April Star Notes Update

Hello everyone,

This is Sydney and Katie, Star Notes and Project PHaEDRA researchers. We hope that you had a wonderful Women’s History Month in March, and thank you for remaining interested in our work and for volunteering your time to help with our research! As always, we appreciate your effort to learn about the history of women in astronomy, as well as preserve the research of the Harvard College Observatory. 

Thank you to everyone who attended our special office hour with the Natural History Society of Maryland last month! In the coming months, we will be taking a break from our regularly scheduled office hours, which we usually hold on the second Tuesday of each month at 2PM ET. Stay tuned for updates about new programming here in our newsletters, on social media and on the Zooniverse talk boards! 

The second phase of Star Notes asks volunteers to identify any non-textual material in the PHaEDRA logbooks, including astronomical sketches, graphs, and inserted material. As always, we are available on the talk boards to answer any questions you may have about this workflow, as well as discuss your interesting new findings! 

On the Smithsonian Transcription Center, volunteers are currently transcribing notebooks belonging to Williamina P. Fleming, Evelyn F. Leland, Muriel Mussells, and Sylvia Mussells. For Women’s History Month, we created a collection of four notebooks belonging to Women Astronomical Computers who made observations at the Maria Mitchell Observatory while associated with Harvard, and some of these notebooks are still available to transcribe! This collection contains notebooks belonging to Margaret Harwood and Dorrit Hoffleit, who both served as directors for the Maria Mitchell Observatory after their time at Harvard, along with the work of other familiar names like Frances Woodworth Wright

Thank you to everyone who attended our Smithsonian Transcription Center Clinic in February, in which we discussed detailed examples and new guidelines for transcribing. You can view a recording of the meeting here. You can expect new instructions with this information to be uploaded to our Smithsonian Transcription Center project sometime soon. We are also brainstorming ways to make the instructions more accessible, such as small videos for each topic. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or suggestions concerning transcription via email at sydney.evans@cfa.harvard.edu and kfrey@cfa.harvard.edu. 

We are still working on developing a commemorative book about Project PHaEDRA to celebrate the completion of phase one of Star Notes. This book will cover the history of the project and explain our motivations for transcribing and classifying the content in the notebooks. We would like to include volunteer perspectives and contributions in the book, and have those contributions be at the heart of the commemoration. Some examples could include: interviews with volunteers, a contributors list, interesting finds, and guest essays. If you are interested in shaping the direction of the book and/or contributing to it, please fill out this short three-question survey.

If you’re a volunteer looking to get credit for your work on our project, please fill out this Google Form to receive a volunteer confirmation on Center for Astrophysics letterhead (you will need to sign in to a Google account to submit the form. If you don’t have a Google account, you can send an email to sydney.evans@cfa.harvard.edu). As always, if you have any questions for us, or if there’s anything that we can do to help, you can contact us or find us on the talk boards. Have a great month!

Sydney & Katie
Project PHaEDRA Team, Wolbach Library 
Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
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