21st Century Tech, 19th Century Trade

Spent time on the phone this morning with one of the wonderful librarians at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. I am in the process of applying for a fellowship grant to continue a project I started last year. My goal is to transcribe ship’s logs from the Age of Sail into GIS data for use by researchers. Among other things, I will be creating data layers for latitude/longitude positions by date, weather conditions including wind direction and speed, sea state etc. There are lots of researchers in many fields that will find it helpful to have access to that data, and it is currently buried, inaccessible, in paper logs housed in museum collections. Once I have the basic data structure worked out and the Winterthur materials transcribed, I look forward to broadening the project to other collections like the Peabody.

It is always such a pleasure to deal with the people at the Winterthur! They are welcoming of non-academic researchers like me, and appreciative of the contributions we make to their collection archives. If you ever have a chance to visit Winterthur, definitely make the effort! The mansion and grounds are beautiful, and the museum collections are world-class.

Now I just have to get the paperwork done and keep my fingers crossed!

Image © Winterthur Museum, Garden and library

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