Old Weather

Old Weather invites volunteers to help scientists transcribe ship logs from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

I recommend starting with the video on the main page where scientists explain how they are using the historic logs transcribed by volunteers to help perfect the science of today. It runs just under a minute so it won’t take long to watch.

From what I’ve ascertained it looks like the Old Weather: Arctic is complete, so you’ll want to dive into the Old Weather: Whaling to get started with the transcription process. Once you get to that section you can select either to Start Marking or Start Transcribing.

Marking is used to identify specific data – the date, location, and what kind of sea ice might have been around the ship that day. Just follow the prompts and skip any data that has already been marked.

Transcribe lets you type in the information that has been previously marked.

You can choose to both at the same time if you’d like. I love that the process is self-guided. The application will have you look at a page of a ship’s log and then ask you a series of questions. After each Yes or No answer, you’ll click Next to move forward.

On the Old Weather: Whaling page, you also have the option to pick logs from specific ships. When you mouse over their tile card, you’ll see options for Mark, Transcribe, and More Info. The More Info option shows you how much of the marking and transcription is complete for that entry.

This is a cool look into the past! Are you ready to volunteer?



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