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The National Archives Labs

Launching ‘Domesday on a map’

This week I’m going to talk about our experiences with launching the prototype Domesday tool.

I’d like to apologise for any issues you may have experienced when visiting our Labs site recently. The level of interest has been far greater than we expected, and our Labs site couldn’t quite meet the demand.

All the prototypes on the Labs site (including the Domesday tool) are trials which have been produced at very low cost, using new technology, new ideas and new ways of processing data. They are not perfect and need to be built on.

Before we invest, we want to know what you think about them and whether you would find them useful. This will help us focus our limited funding and resources in a way that supports you, our customers, best.

So far this has been a success and given us a strong steer on what works, what doesn’t and what you would like to see. It is great to see so much interest and shows we are going down the right path in our developments. The level of interest in the site yesterday (particularly the Domesday tool) caused a number of technical issues, which we are now working to resolve. We will use the lessons learnt this week to improve both the robustness of the Labs site itself and how we tell our customers about it.

In spite of these teething problems, we have been able to get very useful feedback on the automatic geographic referencing we trialled with the Domesday tool. We used automated software, rather than a manual process, to geo-reference this data. We’ve now learnt that this works on the whole but that there are a few specific issues. We are now comparing the computer-generated data with the most up-to-date scholarly list of Domesday names to help resolve any issues.

I hope that you will continue to take an interest in our online developments and tell us what you think of them. We are very excited at being able to open up our collection in new and innovative ways, and we very much value your support in doing so.

Director of Technology and Chief Information Officer – David Thomas

As a senior archivist and records specialist at The National Archives, David’s career has focused on developing access to archives and information in both government and the archive sector.

David is responsible for information technology services at The National Archives, and is leading on the major cross-government project to develop a shared service for preserving digital records.

Comments (13)

  • Maidens

    Brilliant idea, well done !

  • John Schuster

    Being employed in the field of information technology myself, I would be interested in hearing about the specifics of the problems you are experiencing in launching the prototype for the Domesday Tool.

  • Nancy Greenway

    Would be wonderful if I could access Even YORK gets no information available

  • Bea Fausold

    Where can I find the box to enter placename, please? Williton, Somerset

  • Elizabeth Gates

    I am experiencing a long time in loading the information regarding the map. I walked away from my computer about 15 minutes ago and it is still loading. Wonderful idea though!

  • Peter Whipps

    I found it interesting that, for the background map, you make use of Open Street Map – but do we need all the detail (bus stops, post boxes, pubs etc) for this purpose?
    I would question the inferred boundaries shown which seem to bear no relation at all to natural or known historic boundaries, as far as I can judge.

  • Sue

    I wasn’t able to access it , just get “error on page” shame.

  • Ken Almond

    Oh! to be one of the chosen few and actually be able to get on to the Doomes day web site. Perhaps that is my lot in life but it is very annoying….

  • heulwen goodall

    Can’t download domesday map only prewar ones!

  • LucyAnn Curling

    I was able to use the tool when first notified by NA email, but now it seems the map just won’t load although the name I’m searching does appear as a link. This tool is going to be really helpful to Family History researchers like me. Keep going til the problems are sorted out – and after!

  • Nigel

    Great idea, but it wouldn’t load for me either – in IE, Aol or Safari.

  • Ruth B

    Look forward to seeing this develop. Can I assume low-res image will be free to view online, just the hi-res chargeable? The app fell over before I could explore further!

  • johncarney

    used today first time
    hoping to get field book reference
    Great resource of information

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