In November 1984 the BBC announced the start of the BBC Domesday Project, to compile a new electronic Domesday Book in a bid to provide a comprehensive image of Britain in 1985. The completed project was timed for release in 1986 to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the 1086 Domesday book.
Despite the huge scale of this project, surprisingly it became extremely difficult to access the project. Data recorded in old computer formats increasingly could no longer be accessed on new equipment while magnetic storage media and optical discs have physically decayed, ruining precious data. Fragile obsolete equipment is required to read the data and very little usable equipment still exists.
The BBC Domesday project is a high profile example of 'digital obsolescence' where technology has changed to the point that this once prestigious project had essentially disappeared less than a quarter of a century after it was completed. The historical and cultural significance of the Domesday project makes it one of the most significant digital resources produced in recent history. Significant efforts must be made to ensure that this resource is not lost and is once again made accessible the people who contributed to it.
The Domesday Preservation Group made up of people who have an interest in preserving our digital heritage was formed with the express purpose of finding ways to preserve the Domesday Project Data.
Now that the BBC have made the Domesday community data available on-line a significant part of the work is complete but with this new exposure inevitably comes a greater interest in the Domesday Project, as a result we have changed the name of the group to 'The Domesday Special Interest Group' to accommodate a wider audience with varying levels of interest in the project. While some people may wish to become involved in other aspects of our preservation many would like to simply contribute to the BBC website and discuss their memories from their participation in the original project or simply share useful information that they have found.
We welcome anyone with an interest in the Domesday Project.