The British Library builds an everyday email archive

The The British Library has asked the UK public to forward it their emails, to help create what the library claims will be the world’s first municipal email archive.

The British Library builds an everyday email archive

British Library Curator of Socio-linguistics and Education Jonnie Robinson said that the prevalence of email as a form of correspondence led the library to decide it should capture a wide-ranging sample of this 21st century phenomenon.

‘It’s a fantastic way to preserve British culture,’ Robinson told Reuters. ‘It’s kind of like an electronic time capsule.’

The British Library, which preserves documents such as William Shakespeare’s first work, the Magna Carta, polar explorer Robert Scott’s diary and the letters of author Jane Austen, bills itself as “the world’s knowledge” and holds more than 13 million books, 57 million patents, three million sound recordings and 920,000 journal and newspaper titles.

Email Britain will allow us to archive a vast snapshot of our present-day email communications and will be of great value for future researchers,’ John Tuck, the head of collections, said in a statement.

Emails should be submitted under one of the following categories which should be typed into the subject box of the email: Blunders, Life Changing Emails, Complaints, Spam, Love and Romance, Humour, Everyday Emails, News, World Around You, Tales from Abroad.

‘Digital archiving of email has never been attempted before on this scale and we’re very excited to be capturing such a rich slice of contemporary life,’ Tuck said.

Although the famous and the powerful will be asked to contribute, the man in the street plays an equally important part of the mix.

‘Everybody contributes to that process, not just the famous,’ Robinson said.

To contribute to the archive, log on to the Email Britain web site or email directly to [email protected]

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