The National Museum of Computing enjoys tablet resurrection of BBC Domesday Project

By Culture24 Reporter | 12 December 2011
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A photo of a circular window reading The Domesday Discs
The 2011 Domesday Touchtable framed by the original Domesday Disc from 1986© John Robertson
In 1986, to mark the 900th anniversary of the Domesday Book, the BBC launched the Domesday Project, a then-pioneering campaign where the public could submit pictures and insights on their local area which were then etched onto immortal laserdiscs.

High costs and technological advances meant the project was never fully realised in spite of its futuristic ambitions, but last April BBC Learning resurrected the project by making the archives accessible online.

More than 100,000 people viewed the database – racking up 250,000 page views every week – and visitors were asked to get things going again by sending in new stories, photos and asides in a comparison between now and the mid-1980s.

The cinematically-titled Domesday Reloaded has enjoyed its second coming, and now The National Museum of Computing has been given one of only two devices in the UK where you can explore it.

Four users can play with the Touchtable, shifting maps, pictures, stories, videos and other location-specific archives on an innovation partly overseen by original project leader Peter Armstrong.

Museum director Kevin Murrell said the Touchtable was "marvellous" when it was unveiled last Saturday (December 10 2011).

"The 1980s was a remarkable period for British computing," he added.

"The BBC Domesday Project was a real landmark in education and a clear demonstration of the way information storage and handling was being transformed."

Measuring 52 inches and offering 12 "simultaneous touch-points", the resource is comparable with a certain high-spec tablet currently enjoying ubiquitous popularity. The museum will be hoping its new toy proves just as successful.

More from the launch:

A photo of a group of people looking at a screen showing digital images of text and photos
The application is currently one of three such devices in the UK and one of only two hosting the Domesday application© John Robertson

A photo of two people playing with a screen showing digital images and text
The new Touchtable sits alongside a hands-on exhibit of the original systen from the 1986 project, set in a gallery chronicling the groundbreaking BBC Computer Literacy Project of the 1980s© John Robertson

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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