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Thank you for your updates, comments and suggestions

Alex Mansfield | 10:15 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011

To all the many many who have submitted content to our new Domesday Reloaded website yesterday and today, thank you. It's been a marvellous response and we're dealing with adding your text and pictures as fast as we can - please bear with us if your block hasn't been updated yet... it will be.

Today's pic of the day was clearly about to be developed. Comparing the maps from then and now shows a lot of change... does anybody recognise it?






  • Comment number 1.

    Corby! Used to travel past the (ultimately never built) WonderWorld when visiting my grandparents in Peterborough.
    Being children my Sister and I were both very keen to see it built.... and most importantly visit.

    I think its an industrial estate and shopping centre now.

  • Comment number 2.

    I ran the team that edited all the community data for this project. All the school and community group floppy discs came to Loughborough where my team of information & library studies students worked through each one before sending them down the line for uploading onto the videodiscs. We checked, for example, any sensitive data sent in innocently by schoolchildren such as "My dad works at XXX for the Army in northern Ireland" would be screened if it gave away location. We corrected spellings if they would have compromised later searching. The University where I was a lecturer allowed me to have a room in the Computer Centre and their staff helped with the technology that "posted" the data. At that time I was seconded half time to the Microelectronics Education Programme, MEP, as one of 5 national training coordinators and the Domesday work was parrt of that. I well recall arguing that the projected costs of disc and machine would be too high [think Henry Ford] but the commmercial team were arrogant and went ahead. In the end we persuaded them to allow each LEA to have just one disc. Very sad tactics. I was delighted when the Leeds Uni team set up Camileon to try to rescue this fantastic resource - interest in the data was worldwide but not capitalised upon by the rather unfortunate approach to its release by some in or connected to the BBC at that time. At my uni, Loughborough, Peter Alexander came and planted an Oak tree to commemmorate the project. I heard recently that it had died but another one planted in its place. I had to miss the ceremony although I have a photo of it because by then I was at MEPs successor at the University of Warwick, the Microelectronics Education Support Unit, latterly the now defunct Becta, as one of 2 deputy directors. Innovation in computer applications here in the UK, including the Domesday project, the BBC Micro and all the training and development projects and materials, were the envy of the world but for reasons I never understood was not promoted abroad as it should have been or deserved. Especially the BBC/Acorn computer which was a fantastic machine and was rubbished by the business community. It has taken decades to overcome the limitations of the current PC technology and even now, software can be over complex for typical uses and many people have to struggle to do quite simple things.

  • Comment number 3.

    It would be great if we learned the lessons of the past. Will our great-grandchildren still be able to access this new version of Domesday 1986? Perhaps a hard copy should be considered. After all, we can still view the original Domesday Book, even though the language may be a barrier for many of us.

  • Comment number 4.

    It's absolutely fantastic to see the project again - I was lucky enough to have seen the system in action when it first launched.

    Curious though - why are the images on the website a fraction of the size of the originals?

  • Comment number 5.

    I was involved in a peripheral way as I worked as a technician in the Educational Technology dept. of Bulmershe College of Higher Education; I recall being shown the technology by one of our Senior Lecturers Roy Atherton. I recall being shown a 'surrogate walk' and the inverted mouse: a huge trackball as we know it now. The large discs used to store the data were somewhat fragile and not terribly reliable! I say that I was 'peripherally involved' as I was asked to modify a number of BBC Master machines by drilling holes, fitting additional sockets and connecting them to points on the circuit boards.
    Mike McMillan [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 6.

    I would very much like to contribute to Domesday Reloaded but live in an area bereft of D-sections. Can I assume this is because no data was gathered in this area in 1986 and that only the original D-squares are able to be updated?

  • Comment number 7.

    I have just finished listening to Michael Wood on Radio 4 and felt I had to have a look at Domesday Reloaded on line.
    My first job in the Education Advispory Department in Stockport in 1985 was to manage the schools contributions to The Project. We were delighted when the authority decided to purchase the Philips equipment needed to play the 12" discs.
    The video player was moved around Stockport and eventually 'got lost' somewhere within the Borough.
    I always regretted it was no longer available or made use of as a lot of work went into gathering the information and I am absolutely delighted that the data is/has been restored to modern electronic media standards and now once again gives access in 2011 and importantly that the project itself is once more ongoing. Congratulations to all concerned. I will make a contribution or two.
    Barrie Walker (long since retired)

  • Comment number 8.

    Hearing about the project on BBC Radio brought memories flooding back. I had the honour of demonstrating and explaining the BBC Domesday machine to HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 1987 and to Mrs Thatcher at World Expo88 in Australia. I was only looking at the photos the other day and I still have my original discs.

  • Comment number 9.

    I recognise the picture well - I grew up in Corby, though left before the Domesday Project started (and so well before the ill-fated Wonderworld). However I was working at Acorn Computers at the time, so have that connection - and of course I'm now working at the BBC where Domesday Reloaded is happening...

  • Comment number 10.

    As someone whose school was lucky enough to have a Domesday system, I remember it well.

    Is there any chance of seeing the title video clips on this site? It had a catchy little tune from, I guess, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and was part of the experience of using the system. It was particularly effective on the National Disc (not part of Domesday Reloaded at the moment), where it brought you into the computer generated virtual gallery.

    @Sean (comment 2) - the pictures on the Domesday Discs were analogue video stills. With the original slides missing presumed lost, the pictures have been recovered from the analogue video masters that were carefully digitised before being converted from composite to component video (information from http://www.atsf.co.uk/dottext/domesday.html ).

    The original video images were the usual professional video resolution of 702 x 576 but these are analogue, not digital pixels. There is inadequate bandwidth in the analogue video to produce high quality 702 x 576 digital stills, also, inevitably, there will be noise and other artefacts as a consequence of the analogue format source material. The small pictures on the web site are all that is technically possible from the video masters, which, in the absence of the slides are the best quality material still in existence.

    The original 35mm colour slides that were sent to the BBC by the contributors are a sad loss. Considering the interest in recovering Domesday 1986 into a usable format, it seems inconceivable that the slides are still in existence without having been located. If the slides were available, modern film scanners are capable of producing images detailed enough to reveal the grain of the film, though some of the original slides would inevitably be of better quality than others.

  • Comment number 11.

    Like all pioneering technology, the Domesday project had its limitations, but as a teacher of Information Technology helping both teachers and pupils to see beyond the frustrations of cassette tapes and floppy discs, it was an inspiration. It was not until Google Earth was launched that I had a similar experience of excitement as I looked for familiar places and was amazed when I found somewhere I recognised.

    I was responsible for showing both Primary and Secondary level pupils, how Information Technology could enhance all subjects, and catch the interest of more reluctant students. The Domesday Project was a wonderful tool for this, despite its limitations.

    With the pace of change in technology it never really had the recognition it deserved. I feel it should be remembered as much as Babbage's difference engine, ie an important step towards the high-tech world of today. I am delighted the BBC is reviving it.

  • Comment number 12.

    Wow! I took part in this as an 11 year old in my local Primary School in Merthyr Tydfil (South Wales). I remember helping to provide captions and labels for photographs, writing and typing information about the local area (on our very exciting new BBC micro computers!) and going out on visits to provide information about the various buildings of interest. I remember one particular visit in the area covered by our block to count churches and public houses!
    I'm thrilled to see this project being relaunched and would be delighted to see some of the original material we produced if it resurfaced. As I now live in a different country, it brings back warm memories of home.

  • Comment number 13.

    I contributed a photograph to the project back in 1986, and received a confirmation in the post. I still have the document. Unfortunately I never found out which out my photos was accepted. I remember that you could submit 6 photos in 'slide' format. I submitted 6 slides but still, to this day, would like to know which of my photos was accepted.

  • Comment number 14.

    Wow, have just found this site, and I think it is amazing:-) I was at school in 1986 and involved in the gathering of data for this project, and I was lucky enough to be the one who input all the details onto the computer disk that we created....I wonder how much of my data is the information that is included in my D-Block??!!

  • Comment number 15.

    Chuffed to see this Domesday Project again, but sad to see the block where we live empty. I hope we can have a chance to add details of our community

  • Comment number 16.

    I heard about this on Radio 4 this afternoon. Well done all concerned in preserving this excellent archive. The triumphs and failings of technology: iPhones and Google Earth are now with us but Concorde flies no more. Thank goodness good sense has not disappeared entirely.

  • Comment number 17.

    So chuffed to see this online - referred via local BBC news. Was lucky enough have participated in this via our School - and low and behold found a photo of myself in the Archives of our D Block! (also a photo of one of my Relative who was a farmer within our D-block) - For years I have been telling my daughter about what we did as part of the Domesday project in '86 - forever telling her about a "time capsule" that we buried in the School grounds at the end of our input into the Project.

  • Comment number 18.

    Suggestion - after a photo or text is sent online, that a prompt appears confirming successfully received - at present, the screen just goes back to bbc site, not sure whether accepted or not

  • Comment number 19.

    Are there any plans to release the raw data rather than just have it accessible from the website ? It would be great if there was an opportunity for others to build on this work by creating alternative ways to browse the archive.

  • Comment number 20.

    Agree with 18. No idea whether comments or corrections are received or not especially as obvious errors are still not corrected after a number of days. Wake up BBC as you are spoiling a good project by lack of attention to detail. Or have you outsourced this to people more interested in the fee than actually doing the job.

  • Comment number 21.

    @brian192 (Comment 20), What are you referring to when you say 'obvious corrections' ? The original data will have spelling errors etc as it was decided at the time not to correct them and I believe the original will not be modified. I think a modification would take the form of a new submission that would point to any factual errors in the original.

  • Comment number 22.

    You seem to have lost my post from yesterday about CAMiLEON and the National Disc -- please reply.

  • Comment number 23.

    I wrote a PhD on The BBC Domesday Project, entitled "The Evolution of a Revolution". I completed it in 1986. It was looking at the completely new and innovative technology and content of the discs and seeing how this new found freedom of information could potentially change society for ever. Of course the technology put paid to that but the internet came along and did a similar thing only much bigger and much better. But Domesday had the idea first! It was way ahead of anything else at that time. I worked with all the guys at the BBC and on the Editorial Team as an anthropologist observing the decision making process about what went on the discs and how the idea was marketed. I would love to find out what happened to the team like Stewart Atkins, Marcus, Helen Mounsey, Robert, and of course my Professor David Rhind. Any ideas.... Great to see the information accessible on the net now though

  • Comment number 24.

    @Tamsin, Fantadtic, I hope you see this post as I have been trying to contact you Tamsin please could you get in touch with me, you will be able to find me via the domesday1986.com website.

  • Comment number 25.

    Brilliant to see the project coming back to life. I coordinated the research for the Chalford Hill area and transcribed all the data. It was a fantastic project and helped to engage so many in using the new technology of the time. In our area less has changed than in many, I expect. More houses and fewer businesses - but the scenes in the three slides shown on the site look very much the same today.
    I was fortunate enough to see the finished project when the player and discs were brought to my school for a few days. It was very exciting to look for our contribution to such a historic project.

  • Comment number 26.

    can't work out how to make contact with you via domesday1986 or who you are so may be you could leave me your email address. Thanks Tamsin

  • Comment number 27.

    Hi Tamsin, sorry moderators don't allow contact information on these blog comments, you can contact me via the contact form at http://www.domesday1986.com/contact just say it is a message for Darren Grant.

    I have done a lot of research into domesday and have read your thesis and would be very keen to discuss it with you if you are willing, Thanks Darren

  • Comment number 28.

    More finds from Gosforth and Seascale, missing from their Cumbrian situation.

    Knowing that there is a 'Gosforth' near to Newcastle on Tyne I tried that site. There I found in
    D Block G.B. 304000 - 501000 3 pictures and 20 articles which actually belong to Cumbria

  • Comment number 29.

    @Betty (comment 28) - It would be interesting if you gave details of the articles and photos in question so that someone who had access to a 1986 vintage system could check.

    The likelihood is that information on the 1980 Community Disc was arranged by D Block. If so, it would be highly unlikely that the process of extracting the data from the Disc moved information from one D Block to another - especially from Gosforth (Cumbria) to Gosforth (Newcastle on Tyne). It would seem more likely that a mistake was made in the 1980s and the information was assigned to the wrong D Block when the Disc was being prepared.

    I would expect that the extraction process and ultimate reconstruction process for Domesday Reloaded was carefully tested to avoid information being jumbled between similar place names when the indexes were extracted. There are numerous place names that are duplicated - for example, there's an Eversholt in Bedfordshire and another in Hampshire, each with a railway station. It would be most unfortunate if the extraction process had corrupted the indexes in a way that introduces ambiguity.

    All in all, I would feel a mistake in the 1980s was most likely to blame.

  • Comment number 30.

    In Comment 28, I wrote 'Eversholt' when I meant 'Ridgmont'. However, that doesn't change my comments in any material way.

  • Comment number 31.

    Hi Tamsin, and hello to everyone who worked on Domesday. Not sure if you remember me, I was working on the software - both the pre-mastering software which collected and collated, indexed and coded the data, and the retreival software which was loaded from the disk into the BBC micros. I'm still in contact with a lot of the team, mainly through Andy Finney, but if you google me you can probably find an email address not too unlike this username. Not sure if we will have a 25th anniversary bash - I hosted the 20th anniversary at my house, but it's a bit small for a flash crowd, which is what I would expect with today's social networking.

  • Comment number 32.

    @18 - Mike 248.
    I have offered 5 updated pictures so far and received an email back in each case inviting me to send the images. I imagine the same acknowledgement would apply if you had been successful in submitting updated text. For what it is worth, after each successful submission my browser returned me to the Domesday page, however with a sixth and unsuccessful attempt, I was dumped on the bbc.co.uk homepage. On that basis I would guess that you too were unsuccessful. Re-trying has worked for me. Make sure you clear your browser cache first though (press F5).

  • Comment number 33.

    I contributed a photo in 1986 and am trying to find out if it is on the Reloaded website but can't trace it. Like a previous blogger I received a certificate, unfortunately it spelt my name wrong which also complicates matters. Have all the photos that made the discs made it on to the Reloaded website?

  • Comment number 34.

    Just stumbled upon this site and read a few of the comments. Anyone from Corby may be interested in this link :- http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/approved_entry/A787809
    It is great that the effort being put into creating this site will eventually be archived. The above entry was painstakingly edited by a researcher for the web site h2g2, a site that the BBC aim to dispose of.
    Read about the sites demise here :- http://www.h2g2c2.co.uk/?pid=7
    You can learn more by going here :- http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2
    If you prefer the old site here :- http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/home
    H2g2 covers Life, The Universe and Everything even gets into the potteries :-)

  • Comment number 35.

    The gazetteer on the original system had over 260,000 entries, each linked directly to a grid reference. It knew the whereabouts of Gosforth Crag, Gosforth Lake, Gosforth Valley, Gosforth Wood, Gosforth (Cumbria) and Gosforth (Tyne & Wear). All were linked to the correct dblocks as far as I can tell.

  • Comment number 36.

    Hi to the Domesday Team members. I will be (very) occasionally writing entries on this blog relating what my ageing brain cells recall of the development of the project. It would be great if other team members can chip in and add to/correct my memory using the comments.

  • Comment number 37.

    I have found 5 other D Blocks though that have data on the original disc but not on Reloaded. For example, Greens Norton - http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday/dblock/GB-464000-249000 - which gives a 404 Page Not Found error and which you can reach by searching for 'Greens Norton' and selecting it on the map, or by trying to go East from http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday/dblock/GB-460000-249000.

  • Comment number 38.

    Several contributors to www.geograph.org.uk are keen to recreate photos, but some of those they have submitted already appear without the name of the photographer. How do we make sure the photographer's name gets into the description with the photo?

  • Comment number 39.

    Ha ha! I am the 'Peter' in the 'day in the life of peter' section in Edinburgh - now i'm 34 and dismayed how dull my life was.

  • Comment number 40.

    looking on the site can not find any informationfor llangoed or penmon on anglesey north wales
    how can i ad information for places that are not included

  • Comment number 41.

    llangoed and penmon anglesey can not find then how do i ad information for places with information mising

  • Comment number 42.

    why is there a cut of date for ading comments to the site
    should not have cut of date if you want to update it next year
    will the site by permanent.

  • Comment number 43.

    I was a Primary class teacher in 1986 and was very keen to get involved in the Domesday Project. My class sent in data for 4 blocks, I was going to say uploaded but back then online access was so slow (1440kps dial up modem) we couldn't upload. We live on the island of Whalsay, one of the Shetland Isles. It is good to see the project back and online this time. Back in the 1990s when the Internet got going I had all our data, except the photos as we didn't have copies, retyped and entered on our school website.

    I'm retired now but will try and encourage my old school to get involved and do an update.

  • Comment number 44.

    Back in 1986 my school was online on The Times Network System (TTNS) not full Internet as it wasn't available to schools. It was a Dialcom system sponsored by News International and British Telecom and it did allow links to schools in some other countries, notably Australia, New Zealand, a few in USSR and North America. It the evolved into Campus 2000 which became CampusWorld. I believe now that AngliaCampus is the latest generation of that but not sure how much schools use it since full access Internet evolved.

    Anyone out there remember those days?

  • Comment number 45.

    I also had 3 photos accepted for the project but now cannot find any trace of them. One was of Brixton Market and there appear to be no photos of the Brixton area at all. Another photo was of two careers colleagues but I don't see any way to try and find this as the search criteria are all postcode based and I have already tried the SW2 postcode.

  • Comment number 46.

    @Cee: The National Disc (which is not on this website) has some photographs that match your description: Popes Road, "ILEA Alive" Exhibition plus two National Trust pictures.

  • Comment number 47.

    Thanks for this. I am confused as I thought the Domesday Reloaded was supposed to have all the pictures from the original idsc??


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