Dr. Doom
May 12, 2011 12:12 PM   Subscribe

Doomsday reloaded. In 1986 the BBC launched an ambitious project to record a snapshot of everyday life across the UK for future generations. A million volunteers took part, and now you can search and view the million photos and written entries.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar (21 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
It's actually called Domesday, not Doomsday.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:26 PM on May 12, 2011 [4 favorites]

Unfortunately this D-block was never surveyed back in 1986.

They have entries for all of my part of London except my part specifically. Pffff.

This is great, though.
posted by timshel at 12:27 PM on May 12, 2011

I think this is Rose Tyler's parent's wedding. Better watch out for the Reapers!
posted by rabbitsnake at 12:30 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

second the empress. are you perhaps a connie willis fan?
posted by lodurr at 12:32 PM on May 12, 2011

My town is depressingly the same.
posted by Jehan at 12:35 PM on May 12, 2011

This is the project which was almost lost, because it was originally produced on LaserDisc and they nearly lost the ability to read it. More on Wikipedia
posted by simonw at 12:46 PM on May 12, 2011 [4 favorites]

Some of the articles are beautiful: Girl's playground games.

An encyclopaedia written entirely by primary school children would almost certainly be the greatest website anyone could ever make.
posted by dng at 1:03 PM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think essentially this project could only have been improved if they had somehow embedded an entire archive of Ceefax in there as well.
posted by dng at 1:25 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Supernatural occurrences in Purleigh in Essex.

Once a month the lady from Hill Farm goes down stairs to find the downstairs lights on when she knows the night before she turned them off.
posted by dng at 1:43 PM on May 12, 2011

I remember perusing this stuff on a terminal in London's Science Museum aged about 7. Very cool. It's nice that entries can be updated, too.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:49 PM on May 12, 2011

Oh, good. They've just created all the data that will get used to set up The Matrix.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:09 PM on May 12, 2011

My namesake is somehow both the same and different as it was 10 years ago when I was last there.

Oh cool, I went to Elsecar just last summer. That looked like a nice little place, although I admit that my view of Hoyland wasn't so good.
posted by Jehan at 3:57 PM on May 12, 2011

This is wonderful. I remember the Domesday Project being a really big deal at the time. But even when the hardware was current it was not particularly available -- I don't think I ever actually saw one working.

This hill was always great for sledging.

Harlow children's fears.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:07 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think essentially this project could only have been improved if they had somehow embedded an entire archive of Ceefax in there as well.

This page is very interesting on the technical background of the original project, including some of the decisions made then which, in retrospect, doomed it to rapid obsolescence.
Originally I investigated using an unmodified videodisc player and storing data as full-frame teletext. The BBC's Telesoftware Project was regularly transmitting software using teletext on the BBC's Ceefax teletext service. (Teletext, for those non-Europeans in the readership, is a data signal transmitted in the vertical blanking of a TV signal and used to produce small pages of text and basic graphics. The BBC's Ceefax service started in 1972 and currently attracts around 15 million users a week. Pretty-well all UK analogue TV channels broadcast a teletext service of one kind or another ... and so do most European ones.) There was a teletext adapter for the BBC Micro and I had produced a demonstration application using a BBC videodisc called "British Garden Birds" which included a teletext magazine. This application pulled digital data from the videodisc using the teletext adapter. Unfortunately it was a little temperamental although I did successfully demonstrate it to the BBC Board of Governors in 1984.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:34 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

a man committed suicide, so, as they always did in those days they drove a stake through his heart.

You know, just in case he was a vampire.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:36 PM on May 12, 2011

Ohh, this is great! I took part shortly before I left primary school and wrote an entry on the commune I grew up in - I remember being really excited because I had to sign a release form to allow them to use it, it felt very grown up! quite odd to read it again, really glad they finally managed to recover the project.
posted by kumonoi at 9:09 PM on May 12, 2011

What's interesting, looking at the place I grew up in, is just how *little* information there is. Three low resolution photographs, and a handful of short paragraphs. In the age of the web, where there is access to practically unlimited information, it all seems a little sparse. Google Street View has ruined me!
posted by salmacis at 6:04 AM on May 13, 2011

Where's the .torrent?
posted by ymgve at 6:23 AM on May 13, 2011

I'm pretty sure I found the entry I wrote (it's the right subject, and it sounds like me), although without a name on it I'll never be sure.

The interesting thing to me is how little text is there... maybe a hundred paragraphs per city block. Digital data density was really, really sparse back then (the pictures were analogue. CAV FTW).
posted by Leon at 7:01 AM on May 13, 2011

Oops. Not city block in the American sense.
posted by Leon at 7:02 AM on May 13, 2011

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