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Cautionary Tales – Laser Versus Parchment: Doomsday for the Disc


Nov 10, 2023


William the Conqueror undertook a remarkably fashionable mission. In 1086, he started compiling and storing an in depth report of his realm: the place everybody lived, what they did and the place they got here from.

900 years later, the BBC started its personal Domesday mission, sending faculty youngsters out to conduct a group survey and accumulate information about Britain. This was a folks’s database, 20 years earlier than Wikipedia. However only a few years later, that interactive digital database was completely unreadable, the data misplaced.

We are likely to take archives with no consideration — however preservation doesn’t occur accidentally, and digitisation doesn’t imply that one thing will final endlessly. And the erasure of the historic report has disastrous penalties for humanity.

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Additional Studying

On William the Conqueror

English Heritage; Historical past of Data; the Nationwide Archives; Andrew Whitby, The Sum of the Folks.

On the BBC Domesday Undertaking

Peter Armstrong remarks on the Centre for Pc Historical past 16 Nov 2019
Tony Quinn “Domesday Plus 900” Acorn Consumer December 1984
Jeffrey Darlington, Andy Finney and Adrian Pearce “Domesday Redux: The rescue of the BBC Domesday Undertaking videodiscs” Ariadne Situation 36, 30-July-2003
Andy Finney’s web site
Robin McKie and Vanessa Thorpe “Digital Domesday Ebook lasts 15 years not 1000” The Observer 3 March 2002

Mick Harker “Group stalwart dies” Sussex World 12 Feb 2008

The Centre for Computing Historical past.

Daniel Earwicker Domesday Reloaded Reloaded

On the Windrush Scandal

Demetrios Matheou “Surviving the Windrush Scandal” Unison Journal 6 June 2018
Amelia Gentleman “Man dwelling in UK for 56 years loses job over immigration papers” The Guardian 9 April 2018
Amelia Gentleman “Residence Workplace destroyed Windrush Touchdown playing cards, says ex-staffer” The Guardian 17 April 2018
Georgina Lee “FactCheck – who destroyed the Windrush Touchdown playing cards?” 24 April 2018
Amelia Gentleman The Windrush Betrayal 2019

Michael Braithwaite interview with ITV (embedded on the Day by day Mail web site).

Human Rights Watch – “UK Hostile Compensation Scheme Fails Windrush Victims” 17 April 2023

On archives
Zittrain, J., Albert, Ok., & Lessig, L. (2014). “Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Drawback of Hyperlink and Reference Rot in Authorized Citations.” Authorized Data Administration, 14(2), 88-99.
Richard Ovenden “We should combat to protect digital dataThe Economist
Richard Ovenden Burning The Books


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