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The Domesday Project‐‐an educational review



The BBC Domesday Project is publishing a national database on the United Kingdom on two interactive videodiscs which will be officially launched in November 1986. The two videodiscs contain national statistics, text and pictures on all aspects of British life, as well as information sent in by over 12,000 schools which took part in the Domesday Project during 1985. The organisation of the Schools Domesday Survey is described, the educational design and information content discussed, and the Domesday videodiscs assessed as an educational resource for schools
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational
Richard Tapper
Edited the Environment section for the Domesday Project videodiscs, and now works
with the BBC Interactive Television Unit.
Published in: Journal of Educational Television, Vol. 12, No. 3, 1986 197-210.
The BBC Domesday Project is publishing a national database on the United Kingdom
on two interactive videodiscs which will be officially launched in November 1986.
The two videodiscs contain national statistics, text and pictures on all aspects of
British life, as well as information sent in by over 12,000 schools which took part in
the Domesday Project during 1985. The organisation of the Schools Domesday
Survey is described, the educational design and information content is discussed, and
the Domesday videodiscs assessed as an educational resource for schools.
The BBC Domesday Project has created a multi-media database which is being
published as a double album of two interactive videodiscs in December this year, and
which represents a major educational resource. It celebrates the 900th anniversary
of the original Domesday Book (which was written down in 1086) with another
survey of the United Kingdom, this time in the 1980s. The project has provided a
stimulus to development of the technology and applications of videodiscs in many
novel and sophisticated ways. It has already contributed to educational
developments, with over 14,000 schools and community groups contributing local
information to the Project during 1985, to give a comprehensive picture of
contemporary British life. This material is included on one of the discs, while the
other covers information collected from many national surveys carried out by
government and other organisations. I will discuss many of the educational aspects
of the Domesday Project in this paper, and begin by considering the work that
schools undertook for the 1985 Domesday Survey.
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
Organisation of the Schools Domesday Survey
The Domesday Project has developed strong educational roots from its outset. Such
an ambitious project could never have been considered without drawing on the
resources and enthusiasm of schools, and at the same time was also an opportunity
to integrate the use of microcomputers in schools throughout the United Kingdom.
Ninety-eight per cent of all secondary and 89% of all primary schools have
microcomputers available for teaching purposes, over 75% of which are BBC micros
(Symons, 1984; Atkins, 1985). This is the highest proportion of microcomputers in
education anywhere in the world, and has a further advantage, from the point of
view of a National Project, that one computer is dominant. A further 15% of school
micros are RML machines, and the remainder are a variety of other machines. At the
outset, the BBC Domesday Project made a decision to support RML machines as well
as BBC micros, with the software that was to be developed for use by participating
Use of microcomputers in schools has been varied. While they have a central place
in computer studies, their use as an educational medium in other areas of the
curriculum depends on the educational software available within schools, and on the
computer literacy of individual teachers. The Domesday Project aimed to provide
standard software that would have application in a variety of subject areas, in
addition to its function within the Schools Survey. The word processing software,
and that for handling geographical information, have proved popular and simple to
use. Requests for the Domesday Schools Survey Software are still being received
from teachers wanting to use it in their classes.
Schools were invited to join the Domesday Project survey through a series of
announcements in the educational press and on BBC Schools Television and Radio.
Because such large numbers were to be involved, a database was set up containing
information on participating schools, their addresses and contact teachers, and the
area that each was to survey. This database was essential for mailing information to
schools, for checking on queries from teachers, and for coordinating the return of
information from schools as deadlines approached.
Each school which took part in the Domesday Survey was allocated a survey block of
4 km by 3 km dimensions based on kilometre grid squares of the National Grid. Local
Education Authority (LEA) Education Officers coordinated the allocation of survey
blocks to schools within each LEA, and actively encouraged participation of schools to
ensure as complete a cover of each area as possible. The problems of coordination
were great, especially in densely populated areas, where two or more schools may
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
be present within each block, and often wished to take part in the survey. Some
blocks were split between schools; in one case an inner city block was surveyed in a
joint effort by 11 schools. In the end, 12,439 schools, along with 3,185 other groups
including Women’s Institutes, Scouts and Guides, were involved in the survey of over
9,000 4 km by 3 km blocks.
Software for the Domesday Survey was supplied to schools on 40- or 80-track floppy
discs, or on cassettes, for both BBC micros and RML machines. Schools requested
the format which they required on proformas sent out with other information about
the project, to those schools which initially expressed interest in taking part in the
survey. Schools were also sent a software manual for the Domesday Survey
software, a Survey Guide (BBC Domesday Project, 1985a) and a Teacher’s Handbook
(BBC Domesday Project, 1985b). This Handbook explained the survey and also
included some suggestions for its integration within the curriculum.
The floppy discs and cassettes not only held the software for the Domesday Survey
but were also the medium for the transfer of survey information back to the
Domesday Project. Schools were encouraged to take copies of the Survey software,
and of the survey information which they sent back to the Project, for their own use.
It is interesting that, of the 12,439 schools participating, less than 5% ultimately used
cassettes to return information to the Domesday Project; this gives some indication
of how extensively disc drive units are now used in schools.
Educational Design of the Domesday Schools Survey
The Schools Survey was designed by educationalists to fit within the curriculum and
to allow the development of computer-related skills in a number of subject areas.
There are precedents for the involvement of schools in large national or regional
surveys, the best known examples being the Land Use survey organised by L. Dudley
Stamp in the 1950s—one of the inspirations behind the present survey—and various
surveys of local history and place names carried out in the 1930s.
Many practical considerations were taken into account, as well as educational
criteria. The survey was to be completed by schools in the summer term of 1985—in
the event this was extended to include the winter term, too—and, for logistical
reasons, the survey packs and Teacher’s Handbooks could not be sent out until the
end of the Easter term. So teachers would have little time to plan work on the
survey; it would have to be carried out quickly and would need to slot into the school
timetable readily. These constraints meant that the survey would have to be highly
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
structured and very specific in its aims, providing explicit instructions to schools. To
what extent these aims were actually achieved will be considered later.
It is also important to consider whether these criteria were too rigid to be desirable,
since the survey had to fit flexibly within the curriculum, and to assess the responses
of teachers to this type of organisation from outside.
During 1984, the educational aspects of the Schools Survey were piloted in 17
schools. A number of refinements were made to the original proposals, which
otherwise remained unchanged in substance. The schools survey divided into two
broad sections: collection of factual statistical information for individual 1 km grid
squares within each survey block, and writing of short text items to describe local life
and landmarks. Each section involved very different skills, and considerable scope
was possible in the choice of topics and styles in writing the text items, in contrast to
the very structured requirements for collecting grid square information. I will
consider both of these in turn.
Grid Square Information
Schools were asked to collect factual information about the numbers of shops,
services and other facilities present within each 1 km grid square of their 4 km by 3
km survey block. A total of 67 different items, ranging from job centres to sports
facilities, and from landcover to manufacturing works, were to be counted.
With so much information to collect, the 1 km grid square survey required a large
amount of effort from one or two classes within a school. Alternatively, if more
school students were involved from a larger number of classes, the survey made
considerable demands on the organisational skills of teachers. There was also a
danger that, because of its scope, the grid square survey might make demands in
class time after its educational value to a particular group of students was exhausted.
Indeed, there is some evidence that this was the case, and a number of teachers
completed the grid square survey themselves, to ensure that a full return was made
without it entirely taking over the class. The grid square survey was a major
undertaking for any school.
The survey design encouraged the development of a range of reference skills, and
some interpretative skills, as well as providing many possibilities for communication
and coordination by students themselves, working in small groups (Table I).
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
The survey was aimed at both primary and secondary schools. Eventually 9,733
primary schools, 2,120 secondary schools and 577 other educational establishments
submitted count data for survey blocks.
Table I. Skills applicable to grid square survey
Street by street fieldwork Reference
Counting features from maps Reference
Assessing landcover from maps and fieldwork Interpretative
Using telephone and other directories, and local
library facilities to count features
Interpretative and Communication
Asking people questions about features Communication
The software for the grid square survey provided schools with a simple way of
handling geographical information. Count data could be entered, stored, looked at
again and updated or corrected as necessary.
Textual Information
The text which schools were asked to provide gave a much greater scope for a
imagination on the part of school students, and more flexibility for incorporation a
into day-to-day classwork. In writing a short piece of text, the fact that it would be a
sent off as part of a school’s contribution to the Domesday Project was an added
bonus to general work. Schools could provide up to 20 ‘pages’ of text, each of a
maximum length of about 140 words to fit the screen of a microcomputer display
monitor. Notes included in the Teacher’s Handbook encouraged each page to be
self-contained, and requested that the first page submitted should be a general
description of the 4 km by 3 km block surveyed by a school. The remaining 19 pages
could be about anything, provided that they maintained some connection with the
block surveyed and life in the area. So something about going on holiday to another
part of the country was quite acceptable.
The Teacher’s Handbook contained a number of suggestions for possible text topics,
but these were set out in general terms to prompt other ideas and to give a broad
indication of the wide range of items which all contribute to a picture of Britain in the
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
To what Extent does the Text Represent Life and Concerns in Britain Today?
The text written by schools inevitably reflects the interests of the children who a
wrote it, but it is equally inevitable that both teachers and the sub-culture of school
life influence the choice of topics selected by children from the range of their
experiences, not to mention their parents and home life. Since the Domesday
Project is intended to reflect a cross-section of British life in the 80s, it is legitimate to
ask to what extent the life experiences of the schoolchildren who wrote the bulk of
the text are presented, and to pose a related question about the ways in which
teachers have encouraged the writing of text to achieve more specific educational
To begin with the last question, the selection of many educational objectives as goals
constrains the range of topics from which it may be appropriate for children to
choose. For example, one teacher used the text as an opportunity to teach
prepositions associated with movement—I went up the stairs, and round the corner,
into my bedroom—to a primary class. This immediately rules out the selection of
topics about, say health or children’s less tangible, experiential awareness of the
places where they live, but at the same time it may open up a view of their world
which they have not considered before. Choice of a particular educational goal
actively excludes topics inappropriate to the attainment of that goal. The wider
range of topics which might be selected may be limited further by passive exclusion
by children themselves, if they consider only certain parts of this range to be suitable
in the classroom milieu.
Linking the writing of text to a subject area also limits the topics considered but, as
always, teachers could encourage their classes to broaden their horizons through
discussion beforehand.
What did People Write About?
With Landscape, Farming and Local History heading the list as three of the four most
written about topics on the Domesday Project (Table Il), anyone reading through the
text in the twenty-first century could be forgiven for believing that the British of the
1980s were preoccupied with rural beauty and reflections on their past history. The
predominance of the concrete over social concerns, of the physical appearance of
places over the experience of new events developing within them, might suggest to
our future reader a varied but essentially cohesive, undivided society, adhering to a
common set of norms. Any sense of the debate and controversy of everyday life is
generally lacking, set alongside the sea of objective descriptions.
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
But it would be wrong to conclude that the more immediate concerns of families in
the 1980s are not recorded. Housing, Education, Employment and Transport are the
next most prominent topics after Local History. These better represent issues that
are uppermost in people's minds, and are the substance of wider discussion in
politics and the media. Again inconsistencies show through—over 8,000 mentions of
villages, but less than 1,500 specific references to towns and urban areas. Are cities
and towns so much an integral part of life that their presence is to be taken for it
granted? Do only those areas outside of everyday experience need specific
reference, along with the exceptional or unusual? Or has there been a real
preference to write about villages?
Home Life and Life Styles (including fashion, cafes and subcultures) are well covered,
with just over 10,000 and 9,000 references respectively, giving some potential insight
into the lives of children and youth. But many of these pieces follow the ‘day-in-the-
life-of' formula. They are factual logs, rather than individual comment. Indeed, it is a
characteristic of the text that pieces are general, rather than specific, written with an
impersonal detachment that has little sense of emotion or feeling. Given the
circumstances under which the text was written, and the predominance of Primary
school contributions to the Project, this is perhaps not surprising. But children are
exuberant and imaginative in their thinking, and show surprising insight into many
aspects of then lives which they are well able to communicate. A range of social
surveys of young people, art competitions and compilations of children’s writing
demonstrate this excellently (HMSO, 1983).
The text pieces do record the people who wrote them. There are about 4,000
references to Children and 1,000 to Youth. a breakdown which reflects the
numerical balance between primary and secondary schools which participated in the
Sport, Clubs (e.g. youth clubs) and Entertainment - each with an important place in
the lives of young people are often mentioned, while Economics, Politics, Science
and Technology are referenced much less frequently. So the text on the Domesday
Community disc is comprehensive but biased in emphasis, quite naturally, to the
interests of school-age children, their teachers and the classroom environment in
which they were writing.
I have already noted that the choice of items and the style of writing tend to the
general and not the specific, with evident detachment. A search through more
specific keywords reveals certain aspects of British life which are covered extremely
poorly. There exists a trend towards ideas and actions that could be regarded as
firmly established in society, towards the curious rather than the coutroversial. So
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
Gamekeepers get 131 references to 10 for Asians, 55 tor Muslims and a combined
total of about 220 specific references to any ethic identities. Royalty gets 92
references to 60 for Redundancy, although Unemployment has 651 general
Even the children’s subculture of games and happenings is poorly represented —
only 5 mentions of Dens, 11 for Hide-and-Seek, 11 for Guy Fawkes, 20 for Halloween
and 21 for Dolls. Discos (102) and BMX bicycles (143) fare better.
Table II. Number of references to index keywords on the Domesday Project
community disc
15-25,000 References 3-4,000 References
Landscape (Social) Concerns
Farming Entertainment
Recreation Communications
(Local) History Health
Housing 2-3,000 References
10-15,000 References Customs
Education Government
Employment Biography
Transport 1-2,000 References
Home (Life) Law (and Order)
7-10,000 References Media
(Life) Styles Arts (and Crafts)
Ecology Language
Industry Armed (Forces)
Trade Less than 1,000 References
Religion Energy
Clubs Science (and Technology)
4-7,000 References Information (Systems)
Tourism Supernatural
Events Economics
Population Politics
Family relations are given scant attention — no brothers or cousins, aunts or uncles,
only 3 sisters, 17 fathers, 66 housewives and 105 mums/ mothers; 16 grandparents
and 206 parents. Emotions are almost non-existent: 22 friends, 2 references to
boredom, 3 on kissing, but nothing on boy/girlfriends, love, loneliness or anger!
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
Among other topics on the Community disc, Health (3,056) is frequently mentioned,
but again many of the references are general. Over 1,100 references to Hospitals
reinforce the view of the concrete rather than articulation of issues that are perhaps
personally contentious. Handicap (283) and Disease (196) must be compared with
Smoking (12) (known to be widespread in some school groups) and Cancer (21). But
in the realm of current affairs there can be good coverage, for example about 240
references to the Miner's strike which affected very many families. Over 100
references to the EEC, 135 to Nuclear, 40 to American (mainly American military
bases) and so on suggest awareness of national issues, when set alongside the low
overall numbers of references to specific issues.
With over 130,000 pages of text on the Community disc, there is much to analyse on
the aspects of life that people chose to write about for the Domesday Survey, and a
wealth of information for educational usage.
The Domesday Videodiscs as an Educational Resource
So far, I have only considered the educational impact of the Domesday Project in
terms of the participation of schools in the Domesday Survey. But when the
Domesday discs are published in December 1986, the educational role of the
Domesday Project will shift to providing a resource for schools, which one Inspector
of Schools has enthusiastically described as “instant curriculum development”. It is
my purpose now to review the potential impact of the Domesday videodiscs in this
new role, and I will start by describing the basic layout of the videodiscs.
The Domesday videodiscs consist of a set of two discs, with a total of four playing
sides. One disc, the ‘Community’ disc, contains all the information collected by
schools and community groups as part of the Domesday Survey, except for the count
information. This disc is divided into a north and a south side, and includes all the
text written as part of the Domesday survey, a complete set of essays covering all 40
km by 30 km blocks of land within the United Kingdom, and essays primarily written
by geographers on the different regions of Britain. It incorporates over 24,000
pictures submitted for all parts of the UK covered by the Domesday Survey, a
complete set of Ordnance Survey 1 to 50,000 scale maps divided into the 4 km by 3
km survey blocks of the UK, maps for 70 major towns and cities based on Ordnance
Survey maps at a scale of 1 to 10,000, smaller scale maps, aerial - photographs and
satellite imagery of the UK (Lee, 1986).
The other disc, the ‘National’ disc, is also divided into two sides. The first gives a
wealth of graphics-generated maps and chart displays (Tapper 1986), for which
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
sophisticated interactive manipulation is possible, text describing many
contemporary issues, and over 500 thematically arranged picture sets, containing
over 25,000 individually captioned photographs, as well as four outdoor and six
indoor ‘surrogate walks’. This side is divided into four main areas—Environment,
Culture, Bret a Society and Economy—which in turn are divided into many other
headings. The second side of the ‘National’ disc comprises moving footage and
sound of major events and news stories for each year from 1980 to 1986.
Finding Information on the Domesday Videodiscs
The information recorded on the videodiscs is only of value if it is properly
catalogued and readily accessible, and the Domesday system is well endowed in both
these respects (Table III). All items on both the Community and National Discs are
indexed using keywords. In addition, items on the National disc are organised under
an hierarchical contents list.
TABLE III. Indexing and retrieval of information on the Domesday videodiscs
Community disc:
gazeteer of place names
grid references
direct entry from maps
‘electronic bookmark’
National disc:
hierarchical contents list
browse through visual index in ‘gallery’
‘electronic bookmark’
If you want to look up material about punk cultures, you type ‘Punk’ into the system
and a list of items is presented from which to choose—attitudes towards punks, text
on punk lifestyles, and picture sets. Or perhaps you want to explore social
information, selecting the ‘Society’ heading at the top of the hierarchical contents
lists. This provides a list of sub-headings covering major social topics. If you select
‘Health’, you will be presented with a list of topics from ‘Accidents & emergency
services’ to ‘Social habits & health’. Following up the latter will produce a further list
of more specific topics, such as ‘Alcohol use’, ‘Sexually transmitted disease’ and
‘Exercise & health’. From these you may make further selections, to obtain a list of
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
items to examine relevant to the topics and to route through the contents hierarchy
that you selected. Frequently individual items are relevant to two or three different
parts of the hierarchical contents list, and cross-references are provided to
appropriate sections. So some items in ‘Exercise & health’ also appear under
‘Participation in sport’, while some items under ‘Sexually transmitted disease’ are
cross-referenced to headings on sexuality under ‘Culture’.
Two other routes into the videodiscs have special importance in education. The first
of these is a visual index or gallery, in which major themes are represented
pictorially. It allows the sort of browsing that most people do in libraries and
exhibitions. Movement through the gallery is controlled by the user through the
microcomputer, and at any point it is possible to home in on a particular topic to
retrieve a detailed picture set or a general essay. This form of browsing may prove
particularly important in primary education.
The second feature is an electronic ‘bookmark’ which allows direct return to any
display previously set up and ‘bookmarked’, without the need to work through the
index or hierarchical contents list again. This facility will also allow students to in
both make a record of their work on the Domesday system. If a disc drive is
available, permanent records of bookmarks can be stored on a floppy disc.
Interactive features of the Domesday system
I discuss many of the interactive features of the Domesday videodiscs elsewhere
(Tapper, 1987), and will here only describe the most important facilities from the
educational point of view. First, the National disc contains a vast amount of
statistical data from a variety of national sources. The Domesday system
automatically converts this information into graphics displays via microcomputer and
monitor. Many displays are maps, which use as mapping units either grid squares or
irregular areal units, such as counties and districts. Each map unit is coloured
according to the statistical information it contains. Up to five colour classes are
available, and class intervals can be redefined to give greater detail within the range
of data values. The colours used to indicate each class can be changed, too.
Graphics maps can be displayed in association with background maps illustrating
major topographic features such as roads and towns, which assist in orientating
information in relation to features on the ground. The graphics maps can be
displayed for the whole of the UK or for smaller rectangular areas selected by a user.
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
Some statistical comparison is possible between maps based on the same mapping
units, via options written into the software, while another option allows data values
for selected map units to be added together, giving a cumulative count. For
example, the number of unemployed in Cardiff could be found out from a map
showing unemployment in districts in Great Britain, by adding together the numbers
of unemployed for each district of Cardiff.
Chart displays are provided for data gathered from opinion polls and other sample
surveys, and for economic statistics. Bar charts and pie charts are both provided for
interactive graphics displays, and different cross-tabulations are readily obtained.
So, for a survey on attitudes to factory farming, the proportion of a survey a appear :
sample approving or disapproving may be displayed by sex, age, social class, and so
Another educationally important feature is present on the Community disc. This
allows both distance and area to be measured off any of the Ordnance Survey maps
of the United Kingdom.
“Technology is not Learning” (Bork, 1982)
Alfred Bork continues by declaring that “the real interest in the computer in
education lies...(in)...its effectiveness as a learning device”. Sharp divisions occur
between educational goals and the media through which they may be presented.
Differences in construction and interpretation are as great between computer-based
learning and other audio-visual technology, as between oral and literary traditions in
education. Media used to approach educational goals are as important as the goals
themselves, when both are treated in their legitimate places in the context of a
curriculum. With the range of new media in common use, it may be argued that it is
desirable, even essential, for education to include some insight into decoding the
constructs embodied by each medium.
In this final section, I want to consider whether the Domesday videodiscs form an
effective "learning device" in Bork’s sense. What influence may they hold over
models of teaching practice and curriculum development? And do they really a
represent a coalescence of the vanguard of innovative concepts for the use of
computers in education, in opposition to many practices currently implicit in much
educational software?
I have attempted to convey a sense of the scope and flexibility of the Domesday
videodiscs, in both the material they contain and the ways in which that material can
be searched and acted upon. While this alone makes the videodiscs an ideal source
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
in most learning situations, their value depends upon the various teaching methods
which they may be used to support. Undoubtedly some methods will be more fertile
ground than others for advancement of new educational practices drawing their
resources from the Domesday videodiscs. For the discs may either be pigeon-holed
within existing slots, merely replacing a printed atlas with an electronic one, or used
as an opportunity to redesign parts of the landscape of educational practices.
The use of computers in education has been categorised by Kemmis into four modes
(Rushby, 1984): the instructional, used to impart specific information with techniques
like programmed learning; the revelatory, in which set, deterministic simulations are
employed to develop reasoning and conceptualisation of links between items of
knowledge; the conjectural, which uses model building to allow free exploration and
development of conceptual frameworks in which different assumptions may be
tested; and the emancipatory, where computers are used to remove the drudge
from large volumes of calculation and sifting of reference material, once the
processes involved have been fully understood.
There are uses of the videodiscs which fit all the categories distinguished above. As a
source of illustrative maps and charts for teachers, they represent the instructional
mode. In terms of looking up a series of items illustrating facets of a theme, the
videodiscs are used in revelatory and emancipatory modes. But while these can be
powerful uses of the videodiscs, it is in the conjectural mode that their greatest
advantages for innovation lie. The model building lies outside the software and
technology of the Domesday system. Here, development of concepts is firmly
rooted in the modes of everyday experience and communication chosen by children.
The conceptual model is formulated on paper, through discussion, work-sheets and
any other means, as a series of questions to be investigated through the information
and interactive facilities available on the videodiscs. The processes of questioning
and conceptualisation shift continually between the computer system and the world
at large, rather than focusing on the technology.
In this the Domesday system affords opportunities in the stream of radical
curriculum development. Work on it can become exploratory, in which teachers are
freed in the classroom to educate through participation, and to concentrate on
students in smaller groups. It is specially suited to decentralised curriculum
development by practicing teachers; the flexible structures on the videodiscs allow a
endless possibilities for arrangement and adaptation of a selection of materials into
more structured teaching modules. And the Domesday Project has arranged for
practicing teachers to develop the first educational guides to the videodiscs, devising
and testing ideas in their classrooms supported by curriculum advisers.
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
I have attempted to demonstrate the value of the Domesday Project in education,
both through the participation of schools in the Domesday Survey and through the
ways in which the videodiscs will find application in the curriculum. The videodiscs
are a major advance in provision of material that can be incorporated into resource-
based learning, and present ways of accessing and manipulating information that
encourage development of educational skills. We need to wait until they are in use
by teachers and educators to assess their impact in education, but the Domesday
Project has produced a fantastic store of materials for them to work upon.
I wish to record my appreciation of Peter Armstrong, originator and Editor of the
Domesday Project, for the opportunity to participate in work on such a bold idea;
also, to my BBC colleagues for their vigorous debate and unerring support.
The BBC Domesday Project - An educational review
Atkins, S. (1985) The Domesday Project, Media in Education & Development, 18, pp.
Bork, A. (1982) The fourth revolution—computers and learning, reprinted in: C.
TERRY (1984) Using Micro-computers in Schools (Beckenham, Croom Helm).
BBC Domesday Project (1985a) The Domesday Project: survey guide (London, BBC).
BBC Domesday Project (1985b) The Domesday Project: teacher’s handbook (London,
HMSO (1983) Young People in the 80s—a survey (London, HMSO).
Lee, D. (1986) The Domesday Project: a progress report, The Library Association
Record (in press).
Rushby, N. (1984) Styles of computer-based learning, in: C. TERRY (1984) Using
Micro-computers in Schools (Beckenham, Croom Helm).
Symons, R. (1984) Survey of Listening and Viewing in UK Schools—Autumn 1984
(London, BBC Educational Broadcasting Research Unit).
Tapper, R. (1986) The Domesday Project, ASLIB Information, 14, pp. 160-161.
Tapper, R. (1987) Building the Domesday database, ASLIB Proceedings, 39 (4), April
1987, p.p.107-121.
... Although one might imagine the market not promoting hardware longevity, it is also problematic for professionals whose core concern is digital preservation. In 1983 a BBC project sought to recreate the famous Domesday book of 1082 and recruiting academic and technical skills at a national level, asked over 14,000 schools and community groups to provide a snapshot of British life through images, text and video which would be saved in digital format [46]. Unfortunately, unlike the original, it was unreadable within 15 years, not a 1000 years, due to hardware obsolescence issues [47]. ...
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Received wisdom portrays digital records as guaranteeing perpetuity; as the New York Times wrote a decade ago: "the web means the end of forgetting". The reality however is that digital records suffer similar risks of access loss as the analogue versions they replace. Often this risk is outsourced to specialised third parties. Common use cases include Personal Information Management (PIM): e.g. calendars, diaries, tasks, etc. Frequently these are outsourced at two removes - firstly by the individual to their employer (e.g. using a company system) and then by their employer to an external provider. So enters a new risk: organisational change; by the time the information is required the organisational chain that links user to data may be broken: the employer transitions to a different provider, the employee leaves the company, the IS provider pivots to new offerings. The advent of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) could help mitigate these risks; and has led to a re-evaluation of the relationship between data creation and ownership. Although DLT is an imprecise term, it typically involves data storage across organisationally separate entities in a cryptographically secure form; and therefore could present a partial solution to the risk. This project presents the first research that applies DLT to the field of PIM, furthering design science state of the art by a novel implementation of a calendar application on the Ethereum blockchain. It also extends current research in utilising DLT in digital preservation, namely by enacting a continuum approach within a DL that allows for transfer of ownership of digital objects as they transition from individual to collective relevance. Finally it provides guidelines for future use of DLT within digital preservation.
... By allowing comparisons to be made, users are given a powerful method for exploring themes of their own construction, drawing on materials on the videodiscs. 3 An example will illustrate this. If you wish to make a comparison between pollution and the distribution of certain industrial sites for example, information on both topics is available: the pollution information from surveys of sulphur dioxide pollution provided by the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, while industrial information is based on details supplied by the Business Statistics Office. ...
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The Domesday Project videodiscs are the first integrated database to be created for public dissemination. They incorporate data, presented as simple interactive graphics, pictures and text from an unprecedented array of subject areas. This paper describes how the BBC team solved major problems to combine data from nearly 45 different sources into a single database.
... In 1981 the personal computer was launched by IBM and the development of personal computing was accompanied by the development of sound and video capabilities which heralded the era of multimedia. Interactive video (Burnstein, 1987, Laurillard, 1987, launched a decade earlier, was utilised in a range of educational applications including Palenque and the BBC Doomsday Disc (Tapper, 1986, Wilson, 1987, Wilson, 1988 programs designed for teaching. In the US in 1986 Apple launched HyperCard on the Mac which made a significant impact through its ease of use, and stimulated a wide range of educational applications. ...
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The uptake and diffusion of the use of learning technologies in UK Higher Education is an instance of the adoption of change. There has been considerable research into the ways in which the uptake and diffusion of innovation can bring about change processes. This work has identified the importance of barriers and drivers to change as a part of the process. Areas of study have included general instances, those specific to technology and those relevant to the use of learning technology in higher education. It has also been shown that a Higher Education institution’s organisational structure may itself inhibit or constrain the way in which the institution can respond to external changes and adopt new practices. This study reviews the development and growth in the use of learning technologies. It sets these activities in the context of changes in computing in education and psychology from a UK and a US perspective. The study analyses an extensive survey of the use of learning technology at the University of Southampton, suggesting that institutional approaches are associated with organisational models and may amplify or dampen the known barriers and drivers for change. A study of experiences across a range of UK Higher Education Institutions provides further evidence for this argument.
The Domesday Interactive Videodisc System was launched in late 1986. At the time of the launch claims were made about the System's potential major contribution to educational computing. Sufficient time has now elapsed in order to present a considered assessment of its utility as an educational resource. This paper reviews the technology embodied in the System, describes how it works and considers its educational potential. Two case studies detail how the Domesday System may be used in geography teaching.
Unless you have been on the library equivalent of a desert island, you will know that the BBC AIV system and the Domesday Project Video Discs were released at the end of last year. We bought the system in March but only now do we feel ready to release it for general use. The bibliography (not exhaustive) at the end of this review lists several articles which describe the technical aspects of the system in detail. Similarly other references (and BBC television programmes) have highlighted the immense co-operative effort which went into collecting the data on the discs. We do not intend to repeat all this information, although a brief description follows. What we would like to do is to give the subjective impressions of a group of librarians, working in a particular library, setting up and exploring the system. We would hope that rather than being seen as any form of definitive assessment of the system, this brief expression of points of view will encourage others to agree (or disagree) with our opinions, give us the benefit of their own experiences and pass on any handy tips they have picked up.
The traditionally separate application areas supported by database systems and instructional systems are merging in the area of learning support environments (LSEs). We discuss the provision of tools in LSEs for navigating around large knowledge bases. The optimal form of navigation will depend on the nature of the user and of the learning requirements, and thus a variety of tools must be provided. We propose the use of a travel holiday metaphor as a means for structuring a set of navigation tools and illustrate its use in a system for teaching non-formal fields of knowledge.
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The THEOREMA project aims at supporting, within one consistent logic and one coherent software system, the entire mathematical exploration cycle including the phase of proving. In this paper we report on some of the new features of THEOREMA that have been designed and implemented since the first expository version of THEOREMA in 1997. These features are: - the THEOREMA formal text language - the THEOREMA computational sessions - the Prove-Compute-Solve (PCS) prover of THEOREMA - the THEOREMA set theory prover - special provers within THEOREMA - the cascade-meta-strategy for THEOREMA provers - proof simplification in THEOREMA. In the conclusion, we formulate design goals for the next version of THEOREMA.
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The Domesday Project videodiscs are the first integrated database to be created for public dissemination. They incorporate data, presented as simple interactive graphics, pictures and text from an unprecedented array of subject areas. This paper describes how the BBC team solved major problems to combine data from nearly 45 different sources into a single database.
Describes the Domesday Project, a cooperative government, corporate, community, and school venture which will gather and preserve survey information, statistics, photographs, and maps on two interactive laser videodiscs to provide a lasting comprehensive record of late twentieth century life in the United Kingdom. (MBR)
The personal computer is sparking a major historical change in the way people learn, a change that could lead to the disappearance of formal education as we know it. The computer can help resolve many of the difficulties now crippling education by enabling expert teachers and curriculum developers to prepare interactive and individualized instructional materials for wide dissemination at low cost. These changes will be made possible by the creation of a large and discriminating market for low-cost computer hardware and software. As quality materials are developed to serve this market, schools will turn increasingly to computerized and off-campus instruction. Computers will be used by schools in several ways, which must be selected on pedagogical rather than on philosophical or technological grounds. Computer-related education will concentrate on developing computer literacy, teaching programming (though preferably not BASIC), and providing computer-assisted instruction in academic areas. Teachers can prepare for the changing nature of education by studying learning theory, curriculum development, and modern programming languages, and by adopting a Socratic teaching technique; experimenting with computers; developing a critical eye for computer-based learning material; working with others; and concentrating on long range goals for education. (Author/PGD)
The Domesday Project: survey guide
  • Bbc Domesday Project
BBC Domesday Project (1985a) The Domesday Project: survey guide (London, BBC).
The Domesday Project: teacher's handbook
  • Bbc Domesday Project
BBC Domesday Project (1985b) The Domesday Project: teacher's handbook (London, BBC).
Styles of computer-based learning
  • N Rushby
Rushby, N. (1984) Styles of computer-based learning, in: C. TERRY (1984) Using Micro-computers in Schools (Beckenham, Croom Helm).
Survey of Listening and Viewing in UK Schools-Autumn
  • R Symons
Symons, R. (1984) Survey of Listening and Viewing in UK Schools-Autumn 1984 (London, BBC Educational Broadcasting Research Unit).