Domesday, Geograph and data archival

In a recent post about data archival, Ed Parsons linked to an interesting piece about how the 1986 Domesday Project was rescued.

The original project was distributed on laserdisc and accessed with a BBC Master micro, but is now available online at The interface is a copy of the original BBC interface, and looks archaic to the hypertext-savvy web generation. I believe there are contractual reasons for keeping it that way:

Last year I got in touch with George Auckland at the BBC who was involved with the original production. I enquired whether there was any possibility of incorporating the data into Geograph. While he was excited by the prospect, it turns out they don’t have the rights on the content beyond the original Domesday Project
because of “the rather specific way the project was referred to in the paperwork”.

Looks like we might have to wait until the 22nd century to make something more useful out of that data, but I (and George) live in hope that it will be sooner than that.

Geograph archival

Although Geograph is backed up nightly to multiple locations, we’ve a plan to make an “archival” version available via bittorrent, which would be the JPEG images and XML based metadata. We’ll burn copies to whatever is backup-media-du-jour too. Hopefully we’ll ensure it is preserved for future generations!

We’ve tried contacting the British Library a number of times to see if they’d be interesting in holding an archival copy for their Digital Object Management Programme, but they never reply to our emails. You’d think a snapshot of Britain and Ireland comprising 250,000 photographs would be worth hanging onto….