In 1986, the BBC launched an ambitious project to record a snapshot of life across the UK for future generations, but 16 years after it was created, the £2.5 million BBC Domesday Project was unreadable. The special computers developed to play the 12" video discs of text, photographs, maps and archive footage of British life had become obsolete.

By contrast, the original Domesday Book, an inventory of eleventh-century England compiled in 1086 by Norman monks, is in fine condition in the Public Record Office and can be accessed by anyone who can read and has the right credentials.

It has been cited as an example of digital obsolescence on account of the physical medium used for data storage.