Monday, October 16, 2006

British Library to store 'blog' of lives of Britons

Thanks to GPP (you know who you are!) for alerting me to this -- British Library to store 'blog' of lives of Britons: report (via CNA):
Anyone who participates is asked to submit between 100 and 1,000 words about their day on Tuesday, in either English or Welsh -- the project was inspired by mass observation exercises conducted by sociologists through and since World War II to record the details of daily life.

I thought the headline was misleading though, at least to me. This UK initiative isn't about storing blogs per se. More like record of a single day's event by anyone who signs up. You don't really need a blog to participate in the project. I suppose one could consider the entire digital time-capsule as "A Blog", as suggested by The BritBlog Blog when it referred to the project as "The Biggest Blog in History (so far)".

Funny thing though -- when I tried to access the www.historymatters.co.uk URL mentioned in the article, the site just displays a message "This domain name has been registered by: National Business Register Plc".

Anyway, the project is an intriguing idea. I think its value would be more apparent when sociologists exam the records decades from now. The assumption is that Technology will not fail, or else the digital records would not be accessible.

I'm also reminded of the Today In History (otherwise referred to as "tih") project organised by the Singapore Ministry of Education:
To commemorate Singapore’s 40th National Day in 2005, MOE has produced a book on students’ research and reflections on past events in Singapore’s history, especially those that coincide with their birthdays. It is a gift by our students to Singapore as students from all schools in Singapore from primary to pre-University level were invited to send in their entries covering each day from January to December.

The book is unique in presenting students’ perspectives on both well-known and less well-known events in Singapore’s history. For the Singaporean adult, the book will bring to mind events in the recent and distant past that many would have lived through, yielding enriching recollections of Singapore’s past. As the book covers every day in the year, it is hoped that it will have some significance for everyone.


I guess the UK project was to capture the present so that it can be reviewed in future, whereas the Singapore MOE project was to review the past as for the present generation.

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2 comments:

  1. We, the citizens of Singapore, seem to be constantly looking backwards.

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  2. To be fair, I think we look back (rather than backwards) so that we can address the future. Our libraries here are a case in point : ) I also feel we have different ways of looking ahead. I'm not saying this because I feel patriotic. There is tangible progress in Singapore. Whether that "progress" it's equal for all, that's something else, and I guess that's where libraries come in, Brennan. I also think people who expect progress have to help themselves too (but that's a thought for another post perhaps).

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