Project PHaEDRA

PHaEDRA Logo with colorful Hubble image background


Project PHaEDRA is an initiative by the Wolbach Library, in collaboration with many partners, to catalog, digitize, transcribe, and enrich the metadata of over 2500 logbooks and notebooks produced by the Harvard Computers and early Harvard astronomers. Our goal is to ensure that this remarkable set of items, created by a remarkable group of people, is as accessible and useful as possible.

You can help by transcribing! Every little bit matters!


We are working with the Smithsonian Transcription Center to transcribe the PHaEDRA collection. The transcription markup will allow the collection to be full-text searchable on the NASA Astrophysics Data System, and for the notebooks to eventually be linked to their original source material: 500,000 glass plate photographs representing the first ever picture of the visible universe. These glass plate photos are currently being digitized through a project called DASCH: Digital Access to a Sky Century at Harvard. DASCH will enable scientists to produce full photometry results for the entire sky from over 100 years of observations. This will allow researchers in Time Domain Astrophysics to better understand how the Universe is evolving. 

The Project PHaEDRA collection represents the groundbreaking work of the Harvard Computers and other early astronomers. These notebooks can now also act as an achor to connect modern science with historical data and these scientists' legacy

Project PHaEDRA has been generously supported by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.