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NASA Requests Help With Von Braun's Notes

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the yes-actually-it-is-rocket-science dept.

NASA 148

DynaSoar writes "NASA is soliciting ideas from the public on how best to catalog and digitize the collected notes of Wernher von Braun. 'We're looking for creative ways to get it out to the public,' said project manager Jason Crusan. 'We don't always do the best with putting out large sets of data like this.' The PDF notes are those of rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, the first director of NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and are typed with copious handwritten notes in the margin. According to the official request for information, NASA needs ideas on what format to use (PDF), how to index the notes, and how to create a useful database. The unique nature and historical value of the data, literally discovered in boxes six months ago, is what motivated NASA to ask the public for ideas."

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AC requests help with first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28513647)

please pull your pud another 20 seconds!!!

NASA (4, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513657)

Seems to have a habit of just dumping things in warehouses and forgetting about them.

Re:NASA (5, Funny)

HalifaxRage (640242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513709)

Next week: What to do with this big golden box thing? We tried opening it and some guy's face melted.

Re:NASA (3, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513895)

"...those of rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, the fist director of NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center..."

Wow...I didn't know they had that position?!?!

I'm not sure I'd WANT to be fist director....sounds like more of a strange pr0n thing than a NASA office.

Re:NASA (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514761)

Don't say that he's hypocritical
  Rather say that he's apolitical
  "Vunce ze rockets are up, who cares vere zey come down
  "Zats not mein department!" [suite101.com] says Werner von Braun

Re:NASA (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514033)

Next week: What to do with this big golden box thing? We tried opening it and some guy's face melted.

Guy 1: It's the Ark of the Covenant!

Guy 2: No, it's a spare reactor core. Same effect.

Re:NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28515399)

Top Men are working on it right now.

Re:NASA (1)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514283)

I assure you that they have top men working on it right now.

Re:NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514693)

(mandatory)

Who?

Re:NASA (0, Redundant)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514939)

TOP men.

I for one am growing tired... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514295)

of massive spending bills being rammed through Congress without anyone reading them and with no informed debate. Latest case in point: Waxman Markey. What was the rush, really? We couldn't have at least two weeks to discuss a 1000+ page law that touches every sector of the economy and fundamentally changes the way energy will be produced in America? We couldn't have any time to vet it for unnecessary pork, likely avenues of fraud, and unintended consequences? This is the same kind of bullshit the Democrats accused the last Republican congress of committing. Change my ass. The only thing that changed was the face. The same petty partisan bullshit is occurring, and the American taxpayer will be left holding the bag yet again. Fuck you all for believing this interloper was an actual agent of change instead of a puppet.

Re:NASA (2, Interesting)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514355)

Not sure if I can really blame them.

This past weekend I had a garage sale and, as I was clearing stuff, realized how much junk paperwork I had stashed in the garage. There were books, manuals, class notes, lecture notes (from those I attended and those I gave), meeting notebooks, documentation on long obsolete processes (Token Ring MAU reset procedures, Novell Netware rebuild procedures). I had notebooks of stories, embarrassing journal entries from college ("DH has the most beautiful eyes!!"), and all sorts of other uselessness that I had never really cataloged.

And how do you catalog such stuff anyway? I have 20 years of stuff. NASA generates less than one hour what it's taken me a lifetime to accrete.

Re:NASA (1)

db10 (740174) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514395)

come on guys, it's not rocket science!

Re:NASA (0, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514473)

Ironic, since Von Braun had a habit of just dumping jews in his factories and forgetting about them.

Re:NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514789)

Too soon?

National Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28515209)

Seems to have a habit of just dumping things in warehouses and forgetting about them.

Hmm, let's see here.... Von Braun was the most famous rocket scientist in history and whose knowledge was critical in our learning how to make very effective rockets that ultimately took us to the moon, and fostered the technology upon which our own military missles are based. If that information is to be made public, it might readily be used by the North Koreans, Iranians, or others to further improve their missiles which are inevitably going to be used to attack us and/or our allies someday.
WTF is NASA thinking? Oh, they're not. I think I see a problem.

Outsource it to China? (0)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513661)

Just use one of those companies that is always spamming me to do piecemeal typesetting... though i'm betting there's someone in North Korea who could do it for even cheaper.

Re:Outsource it to China? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513751)

Sounds like a job for... Google!

Though I'd be happier if they released it in at least two major formats.

Re:Outsource it to China? (3, Interesting)

V for Vendetta (1204898) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514079)

What about Project Gutenberg [gutenberg.org] ?

Format Suggestion (2, Funny)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513667)

group-iv tiff + ASCII, key-value metadata descriptor in XML. Keep it generic.

Re:Format Suggestion (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513793)

obviously, bittorrent to distribute the resulting set far and wide.

Re:Format Suggestion (2, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514229)

obviously, bittorrent to distribute the resulting set far and wide.

... with the files labeled as "Porn_Video_Michael_Jackson_And_Bubbles_Beat_It.rar" ...

Might as well get MediaSentry and the RIAA in on the act ...

Contact MIT and their archival department (4, Informative)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513695)

They got that million dollar touchless scanner that can digitize the papers with ease, then put them into either Open Source or PDF formats.

Re:Contact MIT and their archival department (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513951)

Isn't the PDF format open source?

Re:Contact MIT and their archival department (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514161)

yes it is. but many whiners here will argue against it.

The thing is, dont half ass the pdf by simply encapsulating images. they need to do a real OCR on it and separate things out to images that are not typewritten.

then donate the boxes to the Smithsonian.

the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of the documents is that it is easily searched. which means all text must be text and not images. Yes that includes his handwriting.

Re:Contact MIT and their archival department (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514651)

The thing is, dont half ass the pdf by simply encapsulating images. they need to do a real OCR on it and separate things out to images that are not typewritten. ...the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of the documents is that it is easily searched. which means all text must be text and not images. Yes that includes his handwriting.

I agree, but the second most important aspect is that the images of the original get preserved too. The ideal way to do it is to have the image be displayed, but with the OCR'd text linked to it so that when you highlight the image with the text selection tool, the text is what actually gets selected.

I'm undecided about whether the image of the typewritten text should be preserved, or whether it should actually be replaced with PDF text using a Courier-like font -- the latter would be better for usability (readability), but the former would be more authentic.

Re:Contact MIT and their archival department (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514779)

Doesn't PDF support metadata? They could provide a PDF which displays the raw scanned texts (no OCR) and then have the OCR text linked as metadata for indexing. Where can I go to pick my paycheck?

Re:Contact MIT and their archival department (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28515897)

Well, let ReCaptcha do it. If it is German, this should pose no problem to German users.

Re:Contact MIT and their archival department (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28515405)

No. There is no such thing as an open source format. Open source is a term that can only apply to an implementation of a standard, not to the standard itself. Things like xpdf/Poppler are open source implementations of the PDF standard. The term 'open standard' applies to formats but is badly defined. The common definitions of an open format are:
  1. Can be licensed under nondescriminatory conditions (e.g. MPEG formats).
  2. Freely available specification, can be implemented by anyone (e.g. PDF).
  3. Future versions of the standard controlled by a a standards committee (e.g. HTML).

PDF, since its creation, has been an open standard according to definition 2. Some people don't like it because it doesn't meet definition 3 (Adobe are the only ones who can create new versions of the PDF spec).

Obligatory Tom Lehrer.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28513719)

Gather round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun
A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience
Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown
"Ha, Nazi schmazi," says Wernher von Braun

Don't say that he's hypocritical
Say rather that he's apolitical
"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down
That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun

Some have harsh words for this man of renown
But some think our attitude should be one of gratitude
Like the widows and cripples in old London town
Who owe their large pensions to Wernher von Braun

You too may be a big hero
Once you've learned to count backwards to zero
"In German oder English I know how to count down
Und I'm learning Chinese," says Wernher von Braun

Re:Obligatory Tom Lehrer.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28513787)

Here he is performing it live. [youtube.com]

Re:Obligatory Tom Lehrer.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28515523)

Looks recorded.

Re:Obligatory Tom Lehrer.. (2, Funny)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514303)

Werner von Braun's autobiography was titled "I Aim For The Stars." Mort Sahl suggested a subtitle, to make it "I Aim For The Stars (But Sometimes I Hit London)"

Didn't know he was the kinky type.. (1)

scsirob (246572) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513737)

"Wernher von Braun, the fist director of NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center"

Nasty..

Re:Didn't know he was the kinky type.. (2, Funny)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513811)

Is that like Fist Post?

Re:Didn't know he was the kinky type.. (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513829)

What's so kinky about morse code? http://fists.org/ [fists.org]

A suggestion (4, Funny)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513767)

On the next thing that goes up to space (or even just a suborbital flight), crank down the window at about 20km up and throw the stuff out (or have some automated thingy with an explosive bolt that distributes it into the atmosphere). Now THAT would be a "creative way to get it out to the public".

Then again, maybe that would be TOO creative.

Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28515743)

you cannot crank down the window at 20km up since the gas pressure keeps the windows shut.

Distributed Proofreaders (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513789)

Scan it at high resolution, OCR what you can, and load it into Distributed Proofreaders [pgdp.net] . Or if the material is too technical for the layperson, ask for a copy of the web-based software and set up your own private site. Let bored grad students work on it in exchange for some kind of minor credit on the final digitized work. (I believe that the bored grad students phenomenon produces half of the highly-technical articles on Wikipedia.)

Re:Distributed Proofreaders (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513885)

Captchas.

There are projects that use captchas to digitize old texts, NASA could put those parts which don't lend themselves to OCR as captchas on their webpage.

Re:Distributed Proofreaders (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514057)

Seriously?
"Please enter proper LaTeX syntax for the following equation..."

Re:Distributed Proofreaders (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514221)

There are far more individual numbers/letters/etc. in those notes than equations.

Re:Distributed Proofreaders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28515603)

That would work for geeks-with-glasses pr0n...

Re:Distributed Proofreaders (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514799)

Unfortunately, the notes are full of non-words, like (RTG), SNAP-10A, B70, n.mi
At least, that what i'm assuming they say, because some of them are rather unreadable. Now, slashdotters may recognise some, but many people won't see the "words"

Re:Distributed Proofreaders (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514949)

That's a very valid criticism in the case of reCAPTCHA, unfortunately...

However, I seem to remember something similar to reCAPTCHA that operates not on whole words, but on individual symbols. Might work. Even if doesn't exist (can't find it...) it shouldn't be too hard to implement.

Competition? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513799)

Just scan everything and allow private companies, individuals, and non-profits to come up with their own scheme, then combine the best non-proprietary techniques and make your own.

Oh, forgot one thing (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513833)

Only do this for notes that are in the public domain or which the copyright-holder is willing to license very liberally.

For encumbered notes you'll want some other idea.

Re:Oh, forgot one thing (-1, Flamebait)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513849)

This guy was a Nazi - you don't have to respect his copyrights.

Re:Oh, forgot one thing (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514299)

In general, if the notes were made while working for NASA, they would be considered public domain.

Fist director? (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513803)

> the fist director of NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama

Boy do I not want to work for that particular department.

Let the experts handle it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28513815)

Just put it in a box and send it to Google...

TIFF FTW (5, Interesting)

alta (1263) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513835)

Lets go with a format almost anyone can read. As soon as their all scanned in as high res TIFFs THEN you can begin to OCR them and create hybrid PDF's which CAN be indexed. From there we have a good start with high quality originals and searchable dirivitives. Then people can start rolling whatever custom solutions they want to.

Yes, I know that OCR is going to be very crude, especially for anything hand written. But what it will do is get us a very good starting point. Id like to see a wiki set up with the OCR'd text as the beginning text, a link to the document and then the public can begin to go in and correct the OCR mistakes, and fill in what just flat out couldn't be OCRd.

Recaptcha! (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513941)

Sounds like a job for this project. [recaptcha.net]

Best part is, hand written is going to be more difficult to solve for computers...

Re:Recaptcha! (1)

alta (1263) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514233)

I'd never seen that before, great idea.

Use a Wiki to Process Images to Open Format (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513843)

Well, considering they host over 6,000 pdfs [google.com] and the RFI is in PDF with the title of the document being "Microsoft Word - WvB RFI 6-24-09.doc" by Jason Crusan who used Acrobat Distiller 7.0.5(Windows), I think we know what everyone uses at NASA. Fine. I'm not going to bitch about that. Instead I'm going to point out that if you're already dependent on Adobe Acrobat Reader & Microsoft Word being around until the end of time supporting your old doctypes, you might as well release these in PDF from DOC sources too.

But, if I were doing this: Assuming these are all in images, put the images in whatever format you want and make a generic wiki page for each of them. Then let users log in (NASA fans should pour in) and translate the pages to annotated wiki pages with the footnotes (normally references) being all the side notes that were penciled in. They can categorize them by related missions and maybe even tag them ... you will need at least one or two people on your staff to administrate. Diagrams and drawings will probably need to be cropped and retained as images. Keep those in a lossless format but distribute whatever saves you bandwidth.

Once that's done, ideally you'd put it in some XML standards based format (ODF or OOXML, yeah, that's another argument to be had) that you will always be able to read even if you have to build your own viewer/converter. Keep these sources indexed and provide for people the rendered PDF/PS/PNG/whocares and then you could probably build scripts to rebuild all from sources if you want. New technology comes out or people want to view them in HTML 5--no problem, just build a neat little XSLT for them.

As for indexing them, I can tell you one way not to do it. Don't do the thing that curators of classical music did [stason.org] . Man, that's like speaking another language to me. Arrange the notes by mission or date if you can and any natural titles that arise for the favorites, add to it as an alias.

Re:Use a Wiki to Process Images to Open Format (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514325)

Also, it would make sense to be able to tag it, ala GMail or Firefox 3.x bookmarks

Re:Use a Wiki to Process Images to Open Format (1)

esme (17526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514807)

As for indexing them, I can tell you one way not to do it. Don't do the thing that curators of classical music did [stason.org] .

With any decent metadata format, that kind of system (or even more complex) is perfectly fine. Every one of those is meaningful to someone, and maybe they want to search using it. For example, lots of cataloged materials have barcodes which would be a colossal pain to type in by hand (and no one would remember them anyway) -- but they're great for scanning in if you happen to have the thing in your hand and want to look it up.

You probably don't need to show all of the identifiers to most users, but if an item has six different identifiers, indexing them all is the Right Thing To Do.

On a system I'm working on, we've got records with lots of different identifiers (the source system catalog number, the item's barcode, the vendor id (if it was scanned or OCR'd by a vendor), possibly an id from flickr or other systems we've exported the image to, plus our own system's id (because you can't count on any of those others being there for every record)). And that's not counting descriptive fields like titles, call numbers, etc. that people might use to identify the records. They are all indexed and searchable from the default search box.

When you print (or read aloud for radio), you have to pick which identifiers/titles you want to use. I think classical music often errs on the side of including all of them when one would do. But if some people know a piece as "HWV 295" and some as "Organ Concerto #13" and others as "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale", and if a lot of the people were anal-retentive pedants with lots of free time to call up radio stations and complain about not using the "right" identifier, it might just be easier to read them all.

-Esme

PDF with annotations (1)

ruinevil (852677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513869)

Why don't they release it in the open standard PDF, with annotations for the handwritten notes, which I believe are in the in the standard. (I might be wrong.)

Brilliant! We'll make society do the work! (3, Interesting)

g34rs (1583313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513923)

Thanks NASA for making me feel like my opinion is valued and useful. Kind of like that, oh what was it called? The vote for the name of that satellite thingy? When really you're just passing the buck because your budget didn't include "digitizing old notes."

they are allowing the marketplace to decide (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514751)

instead of focring people to pay taxes on some project of dubious desirability, they are trying to see if the public has any support for their idea, before they thrust headlong into it.

government workers should ask the opinion of the taxpayers more often, we are after all , their bosses. i have a lot of respect for the government employees that remember this, and nothing but contempt for those who want to 'play social engineer and tax waster' without regard for what the public thinks.

Re:Brilliant! We'll make society do the work! (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514769)

Even if NASA did do it itself, "society" would be paying for it anyway...

Actually, this should be better in two important ways: not only could crowd-sourcing could accomplish the task much more efficiency than $50-grand-space-pen-NASA could to begin with, but also the cost would be distributed across the entire Internet, rather than being shouldered only by American taxpayers! It's a win-win-win* situation, I'd say.

(* for NASA, and for space geeks, and for taxpayers)

Anonymous Coward (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28513925)

You guys clearly do not read enough electronic media. PDF and Djvu are the more widespread and relatively ubiquitous modern electronic book formats. Djvu tends to be vastly superior to PDF in terms of file size though.

Read all about it here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Djvu

Discuss.

Re:Anonymous Coward (0, Troll)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514567)

Read all about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Djvu [wikipedia.org]

Discuss.

Any post that ends with the command, "Discuss", should be taken out back and shot.

It's pretentious, annoying, and detracts from whatever valid points (if any) are contained in the post.

If the topic of the post is worth discussing, it'll be discussed. If not, it will be ignored.

And just to note, djvu is better for file size... at the cost of lossy compression. In my experience, the lossiness isn't really that bad, but we are dealing with handwritten notes. For something of historical value like this, I'd rather a lossless format being available in addition to djvu and/or pdf.

Zoom! (2, Informative)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28513979)

We're looking for creative ways to get it out to the public

By rocket mail!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_mail [wikipedia.org]

Re:Zoom! (1)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514437)

I have an account at rocketmail.com, but I never get my email by rockets. I'm disappointed now.

Re:Zoom! (1)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28515151)

I have an account at rocketmail.com, but I never get my email by rockets. I'm disappointed now.

Of course you don't, sending rockets to individual users would be cost prohibitive, not to mention really bad for your lawn. No, rocketmail actually only uses rockets to deliver mail between them and your ISP.

Creative, eh? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514025)

Launch copies of the notes in rockets over London

Typo in tags (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514027)

Someone seems to have mistyped "nasa" instead of "nazi". Just saying...

Keyword searchable is a must (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514051)

Call me selfish, but I'd love to search Von Braun's notes for one particular name: my late grandfather worked for him at MSFC for over 30 years.

Recaptcha be able to might help (1)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514071)

http://recaptcha.net/ [recaptcha.net]

How about putting them in a gas chamber? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514147)

and burn them, stinking Nazi.

Wonderful (but really awful) irony (2, Interesting)

urbanmapper (1466247) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514157)

How about take a page from the Talmud? [wikimedia.org] Seems a perfect format, and there's been thousands of years of indexing of that document.

tro77 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514175)

wasn't] o8 Steve's

Google it!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514253)

Just ask Google to scan it. I am sure they would love to do it. They have a fabulous scanning system that they were using on books, so I would suspect that they could scan it for NASA. Why reinvent the wheel when there is GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!

burn them (0, Offtopic)

kubitus (927806) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514341)

in Auschwitz, Buchenwald or in Dachau

But the USA did also a deal with the Japanese and covered up Unit 731 deeds to become the sole owner of this Biological Warfare knowledge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

the country which always made deals with the devil(s)

some might call it a pact!

Mr. H. Oberth said to me that he was satisfied when WvB died (of cancer) before him.

Hand them over to google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514349)

Hand them over to google they have experience with this type of thing

Scan it in high res first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514383)

Make high res scans into tiff, then let people decide how to process it on their own time (recaptcha?). Also output this (at a lower res) to pdf for reading with the ability to annotate (and maybe ocr it a bit).

most people probably wont care what format its in.

Project Gutenberg might be interesting choice.

Vonce ze rakets go up . . . (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514403)

Who cares where they come down.
That's not my department, says Wernher von Braun.

hard copy (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514469)

personlly, i'd love a printed hard copy on my book shelf. right there with my Goddard books.

It's a Hoax / Scam (0, Offtopic)

BrightSpark (1578977) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514471)

See Greg Laden's notes here. http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2009/06/lost_moon_tapes_found_in_perth.php?utm_source=sbhomepage&utm_medium=link&utm_content=channellink [scienceblogs.com] Because I'm from Perth this is old news. As Greg points out, the Daily Express may have some retracting to do.

Monkeys (0, Offtopic)

JackTheWire (1171943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514477)

An infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters typing for eternity will surely reproduce the works of Von Braun. Or is there a deadline...

This isn't rocket science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514553)

Oh, wait.

wikify it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514601)

make it into a wiki,

then upload the files as .djvu files, and copy a bunch of the 'page' templates from wikisource. basically it gives you a handwritten graphical picture of the page, right alongside the wikified hyperlinked annotated text.

you could also then allow teams of remote people to do the transcription ... either pay, or see if volunteers go after the project (like they have done for many old works at wikisource).

and make the site sort of like wikisource, but with more policy latitude about adding annotations, hyperlinks, etc, all of which will be necessary to understand wtf he was talking about.

wikia.com has free accounts! or you could pay some kid a few hundreds bucks to set you up vonbraunwiki.nasa.gov using mediawiki (and a copy of wikisource's and wikipedia's appropriate templates)
---

Tobacco Documents Online (3, Interesting)

nbauman (624611) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514617)

How about something like this? http://tobaccodocuments.org/ [tobaccodocuments.org]

What format? (1)

pdxp (1213906) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514643)

NASA needs ideas on what format to use (PDF)

Why do I have this subconscious urge to suggest.... PDF?

Turn the project over to the Smithsonian (1)

gpig (244284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514673)

They might know a thing or two about dealing with historical items, and they do have a museum devoted to air and space flight [si.edu] . (That said, the fact that NASA are asking for suggestions at all is encouraging.)

mo3 up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514755)

ASSOCIATION OF [goat.cx]

I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28514835)

if they'll ever find backups of the plans for the Saturn 5. They threw out the originals years ago to save space. Von Braun would probably have wanted those to remain rather than just his notes in the margins.

Why is NASA handling this themselves? (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514901)

I'm all for saving historical documents and everything. But with the economy the way it is right now, is this really the best thing for our _space_ agency to focus on? Don't we have some government departments just for handling historical records? Can't we just turn this over to them and let NASA focus on its basic mission?

Re:Why is NASA handling this themselves? (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 5 years ago | (#28515841)

...is this really the best thing for our _space_ agency to focus on? Don't we have some government departments just for handling historical records? Can't we just turn this over to them and let NASA focus on its basic mission?

You've never worked for a government agency, have you? Giving up budget dollars is unthinkable.

Re:Why is NASA handling this themselves? (1)

decsnake (6658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28515893)

correct. It sounds like a job for the National Archives (http://www.archives.gov/) to me. Why is NASA doing it themselves? Because NASA invented Not Invented Here.

Twitter! (1)

bryanc (142005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514907)

Post them via twitter. Get Ashton Kutcher involved.

Huntsville needs a dedicated exibit to Von Braun (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514913)

I went to the Space Camp place. They have only one area for Von Braun. While others wandered in Gemini, Apollo, I was captivated by this single video of Von Braun. How could this man raise that much money on two continents and with opposing sides of a war. My friends from Huntsville agree. This man was above war, knowing perhaps that only war could fund space exploration. I am only imagine him saying, "war will come and go, come and go", we must build a new rocket!

If you get the rights right, then all else follows (1)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28514995)

If they put the scans up in high-res TIFF files, but put them in the public domain for anyone to use for any purpose, then good things will happen. And then send the originals to the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum and let the professionals curate them. But if you don't get the rights right, then you could easily end up with the content all locked into some screwed up Windows-only access or via Silverlight or some other lock-in technology. Let's not fall into the same trap that the British Library did. Secure the public domain rights, then put the content out in the highest resolution practical, and then let the fun begin.

Wikipedia? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28515223)

I would suggest putting it on Wikipedia, but it wouldn't pass WP:OR [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Wikipedia? (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28515571)

And that's exactly what Wikimedia Commons [wikimedia.org] is for, isn't it?

Text (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 5 years ago | (#28515385)

Let other people format them to their hearts desire.

NSA (not NASA) could help (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 5 years ago | (#28515781)

The National Security Agency must have algorithms for storing and the intelligent retrieval of large amounts of text data. Maybe they could help.

But it would probably be easier to just convert it into HTML and let Google's spider index it all.

Can't forget the song... (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#28515811)

Rather prescient some 40 + years later...

Wernher von Braun
by Tom Lehrer

Gather round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun
A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience
Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown
"Ha, Nazi schmazi," says Wernher von Braun

Don't say that he's hypocritical
Say rather that he's apolitical
"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down
That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun

Some have harsh words for this man of renown
But some think our attitude should be one of gratitude
Like the widows and cripples in old London town
Who owe their large pensions to Wernher von Braunv

You too may be a big hero
Once you've learned to count backwards to zero
"In German oder English I know how to count downv Und I'm learning Chinese," says Wernher von Braun

.DOC of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28515813)

Seems appropriate for the Nazi's notes. Of course all of the liner notes will need to be stored as revisions and hidden.

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