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Open access to six decades of solar and renewable energy innovations by digitizing the archives.

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.

From technical information to homeowner tips for efficiency, we want to make it accessible and available to everyone.
From technical information to homeowner tips for efficiency, we want to make it accessible and available to everyone.

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.

A snapshot of a technical paper, one of many.
A snapshot of a technical paper, one of many.

The Plan

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. 

Website redesign

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.

Organization background

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.

Timeline

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 Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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.

FAQ

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    5 backers

    Every bit helps and we appreciate it! We'll personally thank you for your support through Facebook and/or Twitter.

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    4 backers

    Receive the next printed edition of Solar Today along with the 2013 Solar Home Tour Guide. We'll also thank you on our Facebook and/or Twitter page.

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    7 backers

    Get your name printed in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Solar Today. It will be mailed to the address of your choice.

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    12 backers

    Get a one year subscription (eight issues) to the printed edition of Solar Today magazine. You'll become a member of ASES, have your name printed in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue as a thank you and it will be mailed to the address of your choice.

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    Receive the Solar Jumpstarter package with 5 Solar Today magazines from the archive to get you up and running with solar and renewable technologies. You'll also receive the 2013 Solar Home Tour Guide and a one year subscription (eight issues) to Solar Today magazine. You'll be thanked in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue and it will be mailed to the address of your choice.

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    Get the Solar Students Rock On! Package. It includes 5 Solar Today issues from the archive that focus on what college and university students are doing. It also includes the 2013 National Solar Home Tour Guide and a year subscription (eight issues) to Solar Today magazine, mailed to the address of your choice. You'll also have your name in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue and on the new website as a student who made the project possible. Thank you.

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    Receive a year-long subscription to Solar Today, and an ASES membership, for yourself and for a friend. You'll get your name in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Solar Today and get the magazines delivered to the addresses of your choice.

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    Be listed on the website as a professional member to be displayed in state and business category searches. The new site will allow the user to search for specific business and category information. For example, any time a state is picked, along with the state chapter, your business information will be listed to give relevant local information. You'll receive a year-long subscription to Solar Today and be listed in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue. You will also get all the perks of being a professional member with ASES.

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    10 backers Limited (240 left of 250)

    Receive the "Fifty-Year History of the International Solar Energy Society," by Karl W. Boer, in CD-ROM format. Dr. Boer is the pioneer of cadmium telluride solar cells, and a founder of ASES. You'll get the commemorative issue of Solar Today that features "25 Years of Solar Visionaries", a one year membership in ASES, with a subscription (eight issues) to Solar Today magazine, mailed to the address of your choice. You'll also get your name in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue and on the new website as a donor who made the project possible.

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    Get the Self-Sufficient Solar Homesteader package. It includes 5 printed issues from the Solar Today archive that focus on off-the-grid systems, the ultimate in self-sufficiency. It covers the basics of off-the-grid power systems: solar PV and thermal energy storage, passive solar building, and small wind technologies. It explains the technicalities and highlights what other homeowners have done. It also includes the 2013 National Solar Home Tour Guide, a year a subscription (eight issues) to Solar Today magazine, mailed to the address of your choice. You'll get your name in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue and be on the new website as a donor who made the project possible. (You can remain anonymous as well.)

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    Receive the Aspiring Solar Homeowner package. It includes 5 printed issues from the Solar Today archive that focus on what homeowners can do to start the conversion to solar efficiency. It covers all the basics, explains the technicalities and highlights what other homeowners have done. It also includes the 2013 National Solar Home Tour Guide, a year a subscription (eight issues) to Solar Today magazine, mailed to the address of your choice, and you'll get your name in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue and be on the new website as a donor who made the project possible.

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    Receive the Passive Solar Package that includes the Passive Solar Journal as well as 5 Solar Today issues that focus on what homeowners can do to convert or build a passive solar home. It covers the basics of passive solar and explains the technicalities and highlights what other homeowners have done. It also includes the 2013 National Solar Home Tour Guide, a year a subscription (eight issues) to Solar Today magazine, mailed to the address of your choice. You'll have your name printed in the Jan/Feb issue of Solar Today and be listed on the new website as a donor who made the project possible.

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    3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)

    Get the Photon Physicist Starter Kit. Receive the proceedings (which are all the scientific papers accepted into the conferences, often between 500-600 printed pages) from 4 years plus the "Fifty-Year History of the International Solar Energy Society," by Karl W. Boer, in CD-ROM format. Dr. Boer is the pioneer of cadmium telluride solar cells, and a founder of ASES. You'll get a one year membership in ASES, with a subscription (eight issues) to Solar Today magazine, mailed to the address of your choice. Your name will be in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue and on the new website as a donor who made the project possible.

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    0 backers

    Be listed on the website as a business member to be displayed in state and business category searches. The new site will allow the user to search for specific business information. For example, any time a state is picked, along with the state chapter, your business information will be listed to give relevant local information. You'll receive a year-long subscription to Solar Today and be listed in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue. Your business will also get all the perks of being a business member with ASES.

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    Get a bound, paper copy of the proceedings from one of the past conferences. The proceedings are composed of all the scientific papers that are accepted into the annual conference. The one in the picture (below) has 1247 pages, but it differs by year. It's a lot of information and it'll be right in your hands! You'll be thanked on the website as well as receive a year-long subscription to Solar Today, have your name printed in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue and it will be mailed to the address of your choice.

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    You'll be personally invited to the 60th Anniversary celebration taking place in October, 2014. In the meantime, you'll receive a one-year membership in ASES, a subscription to Solar Today, delivered to your home or office, and be listed on the new website as a donor who made the project possible.

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    Receive a beautifully bound book on passive solar home design, "Heating and Cooling Your Building Naturally", by Virginia B. Macdonald, FAIA. It's out of print, but the information is still applicable today. (It's physics!) You'll receive a personal invitation to the 60th Anniversary celebration happening next October as well as a subscription to Solar Today. You'll also be listed on the new website as a donor who made the project possible.

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    You'll receive the hardbound, two-volume limited edition of "The Fifty-Year History of the International Solar Energy Society," authored by ASES founder Karl W. Boer. Dr. Boer, the physicist who helped to invent the cadmium telluride solar cell, meticulously documented the rise of solar associations around the world. The book is now out of print so you'll receive one of the last ones available. First seven takers get copies signed by the author. You'll be personally invited to the 60th anniversary celebration and sit at a table with solar pioneers who will be honored at the party. Meet, chat with and make friends with a major solar innovator that made solar and renewable energies possible. You'll also receive a one-year membership in ASES and a subscription to Solar Today, as well as be listed on the website as someone who made the project happen.

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    Be a Solar Protector as a corporate sponsor. Get premium sponsorship placement during the year that the data is coming online. Your company's logo will be listed at the Solar Protector level in the sidebar and footer (text) of every page. Your logo (sidebar) or name (footer) will link to a description page and to your website. Your company will be personally invited to the 60th Anniversary celebration and honored as a Solar Protector. You'll receive a 3 year subscription to Solar Today and be honored in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue. After all the information has been uploaded, your contribution will remain on a dedicated page as one that helped to make the project possible.

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    You'll be personally invited to the 60th anniversary bash, sit with a solar pioneer and become a 10 year member of ASES. You'll get a 10 year subscription to Solar Today and be listed on the new website as a donor who made the project possible. Thank you.

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    Be a Solar Guardian as a corporate sponsor. Get premium sponsorship placement during the year that the data is coming online. Your company will be listed at the Solar Guardian level with your logo displayed in the sidebar and your name (text) will be in the footer of every page. Your logo/name will link to a description page and to your website. Your company will be personally invited to the 60th Anniversary celebration and honored as a Solar Guardian. You'll receive a 5 year subscription to Solar Today and be honored in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue. After all the information has been uploaded, your contribution will remain on a dedicated page as one that helped to make the project possible.

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    Be a Solar Champion as a corporate sponsor. Get premium sponsorship placement during the year that the data is coming online. Your company will be listed as a Solar Champion with your logo displayed in the sidebar and footer of every page. The logo will link to a description page and to your website. Your company will be personally invited to the 60th Anniversary celebration and honored as a Solar Champion. You'll receive a 7year subscription to Solar Today and be honored in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue. After all the information has been uploaded, your contribution will remain on a dedicated page as one that helped to make the project possible.

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    Be a Solar Hero as a corporate sponsor. Get premium sponsorship placement during the year that the data is coming online. Your company will be listed as a Solar Hero with your logo will be displayed in the sidebar and footer of every page. The logo will link to a description page and to your website. Your company will be personally invited to the 60th Anniversary celebration and honored as a vital Solar Hero. You'll receive a 10 year subscription to Solar Today and be honored in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue. After all the information has been uploaded, your legacy will remain on a dedicated page as one that helped to make the project possible.

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    0 backers Limited (8 left of 8)

    For individuals who want to contribute to making solar and renewable technologies available, free to the public worldwide. You'll be personally invited to the 60th anniversary bash, sit with a solar pioneer, become a 10 year member of ASES with a subscription to Solar Today. You'll be listed on the website as a sustaining donor. We'll also invite you to a personal tour a major renewable energy laboratory or power-generation facility with the executive director of ASES.

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Funding period

- (33 days)