About the Network

e-Research Approaches to Historic Weather Data: Sources, Collaborations, and Methodologies for Researching Environmental Change was funder for 1 year (Aug 2010-2011) through the AHRC Landscape and Environment Programme.

This Network will bring together stakeholders from disparate research communities to investigate, discuss and document the key historical source materials for weather reporting, and to explore ways in which these materials can be represented and accessed digitally in order to create new knowledge. The Network will invite researchers from the arts, humanities and scientific disciplines, representatives from archives, libraries and museums, and the climate scientists from the Met Office to scope and uncover historic weather source materials through articulating a series of key research questions. It will then review ways in which greater engagement and interaction with these materials can be encouraged via digitisation and representation online. The Network will also explore ways in which primary source materials related to climate change enable new research in the sciences and the humanities. Based on this, the Network will make recommendations for the development of a technological infrastructure to facilitate international, inter-disciplinary access to this material by the broadest community of users, taking a collective intelligence approach.
This work will be situated in the Centre for e-Research (CeRch), King's College London, working with the ACRE (Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth) initiative at the Met Office Hadley Centre. This approach will enable broadest input from researchers across the disciplines to identify source materials that can contribute to an understanding of environmental change, and situate this work at the cutting edge of e-Research. Climate researchers at ACRE have already begun a process of identifying and digitising key historic materials to uncover historic weather data from a variety of sources and collections, and document both instrumental and documentary meteorological conditions and weather data (for example, ships logs). This Network will continue this process, by identifying other historic sources that can enhance and augment existing material and develop a comprehensive research base for scholars. The next step will then be to explore digital representation and analysis of these materials in order to promote new research.
This Network will therefore bring together both social and climate histories with climate science to form a more complete picture of environmental, economic, and social developments and changes. It will also bring those working with and maintaining various repositories of historical and environmental collections - museums, libraries and archives - fully into the environmental change agenda. The Network will broaden the engagement beyond the usual, purely scientific realm of climate, climate variability, and climate change.

The Aims of the Network are to:
1. Articulate and explore a series of humanities research questions that will enable a better understanding of historical climatic variability and climate change which can be addressed by the use of digitized source materials and ICT research methods 2. Develop an e-Research approach to integrating sources, academics and computational tools and methods for the representation and modeling of the data.
3. Bring together key stakeholders responsible for the curation and use of historic primary research materials related to historic weather records, including maritime and terrestrial records (e.g., ships' logs, diaries) with scientists and humanities researchers 4. Investigate how secondary source materials, including travelogs, diaries, and published data, can be linked to the primary source materials and also illustrate historic weather information
5. Facilitate collaboration between humanities scholars and researchers of climatic variability and climate change 6. Bring about effective public engagement with primary historic source materials.
The objectives of the Network are:
1. Convene a series of expert seminars to explore the research questions and sources, and methods for the effective shared use of historic weather data 2. Develop a conceptual methodology based around e-Research Methods, for capturing, representing and sharing this data
3. Address factors that inhibit the effective sharing of data from different sources and research communities, including the use of controlled vocabularies, metadata standards, differing terminologies/semantic differences, and multilingualism. 4. Prepare and publish a series of reports and publications to ensure the broadest dissemination and output of the results of the Network
5. Develop a major interdisciplinary research proposal on researching historic weather sources.