Thursday, April 14, 2011

Phil Gyford's Pepys Diary project is in its 9th year

Over at BoingBoing, Cory Doctorow points out that Phil Gyford's project to republish the diaries of Samuel Pepys is well into its ninth year now.

Gyford has recently been giving a series of talks about his experiences with the project, and has placed the presentation slides and audio from a recent talk online at his site.

As diary projects go, I find Tom Hilton's new Fremont Survey project more immediately accessible, both since I am an American and since I'm more outdoors-y by nature. I enjoyed this week's description of the hills and valleys near Arroyo Grande as it brought back memories of calling out "roller coaster!" as our car zoomed up one hill and down the next with the kids. Of course, it was much harder in a horse-and-wagon.

The Pepys Diaries, however, have tremendous historical importance and significance, and it is wonderful that Gyford has been able to sustain this project for such a long time; Hilton has years of work ahead of him before he can approach that. It's particularly interesting to see how Gyford's project has encouraged the development of a community of enthusiasts who gather regularly (both on the site and IRL) to discuss the diaries and their experiences.

A related project, but different, is DeLong's "Liveblogging World War II", in which Brad DeLong routinely posts a sort of "on this day in history" snippet of a bit of information from the same day, 70 years ago. It's not quite the "diaries" format, but has some of the same flavor. However, it's interspersed with his other entries on his blog, and so it's not easy to follow just the WW2 project as a separate entity.

Are there other diary republishing efforts like these? It seems a wonderful format; I'm pleased to see it growing in use.

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