The team behind the citizen science project, OzDocs, was awarded a University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor’s Staff Engagement Grant at an official ceremony on 30 September 2011.
The goal of the OzDocs project is to piece together Australian climate varitaions from the time of first European settlement until official weather records begin in 1900. As a citizen science project, OzDocs will engage volunteers from the community to explore online archives of historical documents including newspapers, explorers’ journals, artworks and farm diaries.
“This project is all about bringing the wider community and researchers together to play a part in uncovering our climate history” said Joelle Gergis the project leader. “It’s really exciting because OzDocs will be Australia’s first online database of historical climate information back to first European settlement in 1788”.
The OzDocs project is a joint venture between the SEARCH team at the University of Melbourne, the National Library of Australia, the State Library of New South Wales and the State Library of Victoria. These national and state libraries hold expansive collections that will provide the majority of the source material for the volunteers’ work.
The information collected by the OzDocs project will be used by climate scientists and historians in ongoing research. It will also be made available to the public to help people gain an insight into how Australian climate variability and extremes have influenced our society over the past 200 years.
The project will be run online allowing anyone with an internet connection to contribute. The $10,000 grant will be put towards website development costs and the live site is expected to be launched in early 2012.