November 2019

Saturday, November 30 2019

November 2019

This is a text only version of the newsletter.


Here at HEC we aim to make our archive and activities as digitally accessible as possible. So, we were elated to find that last month, our website broke new ground, reaching its record number of monthly and daily views ever. We are enormously grateful and look to make our website even better with each month.

From Coffee to Seaweed Virtual Exhibition

The commitment to digitisation does not end with our wonderful archive. We have now scanned and constructed an online 3D version of our exhibition From Coffee to Seaweed: Engineering a safer world since 1760. The exhibition explores the history of Lloyd's Register through unique stories and objects. It showcases the current work of the Lloyd's Register Foundation and the Lloyd's Register Group and how we continue to help make the world a safer place.

There are a few additional reasons why this is quite an exciting release. Firstly, the images were taken with the latest photographic technology. One 134-megapixel camera took 16 scans of the exhibition space. It took 30 minutes to capture the images and the average processing time was 8 hours. Secondly, on a more practical level, the HEC team cannot always be at hand to provide tours. Typically, only clients, researchers and pre-booked groups could visit us. Now, we have resolved this issue and you can have a tour from the comfort of your own home.

New Research Guides

We have built a new section on our website dedicated to research. At HEC we champion innovative approaches to history and encourage you to do the same with our vast archive. As well as embracing traditional forms of research such as academic dissertations, we welcome everything from data visualisation to artistic displays. The research portal also highlights how we embrace the full spectrum of themes to be gleaned from our archives. This could be ship design, ancestral history or the role of women in maritime engineering.

The opportunities are almost limitless so to help make sense of everything we have also provided you with bitesize pieces of key information. These give pithy overviews to several main points such as the origin of our collection. To underscore these exciting possibilities we have also included a page on the work that researchers have already done. Recent projects include television documentaries and public exhibitions. To begin your research journey with us click this link.

1851 Trust

The 1851 Trust take sport and science beyond the textbook to get young people inspired. We are funding three online modules for STEM Crew, a free digital education programme for 11-16-yr olds. Our historical yacht plans and case studies will augment new resources on materials, forces and mechanisms. Drawing parallels from a historical perspective enhances pupil’s learning on current cutting edge design, technology and safety today, to engage the next generation with our work. Alongside colleagues from Lloyd’s Register Group, HEC’s Research Manager attended a successful workshop and had a tour of STEM Crew HQ - we even got to steer an America’s Cup hydrofoil – thanks to VR of course!        

Blog Feature: How Jazzy is the Iomega Jaz Drive?

Our Digital Archivist Michael has written a fascinating blog about an unfamiliar and unloved storage system. You can read an excerpt below, and to read the rest of this blog click this link.

"This blog is about an arcane piece of hardware: the Jaz drive. The key questions that need answering are what on earth is it, what does it do, and most importantly, how jazzy is it? In response, this blog shall be broken into two stages. The first stage gives an answer to the first two questions. It details how the inherent flaws of the device contributed to its obsolescence. The second stage details why despite its flaws it would be wrong to overlook it. For entombed within these dusty devices can be a wealth of valuable data. This is exactly what I discovered when I was tasked to go through LR’s disks. Indeed, my experiences encapsulate the broader point that preserving born-digital resources, as well as its analogue counterparts, should rightly be a central tenet of the archival profession.

It is unlikely that you owned a Jaz drive during its production between 1995 and 2002. It is more probable that you have not heard of the device at all. Though it is hard to envisage now, the Jaz drive was marketed as an invaluable must-own product for computer enthusiasts. Manufactured by Iomega, the Jaz was the high-end, high-storage counterpart to the company’s Zip drive. For instance, the storage of the Zip began at 100MB, the Jaz started at 1GB. In a contemporaneous Guardian article, the Jaz drive was bracketed as a ‘superdisk’ worthwhile of your data backups. However, the laughable truth is that the Jaz drive’s impact on the computing world was negligible. Below is a Google Ngram graph that illustrates the mention of storage systems in every text digitised by Google Books. While the popularity of the USB surges, the Jaz drive stays so consistently unmentioned that it is essentially a duplicate of the x-axis."