Documents and Data
The photographic record
The story of marine science development is brought to life by photographs of work at sea, in the many UK laboratories and, most of all, by photographs of the people involved in research.
The Archives of the National Oceanographic Library include a large collection of photographs dating from the Discovery Investigations in the Antarctic to the present day
More recent photographs are having metadata added through a Crowdsourcer initiative and will eventually be added to the searchable archive.
Many photographs are held in people’s personal collections and we encourage those with such holdings to contact the History SIG so that they may be documented and preserved.
Artefacts and documents
Much oceanographic equipment is bulky and heavy and so there has been no systematic means of preserving it. There are notable exceptions of equipment preserved by the Science Museum. These include the GLORIA Mk II vehicle housed at Wroughton near Swindon, the original tide prediction machine by Kelvin, and the storm surge prediction analogue computer made by Ishiguro. Two, much larger tide prediction machines are on display at NOC in Liverpool.
The recent discovery in the University of Manchester of collection of letters by Alan Turing highlights that fact that many important documents may still lie in filing cabinets and boxes. Where are the hidden gems of marine science?
A considerable amount of historical data is known to exist, both in the UK and around the world, in paper form (e.g. hand-written tabulations of various parameters, or even paper tape). An activity called ‘data archaeology’, combined with ‘data rescue’, aims to determine how much historical data exist and then to convert their scientific content into modern computer form, so that the data can be analysed by modern methods. Although it is hard to estimate how much of such historical data has already been lost through decay, or having been thrown away, it is clear that efforts must be made to save what we can. This particularly applies to very old information on parameters such as temperatures or sea levels which are known to be changing. Such ‘data archaeology’ has been extremely successful in extending the length of meteorological records, but it requires effort and as full as possible an understanding of the historical contexts within such measurements were made. This is the sort of activity in which contributions from the SIG could be especially valuable, in applying data archaeology to historical oceanographic information, ensuring that as much historical data end up at BODC for all to use.
The oceans, the blue economy and implications for climate change event
The oceans, the blue economy and implications for climate change
Date: 29 November 2023, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Speaker: Rupert Howes, Joanna Post, Dr John Siddorn, Dr Siva Thambisetty, Professor Elizabeth Robinson, Dr Darian McBain
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, Cheng Kin Ku Building, LSE Campus and online
Many conversations about sustainability and climate-change focus on activities on land – the green part of our planet. This misses a vital part of the puzzle, the role that our oceans play.
Ocean and Coastal Futures - Bursary
As part of our commitment to encouraging and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion, Ocean and Coastal Futures is launching its first Coastal Futures Bursary in partnership with Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. This opportunity is open for young people aged 18 to 30 years old, who are currently underrepresented in the marine and coastal sector and face financial barriers to attending. Individuals do not have to be working or studying in the sector currently but must reside in the UK.
CLASS Modelling Workshop 2024
The CLASS Programme is hosting a Modelling Workshop in early 2024. This is aimed at UK participants only. Event details and criteria to sign up are available here.