The National Disc


The following image shows the cover page for both the Domesday box set that contains the National Disc:

Domesday box set logo

Purpose of the AIV disc

Except from the user manual:

The Domesday Project is one of the most comprehensive IV applications yet created; it is also the first to employ the technique of storing both source material (i.e. video, stills, data, etc) and the control programs together on the same videodisc – in the past the controlling computer has executed programs from its own, quite separate, storage medium.

The BBC, who initiated the Domesday Project, wished to compile a modern analogue of the 900-year-old Domesday Book which comprises the first, and best known, demographic survey of England.  They realised that the material that they wished to include would come in a great diversity of forms – everything from tables of government statistics to satellite photographs.  This posed a serious problem in terms of how to disseminate the information given the mixture of media, and it became clear that Interactive Video offered an excellent solution.  By further including the control software itself on the videodisc, the problem was reduced to the collection and collation of the information, and the production equipment suitable for its retrieval under control of an untrained operator.

The Domesday Project information is stored on two LaserVision discs – the National disc and the Community disc.  The National disc primarily contains text in the form of abstracts and essays, along with statistical data and other information on the country as a whole.  The contents of the Community disc are split into two sides, each side covering roughly half of the country (the sides are ‘North’ and ‘South’).  Both discs combine still and moving video material with soundtrack or digital data in LV-ROM format; a computer-controlled videodisc player is used in conjunction with computer software read from the videodisc to effect the display of this information.

Introduction video

The Laser Video disc

The National Disc – Side 1
The National Disc – Side 2

The National Disc user manual

The National Disc does not provide its own user manual; instead the operation of the disc is covered by the “BBC Master AIV User Guide”.  You can download a copy of this manual in PDF format from the link below:

BBC Master AIV User Guide

Detailed instructions for using the Domesday software including the Community and National disc is available in the Domesday Video Disc User Guide. You can download this 250 page manual from the link below:

Domesday Video Disc User Guide

Versions of the National disc

There are two known versions of the National disc; the National disc and the National++ disc. The disc version can be determined by the disc label (which includes an addition ‘++’ for the National++ version). The differences between the two versions are not known at the time of writing (however, if you have any information on the versions we’d love to hear from you).