BBC Learning’s Domesday Reloaded project which launched earlier this year reaches its climax on December 7th,25 years after the original created a unique snapshot of 80s Britain.
Launched in 1986 to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the original Domesday Book, the first BBC Domesday project was one of the most pioneering interactive campaigns of its time.
The BBC asked the public to submit photos and text about their local area – which were then digitally etched onto laserdisc. The costs and the rapid development of technology saw the system fall into obscurity and very few people ever got to see the finished results or their contributions.
Then, in April, BBC Learning resurrected the project. The community archive from 1986 was made available to see for the first time ever via a BBC website and visitors were asked to bring the data into the present day by sending in their current stories, comments and photographs to compare how life in Britain has changed and how some things have stayed the same.
The Domesday project is now finally being conserved as a public resource. BBC Learning has worked closely with The National Archives and with their help and expertise in web archiving and digital preservation, this valuable resource is now being made available to the public for generations to come.
A Touchtable containing all the data will be housed at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park and at the BBC’s new home in MediaCity, Salford.
This technology will allow up to 4 people at once to search UK maps and compare them, along with photos and articles, from 1986 and 2011. They will also be able to watch BBC news footage from the early 80s.
Saul Nassé, Controller of BBC Learning, said: “The original Domesday project was truly innovative. Now, with the Touchtable at The National Museum of Computing and at MediaCity UK, the data is accessible in an interactive form that was never imagined in the 1980s. Many of those visiting the site had fond memories of taking part in the original survey in the 1980s and the project inspired a new generation to take an interest in their community and local history.”
Radio 4 supported Domesday Reloaded with programming focusing on the rise, fall, and rehabilitation of the BBC Domesday projects.
The station will be broadcasting on the January 25th 2012,Domesday Reloaded; How Britain Has Changed will revisit the project for one final time.
Professor Danny Dorling will travel to areas of the UK covered by the 1986 Domesday project to see what’s changed 25 years on and what has remained the same.