The history the HCO is coming together before our eyes. With the many different catalogues of the PHAEDRA items that were composed over the past 40 years, we have been hard at work to find any books missing from our collection. Already, we recovered one orphan notebook from Widener Library’s holdings at Harvard Depository, and we are searching our hardest throughout Harvard’s libraries for the final few still lost.
As the project speeds along, we are beginning to see some ends to which these astronomical records and databooks could be put. After we have digitized and indexed these 2000+ notebooks, we will need to transcribe the text from the images into searchable documents, establish a solid historical context for this work, and determine any new scientific uses for these reams and reams of data.
With so much to do, we need your help. If you are an astronomer, a historian, a handwriting specialist, or just interested in helping the project along, please subscribe to our mailing list. We will send out project updates, and more information for you to get involved as it arises.
As a library situated in between the academic rigor of Harvard University and the open knowledge of the Smithsonian Institution, we are interested in making PHAEDRA a project of citizen science. With the involvement of as broad of a community as possible, we can best explore the nuances of all this information, identify the most important data, and apply it towards new and relevant ends.
Thank you for your interest in the project, and we are excited to see where we can take this!