Peering Into The Invisible Present

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These studies are exposing a vast reservoir of temporal evidence that has been hidden in pre-digital documents as varied as harvest reports, livestock records and ship passengers’ memoirs—but also in scientific papers whose titles don’t openly advertise that they include time-series data. Eliza Grames, a postdoctoral researcher at UNR’s Biology Department, spends several hours each week reading the freshly scanned pages of yellowed journals and unpublished dissertations related to moths. If she finds any time-series information, she uses data-capture tools to convert analog graphs into digital formats that will be accessible to researchers. “Sometimes the graphs are literally drawn by hand,” she says. No time frame is too short.