Jubilee Time Capsule: Inside the world's largest online history project

25th Dec 2012 | 10:00

Jubilee Time Capsule: Inside the world's largest online history project

60 years of the Commonwealth on a tablet PC

This year saw Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrate her Diamond Jubilee and 60 years as head of the Commonwealth.

To mark both The Queen's Jubilee and to tell the story of the last 60 years, the Royal Commonwealth Society created the Jubilee Time Capsule.

The Jubilee Time Capsule is an online social archive, containing stories from people across all 54 Commonwealth countries, either as a written memory, a film, an audio recording or a photographic memory.

The time capsule marks the eventful six decades The Queen has seen, from Accession Day on 6th February 1952 to 2011's Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

These memories recount moments of Royal and historical significance, as well as personal histories, including weddings, family migration stories and individual tales of conflict and loss.

When The Queen became Head of the Commonwealth in 1952, there were eight member states - there are now 54. During Her Majesty's reign, 42 Commonwealth members gained independence from Britain and all chose to join the Commonwealth.

All Commonwealth residents, both adults and children, were invited to contribute a story about their family, community, country or the Commonwealth itself, from any time during Her Majesty's reign.

Over 37,000 people submitted contributions, via jubileetimecapsule.org and an Apple app.

Celebrities and members of the Royal Family to have taken part in the project include Prince Harry, Princess Eugenie, Paralympic and Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and William Hague.

The most popular day for people to remember was 29th April 2011 – the Royal Wedding – with more than 200 entries.

A massive 80,000 stories were submitted into the Jubilee Time Capsule in total, creating crowd-sourced People's History - an authentic legacy of the last 60 years.

The mass of entries was whittled down to the 60 'best' memories by a panel of distinguished judges, including the director general of The Royal Photographic Society, the Royal Librarian and Telegraph Deputy Editor Benedict Brogan.

These selected entries have formed the Diamond (re)Collection, and were presented to The Queen by the Royal Commonwealth Society during Her Majesty's tour of the Society's headquarters, on 14th November.

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It's all on a Note

The entire Diamond (re)Collection was made public on the internet, immediately following this.

The 60 photographs, drawings, poems, essays and videos were given to The Queen on a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet PC – the digital time capsule.

The tablet PC was presented to The Queen by 12-year-old John Samson, from Malawi, whose contributing essay, 'The day I wore my best clothes', was about the day he received his first school uniform.

John won the Royal Commonwealth Essay Junior Prize, which ran alongside the Jubilee Time Capsule project.

Jubilee Time Capsule: 60 years of the Commonwealth on a tablet PC

The tablet PC will be stored at Windsor Castle as part of the Royal Collection, which is held in trust by the Sovereign for her successors and the nation.

The Royal Collection already includes technology, including PCs and DVDs, as well as art, furniture and other memorabilia, but this is the first artifact on a PC tablet to be added.

Danny Sriskandarajah, Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society said: "The Commonwealth has been at the heart of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and we wanted to do something innovative to celebrate the association and the 2.1 billion people that live in it.

"The Jubilee Time Capsule is an amazing collection of stories and memories that shows the shared history and aspirations of the Commonwealth's citizens."

The legacy of Alan Turing

The first date in the Jubilee Time Capsule timeline is 6th February 1952 – A National Parks employee in Kenya shares a photo and remembers the day Princess Elizabeth found out about her father's death and her imminent accession to the throne.

Some of the other best entries are of 7th June 1954 – The legacy of Alan Turing as remembered by his former PhD student, and 14th November 1990 – a personal account by Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, who recalls his childhood realisation that disability is not synonymous with disadvantage.

Many of the children's entries are very special and poignant; including one about 15th November 2011 – The day Woody Street's dad was awarded his Green Badge black cab license for passing 'The Knowledge'.

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Around 150GB of data

Although only 60 of the 80,000 stories submitted made it onto The Queen's tablet and into The Royal Collection, the others are by no means wasted.

On the contrary, the complete library of 80,000 entries will remain available online in perpetuity, forming part of the world's biggest online history project and occupying around 150GB of digital space.

The online capsule is unique in its ease of accessibility for such a large social archive, which will be of great value to teachers, academics and historians, as well as the general public, as it provides such a unique look at the last 60 years.

Jubilee Time Capsule: 60 years of the Commonwealth on a tablet PC

All of the 60 entries that made it into the Diamond (re)Collection are both interesting and arresting and easily accessed as a collection at the Jubilee Time Capsule website, under the 'Collections' tab in the top right.

There is also a People's Choice Collection and the option to view entries by decade, region, Science, Culture & Education, Politics & Environment, Life & Royalty, or to simply browse through the capsule in its entirety.

There's also a search function, should you be looking for a particular subject or event.

If you have an iPhone or iPad you can also download the free Jubilee Time Capsule app, which has a great easy-to-use interface.

Jubilee Time Capsule: 60 years of the Commonwealth on a tablet PC

The online platform for the Jubilee Time Capsule is provided by Capsool, a company that creates (re)collections - social archives that collect people's stories and memories.

tablets Jubilee UK Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
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