Information Studies Seminar Series: "The DRAW Project: Data Rescue: Archives and Weather." Visiting Scholar Dr. V. Slonosky

Friday, February 26, 2016 12:30to14:00
School of Information Studies, 3661 Peel, Rm. 106, Montreal, CA

Join us for a McGill School of Information Studies (SIS) Seminar Series talk with Visiting Scholar Dr. Victoria Slonosky on a pioneering crowd-sourcing project to rescue Canadian climate data and make it accessible for scientific research.


The DRAW project is an interdisciplinary effort uniting researchers from Faculty of Arts, Science and Library and Archives at McGill University to secure, catalogue, and make accessible for scientific research the meteorological observations in historical logbooks of the McGill Observatory. The collection of Observatory logbooks from 1871 to 1964 is housed in the Archives, along with supplemental records and weather journals dating back to 1798.

Our challenge is to catalogue tens of thousands of logbook pages and keypunch millions of individual weather observations. To accomplish this goal, we’re turning to citizen science and crowd-sourcing to rescue Canada’s climate data.

This pioneering project for McGill will further our understanding not only of weather and climate but also of citizen engagement with our scientific and cultural heritage. We explore new ways of developing and using our valuable archival resources to gain a better understanding of current issues.

During this talk, a demonstration will be presented by two students/"citizen coders": Tim Brasche (undergraduate, Geography) and Robert Smith (BA, Geography and Anthropology,‘15).


Dr. Victoria Slonosky’s interest in climatology started as an undergrad at McGill University. She completed an MSc in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at McGill, and went on to study historical observations of climate for her PhD thesis at the Climatic Research Unit. More historical observations for precipitation in Paris and the Gaultier observations for Quebec were uncovered during a post-doc at LSCE near Paris, France. A fellowship for Environment Canada allowed Dr. Slonosky to look for Canadian historical observations in Canadian archives, including the 18th and 19th century data for Quebec from McGill University and the McCord Museum. From 2002-2004, she took up a research position at McGill University and the Ouranos Consortium. In 2010, Dr. Slonosky started a volunteer data rescue for Canadian historical weather journals. In 2015, she held the positon of researcher-in-residence for CRIM, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies for Montreal, where she worked on initiating the DRAW project and a history of climatology in Canada. The digitization of historical climate observations as a volunteer project has been a recent interest, along with an interest in the history and philosophy of climatology. Dr. Slonosky is affiliated with the World Meteorological Organization data rescue initiative ACRE (Atmospheric Reconstruction Over the Earth).

This talk is free and open to all. Please arrive early to secure a seat.

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