All items about UK


The WWW of 18th Century London

A new website, London Lives, has been created by researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK. 240,000 pages of manuscripts from between 1690 and 1800, from hospitals, courts, local governments and parishes have been digitized and made available online – that’s half the size of the world-wide web in 1996.

What’s new here though is that the documents have been cross-linked so that you can track individual people’s lives across the different institutions of 18th century London, building up a picture of London life in the period much as you might while browsing the web or reading people’s Twitter updates today.

It’s a refreshingly different way to examine the past, and reminds us the value of open data and what we get from having a cross-linked web of public data sources today.

Read more at or browse London Lives directly.


The recent elections in the UK were plagued with problems, with many citizens complaining that they weren’t able to vote, as this BBC article points out.

Most aspects of government–from how we elect leaders to how we survey the citizenry to how we communicate legislation–are hopelessly outdated. The Internet promises huge efficiencies, but it’s up against potential fraud and a generation of elected officials who worry how it will change their political fortunes. With political reform a key part of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition’s manifesto, a manifesto which also includes the abolition of ID cards & associated citizen databases, this is sure to be an issue for lively discussion.

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