Archive by Author | oldWeather Team

Archives Update: 300,000 pages and Counting

As the year 2013 comes to a close, we at the U.S. National Archives (NARA) are pleased to announce that we have just finished imaging 300,000 pages of historic Navy deck logs and logs of the U.S. Revenue Cutter and Coast Guard vessels since the start of the NARA/NOAA collaboration in the summer of 2012. Thus we have surpassed our initial pilot project objective to digitize an estimated 250,000 logbook pages of U.S. vessels that sailed the Alaska-Arctic region. The collaborative effort among NOAA, NARA, and Old Weather was prominently featured in the September, 2013 issue of the Discover magazine.

We are a crew of three here at the Archives. At the helm is Mark Mollan, Navy/Maritime Reference Archivist, who is expertly guiding us through a sea of logbooks in various conditions and formats. Gina Kim Perry, who came onboard six months ago, is manning the station at the Digital Imaging Center at Archives 1 in Washington, DC. Our newest member is Helen MacDiarmid, who recently joined us to work at the imaging station at Archives 2 in College Park, Maryland.

Our overarching goal is to provide the best possible images for use by citizen scientist transcribers at the Old Weather project and for the general public at the NARA website. To that end, we have improved our workflow, and with expected equipment upgrades in the coming year, we hope to become even more efficient. In addition, with the start of the new year, Gina and Helen look forward to spending some of their time on outreach and education activities, with their initial focus on getting more people involved as citizen scientist transcribers for Old Weather.

If any citizen scientists will be visiting the Washington, DC, area, please look us up. We would love to meet you.

Until next time,
Gina at Archives 1

Remember the Royal Navy

The naval history side of Old Weather is making tremendous progress. Our original set of logs covered Royal Navy warships and auxiliaries of the World War 1 era, a total of 317 ships of all types. We completed the transcription of these last year, but a dedicated group of volunteer editors are developing our transcriptions into full ship histories. Of these, 264 are formatted and online, 115 have been edited and a further 30 are being edited, which means we are close to editing 50 percent of the total. Bear in mind that some of the files are up to 4Mb in size, over 400 pages, and you will realise how much effort the editors are putting in, and of a standard that to my mind is simply professional.

Another way of looking at the scale of our work on the WW1 RN logs, is that of all the major British warships and auxiliaries – capital ships, cruisers, aircraft carriers, monitors, armed merchant cruisers – that served outside British waters from 1914 to 1918, the logs cover some 70 percent of movements.

Normally the RN ships are listed by name or by type, but the following list – still in preparation, gives some idea of just how much of World War 1 at sea outside British waters is covered including major campaigns, battles and actions, as well as the run up to War and after the armistice.

To my mind, of particular importance are the China Station ships (I imagine of great interest to modern Chinese historians), the patrols of the many armed merchant cruisers and their subsequent convoy escort duties in the WW1 equivalent of the 1939-45 Battle of the Atlantic, and the ships taking part in the various interventions against the Russian Bolsheviks in North Russia, the Baltic, Black Sea and Siberia in 1918-19.

Gordon


Pre-World War 1


British Isles waters,
English Channel Fleet


Canopus, Crescent

West and Central
Atlantic


Cornwall. Hermione

Cape Station


Astraea

South America


Glasgow

Mediterranean


Blenheim, Cornwall, Vindictive (1), Weymouth

East Indies Station,
including Persian Gulf


Dartmouth, Fox

China Station


Bramble, Cadmus, Kennet, Merlin (1), Otter, Ribble, Rosario, Thistle (1), Usk, Welland, Yarmouth

Pacific


Pyramus, Psyche, Sealark

Delivery of Australian
submarines AE.1 and 2 to Australia


Eclipse, Sydney (RAN)


World War 1


BRITISH HOME WATERS and NORTH SEA

Grand Fleet, including
Harwich Force, North Sea sweeps, Norwegian convoys, shake-down cruises etc


Acacia, Achilles, Albemarle, Canterbury, Commonwealth, Devonshire, Inconstant, Invincible, Leviathan, Phaeton, Princess Royal, Renown, Warrior (1), Weymouth, Yarmouth

Battle of Heligoland
Bight, 28 Aug 1914


Invincible

Battle of Dogger Bank,
24 Jan 1915


Princess Royal

10th Cruiser Squadron,
Northern Patrol, old cruisers


Crescent,

10th CS, Armed Merchant
Cruisers


Alcantara, Almanzora, Alsatian, Andes, Arlanza, Artois, Avenger, Changuinola, Columbella, Dryad, India, Kildonan Castle, Mantua, Motagua, Orcoma, Orotava, Orvieto, Otway, Patuca, Patia, Teutonic, Victorian, Virginian; believed to include trawler Tenby Castle

11th CS, Irish waters


Minerva, Venus

British waters,
including Dover Patrol (German destroyer raid), Auxiliary Patrol, convoy
escort, guardship


Amazon, Atalanta, Attack, Attentive, Jupiter, Parramatta, Sapphire, Tenby Castle, Thistle (2)

Zeebrugge Raid


Attentive

Minelaying, British
waters


Orvieto

Kite Balloon ship
operations


Patuca

Single ship action v
Leopard 1917


Achilles,


ARCTIC

Arctic/North Russia


Acacia, Albemarle, Arlanza, Attentive, Cochrane, Cockchafer, Glory, Jupiter, Teutonic, Vindictive (1)


NORTH AMERICA and ATLANTIC

North America &
West Indies Station


Achilles, Antrim, Bristol, Cochrane, Cumberland, Devonshire, Drake, Glory, Leviathan, Laurentic, Princess Royal, Warrior (2) (during flu epidemic), Weymouth

North Atlantic convoys
(1917-18)


Achilles, Almanzora, Alsatian, Andes, Antrim, Arlanza, Artois, Bayano, Carrigan Head, Cochrane, Columbella, Cornwall, Coronado, Cumberland, Devonshire, Drake, Kildonan Castle, Knight Templar, Lepanto, Leviathan, Naneric, Orama, Orcoma, Orvieto, Otranto, Patuca, Teutonic, Victorian, Virginian

Halifax explosion, 6
Dec 1917


Highflyer, Knight Templar,

Central and
Mid-Atlantic patrols, later convoy escort, incl Canaries, Cape Verdes, Sierra
Leone


Almanzora, Argonaut, Avenger, Britannia, Canopus, Celtic, Cornwall, Empress of Britain, Kent, Kildonan Castle, Mantua, Marmora, Minerva, Motagua, Ophir, Orama, Orotava, Otranto, Patia, Victorian

West Coast of Africa,
incl. German Cameroons campaign


Astraea, Laurentic, Rinaldo, Thistle (1)

SE coast of America
Station, incl. South Atlantic patrols and later, convoy escort


Africa, Bristol, Britannia, Canopus, Celtic, Dartmouth, Kent, Orama, Orvieto, Otranto, Vindictive (1)

German South West
Africa campaign


Astraea,

Battle of the
Falklands, 8 Dec 1914


Bristol, (Canopus), Carnarvon, Cornwall, Glasgow, Inflexible, Invincible, Kent, Macedonia


MEDITERRANEAN

Mediterranean, incl.
convoy escort


Acacia, Africa, Bacchus, Blenheim, Bristol, Empress, Exmouth, Euryalus, Glory, Jupiter, Kennet, Mantis, Minerva, Raven II, Ribble, Sapphire, Usk, Welland, Wonganella

Adriatic Force and
Italian Fleet


Bristol, Britannia, Sapphire

Aegean, incl
Dardanelles and Gallipoli


Albion, Amethyst, Ark Royal, Bacchus, Ben-My-Chree, Blenheim, Canopus, Colne, Chatham, Dartmouth, Empress, Euryalus, Glory, Goliath, Grafton, Hibernia, Implacable, Inflexible, Jed, Kennet, Minerva, Phaeton, Pyramus, Ribble, Sapphire, Usk, Vengeance, Welland

Egyptian waters


Empress, Venus

Defence of Suez Canal,
to 4 Feb


Clio, Himalaya, Minerva, Proserpine, Swiftsure


EAST INDIES STATION

East Indies Station,
incl Palestine campaign, Persian Gulf , German East Africa campaign, Indian
Ocean escort


Aphis, Astraea, Ben-My-Chree, Bramble, Cadmus, Cornwall, Dartmouth, Enterprise, Exmouth, Euryalus, Fox, Jupiter, Kent, Laurentic, Manica, Mantis, Mersey, Minerva, Northbrook, Odin, Ophir, Pyramus, Raven II, Rinaldo, Sapphire, Severn, Thistle (1), Trent, Venus, Weymouth,

Single ship action v
Königsberg


Mersey, Severn

Mesopotamian Campaign


Mantis, Odin,


CHINA STATION and PACIFIC

China Station


Bee, Cadmus, Cornwall, Euryalus, Kennet, Kinsha, Laurentic, Ophir, Otter, Rosario, TB.37, Teal,, Thistle (1), Usk, Venus, Virago, Welland, Whiting, Woodcock, Woodlark

Pacific, incl SW
Pacific and coast of Americas


Algerine, Kent, Ophir, Orama, Otranto, Pyramus, Una (RAN)

Battle of Coronel


Glasgow, Otranto


MISCELLANEOUS CATEGORIES

Major ship damage or
sinking reported in logs


Albemarle, Knight Templar, Motagua, Orama

Logs covering most or
all World War 1 Service


Ark Royal, Bayano, Bramble, Carrigan Head, Coronado, Knight Templar,





post-War

Repatriating POWs


Trent

British Isles waters or
in dock


Calliope, Caradoc, Erebus, Foyle, Weymouth, Yarmouth

Russian Intervention:



North Russian
Expeditionary Force


Bacchus, Cicala, Cockchafer, Cricket, Erebus, Glowworm, M.23, M.24, M.25, M.31, M.33, Mantis

Baltic Sea


Calypso, Caradoc, Dauntless, Delhi, Dragon, Empress, Erebus, Fortol, Vindictive (2)

Black Sea


Ark Royal, Canterbury, M.29,

Siberia


Kent,

Rumania/Danube River


Aphis, Severn

Atlantic Fleet


Barham, Coventry, Delhi, Dragon, Malaya, Valiant, Warspite

North America &
West Indies Station


Calcutta (including assistance to wrecked cruiser
Raleigh),
Cornwall, Dauntless, Fortol, Mutine

South America Station


Bristol, Dartmouth, Petersfield, Southampton

West Africa


Astraea, Thistle (1)

African Station


Birmingham, Dublin, Lowestoft

Mediterranean,
including Aegean


Canterbury, Merlin (1)

Somaliland Campaign


Ark Royal

East Indies Station,
incl Persian Gulf


Ark Royal, Bramble, Cairo, Caroline, Iroquois, Mantis, Merlin (1), Moth, Odin, Rapidol, Yarmouth

China Station, incl
Yangste River


Alacrity, Bee, Cadmus, Cairo, Carlisle, Cicala, Cockchafer, Cricket, Diomede, Hawkins, Hollyhock, Iroquois, Kent, Kinsha, Magnolia, Mantis, Merlin (1), Moth, Petersfield, Scarab, Tarantula, Teal, Titania, Virago, Whiting, Woodcock, Woodlark

Pacific


Una (RAN)

Round-the-World Tours
(or in part) or Voyages


Malaya, New Zealand, Renown, Temeraire (as training ship), Warrego (RAN)

Learning from our experience

Most of the oldWeather science team are weather scientists or historians, but not all. This post is by Charlene Jennett, Alexandra Eveleigh and Laure Kloetzer. We are social scientists and we are trying to find out what makes a good citizen science project – who better to ask than the oldWeather participants?

About a year ago we asked the participants in oldWeather for a different sort of help: We asked you to tell us what it was like to participate in the project, by filling in an online survey. And we followed that up with several interviews with Old Weather volunteers. It has been fascinating to learn about your experiences of volunteering and we were so happy that so many of you responded – we received 545 survey responses and interviewed 16 volunteers in total. Since conducting this research we have been very busy analyzing all of the data and recently we have started to present some of our findings at conferences. In this blog post we wanted to share with you some of our findings and say thank you again for all of your help – we could not have done it without you!

Creativity in Citizen Cyberscience: All for One and One for All

On Wednesday 1st May 2013, the ACM Web Science conference (in Paris, France) held a workshop called ‘Creativity and Attention in the Age of the Web.’ During the workshop Charlene presented some of our initial findings, discussing what does it mean for volunteers to be ‘creative’ in citizen cyberscience? These findings were based on our interviews with Old Weather and several other projects – Galaxy Zoo, Transcribe Bentham, Bat Detective and Noise-Map.

In her presentation Charlene discussed two kinds of creativity:

  1. Creativity as Imaginative Self-Expression – When asked to give an example of creativity, several participants described instances where volunteers contributed artwork and humour to the project forums. These contributions were viewed as creative because they were imaginative and served as interesting discussion points for the project communities.
  2. Creativity as Solving Project Problems – Other examples that participants gave of creativity involved problem-solving. Several participants described instances where volunteers took it upon themselves to suggest ideas or create content in order to solve problems experienced by project members.

One of our conclusions is that a good project community is important for encouraging creativity in citizen science. You can see more in the full paper.

Learning by volunteer computing, thinking and gaming: What and how are volunteers learning by participating in Virtual Citizen Science?

On Friday 6th September 2013, the ESREA conference (in Berlin, Germany) held a session on ‘Learning with ICT.’ During this session our colleagues Laure Kloetzer and Daniel Schneider from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) gave a presentation about what volunteers learn by participating in virtual citizen science projects. These findings were based on UCL’s interviews with Old Weather volunteers, and Laure’s interviews with BOINC and Eyewire volunteers.

In their presentation Laure and Daniel discussed six kinds of learning:

  1. Task/game mechanics – e.g. commands of the interface, rules and concepts of the game.
  2. Pattern recognition – looking repeatedly at the data you get a sense of what is meaningful.
  3. On-topic learning – e.g. content knowledge related to weather and naval history.
  4. Scientific process – understanding what science does and how it works.
  5. Off-topic knowledge and skills – e.g. communication skills, computer literacy.
  6. Personal development – e.g. expanding your interests, extending your social network.

One of our conclusions is that most of the learning that happens in citizen science projects tends to be informal, unstructured and social.

“I want to be a Captain! I want to be a Captain!” Gamification in the Old Weather Citizen Science Project

On Friday 4th October 2013, the Gamification conference (in Stratford, Canada) held a session on ‘Education’. During this session Charlene gave a presentation about what volunteers thought of Old Weather’s ranking system, where you start as a Cadet and can be promoted to Lieutenant (30+ weather observations) and possibly even Captain (top transcriber). These findings were based on our survey and interviews with Old Weather volunteers.
In her presentation Charlene described how volunteers had a mixture of positive and negative views:

  • Positive Views – Volunteers liked that the ranking system validated their efforts. It allowed them to track their personal progress and to assess their personal contribution towards the project’s progress. Also some volunteers really enjoyed the competitive aspects. It was fun to work towards being the Captain of a ship, and once it was achieved, to try to maintain the position of Captain.
  • Negative Views – Some volunteers found the ranking demotivating, feeling that they could never catch up with the Captain. Captains themselves sometimes found it stressful trying to stay on top. Some volunteers also expressed concerns that the ranking system rewarded quantity over quality, as the system didn’t reward volunteers for submitting more detailed transcriptions that include daily ‘event’ occurrences (useful for historical research)

One of our conclusions is that the same competitive gamification mechanisms which motivate some volunteers can be demotivating for others. Again you can see more in the full paper.

The new Jeannette opera house

Grand opening: December 24th, 1880

Grand opening: December 24th, 1880

In the evening we had a minstrel entertainment in the deck-house, somewhat improved over last year… The success of the evening, however, was Sharvell as a young lady, in an after-piece… A feature of the evening was presenting each guest, on entering, with a little button-hole bouquet of colored paper leaves… The jokes were of the usual order, some broad ones being inevitable… The most acceptable occurrence was the issue of a double ration of whiskey, with which, hot water, and sugar, we tried to be cheerful, and make Christmas Eve rather less dreary than many of our days now seem.

By December 1880 Jeannette had been stuck fast in the pack ice for well over a year, but Christmas Day was made as acceptable as possible by a good dinner.

And I think we may refer to our bills of fare with pardonable pride. Our mince pies were a work of art; though they were made from pemmican and flavored by a bottle of brandy, they were as delicate to the taste as if compounded from fresh beef from market. CHRISTMAS DINNER, 1880: the usual Saturday Soup, Roast Seal – Apple Jelly, Tongue, Macaroni, Tomatoes, Mince Pies, Plum Pudding, Figs, Raisins, Dates, Nuts, Candy, Chocolate and Coffee.

Reading these snippets from De Long’s journal from the Jeannette would strike a chord with any sailor. Christmas at sea seems much the same today – people still celebrate as best as they can even though they are far from home and hearth. The banquet remains the highlight of the holiday. But the work must go on, as the ship’s log shows: along with the note about the entertainment there are all the usual weather observations recorded. Considering the perilous journey the Jeannette logbooks endured from the Arctic ice to us, it is a miracle that these data still exist and can be used for science again, in new and powerful ways that De Long and his crew could not have imagined when they sledged these heavy volumes across the sea ice after the wreck of their ship, and then carried them on their backs to the cold Siberian shore.

Old Weather citizen-scientists are making the recovery and analysis of these hard-won data possible, while also getting to read the unedited stories from the Jeannette and many other ships in the new (and growing) Old Weather – Arctic fleet.

Kevin

Ship Histories: 120 and counting.

We have transcribed the log books of over 300 Royal Navy warships of the World War 1-era; looking at over 1,000,000 pages. As well as the weather data, what happened to all the naval information that was carefully recorded? The answer is a growing number of ship histories – some fully edited, some being edited, and even more formatted ready for editing. The result is a wealth of historical naval information that has probably never been available in such profusion. That is a contribution which will earn the thanks of thousands of naval historians and family genealogists world-wide.

Nearly 120 sets of logs are now online – listed by name and by type below. Ships in bold have been edited, ships in bold italics are being edited, and the remainder have only been formatted. The remaining 180 plus are going online over the next few months. If the ship you have worked on is not here, it soon should be. If you would like to edit your favourite ship just email me: Gordon Smith of Naval-History.Net

By Name

Acacia, Achilles, Albemarle,, Albion,, Alcantara, Alert, Almanzora, Alsatian, Ambrose, Amethyst, (Parts 1/2 edited), Amphitrite, Arlanza, Artois, Attack, Avenger, Avoca, (Parts 1/2 edited), Bacchante, Bayano, Bee, Birmingham, Cadmus, Calcutta, Calliope, Carlisle, Carmania, Caronia, Carrigan Head, Celtic, Challenger, Cicala, City of London, Cochrane, Columbella, Comus, Coronado, Crescent, Dartmouth, Dauntless, Defence, Digby, Dragon, Dublin, Duke of Edinburgh, Eclipse, Empress of Britain, Endymion, Eskimo, Espiegle, Falmouth, Fame, Fearless, Fox, Foxglove, Gibraltar, Gloucester, Gnat, Goliath, Hampshire, Highflyer, Hollyhock, Humber, Inflexible, Invincible, Kennet, Kildonan Castle, Kinfauns Castle, King Alfred, Knight Templar,, Laconia, Laurentic, Lepanto, Lowestoft, M.23, M.24,, M.25, M.29, M.31, M.33, Magnolia, Malaya, Mantua, Merlin (1), Merlin (2), Minotaur, Moldavia, Moorhen, Morea, Moth, Mutine, Nairana, Naneric, New Zealand, Newcastle, Odin, (Parts 1/2 edited), Otter, Otway, Parramatta, Pegasus, Pelorus, Petersfield, Phaeton, Rapidol, Sandpiper, Saxon, Sealark, Shearwater, Snipe, Southampton, Sutlej, Sydney (RAN), Teal, Torch (1), Torch (2), Una, (RAN), Warrego (RAN), Widgeon, Wonganella, Yarmouth

By Type

Battleships – Albemarle, Albion, Goliath, Malaya

Battlecruisers – Inflexible, Invincible, New Zealand

Monitors- Humber, M.23, M.24, M.25, M.29, M.31, M.33

Armoured Cruisers – Achilles, Bacchante, Cochrane, Defence, Duke of Edinburgh, Hampshire, King Alfred, Minotaur, Sutlej

Old 1st, 2nd and 3rd Class Cruisers – Amethyst, Amphitrite, Challenger, Crescent, Eclipse, Endymion, Gibraltar, Highflyer, Pelorus,

Light and Scout Cruisers – Birmingham, Calliope, Calcutta, Carlisle, Comus, Dartmouth, Dauntless, Dragon, Dublin, Falmouth, Fearless, Gloucester, Lowestoft, Newcastle, Phaeton, Southampton, Sydney (RAN), Yarmouth

Seaplane Carriers – Nairana, Pegasus

Destroyers – Attack, Fame, Kennet, Otter,, Torch (2), Warrego (RAN)

Convoy and Minesweeping Sloops – Acacia, Foxglove, Hollyhock, Magnolia

Old Sloops – Alert, Cadmus, Espiegle, Merlin (1), Mutine, Odin, Shearwater, Torch (1), Una, (RAN)

Survey Vessel – Sealark

Minesweeper – Petersfield

River Gunboats – Bee, Cicala, Gnat, Moorhen, Moth, Sandpiper, Snipe, Teal, Widgeon

Armed Merchant Cruisers – Alcantara, Almanzora, Alsatian, Ambrose, Arlanza, Artois, Avenger, Avoca, Carmania, Caronia, Celtic, City of London, Columbella, Digby, Empress of Britain, Eskimo, Kildonan Castle, Kinfauns Castle, Laconia, Laurentic, Mantua, Moldavia, Otway

Commissioned Escort Ships – Bayano, Carrigan Head, Coronado, Knight Templar, Lepanto, Naneric

Submarine decoy or Q-ship – Wonganella

Trawlers – Merlin (2), Parramatta, Saxon

Oiler – Rapidol

Roaring, buzzing, wheezing and shrieking

I was on a research ship in the Arctic Ocean for two weeks this Summer and I’m working hard to get reoriented with current activity on Old Weather.

Among the most interesting things we brought back from this cruise are recordings of “the devil’s symphony” of unearthly sounds created by the movement of the Arctic ice pack. You will undoubtedly read about these sounds in some of the logbooks. Here is a typical description from In the Lena Delta by George Melville, chief engineer of the USS Jeannette:

It was in one of these oppressive intervals succeeding a gale, when the roar and crash of distant masses could be distinctly heard, that the floe in which the Jeannette was imbedded began splitting in all directions. The placid and almost level surface of the ice suddenly heaved and swelled into great hills, buzzing and wheezing dolefully. Giant blocks pitched and rolled as though controlled by invisible hands, and vast compressing bodies shrieked a shrill and horrible song that curdled the blood. On came the frozen waves, nearer and nearer. Seams ran and rattled across them with a thundering boom, while silent and awestruck we watched their terrible progress.

The recordings in this video “Winter Sounds of Arctic Sea Ice” video were captured last winter by hydrophones deployed in the Bering Strait by Dr. Kate Stafford of the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory. The undersea instrument moorings were located just north of the Diomede Islands (marked on the satellite image of the Bering Strait region below).

Looking at this example it is easy to imagine how these sounds might be produced. Just days before this image was retrieved on April 2nd, 2012, the ice pack north of Bering Strait was apparently one solid mass. In the course of a single day this long channel of moving ice formed and began marching to the southward into the Bering Sea, crashing into the Diomede Islands along the way. (You can also see how the northerly winds are opening the ice along the southern coasts, and some cool cloud streets forming over the relatively warm water of Norton Sound).

I look forward to getting back up to speed. Already our team at the U.S. National Archives is readying a new shipment of logbook images. These will be coming here to the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory for pre-processing (cropping, color balancing and other adjustments) before we transfer them to Zooniverse to get tee’d up for Old Weather.

Kevin.

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