Has OW ever considered adding logs that weren't English, but might be easy to transcribe?
The important factor is who will fund the extensive scanning required to get the pictures to transcribe. In Phases I and II (defined by launching/greatly improving our interface), all of our scans were purchased from the Royal Navy archives, based on funding from the UK. And they used logs that were relatively easy to transcribe on purpose as a "starter" project (which we finished in a third of the time they expected it to take.
) Phase III (current) is funded by NOAA grants, with archive-quality scans being funded/done by NARA (US Archives.) Neither funding source is interested in foreign ship logs.
Everyone knows these logs are much more difficult, but we are trying to get easier ones from the archives to give newbies a good starter ship, such as Albatross 1890. The answer to getting non-English logs done is to find the funding and scanning ability from an agency with interest in that nationality's logs.
We knew these logs were going to be quite a bit harder than the ones we're used to, and we've had some serious debates in the science team about whether it was worth the effort. But we are in no doubt - these are the logs we need to be looking at - we're not inflicting all this trouble on you for no reason.
If you've got 48 seconds to spare, watch the video at http://vimeo.com/43723075. It's a bit frenetic (and it goes backwards in time) but it does show the observations that we've currently got - that's what we're using to understand how the climate varies and changes over decades and centuries. If you look at the North Pacific, you'll see that in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries there are almost no observations, and that's a big problem - Pacific climate variability matters to a lot of people. That's why Kevin is currently shivering up in the Chukchi sea and it's why we're asking you to battle with these more challenging logs. We need these observations even more than we needed the RN WW1 ones.
When we did the Royal Navy logs we knew what they all looked like when we started building the website. The US logs are older, more variable, and we're finding the logs and building the website at the same time. This makes Arfon and Stuart's job much harder, and that makes it harder for us all. It will get better - but it's always going to be a different challenge from the old version.
So there's a strong science payoff for all the hassle, and almost certainly some fascinating new stories and history - certainly I'm expecting more strange and unexpected events to occur in these logs. Remember also that it's not a race - relax: if the site's misbehaving, knock off for a tot of rum (or a Devon cream tea), it'll still be there when you return. And rest assured that we hear what you're saying and we're trying hard to put up lots of really interesting and valuable logs, and to knock the bugs out of the user interface.