STOCKTON (CBS13) —The University of the Pacific is joining with the public to help decipher some of naturalist John Muir’s journals.
Muir was famous for his writings about the rich natural environment of the Sierra and the Sequoias, and now the public can help transcribe his work.
Born in Scotland, Muir came to California in 1868. With the largest collection of John Muir material in the world, UOP reached out to the public in its transcribing project.
That’s where volunteers like UOP student Amy Eastburg come in as citizen curators. As a history major, she wasn’t initially drawn to his story.
“I knew a little about Muir but I wasn’t all that interested,” she said.
But deciphering his writing isn’t always easy, as they soon became puzzles she was eager to solve.
“Figuring out his short hand and trying to read the pencil, it was a lot of fun,” she said.
Volunteers soon learn Muir’s abbreviations aren’t the same as our modern varieties.
The volunteers’ work is double-checked by the staff so they don’t have to worry about mistakes. For many of the volunteers working with Muir’s words has led them even further into his life’s work.
About half of Muir’s journals still need to be transcribed, and the school says it welcomes more volunteers to be part of the project by going to their site.