The BBC's Domesday book project has been resurrected from technical death by researchers.
The huge digital archive of life in the 1980s was stored on two interactive video discs that could be accessed using a special BBC microcomputer system.
But the discs outlived the computers they were stored on, and could not be read by today's machines.
Now, however, researchers on the Camileon project - based at Leeds University and the University of Michigan in the US - say they have cracked the discs.
They have developed software which emulates the obsolete BBC computer and video disc player and makes the material accessible on a modern computer.
Developed to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the 1086 Domesday book, the BBC's project formed a snapshot of life in the UK during the mid-1980s.
More than one million people were involved in the project, including photographers, journalists, academics, researchers, Ordnance Survey mapmakers and statisticians for the UK Census.
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