History unlocked with digital publication of Antarctic Field Notebooks

A scientist sits on a rock overlooking a bay writing in his field notebook.
Ian McLeod taking geological notes at Wilkes in January/February 1960. (Photo: Geoscience Australia)

Geoscience Australia is taking the history of Australia's Antarctic science online, with the digital publication of field notebooks documenting the work of our pioneering Antarctic geoscientists from as early as the 1960s.

Over 18 months, the Antarctic Field Notebook project, an initiative of Geoscience Australia's Library, brought together volunteers from around Australia to transcribe nearly 90 hand-written notebooks housed at Geoscience Australia in Canberra.

Geoscience Australia's acting Chief Scientist, Dr Adam Lewis, said the innovative citizen science project had been invaluable in helping to preserve early research into the geology of Antarctica, and make it available to a much wider audience.

The notebooks contain scientific observations, and details of sampling and measurements, as well as fascinating details of everyday life in Antarctica.

Citizen scientists involved in the project were based around the country and spent around 1500 hours transcribing the records using the Australian Museum's DigiVol platform.