The Last Post
Domesday Reloaded finally comes to an end this week.
At the end of last year, to mark the anniversary of the publication, we unveiled a new multi-touch device and a gallery at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park. There’s also one in The Lab at MediaCityUK in Salford (although today and tomorrow it’s visiting London’s Olympia in the Learning Without Frontiers festival – do pop in if you’re passing).
The “Domesday Touch Table” was an exercise in re-presenting old media. It was great to have members of the original team on board because technologically today we are able more fully to realise the vision they had.
It looks and feels very 21st century – like a massive tablet device with up to four simultaneous users - but everything you see on it was taken from the 1986 Domesday masters, or was submitted for Domesday Reloaded. We stitched together the 23,000-odd 1986 TV-screen-sized map tiles to form a continuous, swipeable map, added in the other layers of map from the original so you can zoom in and out with a gesture, and pinned the TV news archives from the National Disc to their relevant locations. Then of course in every surveyed D-block you can find the 1986 and the 2011 pictures and articles.
I believe it complements the work done on building the Domesday Reloaded website, of The National Archives in looking after the data, and of all the hundreds of thousands of people, across the country of all ages, who had a go last year.
But what have we learned?
It’s of course impossible to completely describe something like 25 years of history of a whole country in 28 minutes of radio. So we sampled and sipped, and spent time travelling to meet people who submitted their thoughts last year. We argued on trains, stood around on pavements and wrangled in cabs. It was difficult. But everywhere we went we were charmed, welcomed and surprised.
The resulting programme is a mere taster of the differences, and the similarities, in our society’s perception of its past, in some very varied areas and circumstances.
Peter Armstrong always suggested the Domesday Project should be laid down like a fine wine; that it would increase in value with age.
Thanks again to everybody who enjoyed a snifter this time.
I, for one, can’t wait to find out how it tastes in another 25.