Over the past month I have been contributing to Science Gossip, a Citizen Science project dedicated to furthering scientific discovery through classify drawings and diagrams found in Victorian periodicals. Science Gossip, unlike some other Citizen Science projects, allows anyone to contribute by identifying charts, tables, illustrations and captions found on the pages of these Victorian Periodicals.
By just sifting through the pages, adding to the wealth of knowledge this website possesses, it’s amazing how much you can learn yourself. Science Gossip allows you to not only read one page to gather the knowledge to complete the page, but to read the whole article that the page is part of. Not only that, but many pages that are offered to you come from the same places, almost as if you get snippets of the story just by completing multiple pages, which allows you, the reader, to gain more and more knowledge on the same subject while also contributing to the project.
I personally found the pages from the Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener and Country Gentlemen to be the most interesting. The article is a chronicle of the Homestead, poultry-yard, apiary and dovecote. My favourite part being the drawings of the different gardens, each beautiful in their own ways. I think I was so interested in these images because they remind me of my grandmother’s garden when I was a child, because of how extravagant and gorgeous they were.
This specific artifact’s research was conducted by George W. Johnson, and Roberts Hogg, and was published in July 1872. The article itself possesses a world of knowledge on keeping your “homestead” and different types of garden spaces. This collection of information is useful to anyone who needs to know about gardening in the 19th Century, which could be anyone from my Gramma to someone with a masters in botany. This information might even be useful to me later in life, in case I ever need to know how to grow tomatoes on a balcony.
Science gossip is a useful Citizen Science project because it will make finding the information you need a lot easier by keeping track of where this knowledge is located, and how it’s organized. Having this knowledge digitized will certainly make these things easier to find and searchable. The future is digital, so our knowledge should be too. It’s also a great way to gain random knowledge by completing pages, I feel like I’ve gained a mass of knowledge about gardening, whether I’ll use it or not, I don’t know – but hey! It’s there!
This Citizen Science project disrupts the status quo by changing the way we locate knowledge from these old artifacts that otherwise I personally would have never seen or read. This knowledge is now forever online and available to everyone who may need it. Without this projects this information would probably be tucked away in some library’s collection, available only to those with access. Projects like this, make it so that vast amounts of knowledge can easily be collected – and to include people without a degree in biology, botany, zoology, etc. in science.
There are hundreds of Citizen Science projects that you can contribute to online. Some may be subjects to a certain location, or that target a specific area of science. There is a project to fit everyone’s interests – if you’re interested in participating in a Citizen Science Project, try checking National Geographic’s list to find one you’re interested in.