Digitize the Solar and Renewable Energy Archives!
Digitize the Solar and Renewable Energy Archives!
Open access to six decades of solar and renewable energy innovations by digitizing the archives.
Open access to six decades of solar and renewable energy innovations by digitizing the archives. Read more
About this project
This project would digitize our archives to make them readily available to everyone. It spans 60 years of solar and renewable energy information and includes the latest scientific and technological innovations. It features people in the industry, gives homeowner tips and is filled with DIY-innovation-goodness! We want to make it open and available to everyone, on any device that can access the internet.
Our recent experience with the flooding in Boulder made us realize that the current paper-based archives put them at risk of being lost. We want to digitize and put them online so that the information will be always available to whoever wants, needs or searches for them. The top scientists and researchers have contributed to this archive, yet most the material is stored away in cardboard boxes.
The ASES archive spans six decades and includes the multi-volume proceedings from 43 years of National Solar Conferences. It includes ASES-published periodicals on passive solar architecture, wind energy and 17 volumes of the annual "Advances in Solar Energy." It also includes hundreds of ASES-commissioned studies and research papers, as well as 26 years of Solar Today, our flagship magazine. This means that information from the start of photovoltaic era, to the latest technology will be digitized and online. While the archives focus on solar, they also include other renewable energy sources: wind, hydro and biofuel technologies.
Solar Today is published eight times a year and includes the latest technology, forecasts for the industry and marketplace, Do-It-Yourself projects and solar installation solutions as well as scientific data in charts and diagrams.
We want to make solar and renewable energy research, studies and innovations available to everyone to see, learn from, build upon and use.
Similar to the way that the open source code community shares information, where code is open for others to see and build or improve upon, within open systems, creativity and innovation are able to grow exponentially. We want the same thing to happen with solar and renewable technologies.
We have a massive amount of information on solar power and other forms of renewable energy.
It's our goal to complete the digitization project of the archives within one year. We realize that this is a monumental amount of information that will result in tens of thousands of different web pages. We have the plan to do it.
In the past, we have used a pdf (portable document file) format for Solar Today, but we now realize that its static nature does not fully utilize the potential of the internet. For example, it doesn't encourage conversation or work well on smart phones. One can't easily make modifications or link out to sponsors, organizations or other project. Also, only the last few years of the magazine are available on line. We want to do the entire 26-year run. We realize the need to adapt and openly share information.
After a page is scanned from a paper format, whether it's a book, magazine, research paper, or pdf, it will be converted to plain text via OCR. This frees the text from being locked into a static format and allows it to be displayed in a responsive webpage. (Being responsive means that the text within the webpage responds to the screen size to help it look good regardless of the screen it is viewed in.)
Each web page will be optimized for search engine optimization to help it be found. Solar Today is a bounty of great content but the current format does not easily allow search engines to find it. It's also loads slowly, is hosted off-site, the images can't be easily printed, and it doesn't allow the content to be easily passed on through social networks. We want to fix it.
In addition, the images and diagrams will become separate entities with their own tagging and categorization methodology that both helps them to be search engine optimized, as well as displayed in different contextual formats.
The photos and diagrams will be scanned for optimal viewing conversion formats to get them retina ready so that people will be able to utilize the images or diagrams for their own research or to be able to learn more, regardless of the screen it is viewed on.
In short, people will be able to find the information, and we massive amounts of it.
The website is being redesigned in order to house the gargantuan influx of data, while making navigation more simple and intuitive.
It will also have open commenting on posts to host constructive dialogue so people can share improvements and solutions. (Yes, we will have spam filter.)
The listing of the supporting businesses and chapters will be better arranged so that local information through searches will also show local chapters and businesses.
The American Solar Energy Society is a nonprofit that was founded in 1954. Our mission is to inspire an era of energy innovation and speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy.
Times have changed and we want to adapt to it. In the past, people called the office to request a paper. We would located it within the archives, then mailed it out. We realize that the world has changed and want to contribute to the open nature of information by digitizing our archives. When people are looking for information on the internet, we want it to be found.
The campaign will end on November 3, 2013. If successfully funded, at the end of November, a new website will be launched.
The next Solar Today (November - December) will go online during December, with the rest of the archives to follow. Once we get rolling, we'll become a well-oiled machine also involving the community for massive uploading of sections.
It is our goal that in one year, by October of 2014, the project will be completed for the 60 year anniversary.
How the funds will be spent
The funds will go toward equipment purchase, server-space and other technologies to facilitate getting the massive archive of information online. The system needs to be reconfigured to handle the increased traffic the new online resources will generate. Funds for a dedicated server, CDN (Content Delivery Network) and backup server services have been budgeted for the next five years.
A high quality scanner will allow the printed photography assets to look their best. The images and diagrams will be their own digital assets that will be viewed in a larger formats, different contexts and be retina ready.
There is a small team of people that will work on the overall design, architecture, workflow, implementation and organize the community.
The project lead is Keya Lea Horiuchi. She works in web design, information architecture and education. She has a track record of finishing and successfully marketing film productions, one that involved traveling around the world. She firmly believes in the open source community and the inherent efficiency that open systems create. She writes at greenpassivesolar.com and recently moved from New Mexico back to Colorado.
Please support the digitization of solar information by pledging funds to this project.
Here's what some of the packages will look like. They all include printed materials in the form of magazines, books or CD's. (We really want to get all of this online, but in the meantime, you can receive some of the printed materials and get them in your hands!)
By pledging $50 dollars, you'll receive the Solar Jumpstarter package that includes 5 issues from the archive to get you going before you receive your year long subscription of 8 issues. They will be delivered to your door and contain the latest solar and renewable innovations.
The Homeowner's Package will get you some of the best archival issues that explain the basics of solar and renewable energy installation processes. It also contains the 2013 Buyer's Guide and the 2013 Solar Home Tour Guide. It will get you started before you enjoy a year long subscription to Solar Today.
The Passive Solar Package gets you 3 Passive Solar journals and 3 Solar Today magazines delivered to your door. The journals are from the archive (they're vintage!) but as you can see, the principles discussed are still relevant today. It explains buildings that work with basic physics. Passive solar can be thought of as the aikido of building design as it works with the sun and other design elements, like landscaping, to be very efficient. The 3 Solar Today magazines also focus on passive solar design.
The Photon Physicist Starter Kit includes the proceedings (a fancy way of referring to all the papers that were accepted) from the annual conference. The CDs are packed with information. When the information they hold is printed, it averages between 600 to 900 pages. Most of the papers are written by doctoral and post doctoral researchers. If a person read and understood the technologies in all of them, they would likely be the smartest person on the planet, able to build a net-zero city. This kit is nice for having as your own personal archive.
Here's what a copy of the proceedings looks like. It's packed with valuable information. This one happens to have 1247 pages, but they differ by year. A copy of the proceedings can be obained by pledging at the 325 level.
Please support us in this project to digitize the solar archives to make them accessible to all. Thank you.
Risks and challenges
We realize that every project has risks and challenges. We also are cognizant that this is a HUGE undertaking, but we've made a timeline as well as a plan to complete the project. After the architecture is set up, we also plan on involving the community. Involving the community will enable us to get large amounts work done while having fun.
Any time one works with technology, there will be problem-solving involved. It's anticipated and expected.
The project is being led by an agile problem-solver who firmly believes in open information.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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