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Thousands Blog for British Library

The One Day in History project, a single-day nationwide blog organized by Britain’s History Matters Campaign, as of October 20 has logged entries from 41,250 residents, including students at all 29,000 schools in the country. The entries of October 17—chosen by the campaign as an “ordinary day much like any other of no particular national significance”—will be organized into a social history archive to be accessible to researchers and historians at the Web Archive in Modern British Collections of London’s British Library.

History Matters prepared an online form for the journal entries, but those using personal blogs can upload their entries until October 31, provided they do not exceed 650 words. According to the project website, those without computers are encouraged to upload their blogs from a library or any other publicly accessible computer.

The project was inspired by the Mass-Observation Archive, which was established in the late 1930s to let ordinary Britons record diaries for future generations. That archive currently resides in the special collections library at the University of Sussex.

“What we want this to be is a detailed account of people’s normal lives,” historian Dan Snow told the BBC News. “It’s those mundane details, those boring details that will seem extraordinary to people hundreds of years in the future.” David Cannadine of the Institute for Historical Research added, “It may be that historians in the future will be amazed that on October 17, 2006, we were still eating meat or driving privately owned cars.”

Posted October 20, 2006.