Our Friend the Computer

The BBC Domesday Project

October 18, 2022 Our Friend the Computer Season 1 Episode 12
Our Friend the Computer
The BBC Domesday Project
Show Notes Transcript

Back after a summer break, Camila and Ana delve into a project they discovered at the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge when Camila was visiting Ana in London. Called the BBC Domesday Project, this was a mid-80s attempt at an interactive survey of the entire country with data collected largely by school children. With the data contained on two Laserdisks and only accessible via specialised hardware, the system quickly suffered from a serious case of Digital Obsolescence. While a 2000s project called Domesday Revisited worked to save the data and create an emulation of the software, the book it was based on (the 1086 Domesday Book) has continued to be accessible as a printed book for 900 years.

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Main research for the episode was done by Camila. Ana audio edited.
Music by Nelson Guay (SoundCloud: fluxlinkages)

“BBC: Domesday Project - 1985 1986.” Youtube, uploaded by Daniel Garcia August 14, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn0oFJU5pxM 
— “The BBC Domesday Project - Panel Discussion.” Youtube, uploaded by The Centre for Computing History March 23, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZA8LRgv1iw
— “Digital Domesday book unlocked” BBC News, December 2, 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/2534391.stm
— “Domesday Project” The Centre for Computing History. http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/domesday/
— Evans, Claire L. ‘Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet’. Penguin Putnam Inc, 2018.
— Mackenzie, Iain. “Domesday Project reborn online after 25 years” BBC News, May 12 2011. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-13367398
— “Newsround - BBC Domesday Project Feature - November 1986.” Youtube, uploaded by The Centre for Computing History July 30, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMh1FqvleH8

Hi. Welcome to our friend the computer. A computer history podcast. I'm Camila. Ana is with me. We were just discussing. Maybe we want to describe this podcast in a different way. What did you just suggest? I suggested niche stories about technology that we're interested in. And then I said something very lame, and I said, Counter-Narratives to the worldwide web. That's. I like that one. Really? Yeah. Where? Think we're like that? I like the narrative. That's it. And I guess, like, we have been doing a lot of worldwide web counter narratives. I always saw this as more like computers in general. But yeah, but welcome back, everyone. We we took a little summer break that kind of extended longer than we thought. We both got COVID at sort of similar but different times. Right. Right after each other. We yeah, we took a little extra time off for summer, but that's beautiful fall day to day. And I'm ready to get stuck into some computer history gossip. We want to continue this so we're back. And I'm really happy and excited about our first topic because we talked about in our I think in the last episode of the last couple of episodes before the break, how I was visiting you in London and we went to some computer computer history museums. There were some sort of things that we saw at the the museums that we kind of really connected with. I got really into a certain topic during the break, which was the idea of hypertext, and I'm going to do a couple of episodes on it, and this is the sort of links in to it. I feel like it's a nice intro. So the idea of hypertext is different to the idea of like hyperlinks, which is, you know, links. You can click on that, take you to another website when you're on the World Wide Web. But hypertext or hyper media is sort of like an entire concept, I guess, of like navigation across ideas or a way of visualizing links, ideas, and then people sort of develop software that I guess is sort of how like the Internet could be viewed as a type of hypertext that and we'll get to this in later episodes like before the Internet and in early Internet times, there were people with kind of grand ideas of how this could work. And the Internet, the World Wide Web is sort of a shadow of what could have been almost like an inferior version of how we sort of traverse ideas and how we can structure our knowledge, I guess. Mm hmm. So hypertext was more to do with, like, the proposition of how the Internet would function rather than it being actually something that was carried out in practice. Like was it implemented in public use? Well, hypertext is is more is more an idea. So you can like, think about different software or. Yeah, you can think about different software and like design the text it's yeah, it's like the design of the navigation I guess. And it's, it's very much about the user and how they use a can form their own links. And I think the, the main part of this is that they're two way, they are two way links. So things are sort of connected. So I have a hyperlink on the World Wide Web is one way and so it can break very easily if one side of it isn't doesn't exist anymore. But two way links are more about kind of embedding them within themselves. The whole idea, being able to see two things like next to each other. And so you sort of I think the idea is that at somebody that is using a hypertext system to navigate readings, to navigate like websites is that they sort of start to develop their own links and can kind of have a sort of more personalized experience of reading different sharing information. Yeah, but I'm still like, you know, in this and I'm I want to delve deeper in into it in upcoming episodes. But I thought the way we could begin this is through something that we encountered at the Cambridge Center for Computing History, which was such a fun day. I mean, we thought it was so fun. It was in a carpark in Cambridge. And the first thing that you'd see as you'd approach the museum was just like a free kind of collection point where a bunch of old tech was just thrown out for people to pick up. And that was a great start because I love I love that now was a box with video games and they were literally all the games that I played as a kid. And I was like, Yeah, about yeah. Camila showed her true nerdy colors, but then even and then you see, yeah, there was some, some good stuff on that table. But yeah, the museum was, was, was pretty great. I mean in as good as it can be with like, you know, they don't really have that much money to run it. There's a lot of volunteers. It's mostly designed for, for children. And yeah, it's kind of one of those quite humble museums, but it was very game to last. I found that the Cambridge Run was games, more games based than the. I think that's quite an annoying like feature that a lot of tech museums can fall into because they just think, Oh, what is going to make this museum more interactive? And you know, we want people to come back and how are we going to make this kind of an addictive thing? Oh, we'll just like implement games and then that'll solve our visiting number issue. But then there was some really interesting old hardware that they had really cool like keyboards there. I had a really nice, yeah, really cool accessibility keyboards and just quite interesting like interfaces that I've never seen before. So it was great. But there was one thing that you really liked, which is what we're going to talk about, and it was like this sort of map slash Wikipedia sort of program. Do you remember that? Yeah, I loved it. I've actually got loads of pictures of it on my phone, but I didn't take a picture of the wall tech, so I never figured out what it actually was. And then I try and describe it to people and they're just like, What are you talking about? But it was basically a kind of eighties interactive map of the UK displayed on a color monitor with a navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, which was also reflected on the keyboard. So you could kind of navigate the map with just your keys and the map. Visuals were really dated and pixelated and kind of looked like a scanned cartographic map, but you could still zoom in and the map would actually become more detail. So it was a bit like Google Maps and you could click on a city or town or village and a page would pop up and it would tell you about the general information of the area that you clicked on. And it would it would tell you the demographic and population information such as gender divisions and work, commuting statistics and migration histories. And I loved it because you could spend just hours exploring and clicking around on towns and reading about the facts, which I think would was really allowing you to paint a very intricate and a tested image in your head about how people lived and how developed these places were all the way back in the eighties. So it's kind of like looking into a time machine map that was a merging of Wikipedia and Google Maps, and I was just like, Why haven't they invented a Google Maps? Wikipedia? It seems so, so obvious. Yeah, I was. I was very impressed. So this program, this system was a result of a project called the BBC Domesday Project, and it launched in 1986 in the UK. So the Doomsday Project is sort of based on something called the Domesday Book. You go with the Domesday Book and it's of like DOMA. Yes, Yeah, it looks like. Domesday But I always said. Domesday In my home to size and sure, yeah, yeah, because I remember reading something about Domesday and on one of the plaques, but I think it was something to do with data degradation. So I'm not really sure why that comes to my mind. Again, we're going to get to that. Okay. Yeah, it sounds amazing. So, so the Domesday Book was this like 11th century census also survey of England and parts of Wales that was commissioned by William the Conqueror, William the first and it documented all the holdings. So who owned what land and livestock and things like that and its value. And I think it was called the Domesday Book, I think because it was something about how it was unalterable once it was in the book. So it's like Judgment day or something on it. Okay. Like pre written. Well, yeah, I think it was like, we're going to do this whole survey and then that like the stuff that's written in the book of what you are and is how your taxes and things like that. And so it was sort of for that purpose and then maybe they were just super religious. So this was in 1086, it was completed in 1086. And so when 1986 was coming up, it was going to be the 900th anniversary of this original Domesday Book. And the BBC, the British British Broadcasting Corporation, which is like a public TV and media radio broadcasting, Is that the best way to describe it? Yeah, they were thinking of ways to like celebrate the 900th anniversary of this book. And originally they were thinking they would create like a straightforward document three television series. But at the time and like this, like early to mid eighties period, the BBC was starting a project called the BBC Computer Literacy Project. And I want to go into this and show the episodes, but it sort of actually involved them developing their own microcomputer that was made by ACORN, which would go into schools and libraries and places like that. So there was a lot of thinking around computer technology and learning. And also the idea of interactive media at the BBC at the time. So they started to develop an idea of creating like a deconstructed multimedia documentary, a quote I found in a panel discussion with one of the people involved was that it was the idea to have the documentary and then to have the ability to delve deeper into the underlying data and explore all those things. And wow, that sounds incredibly hypertext. Just about what we were talking about in the beginning. Like anything to do with multimedia into connection interaction, like hyperlink transcripts in a movie or extensive footnotes that you said were like two way. Yeah, I mean, or even yeah, even like footnotes based writing. It's very hypertext, right? Yeah, absolutely. And, and it's something that really speaks to me now because like, I'm a research based artist and I'm always trying to find ways for people to respond to like a finished creative piece while still having access to this sort of underlying research. If they want to delve deeper. And I have been thinking about hypertext and hyper media a lot in the way that I work and the way I present my work, and that like, how can you have the the the research and the resources sort of very much interconnected with the actual text or with the actual creative document. Yeah. And that's also so interesting that the idea of hypertext was coming up at the time of the 900th anniversary of Doomsday, which was a book that tried to document everything as kind of a one way fact narrative of like, yeah, of what you said. It documented all the holdings. So who owned what land and livestock and its value when actually the way of like measuring value is so much more complicated. I guess that like a census now even is more complicated than that was and tries to kind of glean other information rather than just sort of a Yeah, sort of static. This is what I are and this is what I are. But in the case of the Doomsday Project, in the end they kind of ditched the idea of the like the original idea of the documentary and decided to focus on the underlying data and sort of exploring creative ways of making it accessible and interesting. This data, like the original Domesday Book, was a survey of the UK in the eighties, but the mid 1980s, not the mid 1080s, and it was compiled between 1984 and 1986. And the idea was that this data would detail the experience of everyday life in Britain and that it would be organized and accessible via a computer system. And it sort of reminds me of like early computer programs like Encyclopedia Britannica. But the difference is really that it required, like its own whole ecosystem of tech to be able to access it. It wasn't just the software that would then go on like your computer. So the data was contained on two laser discs in LV ROM format, which is laser vision and read only memory. And this was a precursor to the CD ROM, which is compact disc rate only memory. So the ROM part is really just that it can only be read through. You know, you can't frighten or erase or the disc, but the key difference is that laser discs encoded information in an analog way and CDS use digital processes and laserdisc are also video format optical discs. So they have audio and video tracks so that the doomsday system data was contained on two of these discs with 300 megabytes storage space on each side of the disc. And I believe that the data was on an audio track or like an audio channel on the disc and the images were saved as single frame analog videos. Wow, this is I Wild that. So laser disc was rivaling things like VHS and Betamax. It had higher quality output, but it never really found wide reaching popularity. I believe that this was this doomsday project was like the first one, or at least one of the first, like big projects to use laser beams. So they like early it with this tech. So 300 megabyte storage is also not very much what I was when I wrote my notes. I was like, That seems like so much, but I'm like that and aged while I was using it in the, in the museum. I was just so overwhelmed with how much information there was and how interactive it was because it's the entire map of the UK. Well, I think it probably was because of how it was stored that like, yeah, let's just go frame as audio videos. Yeah. So it had two discs and the like set one disc was the national disc and the other was the community disc and they were a little different and interesting and they are in special ways, so let's go into them. The the national disc was divided into sections like Culture, Economy, society and environment, and it contained largely formal statistics and reports about the country and news report about the developing projects and about this structure to make their system user friendly. In other words, simple, flexible and responsive. It's organized like a thesaurus rather than a conventional index. Each idea and it gives rise to many others, like a family tree spreading out into more and more branches. So you essentially would like click like you log into this. We like open this disc and you just get those. There's talk topics of like culture, economy, society, environment, and then you click each one. So you could start on clicking like the environment section. But under that there were many sections and it would just get more and more precise, like a like a top down taxonomy sort of system. The other like cool thing about the whole system was allowed for free text search like Google now so you could type in keyword ads that you wanted to search and the system would bring up the relevant articles also like multimedia stuff. And it had a really, really fast search function, which was sort of wild for computers at the time, but it was sort of not a true search function as we expect search to work today. It wasn't really searching. It wasn't like searching entire entries, but it was searching through keywords that had been like coded into each entry. So like every single entry was labeled and was indexed by keywords, by an indexing team, which is an immense amount of work. Yeah, it's kind of like how a library works, right? You search through keywords rather than, Yeah, don't go searching for every single word. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But that's, that's amazing to think of an interactive index, which just seems so obvious in terms of accessibility, but that the fact that they were able to make that back then in the eighties is fabulous. Yeah. And I think just like the speed of the search function. Yeah that people had never really experienced before. So much of the information on this disk which was pulled from like the census and from other data in public domain, was already available. So this was stuff that you could access if you tried, but not with this level of ease or sort of all together in one system. And the other fun thing about this new way of accessing data was that you could create your own graphs with it. So not only could you change like the format. So if you're like, I want to look at how many newspapers are sold in March or like across 1985, you could change the format from like a bar chart to a to a pie chart. You could also change aspects of the information, you know, like scale and time and things. And the other cool and useful thing was that users could compare and contrast information from different sources in one chart. So essentially you could generate your own personalized graphs with the data, which is one fun and two incredibly useful, and also means that this data that's collected was able to be really used for various of personal reasons. You know, it's like people could be like, let's say like, yeah, look at how many newspapers are sold and then compare that to, I don't know how many newspaper stores there are or something like that, you know, and yeah, and, and also that data is just used to its full potential in the sense that you can see how statistics can be quite subjective if you link them in ways of displaying them differently. So like if you have different types of graphs that use the same data, you actually come out with quite different conclusions. But yeah, so just it just makes a lot of sense that they would do that because I assume that everyone has a different way of visualizing statistics anyway. And why not kind of make use of computing like that to make it more accessible for everyone, for people to kind of understand this information even in their own way with, with ease. Yeah, Yeah. And I think it's just for me, very cool and interesting that they were thinking about like how we have all this data about the country and like, what is it being used for and what is a better way to make it accessible for people and useful for people in the country. So the other desk was the community desk and this desk. So the national desk was very it was like graph and text based database and the community desk was very map space, which is so the community desk is the one that we saw at the and like played with at the museum. So the Doomsday Team divided the country into small sections about three by four kilometers. And then enlisted schoolchildren to complete surveys of these areas. So it was like crowdsourced. So 14,000 schools took part, which is almost half the schools in the country. So that's about 1 million people. And they collected data, interviewed locals and wrote stories about their own lives. So I think like each school was given one of these little areas, you know, and so they would walk around and like interview the old people and take photos and get stories was just like, right. Like, this is like the daily life is like in this area. I mean, it's a great school project. It's a great way to, like, get to know their neighborhood and learn about the area around you. And but I was also wondering how they managed to get all of this data. And I'm just very glad to hear that it wasn't just one guy with the clipboard like driving around the country lugging all of this very tedious information about like how long does it take to commute from Birmingham to, I don't know, London. So, yeah, it's that's fascinating that they used well the kids to log all of it. I did see a thing, I forgot where I saw it. But someone like maybe a comment on a article or something and someone was like, I remember doing this at school, but I always felt really bad because we never finished our our area survey over here was like I always felt like there was probably a gap in the in the project somewhere where we just didn't submit out information. And I can imagine just how stressed out some of the teachers would have been with having to submit this information to the government and there being like a real deadline for like, you know, the 900 anniversary of doomsday. And then if they just didn't get it in time, it was just like it was just a national tragedy. You were talking about seeing like the map and being at pavement, being able to kind of like zoom in and things. So something I did find out that I thought was interesting was that they the mapping, the way they did the mapping was that they cut up physical maps like ordnance survey maps, and then these maps were then photographed as analog images. And then they had to see like how many images could fit on the disks so they could like work out what the what the square were like, what the area of land is that would be given to each person. And because the BBC Micro, I think this actually is the BBC macro, but this system was developed by television engineers. It allows you to sort of overlay analog and digital so you could overlay or they could overlay one of these analog maps like photographs of maps with the digital data collected by the students sort of on top. So it's kind of got this like interesting way of pulling, pulling the information. And because they use satellite images, maps and local photographs, you could, like you said, do this sort of like zoom in on very specific areas to get detailed information, like with Google Maps, like going from like the satellite to the like larger world map, you know, getting places, getting really, really, really close. Yeah. I think also why I was fascinated with it visually when we first came into that room was because it it literally looked like a someone took a picture of them of a paper map, which I was which it exactly. And I didn't know. But then I think subconsciously I was just like, well, I mean, surely this isn't going to be interactive because it's just a picture of a paper map. And then and then it was interactive and it was just this incredible, very pleasant surprise of just how yeah, how interactive and detailed it was. And I like in my own art practice and like with others, very interested in that kind of merging of the sort of handmade or hand-drawn and the digital. I do that in quite a few of my works, kind of pulling in, either pulling in sort of like hand-drawn elements to a digital project or putting digital elements into like a physical project. And this is that it's, it's that sort of merging of a very traditional medium. Yeah, very kind of authentic. The fact that it's not vector ized and the fact that it's held its original form is just great and so you could do this like zoom in, but just like Google Maps, where you end up in Street View, the Doomsday Project also contained like ten, but still that's a lot. Virtual tours like walkthroughs of different types of housing, though, like particular styles of apartments, like there was a farm, a cottage, things like that. And this was so much like Google Street View. So to do it, they would go and so like a location, they would take a photo and like an H direction and then they would take one step and do the same thing. And sometimes farms and cottages. Yeah, but sometimes they would even do like close up pictures of stuff, you know, like the sink or whatever or I think there was I saw some stuff of like a farm and it was like the horse. Like the horse or yeah, I was going to say like some farm animals. Yeah, most of the farm animals. That's amazing. I mean, Google Street for you could never well go to a supermarket. It's yeah, they went to like a little interesting place of but I guess this is you know the idea was that they're trying to document different styles of housing in the eighties so it does make sense that they would be like, okay, let's look at all this sort of intricacy. Yeah, the agricultural documentation. Yeah. And I think I said around ten, I think it was like 11 or something, but I didn't have a precise number, but it seemed like so much work. That's kind of fun. And so when you access that via the doomsday system, you would just like click through like Street View to kind of walk in whichever direction that you wanted within this sort of surveyed area. And then the images would update on your little adventure. So kids were doing were developing augmented reality back in the eighties. Yeah, so cool. And just like the best way of keeping kids busy is there's just such a great project. I mean, I remember I mentioned Encyclopedia Britannica earlier and I remember like I remember Encyclopedia Britannica and there were a couple of other sort of of these like school learning program software programs where I was one, I remember it was a it was like a museum or something. And you would like click through and and you could like click on different pictures and there'd be information and stuff and feel like there was a lot of that early on. Yeah, of kind of trying to recreate a sort of world inside software to access information, but also to use this technology to be able to connect with like your local community. I think it's just like, what are the best educational projects that you can provide to a school, into the into the classroom, you know, and to kind of to do to do like case studies that are actually like relevant to you and your area. You know, if there's something that very specific that you're interested in in the country or like a specific area, you can just like very easily go into that and then learn all the information. So there was a lot of information across these two tests and someone estimated that it would take seven years to view everything on the disks. Oh, wow. Yeah, that's I think I remember reading the statistics that said something that it would take over 30 years to read the entirety of the English Wikipedia nonstop at the average reading speed. I think it was like 30 years or 31 years or something like that. It just like nonstop without. Does that include like new stuff that gets added as you're reading? I don't know. I guess I guess it's easy to average it out with just so much information and with with this time span of 30 years. Like even if you add that extra stuff that you're reading, it will probably just like add like another year to it or something. So it was such a wealth of information and it could be customized and explored and very personalized way. And they often talked about the idea of democratizing data that not only was much of this data from the people, but it would be for the people as well, like you was saying, with schoolchildren. So the plan was that the system would be available in schools and libraries so that anyone could easily find information about the country that they live in. But the reality was that in the end it was pretty difficult to actually access. This was largely because it required specialized software to view it at all. So laser discs, as we mentioned earlier, were so new there was like very, very early days of this Times. So you had to buy a specialized laserdisc player made by Philips called the Doomsday Player. And then this connected to a BBC master computer with a keyboard and a trackball to move the mouse. And the chapel at the time was called a trackable, which I think is such it's like a cut is to. Yeah, that all this meant that the system ended up costing over £5,000, £5,156.75. I mean, yeah, this, I just, I just want to say that this is like a classic example of the problem with the inaccessibility of tech, where some where these decisions are made by people that are just not in touch with the project. And some, some consultants just like made a bad decision in a meeting one day to like opt into some profitable contract with an inadequate tech company that would supply some kind of cheap software or hardware under the promise that it would develop under investment. Yeah, it's just this these kind of stories just get me so angry because you have all of this labor that's provided by literally schoolchildren. And then there's a bad decision that was made by the managers or the people in charge where they just want to make profit and and the whole thing goes down the drain. It's it's a real shame. It's like very disappointing. Mm hmm. Yeah. What a what a huge loss of money. It's really. Yeah. On the so I did take a picture of the information board and did a different computing history. So on that board it said that the that this was the average cost of a small family car in 1986, there was so much money that was either get a car. Oh no, I would data look useless. So this basically ensured that very few ordinary could afford it and made it fairly prohibitive for libraries and schools as well. Overall, they only sold 1000 systems nationwide, which is pretty sad when you think about that number from earlier that 14,000 schools taking part. And also because, you know we said the sort of million people but that includes like there were a lot of additional video clips and photos that were from the BBC and ITV. So, you know, it's not just schoolchildren. It's it's everyone. So many people were featured on the discs and like not many of the people involved were even able to see what their contribution looked like or how they were represented. Yeah. And even the kids themselves, that's so sad that they couldn't see the end result of all their hard work and just like the the reason why it was invented in the first place of for education, what's now like obliterated is so sad. I mean, I guess they got to learn about, you know, doing the Purge project that's true out there like local area. But yeah, so they were sort of planning on using this like most up to date up and coming technology, I suppose. So that, so that it would last a long time. And I think yeah, they were the first people I think to do something like this. On laserdisc, another example of this is that the software was written in BBC Pal basic combined programing language which people were thinking would become like the next big thing and just didn't. And the reality is that they they bet on the wrong horses and it's not only cause issues like during the time of the launch and you know of the project, but it also became like a bigger problem later. And this was what you saw on the like on the sign was that they didn't they just yeah, it suffered from a serious case of digital obsolescence and the data on the disks became inaccessible because the equipment wasn't available to access it, like the technology was really quickly superseded. So the tech that you could access it with wasn't made for very long. And then that starts to degrade. And, you know, you can't find one that's working well enough. But also the disks themselves were deteriorating. So yeah, so the Center for Computing History had this little display and it mentioned this concept of bit rot or data decay, data degradation. The quote from it is when the bonding material between the two layers of plastic breaks down, oxygen penetrates between the layers and starts to oxidize the metallic layer. This renders the data unreadable. It was also very hard and time consuming to transfer the analog data into a digital, especially given that they make the kids do it. They don't have anything to do now they've run out or they'd all be grown up. Now. I'm sure some of them would have the skills. Yeah, they love it. It's like a lifelong contract to be able to stay virtual and you can never see the end result. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. So like the files were saved as recognizable file formats and they didn't have any compression and there's 50,000 video stills involved which needed to be digitized. That's so annoying. So yeah, Doomsday has now the name has like a double meaning, but in the 2000s there was a project called Doomsday Reloaded, which the goal was and they did do. It was to create an emulation or recreation that would preserve the data and have it be accessible by a current technology. And I think they also, like added in new data, like they collected more stuff about link. So in this case it was that it would be accessible via the internet. In an article from the BBC, Paul Wheatley, who was a project manager for this, is quoted as saying BBC Doomsday has become a classic example of the dangers facing our digital heritage. But it must be remembered time is of the essence. We must invest wisely in developing an infrastructure to preserve our digital records before it is too late. We must not make the mistake of thinking that recording on a long lived medium gives us meaningful preservation so we can think specifically about this project. Like, okay, we've put in, you know, this time and effort into transferring over to the Internet. It's I think, also stored on specific and specific archives for you. And the Internet at this stage is kind of this like tried and tested medium, but it doesn't mean that it's forever. And then of course, it brings up this sort of heartbreaking feeling, this realization that, you know, this story is just an example of like everything that we do now, which is what I'll say, like why organizations like the Internet Archive is so important? Because, like, we could so easily lose everything that we have now that you know how we access information. Yeah, well, as but especially when when archiving isn't profitable, right? Because the people that the Internet Archive would be doing this stuff for free and there would be volunteers running it and recording everything and index. I mean, I think there's volunteers that I think they do have, right. But it's not like Google. It will be most of the time, kind of like a labor of love to be able to archive and put things into historical context is Yeah, it's scary to think that this is at risk because of capital like. But yeah, wow, what a what an interesting story. I love the whole kind of children working together and doing all of this in my mind, like for a little bit for fun and for free. And school teachers like Project managing this like, Oh my God. But yet imagine. But, but it's also just this kind of coming of age Hollywood story of of like school kids like doing this big grandiose thing with like a big idea together and then some like, you know, investors make their own decisions and and such as like the headmaster makes the wrong decision and then it all goes to shit. It's got very kind of like School of Rock, you know? Let's get Jack Black in here and. Yeah, Where is Jack Black? He's William the Conqueror. Like Jack Black is William. I think, you know, going back to that, going back to, like, the original Domesday Book, it is kind of cool to think so. Like, I found this quote from that. Oh, I was that same BBC article because the information gathered by the Doomsday Project has been difficult to access for six years. By contrast, the original Domesday Book, an Inventory of England, compiled in 1086 by Norman Monks, is in fine condition in the Public record office in Kew, London. Yeah. So it's like, yeah, I mean, tech can be more accessible, but it can make things entirely inaccessible to a toad in any different way, really. It was an ambitious project which developed versions of things like Google Maps, Street View, Wikipedia, free text search way before the internet had developed them. It educated people about the power of data while providing data from reputable sources it explored and pushed what could be done with multimedia technology while making data collection and access interactive. It made data and information fun. There was even a there was a TV TV game show called Doomsday Detectives that I think used and promoted the system with kids that I'm so desperate to watch. I have. Yeah, I found one reference to history because it's a very Carmen Sandiego for yeah, for everyone at home. But I did a large project about come said Yeah. Still only the true fans will know. So yeah I was like so excited to to sort of deal with this and it's it's so much bigger than what we you know we just saw it on the computer and we had fun with it that as soon as I started to research I realized like how important of a project it was and how big it was. That's fun. That made me so happy. I was really desperate to know what it was called, like how it happened, what was the incentive behind it and this. Yeah, this episode was a bit of a surprise to me. I didn't. I didn't know that you did all this research around it, so thanks for looking into it. Yeah, I knew that I yeah, I knew that my intuition was right with like, the interface of it and how it worked. I could have just spent hours on this stupid thing and to know that there was a whole just very interesting history behind it. It's, it's. Yeah, it's very reassuring. And I think, you know, you were right. Like, I remember you sitting down and playing with it and being like, This is like Google Maps and Wikipedia and it was and maybe like that is a nice you know, it was saying at the start that we ended up with the Internet as it is, but there could have been all sorts of ways that we structured this of digital access information and references. And, and this is another way and it was interesting that you connected with this and got so excited with like this form of it, whereas on the Internet they're very separate things. Very Yeah, completely. And I think it's because Google Maps has gone in the direction of and I guess this can symbolize the entire Internet of just basically promotion and marketing. And it functioned as an ad for businesses, whatnot, whereas the Doomsday Project was just for pure educational purposes. It didn't have anything to do with advertising and marketing. I mean, from what I know from the original intent was. But it's nice to see that before the web there were projects that were that didn't have advertising necessarily in mind. I think it would be amazing to be able to sort of interact with data and get information that you need without questioning, without having to question where the information is coming from. And of course, there's like I mean, I don't know the breakdown of who was that was collecting the information, who was making decisions around what was being shown and what was being chosen. You know, so I'm sure there's so many biases in in this information, but at least it's all like official government information. Yeah. Like as a person, you know, now children. And for me, yeah, if you want to find it but have knowledge and I said capitalism if you want to find out information now it's like you really do need to have like that sort of digital literacy. Yeah, in a sense, yeah. You know, you go on the internet and you search for something and like half the things, half the results are ads or it's some weird think tank that's sponsored by some strange thing. Yeah. So that this was a way that people could play with and access information that was like an official. I mean, if anything, it was just like patriotic, right? Because a lot of the William William the Conqueror was whole thing. But yeah, I'm really interested to find out if there have actually been projects done by hobbyists that would have merged Wikipedia and Google Maps because I'm sure that there's some kind of app or website that displays Wikipedia information in a way that isn't indexed. The way it is now. Maybe it's got like a different way of navigating it, like a map, which would make sense because like the, the logo of Wikipedia is like a globe or it's like a globe made out of puzzles. So I don't know. Well, yeah, I'll have a look. Just feels like, you know, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, I guess, But I miss actual encyclopedias. Yeah, I'm being able to look up like information on a topic and have you know, it's there's pluses and minuses. Like we get access to, like, very updated information and, you know, a lot more than what's in some old book that your parents bought at some point. But yeah, and also stuff that's written by professionals. There must be some kind of legitimacy in that. But yeah, well, thank you so much. Thank you. And like and subscribe I can give us some stars. Yes, maybe a little review if you want to do that that with these thou be sick or get in touch or if there's anything that that people want to know about or true. We should research about. Like we would also really appreciate an email. What's our email our from the computer at gmail.com. So and then we're on social media on Twitter where I think we're our friend comp on Twitter and our friend the computer on Instagram. I'll see you in the next one. We'll see you next time. Bye bye.