Data after Death

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Data after Death

Postby Mike Brown » 2015 May 15, 13:31

Making preparations for what happens when I am gone, I thought I should look into what happens to my data (currently around 23 years worth), and whether it could go somewhere useful. I discovered the Met Office don't want it, no local libraries are interested. So it appears that my data, along with my weather recording instruments may be destined for the bin, unless someone has any good ideas please?

Best wishes

Mike
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Martin Rowley » 2015 May 15, 17:32

... Like you, I've been thinking about this.

My 'solution' to my particular problem lay in an 'out of the blue' approach by the British Library. They have a project which is intended to archive web sites / pages of 'historical' interest, but which would be lost if the particular site ceased. In my case, as well as weather data (mainly monthly summaries) for my site in Bracknell and here in West Moors, I've produced other work - for example a biography of a local dignatory of the late 19th century, a history of the old railway here in West Moors, my database of historic weather events etc.

Presumably someone got in touch with them to nominate my site, but you can 'self-nominate': see the appropriate page here . . . http://www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/

It appears to work well. The 'bots' periodically trawl through the sites (presumably much in the fashion of Google et.al) and archive the latest iteration of the pages. Then, theoretically, as long as there's a British Library, this archive ( or its successor that we can't even begin to imagine ) will have all this data for electronic searching.

Who knows, some Science Officer from the planet Vulcan returning to a post-apocalypse Earth might just want to call up the junction layout in the 1920s at West Moors, or find out what the sequence of events was during the storm of May 2000 in the Wooden Hill area of Bracknell!

Martin.
Martin Rowley
West Moors, East Dorset [ altitude: 17 m/56' ]
NGR SU 082 023: postcode BH22 0GB
50deg49min15secN, 01deg53min03secW
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Darren Rogers » 2015 May 15, 18:47

Mike - I would be very surprised if your county archive (library) wouldn't have them, catalogue them and make them available for future generations.
Certainly Cumbria library/archive service would, but not sure about Lancs.

I personally am in a better position as my own parish in Cumbria has its own archive as well.

The other recommendation would be Philip Eden's Chilterns observatory trust, I know that Philip has a library/archive as part of the trust for records such as yours.
Darren Rogers
Maulds Meaburn
Cumbria (Half way between Shap and Appleby)

http://www.mauldsmeaburnweather.co.uk
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Re: Data after Death

Postby greg_gruner » 2015 May 15, 20:01

Perhaps we should take our data with us - could be a useful credential at the Pearly Gates :-)

I think in my case I will leave my data, with my diaries, to my children. I think if they keep them and then pass them on, after two or three generations it will gain historical interest. After all, a set of diaries and weather data from 1915, even if describing ordinary events, would be of great interest now. And my hunch is that while the Internet is good at logging current material, it is not good for long-term archiving. In 100 years time, there might actually be a dearth of weather records from the current period...
Greg Gruner
Farnborough, Hampshire
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Mike Brown » 2015 May 16, 07:59

Thank you all for your thoughts. I will try the County Library, but being Lancashire I am not very hopeful. I think I have more chance of a Vulcan Science Officer wanting my data! I did ask Phillip about another matter, but apparently he his not very well at the moment so I would not wish to bother him further. I guess I may have a few years left so perhaps not too urgent, but also perhaps highlights the question of why we do collect weather data. If, as it appears, it is not for future generations to pore over, is it just for ourselves? Is that a little selfish, or simply the result of it being a hobby rather tan anything serious? I know at least some of my data is preserved through COL, and of course WOW. The electronic data is also preserved through the likes of Wundergound and others to which I subscribe, so I hope it is not being too selfish. Still when I am dead, am I going to worry about it? I doubt it, so lets just carry on recording and see how many years I can get. There must be a world record for it somewhere to compare against.

Best wishes

Mike
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Graham Easterling » 2015 May 16, 16:01

My 'solution' to my particular problem lay in an 'out of the blue' approach by the British Library. They have a project which is intended to archive web sites / pages of 'historical' interest, but which would be lost if the particular site ceased.


That's a useful link Martin. However, my weather site does not include daily data, just monthly summaries, means & extremes. It would be useful to have an electronic archive of daily data in some sort of vaguely future proof format. (delimited text files seem pretty timeless). I thought there were plans for a COL data archive?

Beautiful day in west Cornwall today http://www.easterling.freeserve.co.uk/sunnymayday.html
Graham

Penzance Weather Station
Grid Ref:
SW464231 - Post Code: TR18 4TP
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In a SE - NW orientated valley

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Re: Data after Death

Postby Richard Hunt » 2015 May 17, 11:00

I too have wondered what happens to my data when I die, I'd like to think that it's preserved on the COL database, but even then is it of any interest to anyone?. If the met office don't want it then who would. I now wonder am I just wasting my time. I try to be as accurate as possible, and as diligent, but to what end.

I do it because I love the hobby, but it would be nice to think that future generations would make use of my many years of observations. I thought the met office in some way worked hand in hand with COL, and all observations where used in some respects, but this seems not to be.

I assumed everything would be stored away somewhere, but if this is not the case then I'm going to have a rethink about carrying on.

After all, no point in flogging a dead horse.
COL Station: 25020.

Watson W-8681 AWS. Standard Stevenson Screen. Maximum and Minimum screen thermometers. Grass minimum thermometer.
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Martin Rowley » 2015 May 17, 15:14

Richard Hunt wrote:I too have wondered what happens to my data when I die [ . . . ] I assumed everything would be stored away somewhere, but if this is not the case then I'm going to have a rethink about carrying on.
After all, no point in flogging a dead horse.


... Whoa there! No point getting too 'down' about all this. We simply don't know how the data are going to be used in the future. For example, my rainfall figures are collated by John Oliver on behalf of Dorset Natural History and will no doubt prove useful in years to come as they form part of an archive going back many years.

Last year, wanting to put my thunder-heard days in context, I used the COL climatological summaries and individual years data ( as supplied on the excellent data CD by Roger ) to do that. Some years ago I was sent a farming diary from Connaught in NW Ireland covering several decades in the second-half of the 19th century: the farmer/land agent had made brief weather notes - sometimes expanded when the weather was extreme, and I was able to relate these to political & social developments in a highly rural and for many, a deprived area of Ireland. This I have summarised and copies are now in the national library in Dublin as well as on my web site - these latter being archived by the British Library as already mentioned.

My son, frankly, won't have the faintest idea what to do with my data and books - but some of it will survive.

Keep recording! You simply don't know when/how the data will be used :-)

Martin.
Martin Rowley
West Moors, East Dorset [ altitude: 17 m/56' ]
NGR SU 082 023: postcode BH22 0GB
50deg49min15secN, 01deg53min03secW
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Darren Rogers » 2015 May 17, 15:57

Mike - Lancs county archive is in Preston, contact them direct, I am 99% certain that they will have it.

All - there are a lot of people, institutions, researches out there who will use all this data in years to come - I myself have made much use of a lot of local data (even wrote about it in the last issue of 'Weather Eye') - and don't forget what we record now will be of use in the future particularly with the changing climate (?)

I have a parish archive so failing all else that is where my data will be going.

Also and it is something covered by Stephen Burt in is book - in what format is your data kept?
Will all that data on an excel spreadsheet saved on a memory stick + separate hard-drive be compatible with the technologies of the future?
paper is still best
Darren Rogers
Maulds Meaburn
Cumbria (Half way between Shap and Appleby)

http://www.mauldsmeaburnweather.co.uk
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Len Wood » 2015 May 17, 16:23

I am hoping COL will continue into the future, though it depends on excellent people (like those now) to run it.

What will happen to the data when the earth is hit by that giant meteorite?
An archive should be set up on another planet.
Or perhaps on some space station somewhere.
Len

Wembury, SW Devon coast
N50.33 W4.13
Altitude 83 m asl
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