Transcription Project

We've teamed up with the Smithsonian Transcription Center to transcribe many of our historical logbooks. These handwritten books hold the metadata for photographic plates between 1881-1992. From South Africa to Peru, observers employed by Harvard recorded what they saw through their telescopes as they captured the night sky on glass plate negatives then shipped the plates together with their logbooks back to Cambridge, Massachusetts. The information preserved in these logbooks makes astronomical research and projects like Digitizing a Sky Century at Harvard (DASCH) possible. 

Introducing, Project PHAEDRA! The John G. Wolbach Library has joined the team. We're working to digitize and transcribe notebooks from some of Harvard College Observatory's most famous women computers, including Henrietta Leavitt and Annie Jump Cannon. Upcoming projects include more of the Harvard College Observatory's historical work.

Interested in transcribing for the Astronomical Photographic Plate Collection or any of the Smithsonian's affiliates? We can always use volunteers and you can help from your home computer! Check out our projects and sign up to help here: Smithsonian Transcription Center