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BBC Micro Domesday Project.
In November 1984 Bill Cotton the then Managing Director of the BBC announced the start of the BBC Domesday Project, to compile a new electronic Domesday Book on interactive videodisc. During the course of 1985 the BBC co-ordinated the project collecting information, with over 15,000 schools, colleges and other institutions such as Scouts, Guides and the Women's Institute across the nation.
The project involved compiling and creating facts and figures about the area around each school to provide a comprehensive image of Britain in 1985. Schools, and later community groups, were asked to generate three photographs and 20 40-column pages of text about their local community and this information was put onto two Laser Discs. The completed project was timed for release in 1986 as it marked the 900th anniversary of the 1086 Domesday book commissioned by William the Conqueror, considered by many historians to be the most astonioshing administrative feat of the Middle Ages.
Despite the enormity of this project costing over £3.5M to produce, surprisingly it has almost been forgotten about. The specialist equipment that is required to run it is obsolete and very little usable equipment still exists. Much of the equipment has broken down or simply been thrown out due to it being seen as obsolete.
In an attempt to preserve the efforts of thousands of contributors there are a number of people who are maintaining working examples of the original system. There are also a number of people who are attempting to rebuild a working Domesday system. The purpose of this section of the site is to gather together as much information as possible about the original system to help people to maintain or build a system.
The original system was based on a special customized version of the Acorn BBC master, they are not easy to find as they look identical to a standard BBC master. People wouldn't know if they have this model unless they knew the history of the Domesday project.