PHaEDRA: Preserving Harvard's Early Data and Research in Astronomy

Get Involved with Project PHaEDRA!

Help bring the research notebooks of Harvard's early astronomers and women computers to light by participating in our transcription project.

Follow us @ProjectPHaEDRA on Twitter and Instagram for updates and information!

Project Phaedra header image of Jupiter


Notebooks originally created during 19th and early 20th century by researchers at the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) were recently re-discovered in the HCO Astronomical Plate Stacks holdings and incorporated into Wolbach Library's collections. This material helps represent the history of the HCO and acts as an irreplaceable primary source on the evolution of observation methods and astronomy as a science. The material is also relevant to the history of women in science as the collection contains logbooks and notebooks produced by the Harvard Computers, women who have come back into the spotlight due to the recent release of books like "The Glass Universe," "Rise of the Rocket Girls," and movies like "Hidden Figures".

To ensure that this remarkable set of items is as accessible and useful as possible Wolbach Library, in collaboration with many partners, is working to catalog, digitize, and preserve the entire collection. And here's where you can help! The material needs to be transcribed by volunteers through the Smithsonian Transcription Center in DC. This will allow the collection to be full-text searchable in the NASA Astrophysics Data System and for the notebooks to be linked to their original source material: 500,000 glass plate photographs representing the first ever picture of the visible universe. The plates are currently being digitized through the DASCH Project

image of handwriting from HCO logbooks

Check out the Project PHaEDRA notebooks ADS already has online

You can also see the full Project PHaEDRA finding aid on OASIS.

box of HCO logbooks  

Get Involved

Log into the Smithsonian Transcription Center and help us transcribe these logbooks!

News & Updates

For more in-depth information about Project PHaEDRA read our blog.

Want to be the first to hear about the latest PHaEDRA news?  Join our mailing list.

Twitter: @ProjectPHaEDRA

Instagram: @ProjectPHaEDRA


Smithsonian Institution Transcription Center Harvard College Observatory Plate Stacks
Harvard Library Digitization Services SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System
Harvard University Archives