How can I help with the project?

Support Project PHaEDRA by joining our Transcription Project!

Why transcribe these journals?

Transcription allows for:
  • Greater accessibility and readability of handwritten documents
  • Preservation of historical records for future use
  • More extensive research in the sciences and humanities
  • Machine-readability, and the ability to conduct full-text searches
The PHaEDRA logbooks and observational journals are valuable primary sources and traces of women's history in science. The work that these women contributed to the Harvard College Observatory changed the course of astronomical research, and we feel it is important to provide complete access to their work. We hope digitization and transcription will help preserve the hard work of all the Harvard Computers, and give them recognition for their accomplishments, earning a place in history and science.

Can I still transcribe if I know little about astronomy?

Of course! Every bit helps, and if you'd like to explore further concepts in astronomy, check out this amateur astronomy guide to get started. The transcription guide will give you the basics needed to make accurate transcriptions of what's recorded in the logbooks. In addition, our glossary can help if you come across unfamiliar terms.

Where can I find more information on the Harvard Computers?

Find more information on the history of the Harvard College Observatory and the work of the Harvard Computers on this page. You may also be interested in our index of historical figures, which introduces the Harvard Computers and other significant historical figures from Project PHaEDRA.

What other digitization projects are you working on?

A large-scale digitization project is underway at the Harvard College Observatory in the Astronomical Photographic Plate Collection (Plate Stacks). DASCH (Digital Access to a Sky Century @ Harvard) aims to scan the majority of the Astronomical Photographic Plate Collection's 500,000 glass plate negatives and produce full photometry results for the entire sky. Learn more here!

What is physically happening to the Project PHaEDRA collection?

Wolbach Library is working in consultation with Harvard's Weissman Preservation Center, and with generous support from the Smithsonian Women's Commitee, to rehouse and physically conserve the integrity of the PHaEDRA collection. The collection is securely stored at the Harvard Depository in a climate controlled setting.