Friday, December 5, 2014

Discovering NCDC's hard copy holdings

Update Dec 11th: permanent link with some browser issues resolved at

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center have undertaken an inventory of their substantial basement holdings of hard copy data. These include a rich mix of data types on varied media including paper, fiche and microfilm.

One row of several dozen in the NCDC archive of hard copy paper holdings from around the world

Microfilm holdings arising from Europe over the second world war

Some, but far from all, of this data has been imaged and / or digitized. NCDC have now released the catalogue online and made it searchable. The catalogue interface can be found at (click on search records). The degree to which a given holding has been catalogued varies but this is a good place to at least begin to ascertain what holdings there are there and what their status is. For example searching on American Samoa as country provides a list of holdings most of which are hard copy only.
Example search results for American Samoa
For those interested in aspects of data rescue, this is likely to be a useful tool to ascertain whether NCDC hold any relevant records. By reasonable estimates at least as much data exists in hard copy / imaged format as has been digitised for the pre-1950 period. That is a lot of unknown knowns and could provide such rich information to improve understanding ...

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