements are met, but this task is made harder when the potential users are from different fields, or when they include both academics and the general public.
A particularly rich example lies in naval records; while of obvious interest to naval historians, both professional and amateur, these logs have recently been recognised by meteorologists and climate scientists as the ideal source of historical records.
We propose to develop a tool to allow citizen scientists to participate in the digitization of a unique data set from World War I Royal Naval ships, bringing together our existing community of volunteers with climate scientists from the Met Office and beyond and with the team behind the popular Naval-History.net and their counterparts at the National Maritime Museum.
By bringing together these disparate groups, we will thus not only produce new observations of historical climate for the period around the First World War, enriching and expanding the online availability of the historical records of the Royal Navy, but will produce the tools needed for a future worldwide effort. This project will expand the reach of our Zooniverse network of citizen science projects to new areas of science, and to new communities.