Cambridge University reveals Captain Scott's diaries via blogs and Twitter

By Graham Pembrey | 25 November 2009
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a black and white photo of a man writing in a shack

(Above) Captain Scott. © Scott Polar Research Institute

If Captain Scott's ill-fated final expedition across Antarctica had taken place in the modern era, would he have ditched his written journal to blog and Twitter his crew's progress?

Starting today (November 26), researchers at Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute will do just that, transmitting daily posts to correspond with the diary Scott kept exactly 99 years ago.

As the centenary of the historic trip approaches, The Institute plans to add other journals from the archive online, to help build up a detailed picture of each day's events.

Beginning with his entry for November 26, 1910, the blogs and Tweets will follow the crew as they leave New Zealand, through scientific missions in 1911 and finally to their 1912 return from the South Pole, concluding with Scott's words: "It seems a pity, but I do not think that I can write more. R Scott. For God's sake, look after our people."

He was only five miles from safety when he died, along with the five other members of his team.

The Cambridge Institute, which has been an international centre for polar explorers, scholars and enthusiasts since 1920, decided to make the text accessible to modern readers by bringing it into the electronic age.

Blog developer Christopher Hughes said the project would present a "great work in a format that people use in their everyday lives."

He added that reading the entries day-by-day would make it easier for audiences to imagine what the group were going through.

"Those familiar with the story will get a new sense and appreciation of the endurance of the explorers, their true goals, and a deeper understanding of their self-sacrifice," he said.

As the centenary of the historic trip approaches, the Institute plans to add other journals from the archive online, building a detailed picture of each day's events.

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